WWE Backlash is an American professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event that is produced by WWE, a professional wrestling promotion based in Connecticut. The event was created in April 1999 as an annual PPV event for WWE (World Wrestling Federation at the time) and was held as the post-WrestleMania PPV until 2009. To coincide with the brand extension, the event was made exclusive to the Raw brand in 2004. In 2007, all PPV events became tri-branded following that year's WrestleMania. Extreme Rules then replaced Backlash in 2010.
After the newly reinstated WWE brand extension took effect in 2016, Backlash returned as a SmackDown-exclusive event and as a post-SummerSlam event on the same year, thus ending its previous tradition of being the post-WrestleMania PPV. The 2017 edition of the event remained SmackDown-exclusive but was moved up to May. Following WrestleMania 34 in 2018, all WWE PPVs ceased being brand exclusive. 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—as a result, the 2021 edition will be titled "WrestleMania Backlash."
Backlash consists of a main event and undercard of championship matches and various other wrestling matches. The first Backlash was originally promoted under the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) banner, the former name of WWE. It took place on April 25, 1999 and aired live on PPV. From 1995 through 1999, In Your House PPV events took place during the months in between WWE's big 5 PPV events. In February 1999, the final production of an In Your House event took place, though many of the former In Your House events, such as No Way Out, and Judgment Day among others, were rebranded as annual PPV events. Backlash in April 1999 was originally advertised as an In Your House event, but the In Your House name was dropped before the actual event took place.
In 2002, WWF was court ordered to change their name, which resulted in the promotion changing its name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). A couple of months before the name change, WWE held a draft that split its roster into two distinctive brands — Raw and SmackDown; a third brand, ECW, was added in 2006. After the draft, matches only consisted of wrestlers from their distinctive brands. The first Backlash event to be produced under the WWE banner and with roster limitations was the 2003 Backlash. Later on in 2003, WWE made PPV events, excluding WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and the Royal Rumble, exclusive to each brand; Backlash was made exclusive to the Raw brand. Backlash 2006 was the final brand exclusive Backlash event of the original brand extension, as WWE opened all PPV events to all three brands. The 2009 event was then the final Backlash to be held until 2016. Following the second brand split in July 2016, Backlash returned as a SmackDown event on September 11. It was also a SmackDown-branded event in 2017. The 2018 event was originally to be a Raw-branded event, but following WrestleMania 34 that year, all WWE pay-per-views ceased being brand exclusive, and thus the event featured wrestlers from both Raw and SmackDown. A Backlash event was originally planned for 2019, but it was canceled and replaced by Stomping Grounds; however, Backlash returned in 2020.
The inaugural event took place on April 25, 1999 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Eight professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card as well as four matches on Sunday Night Heat before the show aired live. The event had an attendance of 10,939. The event was praised by the Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section giving the show 8 out of 10 and declaring, "the World Wrestling Federation had something to prove and prove it they did". The main event scheduled on the card was a No Disqualification Special Guest Referee match for the WWF Championship. The match saw Steve Austin defeating The Rock to retain his championship with Shane McMahon as guest referee.
The second Backlash event was held on April 30, 2000 at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C.. Nine professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card. The event had an attendance of 19,101. The main event was a Special Guest Referee match for the WWF Championship. The match was between reigning champion, Triple H, and challenger The Rock with guest referee Shane McMahon.
Other matches on the event card included a singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship between Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, which Benoit won by disqualification. As a result, Benoit retained the championship. Crash Holly defeated Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Hardcore Holly, Perry Saturn, and Tazz to retain the Hardcore Championship. Eddie Guerrero also pinned Essa Rios for the WWF European Championship.
Backlash 2001 was held on April 29, 2001 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card, with two matches scheduled on Sunday Night Heat. The event had an attendance of 17,154. The main event was a tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship, the WWF Championship and the WWF Intercontinental Championship between The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) versus WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and Intercontinental Champion Triple H, The Two Man Power Trip in which the person to get the fall would win the Tag Team Championship as well as the championship of the wrestler who was pinned. Austin and Triple H won the match to win the Tag team championship.
Other matches on the card included Chris Benoit defeating Kurt Angle four falls to three in sudden death overtime of an Ultimate Submission match, Shane McMahon defeating The Big Show in a Last Man Standing match and Matt Hardy retaining the European Championship by defeating Eddie Guerrero and Christian in a Triple Threat match.
The fourth event under the Backlash chronology was held on April 21, 2002 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. This was the last Backlash event under the WWF name before the name was changed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Nine professional wrestling matches were scheduled for the event and one dark match was scheduled before the event began airing live. The theme song was "Young Grow Old" (performed by Creed). The event had an attendance of 12,489. The main event on the card was a singles match for the Undisputed WWF Championship, which saw Hollywood Hulk Hogan defeat Triple H to win the championship.
Other matches that were scheduled on the event card included a Special Referee match between The Undertaker and Steve Austin with Ric Flair as guest referee. The Undertaker won the match. Another match was Eddie Guerrero versus Rob Van Dam for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, which Guerrero won to become the new Intercontinental champion. Also Kurt Angle defeated Edge in a singles match.
2003's Backlash was the first Backlash produced under the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) name. It took place on April 27, 2003 at Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts and starred talent from the promotion's Raw and SmackDown! brands. Eight professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card with a dark match taking place before the event went live. The event had an attendance of 10,000 and grossed US$450,000 through ticket sales and pay-per-view buys. The theme song for the event was "Remedy" (performed by Cold). The main event was a singles match between Goldberg and The Rock, which Goldberg won. The main match from the Smackdown! brand was a WWE Championship match between John Cena and reigning champion, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar won the match and retained the championship.
Other matches on the card included a six man tag team match between the team of Triple H, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho against Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Booker T, which Triple H, Flair, and Jericho won and an encounter of The Big Show and Rey Mysterio, which The Big Show won.
The sixth Backlash event was held on April 18, 2004 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta and was a Raw brand-exclusive event. This was the only Backlash that has been held in Canada. Eight professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card. The event had an attendance of 13,000. The main event was a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship between reigning champion Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H. Benoit won and retained the championship.
Other matches on the event card included a Hardcore match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship between Randy Orton and Cactus Jack. Orton won the match and retained the championship. Another primary match on the card was between Edge and Kane, which Edge won. The theme song used for this event is "Eyes Wired Shut" by Edgewater.
The 2005 event was held on May 1, 2005 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire and had an attendance of 14,000. Backlash 2005 helped WWE increase its pay-per-view revenue by $4.7 million, through ticket sales and pay-per-view buys. The theme song for the event was "Stronger" (performed by Trust Company). Six professional wrestling matches were scheduled for the event. The main event was a singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Batista and Triple H. Batista won the match and retained his championship.
In addition to the main event the undercard included a Last Man Standing match between Edge and Chris Benoit, which Edge won after Benoit was unable to get to his feet before the referee's count to ten and a Tag team match between the team of Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan facing Muhammad Hassan and Daivari, which Hogan and Michaels won.
The 2006 event was held on April 30, 2006 at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. It had an attendance of 14,000 and earned $480,000 through ticket sales and pay-per-view buys. Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event card. The main event was a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between reigning champion John Cena, Triple H and Edge. Cena won the match and retained the championship.
Other matches that were scheduled on the event card included a No Holds Barred match between the team of father and son, Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon facing Shawn Michaels and "God". Vince pinned Michaels to win the match after the Spirit Squad interfered. Also, reigning Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin and Money in the Bank winner, Rob Van Dam faced each other in a title-for-contract match. Van Dam won the match and the championship and retained his contract. The theme for this event was "Baby Hates Me" by Danko Jones.
The ninth Backlash event was held on April 29, 2007 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first WWE event (with the exception of WrestleMania) that became tri-branded with talent from Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW. The event had an attendance of 14,500. The theme song for the event was "There and Back Again" (performed by Daughtry). Six professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card with one dark match taking place before the event went live. The main event on the Raw brand was a Fatal Four-Way match for the WWE Championship between champion John Cena, Randy Orton, Edge, and Shawn Michaels. Cena won the match and retained his championship. The main match on the Smackdown! brand was a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship pitting The Undertaker against Batista. The match ended in a no-contest after both wrestlers were unable to get to their feet by the count of ten.
Other matches on the card included Bobby Lashley versus Team McMahon (Umaga, Vince McMahon, and Shane McMahon) in a Handicap match for the ECW World Championship. Vince won the title and the match for his team after pinning Lashley. The other primary match on the undercard was a singles match between Chris Benoit and Montel Vontavious Porter for the WWE United States Championship, which Benoit won to retain the championship.
The tenth Backlash event took place on April 27, 2008 at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland in front of 11,277 fans. The event received 200,000 pay-per-view buys, more than the previous year's event, Backlash 2007. The theme for this event was "All Summer Long by Kid Rock. The card consisted of seven professional wrestling matches. The main match from the Raw brand was a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWE Championship. The match involved reigning champion Randy Orton, Triple H, John Cena, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield. The match was won by Triple H who became the new WWE champion. The other main event involved wrestlers from the SmackDown brand, in which reigning World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker defeated Edge in a regular Singles match to retain the championship.
The main match from the ECW brand was a singles match for the ECW Championship, in which Kane retained his championship against Chavo Guerrero. The other primary match on the card was a Special Referee match between Shawn Michaels and Batista, in which Chris Jericho was the guest referee. Michaels won the match.
The 2009 event was held on April 26, 2009 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The event's theme song was "Seasons" by Veer Union. The event had an attendance of 8,500. Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the card with a dark match taking place before the broadcast. Raw's main match was a 6-man tag team match for the WWE Championship pitting Triple H, Batista, and Shane McMahon against The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase). Other matches on the card included World Heavyweight champion John Cena and his opponent Edge in a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight championship in the main event which Edge won thanks to Big show interfering. Also, Jeff Hardy defeated Matt Hardy in an "I Quit" match.
The 2016 event was the first SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view following the newly reinstated brand extension. It was held at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia on September 11, 2016. The event had an attendance of 7,000, and its theme song was "Stronger" by Through Fire. Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card, and an additional one on the pre-show. The main event saw AJ Styles defeat Dean Ambrose to win his first WWE World Championship after a low blow and a Styles Clash. The event also determined the inaugural champions for SmackDown's women's and tag team divisions, which were won by Becky Lynch and the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno, respectively.
The 2017 event was a SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view that took place on May 21, 2017, at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. The event had an attendance of 10,000, and its theme song was "Highway" by Bleeker. Eight professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card, and an additional one on the pre-show. The main event saw Jinder Mahal defeat Randy Orton to win his first WWE Championship after an interference by The Singh Brothers, becoming the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the title. On the undercard, Kevin Owens retained the United States Championship against AJ Styles, and The Usos defeated Breezango to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The event was also notable for the televised main roster in-ring debut of Shinsuke Nakamura, who defeated Dolph Ziggler.
The 2018 event took place on May 6, 2018 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Backlash was originally scheduled as a Raw-exclusive pay-per-view. However, in February 2018, WWE announced that they were ending brand exclusive pay-per-views following WrestleMania 34, thus the 2018 event featured both Raw and SmackDown. The card comprised nine matches, including one on the pre-show. In the main event, Roman Reigns defeated Samoa Joe. Also on the card, Seth Rollins retained the Intercontinental Championship against The Miz, and WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura fought to a draw. The show was also notable for Daniel Bryan's first singles pay-per-view match since Fastlane 2015.
A Backlash event was originally scheduled to occur in 2019, but it was canceled and replaced by Stomping Grounds. During Money in the Bank on May 10, 2020, WWE announced that Backlash would be returning that year, scheduled for June 14. The event took place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida without an audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Six professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card, and an additional one on the pre-show. In the main event, Randy Orton defeated Edge in what WWE billed as "The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever". On the undercard, Braun Strowman retained the Universal Championship against The Miz and John Morrison in a 2-on-1 Handicap match, while Drew McIntyre defeated Bobby Lashley to retain the WWE Championship.
The 2021 Backlash event was scheduled to be held on June 20, but switched dates with Money in the Bank's spot of May 16. The event has since been renamed "WrestleMania Backlash" as the event returned to its original position of being the post-WrestleMania PPV. It will be broadcast from the WWE ThunderDome, hosted at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida.
Backlash dates and venues
- Triple H holds the record for most Backlash appearances with 10 containing a record of 4-6.
- Of those ten Backlash events, Triple H has had eight title matches and only won two.
- (2000 loss to The Rock of the WWF World Heavyweight Championship
- (2001 win over Brothers of Destruction, as a result Stone Cold and Triple H won the WWE Tag Team Championship Triple H's Intercontinental title and Steve Austin's WWF World Heavyweight Championship were both on the line
- (2002 loss to Hulk Hogan lost the Undisputed championship
- (2004 loss to Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels) Benoit defended the title he won at WrestleMania
- (2005 loss to Batista) Defended the title he won at WrestleMania
- (2006 loss to John Cena and Edge) Cena defended the title he won at WrestleMania
- (2008 win over Randy Orton and John Bradshaw Layfield and Cena) Triple H won the title that Orton had held for over five months
- (2009 loss to Randy Orton and Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes) The winner would be which ever of the six superstars would get the pin.
- In four Backlash events, Edge has won a title once out of four times, three of which involved Cena as the title holder heading into the match
- In 2009, Edge won against John Cena
- Speaking of Cena he has been in only five of the eleven Backlash events but all five matches have been for either the WWE title or World Heavyweight Title.
- Meanwhile, The Big Show has been in six matches at Backlash and has never received a title shot
- Kane has one of the better records in Backlash history boasting a 4-2 record beating the likes of CM Punk, Chavo Guerrero, Jr., Viscera, and defeating Dudley Boyz for the Tag titles
- MVP has been in only two Backlash matches both for the WWE United States Championship and lost both of them
- The Dudley Boyz have lost all three of their matches at Backlash
- Vince McMahon is 2-0 with an ECW Championship victory at Backlash and his son Shane is 2-1
- Hulk Hogan,Brock Lesnar, A-Train, Billy Gunn, Gregory Helms (who has two tag title defenses with Rosey) are 2-0 at Backlash
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