The Three Count

T3C: WWE Backlash 2004 Preview

Will the first Raw-only PPV since the draft lottery have any effect on the buy-rates and the quality of the card? It’s preview time…

Well Austin is history and that means something has to change on Raw now with a new face needed to cause Bischoff problems. Look likes the perfect job for Mick Foley or William Regal for me. Anyway on with the preview of what looks an interesting card.

World Heavyweight Title:
Benoit v Michaels v Triple H

A Wrestlemania rematch in more ways than one as I don’t see any other result apart from a Benoit win. I’d have preferred this to be a ladder match or some kind of elimination match, as great as the Wrestlemania match was, a straight repeat isn’t that inventive is it?

Benoit hasn’t been that bad as champion, but not that brilliant either. Most of the time he’s in tag matches with buddy Shawn and that hasn’t worked for me. He needs a one on one challenge and that could be set up this weekend if Michaels finally turns heel on him. That makes sense, what wouldn’t make any sense is Triple H being given the title again. We can’t see the World Heavyweight Title becoming something Trips loans out for a few weeks then wins for another ego-boosting reign as champion.

There is a possibility that could happen though as apparently he’s going to keep wrestling until Summerslam before going off to Hollywood. Don’t be surprised if Mr Benjamin makes some impact in this match.

So what about Michaels? The comeback kid has been in every main event he can be in so far this year but still comes out losing every time, well he did get a draw at the Rumble but he wanted the belt didn’t he? So will he get the belt this time? It’s a possibility, but more likely I see him losing and turning heel setting up the Benoit v Michaels feud. As for Triple H he can be painted a serial loser and try to explain that to the rest of a not very impressed Evolution.

Intercontinental Title
Randy Orton v Cactus Jack

Wow an IC Title defence on a PPV, that makes a change doesn’t it! Could Foley win an IC belt to go with his Hardcore, WWE and Tag Titles? I’m not totally sure on this one. Foley has been losing to Orton too much in this storyline, in fact when has he ever had a high point? I wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow won this anticipated bloodbath before losing the belt back to Orton very quickly.

It should be a decent match as it’s right up Cactus Jack’s street but what will it do for Orton? He’s still on a major push and a match against Benoit can’t be too far away. This looks like being just a minor blip on the way to that title match. I go for Cactus to get the belt.

Women’s Title
Victoria v Lita

Both have irritating smiles, so whoever wins will supply us with a painful moment. There’s been no storyline for this match whatsoever, simply a Battle Royal won by Lita to get the title shot. Why on earth hasn’t the Molly Holly feud continued? It should be an ok match if Lita hits her spots. Deciding who’s going to win isn’t an easy decision. Victoria has done very little with the belt and I’d prefer to see Lita win the belt and then feud with former friend Trish Stratus. Victoria can resume her feud with Molly, that way we end up with an enlarged women’s division that isn’t limited to just one feud. Nidia v Gail Kim could be decent as well.

Ric Flair v Shelton Benjamin

Flair becomes a stepping stone for Benjamin, which considering he’s just beaten Triple H twice isn’t too logical. Why not give him this match first then set him up with Trips? This also means the tag title isn’t defended on this card which is a disgrace. It also means Batista isn’t on the card so expect him to arrive on scene sometime this evening and probably in this match. I go for Benjamin to win but unless this is setting up a third match with Triple H, I’m not quite sure what happens to him next.

Edge v Kane

Is Kane also now just a stepping stone? It looks that way as Edge finally returns to the ring. Trouble is the guy is so accident prone is he worth giving a big push? It could be a decent match depending on how ring-rusty Edge is. I go for him to win, anything else doesn’t really help his career in WWE does it? There is the possibility though of Bischoff interference so that could change things.

Christian/Trish v Jericho

Another left over from Wrestlemania. This story has worked out well and Trish is doing well as a heel. Jericho has also settled back into being a face and I see him getting some revenge here. Should be a decent match helped by the fact Trish can do some reasonable work in the ring. After this perhaps Christian could feud with Edge while Jericho can get back to IC title level.

Tajiri v Coach

Total waste of time here. Reasonable storyline and rumours of plenty of interference from the likes of La Resistance, Regal and Eugene (plenty about him in next weeks Three Count). I guess we could always have a bet on what colour mist Tajiri will blow into Coach’s face as he wins the match.

It should be a decent card but hardly mind-blowing. That’s all for this week’s Three Count, next time around I’ll be looking at how the WWE deals with disability in its programming.

Stephen Ashfield