The Rock v Stone Cold Steve Austin: The best WWE Backlash moments ranked

  • Ash Rose

This Sunday WWE presents WrestleMania Backlash, the first Premium Live Show since the events of Dallas over WrestleMania weekend. 

Since its inception in 1999, Backlash has been the home of for post ‘Mania grievances to be settled, so much so WWE added the ‘WrestleMania’ tag to the title for the first-time last year. 

Here then is the GiveMeSport rundown of the ten best moments in WWE Backlash history. 

10 Swing-one-nine

2003

Thanks to Rey’s size and ability to sell a beating, we’ve seen some incredible punishment dished out to the WWE legend over the years. From being used as human dart by Kevin Nash during the heyday of the nWo, to Batista throwing Mysterio around like a rag doll, and this dangerous looking spot at the culmination of his match with Big Show in 2003. 

After being put on a stretcher by EMTs following the beatdown he took during the match, Show picked up the stretcher and with Mysterio still on it, slammed it against the ring post like he was swinging for a home run at the world series. A nasty-looking spot, that has gone on to adorn gifs and memes alike over the years. 


9 You’re first

2003

The Rock came out of WrestleMania XIX having finally defeated his long-term rival Stone Cold Steve Austin on the grandest stage of them all. It gave ‘Hollywood Rock’ even more swagger and gravitas to boast about, the night after WrestleMania when he hosted Rock Appreciation Night. However, as the Great One listed off the all the opponents he’d already defeated, he was interrupted by the music of former WCW Champion Goldberg, making his WWE debut. 

The match was made for Backlash and in the main event of the show, Goldberg defeated The Rock, sending him packing back to Hollywood and starting a run where we’d see the WCW icon win the World Heavyweight Championship. 


8 The ECW Champ is here

2007

It’s hard to pick what’s the stranger image from this bout, the sight of Vince McMahon being ECW champion or the vision of the WWE Chairman wearing a durag. Nevertheless, it’s a memorable moment from Backlash’s back catalogue. Following the fallout from WrestleMania’s hair vs. hair match, which saw Bobby Lashley’s win over Umaga result in a clean-shaven head for Vince, the feud with Lashley continued. Setting up this handicap match for the ECW Title. 

Lashley took on Vince, Shane McMahon and Umaga, with his championship on the line, and it was the boss who came out on top. Stealing the win from Umaga, Vince tagged in following Umaga’s big splash on Lashley, to get the pin and become ECW champ. 


7 Greatest ever?

2020

The empty arena era caused by a global pandemic won’t be remembered fondly for many things, however, this cleverly constructed match will be one looked upon with some satisfaction by WWE. Dubbed ‘the greatest wrestling match ever’, WWE pulled out all the stops to make this meeting between a recently returned Edge and Randy Orton standout without the need for a crowd. 

Multiple camera angles were used, an old school introduction was given to both, and the pair rattled off the greatest hits of finishing manoeuvres from some the best in the business as they tried to ‘out-wrestle’ each other. In the end, it took a low blow and a vintage punt from The Viper to win this uniquely laid out contest. 


6 Main event that never was 

2000

WrestleMania 2000 is often criticised for its lack of singles matches and a main event that was overloaded thanks to its link to all four members of the McMahon family. What many fans believed should have main evented the show was the red-hot feud of that era, Triple H vs. The Rock. But we at least did get that match the following month at Backlash.

In this shenanigan-laden match, The Rock had to contend with the whole of the McMahon-Helmsley clan, hell bent on not letting the People’s Champ walkaway with the WWE title. Rock memorably performed a double Rock Bottom through an announce table on Triple H and Shane McMahon, before in the end needing the help of Stone Cold Steve Austin to finally even the odds and beat The Game for the belt. 


5 Hulk still rules

2002 

WrestleMania X8 saw WWE fans fall back in love with Hulk Hogan once again, and it led to a nostalgic return to the top of WWE for the Hulkster. Following the babyface turn after his meeting with The Rock in Toronto, Hogan soon ditched his black and white nWo regalia and returned to the classic red and yellow, as fans embraced Hulkamania once again. 

WWE cashed-in on the nostalgia trip by putting Hogan in the main event of Backlash, up against Triple H for the Undisputed Championship. In a match that featured interference from both Chris Jericho and The Undertaker, Hogan managed to hit the big leg drop on The Game to win his first WWE title for almost a decade and proved that Hulk still ruled to WWE fans. 


4 One more time 

1999 

When it comes to Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, you can never have too much of a good thing and so it proved with this WrestleMania rematch from the first-ever Backlash. In true Attitude Era style, the match came loaded with bells and whistles, with a No Holds Barred stipulation and Shane McMahon as special guest referee.

However, whatever Rock threw at Austin, in the end it wasn’t enough to defeat The Rattlesnake – not even multiple shots to the head with two different title belts nor the blurred line between heel and face of Vince McMahon’s role of the match. Austin stood tall once again, holding both the WWE Championship and his famous Smoking Skull belt.  

3 Lights out

2009


John Cena had got the better of both Edge and Big Show at WrestleMania 25, but he didn’t bargain for the pair to team-up in this main event to allow Edge to win back his World Heavyweight Title. Cena and Edge were put in a Last Man Standing match, and the two fought all-over the arena until finally ending up on the entrance stage.

With Cena looking like he had the upper hand, Big Show interfered, picking the champ up and chokeslamming him through a spotlight on the stage. It led to Cena being unable to stand and The Rated R Superstar regaining his gold. 


2 Leap of faith  

2001

Want to know where Shane O’Mac got his taste for leaping off structures? Look no further than this truly giant leap of faith during his Last Man Standing match with Big Show at the 2001 event. As Test kept Big Show down at the bottom of the entrance way, McMahon climbed to the top of the titantron, amongst the classic swinging pendulum set, and lept off the giant screen onto a waiting Big Show – a reverse to what had happened to him against Steve Blackman at SummerSlam the previous year. 

With the help of Test and a camera, Shane was able to get to his feet and win the match. Leaving a motionless Show in a heap by the side of the stage. 


1 Jinder did what?

2017 

In what is still one of the most shocking WWE Title wins in recent history, Jinder Mahal somehow did the impossible. Having been traded to SmackDown in the 2017 Superstar Shake-up, many thought Mahal would be just a talent to bloat out the roster on the blue brand – but WWE had other ideas. 

First, he beat off competition from Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and Sami Zayn to become the number one contender to Randy Orton’s WWE Championship, and then with fans thinking Mahal was a place holder for whatever Orton was going to be moved onto next, Mahal shocked the world. Defeating The Viper in the main event of Backlash, much to the surprise of everyone in the arena, to become the first-ever WWE Champion of Indian descent.

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