Backlash (2009) - Background

Background

Backlash featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, ECW on Sci Fi, and WWE Superstars—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) primary television programs. Wrestlers portrayed either a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. The event featured wrestlers from WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to the television program of the same name.

The main rivalry heading into Backlash 2009 pitted Triple H against Randy Orton over the WWE Championship. The feud had started on the February 16 episode of Raw, when Orton punted Triple H's brother-in-law, Shane McMahon and then performed the RKO on his wife Stephanie McMahon. As a result, Triple H convinced Orton to challenge him for the WWE title at WrestleMania XXV. At WrestleMania on April 5, 2009, Triple H defeated Orton to retain the championship. The following night on Raw, WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced that a six-man tag team match would take place at Backlash between Triple H, Shane McMahon, and himself against The Legacy (Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) which was later turned into a WWE Championship match by new General Manager of Raw, Vickie Guerrero. That same night, Shane and Triple H were attacked by The Legacy, but were saved by a returning Batista. Vince announced that Batista would be taking his place at Backlash. On the following week's episode of Raw, after returning to WWE the week before, Batista arrived on the night of the WWE Draft lottery. Batista made clear his desire to face Orton on Raw and take revenge for the punt that kept him from the ring for four months. He was later joined in the ring by both Shane McMahon and WWE Champion Triple H, who both wanted to get their hands on Orton for his attacks on Stephanie McMahon and the WWE Chairman himself, Mr. McMahon. As the three argued over who would get first dibs on Orton, they were interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, who announced that only one of them would get the opportunity to face Orton before Backlash, and that they would have to earn it. Guerrero then placed Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon in a three-on-two Handicap match against The Legacy for later in the night. Whichever one of them would score the pinfall on either Rhodes or DiBiase will have earned themselves a match against Orton on the next Raw, but if The Legacy prevailed, then none of the three would be able to get their hands on him. Triple H pinned DiBiase. On the last episode of Raw, Orton defeated Triple H in a No disqualification match despite of their teammates interfering during the match. Then a few days later on SmackDown, Batista and Shane McMahon defeated DiBiase and Rhodes in a tag team match.

Another rivalry heading into Backlash brought together John Cena and Edge over the World Heavyweight Championship. At WWE's February pay-per-view event, No Way Out on February 15, 2009, Edge attacked Kofi Kingston, who was due to compete in an Elimination Chamber match for Cena's World Heavyweight Championship. As a result, Edge took his spot in the match and won the title by last eliminating Rey Mysterio. At WrestleMania XXV, Cena defeated the defending champion Edge and The Big Show in a Triple Threat match to win the championship back. On the April 6 episode of Raw, Vickie Guerrero announced that Cena would defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Edge in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash.

Interim General manager Tiffany announced on the April 7 episode of ECW on Sci Fi that Jack Swagger would defend his ECW Championship against the winner of the "elimination chase", which commenced on that night and featured Christian, Tommy Dreamer, Finlay, and Mark Henry; the participants in the chase would have a four-way that night. Henry got pinned the same night and was eliminated from contention. The remaining three wrestlers competed in a Triple Threat match on the April 14 episode of ECW on Sci Fi with the person being pinned or forced to submit being eliminated from contention; Dreamer was pinned in this contest, leading to a singles match between Finlay and Christian on the April 16 episode of WWE Superstars, which saw Christian get the victory, thus allowing him to face Swagger for the title at Backlash.

After Matt Hardy betrayed his brother, Jeff, at Royal Rumble — costing the latter the WWE Championship against Edge —the two embarked on a feud that saw Jeff initially reluctant to fight his brother; after much goading, they had a match at WrestleMania XXV, which saw Matt win; however, with Jeff not fully incapacitated after Matt had vowed to "erase Jeff from the WWE", a stretcher match took place between the two, which Matt also won. As a result of their feud, the SmackDown general manager, Theodore Long, announced an "I Quit" match between the two at Backlash.

After the release of the film, The Wrestler, and the film's actor Mickey Rourke backing out of a challenge that he had earlier issued to Chris Jericho to a match at WrestleMania XXV, Jericho started targeting WWE's legends and Hall of Famers by insulting and beating them over many weeks on Raw. (These legends included the likes of Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat.) At WrestleMania XXV, Jericho defeated Piper, Snuka and Steamboat in a Handicap Elimination match. After winning, Jericho called Rourke out in the ring. During the confrontation between the two, Rourke knocked Jericho down with a punch. Then, on the April 20 episode of Raw, it was announced that Jericho would face Ricky Steamboat in a singles match at Backlash.

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