Inside Pulse 12

A2Z Analysiz: WWF Backlash 2002

Backlash 2002
Kemper Arena – Kansas City, Missouri – Sunday, April 21, 2002

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are calling the action tonight. This is the last pay-per-view to be held under the “WWF” banner, as they would switch to WWE before Judgment Day in May.

SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT MATCH: Steven Richards & Justin Credible vs. Big Show

JR tries to say that Richards and Credible aren’t pushovers, but that’s just ridiculous. Show manhandles both of them and sends them to the floor. Credible and Richards are able to snap Show’s neck off the top rope, and then they get back in the ring and go for a suplex. Show blocks their attempt and suplexes both of them instead. The former ECW stars come back with a double superkick, but Show brushes it off and hits a simultaneous Chokeslam and pins them both at 2:11. That wasn’t much but it was perfectly fine as a warm-up match.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #1: Cruiserweight Championship – Billy Kidman vs. Tajiri

Kidman has been the Cruiserweight Champion since 4.4.02. Tajiri is accompanied by Torrie Wilson. JR mentions that on October 22, 2001, Tajiri beat Kidman for the title in this very building. I love stuff like that and it’s those kinds of details that they just don’t mention anymore. They start off quickly, trading holds and counters, and Tajiri takes a powder. Kidman tries to grab at Tajiri, but Tajiri grabs his legs and pulls him to the floor by the legs and drops him on the guardrail. Back in the ring Tajiri is in total control, and lands a solid kick to the head. Kidman comes back with a rana, but then gets hit with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Tajiri sets him up in the Tree of Woe and hits a baseball slide kick to the face. The challenger continues working the champ over, thwarting his comeback attempts. He locks on the Tarantula and then goes for the Buzz Saw Kick but Kidman ducks it. Tajiri goes for the handspring elbow but Kidman dropkicks him in the back for two. Kidman tries a suplex but Tajiri slips out and hits a spinning heel kick to the back of the head. Tajiri hits a German Suplex with a bridge for two. Kidman tries to come back with a clothesline but Tajiri hits a swank superkick but Kidman once again kicks out at two. Tajiri goes for a powerbomb, but he forgot the rule. Kidman goes up for the Shooting Star Press but there’s no water in the pool. Tajiri hits the Buzz Saw kick but Kidman kicks out again! Don’t look now but the crowd is chanting “Kidman.” Tajiri sets Kidman up on the top rope, and Kidman counters with a Super Rydeen Bomb for two! Kidman goes for another powerbomb but Tajiri sprays Red Mist in his eyes and falls on top for the pin at 9:09 to regain the title. That was a terrific opener and a sad reminder of what might have been for the Cruiserweight Title. If they would have gotten some more time they could have done something special I think.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #2: Bradshaw vs. Scott Hall

The idea of this match doesn’t give me any kind of warm fuzzy. Hall is accompanied by his fellow nWo brethren X-Pac (Kevin Nash was “suspended” for reasons I can’t remember, nor do I remember which injury he had at this time), so Faarooq comes out to be in Bradshaw’s corner. For those who don’t remember, Faarooq and Bradshaw were the Acolyte Protection Agency, but were recently split up in the brand extension draft, so this is kind of a neat touch. Hall of course starts the match by throwing his toothpick in Bradshaw’s face. Bradshaw responds with a series of right hands, and totally dominates Hall early on. He hits a DDT for a two-count. Hall takes a powder and backs right into Faarooq and gets a couple of right hands for his trouble. X-Pac takes a couple of shots as well. Back in the ring Bradshaw knocks Hall down and hits an elbow drop for two. Bradshaw hits a vertical suplex for another two-count. He throws a series of punches and covers yet again for two. Hall comes back with a poke to the eyes, and then hits some punches of his own. He chokes Bradshaw against the middle rope. He continues throwing punches, and then kicks Bradshaw down in the corner. Bradshaw fights back with a shoulder block out of the corner and both men are down. They rise and Bradshaw counters Hall’s punches with punches of his own. JR pulls out the “bowling shoe ugly” reference so you know he hates this match. Bradshaw hits a back elbow and a big boot. He hits the Clothesline from Hell but X-Pac puts Hall’s foot on the bottom rope. Faarooq chases after X-Pac while Bradshaw stupidly stands there and watches. Hey Bradshaw, you have Faarooq there so you don’t have to worry about X-Pac! Anyway, Hall hits a low blow behind the referee’s back and gets the pin at 5:44. That was a brutal match that exposed both guys as having no business being pushed at this point in time.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #3: Women’s Championship – Trish Stratus vs. Jazz

Jazz has been the champion since 2.4.02. Molly Holly comes out to confront Trish before the match, calling her a cheater, and then punching her in the face. She throws Trish to the floor, and throws her into the ring steps. Jazz seizes the opportunity and attacks Trish. She brings Trish back in the ring and hits a side suplex for two. Trish comes back with a hot shot and a couple of right hands. Jazz ducks a punch and hits a Finlay Roll. She hits a series of jabs, but Trish blocks one and responds with forearms. Trish hits a Chick Kick for a two-count. She sets Jazz up on the ropes and hits the Stratusphere. She hits a series of clotheslines and a neckbreaker for two. Jazz comes back with a sit-out powerbomb for two. The champion chokes Trish on the bottom rope and jaws with the referee. She tries a Stinger Splash but Trish moves and gets a schoolgirl rollup for two. Trish tries the Stratusfaction but Jazz catches her with a back suplex for two. Jazz uses a leg lace takedown, and then traps Trish in a half crab. Trish almost reaches the ropes, but Jazz rolls it over to an STF and Trish taps out at 4:27. That was solid for the time they got, but I think they could have done more if it was longer, actually.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: Jeff Hardy vs. Brock Lesnar

Hardy is accompanied by Lita. This is Lesnar’s first official televised match, and he’s accompanied by Paul Heyman. Hardy attacks right away but Lesnar cuts him off and pitches him to the floor. Lesnar gives chase and then gets dropkicked off the apron. Hardy goes for a dive but Lesnar catches him, and Hardy slips out and throws Lesnar into the ring post. Back in the ring Hardy hits a high cross body off the top rope for two. This only angers Lesnar, so he starts beating Hardy down. He hits a belly-to-belly overhead suplex, and then three simultaneous backbreakers. Hardy tries to fight back but Lesnar whips him back into the buckles. He hits the Whisper in the Wind out of nowhere, and then the Jeff Hardy Jawbreaker and the Legdrop. Hardy goes up top and hits the Swanton but Lesnar kicks out with authority. He goes outside the ring and grabs a chair, but Lesnar picks him up and hits a (not-yet-named) F-5. Heyman yells for Lesnar not to pin Hardy but to hurt him, so Lesnar hits two consecutive powerbombs. He follows up with a spinning powerbomb and the referee calls for the bell at 5:31.That was a perfect squash and a great sell job by Hardy. It was obviously pretty one-sided but that was definitely the right call. It’s scary to think how much Lesnar could have accomplished.
Rating: *

MATCH #5: Edge vs. Kurt Angle

Edge is merely a four-time Intercontinental Champion and seven-time World Tag Team Champion at this point. They start out very quickly, and Edge seems to be one step ahead of Angle in the early going here. Edge hits a flapjack and clotheslines Angle to the floor. Angle pulls Edge to the floor, and when they get back in the ring Angle stomps away. Edge reverses an Irish whip and hits a spinning heel kick, but when he goes for a clothesline Angle ducks and hits a release German suplex. Angle’s reaction to his own move is pretty funny. Now it’s Angle who’s able to counter all of Edge’s comeback attempts. Angle hits a belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count. A vertical suplex gets another near-fall. Angle is dominating now. He hits a German Suplex and tries to hang on, but Edge counters it and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Both men are down. They rise to their feet and trade punches. Edge counters with a flying forearm and a flurry of offense. He hits a face plant but Angle kicks out at two. Then he hits an inverted Side Effect for two. Edge goes up top but Angle pops up and hits a super belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count. Angle goes for the Ankle Lock but Edge kicks him off. He hits three rolling German Suplexes, bridging on the last one for a near-fall. He tries the Angle Slam but Edge counters it with a German Suplex of his own and Angle’s landing was ugly. Bothe men struggle to their feet and Angle charges right into a back drop, and he crashes hard on the floor. Edge follows him out with a high cross body off the top rope. He throws Angle back in the ring and hits a Missile Dropkick for two. He goes for the Edgecution but Angle counters with the Angle Slam for two! The straps come down and Angle locks on the Ankle Lock. Edge counters it with a victory roll and the crowd totally buys it but it only gets two. Angle cuts him off with a clothesline. He goes to the floor and grabs a steel chair. He swings it at Edge’s head but misses, and the chair bounces off the top rope and hits him in the head. Edge hits the Edge-O-Matic but once again Angle kicks out. The crowd is pissed. Angle tries to use the chair again, but Edge kicks him in the face. The referee dispatches of the chair. Edge goes for the Spear but Angle kicks him in the face and hits another Angle Slam to get the pin at 13:25! That was a hot match with a great finish. It was a bit of a coming out party for Edge, as he got really over with the Internet crowd after this, as this feud pretty much kicked off the “Smackdown 6” (or “Smackdown 5 + Chavo”) Era.
Rating: ****

Chris Jericho

JR and King say that this is an unscheduled appearance, since Jericho is not booked for a match tonight. Jericho is upset because not more than a month ago, he was defending the World Championship in the main event of WrestleMania X8, and tonight he doesn’t even have a match. He rips into the crowd, as well as Billy Kidman, Trish Stratus, Maven, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan.

MATCH #6: Intercontinental Championship – Rob Van Dam vs. Eddie Guerrero

King and JR have a funny exchange before the match, as King asks who the first guy to do the frog splash was, trying to insinuate that RVD copied it from Eddie. JR says the first guy he remembers seeing do it in WWE is D-Lo Brown. RVD has been the champion since 3.17.02. Eddie came back less than a month ago and was immediately placed into this feud. The match starts off quickly, with a flurry of offense by the champion. He scores several near falls in the early going. He makes his first trip to the top rope and Eddie knocks him down and tries a superplex. RVD counters by jumping to the floor and dropping Eddie’s neck across the top rope. He comes back in with a missile dropkick and hits the cartwheel moonsault (which JR mistakenly calls Rolling Thunder) for two. They both continue with pinning combinations and nothing but offense. Eddie rolls to the floor for a breather, and RVD hits a moonsault off the apron. He hits the spinning kick to the back of the head from the apron. Back in the ring RVD tries Rolling Thunder but Eddie gets his knees up. Eddie goes to work on the back now. He even uses the Gory Special, not called as such by JR or the King. He continues working on the back, and gets a couple of near falls in. He hits a couple of suplexes for two. He goes up top and RVD catches him with a couple of kicks, knocking him down. RVD looks to be going for a superplex but Eddie counters with a sunset bomb for two. I think this match was the first time I ever saw that move. RVD comes back with some kicks and RVD sends him to the floor. Eddie brings the Intercontinental Belt in the ring and the ref accidentally gets bumped. The challenger delivers a Frog Splash to score the pin and win the title at 11:43. That started off like the usually structured WWE match, and then stopped; in this case it would be for the better. RVD got his heat early on, Eddie cut him off and beat on him for a while and instead of RVD making a comeback and having there be some kind of goofy finish to ensure rematch Eddie scored a clean pin and won the Intercontinental Title.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: No. 1 Contender Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Undertaker

Ric Flair, the owner of Raw, is the special guest referee. They stall for about a minute, and Undertaker grabs the first headlock. Austin escapes but gets knocked down with a shoulder block, so he takes a powder. Back in the ring now Austin grabs a headlock. Austin tries a shoulderblock but Undertaker doesn’t budge. They stall some more, as Austin checks his watch and does some pushups. Austin scores the next knockdown, and flips Undertaker off. He then uses his quickness, hitting a hip toss, armdrag, and a drop toehold. He attacks Undertaker’s arm, and shoots a half nelson for two. Undertaker forces Austin back in the corner and punches his way out of the hold. Austin fights back with chops but runs into a big boot and a clothesline for two. Now Undertaker goes to work on the arm. He hits Old School for another two-count. Austin fights back with a Thesz Press and an elbow drop for two. He clotheslines Undertaker to the floor, and Undertaker takes control of the fight out there. Back in the ring Austin clotheslines Undertaker right back out. Austin bounces Undertaker’s head off the Spanish Announce Table. He adjusts his knee braces, giving Undertaker time to recover, as he boots Austin off the ring apron. Now Undertaker throws Austin into the SAT. Austin comes back with a series of right hands that knock Undertaker into the crowd. The fight continues amongst the people. They make it back to ringside, and Austin goes for a piledriver on the floor but gets back dropped instead. That piledriver on the floor spot is Austin’s Flair Flip. Undertaker throws Austin around ringside now, including smashing his head into his motorcycle. Scott Hall and X-Pac come out and post about halfway down the aisle. Undertaker drops the leg on the apron and they finally get back in the ring. He goes to work on Austin’s left leg. Austin tries to fire back with a series of punches but Undertaker knocks him right back down and locks on a chinlock. Really? This is so boring. Flair’s counts are as slow as the match. Austin almost gets a Stunner but Undertaker avoids it and hits a clothesline for two. Once again Austin fires back with punches but Undertaker drops him with a clothesline for two. Undertaker loosens one of the turnbuckle pads, revealing the steel underneath. He tries to whip Austin into it but Austin reverses it, and then they hit a double-clothesline. Both men are down. They get back up and Austin punches some more, and then stomps a Mudhole in Undertaker, and then walks it dry. Undertaker recovers and goes for the Tombstone, but Austin slips out. Austin whips Undertaker into Flair, and then hits a Stunner! But since Flair is knocked down, there is no count. Undertaker recovers and punches Austin right in the balls. He then hits a Chokeslam and Austin kicks out at two. He goes outside a grabs a chair, and Flair disarms in. In the meantime Austin returns the favor with a shot to Undertaker’s nuts. Undertaker recovers and hits a big boot to the face for two. Austin comes back with a Spinebuster for two. He goes for another Stunner, but Undertaker pushes him off right into Flair. With the referee down, Undertaker wallops Austin with the chair, but the Rattlesnake kicks out at two. Undertaker looks to lock on the Dragon Sleeper but Austin slips out and hits a clothesline for two. Austin puts on a Dragon Sleeper of his own but Undertaker quickly powers out of it. Undertaker grabs the chair and swings but Austin ducks. Once again Austin stomps a mudhole and walks it dry. Austin tries to use the chair and Flair tries to stop him unsuccessfully. Undertaker kicks the chair back into Austin’s face and covers him, and Flair fails to notice Austin’s foot on the bottom rope and Undertaker gets the three-count at 26:59. What a horrible match between two great workers (and a third for a referee). It was way too long and never seemed to go anywhere. Undertaker gloats in Austin’s face and gets a Stunner for his trouble. Backstage Jonathan Coachman shows Flair the footage of Austin’s foot on the bottom rope. Flair: “shit.” Yeah dude, my thoughts exactly.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #8: World Tag Team Championship Match – Billy & Chuck vs. Al Snow & Maven

Billy & Chuck have been the champions since 2.21.02, and they’re accompanied by Rico. The champs attack right away, but quickly get dispatched to the floor. They pull Maven out and take advantage of him while the referee tries to get Snow out of the ring. Billy and Chuck work Maven over in their half of the ring. Maven comes back with a DDT on Billy but can’t quite make the tag. Billy can though, so he tags Chuck. Maven hits Chuck with an enziguiri and both men make tags. Snow is briefly a house afire, but the champs double-team him and take advantage. Billy hits a neckbreaker for two and makes the tag. Chuck his a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Billy tags in and misses a Stinger Splash, and Chuck comes in illegally and Snow drop toeholds him into Billy’s groin. Snow makes the tag to Maven, who goes for a backdrop on Billy but gets hit with the Fame-Ass-Er instead. Luckily for Maven his teacher pulls him to the floor to avoid getting pinned. Back in the ring Chuck levels Snow with the Jungle Kick. Billy distracts the referee and Chuck holds Maven for a Rico spin kick, but Maven ducks. Snow gets back in the ring and hits Billy with a Rydeen Bomb. Maven hits Billy with a high cross body off the top rope for a near-fall. Rico gets back in the ring and Snow gives chase, which distracts the referee. Chuck gets in the ring and levels Maven with a Jungle Kick. Billy scores the pin at 6:00 to retain. That was fine for a TV match but didn’t feel worthy of pay-per-view.
Rating: *½

MATCH #9: Undisputed Championship Match – Triple H vs. Hulk Hogan

Triple H has been the champion since 3.17.02. The last time Hogan competed in a WWF Championship match was June 13, 1993, when he lost the title to Yokozuna. He is a former five-time WWF Champion. They start slowly, testing each other’s strength. The crowd is behind Hogan, much like they were with the Rock back at WrestleMania X8. Hogan pays attention to the crowd chanting his name, and Triple H takes offense, telling Hogan to worry about the Game, not the fans. They engage in another lockup and this time Hogan shoves Triple H back. Now they agree to a test of strength, and Triple H brings Hogan down to his knees. Hogan powers out of it but Triple H cuts him off and grabs a hammerlock. He powers out of the hammerlock and puts on a headlock, and then knocks Triple H down with a shoulderblock. Triple H backs Hogan into the corner and slaps him in the face. Moments later Hogan comes back with some clotheslines and other assorted strikes. Hogan gingerly climbs the ropes and delivers 10 mounted punches in the corner. He goes for a back body drop and Triple H elbows him in the head. Triple H charges but gets back dropped to the floor. Hogan joins the champion on the floor and rams him into the ring post. He throws Triple H into the guardrail, and then hits a vertical suplex. Triple H fights back and slams Hogan’s head into the steel steps. Back in the ring Triple H maintains control and goes for the Pedigree, but Hogan counters and catapults Triple H into the turnbuckles and gets a schoolboy for two. Hogan hits the Diamond Cutter for a two-count. Triple H slips out of a bodyslam and clips Hogan’s knee. The Game viciously attacks Hogan’s knee now, despite the boos of the crowd. He locks on the Figure-Four Leglock, even using the ropes for leverage. Hogan turns it over and the hold is broken. Triple H locks on a sleeper and takes Hogan down to the mat. Hogan powers out and hits a suplex. Both men are down, and when they rise Hogan blocks punches and hits some of his own. Hogan hits the Axe Bomber and the big boot! He hits the Leg Drop, but Chris Jericho comes out with a chair and pulls the referee out of the ring! Jericho then wallops Hogan with the chair and throws the referee back in. Triple H doesn’t want to win that way though, so he grabs Jericho and hits him with a facebuster and then clotheslines him to the floor. The champ turns his attention back to Hogan, who is Hulking Up now! He misses the Leg Drop and Triple H hits the Pedigree! This time it’s Undertaker that takes the referee out. Undertaker brings the chair in the ring and cracks it on Triple H’s skull. He drags Hogan over for the cover, but Hogan doesn’t want it that way either. He clotheslines Undertaker to the floor, and then hits the Leg Drop and scores the pin at 22:04! That actually wasn’t a terrible match, but it would have been better if they had cut a few minutes off. This was supposed to set up a four-way at Judgment Day but that didn’t happen for whatever reason. A bloody Triple H extends his hand and Hogan shakes it and then celebrates his sixth WWF Championship win.
Rating: **

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