Arnold Furious: Hot on the heels of WrestleMania X-Seven, the WWF’s most creatively successful show of all time, comes this PPV. WrestleMania is widely regarded as the point where the Attitude Era came to an end and indeed the WWF’s insanely hot three year run finished. After ‘Mania interest in the product waned and with main events like the one on this show it’s easy to see why. James mentioned elsewhere that the end of 2000 and start of 2001 saw a lot of major changes. Mick Foley was already retired but was now off TV, Austin turned heel, Rock went into movies and not long after this Triple H picked up his famous quad tear. The main event scene was decimated and the WWF paid the price for not promoting from within earlier. The likes of Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle now had to carry the company and hadn’t been given the ball beforehand. So with the Rock off making movies the main event scene is compacted into one match: Steve Austin & Triple H vs. The Undertaker & Kane. I’d argue Kane isn’t a main eventer, but at this point that’s what they had. Everyone else had gotten a bit damaged. By the time they figured this out and actually pushed Angle and the Canadian Chris’s, it was all a bit too late. I think the biggest flaw in all this is that Hunter was actually getting babyface reactions until he teamed with Austin and by all rights should have challenged for the title here, thus repeating the recent successes they’d enjoyed in singles but with the roles reversed. After all Austin and Hunter went from wanting to kill each other to teaming up. Presumably Hunter would have turned face at some point if he’d not gotten injured. I don’t know what the long term plan was but I’d personally want to see a babyface Hunter challenge a heel Austin for the title at Backlash. It made good, logical sense. I guess Hunter wasn’t interested in being a face, even though with Rock gone, he’d have been the company’s top good guy.
Tangent: I’ll be happy when we get into the DVD era. Some of my tapes have horribly deteriorated. I blame the WWF for putting them out on poor quality tape. My Backlash tape is the worst I’ve encountered so far, with most of my tapes from the 80s and 90s being in way better condition. Maybe they knew VHS was nearing an end and cut a few corners.
We’re in Chicago, Illinois. Hosts are Jim Ross and Paul Heyman. One of the all-time great announce teams. Not quite up there with Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura, but not far off.