The SmarK Rant for WWE Great American Bash 2006 – 07.23.06
(Originally written 01.02.18)
Live from Indianapolis, IN, drawing 9850. Buyrate was 0.6 (232,000 buys), or about on par for the shit PPV numbers that Smackdown was doing that year.
Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL
Immediate points for using Black Stone Cherry as the theme song here. Those guys are AWESOME.
Smackdown tag titles: Paul London & Brian Kendrick v. The Pit Bulls (Kid Kash & Jamie Noble)
WTF is this even? Kid Kash and Jamie Noble as “The Pit Bulls”?! And they’re supposed to be a serious tag team? Cole immediately reels off a list of former great tag teams who competed at the Bash, and now we’ve got these four geeks jerking the curtain for the tag titles. Kash talks trash at London and gets taken down with a headscissors as a result, and Kendrick comes in via Rocket Launcher for two. Over to Noble, and Brian armdrags him a few times while JBL reminisces about Jim Crockett owing him money from “the old NWA days”. Considering that JBL was barely out of college when Crockett went out of business in 1988, I somehow doubt that was the case. London & Kendrick clear the ring with some acrobatics and follow with stereo dives, but Kendrick goes up and gets tripped by Kash. Kendrick is face in peril as the Pit Bulls use their teeny tiny power moves, but London quickly gets a hot tag and throws Noble with a belly to belly. Kash tries to trip him up, but then Noble dropkicks him to the floor and the heels take over again. Noble puts him down with a leg lariat for two. JBL refers to this as “ground and pound”, by the way. They beat on London in the corner while JBL makes sure to put himself over and talk about how great the APA was. Well, it had been about 30 seconds since he mentioned anything about himself, so we were due. London knocks Noble off the apron, but Noble runs around and pulls Kendrick down to distract him. London escapes the double-team, however, and makes the hot tag to Kendrick. Superkicks abound and Kendrick gets two. Rana on Kash gets two. London dumps Noble with a spinkick and Kendrick follows with a dive, and then sunset flips Kash on the way back in for the pin at 13:30. They worked hard, but there wasn’t much to this one and it didn’t feel like anything you couldn’t see on TV twice a week. *** JBL notes that they might burn out soon, which in fact they did.
Meanwhile, Great Khali really wants to call out Undertaker now.
Teddy Long is out to inform us that Bobby Lashley has elevated liver enzymes, and so he’s not here tonight. Gee, I bet those enzymes keep him out of action for about 60 days. Lashley comes out and wants to fight tonight, but those DAMN DOCTORS just won’t let him compete. Were they announcing Wellness violations at that point, or was that after the Signature Pharmacy fiasco? So next up, Finlay and Regal join us while Lashley meekly leaves the ring, and Finlay wants his hand raised via forfeit. But instead, Long makes the match between Finlay and Regal.
US title: Finlay v. William Regal
Regal checks the ring for mystical creatures to start, and Finlay rolls him up for two and we’re off. They fight for the lockup and go all the way to the floor with it and back in. Regal works an anklelock, but heads to the floor and runs afoul of Hornswoggle in the days before he had a name. Back in, Finlay with a lariat for two off those shenanigans, and they trade forearms until Finlay gets two. Regal tries for the ropes, but Hornswoggle bites his hand and Finlay works on that for a bit. Regal takes him down with an STF, but Finlay fights out of it and goes to a chinlock while the crowd mostly ignores the match. JBL, meanwhile, spends the match making fun of “elevated liver enzymes” while Regal makes the comeback with a suplex and kneedrop for two. The crowd starts a “boring” chant at this point, and Cole actually acknowledges it, and attributes it to the crowd wanting to see Lashley. Regal bails and somehow loses his boot, which allows the leprechaun to slip it to Finlay and nail Regal for the pin at 13:49. Dumb and meandering. *1/2
Meanwhile, Chavo gives Rey a peptalk before his title defense tonight. Come on, as if the finish wasn’t incredibly obvious after this segment.
Matt Hardy v. Gregory Helms
Helms was apparently the longest reigning Cruiserweight champion in history at this point, which is weird because I barely remember Helms in this incarnation. So it turns out that he won the title at Royal Rumble, and ended up holding it for THIRTEEN MONTHS. That’s crazy. Matt dumps Helms and mocks the Hurricane gimmick, but Helms comes back with a neckbreaker for two and chokes away on the ropes. Neckbreaker gets two and we hit the chinlock. Unsurprisingly, JBL has another story about himself at this point. Helms goes to the chinlock again while JBL sums up the reason for the APA’s end: Faarooq was no longer useful to him. Helms goes up and misses whatever, and Matt makes the comeback with a Russian legsweep for two. Helms counters the side effect into a cradle for two while the announcers to make fun of “elevated liver enzymes” as if it’s not a real thing. Just ask about 20 UFC fighters how real it is. They fight to the top and Helms brings him down with a top rope neckbreaker and both guys are down while JBL yells at Michael Cole. Back to the chinlock and JBL mocks Matt’s internet fans and suggests that they text message him to show support. Matt fights out and makes the comeback with the Side Effect for two. Bulldog gets two. Matt tries the Twist of Fate and Helms reverses to some kind of neckbreaker for two, and the Shining Wizard gets two. Matt gets a moonsault press for two, and a middle rope elbow gets two. Helms hits him with a stungun in the corner and pins him with a handful of tights at 11:48. Poor Matt continues to be buried six feet under. Turns out he was about to be suspended for Wellness anyway, so that probably explains the loss. Match was OK, like a matinee house show main event, with a finish that came out of nowhere. **1/2
Meanwhile, Undertaker confronts Khali as requested, but Big Show shows up for unexplained reasons and attacks Undertaker. So after a video package hyping up Great Khali’s feud with Undertaker, Teddy Long changes the match to Big Show for no good reason. Wow, that’s some pretty scummy false advertising. So, by an astonishing coincidence that will blow your mind, Khali was ALSO suffering from elevated liver enzymes and had to be pulled from the show. Like, what are the odds of TWO diseased livers on the same show, just after they started doing unrelated drug testing? It’s a million to one shot, doc!
PUNJABI PRISON MATCH: Undertaker v.
Great Khali Big Show
The crowd boos the announcement of Big Show, which is one of the few times you’ll hear people disappointed that they don’t get to see Khali wrestle. So of course, the rules here are simple: There are two bamboo cages surrounding the ring, with the inner cage having four smaller doors attended by referees, and the wrestlers can call for the doors to be opened at any time, but they’re only open for 60 seconds at a time and then closed forever, and the outer cage has no door, and the winner is the first person to escape both cages. Simple! Oh, also, there’s FATALLY SHARP RAZOR SPIKES at the top of the inner cage, so you can’t just cheat and climb out that way. Big Show is in tears of fear of being forced to compete in this, which is fitting because I’m in tears of pain having to review it. There’s a table on the floor with weapons of some sort. No indication of what they are exactly, just, you know, weapons. Taker throws hands in the corner and the crowd is pretty excited by it while JBL declares the match to be “King Kong v. Godzilla in something that’s out of a science fiction movie”. Oh, and also a bunch of stuff where JBL relates his own career and experiences with both guys. Show takes over with a headbutt, but misses a blind charge and Taker kicks away at what I think is the leg because fuck if you can see anything through all the bamboo. Taker tries to climb, but he has forgotten about the RAZOR SHARP SPIKES and thus is unable to proceed. JBL reminds us that he was also in a barbed wire cage match, with Big Show. For those wondering, Cole clarifies that Show’s ECW title is NOT on the line here. Well, wouldn’t want to turn that title into a joke or anything. Show boots Taker down in the corner as the JBL Personal Recollection count advances by one more and they slug it out as the cage is totally pointless. Show tries a chokeslam and Taker counters into a DDT and calls for the first door to be open. Sadly, he’s unable to escape and after 60 seconds the door closes FOREVER. Complete with “Gong!” sound effect. Sure, why not. Big Show undoes a turnbuckle, because miles of bamboo, a table of weapons, and RAZOR SHARP SPIKES just aren’t dangerous enough on their own. Now a TURNBUCKLE has been exposed, so SHIT IS GOING DOWN. And by shit, I mean this match. Taker calls for another door to be opened but is somehow unable to escape Big Show and his blinding speed. Show chokeslams Taker, but can’t quite crawl out of the door and it closes right in his face, a metaphor for disappointment and loss almost as painful as this match. The gong is just a painful bonus. Taker is bleeding now for some reason, so hopefully there’s no doctors roaming around at ringside ready to test his blood for elevated liver enzymes. Big Show also decides to climb and brave the RAZOR SHARP SPIKES, but Taker goes low to stop him and they battle on the top rope, setting up a superplex. This finally allows to Taker to escape out of door #3 and then Big Show walks out of the last door and they fight on the cage. Show then throws Taker back into the cage as door #4 closes, and Taker is now TRAPPED. IN PERPETUITY. However, he braves the RAZOR SHARP SPIKES and climbs the inner cage, while Show climbs the outer one, and Taker just moves past the deadly spikes like they’re nothing and brings Show down. They slug it out on the floor and now Show is bleeding for some reason, which brings Khali to the ring. MY GOD, HE HAS ELEVATED ENZYMES, he could infect us all! Um, Taker and Show both kind of fall through the wall and Taker wins at 21:35 for…uh…reasons. Well, it’s over, and that’s something. -****
Bra & Panties match: Kristal Marshall v. Ashley Massaro v. Michelle McCool v. Jillian Hall
Cole actually calls out JBL for his self-centered commentary, asking him when he’s going to tell us about his experience in a bra-and-panties match after spending the night telling us about every other match he’s ever been in. YOU GO, MICHAEL COLE! So everyone rolls around and tries to rip off various clothing items and it’s a complete gong show. Where’s Stephanie McMahon to create the womens’ revolution when you need her? JBL: “Who cares about their athletic ability? THEY’RE HOT!” Ashley removes Kristal’s shirt at 5:18 and thus she wins. And then Ashley tricks Jillian into being de-pantsed because she’s such a rebel or something. Crowd could not have cared less about it. -**
Meanwhile, the Miz, who made the astonishing leap of going from backstage interviewer to becoming the biggest star on this entire show outside of Undertaker, interviews Mr. Kennedy, who is taking the place of Mark Henry next. Henry was out due to knee injury, not elevated liver enzymes, it should be noted.
Batista v. Mr. Kennedy
Batista lays him out before the microphone can even drop, but Kennedy goes to the eyes and then runs away. They fight outside and Kennedy is suddenly busted open, so Batista pounds on him in the corner and gets a corner clothesline while JBL reminds us that he beat Batista at last year’s show. So Kennedy runs away again and then tries a sneak attack, but Batista spears him and tosses him to the floor again. Finally Kennedy uses the ref as distraction and takes over with a cheapshot and pounds away in the corner. They fight to the floor and Kennedy gets two in the ring and goes to the chinlock and works the arm. Batista fights out of this predicament and sends Kennedy into the post multiple times, then kicks too much ass in the corner and gets disqualified at 8:30. Reminder: This show somehow managed to not win “Worst Major Show” in the 2006 Observer awards. ** Oh, and then Batista hits Kennedy with three spinebusters and the Batista Bomb afterwards. I have no idea what they even saw in Kennedy at this point. Oh, and for those of you who get triggered by this stuff, Cole notes that Batista just “PUT THE SMACKDOWN LOCKER ROOM ON NOTICE!”
Smackdown World title: Rey Mysterio v. King Booker
We must be running short because entrances and ring announcements take FOREVER, with Booker deliberately walking slow to the ring and Rey making sure to kiss every baby and slap every hand on the way to the ring. He also looks not terribly thrilled to be here tonight, and I can’t blame him. That being said, say what you will about the treatment of Rey as champion, but King Booker was a goofy gimmick with a short shelf life and this was the right time and place to pull the trigger on him. Regardless, this doesn’t feel like a particularly hot main event. JBL Career Retrospective comes less than a minute in as he recounts his history with Booker up and down the roads in Texas. Booker elbows Rey down while Cole argues that “guys like Rey Mysterio built the roads of our country while the rich guys threw money around.” Guys like Rey Mysterio? Who charges $10 – $20K per indy appearance and has a net worth of around $10 million? Booker beats on the millionaire champion in the corner, but misses a charge and runs into the post. Rey hits him with the senton to the floor, but Queen Sharmell gets a cheapshot and allows Booker to take over in the ring. Side kick gets two. Booker with a suplex that he turns into the Three Amigos for some cheap heat, and that gets two. Axe kick misses, but Booker ducks the 619 and Rey follows through with a low kick instead that gets two. Another try at the 619, but Sharmell trips him up this time and gets tossed by the ref as a result. Rey tries the wheelbarrow into the bulldog, but Booker counters with a backdrop suplex in a really slick reversal. Booker goes up and lands on Rey’s boot, and Rey gets a rana and springboard crossbody for two. Tornado DDT gets two. He tries a headscissors out of the corner and Booker blocks by flinging Rey into the ref. Rey comes back and gets his 619, but of course there’s no ref, which brings out Rey’s best friend and compadre Chavo Guerrero. The entire crowd is watching the entrance just waiting for it, too. Booker grabs a chair and Chavo steals it, then SHOCKINGLY turns on Rey in a move that literally no one could have seen coming two hours earlier, and King Booker is crowned champion at 15:42. Unfortunately the gimmick ran its course pretty quickly and the title run went nowhere because he was a complete flop on top, but it was worth a shot. ***
Seriously, how did this show not win Worst Show of the Year? More importantly, how did JBL keep getting work as a commentator?