HomeWrestlingWWF: Backlash 2002 | Retro Review

WWF: Backlash 2002 | Retro Review

With an interesting looking line-up on paper (with some exceptions of course) Backlash 2002 was a card that held as much interest at the time as it does in terms of looking back on it 20 years later. 

We start with a match over the Cruiserweight Title.  A title that WWE never really went all-in with and one that is now defunct whichever way you look at it.  Former ECW star Tajiri clashes with former WCW star, and current champion Billy Kidman in a high-octane opener.  It’s a great back and forth match that, at the time, made you think that the brand extension could provide a long-lasting template for the Cruiserweight to get some serious action.  History would show perhaps not, but Tajiri makes a great heel here, Kidman makes his opponent look like a real star and we get a very good opening match. 

Scott Hall and Bradshaw can’t follow that, of course, but whilst it’s far from a thriller there is a kind of perverse entertainment to be found in it.  And it benefits from being totally different from the match that preceded it.  Sure the two do little more than stiff each other around for five minutes or so but for what it is, we’ve seen a lot worse.

Jazz and Trish - Backlash 2002
Jazz and Trish Stratus – WWF Backlash 2002

Similarly, the match between Jazz and Trish Stratus over the WWE Women’s Title isn’t all that great and goes less than five minutes.  But Jazz can keep things together, Trish is improving and we’d much rather see this than a lingerie pillow fight between two models.  Well, I would anyway. 

Brock Lesnar’s PVV debut comes opposite Jeff Hardy.  Again it’s not an all-time classic or anything like that but as a means of introducing Brock as the utter beast that he was and is it’s a great job. Brock looks menacing, Jeff tries his best and the newcomer shows exactly what he is all about. 

The card gets back on track with the next two matches.  First up is Edge against Kurt Angle.  Which sounds like a dream match but at the time Edge was perhaps someone who had something to prove in terms of being able to hang with the very best towards the top of the, ahem, ladder.  Make no bones about it, he hangs in with Kurt every step of the way as they go back and forth.  Angle wins, but Edge gets over anyway.  The climb is on!

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2002 ~ Retro Pro Wrestling Reviews
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman – WWF Backlash 2002

After a Chris Jericho promo where he notes that he headlined WrestleMania X8 but can’t even get a match on Backlash we get an Intercontinental Title match between Rob Van Dam and Eddie Guerrero in what was definitely a dream match.  The two mesh and gel well and certainly have fantastic chemistry.  Perhaps it wasn’t the all-out war it might have been if it had taken place in ECW but it’s still a great match. 

Athletically Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker can’t follow that in their Number One Contenders match, refereed by Ric Flair.  Firstly it’s far too long at nearly half an hour. You get what they are trying to do in that sense (it’s a drawn-out war of attrition to prove they are worthy of that title shot) but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s quite boring in places as we’re definitely in the “plodding kick and punches” phase of Taker’s career.  The finish, whilst again understandable, is a bit weak as well after sitting through all that time.

Billy & Chuck’s Tag Team Title defence against Maven & Al Snow is designed to be the buffer before the main event. It’s your traditional tag team formula and nothing more.  But perfectly watchable.  For someone so new to the business, Maven looked quite good but history would show that it wasn’t to be for him. 

And then it’s time for the main event as HHH defends his newly won Undisputed Title against Hulk Hogan as we ride the crest of a nostalgia wave.  You shouldn’t laugh I suppose but whenever I think of this match I am always amused at how I imagine Hunter reacted when he was told he was dropping the belt here. 

The match itself can’t come anywhere near the Hogan/Rock match but it’s not too bad and whilst getting Jericho and Undertaker involved may seem like overkill it does at least lead us into new programmes for the next month. 

No one would ever really be saying that Backlash 2002 was one of the greatest PPVs of all time but it perhaps deserves to be more remembered than it perhaps is.  Edge/Angle and RVD/Guerrero provide the great wrestling and if nothing else manages to match that, neither is there anything on the card that is offensive or even “bad”.  As the final “WWF” pay-per-view (in America at least) (a couple of weeks later they would change their name to WWE) this is actually a fitting swansong in many respects.  It’s certainly worth a few hours of your time twenty years on.

Matthew Roberts
Matthew Roberts
"Who's your daddy, Montreal?" - Shawn Michaels
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