WWE PPV Flashbacks – Backlash: In Your House – April 25, 1999

Backlash: In Your House
April 25, 1999
Civic Center, Providence, RI

Wrestlemania has once again come and gone, and we kick off another WWF calendar year with what would be the last PPV of the In Your House name. Tonight, the Backlash of the biggest show of the year will be felt as the new WWF Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin puts the title on the line in a rematch with former champion, the Rock, this time with Shane McMahon being the designated guest referee. Meanwhile Mr McMahon has taken his mind off Austin for the time being, choosing instead to focus on the threat that the evil Undertaker seems to pose towards his family and control of the company. Lets get going! Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and leave all thoughts and feedback on the show!

We kick the show off with a video package centred around the Austin/Rock title match tonight. From there we head into the arena, where our announce team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler welcome us to the show. Heading into this event, Michael Cole was still doing play by play on Raw is War with King, despite JR returning at Mania, however starting with this show, JR and Lawler would once again become the full time commentary duo. And since they are the greatest broadcast team of all time, thats certainly a good thing.

The Brood vs Mideon & The Acolytes
This really stems from a much bigger storyline that I’ll get into later in the show. Anyway, the Brood were members of the Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness for a brief period as we saw at Wrestlemania. In the weeks following that show, the Ministry would kidnap Mr McMahon’s daughter Stephanie (making her on screen debut at the time). After being interrogated by the Corporation’s Ken Shamrock, Christian of the Brood ended up caving and revealing the whereabouts of Stephanie, which led to Undertaker firing him from the Ministry and attempted to punish him by crucifixion. Fellow Brood members Edge & Gangrel would make the save, which led to all three members breaking away from the Ministry and turning face in the process. As a result, tonight they take on Mideon and the Acolytes of the evil faction. They play mind games with their opponents in the early going, with Mideon placing an eyeball in a jar, but the Brood take the fight to their opponents. Thanks to some heel double team tactics however, the momentum ends up in the favour of the Ministry members as they work over Edge. He eventually gets the hot tag to Christian and all six men end up brawling in the ring. Christian continues to go on offence looking to hit the ten punches in the corner on Bradshaw, but the Acolyte counters the move into a powerbomb. The brawl between all the team members spills to the outside, and amongst the chaos, Viscera of the Ministry runs in and makes his presence felt with a blind attack on Christian. He rolls the Brood member into the ring and Bradshaw follows up with a Clothesline from Hell for the win at 11:38. An okay match for what it was. The right team went over here considering the Ministry would be a major part of storylines over the next few months.
Grade: *3/4

WWF Hardcore Championship:
Hardcore Holly (c) vs Al Snow
Up next we have the continuation of this rivalry over the Hardcore title. Of course, Hardcore Holly won the title last month in the triple threat match at Wrestlemania. That’s pretty much all this match is about, which is fair enough as these two really did their part in legitimising the Hardcore Championship over the past few months. Once again, Snow gets a decent pop here, coming out with Head of course. Anyway, Holly gets a cheap shot on Snow with the title belt to get this one started and from there we get the expected brawling around the ring with weapons. They end up fighting their way through the crowd before returning back to ringside. Snow grabs a hockey stick and beats on Holly. Both men get their shots in on each other as they fight their way backstage, with Holly even pulling out the kitchen sink at one point. He goes to whack Snow with it, but the challenger responds by spraying Holly with a fire hose. The action goes out to the parking lot and the two men battle among dumpsters and cars. After Snow hits an elbow drop on the champion on top of a car, the two men eventually make their way back to ringside and go back to trading blows. Snow grabs a frying pan and smashes the champion with it and then proceeds to set up a table. Before he can be put through, Holly recovers and ends up superplexing Snow through it instead. It only gets two though, as Snow manages to kick out and both men stagger to their feet. Snow finally gets a hold of Head and whacks Holly with it to score the pinfall, ending the match at 15:35. After chasing the belt for a good two months or so, Al Snow is the new WWF Hardcore Champion! Good moment with Snow finally getting the win over Holly, although I’d say their match at St Valentine’s Day Massacre was slightly better than this one. Still fun stuff though.
Grade: **

Before our next match, we cut to the Undertaker, along with the rest of the Ministry of Darkness. He makes reference to a Higher Power. More on that down the line.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
The Godfather (c) vs Goldust w/Blue Meanie
We have had a few developments on the I.C title front since Mania. Of course, when we last left off, the Road Dogg was the reigning champion, having retained the title in a four way elimination match. His reign would not last much longer however, as he lost the championship the very next night on Raw is War to Goldust. A few weeks later, Goldust was set to defend his newly won championship against the Big Bossman, however the Godfather came out and offered Bossman the services of his Ho’s in exchange for giving him his title shot. Bossman would oblige, and the Godfather would defeat Goldust to win the I.C championship in something of an upset. Tonight Goldust gets his rematch in this face vs face encounter. Prior to the match, Meanie gets on the mic and parodies Sable’s prematch grind routine. He’s interrupted by the champion who initially comes out alone, before bringing out his ladies to the delight of the audience. Goldust jumps the Godfather from behind as Meanie approaches the Ho’s to get this one going and throws the champion to the outside. We get some more of Meanie letting his presence at ringside be felt as he trips up the Godfather on the outside and such. Meanie ends up handing a sack of powder to Goldust, but before he can use it, Godfather recovers and knocks the contents into the former champion’s eyes. With the Bizarre one blinded, he starts throwing shots and ends up going after Meanie by accident, hitting him with the Shattered Dreams. The miscommunication continues when Godfather takes down Goldust for a pin, and Meanie attempts to break it up, only for the champion to move out of the way, leading to Meanie delivering a headbutt to the groin of his man. From there, Godfather puts this one away, hitting the Pimp Drop on Goldust to retain the championship at 5:12 and celebrates with his lady friends afterwards. There’s not a great deal to say here, as this was a pretty basic match just to fill out the card. Goldust was a wreck behind the scenes at this point, and this would pretty much be the end of his current run. He’ll be back down the line though.
Grade: *

Michael Cole now catches up with Al Snow in the bathroom area, following up on his Hardcore title win earlier. Snow thinks that Head deserves to be champion since she covered Holly. Fun segment putting over Snow’s off the rails persona.

No. 1 Contender Match:
New Age Outlaws vs Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart w/Debra
Our next match is a number one contender match for the tag titles, however when we left off at Mania, Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart were the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions. Their reign came to an end the next night on Raw is War however, as they were defeated by the newly formed team of X-Pac & Kane, following Kane coming to the aid of X-Pac the night before. The winners of this match will thus face the new champions later in the week on the pilot episode of Smackdown. It was just a one off special at this point but would become a weekly show later in the year. The Outlaws are returning to the tag division briefly following their singles runs since the start of the year, and the crowd is into their pre-match stuff as usual, but their run together here will not last much longer. The heels are of course out with Debra, who by this point has overtaken Sable as Lawler’s favourite woman on the roster. She goes to take off her jacket, but Jarrett stops her to draw some heat, so Gunn offers to show his ass instead. He’s the Ass Man. The heels jump the Outlaws from behind and we get going. Jarrett and Owen spend the early portion of the match teaming up on Road Dogg, and although he gets some shots in, its pretty much all the heels in terms of momentum in the early going. Road Dogg eventually gets back into it when he and Jarrett both take each other out, which leads to the Dogg getting the hot tag to Billy. The Ass Man clears house, but the heels fight back as Debra causes a distraction from the outside. With their eyes off the prize, Jarrett and Owen attempt a figure four and sharpshooter respectively on their opponents, but Jarrett is unsuccessful in locking it in on Gunn. He fights out and follows up with the Fameasser on Owen to score the pinfall victory at 10:27. Billy celebrates by flashing his ass and the Outlaws will face X-Pac & Kane on Smackdown this Thursday. This was a decent match for the time it was given. I’m surprised the heels didn’t go over, especially with this being near the end of the run for the Outlaws, Sadly the Jarrett/Owen team was also reaching the end of the line, but for completely different reasons. Anyway, solid little match here to set up a championship match on Smackdown.
Grade: **3/4

We now go to the back where we hear from Shane McMahon. With Vince becoming more of a sympathetic character following Mania (more on that later), he’s pretty much become the main heel authority figure in the company at this point, and he quickly disowns his father. He swears on his grandfather’s name that he will call the main event tonight down the middle.

We then go across to Mr McMahon and Stephanie elsewhere in the arena. Vince is shocked by the actions of Shane and the Undertaker over the recent weeks, whilst Stephanie implies that their grandfather’s name means nothing to Shane.

Boiler Room Brawl:
Mankind vs Big Show
Our next match is a rematch from Wrestlemania, and also the second ever Boiler Room brawl in PPV history. When these two men last crossed paths, Big Show was definitely a heel as a member of the Corporation, but after knocking Vince out after his match at the biggest show of the year, he effectively turned face as a result. His rivalry with Mankind continued, having hospitalised him at Mania, however as the weeks passed, the two men grew to respect one another, saving each other from Corporation beat downs on a few occasions. Having said that, they still wanted to settle the score, so we get this match here to do just that. Unlike the first incarnation of this match you only need to leave the boiler room to win rather than get to the ring. We start this one out with Show entering the boiler room to look for Mankind, who emerges from behind, whacking the giant with some sort of foreign object. From the moment we get going, this is a stiff brawl from two hard hitting men, as despite the mutual respect, they destroy one another with anything they can get their hands on. Mankind smashes a panel of glass over Show’s head which draws blood on both men and then looks to follow up by climbing a nearby ladder. Before he can dive off onto his opponent however, Show grabs him and chokeslams him through a table. Show now beats the shit out of Mankind some more until Mankind blinds Show with a gas pipe sending steam into his eyes, and then follows up by knocking a whole bunch of pipes onto his opponent. With Show unable to emerge, Mankind manages to exit through the boiler room door winning the match at 7:50. As soon as he escapes however, he is assaulted by Bossman and Test of the Corporation. They beat down on Mankind until Show emerges from the boiler room and makes the save. Show and Mankind work together fighting their attackers off, cementing Show’s face turn over the past month. This match was a lot of fun. It was much shorter than the original boiler room brawl between Taker and Mankind in 96, but that didn’t hurt this at all. It was two men beating the hell out of each other, and in the context of their brutal rivalry, it worked. Solid stuff.
Grade: ***

We now hear from Triple H and Chyna, who are now heels, having joined up with the Corporation at Mania. Triple H promises to destroy X-Pac tonight, finishing what he started last month. We then get some home video exclusives (I believe) of Show and Mankind talking about the brutality they just went through.

X-Pac vs Triple H w/Chyna
This obviously stems from Triple H turning on X-Pac at Wrestlemania, costing him his match against Shane McMahon, and joining up with the Corporation in the process. As we also saw at that show, X-Pac has since found a new buddy in Kane, a man who has also had issues with Triple H over the past few months, and the two are the current reigning WWF Tag Team Champions. X-Pac is out on his own here though, whilst Triple H of course has Chyna by his side, but his appearance hasn’t really undergone that transformation yet, as he’s still wearing the long tights that I associate with his DX run and has some generic entrance theme. X-Pac gets a good reaction from the crowd as he starts this one taking the fight to the man that brought him back to the WWF a year ago. Chyna attempts to intervene, but X-Pac fights her off and continues to go to work on his former friend. The tide turns however when he misses a Bronco Buster, and Triple H targets Pac’s injured neck as he launches his offence. He continues to work over the neck of his former friend until Pac launches a comeback, but Chyna stops him in his tracks, throwing him to the outside onto the crowd barricade. Triple H takes advantage, going back on offence, once again targeting Pac’s neck until the smaller man gets another burst of energy and fights Triple H off, connecting with a tornado DDT that sends the future Game retreating to the floor. The referee gets bumped as X-Pac hits a slide on Trips, so Chyna interferes following an X-Factor. The heels beat up Pac, but the lights go out and Kane heads to the ring to make the save. The Big Red Machine takes Triple H and Chyna out with a chokeslam each and goes back to the locker room. With Chyna recovering in the corner, X-Pac looks to go for a Bronco Buster on her, but Triple H manages to regain himself in the meantime and hits the Pedigree on X-Pac, which allows him to pick up the win at 19:19. This was another solid match with both men working to put on a solid show. The story of the match was that Triple H would dish out any amount of punishment to the neck necessary to keep X-Pac down, whilst X-Pac just kept fighting back until the Pedigree was too much. As a result, both men look good coming out of this, with Triple H getting the win to continue his rise to the top.
Grade: ***

Ken Shamrock vs Undertaker w/Paul Bearer
Definitely an interesting pairing here. As we know, Undertaker has continued to torment Mr McMahon over the past few months, in particular stalking his daughter Stephanie. With McMahon putting his beef with Austin aside to deal with the threat of the Ministry, he ceased to be the evil boss he had been for the past year and was positioned in a more sympathetic light. With Shane McMahon basically usurping his father as the head of the Corporation, only Shamrock remained loyal to Vince, effectively turning face, and as a result he battles Taker here. The World’s Most Dangerous Man also has a personal score to settle with the Lord of Darkness due to the Ministry abducting Ryan Shamrock on a recent episode of Raw is War. Now then, Taker starts this match out dominating Shamrock. Shamrock grapples back with a few holds, but for the most part its Taker dishing out a beating, with the official even trying to back him off. Its not an absolute squash though as Shamrock continues to go after Taker’s leg when he has the chance, hoping to cripple the evil Phenom. Anyway the match is pretty basic and the crowd doesn’t seem to care much either until Shamrock counters out of a Tombstone and applies the ankle lock. With Taker trapped in the hold, Bradshaw makes his way out holding a baseball bat. Shamrock releases the hold and goes after him, but the distraction leads to Taker attempting a chokeslam on his opponent. Shamrock counters out of it with an armlock, but gets distracted again when he decides to go after Bearer. Shamrock returns his focus to the Phenom shortly after, picking him up, but Taker connects with the Tombstone, this time with success and pins Shamrock at 18:53. Definitely far too long for these two to go at this point as this match really seemed to drag. After the match, Bradshaw beats up Shamrock with the baseball bat as the Ministry continue to assert their dominance.
Grade: *

In the back, Vince tells Stephanie to wait in the limousine whilst he stays for the main event. Yep, its coming.

WWF Championship – No Holds Barred Match:
Steve Austin (c) vs The Rock
Special Guest Referee: Shane McMahon
Our main event tonight is the inevitable rematch from Wrestlemania pitting Austin against the Rock once again for the most prestigious championship in the company. Of course, Austin defeated Rock to win the title at Mania, and the next night on Raw is War, Austin came out with the belt, but instead demanded his old smoking skull title which Mr McMahon had taken from him when he stripped him of his title back in September of 1998. Mr McMahon decided that he needed to focus his energy on the Undertaker situation and thus handed the belt to Shane and told him to give it to Austin. Shane had his own plans however, and handed the belt to the Rock and usurped Vince’s control of the Corporation in the process. A few weeks later we got an allusion to a past encounter between Rock and Austin when the Rock appeared on the tron by a river and threatened to toss the belt in. Austin confronted the Corporate Champion and the two got into a brawl which saw Rock toss Austin into the water and threw the belt in after him. The next week, Rock decided to celebrate his actions by hosting a ‘funeral service’ for the Rattlesnake. During the ceremony, Rock revealed that he still had possession of the smoking skull belt after all, but he was interrupted by Austin in a monster truck, who after crushing Rock’s new car, drove into the arena, ran over the hearse and brawled with Rock to end the show. The last piece of the puzzle was set into place prior to the PPV on Sunday Night Heat, as Shane revealed himself as the referee for the match. Now then, Rock comes out to a huge pop here, and you could really tell his days as a heel were numbered at this point. Of course, Austin’s popularity is through the roof as well. Austin goes right after Rock rather than playing to the crowd here and we get under way. The two men trade blows as they fight their way up towards the entrance, with Rock getting the better of the exchange when he sends Austin crashing into the set. Austin recovers though and sends Rock into it as well and the whole set basically collapses. Ross actually makes a reference to the Walls of Jericho crashing down, which is quite interesting considering a certain someone will be on his way to the company soon enough, even if it was a total chance saying here. Anyway, after some more brawling up in the production area, the action returns to the ring and Shane briefly gives Rock a breather by getting into Austin’s face. They head back outside and brawl over at the Spanish announce table now and after Rock hits the Rock Bottom onto Austin atop it, we get the always classic mid-match commentary from the Great One, followed by him filming Austin through a camera. Austin recovers though and hits a Stunner which we see through the camera Rock was holding. Both men head back to the ring after regrouping and Shane shows just how much his words meant earlier when he grabs the title belt and attempts to whack Austin. The Rattlesnake ducks though and Rock is nailed instead, but when Austin makes the cover, Shane refuses to count the three. Shane attempts to flee, but Vince stops him in the aisle and hits his son with the smoking skull belt! Meanwhile Rock recovers and hits the Rock Bottom on Austin, but there’s no referee to count. He follows up with a belt shot on Austin as another ref comes in, but the Rattlesnake manages to kick out. He gets back to his feet and hits the Stunner on Rock which gets the three at 17:10. Austin retains the title in another really fun match between the top two guys in the company. I’m rating it the same that I did their match the previous month, although I think this was slightly better. Both really fun matches though.
Grade: ***3/4

After the match, Vince gets in the ring and reluctantly hands Austin the smoking skull belt. The Rattlesnake celebrates with some beers until we suddenly cut to Stephanie in the limo. The engine starts up Stephanie says they need to wait for Vince. At that moment, the driver’s screen rolls down to reveal the Undertaker sitting in the front. He says in great evil fashion “Where to Stephanie?” before driving off with her. We go off the air with Vince in the ring looking on unable to help his daughter.

This was another entertaining PPV from the WWF at this point in time. Overall its a better show than Wrestlemania as we got a few more entertaining matches on the undercard, but once again, this was all about Austin and Rock putting on a very good brawl for the WWF title. The Triple H/X-Pac and Mankind/Big Show matches were also a lot of fun to watch. The low point of the show was definitely the Taker/Shamrock match which really went on far too long, but Taker would have more direction than feuding with midcard Corporation guys coming out of this show after kidnapping Stephanie. Overall, a fun show as typical for the Attitude era.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin – once again put on a very solid showing with the man that would become his greatest opponent. With Rock defeated two PPVs in a row, the question now remains who will be next to challenge him for the gold.
2. The Rock – this was effectively the end of Rock’s run as the top heel in the company, and he went out with a very solid performance as you would expect from him by this point. His popularity was too much for him to stay in that role however, and he was on the same to even greater heights down the line.
3. Triple H – a very good performance by the man we know today as the Game coming off his heel turn at Wrestlemania. He targetted X-Pac’s neck relentlessly in his match and as a result looked like a man who would do whatever it took to further his own career. This was only the beginning of the true rise of Triple H, but he definitely looked good tonight.

FINAL GRADE: 6 out of 10

What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. The list is put together from all the shows I have reviewed thus far. The Great One is edging in on that top five!

Bret Hart = 83
Steve Austin = 71
Shawn Michaels = 67
Mick Foley = 29
Randy Savage = 28
The Rock = 26
Undertaker = 25
Hulk Hogan = 18
Owen Hart = 18
Triple H = 17
Diesel = 15
X-Pac = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 11
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Vince McMahon = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Christian = 1

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.

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