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Monday, 27 April 2009

Backlash Live Blog

Welcome to the WWE show with the TNA theme. It's Backlash with a lack of bash, while in TNA Lashley's back.

Speaking of TNA, it's Christian Cage! Did JR, one of the 3-man broadcast team, say that Christian has been away for five-and-a-half years? Is that really true? Swagger out and we're good for an ECW Title opener.

Christian seems over in Rhode Island. In fact he is over.....the tope rope. Nice throw by Swagger, and a cool opener to make him look dominant. I like the idea of Christian chasing this match.

A really sound opener. Of course, Christian winning the ECW title means relatively nothing, but you have to give the credit to the match itself. A lot of fun, both men on good form, nicely paced, and most importantly for me a really good story told through the action. It was the big guy who can amateur wrestle against the quicker, smaller, more experienced guy.

It was structured, and more importantly fun to watch. Nice, clever ending with logic to it, and I'll forgive my usual dislike of a babyface using a heel tactic.

Well done, gentlemen.

Wow, Edge and Christian. New champion Cpt. Charisma takes a wander with his new shiny silver belt and encounters his 'brother' Edge. Totally understand the logic behind this, because it's allowing Edge to put over why he hates Cena. But Edge not quite on his game and perhaps the meeting of the 'brothers' should have meant more.

Jericho to attempt to slay a Dragon. We know the fire still breathes inside him. Let's use it to toast our crumpets.

I went too far with that analogy, didn't I?

JR talks about Steamboat wrestling Austin at WCW Bash of the Beach. I like JR in this role in a three man team, because Cole can become more of a presenter while JR can analyse and use his historical knowledge. I still think they could do with Striker, though, since King doesn't offer heel insight anymore. Striker could have a little more edge.

Can somebody ask Jericho (ASK HIM!) about his hair? It's really bad. Is it mange or something?

And yes I did just want to say ASK HIM.

HUUUGE near fall for the crossbody from Steamboat. Crowd have woken up to this match after a slow start.

And that's the right ending. Some fun with finishing impact moves not getting it done and then Jericho gets Steamboat to tap to a second Liontamer. Held it just a second ot two more to make the point, too.

A really nice match. Didn't quite have the factor that Mania and Raw did, but still fun to watch. Ricky had just one moment where he didn't quite nail it, not quite finding the figure four he was looking for, but apart from that it was more than pleasant.

A nice send off for Steamboat, good to keep Jericho in people's minds. All good so far.

Backstage filler with Santino, Beth and Rosa. Could have stayed with Steamboat saluting the fans for a few seconds more before cutting to Santino and the performing caterpillar on his forehead.

Analysis of the segment. Rosa looks like a cat. That is all.

Punk and Kane out for their attempt to stall before we get to some meatier clashes. King talks up Punk's ability to use the briefcase at any time. Seeding for later tonight, perhaps?

Good start here. More logic, which will always get a thumbs up from me. Punk works on Kane's chokeslam arm, hits a nice looking knee from the top, gets Kane to shout "get him off" when locking his arm round the ropes, then a really nice escape from a chokeslame attempt on the outside.

Unfortunately, King has just brought up whether Punk could cash in the briefcase tonight. Telegraphing usually doesn't work in WWE.

Hey, what do you know? They conjured up a fun match. I'm not crazy about Kane beating Punk from a booking perspective if Punk wants to have another go at a legitimate title run, but once again the match was logically thought out, with Punk working the arm throughout and then Kane finding a way to hit the modified Chokeslam.

Two spots to mention. One was that not only did Punk and Kane try the same spot they had to repeat last Monday again, but they hit it and made it look awesome. OK, it wasn't exactly the same, because it was a pinning combination on Raw, but the new version still looked impressive. The second was a kick from Punk to Kane's head which looked like it rang Glen Jacobs' bell for a minute or two.

The undercard is doing it's job exactly how it should. The best PPVs should have a couple of high profile matches which deliver, with a host of moderate to good matches to build up to what people should have paid for.

Time for a couple of Hardys. Just a small note, I'm surprised that Michael Hayes hasn't made an appearance in this feud, since he was the guy on-screen who built the Hardys up.

Scorecard for Matt and Jeff so far reads an average effort on a huge scale, and a good effort on a much smaller one. The extreme rules match at Mania didn't click, stretcher match on SD a lot of fun.

Third time lucky, boys........

Decent start to this one. Two negative points to make, though. Cole called Jeff Hardy's deceased dog "the love of his (Jeff's) life" which is utterly ridiculous.

Second, the microphone is not being made enough of during the match. The idea is that they say I quit for the world to hear. Trash talking in the mic is allowed.

Just a quick note I forgot to say earlier, I did call the Kane victory as being there to set up a future programme for Punk as champ in a potentially crowded title picture what with Edge and Cena chasing retribution too. That does get a step closer after The Big Red Machine's victory.

That was ridiculous. This has been quite a nice match so far, but two things have just soured it. Jeff with a Texas Cloverleaf locked in elicited a tap from Matt. But then when asked to quit he said no. Why did he tap then?

Then, blatent miscommunication with Jeff and Matt having different ideas about whether they were going to hit a twist of fate or not. It looked bad. Still going here, Jeff now has a table........

You know what, I liked that. It had some down moments, and was far from a classic. But I really admire them trying something. Jeff tying Matt to the table, Matt trying to talk his way out of it. The defeat doesn't hurt Matt because the reason he quit was because he was trying to beg off. The only real change I'd have made to the end was to have the ref hold the mic to Matt's mouth up until the point where the move hit. It would have sounded really dramatic.

That was a really, really good build up promo from Randy Orton. I love the psychology tonight. Trying to get inside Big Dave's head is exactly what a clever strategist like Orton is supposed to be would do.

Hey, SantinA doesn't have a unibrow. Whats up with that?

Well, that dragged a bit. Some funny bits. Anytime Santinoa (not a typo) is on the mic it's pretty fun. Highlight for me was JR seemingly getting irate for real about Santina proclaiming her love for him, since I don't see anyone (read: Vince) liking him saying to Michael Cole "Who fed you that line?" after MC called him 'Mr Barbecue Man"

Time for Santina to come to an end now, and some sort of resolution between Santino and Beth needed too. It's getting a bit too silly. Santino is too brilliant a character to be ruined in this way.

Legacy v McMahons now? PUNK TO CASH IN?????? It's the type of thing to go off the air with. I didn't think there was any way this show wouldn't end with Triple H. Interesting.

Personal tally so far reads 2 out of 4, with predictions for Kane and Jericho coming, but I missed Jeff and Christian. I've just realised that I've picked five out of six heel victories. For the record I've got Triple H to win here.

Judgment Day is here in three weeks (three weeks? Really? Oh man, I hate these short build ups. That's way too short.) and it's in..........CHICAGO? I didn't know that. I offer you once again my theory from earlier. That is that Edge beats Cena (possibly with help) and Punk appears post match. Edge escapes or Punk doesn't attack, they simply set up the match for next time. The fact that its in Chicago makes a Punk title bid more likely.

But then why beat him with Kane. Oh my head hurts. It's very late here, you know........

Where the hell is Orton? An intersting though illogical start to the match. Triple H fights Orton up the ramp before the opening bell, they disappear, and only Triple H returns. Match starts and as I type is a couple of minutes in, but still no Randy. Benefit of the doubt given about the logic its mostly been sound tonight. I'll assume it plays out.

Randy's back, playing the character to the hilt. His facial expressions are spot on tonight, and even his usual slow (dare I say, verging on boring) style is replaced with a dynamic, hard-hitting one befitting the situation. The match is not a classic - was never going to be - but you really don't know where the title will go at this point.

I wouldn't have minded seeing a little more teasing of count outs and DQs though.

An error there. Shane - in a frenzy, apparently - starts to take apart the announce desk. I'd have had Triple H run around the ring and stop his brother-in-law from potentially jeopardising his title belt. Instead, the camera moved to Trips standing idly on the ring apron.

OHHHH, someone might get fired. Poor communication between referee, bellringer, booker or someone. Orton hits an RKO, Trips kicks out late but the bell rings. WTF? Confusion reigns as we try to take in whether that should have happened or not, and meanwhile Orton kicks Trips silly mid face. That really is it.

So Batista had a chair when Trips noticed it, and Orton capitalises. We could see that coming somewhat, but that doesn't always make it bad booking. It's an easy job people like me have. We complain when the booking doesn't make sense, and when they do exactly what we say we complain it's too obvious.

I think this makes sense. It allows more friction between Batista and Triple H because Trips can legitimately claim that Batista's near trangression with the chair cost the match, since Hunter lost focus.

Right now HHH is on a stretcher being wheeled out. (I think they make too much of this sometimes, as if it really goes wrong it seems like a storyline) Where are Steph and Vince? Wouldn't they be running down to show concern?

I wonder how long Triple H will sell this? Backlash? Whiplash, more like.

Good work by the three commentators, by the way, speaking sensibly about the ramifications of the Orton victory. I'm enjoying the three-man dialogue, by the way. I think it works terrifically. I just hope they let those left off the team join in occasionally.\

Cena on his way to the ring as I type to face Edge, and I've realised didn't really give thoughts on the last match as a whole. In all honesty it wasn't terrific when you consider it went the best part of 25 minutes. As a guy who isn't a huge fan of tag wrestling bear in mind that I'll be more down on a match of this type, though.

It seemed a bit formulaic to me, and certainly dragged in the middle before Triple H came roaring in. It's storyline functionality was strong though, and once again delivered in the logic department like so much of tonights stuff has.

I assume that'll mean that Batista challenges Orton for the title in Hunter's brief absence. How about an early guess that HHH arrives to save Batista at the PPV from a 3-on-1 but ends up costing Big Dave, so they are effectively 1-1 on that score?

Ding ding, underway for the main event. I make it thirty seven minutes before we run out of time. I wonder if Mr Brooks has his briefcase combiination to hand?

I LOVE the start. Less than two minutes in, no move hit, but about four avoided, all signature moves. Really clever stuff. Good facial selling from both men, too.

This is ok but no better so far. Once again, I'm perhaps not the best judge because it's a match type I don't like. The nature of the numerous ten-count means that the match struggles to ever gain momentum, it tends to be staccatto and not gain rhythm.

Too much steel steps action, too. Since Shane, in the previous match, took the steps a la Foley and Taker, i.e knees first and spiralling over them, these guys have done at least three collisions unnautrally with the shoulder first. One saw Edge change direction in running to collide with them.

Both men down as I type. Crowd seem as hot as they have been all night, having cheered and booed as they like at a series of punches.

That was nice. Edge counters the "Attittude Adjustment" three times before hitting a back suplex.

You know what, I like it because they did something different. The run into the crowd looked just right, had the right feel for the characters involved. The ending sort of worked. It gives Cena something to do on Raw (not that it will be that interesting, I don't think) but also may make people want to tune in for the explanation of why Show did it, explain working with Edge, etc.

I'll say it again, that finish, not just the last act but the last few minutes, were different. I'm not always a big fan of the big stunt ending, but I never saw it coming. Plenty will be impressed.

By way of a nice irony, I'm fairly certain that the last wrestler other than Cena and Edge to be shown on screen was CM Punk, showing concern for the former champion. I wonder if that was deliberate?

So then, I make that four minutes short of a full three-hour show. Not bad.

Overall, I had fun. There wasn't a bad match on the card, although there was not a standout one either. Swagger and Christian opened strongly, though I'd have liked to see a match where they were given a little longer and didn't have to curtain jerk. Kane and Punk exceeded my expectations, and once again Steamboat shone and Jericho was Jericho (and that's a compliment, by the way.)

Hardys didn't tear the house down but told a great story, especially at the end. Similar sentiments for the six man, where action got a little a sluggish but the storyline held up during the match and the ending was well executed.

Finally, a gradual build for a match between two guys who we've seen battle many times ended in something shocking, if perhaps not to everyone's taste.

No Money in the Bank. All three titles change.

Judgment Day looks tentatively Batista v Orton, Cena v Show and perhaps Punk v Edge bearing in mind the Chicago factor.

Big week of TV, since they have to set the draft out and start booking matches for a PPV three weeks away.

Good fun tonight, hope you enjoyed it.


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