RAW Backlash - 04.18.04
by Scott Christ
Heat was full of stuff Cubs talked about. Coach was pretty funny. Coach is pretty funny. Al sold the Cactus Jack stuff very well, I thought. We also made a match between La Resistance and Hurricane/Rosey for Backlash - oh boy! Ric Flair cut a good promo and that match was announced as the opener, which was a first, I think. Sixteen stitches - one for every world title!
LIVE! on Chris Benoit Day (April 18, 2004) from the Rexall Place in Edmonton, AB!
Our commentators are JIM ROSS ALONGSIDE JERRY THE KING LAWLER. This is starting about ten minutes earlier than usual.
HEAT MATCH - VAL VENIS (242, Las Vegas, NV, with Raw presents WWE Backlash sponsored by Drakengard) v. MATT HARDY VERSION ONE (228, Cameron, NC): Matt Fact: Matt never stands still on people movers. Matt Fact: Matt always pays cash for everything. JR does the usual halfass job of putting over the b-show celebrities by saying they're "talented" or whatever. "Hungry," too. Venis is stronger than Hardy. Lawler remarks that Val has a big dong. Val with a hipstoss and an armdrag into an armbar. The crowd seems to be in Hardy's corner though Val is the face and Canadian (or so I've heard). Hardy with a kick to the gut, forearm to the back of the neck, into the corner, slap to the chest, I'M VEE ONE-AH! Slap, chop in return, chop, chop, corner whip, corner whip, scoop aaand a slam. Venis with a walking elbowdrop, cover, 2. JR thinks Orton needs a trip to the woodshed and Cactus Jack is the man to take him. Hardy dumps Venis to the floor to cheers. "Har Dee" chant. Hardy with a series of rights and he potatoed him on the last one. Vertical suplex back into the ring, cover, 2. Matt with a kick to the kidney and an elbowdrop on the same spot. King is looking forward to Victoria/Lita. Scoop aaand a slam from Matt, cover, 2. Matt goes to the neck. "Matt always pays cash for everything!" "I have heard that. Recently." Venis off the ropes, Hardy with a backdrop, cover, 2. Corner whip, charge, Venis with the elbow up, charge out, SIDE EFFECT! 1, 2, shoulder up. Matt stretches him and talks some jive. Venis with a right, off the ropes, back elbow puts him down. Matt says, I think, "NOW!" but that doesn't work out for him and Val is coming back. Backdrop, Venis tries to get some support, not working. He seems surprised. Maybe he shouldn't, he sucks. Matt with a clothesline, cover, shoulder up. Matt is bleeding either from the nose (if you believe JR) or the lip or something (if you looked at him). King is apparently impressed by Val's big dong. Twist of Fate? Haha, of course not. Spinebuster from Val, to the top he goes - booed bad, too. Hardy up to cheers, right, right, superplex? Haha, of course not. Diamond cutter from the second turnbuckle? Haha, of course not. Shoved off, boo birds back out in a big way, money shot hits! 1, 2, 3. (07'56")
Final Heat Hype - The Final Encounter.
CHRIS BENOIT has arrived at the arena.
TV-14-LDV - SmackDown!/Confidential/Bottom Line/Velocity/Heat/Afterburn/Tough Enough/Raw - Attitude - Entertainment - WWE (no CC - screw you, deaf people!)
The Final Encounter video package.
And now, Raw and Drakengard present WWE Backlash! PYROS! Pyros! Lame set! Pyros! We are still LIVE! on Chris Benoit Day (April 18, 2004) from the Rexall Place in Edmonton, AB! The theme to Backlash is "Eyes Wired Shut" by Edgewater! SAP Transmitido en Espanol! JR and the King! Electrifying environment! Chris Benoit's home town!
SHELTON BENJAMIN (248, Orangeburg, SC, with new music, thank God) v. THE NATURE BOY RIC FLAIR (weightless, Charlotte, NC): These chyrons stink. Flair demands that Mike Chioda open the ropes for him. Flair looks ready to go. Shelton with a single-leg after Flair showboats a little. Flair gets the ropes and talks more. Strut. Collar-and-elbow, Benjamin with a fireman's carry, to the ropes, Shelton mocks Flair. Flair shoves him, Benjamin slaps him, Flair flops and his knux fall out, so Chioda takes care of that. Flair with a chop, right, left, right, left, right, left, corner whip reversed, Stinger splash avoided, Benjamin lands standing on the top rope. Off the ropes, Flair with a shoulderblock, Benjamin leapfrogs a bunch and nails a dropkick. Clothesline sends Flair to the floor. Flair makes it two months in a row taking the backdrop on the floor. Back in, Shelton is cocky so Flair pokes him in the eye. Chop! Flair up top - guess what? SAP Difficulties! Clothesline, off the ropes, dropkick but Flair holds onto the ropes. No more SAP Difficulties. Flair goes for the figure-four leglock, Benjamin cradles him, 2. The difference in athleticism and speed here is really astounding and making this kinda fun. Smaller-fonted SAP Difficulties. Flair stays on the knee as JR relates a story of his daddy taking him to the woodshed on many occasions. He fails to blame his father's lack of affection for his shortcomings in life. Benjamin gets cornered and Flair works him over with rights and chops and stomps to the knee. Flair goes for the figure-four but Shelton blocks him from looking the knee over the foot by using his mighty arm strength. That fails in the long run though, and it's hooked to the delight of the crowd. Benjamin turns it over to boos, Flair turns it back to woos, Flair gets the ropes. The SAP Difficulties are persistent. Chop! Cover, 2. JR and King, especially King, are running this teacher/student analogy into the ground. Flair fetches a chair, Chioda unarms him. "What do you want him to bring in, a bazooka?" JR says really ridiculous stuff sometimes. Toe-to-toe trade, Flair grabs a leg, dragon whip? No, enzuigiri. Both men down. Flair up at four. Foot caught again, crappy dragon whip with a stagger-sell from Flair. Flair winds up a haymaker, Shelton blocks and starts hammering away. Flair sent to the floor and he grabs the knux from under the apron. Vertical suplex back into the ring - NO! No! Shelton walks into a hellacious chop. Flair up top for a second time - guess what? No, he just gets down. Flair gets the knux out, Shelton nails him with the Stinger splash and he drops them to the floor. Shelton up top - flying clothesline! 1, 2, 3. Oh. You don't say. (09'29")
Backstage, TODD GRISHAM is with RANDY ORTON. Is Flair losing a bad omen for his match against Foley? "Let me tell ya somethin', Todd. Shelton Benjamin comes over to Raw, he's been here a few weeks, big deal - okay? People act like it's the second coming or something, I mean c'mon! So what he's on a winning streak? What about my winning streak, Todd? I've, I'm the longest-reigning Intercontinental champion in the last seven years. Seven years! (This is a lie - Rock 12/08/97-08/30/98 and Shamrock 10/12/98-02/14/99) That's, that's a very impressive, if I do say so myself. I've beaten legend after legend after legend - hell, I even beat Mick Foley himself at WrestleMania XX! Still, still, Todd, no respect. But, tonight - tonight here at Backlash, y'see it's gonna, it's gonna be different. I'm gonna earn that respect. Randy Orton is gonna deliver a beatdown to Mick Foley...or Cactus Jack, whoever decides to show up tonight. I'm gonna deliver a beatdown that causes Mick Foley to enter retirement once and for all." Isn't he scared? "Scared? Scared? Todd, c'mon, you - Mick Foley can do whatever he wants. He can talk about all the violence, all the blood, all the brutality - everything that he holds so dear to his heart. I've seen the explosion matches over in Japan, I've seen the cage matches right here on WWE, I've seen all the sadistic things he can do. But there's one thing, Todd - Randy Orton's gonna show Mick Foley a side of him that he hasn't seen before. Randy Orton's gonna show Mick Foley a side of him that he'll never forget. You see, Mick's like a dog. He's like an old, sad, toothless dog. And what do you do to an old, sad, toothless dog, Todd? You put him down. You put him out of his misery! And tonight, right here at Backlash, that's just what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna put Mick Foley DOWN, out of his misery...once and for all."
JONATHAN COACHMAN (235, Wichita, KS) v. TAJIRI (206, Japan): Coach with an armdrag right out of the gate. Well, he did say he's been watching his Japanese Wrestling Tapes on Heat. Coach is much taller than Tajiri. Tajiri with a kick to the leg, a second, he goes for the buzzsaw kick but Coach ducks and rolls out. Very slow kick outside gets ducked and Tajiri has hurt his leg via kicking the post. Coach wraps it around the ringpost. And again. Back in, cover, 2. Coach works the leg and Tajiri sells like crazy because he's a beautiful man. More legwork, Coach grapevines it on the mat. Lawler spooges. Sunset flip by Tajiri, 2. Back to the grapevine. Tajiri kicks the crap out of Coach's back and drills him with one in the face. Slow motion action, Coach kicks his leg out and heads up top. Coach is unsure about his balance and Tajiri kicks the rope. Lawler breaks out a Martha Stewart one-liner that he's been sitting on for a year. Coach upside down in the tree-of-woe and Tajiri kicks the hell out of him right in the back of the head. Nice replay. Handspring back elbow! Basement dropkick! Kicks and punches, monkey flip is blocked, Coach tries for a pin with his feet on the ropes and gets two. Coach thinks he's won, Jack Doan tells him differently. Coach charges! Tarantula! Tajiri sets for the buzzsaw kick again, but here's GARRISON CADE? Cade hits Tajiri, Coach with a rollup, 2, 3! Ew. (06'24")
TONIGHT! The Final Encounter!
Earlier tonight, TRIPLE H arrived.
NEXT! Handicap Match. Video package.
HANDICAP MATCH - CHRISTIAN & TRISH STRATUS (no weights, Toronto, ON) v. CHRIS JERICHO (230, a native of Winnipeg, MB): Christian shoves Jericho, Jericho with a right that puts him down, and he chases Trish. Trish scampers away, back in, Jericho takes control right away on Christian. Backdrop, right, right, right, right, right, left, right, slut chant. Vertical suplex, one-foot cover, 2. Jericho turns his back and Christian takes the advantage. Off the ropes, reversed, Christian slides under, ahhhh! charge, Jericho shoves him to the floor. Springboard dropkick! Jericho stalks Trish again, Christian tries to come from behind, Jericho cuts him off. Back in, Jericho up top, flying back elbow. Cover, 2, kickout. Chop! Chop! Off the ropes, reversed, Trish tries to hit Jericho but he knocks her off the apron. Christian uses the distraction. On the floor, Jericho dumped on top of the security wall. Back in, Christian chokes with the boot and slaps his chest. Trish is proud. Tag to Trish! Christian holds Jericho, slap, slap, slap, Christian exits. Chick kick! Jericho grabs at a leg and she runs away. Christian back in, snapmare and a chinlock and he's fish-hooking the nostrils too. Jericho goes for the walls, Christian kicks him into the corner, Jericho headbutts Christian's junk. Trish wants the tag, Jericho rolls Christian up for two. Chop! Chop! Shoulderblock, shoulderblock, sleeper drop, 2. Jericho chest-first into the corner, Christian goes for the reverse DDT, countered, Jericho with a northern lights, 2. Chop! Corner whip reversed, Jericho springs up in the heel corner, Trish slaps him and Jericho eats a hanging reverse DDT from the second rope - 1, 2, kickout. Trade of rights, Christian wins. Jericho goes for the walls again, Trish is in, Jericho has her! Off the ropes, caught - spanking. 1, 2, 3 of them. Christian back in - unprettier! Tag to Trish, this is the gameplan. Cover, 2, shoulder up and Trish freaks out. Christian tags back in, cover, 2, no. Kick, right, off the ropes, telegraphed, Trish in and clotheslined down. Christian and Jericho collide with clotheslines, and everyone is down. 1! 2! 3! 4! Canada really loves counting. 5! 6! 7! 8! Jericho and Christian up. Right, chop, right, kick, right, Jericho off the ropes, Jericho with a forearm shot. "Drop toe-hold" so Christian takes the drop toe-hold over the second rope. Crappy running rope-assisted Mike Enos, Jericho hits his stupid faceslam and Christian takes it right on top of his head. Lionsault, Christian gets the knees up. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Jericho goes for a walls reversal, Trish runs in and almost gets the walls, Christian breaks it up. Christian tries the unprettier again, Jericho again tries the walls but instead catapults Christian into Trish in the corner. Running enzuigiri! 1, 2, 3! (11'12")
Backstage, EUGENE is reading a Divas magazine and wanders into the women's locker room. GAIL KIM is asked for an autograph, but instead she screams. So Eugene screams. MOLLY HOLLY (w/o wig) explains that Eugene can't be in the women's locker room. Eugene pats her head and he and Gail continue to scream. Molly, realizing she's not wearing a wig, also screams. And puts on her wig. This is about the stupidest thing I've ever seen. This is great. WILLIAM REGAL gets Eugene out of there, apologizes, chuckles at Molly's head, leers at Gail Kim, and is told to also leave. So he does. Right.
Judgment Day - May 16 - WWE Championship - Eddie Guerrero v. John "Bradshaw" Layfield - puke
Here is a shot of the beautiful Rexall Place in beautiful Edmonton.
Here is a look at beautiful Chris Benoit's beautiful week in beautiful Edmonton.
Earlier tonight, Chris Benoit arrived.
At ringside, Chris Benoit's family.
WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH - VICTORIA (champion, Los Angeles, CA) v. LITA (challenger, Sanford, NC): Victoria gets kissed by a leukemia kid and her heart is all a-flutter. That's sweet. Let's see how Lita looks on the entrance...yep, she's losing. Collar-and-elbow, Lita with a monkey flip. Side headlock by Victoria, takeover, Lita counters with a headscissors, Victoria counters with a flip into a pinning combination. 1, 2, she's up! 1, 2, she's up! Thanks much, Jack Doan. These two seem to have intense respect for one another, and that hand slap shows it. Collar-and-elbow and they fall to the floor. Victoria landed on her head and Lita landed on her back, as you can tell by her magnificent selling that just says to you, "Oh, shit. Her back hurts." Corner whip by Victoria, backslide, 2. Lita goes in slow motion in order to getting a pinning combination, 2. Off the ropes in slow motion again, and here's the obscene pin reversal spot which, as always, ends in nothing. Scoop aaand a slam by Victoria, now she's convulsing or something, and there's a standing moonsault for two. Chinlock. Surfboard by Victoria, out of that and the crowd is dead. Lita counters a fireman's carry lift with a spinning headscissors, crappy monkey flip, clothesline in the corner, Victoria stumbles out into a scoop aaand a slam, elbowdrop, cover, 2. "Snap" suplex, "kip-up," Lita just has it all. Spinning headscissors #2, off the ropes, Lita struggles to manage a sleeperhold. JR thinks the crowd is split between cheering for Lita and Victoria, whereas I would say they are split between going to sleep and cheering for Lita. Lita hooks some goofy reverse triangle sort of a thing and Victoria gets the ropes. Fireman's carry -> sidewalk slam, cover, Lita gets a shoulder up. Victoria up top - moonsault AH JEEZ Lita manages to not get all the way out of the way. Stupid stupid Lita. Lita with a cradle, 2. Lita's upside down twist of fate, cover, 2. Back to the cover, 2. Lita tries the DDT, Victoria blocks, some stuff ends in an inside cradle by Victoria, 2, 3. Victoria retains. (07'21") Post-match, Molly and Gail run in to beat up both of the exhausted competitors. WHAT IS THEIR MODUS OPERANDI!? Nice to see Molly and Gail are still pals.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are just moments away from the Intercontinental championship match. Is this about survival for Randy Orton?? King thinks Orton is the man of the future, JR doesn't like him. "It is slobberknocker time for young master Orton." Video package.
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP NO HOLDS BARRED FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH - RANDY ORTON (champion, 255, St. Louis, MO) v. MICK FOLEY (challenger, weightless, Long Island, NY): Foley comes out in Cactus Jack attire to the Mick Foley music. Orton brings with him a garbage can fulla plunda. Foley stalks as Orton runs for his life from the bat. Orton drop toe-holds Foley into the steps and grabs the bat. Struggle with the bat, kneelift by Orton and more struggling. Foley chant. Garbage can shot. And another. And a third and Foley is being hammered. Orton sets for a fourth but Foley gets a boot up. Garbage can to the back of the head and Foley is soaking it up. Back into the ring, Foley stomps, stomps, chokes. JR says Foley weighed in at 272, his lowest weight since 1989. Running legdrop from Foley, cover, 2. Foley slides to the floor and hits the swinging neckbreaker. Foley heads up top and wants the elbow, but Orton flees up the ramp. On the ramp, Foley takes a back suplex on the STEEL! Backslide by Orton, 2. Foley takes the head-smacking back bump on the STEEL! which brings back lovely memories. Foley sent into the steps, and now back into the ring. I really like Orton's tiny stick with a little bit of barbed wire that he brought. Orton gets the bat again, but Foley blocks. Mule kick, running clothesline, Socko? SOCKO?? Cactus Jack my ass. Foley asks the crowd if they'd prefer Socko or the bat. They want the bat, and Foley hits a bat clothesline. Orton is busted open. Bat elbowdrop. Foley drops it and goes with his fists and forearms. Beatdown in the corner, BANG BANG! Running knee smash, Foley gets the bat again. Foley carves canyons of gore into Orton's virgin flesh (kinda). Orton is scared to death and this is working. Foley rips Orton's t-shirt off and legdrops the bat into his package. Oh no. Not his nuts, Cactus. You've gone too far. Foley heads to the floor, looks under the ring, and brings out some gasoline. Foley douses the bat in gas, JR isn't liking it. ERIC BISCHOFF is out. "You go ahead, you light that! And not only will you lose this match, but the fire marshal will shut this show down, every one of these 15,000 people will go home, and millions of people will not see the end of Backlash! So what are you gonna do?" So he doesn't. Fuck that! Cactus Jack doesn't care about no fire marshal! This soulless, heartless man cares if I see the end of Backlash? Foley heads out again and pulls out the bed of barbed wire. Orton weebles and wobbles in front of the bed, but throws some powder in Foley's face and there's a scoop aaand a slam on the barbed wire. Orton's got a nice sadistic smile going on. Orton sets the bed up in the corner. Foley blocks the whip twice, reverses the third time, re-reversed and Foley is sent in face-first. Dropkick sends him right back into it. Foley's arm is all cut to hell. Orton gets a bag and, well, no shit. Thumbtacks. I wonder if Foley schooled Orton on how to dramatically pour thumbtacks onto the mat. Orton sets for the RKO onto them and even practices the motion a couple times. Kick, right, right, right, right, right, off the ropes, RKO? Foley throws him off! Goodness gracious. The ones in the hand bother me. Rollup, 2, kickout! Orton gets the hell out of Dodge and Foley follows. Orton heads backstage, Foley goes with him, the crowd boos, but they're right back out. Maybe he just wanted to get the tacks out of his hand and Mick helped him out. God bless Mick Foley. Right, right, we're on the stage, ORTON IS THROWN OFF THROUGH TWO TABLES AND SOME CABLES! BANG BANG! The referee decides that's enough as we get replays. Trainers are out, Foley salutes the crowd and decides to leave. Well, nevermind, he hits two referees and. Oh my God he fliiiiiiiies with the lovely elbowdrop! OH THE BEAUTY OF THE VIOLENCE! OH THE POETRY OF THE BRUTALITY! We've got a cover - 1, 2, NO! Back into the ring, double-arm DDT! Cover, 2, shoulder up! JR is shocked. I'M shocked. Orton grabs the bat and goes to town. Foley puts the stupid fucking sock on and gets Socko. Mandible claw my ass. Orton gets out, Foley gets it again, Orton counters with the RKO! Cover, 2, kickout! RKO #2 this time "on" the bat! 1, 2, 3! Orton retains! (23'02")
Okay, so live, this match was a letdown to me because I was disappointed by no Cactus Jack music, did not like him not being ANNOUNCED as Cactus Jack, and I don't think Cactus Jack needs Socko or cares about the fire marshal. These things matter to me. They make the show more enjoyable. And also I have a boner for Cactus Jack because he is an inspirational story for every psychotic, unathletic, stupid person in the world that can absorb a lot of punishment. I've seen this match many times, and most times it was better than this. But if this doesn't make Orton, nothing can. God bless Mick Foley indeed, because this is a gift on a silver platter with million dollar bills on it. Randy Orton comes out of this looking like the toughest SOB to walk the earth. The match was laid out very, very well and Foley can still work this match like nobody else. It wasn't HHH/Cactus or Austin/Dude Love or Shawn/Mankind, but it was good.
The Stone Cold Truth all month on the WWE Fanatic Series.
King asks if JR is a believer of Orton now. "He's tougher than a two-dollar steak. There's no doubt about it." Don't go too nuts, JR.
Backstage, Orton is being helped out by Evolution. Triple H meets them and is proud of them. Here's Todd. "Chances? You a gamblin' man? 'Cause I wouldn't bet against me. You see, all these people out here, they can cheer for Chris Benoit, they can have parades for him, they can say how great a guy he is - whether they like it or not, I've been waiting for this day since WrestleMania. And tonight, a victory over Shawn Michaels would be sweet. But beating Chris Benoit, the hometown hero, on Chris Benoit Day - that, my friend, THAT is where the money is at. So do yourself a favor - don't bet against me, 'cause lightning will not strike in the same place twice. And I guarantee you, one way or another, I will walk out of here the world heavyweight champion."
LA RESISTANCE (combined 477, Province of Quebec) v. THE HURRICANE & ROSEY (combined 590): Lawler predicts Hurricane will win. Hurricane and Conway start it out, trade of wristlocks and headlocks and otherlocks. Hiptoss from Conway, he is very happy with himself. "Conway grows up in Louisville, Kentucky, moves to Quebec City, becomes a French sympathizer." Hurricane gives a thumbs-up on another hiptoss attempt and takes control. Rosey in after Grenier tries to run in, scoop aaand a slam on Conway, hiptoss from Rosey on Hurricane onTO Conway. Cover, 2. The crowd is predictably comatose. Hurricane up top, Conway cuts him off and hits an overdrive from the top. Powerslam from Conway, tag to Grenier. Cover, 2. Side backbreaker, cover, 2. Grenier stays in control and I just can't stand it. Here comes EUGENE! Eugene parades around ringside, Rosey gets a tag and does some slams. This match is just dead in the water. Eugene finds the flag of Quebec and is having fun with it again. Hurricane flies from the top rope to the floor onto La Resistance. Eugene gets the idea to try it - no he doesn't, he just gets in and runs the ropes. Hurricane is confused. Conway and Hurricane slug it out, Rosey trips Grenier from the apron. Regal is out to fetch Eugene. Eye of the Hurricane on Conway! 1, 2, 3. (05'01")
Earlier tonight, Shawn Michaels arrived.
Here is a beautiful shot of the beautiful Rexall Place. Here is a beautiful shot of a beautiful statue of the beautiful Wayne Gretzky.
Last Month on Raw, Edge returned. 2 Weeks Ago on Raw, Edge confronted the monster Kane and hit him with a cast. Last Monday on Raw, Edge speared Johnny Nitro. Up next, Edge and Kane!
KANE (320, homeless, with Raw is live tomorrow night from the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary) v. EDGE (248, Toronto, ON): Edge is tentative, staying away from Kane. Edge with a right, Kane comes back, Edge with a right, Kane comes back, right, right, right, right, Kane stumbles into the corner. Edge gets six punches in the corner, Kane slams him down. Kane works the broken hand arm in the corner and calls Earl "Earl." That's weird, are they friends or something? Edge with a flying clothesline, he sets for the spear and Kane bails. Baseball slide hits, Kane gets sent into the post. Kane slams the broken hand into the steps and then the post. Back in, Kane stomps the hand. Kane continues to work on the hand. I think that's a "We Want Bret" chant. Kane continues to pound on the hand. JR and King discuss the Quebecers, calling them the Mounties. That about says it all about this match. Now they discuss Crystal Gayle. This is pretty absurd. Edge wants to use the cast, Earl stops him, and Kane hits a big boot. Kane up top, Edge cuts him off with rights and joins him. Kane shoves him to the mat. Kane misses a flying clothesline, Edge hits an implant DDT that doesn't have much implant, Kane sits up. Edge sets for the spear - Kane dodges, so does Earl. All the way to the floor. Low blow! Cast shot! Spear! Earl is back - 1, 2, 3. What a return. (06'24")
Judgment Day - May 16 - WWE Championship - Eddie Guerrero v. John "Bradshaw" Layfield - puke
Final Encounter video package.
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TRIPLE THREAT MATCH - TRIPLE H (challenger, 265, Greenwich, CT) v. SHAWN MICHAELS (challenger, weightless, San Antonio, TX) v. CHRIS BENOIT (champion, 227, Edmonton, AB's Own): Chioda is the referee. Pre-match, JR tries to get a new nickname for Shawn over: "The Minister of Offense." I say absolutely not. The crowd seems to love Benoit (duh), hate Michaels (duh) and be largely indifferent to HHH. Benoit gets in both of their faces and holds the belt up before we get going, which is a new side of his personality. Michaels argues with ringside fans during Benoit's music. HHH points and talks at Michaels, Benoit attacks HHH with chops and kicks in the corner, and Michaels joins in. Benoit chops Shawn. HHH off the ropes, double-team backdrop. Michaels sends HHH out, and Benoit and Michaels are alone with only their chops. Michaels chop gets booed, Benoit chop gets wooed. Michaels with a corner whip, Benoit gets the feet up on the charge and gets the body attack. Swinging neckbreaker from Shawn, HHH is back and he eats a chop. Trade of rights between the boyfriends, Michaels off the ropes, ducks a clothesline, HHH hits the high knee. Michaels down, HHH goes after Benoit and sends him to the floor. "You tapped out" chant. Michaels with an inverted atomic drop and a right. What a minister of offense. Right, off the ropes, telegraphed and HHH tries the pedigree. Shawn sneaks away. Benoit on the apron and both of them knock him back to the floor. Benoit is in and PISSED off with release Germans for both of the. Michaels blocks a German, HHH misses a clothesline, Benoit chops both of them down. Michaels corners Benoit and gets a crappy chop. Michaels sent out, crossface on HHH! Shawn on the apron and Benoit lets the hold go to knock him off. Benoit follows him out and puts him down on the floor. Benoit thinks to head up for a headbutt on HHH, but goes back to Shawn instead, trying to take his back out on the wall. Benoit up top, HHH cuts him off. Forearms from Benoit, HHH comes back with headbutts to the breadbasket. Man, MORE headbutts, this time to the head. HHH tries a superplex, Michaels sneaks in and hits HHH in the back, which sends Benoit to the floor. Michaels with HHH on his shoulders, electric chair drop. Michaels drapes the arm, 2, shoulder up. Facebuster by HHH to reverse the momentum, and both are down. Benoit is up and he's up TOP - flying headbutt on Michaels! Cover, 2, HHH breaks. Benoit with forearms, rights and chops on HHH. HHH dumped to the floor, Benoit tries the Germans on Michaels and Michaels hooks the ropes. Off the ropes, reversed, Benoit ducks the flying burrito, and Mike Chioda is dead. Michaels knocked to the floor, HHH is in - PEDIGREE? No! Benoit sweeps the legs and tries the sharpshooter. HHH kicks him away, Benoit comes back and gets it on the second try! Michaels in, Benoit releases and catches Shawn in the crossface! Benoit releases with no ref and goes to check on Mike Chioda. Benoit comes back, Shawn sweeps HIS legs and hooks a crappy sharpshooter, and wouldn't you know it? EARL HEBNER is in. Earl is perfectly mimicking his body language from Montreal, and I can't just sit here and say I don't appreciate that sort of dedication. The crowd is pretty annoyed, but HHH breaks it up. "You Screwed Bret" chant is loud as hell. Shawn is annoyed. Michaels tries a scoop slam in anger, but Benoit slides down and hooks a second crossface. HHH breaks again. HHH with a DDT on Benoit and everyone is down. Triple H crawls over and drapes the arm - 1, 2, shoulder up.
Backlash is LIVE! "You tapped out" chant. HHH beats Benoit down in the corner, picks him back up, and goes back with rights. Benoit counters and turns it around. Chop, kick, kick, chop, corner whip, turn it around, sent back in and HHH flips to the floor. Michaels with a short-arm clothesline on Benoit, cover, 2. Shawn with a chop, Benoit fires with rights, but Shawn ducks down and sends him to the floor. Michaels up top and looking down on both of them to the "You Screwed Bret" chant again - he fliiiies and CRASHES through the Spanish commentary table. Benoit seems concerned or something, but HHH isn't because he's an asshole, so he throws Benoit into the post. Man, Michaels just cleared both of them. Benoit sent into the steps and back in, HHH lays in with mounted rights. There's this woman in the second or third row that is having about the best time I've ever seen anyone have at a wrestling show. Benoit gets posted and HHH is firmly in control of the match. "Asshole" chant. Benoit struggles to his feet with HHH standing over him, and back down he goes. Camel clutch from HHH! Benoit bridges up a little bit, but HHH gets up and drops the elbow. JR starts yelling about Benoit's dedication. King doesn't care. Trade of rights, but HHH mounts in the corner and hammers away. HHH gets down and goes back to the well, but it's once too many and Benoit hits a snake eyes. Facebuster on Benoit, clothesline is ducked, German! German! German! CUT DA THROAT! Smack HHH in the face! Up top - flying headbutt misses! PEDIGREE! Delayed cover - 1, 2, Michaels is back and he breaks the pin. Michaels and HHH go at it, HHH wins the slugfest. Off the ropes, flying burrito! Kip-up is booed, scoop aaand a slam. Michaels hits the flying elbow! Michaels tunes up the band, which isn't as dramatic as usual. Benoit stands, Michaels sees him - WHAM! Superkick on Benoit! Booooooooooooooo. Michaels gives a quick smirk and turns around into a HHH low blow. Cover, 2, shoulder up! HHH stupidly tries the pedigree near the ropes and gets backdropped over. HHH retrieves his sledgehammer. For god's sake. HHH in with the sledgehammer and WHAM right into Shawn's back. Earl does not call for the DQ despite seeing it. "Where did that come from?!" "It doesn't matter where it came from! Home Depot!" HHH is up with the hammer again, Earl isn't trying to stop him (is this no-DQ?), Benoit cuts him off but eats some steel for his troubles. Benoit eats more steel after HHH disassembles the steps. HHH tries for the pedigree on the lower portion, Benoit wants a catapult? That seems like a weird angle for that. Well, it works. HHH is posted and stumbles into the crowd. Benoit is down on the floor, Michaels is down in the ring, HHH is dead in the crowd. Benoit is up and gets back in. Michaels tunes up the band again, caught, heel trip, sharpshooter? SHARPSHOOTER! Michaels fights for his life! "Michaels fighting! With his warrior soul!" Enough with the warrior soul already. HHH is back and struggling to make it back into the ring. He's in, Michaels is dying, TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! BENOIT RETAINS! (30'05") Great match. Not quite up to the WM level, but wrestled just as well and arguably better. King finally gives Benoit his propers.
A good show! That is it! See you for Raw (whenever I finish it)!