Heading into the Randy Orton/Edge showdown WWE promoted as THE GREATEST WRESTLING MATCH EVER, the announce team informed us it would included enhanced audio and unique camera angles.
We learned what the first meant during their entrances at Backlash, as piped in crowd noise made it sound like the main event was happening in WWE 2K21. We even got a Madison Square Garden sign around the announcer’s microphone, and tape of the late, great Howard Finkel introducing Edge & Orton.
As for unique camera angles, we got a look up from the mat during a collar-and-elbow tie-up shortly after the bell, and a lot of overhead shots. The early action saw The Viper target Edge’s surgically repaired neck, and the Rated R-Superstar attacking his old partner’s frequently injured shoulder.
The camera continued to whip around the ring, including as Edge delivered a flying headbutt on the apron that busted Orton open. When Randy survived that and Edge’s new “anti-venom” counter to the RKO to bounce his old friend all around the ringside area, we were again left to wonder if the Hall of Famer’s doubts would get the better of him.
Fists flew, wrists & feet were stomped on, then another departed legend was invoked when Orton went for Eddie Guerrero’s Three Amigos. Edge cut him off at two, but then delivered the trio of suplexes himself.
They then paid homage to Ric Flair & Ricky Steamboat’s classics with an exchange of chops. Orton busted out his father’s signature superplex led to a close call and left Edge struggling to get to his feet. A full speed collision when both attempted a crossbody left them both flat on the mat, but the battle resumed when they were both standing as referee Charles Robinson’s count reached eight.
Edge slipped out of a draping DDT from the top rope to his his own Edge-ecutuion version. A series of knees and elbows kept Randy on the mat for two, and that sent the Canadian to the top rope for another crossbody that got another nearfall.
2.99 counts were plentiful over the next several minutes. After sending Edge crashing to the floor, a draping DDT sent Orton to that place. The Ultimate Opportunist managed to evade multiple RKO attempts, and even hit his best friend Christian’s finisher. But Randy kicked out of the Unprettier, and then Edge kicked out of Orton’s mentor’s finisher, the Pedigree!
That was the name of the game (pun semi-intended) from there. Edge used a Rock Bottom...
...then went for a Sharpshooter before getting another nearfall with a backslide. A series of roll-up variants followed, and created an opening for the RKO OUT OF NOWHERE... but Edge kicked out! It was like rain on your wedding day!
Orton set up for the punt, but Edge recovered to nail a spear. Then another... but Orton kicked out! Edge sprung into another RKO, but kicked out again!
The anti-venom looked like it might end it, but The Viper was willing to go low to break the hold. Then he was willing to kick his old partner in the head to secure a victory. I think I heard a leg slap, too....
No matter - the message was sent. And Edge refused to be taken out on a stretcher (especially poignant in light of recent news).
Greatest? That’s subjective, and a pretty impossible standard. But this was very good.
Get complete Backlash results and coverage of every match on the card by clicking here.