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CALDWELL'S WWE BACKLASH REPORT 4/27: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of PPV

Apr 27, 2008 - 9:52:36 PM

By James Caldwell, Torch columnist

April 27, 2008
Baltimore, Md.
By James Caldwell, Torch columnist

They opened with a video package on what happened at WrestleMania, leading to tonight's PPV. Beware the Backlash.

Ringside: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Lawler slipped and said the atmosphere is Ross sent it over to Mike Adamle and...The Tazz. Tazz laughed at that, then Adamle gave him an awkward hug and welcomed him to blacklash. From Smackdown, Michael Cole welcomed in Mick Foley, who joked about replacing The Coach.

In-ring: Matt Hardy came to the ring for the opening U.S. Title match. Cole and Foley recapped the feud between Hardy and MVP that has culminated in tonight's title match. MVP then came out and stared down Hardy from ringside before entering the ring. Justin Roberts handled the formal intros for the match. Hardy with 95 percent cheers. MVP all boos.

1 -- U.S. champion MVP vs. MATT HARDY -- United States Title match

MVP bailed from ringside at 1:00 and Hardy chased him to the outside to bring the action back into the ring. Hardy went for a top rope moonsault at 3:00, but MVP got his knees up to block to set up his offensive attack. MVP went for a running boot or knee lift, but Hardy popped to his feet and cut him off with a hard clothesline. MVP tried to come back with the Playmaker, but Hardy countered into the side effect for a two count at 7:00. Hardy then went up top, but MVP cut his legs out with a strategic dropkick. MVP tried to follow up, but Hardy landed elbow smashes and took MVP to the mat with a leaping side effect.

After a series of counters and reversals, MVP nailed a running boot to the head that sent Hardy crashing to the floor. Hardy barely made it back at a nine count, then MVP kicked him in the gut repeatedly. "You want my title? C'mon!" MVP shouted at him. MVP went for one more big boot to the head, but Hardy moved and MVP caught his leg in the corner. MVP hobbled out of the corner, then Hardy nailed the Twist of Fate. He quickly made the cover for the pin and the win. Hardy was near-tears as he celebrated with the belt, while MVP was shocked and he threw a temper tantrum.

WINNER: Hardy in 11:00 to capture the U.S. Title. Solid opener. MVP had plenty of offense to give him an "out" for the contractual re-match. I would have liked this match to be given more time or a more prominent place on the card because it was the culmination of the feud that carried Smackdown in 2007, but it was still a smart way to start the show. As for Foley, acceptable debut. He'll get the timing down over time, as he talked over some of Cole's key calls during nearfalls. (**1/2)

Backstage: Eve brought in the new U.S. champion Matt Hardy to comment on winning the belt. He said he was European champion, Hardcore champion, Cruiserweight champion (finally a shout-out to the belt that disappeared), and eight-time tag champion, but that doesn't compare to winning the belt. Hardy said it's the biggest win of his career because he's worked so hard to get to this point after the injuries. He said he only has one thing left to say. After a long pause and some facial reaction changes, he told MVP he's better than him.

Ringside: Adamle and Tazz briefly talked about the ECW Title match. ... In-ring: Chavo Guerrero came to the ring with Bam Neely. They showed a video clip from the Cutting Edge when Kane threatened Edge before Edge's familia beat him down and injured Kane's knee. Kane then walked out limping a little. Tony Chimel handled the formal intros, with Chavo getting the resounding boos. Kane was all cheers.

2 -- ECW champion KANE vs. CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Bam Neely)

Chavo quickly went after the knee, but Kane tossed him over the top rope to buy some time. Kane didn't buy too much time, as he followed to the outside and Chavo rolled back into the ring. Chavo then tried a double axehandle off the apron, but Kane caught him in mid-air and rammed him into the ring apron. It sounded so awkward for Adamle to give the Spanish-language pronunciation of "Guerrero" mid-sentence throughout his commentary. Chavo distracted the ref at 4:00, allowing Bam to wrap Kane's knee around the ringpost. Chavo got caught in the corner and Kane took him to the mat with an electric chair. "My back felt that one," Adamle said. Sure yours did.

Kane followed with a giant boot. Tazz filled in Adamle's blank on saying it was a boot that struck Chavo in the face. Adamle threw out a random and incoherent sentence about 360s, then Kane came off the top rope with a flying clothesline on Chavo. Chavo came back with a Tornado DDT, then Chavo took the knee out from behind and climbed up top. Chavo hit a top rope frog splash, but Kane, caught him around the throat as he came down. Kane came to his feet and landed a big chokeslam in center ring for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Kane in 8:00 to retain the ECW Title. Fine match. Well, except for Adamle's commentary. But, in the ring, it was good. They played off the TV storyline well and delivered another clean win. Pretty good start to the show. (*1/2)

Backstage: Todd Grisham welcomed in WWE champion Randy Orton to talk about some stuff. Grisham asked him about the three opponents tonight. Orton cut him off, per the Grisham interview formula, and said he's been through tremendous adversity, but they're still living in the Age of Orton. He vowed to leave as champion.

Announcers: Cole and Foley hyped the Khali vs. Big Show match up next. They talked about shoe size. Cole admitted he wears a size 9 shoe. Foley laughed and said those are like children's sizes. He added, "Those are the smaller the shoes that Coach left me to fill."

In-ring: Great Khali walked out to the ring and looked mesmerized by what was going on. Big Show's music then hit after a lengthy pause, and Show strolled out to the ring. Both men stood their ground in the ring, then the ref provided pre-match instructions with a low angle camera shot to establish the size of the individuals.


The bell sounded and there were like fifteen separate chants in the building. They were trying to do a "You can't wrestle" chant, but that was unsuccessful in catching on. Show then approached Khali and got right in his face. This led to a shoving match. Show then ducked a clothesline leading to an exchange of big swinging right hands. Show landed a big chop to the chest, which Khali returned. He then did a slow-motion clothesline on Show and the fans booed. Khali then clotheslined Show to the outside and Khali followed out. Back in the ring, Khali slapped on a Crossface. Yes, a submission hold from Khali. Show escaped, but Khali went to a nerve hold in center ring. He landed a big chop, then made a cover for a nearfall. Khali was struggling big time to go from the mat back to his feet. Fans chanted "boring" at 6:00 with Khali going to a surfboard stretch.

Show came back with a big scoop slam after struggling to get Khali off his feet throughout the match. He then blocked a two-hand chokebomb and nailed a chokeslam for the pin and the win. Afterward, Show was holding his right arm and shoulder. He's either selling the crap out of Khali's offense, or Show is injured, especially since he's favoring the right and not the left. They showed Khali recovering in the ring. He appeared to have just woken up from a nap.

WINNER: Show in 9:00 long minutes. That was painful to watch. Show had so much momentum coming out of Mania, then WWE booked him in this program with Khali. (1/4*)

Backstage: Cena was talking to Jimmy Wang Yang about country music when Randy Orton walked over to spoil the fun. Yang took off, then Orton told Cena victory is not in Cena's future. Orton said Cena is going home disappointed, just like at Mania. Cena smirked, then said win, lose, or draw, tonight Orton is going home a broken man.

Video package: They focused on the HBK vs. Batista feud coming out of WrestleMania with Dr. Jericho offering his opinion on their issues.

In-ring: Lillian Garcia introduced Chris Jericho as special referee for the match. Jericho strolled out wearing a ref t-shirt one size too small and some expensive black pants. His earpiece was dangling prominently from his ear like a loose tooth on a small child. Batista came out to a mix of boos and cheers. Lawler said he looks more focused and intense than he's ever seen him before. His music stopped and the camera focused on Batista staring into the crowd with his left eye looking really beat up. Shawn Michaels then came out to more of a babyface reaction. Before the bell sounded, Jericho brought them in for a face-to-face and gave instructions. Ross said Taker gave Batista the shiner over his eye on Smackdown.

4 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. BATISTA -- Chris Jericho as special referee

Batista landed a hard elbow to the jaw for the first blow of the match, leading to a mini-shoot. Michaels then rolled to the outside to regroup. Back in the ring, Michaels took the knee out from behind with a chopblock, then he countered a spinebuster attempt into a loosely-applied crossarm breaker. Michaels sat on the hold for a long minute, then Batista powered both of them into the air. Michaels managed to flip Batista over the top rope to the floor, though, and Batista sold a left arm injury. Back in the ring, Michaels continued to play ring technician here, working over Batista's left arm with a variety of mat holds and submissions. Batista then reversed a whip to the corner at 9:00 and Michaels went upside down. Michaels came back down and walked into a hard clothesline from Batista, who used his good arm.

At 10:00, Batista landed a running powerslam for a nearfall. Batista went for a Batistabomb, but Michaels slipped out and slapped on the crossface in center ring. When Batista drew close to the ropes, Michaels released the hold, made a cover for a nearfall, then slapped on the crossface again. That was a great sequence. Batista then made it to the bottom ropes on the second crossface, and Jericho called for a break. Jericho emphatically pulled Michaels off the hold, leading to a bit of confrontation between Jericho and Michaels. Michaels then nailed a flying forearm and he kipped up at 13:00, but Batista suddenly speared him off his feet for a close nearfall.

Michaels then shoved Batista off the top and delivered the trademark high elbow drop. He tuned up the band for sweet chin music, but Batista came to his feet quicker than Michaels expected and dropped Michaels with a spinebuster that the fans booed. Batista then went for the Batistabomb, but Michaels escaped and suddenly crashed to the mat selling a left knee injury. Jericho gave Michaels a chance to catch his breath and you could see where this one was going. Batista lowered his guard, and Michaels caught him with a surprise superkick square in the jaw. Michaels made the cover for the pin and the win. Afterward, Michaels was helped out of the ring by Jericho. Two other refs then helped him down the side walkway next to the entrance ramp to the back.

WINNER: Michaels in 15:00. Well, apparently the story of this show is clean finishes and guys either suffering injuries or doing a heck of a job of selling post-match injuries to advance storylines. Match was a bit below my expectations with Michaels slowing down the pace to work over Batista's left arm, but still a good showcase match. (**3/4)

Backstage: Triple H was shown sitting in deep thought in his locker room. The camera panned up to see Randy Orton staring away from Hunter, who stood up to face the side of Orton's face. Orton said he will leave the ring tonight as WWE champion. Hunter stared into Orton's left cheek and said there's an old saying: pride comes before the fall. Proverbs 16:18.

In-ring: The six heel divas came to the ring first to Beth Phoenix's music before the six babyface divas came to the ring jumping up and down.


Michelle started things off against Beth. Lawler plugged Michelle being the number search item on Yahoo yesterday, ahead of the NFL Draft. Someone got information off the Torch News Ticker. Mickie entered the ring and avoided Victoria's shimmy moonsault and nailed an enziguiri kick. Suddenly, the whole deal broke down when Cherry ran over to the heel corner and attacked Natalya. Order was momentarily restored, then Ashley and Jillian took tags. I have no idea what's going on with Ashley's outfit. The heels then took turns working over Ashley in their corner. Mickie came into the ring without a tag, then women randomly entered the ring illegally. It wasn't even a break down, just one diva giving a move, then another diva getting a move, then another diva getting a move, then another diva getting a move. Just completely random. And it came back down to Beth and Ashley, who were legal. Beth with the big fisherman buster suplex on Ashley for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Team Beth in 7:00. That was the most organized match break down I've ever seen. Otherwise, a giant collection of multi-colored outfits that probably caused a few TVs to explode. Fine. (*)

Ringside: They focused on the Baltimore Ravens players sitting ringside. Cole put over the Ravens's Draft this weekend. Can't touch K.C.'s, though. Foley with a plug for Ron Simmons becoming the first African-American champion in this building. (August 2, 1992.) A little p.r. business right there. ... Video package: They focused on Edge vs. Taker in their WrestleMania re-match.

In-ring: Edge walked out alone for the World Title match. Undertaker did his methodical ring entrance. They have an hour of PPV time remaining, based on when WWE usually ends their PPVs, so there's plenty of time for both main events to go at least 20-30 minutes with ring entrances. With Raw's Title match being elimination style, I'd say 20 minutes for Edge vs. Taker and 30 minutes for Raw's title match. After Taker finished his ring entrance, Justin Roberts handled the formal intros for the title match.

6 -- World Hvt. champion THE UNDERTAKER vs. EDGE -- World Heavyweight Title match

Undertaker dominated the first six minutes of the match until Edge speared Taker's back in the corner to focus his attack on the lower back. Edge applied a body scissors, which Taker eventually rolled out of into a ground-and-pound attack. Edge grabbed the ropes for a break, then he went back to attacking Taker's back. At 12:00, they had a mid-ring collision, then a double boot that knocked both men to the mat. They had a standing "boo" and "yeah" right hand blow exchange, which Taker won with a hard right. He then caught Edge off the ropes for Snake Eyes into the running boot to the face. Taker dropped an elbow for a close nearfall. In an eyebrow-raiser, Taker went up top for an elbow smash, but Edge rolled out of the way and Taker crashed on his back. Edge then grabbed the title belt at 15:00, but he dropped the belt on the outside. Taker went for a chokeslam, but Edge blocked and nailed a Russian legsweep for a two count.

At 16:00, Taker hip tossed Edge off the top rope for a two count when Edge put his foot on the bottom rope. Taker called for the end, which means it's not. Edge blocked the Tombstone, then Edge shoved Taker into the corner. Suddenly, one of the turnbuckle pads fell off or something. Ref Charles Robinson attended to the matter, which allowed one of the Edgeheads to smash Taker with a belt shot to the head. Edge thought he had a pin, but Taker kicked out in a big nearfall that popped the crowd. Taker blocked the spear and nailed a DDT for a close nearfall. The other Edgehead then came to ringside, and Taker shoved Edge into him. Taker then went for the Last Ride, but Edge countered into a sunset flip. He had a one count, but Taker applied the triangle vice submission. The crowd was hot for the tease of Edge tapping out. Edge fought the hold and Foley talked about Edge lasting longer than anyone else, but Edge eventually tapped out.

Afterward, Taker kept the hold locked in for an extra 30 seconds or so. After Taker released the hold, Teddy Long wheeled Vickie Guerrero to ringside and Vickie checked on her man, whose mouth was covered in red representing blood. Paramedics came to ringside and Edge was stretchered out of the ring while Vickie was frantic. There was apparently something interesting happening in the crowd, as they kept cheering randomly while Edge was stretchered out.

WINNER: Undertaker in 19:00 to retain the World Heavyweight Title. Very good match. Slow to start, just like their WrestleMania match, and then good sports entertainment involvement from the Edgeheads to create some dramatic nearfalls before the finish. Cole and Foley were solid on commentary adding to the drama for TV viewers. (***3/4)

Backstage: They showed Randy Orton standing in front of JBL's locker room. C.M. Punk then walked by with his MITB briefcase in hand. He told Orton good luck.

Poll voting: Ross and Lawler revealed the poll voting for who will win the WWE Title match tonight. Cena 48 percent, Hunter with 36, Orton with 12, and JBL with 4. ... Video package: They aired a video previewing the four-way elimination match for the belt. With this closing the show, it increases the chances of a title change. Granted, it's not WrestleMania, so the happy ending isn't guaranteed, but with the last-second change to elimination-style, I'd suspect one of the babyfaces gets the pin over Orton for the "one-on-one victory" with it down to just two wrestlers. Just a thought.

In-ring: Triple H came out first and posed. JBL then came to the ring after emerging from the white limo. JBL now has a logo for his Mamajuana product on the front and back of his track jacket. After a pause, John Cena's music hit to a strong mix of boos and cheers. Cena charged the ring and JBL and Hunter stared a hole in him. Randy Orton then slowly came out to boos. Ross said it's No DQ and no count out. Either pin or submission for an elimination. With everyone in the ring, Lillian Garcia handled the formal intros. All boos for JBL, who sarcastically saluted Hunter. All cheers for Hunter. Huge cheers and huge boos for Cena. Huge boos for Orton.

7 -- WWE champion RANDY ORTON vs. TRIPLE H vs. JOHN CENA vs. JBL -- WWE Title match -- Elimination style

Bell sounded at 9:20 CST, so about 20-25 minutes. The bell sounded and Orton tried to rip the belt way from the ref, but JBL kicked him in the face and Orton rolled to the outside. That was a weird way to start the match. Hunter tried to take Cena out of the match by knocking him off the apron into the announce table. At 5:00, Cena applied the STFU on Orton. JBL measured Orton to smash him in the face with a boot, but he stopped short and screamed at Orton to tap out. Hunter then came in from behind and slapped on a crossface on JBL. JBL reached out and thumbed Cena in the eye, then Orton returned the favor to JBL and teased him about tapping out. Cena eventually shoved Orton into Hunter and JBL to break up Hunter's submission.

At 8:00, they set up a big four-man corner spot with Cena and Hunter helping Orton superplex JBL to the mat. Two refs counted nearfalls for Hunter and Cena in a cool spot sequence. Hunter and Cena then had a standing "yeah" and "boo" right hand blow exchange, respectively, with Cena ending the sequence with a suplex for a nearfall. Cena set up Hunter for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Hunter popped up to his feet and dropped Cena with a spinebuster at 10:00. Hunter went for the Pedigree on Cena, but Cena blocked. He then caught JBL with the FU. After clearing Hunter to the outside, Cena dropped JBL with the STFU and JBL tapped out. Orton then immediately punted Cena in the head from behind and covered him for the pin, drawing a huge crowd reaction.

***JBL, then Cena eliminated in 12:00***

So, it's down to Orton and Hunter. Each man came to his feet in opposite corners, then they charged and had a big right hand exchange. Hunter dumped Orton to the floor, then smashed him head-first into the announce table. Hunter tried to whip Orton into the ring steps, but Orton reversed and Hunter ate the steps. Orton then took Hunter apart with a catapult into the guardrail and suplex onto the floor. Back in the ring, Hunter sold agonizing pain while Orton continued to work over Hunter.

At 20:00, Orton utilized one of his three holds with an extended reverse chinlock. Hunter finally fought to his feet to break the hold, but Orton caught him off the ropes with a powerslam. He then stalked Hunter for the RKO, but Hunter shoved him away in mid-air. Both men collapsed to the mat and the ref applied his ten count. Announcers said there shouldn't have been a ten count. In any event, Hunter caught Orton off the ropes with a high knee at 22:00. Hunter then clotheslined Orton to the outside and followed to the outside where he threw Orton right across the ECW announce table. Adamle, welcome to WWE. Hunter set up for a move on the floor, but Orton pulled him into the guardrail again. Orton set up some steel steps for a piledriver, but Hunter blocked and dropped Orton back-first onto the steps.

At 26:00, they returned to the ring and Hunter landed a spinebuster. He then flexed with pain written across his face. Hunter measured Orton for the Pedigree, but Orton blocked with a back body drop. Orton tried the RKO, but Hunter shoved Orton into the ref in the corner. Hunter checked on the ref, then turned around and took the RKO. Orton couldn't make the cover right away, then he eventually dragged himself on top of Hunter for a close two count. Orton got up, then stood over Hunter's fallen body trying to figure out what he needs to do to win. He slowly backed up to the corner and measured Hunter for the punt, but Hunter moved. Hunter for the Pedigree, but Orton blocked for the RKO, but Hunter blocked, kicked Orton in the gut, and nailed the Pedigree. Hunter rolled Orton over and made the cover for the pin and the win. Ross: "Match. Set. Game Over." Afterward, Hunter was handed the belt and he pumped his fist while trying to catch his breath. "The age of Orton is over," Ross declared. Hunter then celebrated with the belt while a fireworks display shot off to close the PPV.

WINNER: Triple H in 29:00 to capture the WWE Title. That was WWE's ideal display of main event heavyweight style wrestling. First-half (with all four) was up and down after the odd start. With it down to Orton vs. Hunter, they had a good, but not quite great 17-minute PPV main event singles match. They told a good, complete story that put a cap on the entire night's theme of working over a body part for a specific length of time before going into the dramatic nearfalls, counters, and eventually the finish. People are inevitably going to complain about Hunter winning the belt, but the switch needed to happen. WWE needed to pick either Hunter or Cena to carry the load on Raw, set the direction of the brand, and get viewers back on board with low ratings recently. Good business decision for WWE. (***1/2)

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.

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