The Ross Report: Great American Bash 2005

The Ross Report: Great American Bash 2005

Let’s make something abundantly clear from the word go – I expect more of Pay Per Views and with every right – heck, if it’s something that is being paid for, you want to see some bang for your buck. Where a non-decision is acceptable when used sparingly on free TV, it’s not on for a PPV. Where a C grade, run of the mill, adequate performance is enough for TV and I don’t hold it against any of the performers as long as they sometimes show more willing, on PPV it just doesn’t cut it. I think that B grade is the absolute minimum that anyone should be aiming for when it comes to PPV.

The PPV Awesomeness Meter as depicted in birds I might like to have fiddle with my bits and bobs:
A – Dannii Minogue
B – Alyssa Milano
C – Hilary Swank
D – Hilary Clinton
E – Cherie Blair

We’re live from Buffalo, New York with an encouragingly noisy audience and it looks like we’re going to kick it off with the Tag Team Championship – and there was me thinking that the bWo would be out first – as it happens, bloody good job I was wrong there.

The Match: Road Warrior Animal/John Heidenreich vs MNM (Tag Champs)

Who we thought would win: Animal/Heidenreich

Who we wanted to win: Not bothered

The Finish: Following a lengthy beat down on Heidenreich’s leg, the hot tag is made and Animal cleans house. MNM eventually get the better of him and set up for one of the more gay moves in wrestling, the Snapshot, but Heidenreich connects with something sort of resembling a clothesline to take Nitro out of the picture. Animal powerslams Mercury and sets up for the Doomsday Device, which Heidenreich flubs for the second time in one week and three slaps of the mat later, we’ve got new Tag Team Champions in Heidenreich and Animal.

The Verdict: Nothing too offensive here but this match was indubitably helped by the hot crowd. Heidenreich was dodgy as ever but his selling of the knee was actually quite commendable. Throwaway match with nothing of note in there but a decent curtain jerker that kept the crowd on-board.

The Grades:

Nitro: C – Capable of much more than this, I suspect.

Mercury: C – Not certain how much this guy can do, he looks sort of like a goblin.

Animal: C – pretty ropey in some areas and the ring rust is evident but nothing that makes him worth singling out with a negative grade

Heidenreich: C – his offence in the match was eminently “D” worthy, what a surprise that his selling drags him back up to a C!

The Match: C Would have been adequate for TV, a fair way below the mark for PPV but it’s position on the card allowed it to not register *too* badly.

The Match: Christian vs Booker T

Who we thought would win: Christian

Who we wanted to win: Christian

The Finish: A spirited brawl around the ringside area ends up back in the ring and Booker catches a rather swank looking scissors kick from the middle rope to put Christian down for the three.

The Verdict: Good little match here, keeping the crowd interested for the most part and, hilariously, leading to the audience turning on Booker halfway through the match and siding mainly with Captain Charisma. I’m pretty surprised at the result, because it halts the upward mobility of a guy who has never had a decent push to break through to the top level in the favour of a guy who has had – and squandered – several chances to do so AND won’t be around in 2007. Very odd.

The Grades:

Christian: B – started slowly but worked the crowd well and showed signs of definite top-line potential yet to be realised.

Booker T: B – another in a string of motivated outings from The Book, nothing to stand up and holler about but certainly more than suitable for PPV.

The Match: B – reasonable enough for PPV, would have made a very good TV match.

The Match: Chris Benoit vs Orlando Jordan (US Champion)

Who we thought would win: Chris Benoit

Who we wanted to win: Chris Benoit

The Finish: With the ref elsewhere, Orlando fumbles with a corner pad like a fat chick with boxing gloves trying to get into a KFC. Once he’s sorted his life out and exposed the turnbuckle, Benoit attempt to either a/ german suplex or b/ bum him from the corner, but Orlando blocks this, dives forward and ducks, propelling Benoit into the exposed steel. Benoit does his spectacular “I’m dead” sell and Orlando pins him.

The Verdict: This one is confounding – Benoit is probably number tres in the babyface stakes and the only person other than DAVE on the face side of the fence that could carry the big strap for any length of time and, on the other hand, you have Orlando Jordan who, let’s face it, is utter shite. I stand by my original comments that anything other than a 5 minute slaughter for Benoit was not acceptable and this absolutely was not acceptable. OJ just doesn’t have it. No charisma, very little ring presence and an anaemic moveset which makes Calista Flockhart look well-nourished – and yet, he’s carting around the second most important piece of hardware on Smackdown and has been doing so for nearly 6 months now. Trust me – this match didn’t do anything to help Benoit and made him look weak when you consider that he was World Champ this time last year and he can’t even beat JBLs house boy? Disgraceful. You’d at least hope that Orlando came off looking stronger at the end of this one but his weak performance put paid to that one.

The Grades:

Orlando Jordan: DI think I’ve made my feelings known above

Chris Benoit: B – he did try, bless him, but even Chris seemed to be having an off night – adequate PPV quality showing but probably the worst Benoit match in well over a year.

The Match: C – this just about scrapes into adequate for free TV standing due to a decent effort by Benoit.

The Match: The Undertaker vs Muhammad Hassan

Who we thought would win: The Undertaker

Who we wanted to win: Not bothered

The Finish: Once the Undertaker has disabled the majority of the Al-Qaeda network, he takes the time to finish of Muhammad with a chokeslam, then beats the shit out of all the lackeys some more, throws Daivari through a table at ringside and then lobs Hassan (via a very emphatic Last Ride) from the stage area to the ground after having removed some of the panelling. It looked cool and, when the cameras finally came to Hassan, he looked pretty much dead.

The Verdict: If I hadn’t known about the UPN hubbub, I might have found this more dramatic than I did – although, that said, even if I’d gone into it as a mark, knowing the Undertaker’s predilection for total destruction every time nationality comes into play, I wouldn’t have been surprised with this one. To be honest, this was pretty run of the mill, aside from the big bump at the end, nothing either did was any different to their efforts on Thursday night and so a bad taste was left in my mouth, not unlike the Brussel Sprout taste.

The Grades:

The Undertaker: C – little by way of psychology, moveset, selling – he did all of the things you’d expect but nothing beyond the call of duty or what we know he’s capable of when motivated and/or not halfway down the card.

Muhammad Hassan: C – maybe he was depressed about the axing of his character or maybe he just isn’t particularly good, but this was his most prominent PPV match thus far and would have been a very good showcase for his talents, talents that, upon closer inspection, appear to have been misplaced. Very average.

The Match: C – probably would have lapsed into a D+ rating for the general stale feel to the whole thing if it wasn’t for the big bump at the end which was, admittedly, pretty impressive and well booked.

The Match: The Mexicools vs The bWo

Who we thought would win: The Mexicools

Who we wanted to win: Not bothered

The Finish: Super Crazy nailed a springboard moonsault on Stevie, followed by a Psicosis top-rope legdrop for the pin.

The Verdict: After all the gas given to hearing how good the lucha lot are, this was a huge disappointment. Once again, there was nothing here that was offensive but nothing here that was impressive. This would have been fine for Smackdown, if a little cookie-cutter even for that, but given 5 minutes of action and 6 guys, the pace should have been absolutely breakneck with midgets flying all over the place and the crowd standing the whole time. As it was, there was about 2 high spots total and Psicosis seems to not be able to deliver a good looking top rope legdrop anymore.

The Grades:

Juventud: C – I remember “The Juice” being a lot more interesting and talented in WCW. Now, he just seems to be there and that’s the most you can say.

Psicosis: C – a couple of decent exchanges but his top rope legdrop, which used to be awesome, now looks like something you’d see an amateur doing when he doesn’t want to hurt his bum.

Super Crazy: C+ – the strongest of the three on TV thus far, which isn’t saying much, his pumping of the rake in the air upon his entrance was his second most entertaining bit of the evening, second to his admittedly shiny moonsault. I guess with D-Von gone, *someone’s* got to drink the coffee.

Stevie Richards: C – bleh

The Blue Meanie: C – just about avoids a D – or lower – because it’s hard to rate someone negative when they do absolutely sod all apart from stand around and be fat.

Hollywood Nova: C – started to do a Hogan routine which the audience didn’t get – and neither did I, until it was too late – and the bandana came off showing hair that either belonged to Simon Dean or Arnold Rimmer. I think the latter would have been far funnier, especially if he had brought Mr. Flibble with him.

The Match: C – why bring the Mexicools in unless you’re going to give them a chance to do all the flashy stuff that they can/could? I have a feeling that, after Juvi, Psicosis and Crazy have had their matches with Paul London and Rey-Rey, they’ll be back mowing lawns and, as for the bWo, they’ll be forgotten by the end of August. The mainstream WWE audience just doesn’t get the joke but, to be fair to them, the WWE have never attempted to explain exactly what that joke is or why it’s funny – and, quite frankly, it’s not funny right now.

The Match: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio

Who we thought would win: Eddie Guerrero

Who we wanted to win: Eddie Guerrero

The Finish: After hitting 53 vertical suplexes and a smashing brainbuster, Eddie smacked Rey with the Frog Splash, took too long gloating to Dominic and then positioned himself ideally for any opponent who has seen Ted DiBiase vs The 123 Kid. A quick crucifix from Rey later and he scooted out of there with the victory, his Son and Eddie’s silence apparently in the bag.

The Verdict: Oddly paced match, but the best one of the night, just about edging Booker/Christian for the honours. These two have not put together something which you could call a Match of the Year contender in their extended series, which I find surprising and really quite sad. As for the storyline, I think it would have been more fun if Rey had said that even if he beat Eddie, Ed might still tell the secret, so in order to keep his side of the bargain, Guerrero would be lobotomised if he lost. Imagine the comedy! Potentially a match/tag team where Eugene is the smart one! Eh, obviously this one will roll on to SummerSlam where HOPEFULLY they can finally have a match which Eddie wins AND is a right cracker too.

The Grades:

Eddie Guerrero: B+ – would have got a B based on his in-ring activities but his creepy extra-curricular stuff with Dominic gave him the edge as performer of the night.

Rey Mysterio: B – Rey’s never bad but the days when he was often the most spectacular part of the show seem to be long behind us, he just feels sort of stale now. Anyone else get that? Decent PPV performance, nothing to yell from the rooftops about though.
Dominic: B – more talent than Candice Michelle, you’ve got to give him that. I know that his instructions were probably “sit there and look sort of worried” but, fair play to the lad, he did very well with it, especially for an 8 year old.

The Match: B+ – best match of the night with Eddie turning the creepiness up to a good 13 on the out of 10 scale. Sadly, I like my Match of the Night to be up in the A range otherwise I tend to feel cheated and let down.

The Match: Melina vs Torrie Wilson (Bra and Panties Match)

Who we thought would win: Melina

Who we wanted to win: Not bothered

The Finish: Melina pulled Torrie’s trousers off.

The Verdict: It got the job done.

The Grades:

Melina: C – do you seriously want me to give anyone anything more than an on-the-fence rating?

Torrie Wilson: C – ditto

Candice Michelle: C – she looked better than she did on Thursday, that’s all I’ve really got to say.

The Match: C – it passed a couple of minutes and I got to go to the bog, so that’s nice.

The Match: Batista vs John Bradshaw Leyfield

Who we thought would win: Batista

Who we wanted to win: Batista

The Finish: Once the ref hit the deck, Orlando did the run in and we had the same old, same old ending when DAVE got his paws on a chair that OJ brought into the fracas – and very kindly smacked Orlando upside the skull with it, followed by an attempt to remove JBLs forehead with said chair, unfortunately in full view of the referee, who called for the DQ. After JBL had been announced as the winner, Batista trundled back to the ring to helpfully DAVEbomb both guys. What a guy!

The Verdict: I’ll make my view on this pretty to the point – YOU DON’T FINISH A PPV ON A FUCKING THROWAWAY COP OUT. When you’ve got paying customers stumping up the cash and the best you can do is to give them something that doesn’t send them home happy and tell them “you’ll have to buy SummerSlam to see how it pans out!”, you’ve basically got the disappointment that was caused by the second Matrix film. Lots of rest holds, lots of lackadaisical brawling, I was hoping that JBL might show some leadership here but he proved that he’s a fair way below Triple H when it comes to hand-holding and he really needs to be taken offscreen for a while because he is just too overplayed now. Love the character, I really do but he’s just not able to cut it in-ring in main events for the extended run that he’s been given. Batista was worrying here too, doing some nice power stuff but I just can’t understand why WWE can’t suss out that he needs to be treated like Hogan – don’t let him go more than 10 minutes unless he’s in there with someone who can carry him, like Benoit, Eddie or Hunter.

The Grades:

Batista: C – the crowd are starting to get quieter and quieter with Dave and I wonder if WWE have foolishly squandered their biggest surprise top guy since The Rock with their dodgy booking of him?

JBL: C – yet another in a string of average performances by a chap who has got it down on the microphone and in promos but seems strangely one-note and unmotivated these days. Nothing amazingly wrong with the performance but not what I’d expect at all for a main event on PPV.

The Match: D – two uninspiring performances and a dreadful finish combine to give this worst match of the night honours, even moreso that the heatless Benoit vs Jordan match. If I’m going to stick some money into the kitty, I want resolution, dammit!

Overall: Best way of making my point – I didn’t pay a penny for this event, because it was broadcast free in the UK. As it stands though, I *still* feel ripped off for having stayed up until 4am watching it, three hours of my life which descended into boredom not of my own making. I’d be f*cking *livid* if I’d actually paid for it!

Final Grade: D