Promotional poster featuring Triple H
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||April 29, 2001|
Backlash (2001) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) promotion and presented by Castrol GTX. It took place on April 29, 2001, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, and was the third event under the Backlash chronology. Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card.
The main event was a "winner take all" tag team match in which the reigning WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin teamed with his Power Trip ally, the reigning Intercontinental Champion Triple H, to take on the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions, The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane). The stipulations were that if Austin and Triple H won, they would become the new tag team champions. If Undertaker and Kane won, the WWF and Intercontinental Championships would be awarded to them based on who scored the winning fall. The Power Trip won the match after Triple H hit Kane with a sledgehammer, thus gaining control of the tag team championship and retaining their own titles.
Featured matches on the undercard included a Last Man Standing match between Shane McMahon and The Big Show, which McMahon won, and an Ultimate Submission match featuring Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, which Benoit won. Backlash 2001 is also the last WWE pay-per-view event to feature the WWF Intercontinental Championship in the main event.
The event featured seven professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers were portrayed as either villains or fan favorites as they followed a series of events which built tension, culminating in a wrestling match or series of matches.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Stone Cold Steve Austin took on The Rock for the WWF Championship. During the match, Vince McMahon interfered, which eventually led to Austin attacking The Rock with a steel chair to win the WWF Championship and in the process align himself with his long-time enemy. The next night on Raw is War, a rematch between the pair took place in a steel cage. Triple H interfered in the match, attacking The Rock and partnering up with Austin and McMahon. Briefly known as The McMahon Alliance, the pair began being referred to as "The Two Man Power Trip" (or "The Power Trip" for short). On the episode of SmackDown! following WrestleMania, Austin assaulted his long-time friend Jim Ross after Ross criticized his alliance with Triple H and McMahon. Triple H then defeated Chris Jericho to win the Intercontinental Championship for a third time in the main event, bringing both of the major singles titles in the company to the new alliance.
Shortly after this happened, the Brothers of Destruction began feuding with Austin and Triple H (in between, Triple H traded the Intercontinental Championship back and forth with Jeff Hardy for a brief period). A match between the two teams was signed for Backlash, but in the meantime Undertaker and Kane were given a title shot at the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions, Edge and Christian, on the April 19, 2001 edition of SmackDown! from Nashville. The brothers won the match, but were attacked by the Power Trip afterwards. With the two units now in control of all three major WWF titles, Austin and Triple H thought that this meant that they would be facing Undertaker and Kane for their titles at the pay-per-view.
However, on the next Raw, McMahon told them the situation was more complicated. At the time, he and his wife Linda were going through (kayfabe) problems in their marriage and Linda, who McMahon had demanded a divorce from in December 2000, was seeking a divorce that he refused to give her. Since Linda was still the (on-screen) CEO of the company, this gave her power to veto her husband's decisions and force compromises. As such, McMahon informed Austin and Triple H that he had to make a compromise with his estranged wife. They agreed that the two champions would be able to compete at Backlash for the tag titles. However, McMahon was forced to agree that in order for the titles to be at stake, both the Intercontinental and WWF Championships would also have to be defended in the match; therefore, if either Austin or Triple H took the loss in the match, the team would lose both titles. If Austin would lose, whichever Brother of Destruction defeated him would receive the WWF Championship while Triple H would forfeit his Intercontinental Championship to the other. The reverse applied if Triple H was to lose.
Before the event began, a dark match took place on Heat in which Crash Holly defended the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship against Jerry Lynn. Lynn pinned Holly with a Roll Up whilst holding Holly's tights to win the title.
The event opened with X-Factor (X-Pac, Justin Credible and Albert) facing The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley and Spike Dudley). X-Pac and Credible performed a double Superkick on Bubba to win the match.
After that, William Regal faced Chris Jericho in a Duchess of Queensbury Rules match. Jericho attempted a Lionsault on Regal but the Duchess announced the first round had expired, allowing Regal to pin Jericho with a roll up for a near-fall. Jericho forced Regal to submit to the Walls of Jericho but the Duchess announced submissions did not count. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on the Duchess, allowing Regal to hit Jericho with a steel chair to win the match.
In the fourth match, Kurt Angle faced Chris Benoit in a 30-minute Ultimate Submission match. Angle forced Benoit to submit to a Leglock to make the score 1-0. Benoit forced Angle to submit to a Cross Armbreaker to make the score 1-1. Angle forced Benoit to submit to the Ankle lock to make the score 2-1. Angle forced Benoit to submit to the Crippler Crossface to make the score 3-1. Benoit forced Angle to submit to a Single Leg Boston Crab with his knee on Angle's neck to make the score 3-2. Benoit forced Angle to submit to the Ankle Lock to make the score 3-3. The time limit expired, leading to the referee continuing the match in overtime. Benoit forced Angle to submit to the Crippler Crossface to win the match 4-3.
Next, Shane McMahon faced Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. Test interfered, performing a Big Boot on Big Show. Shane climbed the stage structure, allowing Test to attack Big Show in the staging area. Shane performed a Leap of Faith off the titantron on Big Show, who was lay in the staging area. Test used a Camera to help Shane stand but Big Show could not stand by a ten count, meaning Shane won the match.
After that, Matt Hardy defended the WWF European Championship against Christian and Eddie Guerrero. Edge interfered, performing a Spear on Hardy. Jeff Hardy interfered, attacking Edge. Christian performed an Unprettier on Guerrero but Jeff broke up the pin with a Swanton Bomb. Hardy performed a Twist of Fate on Christian to retain the title.
In the main event, The Two-Man Power Trip (Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H) faced The Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) in a Tag team match for The Brothers of Destruction's WWF Tag Team Championship, Triple H's WWF Intercontinental Championship and Austin's WWF Championship. Triple H performed a Pedigree on Kane and Austin pinned Kane but Undertaker broke up the pinfall. Kane performed an Enziguiri on Austin, causing Austin to collide with the referee. Undertaker performed a Last Ride on Triple H but the referee did not see the tag, voiding the pinfall. Stephanie McMahon interfered, leading to Kane performing a Big Boot on McMahon. Vince McMahon interfered, handing Triple H his sledgehammer. Triple H hit Kane with the sledgehammer to win the match, retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship and Austin's WWF Championship and win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
The feud between The Two Man Power Trip and The Brothers of Destruction continued. The next night on Raw is War, Austin and Triple H broke Kane's arm in storyline. It was then announced Kane would face Triple H in a Chain match for the Intercontinental Championship and Undertaker would face Austin for the WWF Championship at Judgment Day. At Judgment Day, Austin accidentally hit Triple H with a steel chair during his chain match with Kane, causing Triple H to lose his Intercontinental Championship. Triple H did not return the favor, however; instead, he helped Austin retain his title against the Undertaker. The next night on Raw, the Two-Man Power Trip faced Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho with the tag title on the line. In this match, Triple H suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury when he misstepped, causing him to suffer a tear in his left quadriceps. Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H was able to complete the match. Near the end of the match, Jericho tried to pin Austin, but Triple H got in the ring and tried to hit Jericho with the sledgehammer. Jericho avoided the blow and the sledgehammer instead hit Austin, a situation Jericho and Benoit took advantage of to win the match and the titles.