|Date April 26, 2009|
Venue Dunkin' Donuts Center
|Themesong(s) "Seasons" by The Veer Union|
Promotion World Wrestling Entertainment
Backlash (2009) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on April 26, 2009, at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The eleventh event under the Backlash banner, it involved talent from all three WWE brands: Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. It was the final Backlash event until 2016.
The card comprised seven matches. The main matches saw Edge defeating World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a Last Man Standing match to win the title and Randy Orton winning the WWE Championship in a Six-Man Tag Team match pitting champion Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon against The Legacy (Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase). The card also included Jeff Hardy defeating Matt Hardy in an "I Quit" match and Christian defending his ECW Championship by defeating Jack Swagger. The event received 182,000 buys, down on the previous event figure of 200,000 buys.
Backlash comprised professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines that played out on Raw, SmackDown and ECW — 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 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 involved 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 Jack Swagger defending the ECW Championship against Christian. Swagger controlled the match with takedowns, suplexes and slams. After both men removed the padding on a turnbuckle, Christian avoided Swagger, causing Swagger to collide with the exposed turnbuckle. Christian then executed a killswitch to win the ECW Championship.
The following contest involved Chris Jericho and Ricky Steamboat — the latter competing in his first match since 1994. As Steamboat attempted a diving crossbody, Jericho countered with a Codebreaker and forced Steamboat to submit to the Walls of Jericho for the win. Following the match, 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 the chokeslam. After Punk tried to incapacitate his opponent, Kane managed to execute a leg-trap chokeslam for the win.
Next was the I Quit match pitting Matt Hardy against Jeff Hardy. The two attacked each other with a number of heavy shots and submission holds during the match. After Jeff placed Matt on a table, he tied him to the table and set up a ladder in the corner of the ring. 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 quitting, meaning Jeff won the match. After the match, Jeff vaulted over the ladder and performed a leg drop through the table on Matt.
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. Beth Phoenix came to the ring and challenged Marella for her title of Miss WrestleMania. Before the match started, Khali attacked Phoenix with a Brain Chop, leading to Marella pinning Phoenix to retain her title.
Main event matches
A six-man tag-team match for the WWE Championship pitting champion Triple H, Batista, and Shane McMahon against The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase) was next. The match started with Triple H and Orton brawling to the backstage area while Batista and McMahon continued to wrestle The Legacy. Once the two fought their way back to the ring, the match revolved around The Legacy isolating every member of their opponents, preventing any way for them to make a tag. After Batista was tagged in, the action went outside of the ring. Orton executed an RKO for a near-fall. Orton executed a Punt Kick on Triple H to win the title. Following the match, Triple H was taken out on a stretcher.
In the main event John Cena, defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Edge in a Last Man Standing Match. The match started as a heavy brawl between the two but ended up on the outside, with Edge and Cena using the steel steps as a weapon, as they threw each other into it, threw it at each other. Edge executed a Spear on Cena. After the two ended up on the broadcast table, Cena threw Edge into the crowd with the Attitude Adjustment. The two fought around the arena, going into the surrounding lobby until they made their way to the stage, leading to interference from Big Show, who chokeslammed Cena through a nearby spotlight that exploded; Cena was unable to stand, meaning Edge won the title. 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".