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Monday, 21 July 2008

Great American Bash - live thoughts

Great American Bash, huh? It’s American..........I may well Bash it............we’ll see if it’s great.

After the obligatory introductory video, we have the first match – and what do you know, I got it right! Fatal Fourway Tag Match for the Smackdown Tag Team titles – I’m assuming it’s one fall and not elimination match.

Three teams make their way out, and it’s depressing that Finlay and Hornswoggle get quite the reception. JR appears to know his Golf, citing Padraig Harrington’s Open victory this afternoon.

Much as I hate the Hornswoggle gimmick, I have to give Dylan Postl credit for giving it his all. His facial expressions are good and he actually is learning in the ring. He just did a neat spot by rolling up his sleeves in readiness to fight Festus, but then did a version of a suicide dive onto Hawkins and Ryder.

There’s one I got wrong. Only very standard fare, but the former Major Brothers, briefly Edgeheads and now just plain old Hawkins and Ryder take the gold. Not anything to write home about, but does beg a question about how they will be used in or out of La Familia from here on in.

Matt Hardy is out to defend the US Title. I had no idea about this match. It wasn’t in the rundown on Oops – my bad.

JR and Mick talk about a stat whereby no US Title holder has ever lost the belt at the Great American Bash. That’s normally a signal that the stat will be broken. Good luck, Shelton – gold to the Gold Standard?

A noticeable split is developing in the audience. A high-pitched majority are chanting “Let’s go Hardy” but an increasingly vocal minority are roaring on Shelton Benjamin. This should be taking into consideration for later on. I would suggest a similar split for Batista and Punk.

God bless the predictable stats. Shelton wins in what was a decent encounter. A couple of really nice spots, and if Shelton can step up from this, continue to produce decent-to-great PPV encounters without resorting to jumping up ladders, and then couple this ability with some decent mic work, Shelton could finally have a decent push.

Quality promo by CM Punk, building up himself as a humble but confident champion. I don’t understand why they are showing that on the PPV rather than using it on TV to build interest.

E-C-Dub time, and a decent reception for Tommy Dreamer, along with Colin Delaney, who presumably is there in a role to find the whitest man possible to counter the two black guys Tommy is facing. I’d forgotten about Tony Atlas, and I want to just point out that my above statement was not a racist comment. Apropos of nothing, Tony Atlas once portrayed Saba Simba. I am not the racist one.

Erm, Delaney turns heel?

It’s happening folks, the feud you’ve all wanted and been talking about. Not AJ v Joe again. Not Austin & Hogan. Not even Beth Phoenix and Awesome Kong.

It’s Colin Delaney and Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer was about to jump off the second rope, with Delaney acting cheerleader, but Tommy was pulled into the ropes by Colin, and Mizark polishes Tommy off. There’s your ECW main event next week, folks.

I bet you can’t wait.

That was intense. I’m not too thrilled. Would have been nice to let Jericho have a WRESTLING win rather than Michaels just bleedinf profusely – and man did he bleed.

Before he did got the juice, the match was pretty normal by Michaels and Jericho’s standards. i.e. it was freaking awesome. Just fantastic execution of moves, great psychology, working body parts, nicely paced.

I’m not crazy about the ending, but it makes sense from a storyline development perspective, and I assume this will lead to another contest, possibly with a stipulation like Last Man Standing, at Summerslam.

Divas time, and look at that outfit Nattie is almost wearing........

Short, but surprisingly good. Michelle wins – also a surprise – but the biggest shock was the quality of the encounter. Only being 6 minutes or so may have been a negative cutting it down, but it may have been deliberately condensed to look better.

Submisson-based, it flowed beautifully, made Nattie look a million dollars and elevated Michelle. Whoever put that together deserves a pat on the back.

It does go some way to showing why WWE stays away from doing more ‘wrestling’ matches. This, one of the better women’s matches you will see anywhere, got a sprinkling of ‘boring’ chants. And I’ll bet that when it did there was a bit of panic behind the curtain. “Damn, they’re saying it’s boring. I told you, wrestling doesn’t work.” I bet those people who thought that was boring love it when Hornswoggle gets his squirter out (no, not that)

Anyway, post match out comes Jericho, interrupting the celebration Michelle is having with her chums Eve and Cherry. Jericho cuts a neat heel promo telling fans to keep their ticket stubs, Michaels has had is last match. It’s a to-the-point promo and it’s chilling in it’s message. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to let Jericho go after Punk now, assuming he beats Batista. In fact even if Batista wins, as there is recent history and would make sense.

Have Jericho be cost the title by HBK returning, perhaps, and let HBK and Jericho go wild again. It would build the anticipation of HBK’s absence while letting Jericho’s heel character develop even darker.

I’ve realised I’ve left out a little conversation Edge had with the announcers, but I didn’t catch all of it while I was writing. No back editing here. He basically blamed Triple H for the wedding debacle and for ruining his (Edge’s) life.
Title match between Punk and Batista now.
Interesting point or two here as it means this is lower on the card (i.e. less important) than Cena and JBL. Secondly, Punk is billed as a huge underdog by the announcers Cole and Lawler. That doesn’t make sense if Batista is going over. Building the Punk underdog means him winning would mean a lot more.

It’s been ok so far. A little formulaic, but remembering that this is Dave Batista, it’s been ok. Batista has dominated for much, but that’s ok. Punk has had flurries. I just hope that if he wins they let him win properly, not by fluke.

02.45amI’m not sure a babyface contest is heloing this. Punk and Batista are both over babyfaces without being super strong. It seems quite a lot of the crowd are either neutral or only slightly on one guy’s side. Both men hitting moves is a getting a nice pop, but there is no heel heat at all. Feels a bit flat.

Oh, for crying out loud. I might have known they couldn’t end it properly. We have some sort of DQ ending as Kane arrives to attack Batista and throw him into a ring post. Chokeslam to Punk and it’s called off. Kane has his bag with him.

He screams to the camera the “alive or dead” line before turning and kicking a cameraman (not at all a developmental or local wrestler. No way) and slinking away with the bag.

Punk and Batista get up and as it looks like a handshake is imminent, Batista kicks Punk and gives him a Batistabomb. I can live with that, as you can interpret that as Batista being frustrated and taking it out on the man he feels shouldn’t be champ.

I just can’t believe they absolutely refuse to let Punk win something cleanly against anyone apart from Snitsky. They did let him have a bunch of offense, though, at least.

I think it is Kane’s mask in the bag, for the record.


To be fair, if you take out the stupidly over the top elements, it was kinda it wasn’t, it was terrible. I really don’t know anyone who wants to see this. Seriously, who would be thinking “Well, since JBL can’t do much now, and Cena has no-one else to work with, I hope they try to kill each other a few times.”

Setting a car on fire was the method of murder of choice this time, with Cena skewering a car with a fork lift, too. Not entirely surprising to see a “battery attached to gonads” spot. Cena cannot go ten minutes without talking about, or gesturing to, a penis.

Another thing, how come there was a camera in the car Cena drove at one point? I’m guessin this was all filmed earlier in the day and gimmicked up then, as this reminds me a lot of the Boiler Room Brawl from Summerslam 96. No commentary then or now, until it spilled into the arena.

Oh, forget it. It’s just ludicrous. I fail to see how anyone in WWE thinks this is a good idea. The trouble is, I think that they will continue the programme, because JBL won, and they won’t end the feud without Cena beating him again.

We’ve just started the main event, and I’m pleased to report that as soon as the bell rang Edge charged. A tiny bit of realism (a charging set of punches rather than a lock up by an angry man) after the last half hour of mayhem.

Nice touch in the review of Smackdown, by the way. We hear the “Together” song that only ever gets played in moments of weddings in WWE. Man, wouldn’t it have been cool if they could’ve got hold of that for Jay Lethal and So Cal Val.

With both men down, the wedding planner turns up and grabs the belt to pass to Edge. Vickie comes running down to clothesline her. Back problems cleared up then?

Planner (Alicia, says JR) and Vickie get in a scrap in the ring, and Edge ends up spearing Vickie by accident. But he was aiming at Alicia apparently. Don’t understand why. Anyway, he didn’t hold back. Vickie took it hard.

Trip nonchalantly cashes in on this havoc, Pedigree-ing Edge and winning.

Well, that’s it. Not the best and not the worst. Some neat storyline stuff went on, it was just a shame that one of the matches wasn’t converted into a really good one with long-term benefits. I’ll allow the Jericho/Michaels because the match before the bleeding was terrific, and the storytelling (before and after) was exceptional.

I could cope with Punk and Batista’s match going the way it did had it not been for HBK/Y2J also not finishing clean. Edge and Triple H was never really going to be a straightforward one, so there was a little too much interferences and lack of clean finishes for me.

Around the card, the opener was sound, I liked the Diva match a lot, and Shelton v Matt was a good outing. Henry v Dreamer was awful as expected, but at least there was a bit of interest coming out of it.

Cena v JBL was the obvious aberration, but apart from that it was sound without being spectacular.

On another plus, with so many storyline elements and advancements, plus the last few week’s efforts, I’m looking forward to Raw. How will Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels’ excellent programme progress? Who is Kane talking about? Who will Punk face next? How will Batista react? Will they drop JBL and Cena?

Should be interesting.

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