REVIEW: Backlash 2007: With A Red Hot Finish

Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

Backlash 2007
Date: April 29, 2007
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 14,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Taz, John Bradshaw Layfield, Joey Styles

It’s the Wrestlemania followup show and the company is still on something of a hot streak. We have a big double main event as Batista challenges Undertaker for the Smackdown World Title in a Last Man Standing match and John Cena defends against Edge, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton. That’s enough star power, plus Vince McMahon going for a title of his own. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks at how this is the Wrestlemania sequel, with a focus on the three top matches. Rather simple and to the point, but it works well.

Raw Tag Team Titles: Hardys vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

The Hardys are defending. Matt and Cade get things going with the latter driving him into the corner. That’s broken up so Cade goes with a running shoulder but Matt slugs his way out of trouble. A headlock takeover puts Cade down but it’s off to Murdoch, who walks into a slam. Jeff comes in with a slingshot dropkick and the elbow/flipping splash combination keeps Murdoch in trouble.

The Whisper in the Wind is more of a flipping Blockbuster but it lets the Hardys clear the ring. Jeff’s big Poetry In Motion to the floor has Cade and Murdoch down again and the champs are in control. Back in and Matt drops a middle rope elbow for two on Murdoch, who sends him into the corner for a breather. It’s back to Jeff, who gets pulled out to the floor for the crash to put him in trouble. The sitout spinebuster plants Jeff for two and Murdoch grabs the chinlock.

Back up and a neckbreaker and clothesline give Murdoch two each, followed by a big boot for the same. Cade comes back in for a chinlock of his own and it’s already back to Murdoch for a belly to back suplex. Jeff’s dropkick isn’t enough for the hot tag but kicking Murdoch out of the corner is, as Matt gets to come back in. Everything breaks down and Jeff is sent hard into the corner, leaving Cade to come off the top and hit Matt in the back. Murdoch’s Code Red gets two but Matt is back up with the Twist of Fate. With Matt cutting off Cade, Jeff Swantons Murdoch so Matt can get the retaining pin.

Rating: C+. It was a little long at over fifteen minutes but the Hardys winning a hard fought tag match is almost always a good idea. Cade and Murdoch are a good old fashioned roughneck brawling team and this was a fine way to use them. It felt like a pay per view title match, though trimming off a minute or two might have helped.

Vince and Shane McMahon are confident that they can beat Bobby Lashley, especially with Umaga around. How does this sound: ECW World Champion Vince McMahon?

Women’s Title: Melina vs. Mickie James

Mickie is challenging and wastes no time armdragging her down into an armbar. The grappling on the mat gives us a quick standoff until Mickie headscissors her back down. That’s broken up as Melina is sent into the corner, where she seems to be favoring her eye. Tis but a ruse though as she charges at Mickie, who hammers away to keep the champ in trouble. Mickie takes too long going up top though and gets shoved off into a heap on the floor.

Back in and Melina grabs a full nelson with her legs and even puts her hand on the rope for leverage (It’s interesting that just putting your hand there wouldn’t do much. The thing is though that fans understand it’s cheating so it can go a long way with almost no effort. Learn that kind of thing.). A choke in the corner has Mickie in more trouble and a middle rope Thesz press drops her again.

The chinlock doesn’t last long as Mickie drops down into the splits….and pulls Melina down into them with her. They slug it out from there until Mickie kicks her away. Some clotheslines and a hair toss have Melina in more trouble, with a high crossbody getting two. That’s enough for Melina, who goes to the eyes and drops her with a reverse DDT to retain.

Rating: C. They were working hard here but there is only so much that you can do when they are in the lowest level match on the card and the ending comes out of nowhere. Melina needs to be built up with wins like this so they did things as well as they could have. Not a terrible match, but it could have been on any given Raw.

Edge is ready to win the WWE Championship. Maria pulls out a fan question, asking how he won his first World Title. That would be Money in the Bank, so here is Mr. Kennedy with the briefcase to hint at a cash-in at the end of the night. Eh, not with that kind of telegraphing.

The Condemned hype comes to pay per view.

US Title: Chris Benoit vs. MVP

MVP is challenging and drives him into the corner a few times to start. A leg dive doesn’t work for MVP and it’s time for the exchange of front facelocks. Benoit tries the Crossface but MVP is right over to the rope, as he should be. Back up and a headlock takeover slows Benoit down a bit until he reverses into a headscissors and then bridges up into a backslide for two. Benoit takes him down and gets the Sharpshooter, sending MVP back to the ropes.

Back up again and MVP hits a running boot to the back of the head to take over. The cravate goes on to stay on Benoit’s neck and MVP tosses him with a suplex for two more. MVP grabs a chinlock and the LET’S GO POWER RANGER chant gets on his nerves a bit. Benoit fights up and rolls the German suplexes but MVP is smart enough to grab the foot to prevent the Swan Dive.

A hot shot gives MVP a series of two counts but Benoit is right back with the Crossface, sending MVP back to the ropes. MVP is back with something like an armbar while cranking on the neck at the same time. The big boot misses though and Benoit rolls more German suplexes. The Swan Dive is loaded up but hits raised knees, allowing MVP to grab a half crab. That’s broken up so MVP tries a suplex, which is quickly reversed into a small package so Benoit can retain.

Rating: B-. The ending surprised me and that’s a good thing, at least in theory. At the end of the day, I’m not sure how smart it is to have Benoit retain the title as MVP needs to win something rather soon. Getting pinned by Benoit is hardly some terrible result, but how many times can MVP lose before it stops mattering anymore?

John Cena is asked about how title defense tonight but here is Randy Orton to interrupt. Orton talks about how similar they are, including being handsome. An alliance is tossed out, but Cena would rather talk about the handsome part. It turns into a series of gay jokes, though it isn’t Cena’s thing. Orton says tonight is ending with Cena on his back and Orton on top, drawing in Ron Simmons for the catchphrase.

We recap the McMahons and Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley for Lashley’s ECW World Title. Lashley beat Umaga at Wrestlemania to force Vince McMahon to get his head shaved, so now it is time for revenge. Vince has put Lashley in a handicap match and Lashley….well he got as fired up as he could at least.

ECW World Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga/Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon

Lashley is defending but unfortunately Vince has traded the snazzy hat for a bandanna. Shane starts for the team and gets taken down for an early pummeling. There’s the spinebuster and Shane is on the floor in a hurry. Back in and Shane hands it off to Umaga, which is just fine with Lashley. Umaga takes him down but Lashley avoids a charge in the corner and hits some running clotheslines.

A clothesline puts Umaga on the floor and Shane goes with him, leaving Vince alone with Lashley. Umaga comes back in to save the boss and Shane low bridges Lashley to the floor. There’s a legdrop to keep Lashley in trouble and a hard whip into the corner makes it worse. Shane starts working on the arm and cranks away, with Lashley just kind of laying there cringing. The hold stays on for a good while, including a bodyscissors to make it worse. Lashley powerbombs his way to freedom but Umaga is right back with in with the save.

Umaga grabs the bearhug and then a Samoan drop gets two. It’s back to Shane for a camel clutch but Lashley fights up with some suplexes. A torture rack into a backbreaker gets two with Vince finally making the save. Umaga and Shane have to save Vince from the running powerslam and it’s a belt shot to the head. Vince comes in to count two but Lashley is done. Umaga adds the top rope splash and now Vince can get the pin to become ECW World Champion.

Rating: C. The match itself wasn’t great, but this was ALL about the title change, as Vince winning the ECW World Title is the ultimate slap in the face of ECW. In other words, it’s absolutely perfect and makes Umaga look like a star as well as he was the one who put Lashley down. It’s a great way to make ECW fans mad and hope that someone takes it back, even if it’s Lashley. Not much of a match, but a nice piece of business.

Shane runs around holding the title in a hilarious visual. Vince is awarded the title and orders that the ring announcer name him the new champion again.

Post commercial, Vince McMahon runs into the ECW Originals and mocks all of them, saying things are looking up for Sabu and stealing Sandman’s kendo stick. Vince and Shane: “EC DUB! EC DUB! EC DUB!”

We recap Batista vs. Undertaker in a Last Man Standing match for Undertaker’s Smackdown World Title. Undertaker took it from him at Wrestlemania and now it’s time for the much more violent rematch. Neither trusts each other, but there does seem to be some respect between then.

Smackdown World Title: Batista vs. Undertaker

Undertaker is defending and it’s Last Man Standing. Batista has a heavily taped up thigh and Undertaker sends him into the corner to start hammer away. It’s too early for a chokeslam so Undertaker scores with the jumping clothesline instead. Old School connects early but Batista is back with the running powerslam. They fight outside with Undertaker kicking him up against the apron and then going after the big target on the leg.

The apron legdrop gives Undertaker a five but Batista whips him knees first into the steps. Back in and Undertaker catches him on top for a superplex (that’s a rare one for Undertaker) for the big double knockdown. They slug it out until Batista hits a running clothesline and slams him down for a legdrop. Undertaker kicks him right back to the floor and loads up the announcers’ table, which can’t possibly go well. Instead, Undertaker hits him with the steps for seven and NOW it’s time for the bloody Batista to be put on the announcers’ table.

A heck of a jumping legdrop off the barricade crushes Batista for a nine. Back in and the spear gives Batista seven and the spinebuster puts Undertaker right back down. Two more spinebusters give Batista a nine but Undertaker comes right back with a chokeslam. That’s enough for a nine so Undertaker hammers away in the corner (that’s not smart), only to get pulled into the Batista Bomb for a very close nine.

A frustrated Batista grabs a chair and blasts him in the head but the Batista Bomb is countered with a backdrop onto the chair. The Tombstone is good for nine so Undertaker kicks him outside again. They fight up to the stage and the Tombstone is countered again, so Batista spears him off the stage. That sets off the sparks and part of the set falls down, which is enough for the double ten count and a draw.

Rating: B. They beat each other up for a long time and the legdrop spot looked good, but going to a draw in a Last Man Standing match is rarely going to get anything but an eye roll. The ending did look good and felt big, but it makes this match feel like it didn’t matter. You don’t want that kind of a feeling, though the third match should be good as well.

Both guys take their time getting up but leave on their own.

The Condemned is still a thing.

There was a fan poll on who will win the main event:

John Cena – 50%

Shawn Michaels – 34%

Randy Orton – 10%

Edge – 6%

We recap the four way for the Raw World Title. John Cena retained against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania but Shawn wanted one more shot. That was cool with Cena, but Edge and Randy Orton wanted in as well. The match was made, and then Shawn beat Cena clean in a nearly hour long classic this week on Raw.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

Cena is defending and this is one fall to a finish. They stare each other down at the bell and it seems that we are in for a mini tag match. We don’t get any contact until a minute in, when Edge and Orton are knocked to the floor. Shawn turns to chop Cena, who grabs a release fisherman’s suplex for two. Back in and Orton dropkicks Edge outside and all four wind up on the floor. Edge whips Orton into the steps but Shawn is back up to plant Edge with a slam. Shawn isn’t done as he moonsaults off the top onto all three of them.

Back in and Cena hits a double top rope Fameasser onto Edge and Michaels for the triple knockdown. Orton comes back in and sends Shawn and Edge outside, leaving Cena to get caught with the backbreaker for two. Cena gets sent into the post but Shawn is back in to slug away on Orton. Edge comes back in with a spinwheel kick on Shawn, meaning it’s time for a mini Rated-RKO reunion. A Cena comeback attempt gets shoved off the apron and onto the announcers’ table and there’s a double backdrop to Shawn.

That sets up a double half crab (which somehow equals Boston instead of one) until Cena comes in for the real save. The Shuffle hits Edge but Shawn is up to send Cena and Orton face first into the post. Shawn loads up a piledriver through the announcers’ table but Edge makes the save with a chair. Another chair shot drops Orton, leaving Cena to pull Edge into the STFU. The rope is grabbed so Cena puts Orton in the same hold. Shawn makes the save and cleans house, including sending Orton and Edge outside.

The top rope elbow hits Cena and there’s one to Edge. Shawn loads up another to Orton but Cena breaks it up and we get the big Tower of Doom to leave everyone laying. Back up and Cena and Edge trade finisher attempts until Cena throws Edge and Shawn up onto his shoulders at the same time. Shawn slips off and tries the superkick but Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere. Cena breaks that up before one but walks into the Edgecution. Orton and Cena trade finisher attempts until Edge spears Orton down. The FU hits Edge but Cena walks into the superkick to leave everyone down….and Cena lands on Orton for the pin to retain.

Rating: B+. The match took some time to get going, but ultimately it was the last few minutes that took this to another level. The last four or five minutes were absolute fire with one big spot after another. I love the ending too as Shawn knocks Cena silly and would have had him beat but Cena got lucky with the landing. You can go a few directions from that, and I’m sure we’ll see some fallout at the next pay per view.

Shawn is livid and yells at Cena, who looks confused.

Overall Rating: A-. You had a six match card and the two longest were very good while getting by far the most time. Throw in Benoit vs. MVP in a good match and the worst thing being Mickie vs. Melina in a watchable match and this was a heck of a show. I liked this more than I would have bet on as WWE continues having their very strong stretch over the last few months.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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https://wrestlingrumors.net/tommyhall/review-backlash-2007-red-hot-finish/ REVIEW: Backlash 2007: With A Red Hot Finish

Curtis Crabtree

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