COLUMN: Offbeat Shenanigans #26 – Backlash Is Whacklash

Kevin McElvaney


Offbeat Shenanigans #26

Welcome, Shenanifans, to another thrilling installment of my weekly soapbox! Before we get to the main course, let’s whet our whistles with some of the feedback I received from last week’s column, “The Five Breakout Stars of 2008.”

“Tomko – let’s face it, right now Tomko is one of the most over guys in TNA. With the Tomko/Styles tag team about ready to end, I suspect Tomko will eventually emerge as the breakout of the two stars. Yes, Styles will have a quick feud with Kurt over Karen Angle but I expect Tomko to be the one in the Main Event feuding with Joe after his match with Steiner”

– Billy Wray

I’d be surprised, but not unhappy to see this happen. Tomko has truly shown himself to be something in TNA.

“robert rood he reminds of hhh when he was young and the push hes

getting wow”


– Abdulrhman

I’d never really thought to compare him to a young Triple H, but that’s an excellent point!

“Robert Roode. He has been in a feud with Booker T since November he went over him at Destination X, his promos have improved and his facial expressions have improved as well and i think in either 08 or 09 he will be in line for a TNA World Heavyweight Championshp shot.”

-Andrae Jones

It sounds like the fans believe in Robert Roode. When will TNA give him a main event shot?

“I would love to agree on Nattie Niehart but my faith in WWE building up a womens competitor isn’t very high….. and besides, weren’t we having these high expectations for DH Smith and Teddy Hart too?”

-Ryan Berger

Touché, Ryan.

“Backlash is Whacklash”

It’s coming upon mid-April and, although this time of year typically marks a new birth for the wrestling community – new storylines, debuts, etc. – it also brings with it what is usually the most disappointing WWE pay-per-view of the year: Backlash.

What is it about Backlash? Well, before I go any further, let me say that I’m not trying to tell anyone not to order the event. Far be it from me to drive down the buyrates for any company in the industry that both entertains me and helps to supplement my own income. I’m just speaking the truth here: a sad and unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless. Backlash just doesn’t seem to deliver the goods.

It might be a relative thing. After all, WrestleMania is the Superbowl of sports entertainment, while Backlash is the Pro Bowl. The big game is done with, and, no matter the talent appearing at the next game, it’s always going to pale in comparison to what we saw. For the record, I LOVED this year’s WrestleMania. Do I have confidence in the event set to follow it? Difficult to say at this point.

We’ve got the Raw main event. The powers-that-be have stacked this match with four of the biggest draws in the company. I’m afraid there might be too much of a clash in styles and presentation here for this one to be any good. Triple H and JBL are both brawlers. JBL and Orton is different, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. And Cena? For God’s sake, couldn’t he have sat one out?

No, I’m not suggesting John Cena miss the pay-per-view. He is a proven draw, so that would be stupid. Still, why not have Triple H vs. Orton, then a good ol’ fashioned grudge match between Cena and JBL? Cena’s fans would order to see it. The card wouldn’t be lopsided, with all of the big names in the main event. Everybody wins!

Shawn Michaels vs. Batista. Well, it’s a Batista match, and The Undertaker isn’t in it, so I’m not getting my hopes up. The feud’s great and interesting, though! I mean that, too.

Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero. A ‘Mania rematch. The name of the pay-per-view does, in fact, refer to the fact that it’s themed around ‘Mania fall-outs and rematches. Is it also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that the matches will never be the same the second time around? Granted, the last one between these two was a squash, but the WrestleMania stage made it exciting. What do we have here?

I guess we’ll also be seeing Undertaker vs. Edge. Or maybe it’s Undertaker vs. Festus, based on the main event of last night’s Smackdown. No, it’s probably Edge. Again, last month’s bout was full of intrigue. Streak vs. Title, on the biggest stage (proverbially speaking) of the year. This time? Well, it seems to just be a title match.

Big Show vs. Khali? This is coming off Big Show’s loss at WrestleMania. He’s got no momentum, and Khali only has momentum in India. Is this match for the Indian audience? This is very possible. Indian fans, though, get pay-per-views for free. We have to pay for them here in the States. I’ll be interested enough, but it’s not a huge selling point for me in my decision to order the pay-per-view or watch cartoons on Fox and Cartoon Network.

Not too much so far is compelling me to want to see Backlash. The biggest emotional conflicts have all been settled. I’m not really into rematches of any of the ‘Mania bouts. Hopefully, there will be a tag or women’s title match. Something – anything at all – in the mid-card. I don’t need the big storylines, or the matches with stipulations or high spots. Frankly, I’d just like to see some fresh faces get a chance to compete on pay-per-view against different opponents. Is it so much to ask?

Kevin McElvaney is also a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler / Inside Wrestling. Send questions or comments to kjmcelvaney@yahoo.com.

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