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The Great American Bash 2008 Breakdown

July 21, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

Great American Bash 2008
by J.D. Dunn

  • July 20, 2008
  • Live from Long Island, N.Y..
  • Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Mick Foley, Mike Adamle and The Taz.

  • Opening Match, WWE Tag Team Title Fatal Four-Way: The Miz & John Morrison vs. Jesse & Festus vs. Hawkins & Ryder vs. Finlay & Hornswoggle.
    Festus clears everyone out of the ring on the opening bell and nearly has fisticuffs with Hornswoggle. Instead, Horny busts out the Irish tope. The champs isolate Finlay, but he collides with Morrison for a double KO spot. That allows Zack Ryder to tag in, and now the Edgehogs isolate Finlay. He comes back with the Finlay Roll and nearly gets the pin off a shillelagh shot. Hornswoggle tags in and cleans house, but Jesse blind tags himself in and steals Hornswoggle’s thunder. Jesse’s a jerk. Festus cleans house now, and the hillbillies go for the Rocket Launcher. Ryder breaks it up, knocking Jesse into the ring. Hawkins covers and gets the pin and the titles at 9:06. Huh. The match was okay, but I gotta question taking the titles off Miz & Morrison, who were developing a pretty big following, and giving them to a couple of bit players in the Edge/Vickie saga. Maybe singles pushes are in the offing. **

  • U.S. Title: Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin.
    Geez, this was awkward early on. It’s not that anything was totally botched, but just the way they were doing things were so fundamentally unsound. Benjamin tosses Hardy into the post to take over. He grabs an abdominal stretch for a while and then works the back to cut off a comeback. Benjamin hits a spinning kick, but his Stinger Splash is blocked. Matt gets a close two off the second-rope legdrop. He tries a huracanrana (?!), but Shelton catches him with a turnbuckle powerbomb. The guy contingent in the audience gets a small “Lets Go Shelton!” chant going. Matt rolls through a powerbomb and hits the Side Effect for two. He blocks a superplex, but his moonsault meets Shelton’s knee. Shelton finishes with the Gold Rush at 9:36. I’m not sure Matt was really healthy enough to carry the title. I know he’s always been a bit pigeon-toed, but some of his offense just looked bizarre here – like standing straight up while delivering a back elbow. Let’s see what Benjamin does with yet another push. The match itself was awkward early, got better, and then finished before it could really go either way. **1/4

  • CM Punk says he’s always been told he can’t do it. Now he’s out to prove people wrong. Meh.
  • ECW Title: Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Colin Delaney).
    I get that Dreamer is the token ECW guy to give guys the rub, but there have to be better guys to pair with Henry from a wrestling standpoint. Henry overpowers Tommy early, and doesn’t do much of note. He has kind of a neat wristlock move where he bends Tommy’s arm over his knee. Dreamer makes the comeback and hits the DDT, but he goes up. Colin Delany SHOCKS THE WORLD and yanks Tommy down. Henry finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam at 5:31. Didn’t really belong on PPV. It was just a token match in which the biggest plot point was a… Colin Delany heel turn? 3/4*

  • Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho.
    This would be the marquee matchup for me (and, I assume, most of us). Kind of cool opening sees Michaels stiffly shooting forearms to Jericho’s eye. He seems to tweak his ribs early, so he clips Jericho’s knee and locks in the figure-four. Jericho makes the ropes and whips Shawn over the top to the apron. Great sell from Shawn as Jericho hits the springboard dropkick and Shawn gets knocked for a loop. Back in, Jericho works the back and ribs with a surfboard. He jumps right into an atomic drop, though. Shawn hits the flying forearm and kips up, but that hurts his ribs again. Jericho takes him down into the Walls of Jericho. Shawn makes the ropes and tries a sneaky Sweet Chin Music. Jericho blocks but gets nailed with a clothesline as he’s going for the bulldog. Shawn goes up, but Jericho crotches him. They fight on the top, and Jericho gets shoved to the mat. Picture-Perfect Elbow! He tunes up the band, but Lance Cade runs down and distracts him. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, but Shawn hangs on to the ropes to block. Shawn launches Jericho onto Cade and then moonsaults onto both of them! Shawn’s eye gets busted open off an elbow. Cade adds a big boot behind the ref’s back. Jericho goes after the eye with a right hand. The ref warns him to stay back and checks Shawn. Shawn says he’s okay, so Jericho goes back to the cut. Repeat as needed. Jericho gets in his face, so Shawn takes him down into the Crossface. Jericho powers up and tosses him into the ropes. Shawn refuses to quit, so Jericho punts him in the head, ties up his arms, and starts punching him until the ref stops the fight to save Shawn at 18:18. Highly disappointing, especially since it seemed like it was about to get going at certain points and then just died. The whole match moved in fits and starts until the finish, which went on *way* too long. Not sure where all the praise is coming from. I appreciate the effort, and it seems like they really did have a good storyline idea. It just laid there, though, and the fans didn’t care either (in fact, it sounded like most of them were cheering for Jericho as he tried to end Shawn’s career). Give them points for playing the storyline, but the match just fell flat. ***

  • Edge is really, really unhappy with HHH. And it also looks like he saw The Dark Knight and decided to play himself as Heath Ledger playing Edge. That’s just how deep the performance runs.
  • Vacant Divas Title: Natalya Neidhart vs. Michelle McCool.
    This is for the ‘highly prestigious’ Butterfly World Championship. Pretty sloppy until Natalya goes after Michelle’s leg and puts her in the Mexican Surfboard. Michelle squirts out into a leglock, but Natalya escapes and stretches her around the post. Back in, Natalya locks in the Sharpshooter, but Michelle makes the ropes. McCool counters a second try to what could diplomatically be called a leglock but what looks more like a lesbian scissors. That “Brazilian Heelhook” (ha ha, Brazilian, get it?) gets the submission and the ‘highly prestigious’ Butterfly World Championship at 4:43. So Natalya spends the bulk of the match working over Michelle’s leg, but she taps out off a single fluke reversal? Zuh? *

  • Chris Jericho returns and tells us to keep our ticket stubs (or cable bills, one assumes) because tonight was Shawn Michaels’ last match. Jericho says Shawn has a detached retina, so he’s finished, caput, done, won’t be seeing him again… ever. I know people are calling for a Hell in a Cell, but logically it sets up a blindfold match. I’m not saying I hope for that, but that’s where the storyline would logically lead.
  • World Heavyweight Title: CM Punk vs. Batista.
    Wow, the crowd sucks tonight. Even Batista, who gets the second biggest pops in the WWE gets an anemic reaction. Batista totally overpowers Punk early, frustrating him. He even blocks a schoolboy rollup and practically laughs him off. Punk enzuigiris him to the floor, though, and hits a tope. Back in, Punk lays in the kicks and hits a springboard crossbody for two. Batista blocks the corner knee and hits a powerslam. Punk grabs the ropes to block the Demonbomb and kicks Batista in the head. That sets up the corner knee, and a bulldog attempt, but Batista blocks. Punk knocks him silly with a roundhouse kick, but Batista elbows out of the Go2Sleep. Batista sets up for the Musclebuster, but Punk reverses to the Tarantula Armbar. That sets up the springboard clothesline and the return of the Anaconda Vice! Batista powers him over onto his shoulders for two, but Punk releases the hold. Batista catches Punk’s foot, so Punk gives him a few palm strikes. Batista misses a charge and winds up on the floor. Punk tries to follow him with a dive off the apron, but Batista catches him and gives him a spinebuster on the floor. Kane runs down and attacks both guys at 11:05. Kane appears to be holding a small bag. Well, he was partners with Rob Van Dam at one point, so that makes sense. Punk didn’t look bad at all here. He just didn’t look *good*. It looks like what they were going for was to make him look overmatched but resourceful (not unlike Bret Hart). Minus a bit for the dissatisfying ending. **3/4

  • After the match, Punk holds up the belt, so Batista gives him a Demonbomb and leaves him lying. Okay, *now* Punk looks like a pussy. He gets up and motions that he still has the belt, though. More smart-ass Punk, please.
  • Parking Lot Brawl: John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield.
    Who rides a limo to a parking lot brawl? Cena is nowhere to be found early, making JBL apprehensive. JBL crawls up on a car, and Cena starts up his car on the opposite side and rams it. Then, he strangles JBL with cables, hooks them up to his nuts, and shocks his ballsack. Gay porneriffic! What’s next, the STeabagFU? JBL tries to drive away, bringing up the question of why people are leaving their keys in their cars. But then, I just watched a man in a video game shirt who thinks he’s a Marine electrocute the testicles of a stockbroker snake-oil salesman, so maybe I should stop asking questions. The tide turns when JBL reverses a whip and sends Cena through a car door. He DDTs Cena on the top of a car for two. Cena is out, so he shoves him in the backseat of the car, douses it with gasoline, and lights it on fire. AND CENA NO-SELLS IT! Cena jumps JBL, tosses, him in a car and forklifts it out to the arena. JBL spills out, and they slug it out on the entrance ramp. Cena wins and hits the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Cena picks him up for the FU, but he decides to do it onto the car instead. JBL slips off his shoulders and tosses him into windshield. That’s enough for the win at 15:12. This was about as ridiculous as you can get. How much you enjoy it depends on how much crap you can put up with. On the level of “entertaining crap,” it certainly succeeds. It reminded me of “Wanted,” in that it was totally over-the-top and unbelievable yet fun in its own goofy way. **1/2

  • Recap of HHH ruining Test and Stephanie’s… erm, Edge and Vickie’s wedding.
  • WWE Mobile says people are siding with Edge in the Edge/Vickie split. Ha ha. So he uses her to advance his career, makes fun of her for being fat, cheats on her with the wedding planner, and she’s in the wrong just because she looks like her face has been sleeping on a pillow too long?
  • WWE Heavyweight Title: Triple H vs. Edge.
    Edge jumps HHH right away but gets dumped. Hunter starts to “methodically” work him over but gets sent into the barricade. Edge knocks him into the announce table and settles into “the ground an pound.” Hunter winds up on the apron, and Edge tries to spear him off, but Hunter sidesteps and sends Edge to the floor. Edge misses a baseball slide but hits the DDT on the floor. Back in, Edge misses a missile dropkick and gets catapulted into the corner. Edge misses a spear and gets rolled up for two. Hunter gives him a spinebuster. They fight on top, and Edge delivers a superplex. Here comes Alicia Fox, wedding planner extraordinaire. Man, that is a really dedicated wedding planner. She tries to slide the belt in, but Vickie Guerrero runs down and clubs her with a meaty clothesline. That leads to a catfight, and Edge accidentally spears Vickie. Jim Ross theorizes he was trying to spear Alicia Fox, but why would he? Edge is so shocked that he turns around into a Pedigree at 16:46. This was another one that didn’t really belong here, given the finish. I’m not even sure why they did the finish the way they did, given that it doesn’t really protect anyone and doesn’t set anything else up outside of Vickie vs. Alicia. I guess it *might* be construed as setting up an Edge/Alicia relationship, but there are better ways to do that than on the main event of a PPV. The match was okay-but-unspectacular until the interference. **1/2

    The 411: Maybe it was just the dead crowd, but the whole show just landed like a lead weight. It didn’t help that, after a month of Raws that made it look like they were trying fresh and dynamic ways of storytelling, they reverted back to cliché and formula here. All three title matches had interference that led directly to the finish. The Shawn vs. Jericho match was lethargic and was salvaged only by both guys’ professionalism and ability to tell a story. As a whole, the show just fell flat.

    Thumbs down.

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