McMahonMania at Backlash
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling
Triple H holds up his newly-won WWF gold as he and Steve Austin become the WWF World Tag Team Champions.
When the nWo angle was the hottest thing World Championship Wrestling had
going for it bitter and bored fans rightly complained every time Nitro or a
pay-per-view ended with an massive run-in. WCW kept on concluding main
event matches that way and weary fans went elsewhere to seek more original
and less predictable entertainment. You would've thought that the World
Wrestling Federation would've learned from WCW's mistakes yet here we are
at Backlash 2001 and just like they have done time and time again, it is
interference by the McMahons that pretty well determine the result of a
main event title match. Gosh, how original is that? Not very is the answer.
You can always tell when the booking well is getting dry in the promotion
because it's the stock angle they fall back upon. The McMahons protecting
their designated champion as someone rises up to challenge their authority.
It began with Bret Hart's screw-job and has been recycled over and over
since with different faces like Steve Austin or The Rock playing the same
Fans have seen Vince or Stephanie take out a referee, hand their champion a
weapon, call for the bell to be rung, create last minute stipulations or
take out the challenger themselves so many times that without any
assistance from the Psychic Friends Hotline, they can foresee the outcomes
before the matches even air. As was the case with the Backlash main event
in which WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter-Hearst Helmsley and WWF World
Heavyweight Champion Steve Austin faced WWF World Tag Team Champions Kane
and The Undertaker in a match where all the belts were up for grabs and a
title change of some kind was guaranteed. The majority of fans predicted
that Austin and Triple H would come out on top and they did with support
from the McMahons. Gosh, how original is that? Not very is the answer.
With his elbow heavily bandaged due to a sneak attack on Raw by Triple H
and Austin, Kane was the weakest link. Protecting his "brother" as best he
could, The Undertaker fought the majority of the match. He single-handedly
stood his ground against both members of the Anti Mega Powers. This fact
alone might signal another WWF World Title run for The Phenom. Whenever
Kane got tagged in, Austin and Triple H worked on his injured elbow smacking
it with steel chairs or ramming into the ring post or stairs.
In the match's finale, The Undertaker and Austin paired up brawling on the
arena floor, leaving Kane and Triple H alone in the ring. Stephanie
McMahon-Helmsley slid one of the title belts to Triple H. As Triple H
charged in with it raised high above his head, Kane caught him with a boot
to the face. Stephanie climbed into the ring and met with the same fate so
Vince McMahon jumped in carrying Triple H's sledgehammer. Kane caught
McMahon by the throat before he could cave his skull in but McMahon handed
the sledgehammer to Triple H. The Game bonked Kane with it and pinned him.
Austin and Triple H (and subsequently the heel McMahons -- Stephanie and
Vince) now hold the three most important titles in the World Wrestling
Federation. Gosh, how original is that? Not very is the answer.
Chris Benoit makes Kurt Angle submit to his Crippler Crossface and wins their Thirty Minute Submission Match challenge.
Luckily at Backlash there was enough excellent booking and wrestling in the
undercard that the main event screw-job didn't have the impact it should
have had on the show as a whole. In particular, Chris Benoit and Kurt
Angle's Thirty Minute Submission Match was sheer brilliance and should be
ranked as one of the best bouts ever in World Wrestling Federation history.
The level of sophistication and proficiency required to cleanly pull off
the intricate reversals and counters Benoit and Angle performed is
extraordinary to say the very least. It is rare that a single match is
worth the price of an entire pay-per-view but the Submission Match
deservedly ranks as such a bout thanks to Benoit and Angle's unbelievable
work rate and skill.
The next WWF pay-per-view is Judgment Day on May 20th
WWF Backlash 2001 Results
The Dudley Boys versus The X-Factor
Same old routine from The Dudley Boys here. Of note is Justin's
ditching of his T-shirt and jeans for a look similar to X-Pac's...sort of.
Albert puts his foot into D-Von's kisser and so do Credible and X-Pac for
the win. Heyman says..."the war has just begun" between these two teams.
Winners: The X Factor at 8 minutes and 2 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
The Duchess Of Queensbury pulls into the arena. She's decked out in
medieval English attire and accompanied by two "bodyguards". Regal greets
and praises her. Kurt Angle is shining his medals in the locker room. He
will prove to Benoit tonight who the best technician is in the WWF.
Rhyno (champion) versus Raven (challenger) (WWF Hardcore Title
Very reminiscent of an ECW match and the hardest-hitting hardcore title
match as of yet in the WWF. It was the kind of bout where you cringe and
actually say "Ouch!" out loud every few minutes. Rhyno and Raven really
wail on each other with street signs, chairs and even a kitchen sink. Rhyno
brings a metal shopping cart into the ring. He attempts to brain Raven with
it. Raven hits him in the gut with a trash can and the cart falls hard onto
Rhyno as he hits the mat. The cart is placed in a corner. Rhyno tries to
Gore Raven. Raven steps out of the way and Rhyno ends up stuck inside the
cart. As he is, Raven whacks him some more with a kitchen sink. Raven
prepares to swing it once again at Rhyno's head. Rhyno goes low and Gores
him to retain the title.
Winner: ...and still WWF Hardcore Champion...Rhyno at 8 minutes and
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
WWF road schedule, a commercial for a WWF Divas tape and the entire
Shane And The Beanstalk segment from Smackdown! airs. Who in God's name
greenlighted that ridiculous promo? Stephanie asks Shane to apologize to
Vince. He declines. Steve Austin and Debra are interviewed. Austin says he
"won't lose a damn thing". Coachman asks The Duchess Of Queensbury to
explain the rules surrounding the match named in her honour. Regal halts
the interview before she can.
William Regal versus Chris Jericho (Duchess Of Queensbury Rules
All in all, the match turns out to be nothing more than a complete
rip-off of the Canadian Rules match in WCW not too long ago with the heel
making up the stipulations as he goes along. The angle is really lame
though the wrestling is quite good. Jericho scores a Lionsault. The Duchess
calls for the bell saying the first round has ended and the pinfall doesn't
count. Jericho wraps Regal in the Lion Tamer. As Regal taps out, the
Duchess announces that submissions don't count in the match. Regal hits
Jericho with the Duchess' scepter. The Duchess rules this a No DQ bout.
Regal is thrown out of the ring and land in the Duchess' crotch as she sits
on her throne at ring side. Jericho puts the Lion Tamer on the Duchess.
Regal hits Jericho with a steel chair about three or four times to pin
Winner: William Regal at 12 minutes and 36 seconds.
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
Raw Is War and WWF CD ads. Vince encourages The Big Show not to hold
back in his match-up with Shane.
Chris Benoit versus Kurt Angle (Thirty Minute Submission
Fantastic bout and Match Of The Year candidate. The winner is the one
to score the most submissions during the time limit. Benoit makes Angle tap
out in the Crippler Crossface on the floor but it is ruled the submission
doesn't as it had to have taken place in the ring. At 6:29, Benoit taps to
a knee-lock type of submission. At 8:09, Angle submits to an arm-wringer
like move. Angle uses a chair and his Ankle Lock to notch another
submission. Angle also makes Benoit tap out to his own Crippler Crossface.
Trailing by two, Benoit employs a crab-like move at 18:01 to close the gap.
Angle protects his lead by fleeing and wasting precious time. Benoit forces
Angle to tap to his own Ankle Lock at 27:48. The score is tied. Angle slaps
the Ankle Lock on Benoit. Benoit submits but only after the time limit has
expired. The official calls for overtime in the match. The first one to
submit loses. Benoit's Crippler Crossface wins him the thirty minute
Winner: Chris Benoit at 32 minutes and 26 seconds.
Match Rating: 10 / 10.
A commercial for WWF New York. Question...if WWF New York is so popular
why aren't there any others across America or around the world? Triple H
and Stephanie discuss strategy.
The Big Show versus Shane McMahon (Last Man Standing Match)
No WCW superstars make an appearance. Shane goes it alone using a Kendo
stick and even a (Bah. Ha. Ha.) cloth soaked in Chloroform to gain the
advantage. Vince comes out and chair shots Shane, then splits with a smile
on his face. Big Show could let Shane lay for a ten count on several
occasions though he keeps picking him up and inflicting more punishment.
Test does a run-in at 7:34. Test hits Big Show with a sign about the head
as Shane climbs up the entrance way structure which is about 50-feet high.
While Show lays motionless on an inflatable stunt bag topped with wood,
Shane drops an elbow from the top of the structure. He misses the Big Show
completely but not the stunt bag. Big Show can't seem to get up. Test props
Shane up on the arm of a tracking camera so he is victorious. In a replay
we see the words Air Filter written on the side of the stunt bag.
Shane McMahon stands posed atop the entrance way structure as Test holds down the Big Show below.
Winner: Shane McMahon at 11 minutes and 55 seconds.
Match Rating: 3 / 10.
Vince is dismayed at Shane's win. Stephanie comforts him. Steve
Blackman and Grandmaster Sexay babble on at WWF New York.
Christian (challenger) versus Eddie Guerrero (challenger) versus Matt Hardy (champion) (WWF European Title Match)
These three men aren't given the time they need to really go full-tilt.
Edge interferes as does Jeff Hardy. Matt holds on to the European Title
with a Twist Of Fate.
Winner: ...still WWF European Champion...Matt Hardy at 6 minutes
and 50 seconds.
Match Rating: 5 / 10.
The WWF plugs the new Kurt Angle and Mick Foley videos.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin (champion, challenger) and Triple H
(champion, challenger) versus Kane (champion, challenger) and The
Undertaker (champion, challenger) (WWF World Tag Team Title,
Intercontinental Title and World Heavyweight Title Match)
Winners: ...and new WWF World Tag Team Champions...."Stone Cold"
Steve Austin and Triple H at 27 minutes and 16 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Overall Event Rating: 7.5 / 10.