Backlash 2009 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on April 26, 2009 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The 11th and final event under the Backlash banner, it featured talent from all three WWE brands: Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. The event's card featured seven matches.
The main event consisted of a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship, in which Edge defeated John Cena to win. The other main match scheduled on the event's card was a Six-Man Tag Team match for the WWE Championship between Triple H (champion), Batista and Shane McMahon, and The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase). Legacy won the match and Orton became the new WWE Champion. Other matches also appeared on the event's card. The first was an "I Quit" match between Jeff and Matt Hardy and three singles matches: Christian versus Jack Swagger for the ECW Championship, followed by CM Punk versus Kane, and Chris Jericho versus Ricky Steamboat.
The event received 182,000 buys, down on the Backlash (2008) figure of 200,000 buys.
Backlash featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, ECW on Sci Fi, and WWE Superstars—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) primary television programs. Wrestlers portrayed either a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. The event featured wrestlers from WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to the television program of the same name.
The main rivalry heading into Backlash 2009 pitted Triple H against Randy Orton over the WWE Championship. The feud had started on the February 16 episode of Raw, when Orton punted Triple H's brother-in-law, Shane McMahon and then performed the RKO on his wife Stephanie McMahon. As a result, Triple H convinced Orton to challenge him for the WWE title at WrestleMania XXV. At WrestleMania on April 5, 2009, Triple H defeated Orton to retain the championship. The following night on Raw, WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced that a six-man tag team match would take place at Backlash between Triple H, Shane McMahon, and himself against The Legacy (Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) which was later turned into a WWE Championship match by new General Manager of Raw, Vickie Guerrero. That same night, Shane and Triple H were attacked by The Legacy, but were saved by a returning Batista. Vince announced that Batista would be taking his place at Backlash. On the following week's episode of Raw, after returning to WWE the week before, Batista arrived on the night of the WWE Draft lottery. Batista made clear his desire to face Orton on Raw and take revenge for the punt that kept him from the ring for four months. He was later joined in the ring by both Shane McMahon and WWE Champion Triple H, who both wanted to get their hands on Orton for his attacks on Stephanie McMahon and the WWE Chairman himself, Mr. McMahon. As the three argued over who would get first dibs on Orton, they were interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, who announced that only one of them would get the opportunity to face Orton before Backlash, and that they would have to earn it. Guerrero then placed Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon in a three-on-two Handicap match against The Legacy for later in the night. Whichever one of them would score the pinfall on either Rhodes or DiBiase will have earned themselves a match against Orton on the next Raw, but if The Legacy prevailed, then none of the three would be able to get their hands on him. Triple H pinned DiBiase. On the last episode of Raw, Orton defeated Triple H in a No disqualification match despite of their teammates interfering during the match. Then a few days later on SmackDown, Batista and Shane McMahon defeated DiBiase and Rhodes in a tag team match.
Another rivalry heading into Backlash brought together John Cena and Edge over the World Heavyweight Championship. At WWE's February pay-per-view event, No Way Out on February 15, 2009, Edge attacked Kofi Kingston, who was due to compete in an Elimination Chamber match for Cena's World Heavyweight Championship. As a result, Edge took his spot in the match and won the title by last eliminating Rey Mysterio. At WrestleMania XXV, Cena defeated the defending champion Edge and The Big Show in a Triple Threat match to win the championship back. On the April 6 episode of Raw, Vickie Guerrero announced that Cena would defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Edge in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash.
Interim General manager Tiffany announced on the April 7 episode of ECW on Sci Fi that Jack Swagger would defend his ECW Championship against the winner of the "elimination chase", which commenced on that night and featured Christian, Tommy Dreamer, Finlay, and Mark Henry; the participants in the chase would have a four-way that night. Henry got pinned the same night and was eliminated from contention. The remaining three wrestlers competed in a Triple Threat match on the April 14 episode of ECW on Sci Fi with the person being pinned or forced to submit being eliminated from contention; Dreamer was pinned in this contest, leading to a singles match between Finlay and Christian on the April 16 episode of WWE Superstars, which saw Christian get the victory, thus allowing him to face Swagger for the title at Backlash.
After Matt Hardy betrayed his brother, Jeff, at Royal Rumble — costing the latter the WWE Championship against Edge —the two embarked on a feud that saw Jeff initially reluctant to fight his brother; after much goading, they had a match at WrestleMania XXV, which saw Matt win; however, with Jeff not fully incapacitated after Matt had vowed to "erase Jeff from the WWE", a stretcher match took place between the two, which Matt also won. As a result of their feud, the SmackDown general manager, Theodore Long, announced an "I Quit" match between the two at Backlash.
After the release of the film, The Wrestler, and the film's actor Mickey Rourke backing out of a challenge that he had earlier issued to Chris Jericho to a match at WrestleMania XXV, Jericho started targeting WWE's legends and Hall of Famers by insulting and beating them over many weeks on Raw. (These legends included the likes of Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat.) At WrestleMania XXV, Jericho defeated Piper, Snuka and Steamboat in a Handicap Elimination match. After winning, Jericho called Rourke out in the ring. During the confrontation between the two, Rourke knocked Jericho down with a punch. Then, on the April 20 episode of Raw, it was announced that Jericho would face Ricky Steamboat in a singles match at Backlash.
The show commenced with ECW Champion, Jack Swagger, defending his title against Christian. Swagger dominated his opponent early in the match, succeeding in grounding him with takedowns, suplexes, and some heavy slams. Christian managed to capitalize after dodging some of Swagger's attacks before the two both went down; leading to both men staggering into opposite corners, removing the padding on the top turnbuckle closest to their respective positions. As Swagger ran to attack his opponent, Christian dodged one last tackle, letting Swagger's head collide with the exposed steel. Christian then grabbed Swagger by the arms and connected with his finishing move, the killswitch, driving his head into the mat and pinning him to win the ECW Championship, his first World Championship in WWE.
The following contest involved Chris Jericho and Ricky Steamboat — the latter competing in his first singles match since 1994. The match centered around the idea of Jericho viciously attacking his adversary only to have Steamboat retaliate and compete with his younger opponent, executing his signature moves: arm drags, chops, and a diving crossbody, only to have Jericho counter the latter with a knee to the face called the Codebreaker. Following the attack, Jericho grabbed Steamboat's legs, and applied his signature submission hold the Walls of Jericho, with Steamboat ultimately submitting. Following his loss, Steamboat was given a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance.
CM Punk wrestled Kane next, with Punk mainly attacking Kane's arm with kicks and arm bars to prevent him from performing his finishing maneuver, the chokeslam, which requires Kane to lift his opponent with one arm. After Punk tried to incapacitate his opponent, Kane managed to get a hold of Punk's leg to execute a leg-trap chokeslam before pinning him.
The fourth match on the show, the "I Quit" match, featured Matt and Jeff Hardy. The two brothers brutally assaulted each other throughout the match, hitting each other with a number of heavy shots and submission holds, with neither man yielding to the other. After Jeff had gained an advantage with Matt incapacitated, he placed him onto a table, then taped his arms and legs together before strapping him onto the table. Jeff then went under the ring, and withdrew a ladder, and set it up in the corner of the ring closest to his prone opponent. When the referee asked Matt if he wanted to quit, he took the opportunity to talk down Jeff, bringing up the case of what his father and late mother would think of this before uttering the phrase, "I quit". Despite Jeff winning the match and coming down from the ladder onto the top turnbuckle, he still vaulted over the ladder, and performed a leg drop on his brother, going through the table.
Santina Marella (really Santino Marella in drag posing as his fictitious twin sister) came down to the ring after the match, and proclaimed her prowess before The Great Khali entered in the hopes of kissing Marella, only to have Marella refuse, claiming to love another man, SmackDown commentator, Jim Ross, who sat at ringside with Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole. This led to Beth Phoenix to come to the ring outraged by what is transpiring with Khali's obliviousness; she challenged Marella for her title of Miss WrestleMania. Before the match started, Khali hit Phoenix, leading to Marella pinning a capsized Phoenix to retain her title.
Main event matches
The first of two main event matches on the show involved the six-man tag-team match for the WWE Championship pitting Triple H (the champion), Batista, and Shane McMahon against The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase). The match started out with Triple H and Orton brawling out of the ring to the backstage area while Batista and McMahon would continue to wrestle The Legacy. Once the two contenders fought their way back into the ring, the match centered around Legacy isolating every member of their opponents, preventing any way for them to make a tag. The tides turned once Batista managed to get into the match, and sent the action onto the outside, and Triple H managing to make the tag. Shortly thereafter, the legal man, Orton, applied his signature move, the RKO, and drove him to the mat on his face. He went for the pin, but his opponent kicked out of it; this led to Orton standing up, and running into his downed opponent with his signature punt. This time, Orton pinned him, winning the title for the third time. Following the match, Triple H was taken out on a stretcher.
The main event saw World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena, defending his title against Edge in a Last Man Standing Match. The match started as a heavy brawl between the two, each trying to beat the other down to reach the ten-count fast, only to have each of them get to their feet in time. The match degenerated to the outside with Edge and Cena using the detachable steel steps connected to the ring as a weapon, as they threw each other into it, threw it at each other, and even have Edge tackle Cena with his finishing move, the Spear. The match continued with both men being only able to incapacitate their opponent for a nine-count until they both ended up on the announcers' table, leading to Cena hoisting Edge up onto his shoulders, and throwing him into the crowd with his finishing maneuver, the Attitude Adjustment. After the wrestlers reached to their feet, they fought around the arena, going into the surrounding lobby until they made their way to the stage, leading to an eventual interruption from their other WrestleMania triple threat match opponent, The Big Show, which had him lift up Cena, and chokeslam him through a nearby spotlight that exploded; Cena was unable to make the ten-count, thus having Edge win the title for the fifth time. In a case similar to Triple H, Cena was taken out of the arena on a stretcher, as the event came to a close.
Following the results of the main event, The Big Show appeared in a match against Batista the following night on Raw to determine who would challenge Randy Orton next for the WWE title. During the match, John Cena came down to the ring, distracting the Big Show, which led to Batista winning the match. Vickie Guerrero would subsequently announce The Big Show would wrestle Cena at Judgment Day, when Cena would be medically-cleared to compete in the match.
With Edge winning the World Heavyweight title, the title became exclusive to SmackDown!, with Jeff Hardy becoming the number-one contender to face Edge at Judgment Day by winning a fatal four-way match against Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and Kane.
Not satisfied at how he lost the title (due to his collision with a turnbuckle exposed by Christian, which is technically illegal), Jack Swagger would invoke his rematch clause at Judgment Day, and before that match were to take place, he would make sure that no one would receive a title match before he did by interfering in Christian's matches.
The show received positive feedback from many viewers. Canadian sportswriter, Matt Bishop, gave the show an overall score of 7/10; most of his praise for the show concentrated on the World Heavyweight title match, which he awarded 9/10. In addition, Dave Meltzer, writer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, called the show solid, and gave the main event a score of four-and-a-half stars out of five.
Writing for The Sun, The LilsBoys rated the event a 9/10, stating that the event contained "great matches, solid storylines and well-written endings." They praised the match between Matt and Jeff Hardy, saying that "the ending that was truly something special, one of the best we’ve seen in ages." The LilsBoys also praised the World Heavyweight Championship match, touting it as the "match of the night", and stating the final spot with Big Show throwing Cena into the spotlight was "the year’s most memorable moment so far". The Baltimore Sun's writer, Kevin Eck, also praised the World Heavyweight Championship match, calling it a "show-stealer" and praised the Jericho/Steamboat match, stating that "The booking here was well done, as Steamboat showed that he can still go".
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler
- Christian defeated Jack Swagger to win the ECW Championship (10:59)
- Chris Jericho defeated Ricky Steamboat (12:32)
- Kane defeated CM Punk (9:24)
- Jeff Hardy defeated Matt Hardy in an I Quit Match (19:08)
- Santina Marella defeated Beth Phoenix (00:03)
- Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase) defeated Triple H (c), Batista & Shane McMahon in a 6 Man Tag Team Match Orton won the WWE Championship (22:48)
- Edge defeated John Cena in a Last Man Standing Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship (28:24)
Other on-screen talent
- Backlash 2009 Official Website
- Backlash 2009 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Backlash 2009 at Online World of Wrestling
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