HomeWrestlingWWE: Déjà vu? WrestleMania Re-Matches at Backlash

WWE: Déjà vu? WrestleMania Re-Matches at Backlash

Since 1999, Backlash has become a staple in WWE programming.  It is a PPV that creates excitement among most in the WWE Universe as it takes place not long after Wrestlemania. The proximity to the biggest show of the year usually means that there are some of the same matches on the Backlash card as there were at Wrestlemania.

Being that wrestling doesn’t have what one would call an offseason it can be forgiven for the Backlash card to include many rematches from the grandest stage of them all. With Backlash being that close to ‘Mania there is going to be a lot of carryover in angles.

Now while there may be a collective groan for Wrestlemania feuds to be continuing weeks after the show is over Backlash has amassed quite an impressive record when it comes to ‘Mania rematches. Below we will take a look at the 5 most famous of these Backlash rematches

Backlash 1999 – Steve Austin v The Rock (No Holds Barred WWE Championship Match)

At Wrestlemania 15 Steve Austin overcame the meddling of Vince McMahon and the Corporation to best the Rock for the WWE Championship. The two wrestlers had insane chemistry in the ring so naturally, they were going to be facing off again at the next PPV. The only difference between the two matches is the No Holds Barred Stipulation and that Shane McMahon would be the special referee.

With Shane as the special referee, everyone knew that there was going to be a bias for the Rock during the match. This was more evident when it was announced that if Austin hit Shane and got himself disqualified the Rock would win the WWE Championship.

When the match began is was your typical action of an Attitude Era contest. There was more brawling in and around the ring than technical wrestling but this was not a bad thing. The natural charisma of both men kept the crowd on the edge of their seats during the entire match. They were also the two biggest stars in the world, at the time, and anything they put on television was going to pop the crowd.

Austin ended up getting the win by hitting the Rock with a stunner. He was in the middle of his rise to the top of the wrestling world so the finish was not in doubt from the beginning of the match. What is more important was Shane accidentally nailing the Rock with the WWE Championship nearing the end of the match. This planted the seed for the eventual face turn of the Rock the following night on Raw.

Backlash 2005 – Batista v Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship)

A month before, at Wrestlemania 21, Batista concluded his rise to the top of the WWE by beating his mentor Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. Batista had been taken under the wing of Triple H in the group Evolution but after winning the Royal Rumble he decided to challenge the Game for the championship at Wrestlemania.

After putting the Animal over at Wrestlemania, Triple H invoked his rematch clause and thus the rematch was set for Backlash. It was the first PPV title defense for Batista and the WWE was putting a lot behind the main putting him consecutive main events.

The match was incredibly hard-hitting, like their WM 21 contest, with both wrestlers trying to hit their finishers early on. It was a match of one-upmanship with Batista getting the better of Triple H throughout most of the contest.

Ric Flair was at his heely best during the match as well, trying to get involved every chance he got. Flair is incredibly underrated at this point in his career. While not being a full-time wrestler he is still able to help elevate a match and entertain the crowd.

The finish came after many hijinks in the ring ending with Batista hitting the powerbomb on Triple H to retain the World Championship. The screwiness of the ending did a great job of convincing fans that Triple H may come out with the victory and concluded a great match.

For all the flack Triple H gets for burying as many opponents as he can it was great to see his matches with Batista in 2005, especially this one. Triple H did everything he could to get the Animal over as an unstoppable force and he succeeded. Batista went on to become one of the biggest WWE stars of his era.

Backlash 2004 – Chris Benoit v Triple H v Shawn Michaels (Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship)

After winning the Royal Rumble Benoit, a Smackdown superstar, showed up on Raw to inform the world that he would be challenging Triple H at the Show of Shows. This did not sit well with Shawn Michaels who had been trying to wrestle the title away from Hunter for months. Seeing this, GM Eric Bischoff decided that for the first time a triple threat match would headline Wrestlemania.  After a bloody affair, Chris Benoit culminated an 18-year journey by tapping out Triple H  winning the World Championship.

Knowing Triple H and Michaels like we do it was inevitable that this would not be the last time that the three would be in the ring together. Soon after Wrestlemania, Eric Bischoff revealed that at Backlash there would be a rematch of the triple threat contest from Wrestlemania.

Considering the three men tore the house down this was not a terrible idea, and it was further compounded by the fact that Backlash was taking place in Edmonton, Alberta. Which just so happened to be the hometown of World Champion, Chris Benoit.

The three men once again stole the show in Edmonton. All three were some of the best workers in the company so this should come as no shock. It was awesome to see the Canadian crowd get as riled up as they were. Obviously, in the corner of Benoit, the crowd hung on every move and when Benoit won the match the crowd went insane.

Speaking of Benoit winning, it was a great bit of storytelling to have Benoit use the sharpshooter to tap out Michaels.  The Canadian fans have never forgiven HBK for the Montreal Screwjob and to have Michaels tap out to Bret Hart’s finishing move was a great exclamation point on an already fantastic match.

Backlash 2009 – Jeff Hardy v Matt Hardy (I Quit Match)

During his Royal Rumble, WWE Championship match against Edge Jeff Hardy was seconds away from winning the championship when disaster struck. Out of nowhere Jeff’s brother, Matt, came to what we all thought was Jeff’s aid but instead nailed his brother with a steel chair, ending his bid to become the WWE Champion.

This betrayal led to a brother versus brother match at Wrestlemania under extreme rules. It was a fairly good match that saw Matt getting the win over his brother. After the win, Matt vowed to erase Jeff from WWE. This led to Matt challenging Jeff to an I Quit Match at Backlash.

The match was serviceable but ultimately disappointing. Throughout their months-long feud, the Hardy’s failed to gain much momentum which came as a shock. As a tag team, they had tremendous chemistry in the ring but they were never able to translate this against one another.

The finish came when Jeff tied Matt to a table while he stood on top of a ladder. Not wanting Jeff to dive on top of him Matt motioned for the microphone and screamed I Quit ending the match. This did not deter Jeff as he jumped off the ladder and leg dropped Matt through the table.

Leading up to this match it seemed like Matt was on the cusp of a main event heel run so the finish was a bit confusing. It would have been great to see what Matt could have done if he was given the chance but jeff came out as the ultimate victor.

Backlash 2008 – Undertaker v Edge (World Heavyweight Championship Match)

After winning an Elimination Chamber match in February the Undertaker was pitted against Edge in the main event of Wrestlemania 24 for the World Heavyweight Championship. It will go down in history as one of the best main event matches in the history of ‘Mania. The Undertaker was able to extend his undefeated streak, trapping Edge in the Hell’s Gate submission to tap out the Rated R Superstar.

On the Smackdown following Wrestlemania Edge, who had GM Vickie Guerrero in his back pocket, was able to weasel his way into a rematch at Backlash against the Deadman.  Edge had aligned himself with a plethora of wrestlers leading up until this match forming his La Familia stable. So there was a good chance there was going to be plenty of interference during the contest.

The contest was not on par with their epic Wrestlemania match but it was still a very good match. It was back and forth and Edge was able to hold his own with Undertaker from start to finish. The Rated R Superstar had only lost to the Undertaker once during his career so the ending of the match was in doubt. Both men did a fantastic job of making the fans believe that either man could be walking out of the arena as the World Champion.

Despite interference by both Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, the Undertaker was able to lock in his Hell’s Gate submission and force Edge to tap out. It was a great Wrestlemania rematch between two of the best wrestlers in the company and the feud went a long way to establishing Edge as one of the best heels of all time.

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