BALTIMORE – In a history-making Fatal Four Way Elimination battle at Backlash, The Game defeated a trio of past and present WWE Champions – JBL, John Cena and, ultimately, Randy Orton – to claim his 12th World Title. (Watch: Exclusive video of The Game's win)
Ending the “Age of Orton’s” near seven-month reign, Triple H not only secured his spot at the top of sports-entertainment, The King of Kings reseated himself upon the illustrious WWE Championship throne – notwithstanding any argument from William Regal or any other Raw competitor. And, he did it by outlasting three veritably iconic WWE Superstars.
Boasting a most reputable sports-entertainment résumé, self-proclaimed “wrestling god” JBL was proven false idol by Cena, as the Chain Gang Commander eliminated Layfield with an STFU – the man Cena defeated for his very first WWE Title reign in 2005. With JBL out of the picture, the four-cornered encounter instantly became a WrestleMania XXIV rematch with an elimination clause twist.
At The Granddaddy of Them All one month earlier, The Game came within inches of securing the gold until an opportunistic Legend Killer landed a well-placed punt to Triple H’s skull, enabling Orton to pin a post-Pedigreed Cena. On this night, though destiny would end up displaced from the Legend Killer’s camp, the defending champion’s lunging punt again led to Cena’s downfall.
Before Cena could even release the tight grip of his submission hold on the tapping JBL, Orton connected his boot to the head of his challenger, allowing the titleholder to quickly get the pin on his denim short clad opponent.
Irony heavy on this night, Backlash then became a flashback to No Mercy 2007, the site of Orton’s infamous WWE Title victory against The Game. Then, it was the Legend Killer who took advantage of a battle-weary Triple H on a rollercoaster evening to become a two-time WWE Champion – thus, climaxing a unique war of master vs. apprentice from their days in Evolution.
More than a half-year later, The Cerebral Assassin returned the favor to the Legend Killer, enduring an RKO to keep The King of Kings’ legacy from falling among the list of legendary figures disgraced by Orton. Instead, Triple H added his former ally to a much different list that includes names like Mankind, The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Goldberg – Superstars conquered by The Game en route to the gold on 11 previous occasions.
The 12-time World Champion’s road back to the WWE Title concluded in glory at Backlash, making this evening at 1st Mariner Arena the first night in which many covetous eyes shift in the direction of The Game. But, without question, the King of Kings anxiously waits from atop his throne, ready (perhaps more than ever before) to defend a career’s worth of sacrifice and maintain the ultimate symbol of his commitment and excellence: The WWE Championship.