November 14, 2009
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

Backlash 2000
April 30, 2000
MCI Center
Washington D.C.
Attendance: 17,867
Buy Rate: 1.62
Announcers: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

Sunday Night Heat:

1) D-Lo Brown (AC Conner) defeats Al Snow (Al Sarven) by disqualification

Actual Show

1) Edge (Adam Copeland) & Christian (Jay Reso) defeat X-Pac (Sean Waltman) & Road Dogg (Brian Armstrong) to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Edge pinned X-Pac after Christian hits him with the ring bell at 9:22

Fun Fact: Since Wrestlemania, the creative team started putting the wheels in motion to establish Edge & Christian as the number one heel team on the roster. While things were getting better, they still weren't all the way there. They started interfering in other teams matches and they even let everyone in on their planned 'run-ins'. This was part of their character as they began running their mouths by dropping biting insults and insider terms. Following this show, they would step it up to the next level and firmly take control of the tag team scene.

Scott: The opener is an entertaining tag title match between two teams that are supposed to be heels. Well, almost. DX is still in heel mode, although this incarnation is definitely running its course. E&C however, are still unidentified. They were the tweeners in the Wrestlemania match, as the Dudleyz were heels and the Hardyz were faces. The DC crowd, which hasn't seen a PPV since the 1995 Survivor Series, is off the hook for this one, as both teams bump around and take some shots. X-Pac takes the bell shot from Christian for the win, and the X-Pac starts bleeding hardway, which really adds to the finish. X-Pac and Road Dogg would be pretty much joined at the hip for the rest of the year. Good opener to a great show. Grade: 3

Justin: An energetic opener featuring two very good teams. X-Pac and Dogg began to gel right away, and while they are somewhat stale, the team was still fresher than the Outlaws had been, not to mention X-Pac is a huge step up workrate wise over Billy Gunn. Edge & Christian were finally reaching that potential that they had shown flashes of since mid-1999, as they were cultivating their attitude and personas over the weeks following Wrestlemania. With so many solid tag teams in the ranks, it was a shrewd move to get the belts on a dominant heel team and have the plethora of face teams constantly chasing them. The plan would work to perfection, as Edge & Christian slid nicely into their roles, and the three major face teams, Hardys, Dudleys and Too Cool, played their parts to perfection as well. Grade: 3

2) Dean Malenko (Dean Simon) defeats Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Taylor) to retain WWF Light Heavyweight Title with a top rope DDT at 12:57

Fun Fact: Dean Malenko first won the Light Heavyweight Title on March 13th when he defeated Essa Rios in a pretty good match. Then, on 4/17, Scotty upset Dean for the title to the shock of the crowd. However, on the Smackdown before the PPV, Malenko regained the title by beating Scotty. The re-rematch was set for Backlash.

Scott: Dean Malenko was the one member of the Radicalz that was forgotten most of the time. Not after this match. Malenko takes a belt that many forgot about and put some serious credibility into it. My namesake was not expected to bring anything to this match, at the very least not keeping up with Deano. On the contrary, Scotty sells like a motherfucker, as Malenko systematically dissects Scotty?s knee. At one point, Scotty goes for the worm and hops on the bad knee, which looks stupid. That?s made up by the ending, as Deano reverses a superplex in mid-air, and drops a bitching DDT for the win. Malenko proves once and for all here that he just didn?t tag along with Benoit and the gang. His shelf-life is also shorter than the others, so he needs to get as much great workrate in now as he can. This was awesome, and makes the show 2 for 2 so far. Grade: 4

Justin: Just an unbelievable match here that finally gives some legitimacy to a title that was pretty much dead since its arrival in December of 1997. We are finally seeing some true cruiserweights go balls to the wall and pull out sick maneuvers to try and capture the strap, as opposed to 10 minutes of Brian Christopher stalling or Gillberg fighting jobbers. Malenko immediately proves his worth here, and Scotty pulls out a performance that not many thought he could do. The match is a flat out 12-minute exhibition in a variant of light heavyweight style wrestling that really has rarely been duplicated as perfectly on PPV or TV since. Grade: 4

3) Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan defeat the Acolytes when Buchanan (Barry Buchanan) pins Bradshaw (John Layfield) with a scissor kick off the top rope at 7:39

Fun Fact: As 2000 rolled in, the Acolytes began publicizing their love for drinking beer, playing cards and kicking ass. Soon, they decided to open their very own protection agency, with traveling office door and table, for any WWF superstar that provided them beer money. This feud really picked up some steam when the APA and Boss Man & Bull got into a huge bar fight at a local establishment. These bar room brawls would become a staple of all APA feuds throughout 2000.

Scott: Our first sub par match of the night pits two teams with similar styles: Kicking, punching, and not much else. Boss Man was in the midst of the best run of his career. Many feel he had a better run since his return in 1998 than he did during his first run from 1988-1993. He won more titles in this more recent run, and never really hung in limbo storyline-wise. He always had something going on that made sense. Here, he?s with badass-in-training Bull Buchanan, against the beer-swilling Acolytes, who have now become the APA. This match was not terrible, but considering what we?ve seen so far, and what we will be seeing later in the show, this was not great. The newer guy gets over, as Buchanan hits his finisher for the win. He becomes a better character later in the year, splitting away from Boss Man. The APA just moves along. Grade: 2.5

Justin: Just a quick brawl here to give Bull another PPV victory over an established star. The APA was solidly over at this point, but outside of three moves, spinebuster, Clothesline from Hell and Dominator, their in-ring work was barely tolerable. They really should have been relegated to protecting people and being hired for beat downs, as they were perfect for the role. Bull looks pretty good again here as he did last month, but the match as a whole isn?t anything to write home about. Grade: 1.5

4) Crash Holly wins a Six-Man Hardcore match to retain the WWF Hardcore Title when he pins Tazz after a shot by Perry Saturn at 12:22

Participants: Crash Holly (Michael Lockwood); Perry Saturn (Perry Satullo), Tazz (Peter Senerca), Hardcore Holly (Robert Howard), Jeff and Matt Hardy

Scott: This was a little more organized than the free-for-all battle royal at Wrestlemania. The only person that could be pinned was Crash, and the match ended. The Hardcore Division was really one of the highlights of the year, and it led to continuing funny moments, and good matches. Tazz looks to have it won, as he puts the Tazmission on Crash, but Perry Saturn comes in and whacks Tazz to break the move. Saturn is pulled out of the ring, and Crash rolls over on Tazz to retain. Crash Holly came in the WWF as an afterthought character for Hardcore Holly, and he may have had the better year. The Hardys clean house with a ladder, which jacks the crowd up. This crowd has certainly gone with the flow of the matches, and brings extra excitement to an already good show. This was no different than any other hardcore skirmish, but not unwatchable. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A fast paced match, as these six figured out to work hardcore action into a match as opposed to working a match around a hardcore environment, if that makes any sense. Matt Hardy had captured the championship on the 4/24 Raw, and the Hardys then had an awesome hardcore match with each other on the 4/27 Smackdown, but that ended with Crash sneaking in and regaining the title under the 24/7 rule. It was during this time that the 24/7 rule was really at its peak, as Crash became the ?Houdini of Hardcore,? and was able to allude would be challengers, and if he was upended, it was never for more than a few days. Following this match, everyone but Crash would move on to other endeavors, and the Hardcore title would drop down a notch, but still provided a lot of entertainment. Grade: 3

5) The Big Show (Paul Wight) defeats Kurt Angle with a Chokeslam at 2:35

Fun Fact: The Saturday before Wrestlemania, the Rock was slated to host Saturday Night Live, and Vince McMahon decided to send a gang of wrestlers along for the ride, namely the other 3 wrestlers in the Main Event: Big Show, Triple H and Mick Foley. Now, Rock was his usual great self (?Oh, Triple H, I thought that was you, I knew I smelt dandruff shampoo and monkey turd?), but if you had to pick one of the other three to steal the show, the list would have gone like this: 1) Mick Foley, 1B) Triple H, Distant 3) Big Show. However, Triple H stayed his in his dickish heel role, Mick tried a little bit too hard to be funny and Big Show stole the show with his natural wit and comedic timing. That one night on the show made him a bigger star than he was since his debut. As soon as Wrestlemania ended, Show stopped being so mean and serious and started goofing off. He began spoofing other stars like Val Venis and Rikishi, but was saving his best impression for this show.

Fun Fact II: In his never ending quest to clean up America, Kurt Angle went on a crusade for abstinence over the weeks leading up to the show. He began parading around with home-made signs, with his most famous coming during his campaign on the campus of Penn State: ?Olympic Heroes for Abstinence OHFA?; ?Oral Exams not Oral Sex?; ?The best sex is no sex, it?s true, it?s true?, got in the middle of kissing couples and ended up cutting this hilarious promo against the Godfather on the 4/10 Raw (courtesy CRZ): "I'm glad that all of you are happy, and all of you are in such a great mood tonight. Because I would like to talk to you tonight about something that gives Your Olympic Hero great joy - the joy of celibacy. Oh yeah, oh yeah. The three I's are great; the three I's are tremendous. But the reason why I've had so much success in life - the reason that I am the man I am today - is from the big A - abstinence. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And unlike many of you people here tonight, Your Olympic Hero abstains voluntarily - it's true, it's true. Which leads me to tonight, Godfather, you come out here week after week and you parade your filth and debauchery - oh yeah, debauchery. So tonight, I have a little surprise for you. Godfather, THIS is called a prophylactic. And I strongly suggest that you start to use it. And I have a little nursery rhyme for all you children out there - something that even the Godfather can understand. 'You can prance, and you can dance, but when it comes to relations - keep it in your pants."

Scott: This match was an absolute mess by itself, but the entertainment value is priceless. After his serious, tension-filled storyline with the Rock, the Big Show decided to take himself less seriously, and become looser and funnier. It came in the wake of his Saturday Night Live appearance when the Rock was hosting. So, he would spend the next few weeks dressing as different characters, including Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. Here, he comes out with the yellow tights, red kneepads, and handlebar moustache. Oh yeah, and he came out to Real American too. Big Show dressed like his good friend, Hulk Hogan, the guy that got Big Show in the business. Kurt Angle is fresh off losing both the European and Intercontinental titles, and it?s time to pay some dues for the next couple of months. Here, he?s simply the foil for the hysterical Big Show. Match wasn?t worth shit, but who cares. He said ?brother? about 356 times, and I pissed my pants by the 200th one. This was great comedy filler and another way for Kurt Angle to lose the match, without losing heat. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Kurt Angle's OHFA movement came to a crashing halt here, as the Showster made his way to ringside, cuts the promo of a lifetime and then proceeds to murder Angle in 2 minutes. Now, this would normally be a bad idea, but a) Kurt Angle was already in bulletproof territory, meaning a few jobs weren?t going to kill his heat at all and the quick job was worth the 3 minutes of fun that preceded it. Not to mention, Kurt kicked out of the Legdrop, which was the crux of the whole joke. It was also a necessary result in order to rebuild the Big Show after he was made quick work of at Wrestlemania. All in all, a classic moment that needs to be seen to truly be appreciated, and ditto for the OHFA stuff. Grade: 1.5

6) T&A defeat the Dudley Boys when Test (Andrew Martin) pinned Bubba Ray (Mark Lomonica) with a big boot at 11:08

Scott: This was a rudimentary tag match with a twist. Trish Stratus, who made her debut at Wrestlemania, is a Toronto fitness model, who was rumored to come to the WWF for months. Now, she?s involved in her first storyline. She?s been flashing her feminine wiles at Bubba Ray, avoiding the power bomb through the table. Thanks to their awesome performance at Wrestlemania, the Dudleyz have turned face, and are now feuding with T&A. Test and Albert have been average workers, but it?s Trish bringing the heat. After Trish cost the Dudleyz the match, she finally gets caught. She lays another kiss on Bubba, but finally it doesn?t work, and she finally gets wood. Cool ending to a boring match. Grade: 2.5

Justin: An average tag match that sees the Dudleys settling in nicely on the face side of the tracks and T&A establishing themselves as a solid heel tandem. The tag division during 2000 was really bringing back memories of the late-80s, as so many teams were coming out of the woodwork and the division was so rock solid top to bottom. For weeks leading up to the show, Trish had been tantalizing Bubba Ray and doing her best to avoid being put through a table. On one memorable Raw, there were numerous vignettes throughout the night of her in various pairs of lingerie talking sexually about Bubba and wood while caressing tables. It worked quite well in getting her over as a heel and a hottie. Leading up to the show, Bubba had been kissed and mesmerized in his post table trance without even putting Trish through the table, so the question heading in here was would Trish finally get wood? And of course, she did, but not after her team picked up its second PPV win. Grade: 2.5

7) Eddie Guerrero defeats Essa Rios (Jose Seldano) to retain the WWF European Title with a Spinning Neckbreaker Drop at 8:42

Fun Fact: Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Jericho for the European title on the 4/3 Raw when Chyna turned against Jericho and finally caved in to Eddie?s Latino Heat. The two then became an inseparable team who were always looking out for each other?s best interests. Heading into this show, Chyna was helping Eddie study for his GED test, which he passed, meaning he and Chyna could go to the prom before the PPV.

Fun Fact II: Essa Rios debuted with Lita by his side on the 2/13 Sunday Night Heat, and defeated Gillberg for the Light Heavyweight title in his first match. The original gimmick would call for Lita to keep coming in during the match, with the referee distracted, and mimic the high flying moves the Rios did, such as flying head scissors moonsaults. It was an intriguing idea that worked early on, but as soon as it good old, it was dropped. On the 3/13 Raw, during the match in which he lost the title to Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero(at ringside) gave Lita a devastating Powerbomb on the outside of the ring, legitimately injuring her shoulder and putting her out for a few weeks. Lita would return and Essa Rios would challenge Eddie here for his newly won European title. Essa wouldn?t last long, however, as a few weeks later he started berating Lita and abusing her, before she finally turned on him and joined the Hardy Boys, where she would remain for the next few years. Essa would stick around through 2000, but would mainly be used as the butt of Kurt Angle jokes.

Scott: Latino Heat's singles PPV debut is as a champion. One of a long list of Guerreros defends the title he took from Chris Jericho against a cup of coffee that has been other incarnations. Essa Rios was Aguila and Papi Chulo in previous lives. Guerrero is just one of many who have nicely freshened up the midcard over the past few months. Many observers really like this match. I was never crazy about it, as it was sloppy, and Rios never could catch up to Latino Heat, which is probably the reason why Rios didn?t last too much longer. Eddie, who was coming from the prom with Chyna, wrestled with a bow tie on, which was pretty slick. A big debut comes from this match: the red-haired siren that would accompany Rios to the ring. Her real name is Amy Dumas, and her name in ECW was Miss Congeniality. Her name in the WWF would simply be Lita. She would be a mainstay in the women?s ranks from here on out. Grade: 2

Justin: Despite not being as heralded as Chris Benoit, you could tell from the start the Eddie Guerrero would be a major player in the WWF. Of the four Radicals, he had the most charisma and slickest in-ring style, and many pundits knew if Eddie could keep his wild lifestyle in order then he could be any type of champion he wanted. Right off the bat, he is given the European title and a major push with WWF darling Chyna by his side. He makes quick work of Essa Rios here in a solid, yet somewhat sloppy match. Rios was pretty solid, but always seemed nervous on the big stage, which I think led to a lot of his sloppiness. Unfortunately, time would pass him by, and the man who faced Taka Michinoku two years earlier at Wrestlemania goes out with whimper here and disappears into obscurity by the end of 2000. Better days are ahead for Lita, but she ends this match by having a catfight with Chyna, resulting in Chyna?s prom dress being removed. Grade: 2.5

8) Chris Benoit defeats Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) by disqualification at 15:06 to retain WWF Intercontinental Title

Fun Fact: The 4/17 Raw opened up with a swerve among swerves, as Chris Jericho seemingly defeated Triple H for the World Title after 8 exciting minutes of action. There was one caveat, however, since Triple H assaulted him previously, referee Earl Hebner decided to take some action and gave Jericho a fast count for the win. Regardless, the crowd went nuts and everyone at home was stunned and excited. However, when the show returned from break, Triple H was holding Earl in the ring and threatened to fire him unless he reversed the decision because of the fast count. After a lot of badgering, Earl finally gave in and reversed the decision. Of course, being the dick that he is, Triple H still attacked Earl and fired him anyway.

Scott: We knew eventually that all the talent that would come from WCW to the WWF would begin to really entertain us. A long and intense feud between the Wolverine from Edmonton, and the young lion from Winnipeg would begin here. This first match was intense, stiff, and exciting. Both men would chop the shit out of each other. They would perform excellent psychology, including Benoit beating Jericho?s stomach and ribs while wrenching an abdominal stretch. One thing does hurt the match a little, and that?s the ending. After a ref bump, Benoit grabs the belt and whacks Jericho with it. Then, as Benoit sets up for the flying headbutt, Jericho grabs the belt, and with Benoit in mid-air, Y2J would move the belt up, and Benoit head-butted it. This, the referee saw, and DQ?d Jericho. That was really weak. This is the kind of feud where a pin doesn?t hurt anybody. Benoit getting the pin with the belt shot would have been more tolerable than this. It doesn?t take too much away from the match, which was awesome. More would be to come from these two. Grade: 4

Justin: While they were in the same ring with each other at Wrestlemania, this match officially kicks off the intense 1-on-1 rivalry between two extremely talented and stiff Canadians. Ever since his long-awaited face turn in January, Chris Jericho has completely won the WWF crowds over with his sharp barbs and quick wit and had become one of the hottest acts in the WWF. Benoit also won over fans, but with his in ring intensity as opposed to joke telling and sarcasm. These two seemed destined to meet, and from their first match here you just knew that it would become one of those legendary rivalries that would always exist. Benoit and Jericho have an awesome match here, but unfortunately it has a very lame ending which manages to piss off the crowd. Anyway, there was at least one good result of the cheap ending: a rematch at the next show. Grade: 4

9) The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) defeats Triple H (Paul McMahon) with the People?s Elbow at 19:24 to win the WWF World Title

Fun Fact: With the surroundings seeming so grim for the Rock following Wrestlemania, it took a humongous announcement from Linda McMahon to brighten his future and give him some hope at regaining the World Title he so coveted. After heeling out at the big show, Vince McMahon and his son Shane joined forces with already dominant McMahon-Helmsley coalition (consisting of D-X) to officially form the McMahon-Helmsley Regime/Faction (announcers kept calling it both, and Edge & Christian even coined the term ?fac-gime? to describe it). With such a dominant force on the heel side, and a dearth of top level faces, Rock?s quest for the gold seemed hopeless. Well, on the 4/17 Raw, Linda came out to defend the Rock and make her huge announcement: since Triple H had his backup at Backlash, Rock would have backup as well: Stone Cold Steve Austin! Everyone was in shock that Austin was set to return so soon, but it was soon revealed that it would be a one-time affair, since he wasn?t fully rehabbed yet. Well, we were allowed one quick glimpse of the old Stone Cold on the 4/27 Smackdown, when a pre-taped segment of Austin commandeering the D-X Express (the Fac-gime had taken to traveling in a custom bus) and destroying it by dropping a huge freeway barricade on it via a crane. The bus then exploded, and Austin made his mark.

Scott: The main event is what many expected the Wrestlemania main event to be. Triple H had already established himself as a credible WWF Champion and an awesome heel. The Rock has been chasing the brass ring for over a year, changing sides in the process. After dabbling in small feuds over the past year with Billy Gunn and British Bulldog, the Rock had an up and down 2000. He wins the Royal Rumble, loses the #1 contender slot at No Way Out, and gets it back a couple of weeks later. Everyone and their mother thought Rock was taking the title at Wrestlemania. Alas, it wouldn?t happen, as Vince McMahon heeled out, and Triple H became the first heel to retain the title at a Wrestlemania. So, the re-match was here. There were two rumored reasons for the swerve in Anaheim: first, with the buy rate already off the charts for Wrestlemania, let?s save the Rock?s big win for next month. Second, Vince wanted a huge pop for the one-night return of Stone Cold Steve Austin, to cost Triple H the title. Apparently doctors told Vince his #1 guy would not be able to do any physical activity for at least another month. Austin had just had neck surgery in January. So, they waited for the big moment till Backlash. A great PPV already, this was a sweet capper. Rock and Hunter were cooking with serious gas so far, and this was another classic. Rock even did an excellent double Rock Bottom to Triple H and Shane on the announce table. With a crapload of interference, and Shane McMahon as the special referee, it looked like another Helmsley win. Then, the glass breaks. Austin, beer paunch and all comes out with a chair, and lathers everybody but Rock. Linda McMahon comes out with embattled ref Earl Hebner, and after the obligatory People?s Elbow, Rock wins his 4th championship. Austin would come back out to celebrate; towing the DX Express bus he blew up on the previous Thursday?s Smackdown. Stone Cold would disappear to continue rehab. He?ll be back in September. Rock basks in his biggest moment. Grade: 4.5

Justin: We have had many great Main Events in the past, but this one is up there in the ranks of hard to top classics. The storyline was top notch, the action was non-stop and the huge mark out moment was prevalent. The Rock had been chasing the World Title since losing to Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XV, and after being beaten down for over a year, he finally takes control of the title and becomes the number one guy in the Federation in one fell swoop. Triple H, as was his modus operandi in 2000, busts his ass, gives Rock an awesome match and lies down for the mostly clean pin. Austin?s return caused the D.C. crowd to blow the roof off, as they were rabid to see their hero return, even if for only one night. This was just picture perfect booking, and looking back, the screwy Wrestlemania finish was probably worth it to get to this point. From the excellent story of Rock?s grueling chase, to the non-stop action, to the return of Austin and the involvement of Earl Hebner, who was reinstated a week after he was fired by Triple H when he and Rock teamed up and won a match, to the heels getting their comeuppance in the end, it was just an all around awesome match that tied up a whole bunch of loose ends and is a flat out must-see. Grade: 4.5

Final Analysis:

Scott: The run of awesome PPVs continues, with one excellent match after another. This is a complete 180 degree turn from 1999 PPVs. Last year, the undercard was full of characters, but devoid of any substance. Here, the undercard may not have had juicy storylines, but God, were the matches great. The main event was very 1999-ish, but better. WCW had all this talent, and just let it get away. Right now, they?re just worried about not going bankrupt. Vince is worried about?well nothing. He?s on top of the world. Next month, he?d get one of his big studs back, and continue the awesome run of shows. Final Grade: A-

Justin: Just an awesome show on all levels. The mid-card is coming together beautifully, and is pretty much comprised of wrestlers who can seamlessly interact and face each other and churn out great matches on a weekly basis. All of the right guys went over where they needed to, and with the exception of the APA match, there wasn?t one match under a 2.5, which is quite the feat to say the least. The Main Event was off the hook, and while it was overbooked, all of the overbooking made sense when you look at the overall story of Rock facing such humongous odds. By the end of 2000, the WWF will have experienced their most successful year since the hey-day of Rock ?n? Wrestling in the late ?80s, and shows like this were the exact reason for the success. The WWF was hot and its stars were everywhere and anywhere on TV, and the machine just keeps on rolling. Grade: A

MVP: Main Event
Runner Up: Dean Malenko & Scotty 2 Hotty
Non-MVP: Essa Rios
Runner Up: Kurt Angle

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