Backlash 2002: The Definition Of Bleh, Meh, Eh, And All Other Uninterested Non-Words You Can Think Of

Backlash 2002
Date: April 21, 2002
Location: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 12,489
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is the show after Wrestlemania 18 and the main event is Hogan vs. HHH for the title. Other than that we have Austin vs. Undertaker which I’m not sure what to expect from. The show doesn’t look great on paper but after doing Backlash 2000, almost anything is going to come off as inferior. I’ve been surprised before though. Let’s get to it.

We open with Hogan talking about how at Wrestlemania, The Rock became a Hulkamaniac. HHH talks about wanting to destroy part of his childhood. It’s about being the greatest ever or something like that.

Cruiserweight Title: Tajiri vs. Billy Kidman

Tajiri is evil and making Torrie wear a Geisha girl robe. He’s also challenging here. This is just after the Brand Extension and the first time the whole roster has been together in a few weeks. Feeling out process to start and Tajiri misses a big kick. They go to the corner and exchange strikes. Tajiri hooks a slingshot to send Kidman onto the middle rope but he comes off with a spinning missile dropkick for two. Out to the floor and Tajiri drapes him over the barricade to take over.

Tajiri chokes him in the ropes back inside and hits a BIG kick to the head. Off to a chinlock which is pretty quickly broken up. Kidman gets put in the Tree of Woe and Tajiri hits a baseball slide dropkick to the face. That always looks great. Now Tajiri works on his back and tries the Tarantula but Kidman breaks it up. Tajiri is sent to the apron and jumps up into a sunset flip position but spins around into the Tarantula in a slick counter.

Buzzsaw kick misses and Kidman counters the powerbomb attempt into a facejam as is his custom. They exchange rollup attempts but Tajiri kicks his head off for two. Another powerbomb is countered the same way and it’s Shooting Star time. It eats canvas though and the Buzzsaw kick gets two. The fans start a Kidman chant as the guys go to the corner. Kidman hits a sitout spinebuster off the middle rope for a VERY close two. Kidman tries a powerbomb of his own but Tajiri sprays red mist in his eyes for the pin.

Rating: B-. Good opener here with both guys hitting some big stuff in there. Tajiri is probably my favorite Japanese guy and he didn’t disappoint here. That spinning Tarantula and the Buzzsaw kick were great. The spinebuster was awesome too and it made for a great opener. Gee, two talented guys having a few minutes make for a good match. Shocking no?

Tajiri rants in Japanese.

We get an APA reunion in the back as they’ve been split by the Draft. Bradshaw’s match is next.

Scott Hall vs. Bradshaw

Yes, knowing that Hall is likely going to erupt soon, they put him against BRADSHAW. X-Pac gets in the ring also so Farrooq comes out to offer backup. There’s the toothpick throw to start and Bradshaw puts him down quickly. DDT gets two and it’s time to tell X-Pac he sucks. Hall goes to the floor and backs into Farrooq who blasts him in the face. The NWO broke up the APA’s office so there’s an actual story to this.

Bradshaw stays in control with some elbow drops for two. Hall comes back with almost the only move he can do in 2012: punches. He mixes it up with a spin punch so maybe that counts as a second move. Hall stomps him down in the corner but Bradshaw punches back from the mat. JR calls it a bowling shoe match as Bradshaw kicks him in the face. The big Clothesline gets two as Pac makes the save. Farrooq chases him off and Bradshaw punches X-Pac off the apron. The distraction lets Hall hit Bradshaw low (kind of. It was more like he put his arm between Bradshaw’s legs and left it there. There wasn’t any force.) for the pin.

Rating: F. There’s no real other way to put it: this was a very bad match with no real redeeming value. Hall going over doesn’t help anyone, Bradshaw wouldn’t do anything for two years, the ending was bad, there was very little action, and the fans didn’t care. With no redeeming value, how can you call it anything but a failure? Terribly uninteresting match.

Vince goes to see Flair and says that Flair is starting to feel the heat as an owner. Tonight Flair is guest referee for Austin vs. Undertaker which is a #1 contenders match. Flair yells at Vince a lot and says he’ll never be like Vince McMahon. There are so many ways you can take that and most of the time it’s true.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Jazz

Jazz is champion. Trish is stating to get good at this point. She also has her signature look down now. Molly Holly (with some very good looking reddish brown hair) comes out to protest Trish getting the shot. Molly lost a #1 contenders match to Trish due to some minor tights pulling, even though Molly did it first. She says that the fans want their Women’s Champion to be pure. Molly pops Trish with the mic and throws her to the floor. Trish fires back with forearms but gets sent into the steps.

Jazz comes out as Molly is sent to the back but Trish comes in damages. Side slam gets two. Trish can’t get anything going and Jazz hits a Regal Roll for no cover. Trish hits a clothesline and a bad Chick Kick for two. Stratusphere puts Jazz down and a neckbreaker gets two. Jazz comes back with a Batista Bomb for two. Belly to back gets the same for the champ. Trish goes to the corner but gets pulled out by a dragon screw leg whip. That gets transitioned into a Boston Crab and an STF for the tap out.

Rating: D+. Nothing much worth seeing here and I’m not quite sure why they went with Jazz as champion for so long. They would give Trish the title soon enough but for some reason they didn’t give it to her in Toronto at Mania. Not a terrible match here but no one cared about Jazz at all.

Jazz has nothing to say post match.

We recap Jeff Hardy vs. Brock Lesnar. Heyman was in Lita’s locker room on Monday and had one of her thongs. He implied if she slept with him, Brock wouldn’t kill Matt. Later in the night Heyman had her whole bag of thongs (why does she needs that?) and when Matt charges at Heyman, Lesnar killed him with an F5 on the stage.

Heyman fires up Lesnar in the back.

Jeff Hardy vs. Brock Lesnar

Lesnar is still using generic ominous music here. Hardy goes right at him and is easily thrown to the floor. Hardy tries to speed it up but dives into Lesnar’s arms. He manages to ram Brock into the post and hits a top rope cross body back in for two. Brock shrugs that off and rams Hardy into the corner with the shoulders.

The destruction begins as Brock throws him around and Heyman yells that it’s Lita’s fault. Jeff gets in some punches but he can’t do much with them. A Whisper in the Wind out of nowhere puts Lesnar down as does the jawbreaker. Swanton gets two so it’s chair time. Brock picks him up with ease and hits the F5. Three powerbombs and it’s called off.

Rating: C+. This was exactly what it was supposed to be: a way to make Lesnar look completely awesome and dominant. Those powerbombs were awesome and Jeff’s masterful selling helped them all that much more. Throw in Lita looking especially slutty and this worked quite well.

We recap Angle vs. Edge. Angle said he beat Olympians from Russia and Iran who were a lot tougher than Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. He made an open challenge and lost to Edge in the biggest win of Edge’s career. This was the feud that transitioned Edge from comedy singles guy to legit midcard guy. There were some offbeat shenanigans with Angle holding up pictures with funny phrases on the backs of them, resulting in the match tonight. If I remember right it also introduced Angle’s YOU SUCK chant.

Edge vs. Kurt Angle

Angle takes him down quickly but Edge speeds things up and takes over. He hits a flapjack and knocks Angle to the floor where Kurt takes a break. Back in the American hits a German on the Canadian to take over. They trade chops in the corner but Edge walks into a belly to belly overhead for two. Edge tries to come back but gets caught in another suplex for two.

Angle hooks a chinlock and tries the Rolling Germans but Edge escapes. There’s a suplex to Kurt and both guys are down. Angle gets back up first but gets sent into the corner and walks into the Edgecution for two. Edge goes up but Angle walks the corner (that was a newer move back then) and suplexes Edge down for two. Ankle Lock is quickly broken up so Kurt hits some more Rolling Germans for two.

Edge hits an overhead German of his own to send Angle to the floor, where Edge kills both himself and Angle with a dive. Back inside a missile dropkick gets a VERY close two. Edgecution and Edge-O-Matic are countered into the Angle Slam for two. There’s the ankle lock but Edge rolls through it before hitting a clothesline. Angle is frustrated so he goes to get a chair. It hits the top rope though and Edge hits the Edge-O-Matic for two. The fans are WAY into these kickouts. Angle kicks him in the face on the spear attempt and the Slam gets the pin.

Rating: B+. VERY fun match here which was way out of Edge’s league at this point. This is the feud that made Edge into a solid guy and also made Angle bald. Good stuff here as the fans were as into those kickouts as I can remember any crowd being in awhile. This was very entertaining and it would only get better between these two.

Tazz is at WWF New York and the fans are split on the main event.

Here’s Jericho who complains about not being on the show after being in the main event of Wrestlemania a month ago. So he rants for awhile and says he’s better than everyone, including Hogan. He says Hogan isn’t worthy of being a champion and that it should be his title shot. Jericho says he’s leaving Kansas City RIGHT NOW. I’m sure you all know what that means.

Flair says he’ll call the match fair tonight when Undertaker comes in. Nothing is said but I think Taker is mad about Flair taking the last bowl of Jello.

Intercontinental Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam

Eddie is recently back from almost a year off due to drug and alcohol issues. So they pick RVD to put him out there with? Isn’t that a form of enabling? Eddie punches him during the finger pointing and we’re off fast. Van Dam kicks his head off and hits the big monkey flip. Heel trip gets two. Eddie hits a good dragon screw leg whip and pounds on Rob in the corner.

Van Dam comes back with some kicks and a floatover suplex for two. Rob goes up and gets crotched but manages to guillotine Eddie on the top rope, followed by a top rope kick. The cartwheel into the moonsault gets two. They trade rollups and head to the floor with Van Dam hitting a moonsault off the apron. The spinning leg to the back of Eddie puts Guerrero down and they head back inside where the champion gets two. Rolling Thunder gets knees and Eddie takes over again.

Tilt-a-whirl puts Van Dam down and a belly to back suplex gets two. Surfboard with the neck crank goes on but Eddie lets it go. Now it’s a Gory Stretch but Van Dam counters into a sunset flip for two. Eddie climbs the ropes into a perfect rana for two. He suplexes RVD and calls for the Frog Splash but Rob pops up to kick the knees out. Eddie this a WICKED sunset bomb out of the corner for two. Van Dam kicks him to the floor and Eddie grabs the belt. After a quick ref bump, Eddie hits a neckbreaker onto the title. Frog Splash gives us a new champion.

Rating: B-. Another good match here as again, the idea of talented people getting time makes for a good match. Eddie getting a title back after being here a month after a long time away due to personal issues is a stretch, but he would do pretty well in this role. Good match here and the ending worked pretty well.

We recap Austin vs. Undertaker. Both guys had to qualify for this by beating Hall and Van Dam respectively. Austin had Stunned Flair because that’s what he does and Undertaker had feuded with Flair before this match. There’s your wild card.

Steve Austin vs. Undertaker

Winner gets the title match next month and Flair is guest referee, wearing some red boots under his referee gear. Even Lawler says it looks bad. Flair is Raw owner here if that clears anything up. Undertaker hits a shoulder block to put Austin on the floor. Back in and a shoulder doesn’t work on Taker at all. Taker is coming off like a face here, which he certainly isn’t. Austin responds by checking his watch and doing push-ups. Ok then.

Austin finally goes off with a forearm to the head and there’s a middle finger for Taker. He offers a test of strength and flips Taker off again. Austin goes technical with an armdrag and a drop toehold. He works on Taker’s arm for a bit and avoids a right hand. Austin chops away in the corner but Taker clotheslines him down for two. Old School gets two but Austin hits the Thesz Press and the Screw You Elbow for two of his own.

Out to the floor and Austin rams him into the table. Taker shrugs that off and sends Austin into the table. Austin fires off right hands and knocks him into the crowd but only the front row. Back to ringside and Austin’s piledriver attempt is countered and the fight continues. Here’s the NWO because who could get along without them? The fans are all over Pac already as Austin is sent into the steps.

They finally get back in the ring but not before Taker drops a leg on Austin’s back while on the apron. Taker goes after the knee and drops some elbows on it. Off to a leg lock but Austin grabs the rope. Taker gouges at the head of Austin as this is getting way more time than I expected it to. Well not really as I knew how long it would get but you know what I meant. Austin fires off some punches but gets drilled down again for two. The NWO is still in the aisle and Pac has Kane’s mask on which looks very stupid.

Taker hits his high clothesline for two and it’s time for some choking. Austin comes back with a lot of punches and stomps in the corner but runs into an elbow in the corner. Tombstone is countered and Austin shoves Undertaker into Flair by mistake. Stunner puts taker down but there’s no referee. You know, because Undertaker running into Flair would knock him out like any other referee.

With Flair down, Taker hits Austin low and loads up the chokeslam which only gets two. Flair counts very slowly. Taker brings in a chair but Flair takes it away, allowing Austin to hit a low blow. That doesn’t really get sold at all as Undertaker hits a big boot for two. Spinebuster gets two for Austin. Stunner is countered and Austin is rammed into Flair again. Taker hits a chair shot but the count is slow so it’s only two.

Austin puts on a Dragon Sleeper of all things but it’s quickly broken up. It’s Mudhole Stomping time and Austin picks up the chair. Taker kicks it into his face and gets the pin, despite Austin having his foot on the rope. The story would become that Flair didn’t see it, which would be good, IF HE HADN’T CLEARLY LOOKED OVER HIS SHOULDER TO MAKE SURE THE FOOT WAS ON THE ROPE BEFORE HE COUNTED.

Rating: C. This wasn’t too bad and at twenty seven minutes, that’s pretty impressive for these two that had a lot of bad chemistry. This would turn into Flair vs. Austin which would be so stupid that Austin would leave for eight months. This was more long than good, but sometimes that’s enough to get by.

Austin Stuns Taker post match. Why was the NWO out there? They never did a single thing.

Coach tells Flair about the foot on the ropes and we get a clip of it. Flair is upset and walks away.

Tag Titles: Billy/Chuck vs. Maven/Al Snow

Snow and Maven clear the ring to start and Snow puts on a headband. Maven and Chuck officially get us going but it’s off to Billy very fast. Billy and Chuck are champions in case you’re really new at this. Maven comes back with a DDT but can’t make the tag. Snow is like screw it and runs in to beat on Billy. Off to Snow who cleans a house which wasn’t that dirty in the first place.

Snow gets taken down by Chuck and the beating begins. Swinging neckbreaker gets two for Billy. The fans tell Rico that he’s gay. Billy misses a corner splash and it’s hot tag to Maven. He hits the one move he was good at, the dropkick, to send Billy to the floor. Snow gets caught by a superkick but Rico accidentally kicks Chuck’s head off. Top rope cross body gets two for Maven. Snow has to chase Rico so Chuck kicks Maven’s head off to retain.

Rating: D. Not much here but it was happening to bridge the two main events which was fine. Billy and Chuck would crank up the overtones soon enough while Maven and Snow wouldn’t go anywhere as a team, or alone for that matter. There isn’t much to say about this match because it was only there to fill in time, which is understandable. More Rico would have helped.

We recap HHH vs. Hogan. Basically Vince made Hogan #1 contender and HHH is ready to mow him down. It’s face vs. face here and we get the music video treatment with the rare song that fits. It’s Young Grow Old by Creed.

WWF Undisputed Title: Triple H vs. Hulk Hogan

Feeling out process to start with both guys shoving the other down. The fans are all behind Hogan here. We do the test of strength and HHH puts him down but Hogan comes back and tries to put HHH down, but the champ pops Hogan in the face with an elbow. Top wristlock goes on but Hogan shoves him off and poses. HHH finally goes off on him, pounding Hogan down in the corner.

Hogan backdrops HHH down and comes back with clotheslines and punches in the corner. HHH gets in some punches but gets backdropped over the top to the floor. The Game gets sent into the barricade and suplexed to put both guys down. Back in the ring and HHH takes over again, but the Pedigree is countered into a slingshot and rollup for two. A suplex is countered and HHH goes after the big knee brace of Hogan.

The knee gets wrapped around the post as HHH channels his inner Flair. He lays on the leg for a hold and cranks on the knee gently. HHH completes the Flair love with a Figure Four (wrong leg so it gets even more points). Hogan makes the ropes so it’s off to a sleeper which devolves into a chinlock. This match is so boring.

Hogan breaks out of that by Hulking Up and hits the big boot and legdrop, but here’s Jericho to pull the referee out and hit Hogan with a chair to the head. HHH beats up Jericho and now it’s time for the proper Hulk Up. The big leg misses and HHH hits a Pedigree for two because Undertaker comes out and breaks up the pin. Taker cracks HHH with the chair and tries to put Hogan on top but Hulk beats up Taker, allowing Hogan to drop the leg for the pin and the title.

Rating: D. Hogan’s reaction for winning the title was decent, but MAN this match was boring. They got 22 minutes and most of it was Hogan laying around, which is what you would come to expect from a match like this. They changed the title a month after Wrestlemania which is kind of stupid in the first place, but thankfully they changed it to Taker a month later. Bad match but the fans liked it so maybe that makes up for it.

Hogan and HHH do the big dramatic handshake to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. I watched most of this show last night and I don’t remember the vast majority of it. That’s the problem with this show: it’s not interesting or memorable at all. There are some good matches here, but the show comes off as very flat and boring for the most part. Angle vs. Edge was good and the IC Title match was solid, but there’s nothing here really worth seeing. It’s not a bad show but it’s pretty much just there. The show isn’t worth seeing at all and it’s a start of a bad stretch for the company.

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1 comment

  1. Wayne says:

    The start of a bad stretch for the company, yes indeed. Also, Angle and Edge stole the show on this night, followed by RVD and Guerrero. HHH vs. Hogan was BORING as hell, no doubt about that. To this day, I never seen the Austin vs. Undertaker match, and I’ve heard that it wasn’t very good. I always felt they had good to decent chemistry with each other (Cold Day In Hell 97, Summerslam 98, Raw 6.28.99, Fully Loaded 99).