Torch Flashbacks WWE Great American Bash 2005: Keller's report on Batista vs. JBL, Eddie vs. Rey, Taker vs. Hassan
Jul 23, 2006 - 3:29:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH
JULY 24, 2005
-Josh Matthews and Todd Grisham hosted the pre-PPV Heat show. During Heat, highlights aired of the Muhammad Hassan-Undertaker angle. Paul London beat Nunzio in a short pre-PPV match.
-Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the PPV.
1 -- MNM (Mercury & Nitro w/Melina) vs. HEIDENREICH & ANIMAL -- WWE Tag Team Title match
MNM went for their finisher, but Heidenreich broke it up. Animal and Heidenreich won after giving Mercury the Doomsday Device.
WINNERS: Animal & Heidenreich at 6:40.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Pretty much what you'd expect. Animal was a step off some of the time. Heidenreich was Heidenreich.
-Backstage Eddie Guerrero said he invited Rey to have his son be at ringside for the match, and Rey didn't like the idea at first, but he talked him into it.
2 -- CHRISTIAN vs. BOOKER T (w/Sharmell)
They brawled at ringside early. Back in the ring, Christian tossed Booker shoulder-first into the ringpost. Christian got in Sharmell's face, then she slapped him. Booker came back with a Book End when Sharmell distracted Christian on the ring apron for a two count at 6:30. Booker did the Spinaroonie at 8:30 and then missed a scissors kick. Christian went for an Unprettier. Booker blocked it and sent Christian face-first into the ringpost. Booker punched Christian five times, then Christian tripped Booker to the mat and used the ropes for leverage to score a two count. Booker hit a top rope dropkick at 9:45 and scored a two count. Christian poked Booker's eyes and threw him to ringside. When Christian chased after Booker, Booker threw him into the ringpost and then the steps. Back in the ring Booker hit a scissors kick off the second rope for the win.
WINNER: Booker T at 11:35.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Above average, but not a lot of spark.
3 -- ORLANDO JORDAN vs. CHRIS BENOIT -- U.S. Title
They worked at a pace with a long match in mind. Benoit had a bandage on the back of his neck. Jordan dominated early. He settled into an armbar and then a hammerlock/chinlock combo with a body scissors. Benoit's selling and struggle to get out kept it relatively interesting. Benoit punched out. Jordan went back to a mat hold. The match was really dragging. This is a big match for Jordan and he's not even trying to get the crowd involved. Jordan went to the top rope. Benoit knocked him off balance and then superplexed him to the mat. Benoit slipped a bit on the launch. Benoit made a comeback, but the crowd had been lulled to sleep and was slow to get back involved. Benoit hit a series of unreleased German suplexes. At 13:00 Benoit chopped away at Jordan's chest. When Benoit slammed Jordan's head into the turnbuckle, Jordan's head bounced backward and hit Benoit. Jordan exposed the turnbuckle and ducked a charging Benoit, so Benoit rammed into it. Jordan then scored the pin.
WINNER: Jordan at 14:11 to retain the U.S. Title.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Really dull. No excuse for that.
-A recap aired of the Muhammad Hassan-Undertaker feud.
4 -- UNDERTAKER vs. MUHAMMAD HASSAN (w/Daivari)
Hassan was carried to the ring by the men in black masks, whom Cole called "sympathizers" (a word familiar with the term "terrorist sympathizer" is often used, but WWE insists Hassan's character is not meant to be a terrorist). Cole even used the word "martyr." Cole acknowledged the media controversy of Hassan's career in WWE after Great American Bash, citing CNN among other outlets. He made it sound as if the mainstream media were speculating that Undertaker might end Hassan's career. Hassan vowed that he would defeated Undertaker and would be back on Smackdown and become the no. 1 contender again. He said at Summerslam he will fulfill his destiny as the Arab-American to be WWE Champion. Hassan said he knows what it's like to be a target. He said he knows as an Arab-American what it's like to sacrifice. He talked of sacrificing his lawyer and Daivari (who was at ringside, seemingly fine). Taker dominated the opening minutes. Taker charged with a flying knee, but Hassan moved and Taker bumped to the floor. The guys in black masks attacked Taker at ringside at 3:00. Hassan dominated for a couple minutes. At ringside, a masked man choked Taker with wire (just to prove they aren't backing down from all of the controversial imagery). Taker made a comeback by powering out of a Camel Clutch. The "sympathizers" (as Cole again called them) charged into the ring. Taker fended them off one after another. Hassan avoided a Tombstone attempt, but Taker soon caught him with a chokeslam for the win. The men in masks attacked Taker at ringside, but Taker managed to fend them off with chairshots. Taker then cornered Hassan in the ring. He tossed him to ringside and threw him through the front of the announcers' desk. Hassan crawled toward the back up the rampway. Taker tracked him down. Hassan begged for mercy, but then threw a punch. Taker chokeslammed him on the "unforgiving steel" of the stage. Taker ended up giving Hassan a Last Ride through an opening in the stage "onto the concrete below." Tazz said he has never seen anything like that before in his life. After a minute to remove whatever Hassan landed on, the camera showed him lying on debris on the floor with his back contorted. Paramedics tended to him, holding his head in place. A pool of blood showed up near him.
WINNER: Undertaker at 8:04.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Pretty methodical. Not really enough to put it above a star.
-Torrie Wilson previewed her match.
5 -- THE BWO (Steven Richards & Nova & Blue Meanie) vs. SUPER CRAZY & PSICOSIS & JUVENTUD GUERRERA
A mix of tags and spots, but not much of a story developed. The Mexicools won after a series of moves off the top rope onto Richards.
WINNERS: Mexicools at 4:55.
STAR RATING: * -- Really short, forgettable, and inconsequential.
-The Eddie Guerrero-Rey Mysterio feud recap aired for a record 603rd time, breaking the record for the number of weeks in a row that annoying Lee Press-On Nails commercial aired on TBS in the late-'80s.
-Rey gave Dominic an "I love you no matter what happens tonight" speech. Dominic either thinks it's real or is a really good child actor. He's got the look to make it in movies.
6 -- EDDIE GUERRERO vs. REY MYSTERIO
Dominic sat at ringside. There was a small "Let's go Eddie" chant. Before the match, Eddie postured by shaking Rey's hand and showing Dominic how much he was friends with his father. Rey opened the match with a sudden clothesline. They went into a rapid-fire series of exchanges in center ring including some near falls for Rey. Another small "Let's Go Eddie" chant began, but most fans gave the heel group weird looks. Cole said some fans are going to cheer for Eddie because they want him to reveal the secret. They showed a close-up of Dominic who looked so sad for his dad. Rey knocked Guerrero off balance when he was on the top rope, crotching him. A minute later Guerrero returned the favor, then reached into his tights and adjusted something. Cole asked what that was. Tazz said he had to adjust himself. Guerrero set up an Edge, but Rey slipped out and delivered a 619 and a sudden springboard tackle for a two count. Eddie bailed to ringside and said, "He almost beat me!" He then approached Dominic and hugged him, then used him as a shield against Eddie. Eddie held his head as if he was threatening to twist it off. That crossed a line where it went from entertaining within the storyline to uncomfortable. Eddie eventually let go. Rey jumped toward Dominic to check on him. Eddie attacked Rey. Tazz said he had no right to put his hands on Rey and called him a "frickin' asshole." Eddie dominated the next several minutes, slowing the match down in the process. At 11:00 Eddie went back to chat with Dominic. Rey attacked Eddie from behind and threw him into the ring. Eddie regained control quickly. Rey countered with a DDT out of nowhere and draped his arm over Eddie's chest for a two count. Rey hit the 619 at 12:30. He followed up with the Dropping the Dime. Guerrero moved. Guerrero then hit three unreleased suplexes. As Guerrero climbed to the top rope, Rey rolled out of range for a Guerrero frog splash, so Guerrero changed plans and gave Rey another two suplexes. Rey was limp. Cole said it might be time to end the misery. Eddie gave Rey a vicious brainbuster suplex. Eddie shot evil looks at Dominic at ringside. Eddie climbed to the top rope, smirked at Dominic, and then hit a frog splash. Guerrero told Dominic to watch as he covered Rey with a cocky pin. Rey surprised Eddie and rolled him up backwards into a three count. Rey immediately ran to ringside to celebrate with his son. Dominic looked a little shell-shocked by the whole thing, then mustered a smile once they made it to the stage. Cole said Eddie's losing streak to Rey continued. Rey said whatever the secret is, it should remain between them.
WINNER: Rey at 15:38.
STAR RATING: *** -- Above average, very good match. Although quite a bit storyline driven with Dominic at ringside, they did a good job working in good in-ring drama and some nice spots. Not great, but easily the best of a below-average night.
-Josh Matthews interviewed JBL backstage. He called Josh a pissant. He said Batista has caused his Hall of Fame career embarrassment. He said it will be the first time someone wearing red, white, and blue won a World Championship in Buffalo, since the Bills couldn't do it after four straight tries. He concluded, "There is only one Wrestling God!"
7 -- TORRIE WILSON vs. MELINA
Candice Michelle came out to be special referee. Tazz said it's the first time a referee in WWE has worn a garter. Cole said, "You never know what someone is wearing underneath their pants." He suggested maybe Charles Robinson had before. Torrie applied an abdominal stretch early and then ripped off Melina's shirt, revealing her bra. Torrie then yanked her pants down in the back, but Melina kicked Torrie out of the ring. Melina ripped off Torrie's shirt. As Torrie asked the fans if they wanted to see Melina stripped, Melina yanked her throat-first over the top rope. Melina then ripped off Torrie's pants as the camera zoomed in on her panties. Melina attacked Candice afterward. Candice yanked off her pants. Melina cried and walked to the back. Candice then took off her ref-striped top and shorts to strip down to her bra and panties, too. Torrie and Candice hugged and strutted around the ring.
WINNER: Melina in 5:00.
STAR RATING: n/a -- Not really a match to be rated, but the action was pretty good.
-A commercial aired for Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels at Summerslam.
8 -- BATISTA vs. JBL -- World Hvt. Title match
Cole said JBL is the type of guy who will kiss up to you until you give him a kiss on the cheek, then stab you in the back. Methodical opening ten minutes with JBL mostly on offense. The announcers even pointed out how JBL was pacing it at his pace. After some matholds that really slowed things down, they brawled at ringside and into the crowd a few minutes later, but still no real spark to the match. The ref got knocked out of the ring at 16:00. Batista set up a Batista Bomb, but Jordan interfered with a chair. That led to a near fall for JBL once the ref returned to the ring. JBL couldn't believe it, looking like someone who's back-up plan just failed. JBL nailed Batista with a strong Clothesline from Hell. He went for another cover. The ref was still groggy. JBL went for another, but Batista caught him with a spinebuster instead. There was a medium crowd pop. Jordan then charged at Batista. Batista backdropped him to the floor. Batista drove his shoulder into JBL's mid-section and then followed with a clothesline in the corner and a powerslam. He then fended off Jordan once more time, nailing him with a chair and then JBL. The ref saw the chairshot and DQ'd Batista, who then made some faces that didn't really convey any particular emotion. The crowd was letdown by the finish. Batista began bashing Jordan and JBL over and over with stiff chairshots. Batista left and returned to the back, but then went back to the ring and gave Batista Bombs to Jordan and JBL.
WINNER: JBL at 19:50 via DQ so Batista retained the World Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Another largely bland match that never got beyond first and second gear.
We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show. To contribute your thoughts on Smackdown, click here: http://www.pwtorch.com/FeedbackForm.htm.
KELLER'S STAR RATING QUALIFICATION KEY:
DUD: Not just below-average, but without redeeming qualities either due to incompetence, inexperience, lack of effort, or mistakes. A bad finish to a below-average match can also rate a DUD.
ONE STAR: Below average match, but passable.
TWO STARS: Average everyday match, usually between five and ten minutes, with nothing memorable about it, but nothing wrong with it. A shorter match can also earn two stars if it was better than average for five minutes, but didn't last long enough to justify a three star rating.
THREE STARS: Very good match, but lacking something to take it to the next level. It might be a match between two average wrestlers that overachieved or a match between two excellent wrestlers that underperformed. Contains some element that makes it stand out from a typical average match and it effectively fulfilled it purpose in the context of the rest of the show.
FOUR STARS: Excellent match, entering match of the year territory. Everything fell into place. Several elements of the match were dramatic or emotional enough to get the crowd into the action. In almost every case, a match needs to have a satisfying finish to rate four stars or higher. A poor finish can take what is otherwise a four-star match and drop below. It's tough to reach four stars unless a match goes past 15 minutes.
FIVE STARS: A rare masterpiece where the match transcends what is usually considered a great match. To rate five stars, there can't be one fault to the match - not a poor finish, or a poor start, or some missed moves, or inconsistent selling, or corny ref bumps, or tired cliched spots, or a dead crowd, or lack of emotions expressed by the wrestlers. Each segment of the match has to fit into the larger story of the match. It's tough for a match to reach five stars unless it lasts at least 20 minutes.
NOTE: Sometimes being the "first of a kind" can elevate a match rating, such as being the first ladder match or first Hell in a Cell or first TLC match or first War Games, making an excellent match better in it that incorporates a new match stipulation effectively. The same match two years later, after a gimmick is repeated over and over again, may have lost the novelty factor and thus not score five stars.
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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)
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