5 Best WWE Backlash Matches So Far
Backlash is not WWE's most prestigious supershow, but that doesn't mean it lacks a pedigree of great matches.
WWE Backlash is this Sunday, and the card is shaping up to include some potential classics in the works, if all goes well for the competitors involved. The real question is where these matches will end up ranking in the grand scheme of it all, when compared to other matches to have taken place at the Backlash event in the past.
I have many fond memories of Backlash, especially seeing as it is, so far, the only Live pay-per-view event I have attended. It was back in 2004, when I made the drive with some friends to Edmonton, Alberta Canada to witness Backlash live. Not every match on the card I saw in 2004 was great. In fact there have been many bad matches and moments at Backlash in the past, such as Vince and Shane McMahon taking on Shawn Michaels and God. If we put moments like that out of mind though, and dig deep in to the fairly rich history of the event, we can find some real classics. And I am now going to let you know my five favourite matches in Backlash history.
5. Randy Orton vs Mick Foley (Backlash 2004)
This one maybe ranks higher for me than it would for others as I was there to witness it take place. This was a street fight match right at the height of the rise of Randy Orton, during his legend killer phase. Orton and Foley took each other to the limit in this match, and pulled out all the classic Foley street fight tropes. There was the barbed wire table, barbed wire baseball bat, thumb tacks, and off the ramp spots.
These two men tore into each other from the opening bell right up to the finish of the match. Both men would bleed and sweat while putting on a true slobber knocker. Randy Orton ultimately got the win, as Mick Foley put over the young superstar on this very night. Mick Foley never looked bad in defeat and it helped in the build and creation of the star we now know as Randy Orton.
4. AJ Styles vs Dean Ambrose (Backlash 2016)
A relatively new match, but one that ranks up there for me personally. It would be easy to place this one on the list simply because AJ Styles captured his first ever WWE World Championship in this match, but that is not the only reason this match makes it to my top five of all time. AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose on this night had a chance to truly give it their all inside the ring, and give it their all they did.
It was a strong quality match, which could be a testament to AJ Styles and his great in ring work, but on this night we got to see Dean Ambrose at his very best. It may seem like Dean Ambrose is in a bit of a rut within WWE currently, but his match with AJ Styles proved exactly why he is still very valuable to the WWE. Dean managed to show us all he can hang inside the ring with the absolute best the WWE has to offer. While Dean was not victorious, he did manage to leave a lasting impression inside the ring that night. AJ Styles got to have his hand raised in victory, and the birth of AJ Styles the main eventer in WWE became a reality on this night.
3. Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit (Backlash 2000)
I would love to say personally that this match should almost be at number one, but unfortunately the finish is the only thing I feel that held it back from being the best of the best. Chris Jericho is by far one of my all time favourite performers, and while many have their opinions of Chris Benoit for obvious reasons, I still cannot take anything away from the in ring performances Benoit managed to deliver during his time in pro wrestling.
The match was perfectly executed and showed that both Jericho and Benoit were never properly used during their time in WCW. These two also showed the level of skill that many Canadian Wrestlers exemplify all the time. It would be hard to have truly awarded either man the match considering the quality they showed in their performance, and so WWE decided to go with a DQ finish in the end. Despite the lackluster finish we did get treated to one of the best in ring matches we have ever seen at a Backlash PPV.
2. Kurt Angle vs Edge (Backlash 2002)
Was there any doubt in the minds of true WWE fans that Kurt Angle vs Edge would be a top quality match? In 2002, at the height of Edge making a singles run for the company, these two true life friends collided in a WWE ring and showed exactly what can happen when two competitors are comfortable working inside of a ring together.
This match ended up doing wonders for both Kurt Angle and Edge. While Kurt Angle had already been established as a main event player, this match solidified what we knew about Kurt Angle and then cemented his legacy at the top of the WWE ranks. Edge on the other hand was a big name mostly from his time as a Tag Team competitor, but anyone who followed the WWE knew a star was being born. And this match helped to elevate his status, showing he could go toe to toe with the absolute best and come out looking like a million bucks as well.
1. Chris Benoit vs Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Backlash 2004)
Once again a match I witnessed live is going to make my list, but I feel this one deserves its place right at the top. Hot off of his World Championship win at Wrestlemania Chris Benoit was placed in a triple threat match in front of his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta Canada. The crowd was absolutely electric for this match, and I am almost certain the crowd would have rioted if Benoit had lost.
It was already well known HBK and Triple H could work great matches with one another. The question was how well they could do when you add Chris Benoit in the mix. There may have been a contrast of styles between these three but they stopped at nothing to give us a true classic. This match was of such quality it could have been remembered no matter what event it was placed on. It is a shame that eventually we would have tragedy strike in the real life story of Chris Benoit, but let’s not forget what the man could do inside of a ring. On this night in front of his hometown, he came out looking like a true champion.
So what are your favourite matches and moments from Backlash? Will there be any match this Sunday that will stand the test of time and even knock one or two of the entries off my list entirely? There are such great possibilities in matches like AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens, or Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler, but will they get to pull out all the stops and leave us all talking about their matches for years to come?
There is also a lot of intrigue with matches like Orton vs Jinder Mahal. Could we possibly see the rise of a new star in Jinder Mahal, or will he ultimately be shot right back down the card once it is all said and done? Either way, this Sunday’s Backlash PPV is looking like one worth the investment of time.