WrestleMania Backlash: 7 Biggest Moments From The WWE PPV Event’s History

Big Show and John Cena at Backlash 2009

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Dating back to 1999, Backlash (now called WrestleMania Backlash) has served as a transitional event on the WWE schedule which has served as a place to resolve feuds that didn’t end at the Showcase of the Immortals, as well as those that started following the company’s marquee annual event. And, with this year’s PPV event only a few days away, now is the perfect time to go back and look at the biggest moments in the history of Backlash.

Over the years, Backlash has given WWE fans some of the most death-defying moments, monumental championship victories, and countless explosive attacks. Below are just a few of the epic and iconic moments from one of the oldest PPV events still around in today's WWE.

Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin at Backlash 2001

The Two-Man Power Trip (Stone Cold And Triple H) Win All The Gold At Backlash 2001

Shortly after Stone Cold Steve Austin turned heel upon successfully defending his WWF Championship and siding with Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 17 in April 2001, the Texas Rattlesnake formed one of the most dominating yet short-lived tag teams in the company’s history, known as The Two-Man Power Trip, with Triple H, the Intercontinental Champion at the time. Later that month at Backlash, the heel team challenged WWF Tag Team Champions, The Brothers of Destruction (the Undertaker and Kane), in a winner-take-all match.

The match went off the rails not long into the bout, and the traditional tag team affair quickly turned into a free-for-all with knocked out refs, run-ins from the McMahon family, and all other sorts of shenanigans before Triple H hit Kane with a sledgehammer to claim all the gold. But, the image of The Two-Man Power Trip standing on the ramp with belts in all four hands leaves you wondering what could have been for the team.

Shane McMahon at Backlash 2001

Shane McMahon Jumps Off The Scaffolding At Backlash 2001

The Two-Man Power Trip winning all the major championships in the main event wasn’t the only iconic moment from Backlash 2001. Earlier in the night, Shane McMahon defeated Big Show in a Last Man Standing match, one that featured the most memorable and death-defying moment of Shane O’Mac’s career up until that point.

Once the match left the ring and Shane McMahon and Big Show started working their way to the Backlash stage, everyone knew something big was going to happen, but no one knew just how insane it was going to be. With Test (RIP) holding Big Show down on a table, McMahon leapt from the top of the stage’s scaffolding, landing on his competitor. In order to secure a victory, Test put McMahon on a camera rig and lifted it up so he would be off the ground when the referee counted to 10.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Backlash 2002

Hulk Hogan Becomes The Undisputed WWF Champion At Backlash 2002

After nearly a decade, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, along with the other members of the 2021 WWE Hall of Fame stable The NWO, returned to WWE (still called WWF at the time) in the run-up to WrestleMania 18. The then-heel Hulkster turned babyface following a brilliant match against The Rock, at his first Showcase of the Immortals since 1993. Following WrestleMania, where Triple H defeated Chris Jericho to become the Undisputed WWF Champion, it was only a matter of time before “The Game” and Hogan squared off.

That very thing happened at Backlash 2002, where Hogan secured his first title in the company since losing the strap to Yokozuna at King of the Ring 1993. And, while the match is nothing to write home about and featured more run-ins than the main event of a 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, the visual of Hogan becoming the champ again was truly something to behold, at least for the night.

Big Show and Rey Mysterio at Backlash 2003

Big Show Swings Rey Mysterio (On A Stretcher) Into The Ringpost At Backlash 2003

Rey Mysterio has been on the receiving end of some hellacious bumps and injuries throughout his career, especially when he lost his eye at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules in 2020. Another big moment with Mysterio on the receiving end of tremendous pain came at Backlash 2003, when, after losing a match to Big Show, the masked wrestler was placed on a stretcher by paramedics. Before Mysterio could be taken backstage and into an ambulance, Big Show picked him up and swung him (stretcher and all) like a baseball bat against the ringpost, creating an iconic image that has been played time and time again in the 18 years since.

The Rock and Goldberg at Backlash 2003

Goldberg Makes His WWE In-Ring Debut Against The Rock At Backlash 2003

I am fully in the “Goldberg needs to hang up his boots” camp these days, but back in the late ‘90s, he was the biggest thing going in professional wrestling not named Stone Cold Steve Austin. We never got to see Goldberg and Stone Cold square off when the former finally debuted in WWE (it was actually the night after Austin’s final match), but we did get the next best thing at Backlash 2003 when the past WCW Heavyweight Champion took on The Rock.

The main event match was better than it had any reason to be, and made Goldberg look like a dominant force while also not taking anything away from The Rock. Goldberg, making his WWE in-ring debut, came out on top after 13 minutes of hard-hitting action, and The Rock quietly walked away from the ring to further advance his acting career.

John Cena at Backlash 2009

Big Show Chokeslams John Cena Through A Spotlight At Backlash 2009

In April 2009, just weeks after taking the World Heavyweight Championship from Edge in a WrestleMania 25 triple threat match which also included Big Show, John Cena was forced to defend his title against the Rated R Superstar in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash. Clocking in at nearly 30 minutes, this show-stealing match saw Cena and Edge pull out all the stops to get the upper hand and eventually found its way to the top of the entrance ramp where a giant awaited.

That giant was none other than Big Show, who, despite not being in the match, attacked John Cena and chokeslammed him through the spotlight on top of the stage. With Cena not able to get up before the count of 10, Edge was declared the victor and champion.

Becky Lynch at Backlash 2016

Becky Lynch Wins Her First Women’s Championship At Backlash 2016

Following the 2016 WWE Brand Split, Backlash was brought back (it had been replaced by Extreme Rules in 2010) and made a SmackDown exclusive show. With the Tag Team and Women’s Championships being tied to Raw at the time, WWE introduced the SmackDown versions of each title at the event.

The first of these two matches was a six-pack elimination challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, which saw Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya, and Nikki Bella all vying to become the inaugural champ. After nearly 15 minutes of action, Lynch put Carmella in the Dis-arm-her and secured her first of three championships in the Blue Brand, with surely more on the way upon her eventual return in the future.

Will any of the competitors at the 2021 version of Backlash find a spot on this list after this weekend’s big event? We’ll have to wait and see when WrestleMania Backlash airs live on May 16, at 7 p.m. E.T., on WWE Network on Peacock. If you want to know what else you can watch on Peacock, other streamers, and traditional channels, check out CinemaBlend’s 2021 Summer TV Schedule.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.