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Monday, 28 April 2008

Backlash 'as-live' reaction

A Rare viewing, for me, of Heat has just ended. It was a show dedicated to Tag Wrestling, and pretty cool to see some old PPV matches including, but not limited to, The Rockers, Hart Foundation, Money Inc, LOD and Demolition. Interesting that we do not see the Tag Team titles on the show tonight.

After a usual opening video, we are in the arena to say “Hi” to JR and The King who introduces us to Mike Adamle and Tazz (Adamle calls Tazz “my brother”) and then Cole introduces us to Foley. Mick is wearing the same brown jacket he always does these days.

I understand the theme music is by Kid Rock. Huh. Sounds like Brian Adams to me (not Kronik)

First up we have the US Title match, and they are continuing with the idea of announcing the title match with both competitors in the ring. Wonder where they got that from?

As soon as Cole and Foley started talking about this match being the biggest of Hardy’s career you fancied his chances. Decent commentating debut from Mick, by the way, although he did get caught giving a piece of colour or telling an anecdote when a big move hit a couple of times.

The match itself was really solid, without being spectacular. These two guys gel well, and the match was very fast-paced and logical, with MVP focussing on the abdomen of Matt Hardy, to wit his damaged appendix area.

Perhaps the only knock on the match was that ending came a little too abruptly, with MVP having slowed the pace completely and was working on kicking Matt’s head in, a woozy Matt had to be asked if he could carry on, before turning the tables and hitting the Twist of Fate.

Post match Matt gives a tearful speech to Eve (I only know it’s her because that’s what Matt called her. Until he did I didn’t know who it was.) and says that this is his most important title win and the best day of his life. And his house is in one piece (he may not have said that last bit). He then pauses for about 8 seconds before telling MVP he is better than him.

Speaking of 8 seconds, its Chavo and Kane next. It takes 8 seconds for there to be contact between the two, so the match is already a marathon by comparison. Before the match starts, though, Adamle gets the ref’s name wrong. Tazz covers, and says “good try” but sounds a tad annoyed.

Kane uses a submission move of Chavo that I remember him using when wrestling as Isaac Yankem, and he used it on Bret. If Adamle had referenced that, all his other mistakes would have been forgiven.

Kane wins a decent little match, made really by Chavo performing the match as if I’d pressed the fast forward button on my TV. More logical wrestling as Chavo worked the knee of Kane, but it was never really looking like Chavo would win. To be fair Adamle, although he sounded panicky, he didn’t make too many more errors.

Logical, I should say, until the end. Although Kane came out of a Chavo Frog Splash with a goozle, he did still take the Frog Splash so it didn’t really make sense.

Generic promo from Orton, and then Cole and Foley have to try to build some excitement for the two big lummoxes Big Show and Great Khali. They show a tale of the tape which shows Height, weight, reach, shoe size, ring size and so forth. Not chin size, however. I think Khali may have edged that one.

This really is the ‘irresistible force v the immovable object’. The immovable object is me, and it is my job to watch this, however the irresistible force is gravity trying to close my eyelids. I don’t know who I want to win.

Show is trying to win the chin war by letting his goatee grow long. Can’t fool me, Paul.

I love how the commentators kept talking about how Khali is bigger than Show, but two things stand out. Firstly, how do you define ‘big’? Height-wise, Khali is taller, but Show weighs more. Second, they always talk about Big Show being The World’s Largest Athlete, but now they are saying how he isn’t as big as someone else.........consistency, FTW!

Another reasonably easy prediction comes in as Show cleanly defeats Khali after what seemed longer than it probably was. Show won, but Khali was put over huge by Foley and Cole on commentary.

Interestingly, that’s three matches and three clean, babyface wins. Things are stacking up for Orton.

Orton and Cena engage in some more generic chat about the title match backstage, which was probably less about hyping the title match and more to help the segue into pimping the text vote for the WWE Title winner. Why would you text that? A) it’s a pre-determined show, guys (sorry to prick the bubble) and b) there isn’t a prize. I could understand texting if you won something. Maybe. Anyway, Orton got like 8% last time and won, so it’s complete garbage.

A superb video airs hyping the HBK/Batista feud, and explains the situation very well indeed.

Y2J is out to referee the match, and is greeted with a mainly positive reaction, but not wholly so. Definitely a few who are unsure of how to react to Jericho.

HBK and Batista are out for this one, with Michaels getting a far better pop than Big Dave. Mind you, the people were cheering Umaga at Wrestlemania rather than Batista, so I really shouldn’t be surprised.


This is a strange one. I think we may have a legit injury for Shawn Michaels.

The entire match was Shawn working on Batista’s arm. Part of the reason that Shawn is one of the greats is that he just turns the dials right up (to 11?) when it comes to PPV. I love seeing HBK change his style completely on PPV, and he wrestled this as a totally scientific affair, with the story being that the smaller and less powerful Michaels used his wrestling knowledge to negate and wear down the stronger, more powerful opponent.

However, as the match was obviously drawing to it’s conclusion, Batista was going for a Powerbomb which Michaels was to counter. He did, but drew attention to an injured knee. I didn’t think it was legit at first, since HBK hit the Superkick out of nowhere, which to me suggested that he was playing possum.

However, if this were the case, surely JR and King would have played it up, and I’m damn sure Michaels would not have sold as much as that post-match unless something was really wrong. Batista did no work on the knee, so there was no need to make it look good.

I think Shawn’s hurt folks, and since he’s as good as there is on the roster, that could be a major blow.

Should also note that Jericho did not get involved in any meaningful way. I think we saw a hastily rewritten ending there. Still, not to worry, pointless match (w/tits) next.

All the girls are out (literally and figuratively) for a 12-diva tag match. Beth is surrounded by ‘ah’s. I mean the sound Melin’ah’, Nataly’ah’, Victori’ah’, Layl’ah’ and, erm, Jillian. A sing’ah’.

It’s over, after what was, I suppose, a passable effort. I do really like some of the acting of the girls, and the interaction between them. Especially Cherry. I’m not sure she will ever be a genius in the ring, but I could see her character becoming a little like an early Molly Holly or a female Crash Holly. She could get loved for being plucky.

Towards the end of this one they basically just hit a chain of finishing moves – Kelly actually hit a really nice dropkick but Michelle totally botched taking Melina finisher – with Beth beating Ashley eventually.

Edge and Taker next, and this will be interesting to hear the call as Foley is big pals with both men.

Well.............not bad.

While I’m an admirer of Undertaker’s, I’m not a fan, because I find his matches, typically, to be very formulaic. This one was at the better end of the scale, but never shifted away from being a typically Taker-match.

Edge’s henchmen came in for the predictable assist, but got nowhere, and a nice finish came about as Taker turned a sunset flip into a gogoplata.

Post match, Taker didn’t release the hold and they made a big thing of Edge selling an internal injury as he bled from the mouth.

Quick note for the commentary – I thought Foley did a fantastic job as colour guy, and in turn Michael Cole was just fine, as he allowed Foley to do much of the legwork.

As JR and King give the oh-so-important (note sarcasm) text poll results and throw us into the obligatory video package, backstage preceding this Orton was knocking on JBL’s door. He got no answer, but he did get CM Punk patting him on the shoulder, patting the Money in the Bank briefcase, and wishing Randy good luck. Nice tease of a potential Punk run in after the match.

So they did the switch. Damn my indecision making me pick Orton. I did say that I would book Trips to win though.

Pretty darn decent main event there.

It’s always hard to establish these multi-man matches, so the pace of the match didn’t get too far away from pedestrian while all four men were still alive in it.

There were a couple of spots which were just a little too contrived for me, such as when Cena had Orton in the STFU, and after JBL had berated Orton and urged him to tap, Triple H gave JBL similar treatment. I also don’t care too much, in this kind of match, for the Tower of Doom spots.

I liked the match once JBL went, and the Cena elimination coming so quickly was an interesting twist. The camera work during Orton’s initial beat-down of the Game was terrific. It was nice and close-up, with Trips really vocalising the pain he was in.

I’m guessing they’ll go with Trips v Orton for the next PPV, Judgement Day, in only 3 weeks time. Then perhaps Cena and Triple H for the summer. This is all barring trades of course.

Pretty decent show overall. Won’t go down as being ultra-memorable, but some really good wrestling in there, with some nice logic and working of body parts involved. Desperately hope I’m wrong about HBK’s knee, although I’m still wondering why Y2J did little to nothing in that one.

If you haven’t seen the show and can get hold of it, give it a watch, and it’s half decent, but I wouldn’t have thought it’s a DVD must-have.

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