PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH REPORT 7/20: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV
Jul 20, 2008 - 9:45:30 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
WWE Great American Bash PPV Report
July 20, 2008
Long Island, N.Y.
By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
They opened with a recap of the Vickie-Edge wedding-gone-wrong from Friday night when Triple H ruined the happiness with hidden camera footage of Edge and the wedding planner fooling around. More recap of JBL-Cena and Punk-Batista.
Announcers: Jim Ross introduced the show with 14,126 as the claimed attendance. They went right to the ring where Justin Roberts introduced the opening four-way tag title match. Very colorful entrances from the four teams. Morrison with an Ultimate Warrior-like jacket, Jesse with a bright red singlet, and Hornswoggle with an orange vest below his green jacket.
1 -- WWE tag champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. FINLAY & HORNSWOGGLE vs. HAWKINS & RYDER vs. JESSE & FESTUS -- WWE Tag Title match
Good pace to this early on with members of all four teams picking up frequent tags to keep the crowd interested. Hornswoggle took a hot tag at 8:00 and dropped Hawkins with a spinning head scissors to a nice pop. Jesse then decided to steal his heat with a blind tag before being knocked to the outside. Festus had enough and ran into the ring to clear several houses. Out of nowhere, Hawkins knocked Jesse off the top rope and pinned him on the corner to win the tag titles.
WINNERS: Hawkins & Ryder in 10:00 to capture the WWE Tag Titles. Fine match. Curious finish. They are determined to push these interchangeable "brothers" at all costs. ECW now has one less reason to tune into the show with Miz & Morrison now just a second-tier tag team without the belts. (*1/2)
2 -- U.S. champion MATT HARDY vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN -- U.S. Title match
Ross and Foley calling this one as well. Apparently they do not trust Mike Adamle to call more than one match live despite Hardy being part of the ECW brand. Yes, breaking news that Matt Hardy is on the ECW brand. Ross provided an interesting factoid that the U.S. champion has never lost the belt on a Bash show. Foley said his son, Dewey, has selected Shelton as one of his favorites because he does things other people can't. Well that doesn't mean he wins matches, which should be the focus. Interesting dueling chant of "Let's go Shelton" vs. "Let's go Hardy" with the males battling the females. Match quickly accelerated into second gear about six minutes in after Hardy scored a close two count. Hardy with a two count on the side effect, then he wanted the Twist of Fate, but Shelton blocked and smashed Hardy in the lower back. Hardy tried to come back with a moonsault, but Shelton got a knee right in the forehead. Ouch. Shelton then nailed the "pay dirt" fallaway facebuster in center ring. Shelton made the pin for the win to capture the U.S. Title.
WINNER: Shelton in 10:00 to capture the U.S. Title. I like the title change here, as Shelton is capable of so much. Of course, ECW loses yet another title. Every month, they chip, chip, chip away at the ECW brand. As for the bout, a very good mid-card title match. Potentially a stand-out match on the show. (**1/2)
WWE Mobile video: They aired a Mobile exclusive of Todd Grisham interviewing World Hvt. champion C.M. Punk after Raw on Monday. Punk said he's been told "no" throughout his life; that he would never become a champion. He said he was never supposed to be the top guy on the flagship show, yet his name is on the belt. Punk said he's not the biggest, strongest, or fastest, but you don't have to be 6'6" and 330 lbs. to win titles, yet somehow he's a fluke. Punk said if he doesn't win at the Bash, he proves everyone right. He said he's not Batista, Cena, HBK, or Bret Hart. "I'm C.M. Punk, World Heavyweight champion," he closed. Nice promo.
Video clips: They recapped the Edge-Vickie wedding falling apart on Smackdown. The text voting is who do you sympathize with more - Edge or Vickie?
In-ring: Mark Henry came to the ring with Tony Atlas to defend against Dreamer. Classic Adamle here. Tazz - two title changes already, will we see another one? Adamle: "I hope not!" He paused apparently realizing he probably didn't think that one through, then Tommy "Adamle hates you" Dreamer came out with Colin for the match.
3 -- ECW champion MARK HENRY (w/Tony Atlas) vs. TOMMY DREAMER (w/Colin Delaney) -- ECW Title match
Very slow early on. Crowd was quiet, which meant we had to listen to Adamle cover the dead air. At 3:00, Henry wanted a big splash, which Adamle called the world's strongest slam, but Dreamer moved out of the way. Dreamer followed with a DDT, then he went up top for a splash on Henry. Colin even hopped on the apron to do the E-C-W pose, but then Colin yanked him down over the top rope in mid-air. Delaney heel turn! Delaney heel turn! Henry followed with a big splash in center ring for the pin and the win. Everyone hates Tommy apparently. Colin then left the ring with a big smirk as Henry celebrated with Atlas. Adamle was unbelievably disingenuous calling Colin's actions despicable.
WINNER: Henry in 5:00 to retain the ECW Title. Colin turning heel was so great. Clearly the top moment of the show thus far. Match wasn't anything to write home about, especially with a lack of post-production available for Adamle, but a fine conclusion to set up storylines on TV. (3/4*)
They showed a video package on the Jericho vs. Michaels feud. Nice placement on the card for this match to follow the popcorn match. Jericho came out first and simply stared into the crowd after entering the ring. Great storytelling before the match even starts. Michaels then stoically came to the ring and stared at Jericho.
4 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Michaels a sick knife-edge chop early in the match after they had a stare down to set the tone. Michaels grimaced after delivering a forearm blow, possibly knocking his wrist silly for a second. Jericho then nailed a springboard dropkick that knocked Michaels off the apron to the floor. Jericho sold a left knee injury before going to the floor to fling Michaels back inside. Jericho focused his attack on Michaels's ribs, then he slapped on the Walls of Jericho at 7:00. Michaels escaped, then he went up top, but Jericho crotched him across the top turnbuckle. Jericho couldn't capitalize, though, so Michaels nailed a splash on Jericho before tuning up the band. Suddenly, Lance Cade came to ringside and Michaels kicked him through the ropes. Jericho tried to come back with the codebreaker, but Michaels hung onto the ropes to block the finisher.
At 11:00, Michaels and Jericho had a standing battle before Michaels hip-tossed Jericho over the top rope onto Cade on the floor. Michaels dragged himself to the apron and went for a moonsault on both men. Michaels got about 25 percent Cade, 25 percent Jericho, and 50 percent floor on the move. They returned to the ring where Michaels came up bleeding from the eye-area. Really nasty cut. Jericho then saw blood and his eyes became really big. Jericho landed a direct blow to the eye and the ref checked for whether Michaels wanted to continue. Ref admonished Jericho, allowing Cade to kick Michaels square in the face from the floor. Michaels didn't want to stop the match, then Jericho picked up Michaels and landed successive head butts to the eye. Jericho became lackadaisical, then Michaels slapped on a crossface out of nowhere. Jericho powered to his feet, though, and flung Michaels face-first across the bottom rope.
Ref continued to check on Michaels, who was bleeding all over his body and the ring. Jericho found his moments to keep landing right hand blows as Michaels spilled blood. Cole and Lawler took a serious tone as Michaels tried to pull himself to his feet with a nasty red color covering his face. Jericho landed more forearm blows until the ref jumped on top of Jericho and called for the bell. Official decision was Jericho winning with Michaels unable to continue. Post-match: medics came to the ring and helped Michaels out of the ring as they did crowd shots of the women in the crowd looking very concerned.
WINNER: Jericho via ref stoppage in 19:00. This one will be heavily-debated, as some people won't like the match conclusion because it wasn't a four-star classic that some people expected. But, this was a darn-good storyline-oriented match on the middle of a PPV card. Two pros telling a real, authentic, believable story. It went a bit long at the end, but they played into the fact that WWE doesn't have a standard rule for when a ref can stop a match due to a wrestler unable to continue. Overall, though, this was the realism we want to see in wrestling and there are only a select few wrestlers who can carry that out in the ring. Michaels and Jericho are at the top of that list. (***1/2)
Summerslam promo: They focused on Jericho, Batista, and Rey Mysterio playing lead roles in summer blockbuster movies. At the end, they showed Finlay and Hornswoggle dancing in the grass from the grassy area in front of that "Full House" location in San Francisco where the Tanner house was set.
Announcers: Ross and Foley brought in Edge via monitor to check on how Edge is feeling right about now. Edge said Triple H crossed lines that you don't cross in this business. He asked what kind of pervert puts a camera in a hotel room? Um...that's a loaded rhetorical question. Edge said Hunter ruined his life, so he's going to ruin Hunter's life by taking away the WWE Title.
5 -- MICHELLE McCOOL vs. NATALYA -- Smackdown Women's Title match
Ross said that for the first time in 52 years, WWE is adding a second Women's Title. Natalya with a sick surfboard stretch a few minutes into the match to show off her strength, but Michelle countered into the heel hook. Natalya quickly escaped, then wrapped Michelle around the ringpost. She followed with the Sharpshooter in center ring, but Michelle grabbed the bottom rope for a break. Michelle then slapped on the heel hook and Natalya screamed in pain trying to grab the ropes, but Natalya eventually tapped out. Michelle wins the first divas title.
WINNER: Michelle McCool in 5:00. Good match. Not particularly memorable given the short amount of time, but a solid effort from both ladies sticking to a basic formula. (*)
Post-match: Eve and Cherry came to the ring to celebrate with Michelle. Chris Jericho interrupted the celebration with blood still covering his face. He told the fans to take care of their ticket stubs because they are very significant. Jericho said it's the night Shawn Michaels had his last match. He said he just came from the trainer's room where the diagnosis is a detached retina. Jericho said it does go to show that the good guys do win (himself) and the wicked are punished. He said the worst is yet to come. Greatness.
Video package: They recapped C.M. Punk's road to the title, going back to WrestleMania where he won Money in the Bank.
6 -- World Hvt. champion C.M. PUNK vs. BATISTA -- World Heavyweight Title match
Decent reaction for Punk and a mixed reaction for Batista as they came to the ring. Lillian Garcia handled the formal ring intros with Batista mainly booed. Punk was booed too. First six mintues was about Punk using his martial arts attack to counter Batista's power offense and big-man submission holds. Batista hit a spinebuster at 7:00 and called for the end, but Punk grabbed the ropes to block the finisher. Punk landed a running knee in the corner, then a roundhouse kick to the head for a two count. Punk then wrapped Batista's arm across the top rope with a submission hold and went for another submission hold on the mat, but Batista countered into a near-three count on a roll-up. Punk hit a spinning back fist, but Batista with a rebound clothesline off the ropes.
At 10:00, Batista became too aggressive and rammed his shoulder into the ringpost. Punk then followed with an attempted splash, but Batista slammed him hard on the floor with a spinebuster. Batista dragged Punk back into the ring. Meanwhile, Kane came to ringside and attacked Batista, causing the ref to throw the match out. Kane then entered the ring and grabbed Punk around the throat to give him a chokeslam. Kane picked up his trusted bag and left the ring. "Is he alive or is he dead?" Kane shouted into the camera. He then turned around and floored a cameraman with a big boot to the face. Official decision was a Double DQ. Batista and Punk both came to their feet in the ring, with Punk holding the World Title belt in the air. Batista didn't like that, so he kicked Punk in the gut and give him a Batistabomb. Batista threw down his elbow pads while clutching his left arm selling an injury before leaving. Punk eventually sat up in the ring smirking while Batista stared into the ring frustrated. Punk no-sold a little here to show toughness as he stood on his feet pointing to the title belt over his shoulder.
WINNER: No Contest in 12:00. Well, let's find some positives. Punk had a good showing to hang with Batista and win over the live crowd as the match progressed. Action progressed nicely and they had a good balance of offense throughout. Otherwise, it's tough to take two non-finishes to two of the marquee matches on the PPV, even though the finish was probably the right choice considering they're not 100 percent behind Punk right now and Batista isn't about to lose clean to Punk at this stage of the program. (**1/4)
Video package: They focused on the Cena vs. JBL feud. No poopyness here, and they post-produced the limo-bashing segment well. Of course, they also showed the lame ending to Raw last week, but with post-production to make it slightly less lame.
7 -- JOHN CENA vs. JBL -- New York City parking lot brawl
A limo pulled up in the parking lot where a group of vehicles were in a circle. Looked like the intro to a WWE video game parking lot brawl. JBL slipped out of the limo dressed for a business meeting. He took off his jacket and pulled out a tire iron. More crazy camera shots as the assigned referee said no one has seen Cena. JBL then hopped onto the hood of a car as Cena showed up in one of the cars and tried to run over JBL. Cena cut a promo on JBL as he tried to choke him out with car cables. Cena stuffed JBL into the hood of a car before strapping the cables to JBL's balls. He "electrocuted" JBL's manhood with some added post-produced sparks to make it seem real. They had a standing brawl that JBL won by knocking Cena to the floor. JBL pulled Cena onto the hood of a car and landed a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. A DDT on the hood of the car led to another nearfall.
Note here that this is total silence except for select grunts and groans from Cena. JBL then smashed Cena head-first through the glass windshield, which should have busted him open if this were real. Alas, this is a lame concept gimmick match where there are no rules of continuity, so anything goes. JBL then stuffed Cena in the backseat of a car. He picked up some lighter fluid from his limo and walked back over to the car. JBL doused the car with fluid as the ref told him he's taking this too far. JBL pulled out a lighter and dropped the lighter on the car. JBL stared at the car as it was covered in flames. Some dudes with fire extinguishers quickly put out the flames before Cena emerged. He apparently Hulked up with the threat of fire consuming him. Cena knocked out JBL and put him inside a car before hopping onto a forklift. He rammed the prongs of the forklift into the car before picking up the car with the forklift and driving it across the backstage area.
A camera followed the action as Cena drove the car to the ringside area. Cena hopped off the forklift and stood on top of the car holding JBL. JBL fell out of the car, then Cena brawled with him on stage. Cena delivered a Five Knuckle Shuffle on stage before calling for the FU. JBL slowly came to and reached his feet. Cena hoisted him in position for the FU, but he stopped and surveyed some other options for where to drop JBL. He walked across the stage, but JBL hopped down to his feet and chucked Cena off the stage into the windshield of the vehicle on the floor. JBL hopped down and covered Cena for a three count. Afterward, JBL slowly crawled down to the floor and was helped to his feet by referees. He looked a bit stunned. Cena was bleeding from the forearm-area as he came to. Announcers went silent as the camera told the story of two men bruised and battered. Cena showed dejection as the fans near the stage chanted, "Cena" repeatedly.
WINNER: JBL in 17:00. Well, this was pretty terrible backstage in the "video game" portion of the "match." Things were slightly better once they came to ringside and told a simpler story. Memorable for all the wrong reasons here. Just so much wrong with the elements of this storyline, with the obvious questions of why cops weren't there with the men attempting vehicular homicide and just plain old murder. Over-done to seemingly promote WWE's films division. Surprising finish to see Cena lose here, but we probably get a re-match at Summerslam with Cena winning. (n/a)
Text voting: Sympathy is 45 percent for Vickie and 55 percent for Edge. ... They aired the extended director's cut version of the Vickie-Edge wedding falling apart, concluding with Vickie screaming and hollering and breaking various windows surrounding TV sets.
Backstage: They showed Triple H walking on the way to the ring until Eve stopped him short and asked if he has any regrets about the personal attack on Smackdown. Hunter smirked and rhetorically asked if he looks like the type of guy who regrets anything. He snorted, then walked away. Okay...
In-ring: Edge came to the ring first for the WWE Title match. He was covered in sweat and water while breathing quite heavily with his eyes puffy. All part of good pre-match storytelling from Edge, who is right there with Jericho and Michaels on the upper echelon of being able to tell a story before a match begins. Triple H then came out to defend the title.
8 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. EDGE -- WWE Title match
After ref Mickie Henson gave pre-match instructions, the bell sounded, and Edge flew right at Hunter with a knee to the face. That's a hot start. Hunter quickly ended it by knocking Edge to the outside and slamming him into the guardrail. Edge regained control once the match settled into a more one-on-one competition rather than Edge trying to make it a personal grudge match. Ross and Foley went the MMA route with some of their commentary to give it a more realistic feel. Plenty of good counters and reversals as they went back-and-forth during the mid-point of the match.
At 15:00, Hunter and Edge battled up top in a power struggle that epitomized the match thus far. Edge landed a superplex to get the best of that battle, but both men were out cold on the mat. Suddenly, Vickie's wedding planner came to the ringside area and grabbed the WWE Title belt. She ran over the ringside area and placed the belt down for Edge, but Vickie stormed the ringside area and knocked out the wedding planner. Vickie grabbed the title belt and entered the ring, only to have the wedding planner attack her. They brawled in the ring with ref trying to play peacemaker. Suddenly, Edge speared the crap out of Vickie when he was aiming for the wedding planner. Edge was shocked at the turn of events. Edge lost his focus and walked right into the Pedigree from Hunter for the pin and the win. Post-match, Vickie clutched her stomach in pain as a medic checked on her. Pregnancy angle anyone? Hunter was shown standing tall on stage to close the show.
WINNER: Hunter in 17:00 to retain the WWE Title. Well, the finish sent the fans home happy, but three non-clean or non-traditional finishes to three of the marquee matches on the show was disappointing when WWE had a good streak of relatively clean finishes on their recent PPVs. Match was pretty much in first gear for most of the time, with flashes of excitement to keep the crowd interested. Fine, but not memorable main event to cap off a bridge PPV to Summerslam. (***)
We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**