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Case Number 13926

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WWE Backlash 2008

WWE // 2008 // 170 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // June 26th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge Franck Tabouring once participated in a backyard wrestling match. He's still recovering from the backlash.

The Charge

Beware the Backlash!

Opening Statement

The wrestling stars of Raw, Smackdown, and ECW get together again to face each other at WWE: Backlash 2008, just weeks after WrestleMania XXIV.

Facts of the Case

This WWE pay-per-view from Baltimore, Maryland, features some of wrestling's biggest athletes competing in seven exciting matches. Some fight for honor or revenge, and others fight for a championship; no matter what their intentions, they all face the backlash. Before I launch into a more detailed look at what goes down during this show, here's a brief overview of the night's matchup: MVP fights Matt Hardy, Kane takes on Chavo Guerrero, the Big Show faces the Great Khali, and the Undertaker tries to defeat Edge. Additionally, Shawn Michaels challenges Batista, twelve divas face each other in a tag team match, and Randy Orton puts his WWE championship title on the line against Triple H, JBL, and John Cena. Let's wrestle.

The Evidence

Clocking in at 170 minutes, here's the complete lineup of this WWE PPV:

• MVP vs. Matt Hardy in a United States Championship Match
Five months before this event, Matt Hardy and MVP still competed as tag team partners, but then jealousy took over and the two wrestlers launched into a nasty feud that reaches its climax in this title match. The battle starts slow and we don't get to see much action besides a few desperate maneuvers and some slight kicks. For a match that's supposed to wrap up a heavy rivalry, this 11-minute showdown is not fast-paced enough. Big fancy moves are scarce until the final minutes, although you shouldn't expect any surprises.

• Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero in a ECW Championship Match
This match is a result of Chavo's cowardly attack on Kane when the big red machine was beaten by Edge and his boys a couple of weeks earlier. Clocking in at a little less than 10 minutes, this battle is faster than the previous match, although it's pretty obvious from the start that it's not exactly a fair challenge. You know, it's basically just one of those predictable matches in which a powerful giant competes against a much smaller technician. But it's yet another entertaining display of Kane's overwhelming strength.

• Big Show vs. Great Khali
The Great Khali finally gets to fight someone his own size—and it's about time, because most of his matches we've seen over the past months were quite simply too boring. This impressive 8-minute exchange of strong kicks and blows to the heads and upper bodies is fun to watch, although the match is at times a little slow-paced. Then again, both wrestlers also deliver some fancy moves, most of which almost break the ring in half. A decent battle indeed.

• Shawn Michaels vs. Batista with special guest referee Chris Jericho
Ever since Wrestlemania XXIV, the feud between these two wrestlers has been growing and growing, and now they finally get a shot at ending it all inside the ring, with Y2J serving as the guest referee. The great flexibility of Michaels and Batista is obvious from the start, because they certainly don't wait to show off their skills. It's all in all a fast-paced 15-minute match, the most suspenseful of this PPV so far.

• 12-Diva Tag Team match
Do you like to watch the WWE ladies fight? In this 12-diva tag team challenge, Beth, Melina, Jillian, Layla, Victoria, and Natalya take on Mickie, Maria, Ashley, Michelle, Cherry, and Kelly. Some of the ladies scream more than they fight in this ridiculous match, but some of the moves we get to enjoy don't look too bad. Of course all hell breaks loose when all the divas start kicking each other around, and that's indeed when the battle is the most fun to watch. But it's definitely too short and not exciting enough for my taste.

• Undertaker vs. Edge in a World Heavyweight Championship Match
After the Undertaker beat Edge via his strong submission hold in the championship match at Wrestlemania XXIV, they two top stars get yet another chance to fight each other with the heavyweight title on the line. This 20-minute match may not be the best we've seen from the Undertaker, but it sure comes with some captivating surprises. The two rivals fight well enough to keep the whole thing interesting enough until the end, but I would have enjoyed watching more impressing moves. All in all though, it's a pretty decent match.

• Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. JBL vs. John Cena in a Fatal Four-way Elimination Match for the WWE Championship
With four of the WWE's most popular wrestlers competing for one major title, this showdown is obviously the most impressive of the night. Clocking in at 30 minutes, it's also the longest, although it's not boring at all. There are high-speed brawls, kicks, and finishing moves galore in this exciting elimination match, which is a great way to wrap up a PPV. This is just the kind of action the WWE needs to win back viewers.

Besides the seven matches, Backlash 2008 also features the usual PPV stuff, including a couple of backstage interviews, comments on matches and some funny taunts. Although these are pretty much awfully scripted, most of them serve as an entertaining break between the matches. The recaps, however, are quite solid this time, going back as far as Wrestlemania XXIV, when Shawn Michaels ended Ric Flair's career.

There is not that much to say about the technical aspects of the DVD. This being a WWE PPV, there's obviously plenty of screaming, cheering, and booing, and the commentaries, the screams of the fans, and the sounds of agony of the wrestlers are all well-balanced. As for the video transfer, the quality of the image is decent throughout. By the way, the disc also includes a Spanish track for the main program.

Besides a brief and mediocre interview with Triple H by Todd Grisham, the bonus material also includes a five-minute clip from the aftermath of the WWE Championship match on Raw the following night. It's a pretty lame extra because it's so short, leaving me wondering why they just didn't include the entire episode.

Closing Statement

All in all, this is a decent PPV. The elimination match between JBL, Triple H, Cena, and Orton is definitely my favorite battle, although the Undertaker's battle against Edge delivers the goods as well. It's not solid wrestling at its best, but it's not a disastrous event, either. It's worth the investment if you're a little more than just the occasional wrestling viewer.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 89
Audio: 89
Extras: 30
Acting: 84
Story: 82
Judgment: 83

Perp Profile

Studio: WWE
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
• None
Running Time: 170 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Sports
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Todd Grisham Interviews Triple H
• Raw Aftermath of WWE Championship Between Triple H and Randy Orton


• IMDb
• Official Site

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