The SmarK Rant for WWE Great American Bash 2008
– Live from Long Island, NY.
Smackdown World tag titles: Miz & Morrison v. Finlay & Hornswoggle v. Jesse & Festus v. Hawkins & Ryder.
Festus clears the ring to start, but Hornswoggle decides to give it a go, then changes his mind and hits the camps with a pescado instead. Festus beats on Miz and gets a legdrop for two, and Jesse comes in with a monkey flip and a neckbreaker for two. Festus goes for the powerslam, but Miz escapes out, so Festus boots him down and everyone tags out. Morrison hammers Finlay down and Miz comes back in with the chinlock, and elbows Finlay down for two. Miz slingshots Finlay into Morrison’s forearm on the apron, and then Morrison slingshots himself in with an elbowdrop for two. Nice. Neckbreaker and it’s back to Miz, but Finlay pounds away on him and then he takes Morrison down for more of the same. Ryder tags himself in and gets two on Finlay, but Hawkins tags himself in and the Edgeheads double-team him in their corner. Finlay comes back with a Regal roll on Ryder, then hits him with the club for two. Hornswoggle tags himself in and gets a flying headscissors on Hawkins, but Jesse tags himself in and double-teams Hawkins along with Festus. Festus cleans house and hits Hawkins with a kneedrop, but Jesse goes up and Hawkins yanks him down to get the pin and win the tag titles at 9:04. I hate cheap finishes like that. **1/4
US title: Matt Hardy v. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton overpowers Matt, but Hardy gets a rollup for two. Matt gets a pair of armdrags and works on the arm, and they do an awkward reversal sequence in the corner before Matt elbows him down. Shelton tries to toss Matt and he hangs on, so Shelton baseball slides him to the floor and then sends him into the post. Back in, he gets a backdrop suplex and a backbreaker to work on the back while the crowd gets really vocal about something. Matt backdrops out of an abdominal stretch and gets two, but a blind charge hits boot. Shelton blocks a Side Effect with the STO and gets two. Backbreaker submission, but Matt powers up, so Shelton hits him with the Dragon whip kick, then misses a charge. Matt slugs back and follows with a corner clothesline into a bulldog for two. Yodelling legdrop gets two. Matt tries a rana, but Shelton tosses him into the top turnbuckle in a cool counter. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Matt gets the Side Effect for two. He sets up for the Twist, but Shelton counters him into the corner and they fight up top, but Matt’s moonsault is blocked with a knee to the head. Shelton hits him with an inverted Diamond Cutter to win the US title at 9:32. Crowd was getting really hot at the end, and hopefully this is the start of his next start-and-stop push. You can probably thank Michael Hayes for this one. ***
ECW World title: Mark Henry v. Tommy Dreamer
Henry uses the power to start and Dreamer slugs away to counter, but Henry boots him down and chokes away. He goes to a neck vice and works a wristlock as the crowd turns on the match already. Tommy fights up and Henry forearms him down, but misses a splash. Dreamer comes back with a seated dropkick and slugs away in the corner, then gets a neckbreaker for two. DDT and he goes after Tony Atlas, but Colin Delaney turns on him and the World’s Strongest Slam finishes at 5:30. Tazz is shocked that the pupil would turn on the student. How long has he been watching wrestling, exactly? 1/2*
Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho
Slugfest to start and Jericho knees him down, but Shawn fires back with a chop. Shawn goes right for the leg, clipping Jericho and wrapping him up in the Indian deathlock, but Jericho makes the ropes. And hides there. He comes back and whips Shawn into the corner, then follows with a dropkick to put him on the floor. Back in, he works on the ribs and goes to a surfboard, but Shawn fights up and walks into an enzuigiri. Jericho goes up and lands on an atomic drop and Shawn fires back with the forearm and kips up. Jericho rolls him into the Walls of Jericho, however, forcing Shawn to make the ropes. Shawn tries to snap off the superkick, but Jericho catches the foot and tries to rebound out of the corner with the bulldog. Shawn blocks with a clothesline for two. Shawn goes up and Jericho brings him down via the nuts. They fight for the superplex and Shawn sends him down and follows with the flying elbow. He sets up for the superkick, but Lance Cade runs in and distracts him. They trade near-falls and slug it out, but Jericho charges and gets hiptossed over the top, onto Cade. Shawn hits them both with the moonsault press, but now the eye is bleeding. Back in, Jericho sees it like a target and he’s all over it. Shawn rests on the ropes and Lance kicks him in the face with his cowboy boot, which is pretty awesome. Shawn begs the ref not to stop it, but Jericho headbutts him…and Shawn takes him down with a crossface. Jericho makes the ropes and then goes nuts on Shawn as the ref pleads with him to give it up. The camera shot shows he can obviously see, and there’s a great bit of direction as you can hear Jericho saying “What’d he say? He said no, right?” before kicking him in the face again. Jericho wraps him up with a straightjacket hold and just pounds away on the cut, so the ref stops it at 18:19. Fine but anticlimactic. ***1/4
Smackdown Divas title: Michelle McCool v. Natalya Neidhart
Natalya has some volatile DNA, because one parent is a psychotic monster with little regard for human life, and the other parent is Jim Neidhart. McCool gets a seated dropkick for two and throws forearms, but Natalya drops her on the top rope and slugs away. Bow and arrow follows, but Michelle tries to reverse to a leglock. Natalya wraps her around the post and pounds on the leg for two, and hooks the Sharpshooter (not quite as fluid as Uncle Bret is), but Michelle makes the ropes. Natalya tries to reapply, but Michelle gets a heel hook and Natalya taps at 4:36 to give the Tramp Stamp belt to Michelle McCool. Nothing you’d be embarrassed to watch with friends. *1/2
RAW World title: CM Punk v. Batista
They fight for the lockup and Batista wins the power battle pretty easily, so Punk hits him with kicks instead. Batista elbows him down and boots him for two, then blocks a rollup with the power of his ass muscles. Punk puts him on the floor with an enzuigiri and follows with a baseball slide, and back in he gets two. He tries to control with more kicks, but Batista whips him into the turnbuckles and follows with a suplex for two. Camel clutch and he pounds on the back, but Punk puts him on the floor with another kick. Back in, they trade shots and Punk catches him with a cross body for two. Batista comes back with a powerslam and sets up to finish, but Punk grabs the ropes to counter and fires more high kicks. Knee in the corner and another roundhouse kick gets two. GTS is blocked by Batista and he hits Punk with a corner clothesline and sets up for a superplex. Punk counters with the Tarantula and then springboards in with a bulldog for two. Punk throws more kicks, but that just annoys Batista and he flattens the champ with a clothesline. He pounds away in the corner, but gets too worked up and misses a charge as a result, hitting the post. Punk tries to follow with a dive off the apron, but walks into a spinebuster on the floor. However, Kane runs out for the cheap DQ at 11:08. This Honky Tonk Man shit with Punk has to end if they’re gonna do anything with him. Match was building OK before the weak finish ended it abruptly. ***
New York City Parking Lot Brawl: John Cena v. JBL
This appears to be a goofy pre-tape at a warehouse somewhere as opposed to the actual parking lot. Cena immediately tries to run JBL over, then chokes him out with booster cables. And ten we get the classic shock to the groin spot, a must in any vehicle related match. Cena heaves a keg at him and misses, then rams him into the horn to prevent him from driving away. JBL slugs back and whips him into the car door, which rips it right off the hinges. JBL beats on him and gets a neckbreaker on the hood of a car for two. JBL biels him into a windshield and follows with a DDT on the roof of the car for two. He tries to use the crowbar and smashes him into a car window, which not only doesn’t kill Cena but doesn’t even draw blood. Yeah, OK. JBL shoves Cena in the back seat of another car and retrieves a gas can from his limo before setting the car on fire. Well, of course. Cena luckily escapes that inferno of suck and shoves JBL into another car, then drives a forklift into it. Where are the side impact airbags when you need them? Cena drives the forklift, with JBL in the car, down into the arena as we’re live again. They brawl on the rampway and Cena drops the five knuckle shuffle and sets up for the F-U, then changes his mind and that allows JBL to throw him into the windshield of the car and get the pin at 14:53. Cena jobs AGAIN? For those that felt Halftime Heat was too cerebral, this is for you. Some of the most ridiculously over-the-top contrived crap this side of a made-for-DVD action movie. *
Smackdown World title: HHH v. Edge
Edge dives in and attacks to start, but HHH tosses him and they brawl on the floor, where HHH takes over. Back in, HHH drops a knee and follows with a clothesline to the back, and they fight to the floor again. HHH charges and Edge drops him on a ringside table. Back in, he spears HHH in the corner and pounds on the gut with knees, then whips HHH into the corner and out to the floor, where he sends HHH into the stairs. Back in, he gets two and goes to a bodyscissors. HHH fights out of the hold, but Edge dropkicks him to the apron and tries to follow with a spear, which HHH dodges. They slug it out and HHH clotheslines him and gets the facecrusher to put Edge on the floor again. HHH sends him into the post, but Edge evades him and gets the DDT on the floor. Back in, Edge gets two. He goes up and tries a missile dropkick, but HHH catches him in a catapult, into a DDT for two. Edge counters the Pedigree into the Edge O Matic for two. Spear misses and HHH rolls him up for two. Edge boots him down, but HHH counters the spear into a spinebuster. KICK WHAM but Edge reverses him into the corner to block and they fight to the top, where Edge gets the superplex. They’re both out, but the Wedding Planner slips the belt in for Edge, only to see Vickie knock her out. A catfight breaks out in the ring and Edge accidentally spears his blushing bride. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE ends it at 16:58. Edge should have won because they’ve got something with this wedding angle. It’s not like HHH needs the belt anyway. Little too slow and it could have used some of the crazy overbooking that Edge’s matches usually have, but they both know what they’re doing out there. ***1/4
I’d call this one the very definition of a “thumbs in the middle” show, as nothing was bad but none of the big matches were able to deliver, either. I think HHH v. Edge could have been the Wrestlemania main event to build towards, but that’s pretty much shot now. Get the replay if you want, don’t lose sleep over it if you don’t. Whatever, I’m good like that.
Also want to remind everyone to check out www.stablewars.com for the monthly Play-Per-Views, where you can compete with other wrestling geeks to predict the results of these shows, and everyone who plays gets two shots to win a copy of my new book, Dungeon of Death, each and every month!