Great American Bash 2007

Great American Bash 2007
Date: July 22, 2007
Location: HP Pavilion, San Jose, California
Attendance: 13,034
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Joey Styles, Tazz

It’s a bit of a weird show as we have the big fight between John Cena and Bobby Lashley for the Raw World Title, but the Smackdown World Title is a little screwy. Edge was forced to vacate the title due to an injury, with Great Khali becoming the new champion via a battle royal. Therefore, it’s Khali defending against Kane and Batista in the big hoss fight. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about how the fireworks will begin before running down the big matches.

US Title: MVP vs. Matt Hardy

MVP is defending and gets driven into the corner for a clean break to start. Hardy already has him bailing out to the floor before it’s time to fight over wrist control back inside. MVP’s wristlock is countered with a roll to the floor, meaning Hardy can score with an over the top dive. Back in and MVP knocks him down again though, setting up a crossarm choke. Hardy fights up again and hits a suplex for two, with MVP bailing to the floor again.

They head back inside, where Matt gets pulled off the ropes for a nasty crash. A fireman’s carry faceplant drops Hardy again but he hits a desperation knockdown. Hardy gets caught on top though and a superplex gives MVP a delayed near fall. A belly to back superplex is countered into a crossbody (or bulldog according to Cole) and Hardy starts slugging away.

Now a middle rope elbow to the back of a standing MVP (again, a bulldog according to Cole, which is close enough this time) gets two and the Side Effect gets the same, with the fans WAY into this. Another Side Effect is countered into a cradle to give MVP two of his own but he misses the running boot in the corner. The Twist of Fate is countered as well though and now the running boot drops Hardy. The Playmaker retains MVP’s title.

Rating: B-. This took some time to get going but then they were rolling by the end. I’m a bit surprised by the ending as Hardy had been on a roll and they were hyping up his first major singles title win, but maybe they’re saving it for later. Still though, good choice for an opener here and the fans were way into Hardy’s near falls.

Dusty Rhodes is ready for Randy Orton and doesn’t know why everyone is so somber around here. He isn’t laying down for Orton because he isn’t done around here, so it’s time for Orton’s back to crack and liver to quiver. Respect is promised, which sends Dusty into a story about a bull looking down the hill at some cows. Then the bull said moo. As much as I want to mock this for being insane….it’s Dusty.

Cruiserweight Title: Cruiserweight Open

Chavo Guerrero, Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore, Funaki, Jamie Noble,

Chavo Guerrero is defending in a bonus match and it’s one fall to a finish. Hold on though as here is Hornswoggle to dive across the ring and then hide underneath. Chavo gets jumped to start and sent outside, leaving everyone else to go after each other. Yang and Noble are left alone in the ring until Chavo is back in to rock Yang with a belly to back suplex. Noble powerslams Yang for two but gets sent outside, heaving Chavo to half crab Yang.

Funaki breaks that up with an enziguri as everyone is back in to keep up the brawling. Noble counters Funaki’s tornado DDT into an armbar but Chavo breaks it up again. The Gory Bomb hits Funaki and there are Two Amigos to Yang, with Noble making a save. A big dive takes out Funaki so Moore hits Yang in the head. Yang goes up but gets taken down with the Tower of Doom. With Noble down, Hornswoggle comes back in with a Tadpole Splash for the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. Normally I would get annoyed at a comedy act winning the title, but the thing has been so worthless for such a long time now that this is almost an upgrade. WWE does not care about the title so just let them move along to something else. The action was rather fast paced as it should be in this case, but the ending is all that matters here. Somehow it might be an upgrade, which should tell you everything you need to know about the cruiserweight division at the moment.

Hornswoggle goes back underneath the ring and then runs up the ramp to escape the angry mob.

Video on Bobby Lashley’s rise to the top of the company.

Sandman vs. Carlito

Singapore cane on a pole. Carlito spits at Sandman to get the chase going before the match, because ticking off Sandman is a good idea. After a lockup, they both go after the cane because that’s kind of the point. A hammerlock of all things has Carlito down so Sandman goes for the cane but has to backdrop Carlito outside.

Back in and Carlito hammers away a bit, setting up a dropkick to put Sandman down for a change. It’s too early for Carlito to get the cane so he tries again, with Sandman pulling him down this time. Carlito’s springboard back elbow is blocked so Sandman gets the cane, only to get caught in the Backstabber to give Carlito the pin.

Rating: D. So not only did they have a bad match, but then the whole point of the thing wound up being a big waste of time. This was one of the weaker things on a WWE pay per view in a long time now and it isn’t even like it was there to let fans come down from something else. Bad stuff here, and not the best sign for Sandman’s future.

Randy Orton isn’t happy that he has to face Dusty Rhodes, who is going to get hurt like Shawn Michaels.

Women’s Title: Melina vs. Candice Michelle

Michelle is defending and gets taken down by an armbar to start. That’s broken up so Michelle goes with a headlock takeover, setting up a bridge into a backslide to give Melina two. A running Blockbuster drops Melina as they’re going with more wrestling this time. Melina catches her in the corner with the middle rope knees to the ribs, setting up the screaming. JR: “Melina with the guttural passion!” Lawler: “WHAT???”

The double arm crank doesn’t last long for Melina as Candice fights up to start the comeback. A high crossbody gets two but Melina grabs a neckbreaker (into the splits) for the same. Candice is right back with a jawbreaker into a standing bulldog (the Candy Wrapper) to retain.

Rating: C. It wasn’t the best match, but Candice is getting better and better in the ring every week. You can see the change in quality over the last few months and that is a great thing to see. The matches still aren’t great, but I can always go for people trying to get better and actually making it happen.

Wrestlemania is in Orlando.

Matt Hardy gives Jeff Hardy a pep talk before his Intercontinental Title match. Then Candice Michelle shows up and pours water over herself as special music plays. The Hardys are impressed, setting up the Ron Simmons cameo.

Intercontinental Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga

Umaga is defending and wastes no time in knocking Hardy outside. Hardy gets sent into the apron but comes back with the jawbreaker inside. Not that it matters as Umaga plants him with a Samoan drop, setting up a rather large legdrop. Some hard whips into the corner bang up Hardy’s back so we hit the logical nerve hold. Hardy fights up but gets pulled down by the head, meaning the hold can go on again.

Another escape goes a bit faster so Umaga takes him down again, setting up some springboard seated sentons to the chest. The swinging Rock Bottom gets two and dang the crowd reacts to the kickout. Umaga misses a middle rope headbutt though and Hardy knocks him outside. There’s the first dive, setting up the basement dropkick for two back inside. The Twist of Fate into the Swanton gets a delayed two but Umaga superkicks him into the corner. The running hip attack sets up the Samoan Spike to retain the title.

Rating: B-. This was right in Hardy’s wheelhouse: fighting a match where he gets beaten into oblivion for a long time and then comes back to nearly win in the end. There are very few people who can make the fans believe in him like Hardy can and it was on full display here. Heck of a performance and I could see this one getting a rematch.

Video on John Cena’s rise to the top of WWE to become WWE Champion.

ECW World Title: John Morrison vs. CM Punk

Morrison is defending after switching from Johnny Nitro to Morrison earlier this week. They go to the mat to start with Punk working on a hammerlock. That’s switched into a headlock to keep Morrison in trouble before Punk hits a slingshot suplex for two. A monkey flip sends Morrison onto his face and then out to the floor for a breather. Punk follows, only to be dropped face first onto the steps.

Back in and Punk is fine enough to try the GTS but Morrison slips out and kicks him in the face. A belly to back faceplant gives Morrison two and it’s time to stomp away. Punk is back with his own strikes though, including a discus lariat into a flapjack for two. An exchange of rollups get two each before Punk opts to kick him in the head instead. The corner knee looks to set up the bulldog but Morrison bails to the floor. Punk throws him back in and loads up the springboard clothesline but gets kneed/kicked out of the air to retain Morrison’s title.

Rating: C. This was a quick one and the ending was rather sudden. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was clipped a bit as they seemed to be getting started when they wrapped up. Punk losing another match to Morrison is a little weird, but they’re making Morrison seem like a bigger deal as champion. The problem is he doesn’t have many serious challengers so odds are we’ll be seeing a rematch between these two soon.

We recap Dusty Rhodes vs. Randy Orton in a Texas Bullrope match. Orton doesn’t like Dusty’s son Cody and slapped both of them. Throw in Dusty being a legend and the violence is out of Orton’s hands. The classic clips and promos here are good enough to make this worth a look.

Randy Orton vs. Dusty Rhodes

Texas Bullrope match, but with pin/submission rules. Orton stalls before being tied to the rope (as expected) and then does it again for a bonus. The third attempt finally works and it’s Orton missing an early swing. Instead, Dusty crotches Orton with the rope and then uses it to pull him hard into the post. Orton’s attempt to get out is cut off with another hard pull on the rope but he comes back with some bell shots to the knee.

We hit the chinlock, with the rope being wrapped around Dusty’s face to make it worse. Dusty starts reaching out to the fans to power him up though and Orton gets driven into the corner. That doesn’t seem to matter as Orton pounds away, only to get elbowed in the head. The big elbow misses though and Orton hits him in the head with the bell for the win.

Rating: C-. This was as good as it was going to get, as Dusty was retired from wrestling at this level and there was no way he was going to beat the biggest heel on Raw. It was nice to see Dusty get that one last entrance for his signature match and he even got to do some of his stuff, making this more of a tribute than anything else. This would be Dusty’s last match, at least on any kind of a big stage.

Post match Orton loads up the Punt but Cody Rhodes runs in for the save.

We recap the triple threat for the Smackdown World Title. Great Khali won the vacant title on Smackdown (as Edge was injured, again) and then interrupted a #1 contenders match between Kane and Batista setting up the triple threat.

Smackdown World Title: Batista vs. Great Khali vs. Kane

Khali is defending and holds the title upside down again. Batista and Khali get knocked down at the same time to start and some individual clotheslines do it again. Something like a spinwheel kick drops Batista again and we’re already in the nerve hold. Kane makes the save so Khali nerve holds him instead. Batista’s save earns him a chokeslam, followed by a second to Kane.

They head outside with some double teaming working a bit better, including a posting to rock Khali. A double chokeslam/spinebuster puts Khali through the announcers’ table and it’s down to the two normal sized monsters. Back in and Batista hits a powerslam for two but Kane drops him again. Khali comes back in and gets chokeslammed (work with me here) but Batista clotheslines Kane to the floor. With Khali on the floor, the Batista Bomb plants Kane, with Khali making a fast(ish) save. Batista is sent into the steps and it’s the chokebomb to Kane to retain the title.

Rating: C. Another match where they were smart to keep it short, but what mattered here was managing to have Khali outside or at least limited for most of the time. Kane and Batista did their power match stuff and Khali came in when he needed to, making this about as good as it could have been. Khali isn’t very good, but there are ways to hide that to a certain extent.

Khali manages to hold the title the right way up!

HHH is coming back at Summerslam.

Here are King Booker and Queen Sharmell for a chat. Booker isn’t pleased with this HHH nonsense because he is the one king around here. That brings him to Jerome Lawler, who Booker wants in the ring to surrender his crown. Lawler tells him to come take it, which Booker calls an act of treason. I guess we’ll deal with that later though.

We recap John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley for the Raw World Title. Various stars and legends give their picks because this is presented as a dream match. Cena has been champion for a long time but Lashley is the young up and comer who seems ready to win the title. Showdown abounds.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley

Cena is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. They go with the big power lockup to start and Cena is driven into the corner for a rare visual. The test of strength has Cena down but he fights back up as they’re channeling a bit of Warrior vs. Hogan here. Lashley wrestles him down a few times so Cena tries a headlock. With that not working, the threat of the STF sends Lashley bailing to the floor for a breather.

Back in and Cena scores with the bulldog, setting up an elbow drop for two. The fisherman’s suplex gives Cena the same but Lashley is back with a t-bone suplex. Back up and Lashley hits a side slam for two and we hit the somewhat delayed suplex for the same. A quick Throwback gets Cena out of trouble and the top rope Fameasser rocks Lashley again. Back up and Lashley lifts him up for something like a gutbuster onto the shoulder, setting up a bodyscissors to stay on the ribs.

Commentary can’t remember Cena ever wrestling a challenger with this kind of amateur abilities as Cena fights up and hits the ProtoBomb. The Shuffle connects but Lashley grabs a powerslam for another near fall. The torture rack dropped into a backbreaker looks to set up the running powerslam but Cena slips out and hits an FU. That’s good for a very delayed two and Cena charges into an elbow in the corner.

The spear is countered into the STFU in the middle of the ring (JR is having a blast calling this) but Lashley powers over to the ropes. Lashley pops up with a spear for two so he loads Cena up top, only to get reversed into a super FU (with Cena staying on top instead of going down with him) to retain the title.

Rating: B. It was a big match and a heck of a showdown, though it didn’t quite make it to the next level. What mattered here is they felt like it was a dream match, though Cena just winning again in the end was kind of a letdown. They didn’t need to change the title here, but it never became epic. Instead, we just have a rather good match and a B level pay per view main event.

Replays and respect are shown to wrap things up.

Overall Rating: B-. The show delivered and possibly even over delivered, but this did feel like a middle of the road level pay per view. There were some good (but not great) matches and that’s enough for a show like the Great American Bash. That being said, this is more about a stepping stone on the way to Summerslam for the huge show, but we got something solid enough here too.

 

 

 

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