5 Greatest WWE Backlash Events Of All Time
WWE is set to present its 18th Backlash Premium Live Event on May 6, 2023. It has traditionally been held the month after WrestleMania and has therefore played host to WrestleMania rematches and other fallout from the company’s premier show of the year.
Backlash has had innumerable memorable moments over the years and many of the events have been excellent from top to bottom. This feature revisits the five finest Backlash events of all time.
#5 Backlash 1999 (April 25, 1999)
The inaugural Backlash pay-per-view was a stacked show. Headlining the card was a rematch of the record setting WrestleMania main event as new WWF Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin battled against former champion, The Rock in a No Holds Barred war.
The Rock’s buddy, Shane McMahon was the guest referee and the pair conspired to wrest the gold away from the ‘Rattlesnake’ before Austin, with a little help from Vince McMahon nailed The Rock with a Stunner to retain the belt in a phenomenal bout. One of the best brawls of the era.
Mankind bested The Big Show in a short, but memorably violent Boiler Room Brawl, which still retains its power over two decades on. The Undertaker defeated Ken Shamrock in a choice, submission heavy UFC style match-up. The fans accustomed to weapons filled brawls did not engage with the bout, but technically it was a sound contest that would be far more appreciated by today’s audience.
Triple H beat his former D-X buddy, X-Pac in an overlong, but decent battle, that would have benefitted from being five minutes shorter and more dynamic in places. The New Age Outlaws beat Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett in a fun contest, which would be the final pay-per-view match-up of Owen Hart’s career, as he would tragically pass away at the following event, Over The Edge.
Rounding out the card were two passable encounters, which saw Al Snow regain the Hardcore Title from Hardcore Holly and The Ministry upend The Brood and a dud featuring The Godfather and Goldust for the Intercontinental Title.
With only one poor bout on an eight match card, Backlash 1999 was atypical of the era, which tended to have strong main events and terrible undercards. Backlash 1999 was a far superior show to WrestleMania XV, held just four weeks earlier.
#4 WrestleMania Backlash 2022 (May 8, 2022)
The 2022 Backlash event was the second consecutive Backlash show to be entitled WrestleMania Backlash. It was a truism, as four of the six bouts on the card were direct rematches from WrestleMania several weeks earlier.
In all cases, the WrestleMania Backlash collisions were better than their ‘Mania counterparts. The card started off strong with a rematch between Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins. The story of the bout was that Rollins had been able to prepare for Rhodes after the ‘American Nightmare’ had been a surprise opponent at WrestleMania and so the contest was more evenly matched. The match ebbed and flowed superbly and was technically sound and told a great story. Superb effort.
AJ Styles and Edge also contested a ‘Mania rematch, which was a shade superior to their prior collision. The match was decent but failed to surpass second gear. Where this improved on the previous match was the add-ons. Damian Priest and Finn Balor interjected themselves into proceedings before a hooded figure pulled Styles off the top strand leaving him easy prey for Edge to earn a technical submission for the win. The hooded figure then revealed herself to be Rhea Ripley, marking her debut as part of The Judgment Day faction.
Ronda Rousey defeated Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship in a superb ‘I Quit’ war. The pair blasted each other with all sorts of weapons and each utilised their respective submissions to try and earn the win. The finish came when Rousey used a chair to break the Figure Eight, then wrapped ‘The Queen’s’ arm in it and applied the armbar. Flair quickly quit and in storyline was sidelined for the rest of the year with a broken arm. Heated, violent and hugely entertaining, this was by far Rousey’s finest bout since her January 2022 return.
The headliner, despite being a six-man tag team bout felt like a massive deal. It was packed full of star power. The Bloodline trio of Roman Reigns and The Usos clashed with Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro. The action escalated quickly and never slowed throughout its 22 minute duration. There were innumerable near falls and breathtaking action. Matt Riddle hit a super RKO, only to turn around and eat a Spear, earning the Bloodline the win in a damn fine main event.
The only disappointing contests on the card were the collisions between Bobby Lashley and Omos and Baron Corbin and Madcap Moss, which were both deathly dull. However, at only nine and 1o minutes respectively, neither overstayed their welcome and couldn’t detract from the rest of the card.
Three great matches and one good one mark this event out as one of the finest Backlash cards ever.
#3 Backlash 2009 (April 26, 2009)
WWE marked the tenth anniversary of Backlash with one of the best shows in the event’s history. Edge defeated John Cena for the World Title in a Last Man Standing war. The finish came when The Big Show chokeslammed the champion through a massive stage light in a hugely memorable spot. The action which preceded it was top-notch too.
The co-main event saw Randy Orton punt his way to another WWE Championship reign as he knocked out the WWE Champion, Triple H to regain the strap. The bout was a specially stipulated six-man tag team match which saw Orton team with his Legacy brethren, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr versus Triple H, Batista, and Shane McMahon. The match was excellent.
Santina Marella pinned Beth Phoenix in an angle after The Great Khali clobbered her with a blow to the head. Too short to overstay it’s welcome.
Jeff Hardy beat Matt Hardy in a terrific ‘I Quit’ match. The bout was seven minutes longer than their disappointing WrestleMania collision and was all the better for it. Paced expertly, the finish came when Jeff duct-taped his brother to a table then threatened to leg drop him through it. Matt quit, then Jeff nailed him anyway to draw a line under their feud.
Kane defeated CM Punk in a choice contest, where Punk worked over Kane’s arm to prevent him from hitting the Chokeslam. The action was solid if unspectacular. The psychology faltered when Kane nailed Punk with the Chokeslam with his weakened arm to earn the win.
Rounding out the card was a better than expected bout between Chris Jericho and the long retired Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat. Steamboat in his first singles match in 15 years, looked great and the contest was entertaining. The show opener was the ECW World Title match between Christian and Jack Swagger which was technically sound if a little dull.
With three great matches and many other decent ones, Backlash 2009 was a brilliant event.
#2 Backlash 2007 (April 29, 2007)
Backlash 2007 was a phenomenal six match card, in which every match delivered. The show opened with a hugely entertaining contest between The Hardys and the team of Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.
Melina and Mickie James clashed over the Women’s Title in one of the best female matches WWE had ever produced at that point in time. Everyone remembers the double splits spot wherein both women pounded each other whilst in the splits. A terrific encounter.
Chris Benoit and MVP fought in the second match of their series in a very good bout, which was superior to their WrestleMania match-up several weeks earlier. The bout featured callbacks to their ‘Mania collision and extremely fluid holds and counter holds. Benoit retained the gold after a roll up, when MVP blocked a Crossface attempt.
The weakest match on the card was the Handicap Match for the ECW World Title. Vince McMahon teamed with his son, Shane, and Umaga, and defeated Bobby Lashley to win the ECW World crown. This was the death knell for the ECW World Title in WWE, but judged on its own merits the match was fine.
The Undertaker and Batista clashed in a rematch for the World Heavyweight Title which was every bit as good as their excellent WrestleMania bout. Fought under Last Man Standing rules, the pair battered each other senseless with everything they could lay their hands on until they were both buried under a collapsing scaffold and neither man could answer the 10 count.
The headliner was a sterling four way encounter for the WWE Title as John Cena defended against Shawn Michaels, Edge and Randy Orton in all action contest which thrilled the Atlanta crowd from start to finish. The fluid finishing sequence saw Shawn Michaels nail Cena with the Superkick only for the champion to fall on top of a grounded Orton to earn a fluke pin. Michaels sold the gravitas of his defeat in a dramatic aftermath.
A terrific show from top to bottom. One of the finest cards in WWE history. However, one Backlash event bettered it.
#1 Backlash 2000 (April 30, 2000)
Backlash 2000 was a superb show; far superior to the humdrum WrestleMania 2000 which preceded it four weeks earlier.
The headliner was the original plan for the ‘Mania main event, WWF Champion, Triple H versus The Rock. As ‘The Game’ had Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Stephanie McMahon in his corner, Linda McMahon enlisted Stone Cold Steve Austin to second The Rock to the ring to even the odds. However, Stone Cold was a no-show with the McMahons hinting they had waylaid the ‘Rattlesnake’ on his way to the arena.
Triple H and The Rock contested an excellent, heated match-up. For the second Backlash in a row, Shane McMahon refereed the main event. However, this time he was opposing The Rock. When the numbers game threatened to overwhelm ‘The Great One’, the glass shattered and Stone Cold battered the McMahon family and their stooges. That allowed ‘The People’s Champion’ to pin ‘The Game’ and capture his fourth WWF World Title, ending a terrifically fun sports entertainment bout.
Underneath, Chris Benoit defeated Chris Jericho by disqualification in a stellar, technical war. Eddie Guerrero bested Essa Rios in a tidy bout for the European Title and Dean Malenko defeated Scotty 2 Hotty in a phenomenal contest for the Light Heavyweight Title.
Elsewhere, The Big Show, cosplaying as Hulk Hogan, squashed Kurt Angle in a riotously entertaining three minute bout. Crash Holly retained the Hardcore Title in a fun six-way, also featuring Hardcore Holly, Tazz, The Hardy Boyz, and Perry Saturn. T&A upended The Dudley Boyz in an entertaining Tables Match. Post-match, Bubba Ray powerbombed T&A’s manager, Trish Stratus through a table to a thunderous response from the Washington DC crowd.
The only match which disappointed was the tag bout between The Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan against The APA. Eight of the nine bouts all delivered in spades in a wonderful variety show of brawling, technical wrestling and fun. Without doubt, the second Backlash event, over two decades on, remains the finest ever held.
You can watch every Backlash event ever held exclusively on the WWE Network.