Great American Bash 2007 was this Sunday and had a bit of a rocky build. So Kane vs. Edge was scheduled but Edge ended up injuring his left pectoral muscle after Kane attacked him during the Mardi Gras celebration on the July 10 Smackdown. Edge was forced to vacate his title on the Smackdown before the PPV and a Battle Royal was held to crowd the new champ which was won by The Great Khali (who held the title upside down). The injury to Edge had the unexpected positive of avoiding the fallout from the upcoming Pharmacy Probe steroid scandal he was named in.
Also the announced Khali vs. Batista match was changed to Kane vs. Khali vs. Batista after Kane and Batista went to a non-finish on the same episode of Smackdown after Khali blundered in on their Number One Contender match. The good news was no-one was injured in the process, the bad news was the match happened.
CM Punk vs. John Morrison (ECW Title)
Morrison’s first match. No slo-mo intro from though and his music is still at demo stage. Styles tells us this is the first time the ECW Title is being defended in the 22 years of the GAB. Well no s---, it’s an old NWA/WCW PPV. Crowd pops for the entrances but goes mute as soon as the feeling out process starts. Styles mentions Punk is alcohol free and drug free…but that doesn’t mean Morrison does either of those things either. No, being name-listed in the Pharmacy Scandal does though. Slingshot suplex gets a two count and still no reaction. Dropkick to the back of the head gets the same as both men aren’t doing a damn thing to make the crowd care yet. Punk monkey flips Morrison into hell.
Tazz ”More like a Gorilla Flip!” Morrison takes a breather on the outside and sends Punk into the steel steps when he comes after him. Morrison works the mid-section which halts an early GTS attempt and follows with a break-dance leg-drop. Morrison stretches Punk and plants a messy reverse powerbomb for two. Punk stops a Superplex attempt and nails a crossbody. Punk recovers enough to unleash the Minor Threat flurry and flapjacks Morrison because all of John’s opponents need to drop him on his abs. Punk tries a roll-up which gets countered, Morrison tries using the ropes but the ref catches him which lets Punk nail him with a step-up enziguri (called a Shining Wizard by Styles) for two. The Running Knee/Bulldog combo is halted by Morrison leaving the ring and trying to exit the arena. Punk drags him back in and tries to follow with a springboard elbow but Morrison kicks him in mid-air for…the win? Oh.
Winner and still ECW Champion: John Morrison (Urgh. Good matches are coming between these two but this wasn’t one of them. Little to nothing was done to get the crowd to give a f--- as Morrison was still getting used to this whole ”character” thing and the finish was dog-s---. Crowd loudly reacted the most during the finish because they all went ”wha, that’s it?”)
Borrowing a bit from the WON Flashbacks, here’s the relevant news from Powerslam Magazine around this time:
Rene Dupree was released from his contract on July 26. He’d been part of ECW on Sci-Fi brand because no other brand wanted him. He re-started La Resistance with Sylvain Grenier on the Feb 2 2007 episode but Dupree was suspended the next month and sent to rehab. After going down to FCW his drug addictions continued including one match where his balls fell out and Dupree failed to notice and carried on wrestling. Rene proclaimed himself “the most extreme athlete in ECW history” so he at least had the diet sorted out.
Court Bauer was fired in mid-July for ”philosophical differences with at least one member of the booking department.” Idol Stevens was released from his OVW contract on August 6. He’d go to Puerto Rico and return with a more welcoming gimmick. Eric Bischoff’s contract expired and he left the company amicably, surprisingly. Lacey Von Erich signed a contract. She’d be gone before the end of 2007. Oh, Marcus Cor Von is reported to have been granted a ”leave of absence to attend a family matter” so WWE were probably expecting him back as he’s still in the intro. Speaking of which…
We’re in Fresno, CA and we start with Justin Roberts introducing ”the reason you watch ECW and the man who beat CM Punk on Sunday” John Morrison. He tells us Punk is destined to stay in the darkness without the ECW Title there to brighten his existence. A true champ doesn’t just wrestle the same guy over and over and he’s giving someone their Fifteen Minutes Of Fame, where if his opponent lasts the time limit (or somehow wins), they get a title shot. He scoured backstage and found a local worthy Fresno guy to challenge.
OH MY GOD it’s an un-masked Zokre of early PWG tag team Los Luchas. He still gets a decent pop from the crowd because he’s local. Morrison is polite to him and tells him to give it his best, then has the match started and headbutts him while the ref is ringing the bell.
John Morrison vs. Zokre (Fifteen Minutes Of Fame Match)
Morrison gives him the Moonlight Drive for the pin.
Winner: John Morrison (”Enjoy your brush with greatness, kid.” Great, great segment that set up a new match-type and gave Morrison the chance to work on his dickness while inserting some groovy Doors references.)
Kevin Thorn vs. Stevie Richards
Oh great, more Thorn. Thorn rocks Stevie immediately with a clothesline but as he gurns, Stevie kicks him a bunch and sends him outside. Crowd loves that. Thorn doesn’t and drops Stevie when he’s on the apron. Canadian Backbreaker gets held on for a while until Thorn turns it into a snap backbreaker which makes the crowd go ”ohhhhh.” It only gets a one-count though as Stevie makes a comeback but gets stopped again. Thorn argues with the ref as Stevie looks like he can win after several mid-level Steviekicks. Thorn gets pissed and lands a Double-Handed Chokebomb for only two. Thorn is shocked and goes for a Crucifix Powerbomb but Stevie slips out and BACKSLIDES THORN FOR THE WIN.
Winner: Stevie Richards (STEVIE WINS STEVIE WINS STEVIE WINS. This was tremendous by ECW on Sci-Fi standards as the crowd reacted loudly for everything and Thorn looked like a beast. Stevie’s comebacks were perfectly timed and Richards winning is a much better investment than Thorn. So basically Stevie was Punk.)
The Miz is here to humbly brag about how the women want him and the men fear him. Miz looks and sounds like a kid trying to be cool in front of the older kids. Extreme Expose jiggle out to watch this match.
The Miz vs. Nunzio
Nunzio takes down Miz with actual wrestling but a crossbody doesn’t work as Miz is able to press him off with ease. Running Clothesline in the corner gets two as EE cheer Miz on. Miz stretches Nunzio until he releases to pound away and look all mean and stuff. Miz jumps off the top but is genre-savvy enough to see the foot so he lands on his feet and scoops Nunzio up instead. Nunzio counters that and lands the Sicilian Slice for a near-fall. Miz’s weird knee-lift-into-a-neckbreaker ends it.
Winner: The Miz (A competitive Nunzio match? Not as crazy as you’d think. Both men went at it at a very quick pace and Miz looked credible for a few minutes as he was able to put away Nunzio who seemed thrilled he was able to get some offence on TV for the first time in years.)
Miz asks Extreme Expose into the ring as he has a surprise for them. Manson’s This Is The New S--- plays and he dances for them. It’s bad but the women like it because you can do anything when you’re on Real World.
Big Daddy V vs. Jimmy Cruz & Victor Calvio
Cruz is better known for being Navajo Warrior, Victor is Kafu who’d later join FCW for a stint. Don’t get attached. Matt Striker joins us on commentary but he’s not noticeable as V smothers Cruz with a chinlock takedown and press slams Victor. Cruz gets splatted with a Samoan Drop and Cruz is dropped with a one-handed chokeslam. Both men are put in the corner and Avalanche’d until finally V lands the Black Hole Slam on Cruz onto Victor to end it.
Winner: Big Daddy V (I didn’t see much of V’s initial run and I can see why people speak highly of it. His squashes are 90% action and 10% titty and it’s great. Those poor jobbers, f--- ’em.)
CM Punk & Tommy Dreamer vs. Elijah Burke & John Morrison
Hopefully Morrison wearing a different jacket than earlier can ease the pain of YET MORE PUNK VS. BURKE. They start but Punk wants Morrison. Yeah me too. Morrison tags in but Burke distracts Punk so Morrison gets the sneak attack advantage. After getting worked over for a while, Burke tags in and carries on the workings-on until Punk dodges a corner splash and Yakuza Kicks Morrison off the apron as we go to break. When we return, Burke gets calf-kicked and Dreamer comes in for some double-teaming. Demolition Elbow gets an ”ECW” chant and Morrison tags in to bump around for Dreamer. Tommy catapults him into the turnbuckles and Morrison makes it look like he’s flying through treacle. Texas Cloverleaf gets locked in on Morrison which is nice to see but he doesn’t tap. Morrison recovers and gives Dreamer a step-up enziguri to the back of his head. You wouldn’t see that nowadays. Burke tags in and continues the concussion-related offence with a hefty kick. Burke puts Dreamer in a tame-looking chinlock and shouts ”I’M GONNA BREAK HIS NECK!” like an eejit. Elijah hams it up and lands the Outer Limitz Elbow and tags in Morrison who beats down Dreamer some more. Dreamer is getting destroyed like that fire extinguisher in Irreversible. Burke tags in and beats Dreamer up even more, this time beating him so bad he leans out the ring to avoid arse-kicking and Burke leaps over the ropes to continue it.
Morrison tries to keep Dreamer out of the ring until Tommy finally gets a break as he pushes Morrison as he mounts the top rope. Rope-assisted neckbreaker and Dreamer makes the very hot tag to Punk who cleans house and knocks Burke down with a springboard elbow and Exploder Suplex. Running Knee/Bulldog combo is broken up by Morrison who gets a step-up enziguri to send him out the ring. Punk lands the GTS on Burke to end it all.
Winners: CM Punk & Tommy Dreamer (Quality TV main event here as Morrison got more heat for beating the ECW shirt out of Dreamer for ages than he did for doing a moonsault off a barricade. As evidenced by last week’s ECW and the PPV, sometimes the crowd needs to be told why they like Punk and having him save the life of Dreamer partner worked fine here.)
Overall: Great episode! Every segment/match had meaning (even Extreme Expose), the crowd was loud and finally the draft is helping them fill an hour. There wasn’t even time for a Raw or PPV recap because we had competitive Nunzio matches.