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Wrestling / BackLash

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Backlash is a WWE pay-per-view event that was created in 1999. The event is held at every April (2005 and 2016 being the exception). Started as an In Your House event (and the 28th and final event of the In Your House PPV series), Backlash was rebranded as an annual PPV event for WWE in 2000. During the brand-extension, the event was made exclusive to Raw in 2004 through 2006. In 2007, the brand-exclusive events ended, and Backlash became tri-branded. Extreme Rules replaced Backlash in its late-April slot in 2010. It returned as a SmackDown-exclusive event in September 2016. The scheduled 2019 event was canceled and replaced by Stomping Grounds, but Backlash was reinstated in 2020. In 2021, Backlash was scheduled for the May PPV slot, returning it to its original position of being the post-WrestleMania PPV in which the 2021 edition will be titled WrestleMania Backlash.


Backlash has often featured rematches from WrestleMania, or matches based on events that took place at WrestleMania, hence the name. This is also the possible reason for the PPV's aforementioned name change.

This event contains examples of:

  • The Bad Guy Wins:
  • Big Damn Heroes: In 2000, Stone Cold ran in to help The Rock finally take the WWF Championship from Triple H.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak:
  • The Bus Came Back: The event was discontinued at the beginning of The New '10s, but returned in 2016.
  • Call-Back: In Backlash '04, which took place in Canada, Chris Benoit locks Shawn Michaels in the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring, which is what Shawn did to Bret Hart in Survivor Series '97 regarding the Montreal Screwjob.
  • Calvinball: In 2001, then-commissioner William Regal faced off Chris Jericho in a "Duchess of Queensbury Rules" match. Jericho tries to pin Regal? The match is divided into two rounds, and round one just ended. Jericho gets a submission? No, submissions aren't allowed. Regal won the match.
  • Dawn of an Era:
    • The 2007 event was the first PPV to be tri-branded, as wrestlers from Raw, Smackdown, and ECW competed at the show.
    • The 2016 event was the first Smackdown PPV since the second Brand Splitnote  and features AJ Styles and Becky Lynch respectively winning the WWE World and Smackdown Women's Titles, their first championship golds in WWE. Speaking of Lynch, she was the inaugural champion.
    • Much like the 2007 event, the one in 2018 was the first dual branded PPV outside of the Big 4 to be dual branded.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable:
  • Double Knockout:
    • The Last Man Standing match between Batista and The Undertaker in the 2007 event ended this way after Batista speared The Undertaker off of the stage.
    • The No Disqualification match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in the 2018 event ended this way after both men knocked each other out after performing simultaneous Groin Attacks.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted with the "I Quit" match that Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy had at the 2009 edition. The storyline leading to the match had Matt attacking his brother several times, including trying to blow him up with pyro and insinuating that he had something to do with the fire that destroyed Jeff's house and killed his beloved dog, on top of costing his brother the WWE Championship to Edge. Come the event, Matt begged for Jeff's forgiveness while he was hogtied to a table while Jeff was preparing a double leg drop from a rather tall ladder, including saying "I quit!". It looked like Jeff was going to back down after that, but he vaulted himself over the ladder and leg dropped Matt anyway, breaking Matt's arm in the process. Matt wouldn't be forgiven until several months down the line during his brother's famous feud with CM Punk, in which he had to prove himself by helping Jeff several times.
  • End of an Age: The 2002 event is the last PPV featured by the company under the WWF namenote .
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: In 2000, The Dudley Boys, who were heels, and the team of Test and Albert (T&A) along with their manager Trish Stratus, who were faces, reversed their roles during their feud, with fans being very supportive of Trish getting powerbombed through a table.
  • History Repeats:
    • Triple H has lost a World Title match at Backlash a total of six times (2000, 2002, 2004-2006, and 2009), half of those times (2000, 2002, and 2009) he was the defending Champion. He has also competed in this event in a six-man tag team match twice (2003 and 2009) as well as for a singles title in a tag team match twice (2001 and 2009).
    • John Cena was in the main event from 2006-2009. In those four years, he entered the event as a defending champion thrice (2006, 2007, 2009) and successfully retained his title during the first two times. Also, two of those appearances were in Fatal-Four Way matches (2007 and 2008).
    • Speaking of Cena, he and Edge had clashed in this event 3 times (2006, 2007, and 2009). The first involved a triple-threat match which involved Triple H, the second involved a Fatal-4-Way which involved Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton, and the last one was a one-on-one Last Man Standing match, with Edge capturing his 9th world title.
    • The 2016 event featured Becky Lynch being crowned as an inaugural Women's Champion for the second time in her career. The first was in 2005, when she became the first ever SuperGirls Champion (now ECCW Women's Champion).
    • The Rock came to this event as the No. 1 contender for the World Title twice, first in 1999 then the following year. He successfully captured the gold in the latter.
    • The event took place at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island twice (1999 and 2009). Also, in 2017, the event took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois for the second time, the first being in 2001.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: The poster of the 2016 event has Dean Ambrose with thesenote .
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: The Edge/Orton match for 2020 has been given over-the-top marketing by WWE as the "Greatest Wrestling Match Ever". To further emphasize it, the tagline was also used in other matchup graphics for the show whilst the event's theme tune was "The Greatest Show" by Panic! at the Disco.
  • Kiss of Distraction: Trish Stratus had been doing this to Bubba Ray Dudley in April 2000. Then at the PPV, she did it again, but it probably wasn't very wise of her to flip her hair and smirk, making it obvious she had been trying to manipulate him...
  • Kubrick Stare: All the posters except the 2017 one have the featured wrestlers in this stance.
  • Loser Leaves Town: More along the lines of "Loser Goes To Other Brand". From Backlash '02, if Triple H loses to Hulk Hogan, he will be drafted to Smackdown.
  • Mêlée à Trois: There are only a few main event matches in this event which feature more than two wrestlers competing for the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship.
    • 2001: Stone Cold and Triple H vs The Undertaker and Kane in an All or Nothing match for the WWF (held by Austin), IC held by HHH) and Tag Titles (held by the Brothers of Destruction).
    • 2004: Chris Benoit vs Triple H vs Shawn Michaels in the rematch from WM20.
    • 2006: John Cena vs Triple H vs Edge.
    • 2007: John Cena vs Shawn Michaels vs Edge vs Randy Orton
    • 2008: John Cena vs Triple H vs Randy Orton vs JBL.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Big Show gives one to Rey Mysterio in 2003. After No Selling three 619s in a row and defeating him handily, Rey was taken out on a stretcher board. Big Show, however, came back down, picked up Rey still strapped to the board and swung the board like a baseball bat against the ring post (which would be sick in itself, but the immobile Rey also splatted face-first to the mat).
  • Oddball in the Series: The 2016 event is so far the only one not held in either April or May (it was held in September) and not preceded by (or at least close to) WrestleMania note .
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Several posters:
  • Series Mascot: Triple H has served as the face of this PPV the most, being the featured superstar in the posters for the 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006 events.
  • Sinister Scythe: The Undertaker is holding one in the 2008 poster.
  • Slasher Smile: Edge in the 2007 poster.
  • Sudden Death: In 2001, this happens in the 30-minute Ultimate Submission match between Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, in which Benoit wins at 4-3.


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