Written by: Adam King
Thursday, April 26th, 2001
Taped (4/24) from the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/16/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker & Kane (4/19/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Rhyno (4/19/2001)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)
~ Smackdown comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Michael Cole and Tazz welcoming us to the show and reminding us we’re just three days away from Backlash.
~ Things kick off with Commissioner William Regal coming out to the ring for our opening match which he says will be fought under ‘Duchess of Queensbury’ rules. Kurt Angle then comes out with his own mic and says he wants to apologize for his comments on Rawcomparing Chris Benoit to Terrell Davis going down on opening day. Angle says this Sunday Benoit will instead go down faster than the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Of course the opposite happened and the Avalanche actually ended up winning the Stanley Cup but that’s another story.
- Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle & William Regal – “Duchess of Queensbury” Rules
I guess they’re doing this remtacth to make up for their disappointing bout on Raw. All four men go at it to start and Jericho tosses Regal over the ropes and helps Benoit double-team Angle in a corner. Regal comes in but the Chrises double-team him when Angle tries to make the save but Benoit and Jericho sidesteps him and Angle ends up splashing Regal. Benoit grabs Angle for a German suplex but Angle trips Benoit up and goes right into the Anklelock. Jericho breaks that up with a dropkick but Regal nails him with a foream and goes for the Regal Stretch. Benoit stomps Angle to break that up but Regal takes Benoit down by the leg then locks kunckles with him. Benoit kips up for a test of strength but Regal hits a monkey flip while keeping the knuckles locked. Regal goes for a whip but Benoit counters with a Dragon suplex. Benoit goes for the Crossface when Angle breaks it up so Benoit knocks him through the ropes with a forearm. Jericho tags in and chops Regal into the ropes then whips him and hits an elbow as Angle makes a blind tag. Jericho hiptosses Angle right onto Regal and hits a chop then goes for a whip, Angle reverses it but Jericho hits a crossbody for a two count. Jericho goes for a whip when Angle tosses him over the ropes but Jericho lands on his feet on the apron then climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying elbow. Jericho whips Angle who gets a waistlock and goes for a suplex but Jericho rolls through it into the Walls of Jericho. Regal comes in but Jericho catches him with a forearm then Jericho clotheslines Angle before tagging in Benoit. Benoit hits some chops when Angle rakes the face and goes for a whip but Benoit reverses and hits a knee to the chest followed by a chop. Benoit whips Angle into a corner and hits a German suplex then holds on but Regal breaks it up. Regal tags in and hits the kneelifts then whips Benoit and hits an elbow. Angle tags in to take over on Benoit and hits a snap suplex for a two count. Regal tags in and hits a European uppercut and goes for a whip, Benoit reverses into a corner but Regal stops himself. Both men collide then start crawling to their corners and Angle tags Regal while Benoit tags Jericho.
Jericho hits a pair of forearms on Angle then pops Regal off the apron and bulldogs Angle. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses him into a corner and charges but eats a boot. Jericho hops to the middle rope and connects with a missile dropkick then covers as Regal comes in. Regal tries to make the save with an elbowdrop but misses Jericho and nails Angle by mistake. Jericho dropkicks Regal out to the floor then goes for a whip and Angle reverses but lowers the head. Jericho kicks the face and comes off the ropes but Angle tosses him onto the rope ar Regal snaps it back. Regal tags in and whips Jericho but misses a clothesline and Jericho rolls him up for a near fall. Regal hits his own dropkick then tags Angle back in and Angle chokes Jericho on the middle rope. Angle hits a back suplex for a two count then applies a chinlock and Jericho counters with a jawbreaker. Jericho crawls to his corner but Regal tags in and pops Benoit off the apron to prevent a tag. Regal puts Jericho in a modified surfboard but Benoit comes in and breaks it up and Angle tags in. Angle stomps Jericho down then whips him but Jericho hits a flying forearm and crawls to his corner. Angle grabs Jericho’s leg but Jericho kicks him away with an enzuigiri and makes the hot tag to Benoit. Benoit takes it to both men and whips Angle into a belly-to-belly suplex then follows up with a DDT. Benoit kocks Regal off the apron then climbs to the top rope and connects with the diving headbutt. Regal breaks up the pin and hits Benoit with the inverted neckbreaker then goes for the cover himself but Jericho saves it and plants Regal with a Fireman’s carry. Jericho then connects with the Lionsault and covers Regal but Angle breaks it up and hits the Olympic Slam. Angle tries for the pin but Benoit pulls him off and tosses him over the ropes then goes out after him on the floor. Benoit hits another chop and goes for a whip but Angle sends him into the ringsteps. Jericho puts Regal in the Walls of Jericho but Angle comes back in and nails Jericho from behind then helps Regal double-team him. Regal slaps on the Regal Stretch while Angle adds an Anklelock and Jericho is forced to tap but the referee DQ’s Angle and Regal isntead. Tony Chimel is about to announce the decision but Regal interupts him and says that’s not happening because the Duchess of Queensbury Rules allow both men to put their submissions on their opponent and that there’s no disqualification so therefore he and Angle are the winners. (10:53) Okay then. Very solid match other than the screwy ending, since all four men actually had time to put something together unlike Raw. However the finish should have tipped off how Jericho’s match with Regal is going to go on Sunday. ***
~ Backstage a limo pulls up and the Helmsleys come out when Vince McMahon comes up to greet them. Vince asks Triple H to step into his office because he has big plans for him and Steve Austin tonight. Hmmm.
~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the Pepsi Center as Cole and Tazz talk about Backlash and show a video package highlighting all the events leading up to Sunday’s main event.
~ Backstage Vince McMahon, Steve Austin and Triple H react to what they’ve just seen on the monitor with Vince saying how he’s proud of what they’ve accomplished and Austin and Triple H feel they have more to come. Vince says tonight will be a night to remember after he talked with William Regal about some handicap matches. Vince says Kane will face Edge and Christian while Undertaker will take on three members of Right to Censor and if either brother interferes in the other’s matches the WWF and IC titles won’t be on the line Sunday. Vince then informs Austin and Triple H they will have a match as well but the two of them balk at competing so close to Backlash. Vince explains the two of them have to be razor sharp and pushed to the limit to prepare for the pay-per-view and that he’s not going to reveal their opponents because he wants them to be ready for anybody. Vince asks Triple H to look after Stephanie while asking Austin to deal with Debra after she slapped him. Vince tells his pals he has business to attend to and departs leaving them to dwell on their opponents.
~ Back from break we find Vince McMahon talking with Steve Richards who tells him thanks for something. Vince then shakes Richards’ hand before piling into his limo and driving off to handle his business.
- WWF EUROPEAN TITLE: Eddie Guerrero © (w/Perry Saturn & Terri) vs. Matt Hardy (w/Jeff Hardy & Lita)
Eddie’s scheduled to defend the title against Raven on Sunday so this is just a tuneup before the pay-per-view, right? Anyway Eddie starts off with a waistlock, Matt switches behind him but Eddie counters it with an armdrag. Eddie follows up with a headscissors when Matt slips out so Eddie applies an armwringer but Matt counters into his own hold and Eddie tries to flip out of it. Matt applies an armbar and Eddie goes for a whip but Matt reverses him into a corner and taunts him then hits a pair of armdrags. Matt slaps on another armbar but Eddie forces him into a corner to break it. Eddie gets in some shots but Matt reverses positions and tees off on Eddie then goes for a whip but Eddie trips Matt into the turnbuckles. Eddie lays the boots to Matt and chokes him then hits a suplex. Eddie goes out to the apron and slings himself over the ropes into a hilo for a two count. Eddie pounds on Matt and hammers him in a corner with shoulderblocks then whips him into the other conrer and charges but Matt lifts himself over and Eddie and maanges a victory roll for a two count. Eddie clotheslines Matt down and chokes him with his boot then hits a back suplex for a near fall. Eddie applies a keylock, Matt fights out of it and comes off the ropes but Eddie slaps on a sleeper. Matt shoves Eddie off and applies his own sleeper but Eddie shoves him off and goes back to his sleeper when Matt counters that with a back suplex. Matt gets in his own shots and caps off with a discus punch then catapults Eddie into the turnbuckle. Matt slams Eddie then climbs to the middle rope and connects with the guillotine legdrop but only gets two. Matt comes off the ropes but Eddie tosses him through them on the other side. Eddie goes out after Matt but Matt rams him into the ringsteps then clotheslines him. Matt tosses Eddie back in the ring then climbs to the top rope but Saturn crotches him on the turnbuckle. Jeff runs along the barricade and clotheslines Saturn while Eddie hits Matt with a huricanrana off the top rope for a two count. Saturn rams Jeff into the ringsteps then chagres but Jeff trips him into the steps. Terri kicks Jeff so Lita chases Terri into the ring and Eddie and the referee try to get her back out. However Lita climbs to the top rope as Matt grabs Eddie from behind and shoves him into a huricanrana from Lita. Matt quickly follows up with the Twist of Fate and gets the 1..2..3 for the title! (6:20) Matt wins just his second singles title and celebrates with Lita and Jeff in the ring. Good match there but it just seems too much like this was supposed to be some sort of consolation prize for the Hardys after getting dumped from the main event storyline back to the midcard. Not to mention we have another title changing hands on the fourth straightSmackdown in a row. And what about Raven, who was supposed to face Eddie for the title at the apy-per-view? ***
~ Backstage Edge and Christian visit William Regal in his office and congradulate him on his win earlier with Regal wishing E&C luck in their match later. However Edge wants to know what’s in it for them for facing Kane so Regal asks them what they would like and Christian says he wants some gold, specifically European gold. Christian complains about Matt Hardy being European Champion when his grandmother is Luxemborgian and Regal says he’d like to make a match but Eddie Guerrero would be wanting a title match as well so Christian suggests a triple threat match. Regal then asks about Raven’s scheduled title shot atBacklash and Edge suggests giving Raven a shot at Rhyno’s Hardcore Title instead, feeling Raven likes that type of match. Regal mentions Test has a shot at Rhyno tonight but decided the winner of that match can face Raven on Sunday. Regal also grants Christian is request and books Matt vs. Eddie vs. Christian for the European Title as well. Regal then tells E&C to go get Kane and Edge promises the Big Red Machine will have a meltdown tonight.
Now think about this. The top two tag teams are now fighting over a singles title. They could have done The Hardys vs. Austin & Triple H and Edge/Christian vs. Undertaker/Kane, which would have made a lot more interesting pay-per-view, but the top guys just have to have the main event for themselves so the other guys have to be content with a midcard singles title. Yeah.
~ Elsewhere backstage Steven Richards addresses his troops on his doubts about all of them. Richards yells at Bull Buchanan about the lies and excuses and Val Venis takes exception to his tone but Richards tells Val he can talk to him anyway. Richards says he loves the like his own children but they pay him back by constantly letting him down. Goodfather tells Richard they don’t like his attitude but Richards slaps him and they nearly come to blows. Ricahrds says desparate times call for desparate measures and he feels they can’t get the job done by themselves so he spoke to Vince McMahon earlier and as a result has been added to their handicap match. Richards says he will lead by example and says their win tonight will show everyone they are for real.
~ Kane is shown heading to the ring as Steve Austin and Triple H are watching with their wives. Austin tells Debra to go fetch some coffee with Triple H and Stephanie putting in orders as well.
~ Back from break we get the Marilyn Manson “Fight Song” video with The Undertaker and Kane.
- Kane vs. Edge & Christian – Handicap Match
Kane takes it to E&C with right hands then clotheslines Christian over the ropes and clothesline Edge. Kane follows up with a one-arm suplex then whips Edge and hits a backdrop. Christian comes in and eats an elbow but grabs Kane’s leg allowing Edge to dropkick the bad arm. Edge stomps away at the bad arm then tags Christian in and Christian takes over on the arm as we get a shot of Triple H and Steve Austin watching from the back and liking what they’re seeing. Christian hammers the arm and Kane fights back but Christian shoves him elbow-first into the turnbuckles. Edge tags in and wraps Kane’s arm around the ringpost then goes in and wraps it around the top rope. Edge applies a cross armbreaker but Kane manages to counter into a leglock. Chrisitan comes in for the save when Kane grabs him in a choke but Edge kicks the arm to break it up. Christian tags in and wrenches the bad arm then goes into a standing armbar as Kane tries to tough it out. Christian turns it into a hammerlock but Kane manages to get to his feet and plants Christian with a Samoan Drop. Kane starts fighting back but Christian hammers him in a corner then wraps the arm around the rope. Kane shoves Christian off with his free hand and hits a one-arm sidewalk slam. Kane climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline then covers Christian but Edge barely saves it. E&C whip Kane but Kane comes back with a double clothesline then catches Christian with a big boot. Kane grabs Edge by the throat and goes for a chokeslam but Christian punches the arm to prevent it. Kane tosses Christian over the ropes but Edge nails from behind and E&C tie the bad arm into the ropes. Christian grabs a pair of chairs and E&C hit a Conchairto on the bad arm to end this one. (5:34) Mainly used the build the angle of Kane’s bad arm. E&C celebrate as Kane is screaming in pain but does chase them out of the ring with a chair. **
~ Backstage Steve Austin and Triple H laugh at what they just saw feeling Kane’s arm has to be broken by now. Debra arrives with everyone’s coffee but tells Stephanie she had to use cream since they were out of skim milk. Debra hands Stephanie and Triple H their coffee but when she gets to Austin she just throws it at him. Austin curses up a storm and orders Debra to go wait in the truck for him as we go to commercial.
- WWF HARDCORE TITLE: Rhyno © vs. Test
As mentioned earlier whoever comes away with the title has to defend it against Raven at the pay-per-view. Rhyno gets in the first shots and Test backdrops him over the ropes. Rhyno snaps him onto the rope and starts throwing plunder in the ring. Rhyno wedges a trash can in a corner between the ropes and beats Test down in another corner. Rhyno goes for a whip but Test reverses him into the corner trash can. Test misses the big boot and Rhyno goes for the Gore but misses Test and charges back into the can Test grabs a lid and whacks Rhyno with it for a two count and Rhyno rolls out to the floor. Test goes out but Rhyno sprays him with a fire extinguisher then whacks him in the chest with it. Rhyno whips Test into the steps then grabs another lid and nails Test over the barricade. Rhyno goes out and brawls with Test through the crowd and the two of them end up near the OvalTron. Rhyno chokes Test on the floor and rams him into an anvil case then hammers witm with right hands. Test starts fighting back and knock Rhyno into a shopping cart then rams it into the bleachers. Test then rams the shpping cart into Rhyno and chases him to the back but Rhyno rams him into a door. Both men make their way into the loading dock and Rhyno grabs a lid but Test boots it into his face. The Big Show suddenly comes in and clubs Test then scoops him up and rams him into a garage door allowing Rhyno to grab the pin. (4:56) The usual hardcore stuff, but Rhyno was finding a nice niche in the hardcore division. Rhyno takes his belt and runs off while Show throws Test into some anvil case then chokeslams him onto a stack of wodden palettes. *½
~ Back from break Steve Blackman yells at Grandmaster Sexay while being handcuffed to four fat ladies. Blackman says he agreed to be on Chains of Love but was promised four sexy women instead of them. Blackman says he can’t get a meal in, can’t get in the shower and says one of them eats in her sleep. Sexay explains he told the producers to provide the hippest, phatest girls but they apparenly misunderstood. Sexay throws some chocolates in the air and the ladies scramble for them as Blackman tries to control them. Sexay then has the ladies show off some dance moves as some guy comes in to free Blackman from the cuffs. One of the ladies asks Blackman why he’s The Lethal Weapon and Blackman replies she’ll never know. Sexay feels that lady likes him and Blackman rolls his eyes and departs. Stupid and pointless segment used to promote yet another failed UPN show.
~ Out in the arena X-Pac leads Albert and Justin Credible to the ring to promote their six-man match this Sunday. Credible gets on the mic first and says the Dudley Boyz are just that: boys trying to live in a man’s world. Credible says he’s been punking out the Dudleys since day one and single-handedly ran them out of ECW then claims the Dudleys were worried about making a reputation while they’ve been making an impact. X-Pac takes the mic and addresses the Dudleys by saying their “Wassup” phrase when out with nickel beer. X-Pac says the Dudley couldn’t beat him with the 3D and all three of them certainly can’t beat Albert. X-Pac claims the Dudleys don’t have to guts to face them tonight so they’ll have to finish this at Backlash but sure enough here comes the Dudley trio out to the stage to respond. D’Von warns D’Von warns X-Pac to lose the bass in his voice before he sends Spike down to knock it out for him then promises to show X-Factor why no one messes with the Dudleys this Sunday. Bubba Ray mentions Big Daddy Dudley taught them to keep their friends close and keep them enemies closer and decides to get up close to them. The three Dudleys head down the ramp and all six men go at it. Credible pounds Spike down then helps X-Pac double-team Bubba while Albert works over D’Von nearby. Credible tosses Spike in the ring and whips him but Spike comes back with the flying headscissors. Albert goes in and clotheslines Spike in the back of the head then whips him into a corner and goes for the Avalanche but Spike sidestpes. Spike runs up Albert while hitting Credible with the Dudley Dawg. Albert grabs Spike for the Baldobomb but the Dudleys come in and chopblock Albert causing Spike to fall on top of him. Spike tees off on Albert before Bubba sets Albert up while D’Von climbs to the top and hits the Wassup headbutt. X-Pac comes in and nails D’Von from behind when Spike goes for a whip but X-Pac reverses it. However Spike bails out to the floor instead and X-Pac turns right into the 3D from the Dudleys. The Dudleys got the better of X-Factor tonight but can they do it again on the pay-per-view?
~ The Undertaker is showing heading to the ring as are The Right To Censor while Austin and Triple H are watching their monitor, anticipating the handicap match as we go to commercial.
- The Undertaker vs. The Right To Censor – 4-on-1 Handicap Match
Austin and Triple H are banking on the RTC to soften Taker up but can they overcome all the losing and strife that’s tearing them apart as of late? Taker takes it to three of the four RTC’ers to start and Richards comes in but runs back out. Taker hammers Bull Buchanan into a corner then whips him into the other corner and charges but eats an elbow. Buchanan whips Taker but Taker comes back with a flying clothesline. Taker grabs Buchanan by the arm then walks the top rope and clubs him in the back. Buchanan looks to tag in Richards but Richards yells something at him and slaps him in the face instead. Buchanan grabs Richards by the shirt when Taker grabs Buchanan then whips him but lowers the head. Buchanan kicks the face but Taker no-sells it and backdrops Buchanan over the ropes. Taker brings Goodfather in the hard way and pounds him down in a corner. Val comes in but Taker throws him into Goodfather and gets in some shots. Taker whips Val into the other corner. Taker clotheslines Val and Goodfather in the opposite corners then nails Val with a big boot. Taker grabs Val and Buchanan by the throat but Goodfather breaks up a chokeslam with a clothesline. The RTC’ers triple-team Taker as Ausitn and Triple H continue to voice their approval from the back. Taker fights out of the corner then whips Val who goes for a crossbody but Taker catches him into a slam. Buchanan suplexes Taker from behind and the three RTC’s lay the boots to Taker as Richards barks orders. Richards eventually calls off his men wanting to finish Taker himself and even shoves Val aside to do it. Val, Goodfather and Buchanan walk out of the ring and Richards charges at Taker but runs into a big boot. Taker plants Richards with the Last Ride and gets the pin as the other RTC’ers look on and decide not to help their leader. (3:50) Yes, Taker just destroyed four men by miself. Austin and Triple H are not happy with this development as Taker rides out in triumph. And this was pretty much the last gasp for the Right To Censor as the group would become jobbers before finally dissolving. *
~ Backstage Austin and Triple H are meeting with William Regal wanting to know who their opponents are. Regal hesitates at first but finally whispers the answer to them and Austin and Triple H react … with shock. Triple H tells Stephanie to stay in the back feeling this is going to get dangerous as they walk off.
~ Out in the arena Cole and Tazz talk about the Shane McMahon/Big Show Last Man Standing match as we cut to the WWF Studios in Stamford, CT where we find Shane McMahon holding a book. Shane says he saw what the Big Show did to Test earlier and wants to read a fable to calm Show down. Shane reads from his story “Jack Shane and the Beanstalk” which talks about the match on Sunday in a nursery rhyme.
~ Steve Austin and Triple H are walking to the ring for the main event as we go to commercial.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin & Triple H vs. ????????
I wonder if anybody’s noticed how Austin always comes out before Triple H, even though he’s the WWF Champion. Just thought I’d point that out. Anyway we have just a couple of minutes of airtime left as Austin and Triple H make their entrances and they’re followed by …. Kaientai. Yeah, I’m sure everyone’s surprised. Anyway Taka Michinoku and Fuanki come out wearing Avalanche jerseys as Take gets on the mic and tells them they may be that good but he and Funaki are that evil. Taka and Funaki make their way down the ramp and it looks like a very quick squash is looming, right? However Taka gets on the mic again and talks about dead men in the ring in a very familiar voice. The Undertaker and Kane then rush the ring and jump Austin and Triple H from behind then clear their two opponents from the ring. Taker and Kane pose with all four title belts and the two sides have another staredown to do the hard sell as Smackdown goes off the air.
Conclusion: Well, there’s your go-home show for Backlash. The first two matches were good but for the most part the program was the usual hard sell for the pay-per-view, such as it was since it only really had a week’s build. And even then some of the card was reshuffled at the last minute, especially with the Hardys and Edge & Christian. It’s just sad how both teams could have been in main event matches on the pay-per-view but again were relegated to fighting over the European Title. And not to mention we didn’t even get a main event. So check out the show for the tag match and Matt Hardy’s title win but turn it off afterward since there’s nothing else worth watching after that. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.