This is a match I remember well, from a PPV full of great matches. Backlash 2000 had a cracker between HHH and The Rock and another great showing from Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, whose feud in WWF was gathering steam (but you will not see any of Benoit’s matches on the 100 Best…List). However, it was Dean Malenko vs Scotty 2 Hotty that really surprised me. Of course, you can expect great things from any match involving HHH and The Rock, or Jericho and Benoit. But Scotty 2 Hotty was never known for his in-ring skills. However, Malenko brought the best out of him. It is among one of the best Malenko matches, but it sure is Scotty 2 Hotty’s finest moment.
It starts out like the usual Light-Heavyweight contest: quick reversals and fast-paced movements. Scotty goes for his patented face plant, but Malenko reverses it with a clothesline. From that point on, Malenko works on Scotty’s knee after a dropkick to said knee. Of course, Malenko slows the pace down, applying all sorts of different submission manoeuvres. He wasn’t known as the ‘Man of a 1000 Holds’ for nothing! The match keeps this slow pace until Hotty makes somewhat of a comeback. And the action kicks in and never lets up…Scotty’s comebacks are expertly built up by Malenko. Scotty hits the patented faceplant and the Worm, but after that it’s reversal after reversal! You never know which way the match will end.
To tell you the ending move would spoil it; suffice to say, it’s one you won’t forget. This match is a showcase of what WWF/E could have done with the Light Heavyweight Championship. They could have easily replicated (and bettered) the thriving Cruiserweight division in WCW. But instead, they treated it (and the wrestlers in the division) like dirt. It was a victim of the Invasion angle in 2001, and abandoned in favour of the Cruiserweight Championship. The Cruiserweight championship fared little better, ending its run around the waist of Hornswoggle. Need I say more? But at least the division left us with this gem of a match, one that was a contender for Match of The Year.
VERDICT: 8/10. Malenko never failed to entertain, and he really excelled in this match. Scotty 2 Hotty isn’t far behind, and has by far the greatest match of his career. Not only a great match, but a great ending too!
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(Click here for my review of #92: Team Hell No and Randy Orton vs The Shield, Smackdown 14/6/13)