Backlash 2006
Date: April 30, 2006
Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Attendance: 14,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is a very special show for me as I was in the audience live. It was the first pay per view I ever got to attend live and the only one I would see in person for about fourteen years. We have a two match show here with John Cena defending the World Title against HHH and Edge in a triple threat, plus Shawn Michaels/God vs. Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon in a match that can’t possibly take place without a lot of cringing. Let’s get to it.

For a bonus, here’s the pre-show match from Sunday Night Heat.

Rob Conway vs. Goldust

Goldust does his crouch to start and the fans certainly seem to approve. A knee to the ribs sets up a running hip attack, which commentary finds hilarious. Conway’s clothesline gets two and we hit the chinlock. Back up and simultaneous crossbodies put both guys down for a bit and it’s time to slug it out. A neckbreaker gives Conway two but Goldust is back with some right hands. The chest rub right hands in the corner have Conway in more trouble and it’s the scoop powerslam to give Goldust the pin.

Rating: C-. The action wasn’t the point here and there is nothing wrong with that. They did what they were supposed to do by getting the crowd warmed up with some people they would have recognized (Conway was an OVW legend and the TV show aired in Lexington). Throw in Conway’s completely obnoxious music and it was easy to cheer for Goldust to beat him.

The opening video focuses on Vince McMahon’s war against Shawn Michaels, including the always awesome visual of Vince’s bloody smile from ringside at Wrestlemania XIX. The triple threat gets some attention as well, as they are the only two matches that matter.

At least they aren’t using the still wrong line of Rupp Arena being on the campus of the University of Kentucky.

Carlito vs. Chris Masters

Carlito slaps him in the face to start and gets choked with his own shirt as a result. A basement dropkick into a running faceplant gives Carlito two but Masters is back with a backdrop. Carlito slips out of a gorilla press and tries his own full nelson, which is broken up in a hurry. They head outside with Carlito hitting a dive and then hammering away back inside. That earns him a buckle bomb as the fans think that Masters suck, allowing JR to get in some always well deserved jabs at the University of Louisville.

We hit the neck crank for a bit, followed by an elbow to Carlito’s jaw and then into another neck crank. The comeback is cut off by a clothesline but Carlito slips out of the Masterlock attempt. A springboard elbow drops Masters and Carlito throws an apple at him for a distraction. Masters sends him into the corner again but the belly to back superplex is broken up. Carlito’s moonsault press gets two and he sends Masters into the corner. The Backstabber finishes Masters.

Rating: C+. Pretty much an above average Raw match here and that’s not the worst way to open a B pay per view. Masters even had a logical offense by softening up the neck while Carlito used the high flying to fight against the power game. It’s a good enough match and that’s all it needed to be in this spot.

Maria throws us to some fans giving their predictions earlier today. Lita comes in and says no one cares what Roscoe P. Coltrane thinks about the match (because Kentucky is full of country bumpk….carry on) and she is tired of keeping her mouth shut. Maria has heard otherwise about Lita’s mouth, so Lita offers to knock her out. Edge is winning tonight and they’ll have a private celebration because unlike these people, she actually gets some.

Ric Flair vs. Umaga

Armando Alejandro Estrada handles Umaga’s introduction. Flair jumps Umaga on the floor to start but gets taken into the corner for the right hands. A quick referee distraction lets Flair get in a low blow and then does it again for a bonus. Umaga doesn’t seem to mind and hits him in the throat for a knockdown.

Flair rolls to the floor and hits some rather hard chops before avoiding a charge into the post. Back in and Flair starts taking out the knee but it’s way too early for the Figure Four. The Tree of Woe headbutt sets up the running hip attack in the corner and Flair is in big trouble. Umaga’s middle rope headbutt sets up the Samoan Spike for the fast pin.

Rating: C-. This was almost a squash and that’s all it needed to be. The important thing here about Flair is that he knew he could pop right back up like it was nothing because he had been a made man for about fifteen years. That means he can put someone like Umaga over and have no real damage whatsoever, which is a rather valuable lesson to know.

Vince McMahon is flexing in the back when Shane McMahon comes in to say it isn’t a handicap match tonight. Shane needs to leave God to Vince because Vince can do anything God can. To demonstrate, Vince pours water on the floor and walks on it, then pulls out a fish and some bread. He doesn’t quite know the story but he looks to the ceiling and someone off screen throws in a bunch of fish. Vince sees this as a sign because it’s HOLY MACKEREL. Vince leaves and Shane drinks some water, which now looks a lot more purple. Shane: “Uh, dad?”

We recap Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James for Mickie’s Women’s Title. Mickie was obsessed with Trish and stalked her for months before winning the Women’s Title at Wrestlemania. Trish responded by dressing like Mickie and playing her own minds games. It’s time for the big rematch.

Women’s Title: Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus

Mickie is challenging and they’re dressed as themselves. Trish shrugs off a wristlock to start and busts out the Matrish into a headscissors. A kick to the head sends Mickie outside for the Thesz press off the apron into some right hands. Back in and Mickie hammers away in the corner but Trish gets sent over the top and out to the floor… and that’s a dislocated shoulder. Back in and Mickie hammers away, followed by some choking for the VERY sudden DQ. I’m not going to rate it as they had barely gotten started when the shoulder went out but it was looking good early on. Trish would be out for nearly two months.

Shawn Michaels says God is with him as he always is. Tonight is a handicap match though and the McMahons are being brought down to their knees again.

Intercontinental Title/Money In The Bank Briefcase: Shelton Benjamin vs. Rob Van Dam

Shelton’s title and Rob’s briefcase are both on the line and it’s winner take all. Commentary starts talking about the missing Mama Benjamin plus the time where Vince McMahon performed surgery on JR. Ross: “What great programming that was.” Shelton bounces around and armdrags Rob over, leaving Rob with a “so that’s how it is” look on his face. Rob’s rollup sets up his own armdrags and the threat of a spinning kick to the face sends Shelton bailing to the corner.

The fans want Mama (I was disappointed too) as Rob knocks him outside but Shelton comes back in with a knee to the face. Rob hits a spinwheel kick into some clotheslines so Shelton goes outside again. That means a slingshot dive but Shelton catches him on the way back in. A big running sunset bomb to the floor (THUD) drops Rob hard and we hit the chinlock back inside. Shelton grabs a backbreaker into another chinlock, followed by the reverse chinlock to mix it up a bit.

Some slams stay on the back and there’s another chinlock. It’s too early for the exploder, but Shelton reverses Rolling Thunder into a Samoan drop for two. The Five Star is broken up so it’s off to another chinlock (I think we get the point). Rob fights up with some kicks to the face and now Rolling Thunder connects for two more. There’s a split legged moonsault for another near fall but the Five Star misses as well.

Shelton hits a hard DDT for his own two so he grabs the briefcase, which draws Rob outside. A kick to the head cuts Rob off but he’s right back in with a hurricanrana. Rob gets shoved into the referee so Shelton grabs the briefcase. Van Dam takes it away though and it’s a Van Daminator into the Five Star to give Rob the pin and the title.

Rating: B-. The chinlocks got a bit annoying here but the result worked well. I liked the winner takes all deal as I couldn’t imagine Van Dam losing the briefcase so adding the potential that he could win the title helped boost things up a bit. Van Dam is getting some momentum built up at the moment and if they have him cash in a little faster than Edge, it could make for a heck of a title showdown.

We recap Kane vs. Big Show. They had been dominant Tag Team Champions but then lost them to the Spirit Squad. Soon thereafter, Kane became obsessed with anyone mentioning May 19 and eventually snapped when Big Show said it. Kane went for Show’s eye and drew a lot of blood, setting up this match so Show can try to beat some sense into him.

Big Show talks about how May 19 is the release date of Kane’s movie. So Kane has problems. So what? Big Show was in Waterboy but you didn’t see him running around beating people up. Show doesn’t know if Kane’s goldfish died or what, but tonight it’s eye for an eye.

Kane vs. Big Show

Kane jumps him at the bell so Show shoves him down to take over. They head outside for a second with Kane knocking him into the post on the way back in. A running corner clothesline rocks Show again and a regular version gets two. The armbar goes on for a bit and Kane hits him in the arm to break up a chokeslam attempt. Kane goes up for the top rope clothesline but gets caught in a fall away slam. The chokeslam is loaded up but Kane reverses into a pretty messy DDT (the camera work didn’t help things) for two.

Show knocks him down again and drops the leg for two as JR mentions that this hasn’t been the prettiest match. Show powerslams him down for two more but Kane big boots him to the floor. Then we get the red lights and Kane’s voice comes over the loudspeaker. He keeps saying May 19 and taunts Kane about not being able to control it. Kane keeps grabbing his head as the voice talks about how he knows what happened. Show grabs a chair and hits him in the head so he can walk away for the no contest.

Rating: D. It was a bad match until the ending and then it got even worse. This was a lot of the same plodding match you’ve seen these two have a dozen times before and it wasn’t any better this time around. Kane going insane to promote his movie wasn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. It was entertaining breaking stuff though and that’s a pretty bad way to end a pay per view match, especially after such a blatant advertising campaign to promote the match.

Post match the lights are normal and the voice stops as Kane sits up and smiles.

Candice Michelle is coughing in Vince’s office because she has a chest cold. She wants Vince to give her a healing touch so he winds up on top of her and she screams a lot until Shane comes to get him. And we move on.

We recap Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels/God in a video we’ve seen in one version or another multiple times lately. Shawn told Vince to get over Montreal and grow up already so Vince declared war on him. Then Shawn beat him at Wrestlemania, so Vince said Shawn cheated by having God help him. Hence the tag match.

Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels/God

This is going to hurt. Vince introduces the Hipster From Heaven and we get some harp music to go with a spotlight. Hold on though as Vince says that isn’t a WWE entrance so he wants God to get jiggy with it. The dance music is on but Vince tells the referee to check God for weapons. Vince doesn’t care if he has any weapons because it’s going to be a no holds barred match. Thankfully Shawn comes out before this gets even worse (to be fair, I had expected a guy with a big white beard so this could have been worse….maybe).

Before the match, Vince tells Shawn where he and God are going tonight so Shawn hits him in the face to start fast. Shawn sends Shane to the floor for the slingshot dive and beats him up the ramp to make it one on one. Shane slugs away on the ramp but gets backdropped onto the stage. Vince joins them but Shane gets sent into the big set. A crossbody drives Vince off the stage and through a table for the big crash. Shawn goes up the steps but gets blasted in the face by a Shane chair shot.

That’s enough to draw some blood, with JR proving he doesn’t understand the word literally by saying it’s “literally ear to ear”. They head back to ringside with Shawn going into the post and then the barricade, followed by a spinning DDT back inside. Now Vince is willing to make a tag, even though Vince needing a tag in a No Holds Barred match doesn’t make much sense for him. Shane throws Vince a trashcan for a shot to the head and it’s time for Vince to grab a mic.

Vince wants to know why God is walking out on the match, even declaring that God has left the building. Vince: “God has left the building!” In one of those visuals that is hard to fathom, Vince tries his own superkick but Shawn knocks it away and hits the running forearm. There’s the nip up and Shane accidentally caves Vince’s head in with a chair. Shawn knocks Shane down and hits the top rope elbow and JR is knocking the nicknames and monikers out as fast as he can.

There’s the superkick to Shane but Shawn would rather grab a pair of tables. Both McMahons are put on the tables and the fans want ladders. Shawn gives them what they want with the huge ladder but here’s the Spirit Squad so he has to dive on them instead. The Squad gets back up and jumps Shawn though, meaning the beatdown is on in a hurry. They move the tables and take the ladder down, meaning it’s a big Uppsa Daisy through the table to give the rather evil looking Vince the pin. JR: “That’s bull****!” Lawler: “It’s the father, the son and the holy Spirit Squad.” Eh point for a good line.

Rating: B-. This was about as logical as you could get, especially if they insist on keeping the feud going. At the end of the day, Shawn was probably on equal footing here at best after he beat the fire out of Vince at Wrestlemania, so stacking the deck was the only way to give it some drama. Shawn is going to need some help though and those crotch chops should give you a hint of where it’s going. This also flew by, which shows you how well they could play the smoke and mirrors given the almost twenty minutes that they had. The God stuff is going to offend some people (fair) but Vince being over the top is always worth a look.

Post match the Squad carries Vince and Shane out on their shoulders.

John Cena talks about how controversial he is and how there are different groups who want to see the three of them all come out as WWE Champion. There will be one voice at the end of the match though and that will be….Lilian Garcia, who will announce that Cena is still WWE Champion.

Here’s Matt Striker for Striker’s Classroom. Striker says he was not originally scheduled to be here (I wonder if he is filling in time after Trish got hut) but now we are seeing a miracle: an educated man in Kentucky! He lists off some things Kentucky is famous for, which does not include being well educated. Striker is here to be your teacher though and is here with one of the most educated people in the history of Kentucky.

Cue Eugene, which Striker says is proof that you shouldn’t marry your cousin. Striker hands Eugene some chalk and asks him to write his name on the chalk board. The camera goes onto Striker and we come back with a message on the board declaring Striker’s love for a bodily excrement. Striker complains about how the sentence is written as Eugene picks his nose. After ordering Eugene not to eat it, Striker gets Eugene’s nasal contents shoved into his mouth. There’s a Stunner to Striker to wrap things up.

We recap the Raw World Title match. Edge beat John Cena for the title at New Year’s Revolution but then lost it back at the Royal Rumble. Cena went on to defeat HHH at Wrestlemania, where Edge also stole the show against Mick Foley. Both Edge and Foley want title shots so let’s have a triple threat.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Edge vs. HHH

Cena is defending and Lita is here with Edge. With Edge heading outside to start, Cena and HHH slug it out with Cena getting the better of things. The release fisherman’s suplex gets two on HHH with Edge making the save and bailing straight back to the floor. HHH hits the jumping knee to the face for two and the slugout (with BOO/YAY crowd reactions) is back on. Edge gets up on the apron so the two of them bring him back in to keep the beating up. They all head outside when HHH and Cena compete to see who can ram Edge’s head into the announcers’ table harder.

HHH jumps Cena and takes Edge back inside, only to miss a charge in the corner. Cena pulls HHH off the apron though and goes up top for a splash onto Edge for two (that’s a new one). The Shuffle is loaded up but Lita low bridges Cena to the floor. HHH is back in with a facebuster and clothesline to Edge and the spinebuster gets two. Edge is right back with the Edge O Matic for his own near fall but HHH grabs the sleeper. Cena comes back to lift both of them up for the FU at the same time.

Edge slips out and spears Cena down, making him Samoan drop HHH in the process. HHH and Edge head outside with HHH being busted open off a posting. The Edgecution onto the announcers’ table knocks HHH silly, leaving Edge to hit a missile dropkick for two on Cena. Edge gets pulled into the STFU though and it’s HHH grabbing the hand to block the tap. A mic shot to the head knocks Cena silly to break thing sup and HHH CRACKS Edge with a chair to the head.

Back in and Cena grabs the STFU on HHH (note the booing) for two arm drops. HHH grabs the rope but gets pulled right back into the STFU. Edge goes up top so Cena lets go to break it up, with the ref getting bumped in the process. HHH breaks up the super FU with a powerbomb and everyone is down. That means it’s time for Lita to bring in a chair but HHH breaks it up with a spinebuster. The sledgehammer is whipped out but Edge cuts HHH down wit the spear. HHH hits Cena low to break up the FU, only to have Cena counter the Pedigree into a jackknife rollup to pin HHH and retain.

Rating: A. Oh yeah this was great and one of the more action packed main events you’ll see from around this time. They were all fired up and hitting on every level, with Cena getting the surprise win to wrap it up. It’s also WAY better on the broadcast than it was live, as you couldn’t get a good feeling for the level of blood and carnage. Great stuff here and worth seeing for sure.

Post match HHH sledgehammers both of them down and holds up the sledgehammer. One more crotch chop ends the show.

Overall Rating: B+. There might be some nostalgia on this one but dang it was a fun show to watch back. Of course there were bad moments but it was a two match show and the two matches delivered. I’m not sure what else you could ask for out of a B pay per view and they threw in a pretty good opener and a better Intercontinental Title match. This worked really well, but there was one problem.

Kentucky is one of those states with a rather ridiculous athletic commission (partially because of the deathmatch nonsense out of IWA-MS and it’s horrible boss who caused a lot of trouble) which REALLY didn’t like the blood, meaning WWE got about $50,000 in fines for the show (including things like Cena and Edge (yes Cena and Edge) not stopping the match when HHH bladed). Throw in that, depending on which reports you believe, HHH actually bled onto the commission’s representative and it should be no surprise that WWE was banned from holding televised events (if not events in general) in Kentucky for three years.

The commission has since been toned WAY down and now WWE is here at least once or twice a year for TV, but it was a rather long wait because of this show. Other than that though, it was a pretty good night all around and quite a nice memory for me that I’m never going to forget.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!

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