Happy Saturday Everyone!
We’ve got another reader request this month, with Sivsky demanding that GAB 2004 get the Stinker treatment. For those who haven’t read one of these before, a Stinker Review is when I look at a show that has a reputation for being awful and then have to decide whether that reputation is deserved or not.
This show has an infamous Main Event of Undertaker taking on The Dudley Boyz, where Paul Bearer gets drowned in concrete if Booger Red doesn’t take a dive, but there’s also plenty of terrible stuff elsewhere on the card as well, along with at least (from memory) two good matches to hold things together.
Let’s see if time has been kind to this one or if it’s just as bad as I remember. If you want to suggest any shows for this feature then please let me know in the comments section
The event is emanating from Norfolk, Virginia on the 27th of June 2004
Calling the action are Michael Cole and Tazz
The opening video package focuses on the likes of JBL, Eddy Guerrero, John Cena and Kurt Angle. We then get to relive the “awesome” Taker/Dudleyz feud, which we’ll get to later on.
Torrie Wilson, looking hot in an Uncle Sam outfit, welcomes us to the show.
The pay per view theme music would eventually get cannibalised for Ken Kennedy’s “Turn Up The Trouble” entrance music.
Fatal Four Way Elimination Match for WWE United States Title
Champ: John Cena Vs Booker T Vs Rene Dupree w/ Fifi The Poodle Vs Rob Van Dam
Cena was doing the tired “upstart babyface Vs Heel Authority Figure” feud with Smackdown GM Kurt Angle at the time, hence this match where Angle has deliberately stacked the deck against the Champ. Cena references GI Bro during his opening rap, which was an embarrassing gimmick Booker used to have during 2000 WCW. Because WWE can’t ever resist the urge to take a cheap shot at WCW, even though it had been three years since they had won the Monday Night War and put WCW out of business by this point.
Vince of course hated the French due to their refusal to take part in the war in Iraq (and BOY did they end up looking vindicated on that one) so having Dupree as the prancing arrogant French Heel was something he found hard to resist. This one doesn’t have tags and instead everyone can go at it at the same time, which normally leads to two guys hanging around outside the ring whilst two others go at it inside. It’s decent action for the most part, even though it’s lacking a bit of crowd heat.
Cena and Dupree were still learning their craft at this stage so their work is a little sloppy, but they had decent enough chemistry with one another to cover for it and Booker is an experienced pro who can be expected to hold things together in an environment like this. The end result is a mostly solid, if a little bit flat, match and it’s fine as an opener. Booker actually does some good character work by staying outside the ring and throwing RVD inside so that he fights with Dupree whilst Booker waits things out on the floor. Because this is elimination rules it makes sense to behave this way.
RVD dives out onto both Cena and Dupree at one stage before throwing Cena inside to work a sequence with him, which is also a bit sloppy due to RVD occasionally being prone to that during this period and Cena not quite morphing into “Big Match John” yet. Dupree of course busts out the hilarious “French Tickler” dance at one stage, but he ends up taking a Frog Splash not soon after. Booker takes one as well, but Cena rolls RVD up before RVD can take advantage.
Rob Van Dam Eliminated by John Cena (1) – Roll-Up
So now Cena is alone with the two Heels, which of course leads to them forming an alliance in order to work him over. A Frenchman and an American working together? Whatever next?! The Heels stupidly argue over who gets to pin Cena though, which leads to their alliance fragmenting at a crucial moment. A smart Heel would have let their fellow Heel pin Cena before then pouncing right after, but I guess Booker and Dupree aren’t very high on the Heel intelligence charts. If Raven is near the top, these two are probably down there with meat heads like The Warlord. Cena manages to catch Dupree with the F-U following the breakdown in Franco-Texan relations, but Booker clobbers Cena and then steals the pin to leave us with the final two.
Rene Dupree Eliminated by Booker T (1) – Stolen pin following an F-U
Cena is still hurting following the end of the second fall, so Booker quickly goes into his usual Heel tactic of slapping on a chin lock. Booker T was a solid wrestler and an excellent Heel character in things like skits and promos, but goodness me was his Heel work boring in-between the ropes most of the time. He really was much better as a babyface as he could sell and make comebacks, but as a Heel his matches were normally duller than dishwater, even when he was in there with the likes of Chris Benoit and The Rock. Cena makes the comeback with the usual, including a Five Knuckle Shuffle with some extra stank on it, but Booker fights off the F-U attempt and gets a roll-up for two in a good near fall. Booker gets a side kick and preps for the Scissors Kick, but Cena counters that into an F-U and that’s enough for three.
Booker T Eliminated by John Cena (2) – F-U
I should point out that Cena wasn’t dropping to his knees with the F-U at this stage for some reason, which made the move look far less impressive and he eventually went back to doing it the other way by the time 2005 rolled around.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JOHN CENA
MOST ELIMINATIONS: JOHN CENA (2)
This was actually a reasonable opener. It suffered from occasional bouts of sloppiness along with spotty crowd reactions, but overall it decent and not a bad way to start the show. By the end the crowd liked Cena and was happy he won
Charlie Haas and Miss Jackie congratulate Cena on his win, so Kurt Angle storms over in his wheelchair and books Haas against Luther Reigns next.
Sable is in a hot tub, where she hypes up her match with Torrie Wilson later on.
Luther Reigns w/ Kurt Angle Vs Charlie Haas w/ Miss Jackie
Reigns had been in WCW as Horshu and had been earmarked for a bit of a push in as Angle’s muscle due to his impressive size and because he could cut a good promo. Haas had formerly been Tag Champs with Shelton Benjamin (as part of Angle’s “Team Angle” faction) and Rico, but he was kind of aimlessly drifting in the mid-card despite the fact he was a decent in-ring wrestler and they probably could have done more with him. He’d end up a storyline later in the year where he would start seeing Dawn Marie behind Jackie’s back.
Haas tries to use amateur style grappling to get the better of the bigger Reigns to start, but that doesn’t work out too well for him and Reigns starts clubbing away with generic big man offence. The crowd doesn’t really care, but it’s not like the match is horrible or anything. It’s just a Velocity Main Event on a pay per view, and on pay per view you generally expect a higher standard of in-ring action. Haas does a good job selling for Reigns at least and the match is effective at making Reigns look scary.
Angle is good at ringside, talking smack to Haas and cheering Reigns on. Haas throws some nice dropkicks in an attempt at making a comeback, but Reigns shrugs them off with ease and continues to beat poor Haas down. They have given Haas just enough offence here that I wouldn’t class this as a full-on Squash, but it’s definitely in the vicinity of Squashville. I have to give credit to Jackie as she kind of gets the crowd into it by banging the mat, but then they don’t do anything with it and the crowd mostly dies off again.
Haas eventually manages to get a nice Exploder Suplex and follows up with an Oklahoma Roll for two, as Haas has genuinely done a good job here and I feel bad that the crowd isn’t really getting into his offence much because they have zero faith that he might win. And indeed, their doubt proves to be justified as Haas gets a German Suplex but then misses a charge in the corner, which allows Reigns to put him away with a spinning neck breaker. Haas took a fantastic bump for that move I must say.
WINNER: LUTHER REIGNS
This was fine I guess, but it had no place being on a pay per view, especially with a totally cold build. This is the sort of match you have on Smackdown with maybe a week’s worth of hype, you don’t just throw it on a pay per view and leave the two guys to drown out there like this. As an actual match it achieved the goal it was shooting for of making Reigns look like a big scary man, but the crowd didn’t really care. Haas’ selling and bumping were excellent for the most part though and he did everything in his power to make Reigns look like a beast, so he deserves big props for that
JBL cuts a backstage promo, where he guarantees victory later on tonight against Eddy Guerrero in the Texas Bull Rope Match. JBL was basically Vince’s avatar at this stage so I can totally see Vince living vicariously through JBL in that promo.
WWE Cruiserweight Title
Champ: Rey Mysterio Jr Vs Chavo Guerrero Jr
This is one of the two matches I have memory of being good, so hopefully I’m remembering things correctly. Chavo’s dad, Chavo Classic, had been the Cruiserweight Champ, but he ended up getting fired so they put the belt on dependable Rey. Chavo won himself a battle royal on Smackdown to become the #1 contender, but it’s not like you needed much of an excuse to have a match between these two. Rey actually made his WCW debut on their version of GAB back in 1996 against Dean Malenko. That match is really good actually and definitely worth seeking out if you haven’t seen it.
This is indeed good to start, with some nice counters and pinning holds, although there is the odd moment where their timing is a little bit off. It’s still decent wrestling though and these two had solid chemistry together. The crowd is quietish to start, but they gradually get more into it as it progresses, with Chavo even drawing some “Chavo Sucks” chants at certain points. Someone in the crowd even has a “Bring Back Chavo Classic” sign, which I kind of get as he was quite entertaining in his role and it felt like it had a little bit more juice in it.
Rey gets the better of things in the early going but gets dropkicking off the ropes to the floor, which leads to him coming up selling his left knee. Chavo of course targets the injured appendage, doing some solid submission based stuff, and Rey sells all of that very well. They’re working a solid and psychologically sound match here, with some nice moves and some good selling from Rey. It’s not a classic or anything, but it’s a good match and they get given a decent amount of time to work with. The crowd isn’t going nuts for it, but they are paying attention to it at least.
Rey’s knee actually affects his performance as well, with it causing his momentum to halt more than once due to the pain it causes him. I like that, as it makes it feel like the leg work in the heat actually had a purpose and wasn’t just them filling time. Rey does eventually manage to bridge up out of the Tree of Woe to cause Chavo to run into the ring post, which leads to Rey following with a dive to the floor. Chavo tries to fight back with a Superplex, but that leads to both men tumbling off the top rope back down to the mat for a double down.
We hit the finishing stretch following that, with the crowd heat still not being quite what you’d want it to be, but it’s not awful either. They’ve done a good job building the match up to be fair to them and it’s told a good story. It’s been more selling and story based than action based, which makes sense as this is WWE and that was usually how they demanded the Cruiserweights work. Chavo gets a good near fall with a Gory Bomb at one stage, with the crowd popping for the kick out as they thought it was over. In a nice touch, Rey kicked Chavo in the bicep earlier on and Chavo sold that he couldn’t quite hook the pin properly as a result of it.
Rey manages to get a one legged 6-1-9, but his rana attempt gets turned into a single leg crab in a good submission tease, with the crowd now finally getting into the match how you would want them to for a big pay per view Title match. Rey’s selling in the submission hold is fantastic, with the crowd really worried that he might tap out. Rey does manage to make the ropes to break the hold though, and that gets a really good pop. Well, it took them a while, but they just kept working and now they’ve got the crowd to care. Good on them. Rey manages to counter another Gory Bomb attempt into a Yoshi-Tonic though and that’s enough for the last gasp victory.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: REY MYSTERIO JR
I’ve got to give credit to both men following that, as they had a tough crowd there at points but they worked hard and won them over by the end. Good selling by Rey, good offence from Chavo and very well worked finishing stretch. This match was better than I remembered, and I remembered it being pretty good
Torrie Wilson is in the hot tub with Kidman, Funaki and Little Spike Dudley. They all argue over whether they could have won the match in Rey’s place, but then get distracted by Torrie getting up and leaving. Yeah, that would probably distract me as well.
Kenzo Suzuki w/ Hiroko Vs Billy Gunn
Suzuki was a former rugby player and graduate of the New Japan Dojo. He was actually a contemporary of the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata, but whilst they kicked on and became good wrestlers he mostly stagnated and ended up trying his luck in the west, where he wrestled Perry Saturn in a notoriously awful match for NWA:TNA before finally ending up in WWE. WWE’s original plan was to name Suzuki after the Japanese Emperor from World War II and have him feud with Chris Benoit over the World Title, but when that idea got a very negative reaction they instead decided just to make him a generic Evil Foreigner on Smackdown under his real name.
Gunn actually had a DQ win over Suzuki on Smackdown due to Hiroko throwing salt at him, so we have a rematch tonight. Why they were protecting Billy Gunn to such an extent when it was clear that Suzuki was the one they were pushing is beyond me, but WWE is going to WWE I guess. Suzuki looks leaner than Gunn here, but height wise there isn’t much of a difference, which explains why WWE was interested in bringing him in instead of smaller more talented guys on the Japanese scene that they could have signed such as the guys over in DragonGate.
This match has so little heat that the ring might as well be coated in ice, as the crowd doesn’t care remotely about what they’re seeing. The wrestling isn’t good at all really, although Gunn isn’t actively bad either. Suzuki just wasn’t up to much in the ring at all, and watching this you can see why it didn’t work out for him in New Japan as he’s WAY below the standard you would expect of even a Young Lion, let alone a guy that would be pushed against the top guys like Chono, Nagata etc.
A lot of the match is spent in a rest hold, and it’s my least favourite rest hold of all, the nerve pinch. It’s either that or Stevie Ray’s chin lock. Suzuki gurns a lot in a cartoon-like manner and occasionally yells in Japanese. The crowd still doesn’t really care, although they do eventually get a brief “U-S-A” chant. I don’t know why they are chanting that though as, to my knowledge, Tim Howard isn’t in attendance. Gunn eventually makes a bit of a comeback, but the crowd doesn’t really care. Suzuki gets a Shining Wizard for two, as I notice a guy dressed as a pimp on the hard camera side bowing to him. 2004 was weird bro. Suzuki eventually catches Gunn right in the Colton’s and follows up with a back breaker for three.
WINNER: KENZO SUZUKI
This was not good, as it had a dead crowd and Suzuki looked pretty awful. Gunn hit a couple of good moves at least
Paul Heyman tells Paul Bearer that he isn’t bluffing about drowning Bearer in concrete later. Heyman and Bearer did their best to sell this angle, but the storyline is so stupid that even they couldn’t save this.
Sable Vs Torrie Wilson
Sable said that Torrie looked fat in her Uncle Sam outfit on Smackdown, leading to a match. Sable is technically a Heel here, but she still smiles like a babyface during her entrance. Probably the best part of the match is Sable mocking Torrie’s entrance taunt, at which point it’s all downhill. Sable could have entertaining matches when she was fired up and in the right situation, but this isn’t one of those situations. She does some good character work here at least by being a convincing mean spirited cow, with Torrie mostly selling whilst Sable works her over.
The crowd doesn’t really care that much again, although they care ever so slightly more about this match than they did about the previous one. Sable puts Torrie in a stranglehold for a while and they just sit in there whilst the crowd sits on their hands and the commentators amuse themselves talking about who has the blonder hair, the two women or Charles Robinson the referee. Some of Torrie’s offence in reply to Sable is really terrible, as I think both women are having an off night here. Sable plays possum during a double down and that leads to her catching Torrie with a roll-up for three, even though Torrie’s shoulder was clearly up on the pin.
The match was bad enough as it was, but that finish pushed it over the edge for me. I’m not sure if Torrie’s shoulder was supposed to be up in order to set up a rematch or if they just generally did such an awful job on the roll-up that they botched it and Robinson decided to just put the match out of its misery. Either way, this match was Botchamania worthy on more than one occasion
Torrie is all annoyed following the match whilst Sable again mocks Torrie’s entrance pose in a moment I’ve remembered all these years later because it actually is pretty funny.
This show has gone off a cliff following a reasonable start. Hopefully the next match can get us back on track.
The Undertaker is lurking in the shadows.
Dawn Marie is at the hot tub, where she interviews Rene Dupree. Dupree says he will protest so that he can get himself another US Title shot. He then puts the move on Dawn, which leads to Nunzio and Johnny The Bull coming over. Nunzio wows Dawn with his big feet in a funny moment, which leads to her leaving with him instead whilst Johnny makes fun of Dupree. But what about You and Me?
Mordecai Vs Hardcore Holly
Man, there’s a whole lot of NOTHING on this under card isn’t there? Mordecai was basically a palette swapped version of Ministry of Darkness Era Undertaker who wore white clothes instead of black. It was supposed to lead to them feuding but Mordecai wasn’t really getting over how WWE wanted and he was gone soon after this feud with Holly ended. Mordecai actually looks a bit like Colin Baker facially, which makes it hard for him to look imposing to me as a result. Holly, like Gunn, was getting pretty heavily protected against the newbie here, which was kind of counterproductive in getting the new guy over as neither Gunn or Holly was a pushed commodity, so going 50/50 with them merely told the fans that guys like Suzuki and Mordecai were down on their level, which didn’t help the two newcomers get over.
Holly mostly eats Mordecai up here in the early going, although Mordecai does eventually manage to cut Holly off by luring him to the floor and then flinging him into the symbol that Mordecai brought to the ring with him. Mordecai’s offence looks fine for the most part, but the crowd really doesn’t care about this match. If either of these guys were any less over with this crowd then they would be under. Mordecai probably wasn’t going to get over to begin with to be honest, but getting beaten up by Hardcore Holly more than once probably didn’t help his cause.
Holly eventually makes a comeback with some STIFF clotheslines and comes off the top with another clothesline for two. The crowd could not care less but that clothesline looked nice at least. Holly destroys Mordecai with the “I Wish I Was Jumbo Tsuruta” dropkick following that and tries the Alabama Slamma, but Mordecai muscles him out of that in an admittedly cool looking counter to get a Razor’s Edge for the three count.
The wrestling was mostly fine, but the crowd could not have cared less and I can understand why they decided it wasn’t working out with Mordecai. The annoying thing is that Mordecai’s last match on TV was an enjoyable outing with Rey Mysterio and a feud between them might have re-ignited him a bit because Rey was a good worker who was actually over and he would have tried to make Mordecai look good, but by that point they’d already made up their mind and Mordecai was gone until 2006 when he came back as wrestling vampire Kevin Thorn
We get a video of WWE Superstars showing up to beat up Olympic athletes in order to hype up SummerSlam. The though of Batista passing an Olympic drug test back in 2004 is beyond hilarious.
Texas Bull Rope Match for WWE Title
Champ: Eddy Guerrero Vs John Bradshaw Layfield
JBL beat Eddy by DQ at the previous Smackdown pay per view, so Kurt Angle allowed JBL to pick the stipulation for the re-match. The rule in this one is that you have to drag your opponent to four corners in order to win, with lights in the corner lighting up to show a turnbuckle has been pressed. If your momentum gets interrupted then you have to start again. If you intentionally remove yourself from the rope then you get DQ’ed, but aside from that it’s No DQ. Tony Chimel utterly slaughtered the reading of the match rules by the way, poor sod.
I’ve been dreading watching this match most of all because the result is so utterly depressing, but the match itself is really good if my memory serves correct, so everything up to the finish should be enjoyable at least. Just before we go any further, I’m going to address the elephant in the room. No, I won’t be posting a bunch of memes or making cowbell jokes, so if you’re expecting to see me make a bunch of references to how this match needs more cowbell then you best keep Walken.
Oh Ho! Is funny because he said he would not make a certain joke but then he immediately went and made the joke anyway! Oh ho hoooo!!!
Anyway, this match is a really good intense brawl, and is probably better than the match they had at Judgment Day because JBL is far more in his element in a brawl like this and Eddy is such a good worker that he can basically work any kind of match you need him to and make it good. JBL chokes Eddy out with the rope at one stage before prepping the Spanish Announce Table for some carnage. Eddy manages to fight off the powerbomb attempt from JBL though by using the rope in a neat spot that actually makes use of the gimmick, and then drags JBL into the ring post. I like how Eddy is actually using the rope to his advantage as well even though this isn’t his specialty match, as it makes him look smart and resourceful.
JBL destroyed Eddy with a big chair shot in their previous match, so Eddy dishes one out this time instead in a nice call back, leading to JBL bleeding. I could have done without the unprotected aspect of the chair shot, but I can’t complain with the storytelling aspect of having Eddy give JBL a taste of his own medicine. Eddy tries to win it a couple of times following that, but JBL manages to hold on in desperate fashion to halt Eddy’s momentum each time. The crowd is getting into the victory teases and it makes me think WWE missed a trick by not doing more of these Bull Rope matches. I think they did one with JBL and Batista in 2005 and that was it.
Eddy ends up getting flung off the apron onto the Spanish table and he ends up BOUNCING off it in a brutal landing. That looked awful to take, especially as Eddy landing on his chest and shoulder instead of his back, which is NOT how to you want to land on a bump like that. JBL decides the table will be getting broken and he powerbombs Eddy through it, leading to both men selling on the floor. JBL has kind of screwed himself over there though as Eddy is now out and JBL has to heave him back into the ring in order to win, which won’t be easy considering all of JBL’s blood loss from this brutal bout.
Eddy manages to hold on when JBL tries to reach all four corners, with both men selling the desperation and struggle perfectly, and then destroys JBL with the bell to get some payback. The finish is the usual one we see in these sorts of matches, where both men end up tied at 3-3, with them fighting to get the last corner. Eddy jumps over JBL to seemingly touch the corner first, but Kurt Angle comes down and says that JBL’s back actually touched the corner first and thus he’s the Champion.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: JBL
This was a really good brawl and the finish did actually make sense. The problem was more that Eddy never managed to win the belt back in a rematch and pretty much lost the feud. What is it with WWE having racist Heels beat the non-white babyface by the way? They love that stuff for some reason
In real life Eddy was struggling with the stress of being Champion and actually asked to lose the belt ASAP, with Bradshaw just being the guy he was currently feuding with. However, Vince McMahon loved the JBL character so much that we got nearly a year of him as WWE Champion, which soon wore out its welcome and genuinely caused a bunch of people I knew to stop watching the show. Still, Vince got to have his fun and we are but the flotsam in the ocean that is his world when all is said and done I guess.
Eddy gets a nice reception from the crowd on leaving at least.
Concrete Crypt Match
Smackdown Tag Champs The Dudley Boyz w/ Paul Heyman Vs The Undertaker
Heyman had been Smackdown GM but had quit rather than go to Raw in storyline, coming back as the manager of The Dudleyz. The Dudleyz kidnapped Paul Bearer and Heyman stole the urn to make Undertaker work for him. Heyman then decided to test Taker’s loyalty by putting this match together. Basically Undertaker has to “do the right thing” (I.e. do a job for The Dudleyz) or Bearer will get buried in concrete. Why did Heyman need to go to these lengths if he already had the urn? It not only is a stupid storyline premise, but it also doesn’t make sense either.
This match can be summed up pretty easily. The Dudleyz and Undertaker have a pretty flat handicap match, with Heyman occasionally adding more concrete into Bearer’s “crypt” when he’s unhappy with what Undertaker is doing. For some reason security doesn’t decide that they should intervene with the literal attempted murder that is going on here on live pay per view. I know Heyman said in his promo earlier that people thought he was bluffing, but once he’s pulled that lever a couple of times I think the authorities would have all the just cause they would need to decide he wasn’t bluffing and then storm over to rescue Bearer.
If we ignore the general stupidity of the premise and storyline here, even as a match this is a terrible idea as you’re essentially saying that your Tag Champs can be easily defeated by one man all by himself, which not only makes them look like chumps but also makes every tag team who can’t defeat them from this point onward look like chumps as well. I mean, would it have killed them to have the belts on someone else before this match happened so as not to completely jobbify the entire division like this? Oh what am I saying, Vince McMahon hates tag team wrestling, of course he was fine with the entire tag division getting made to look like idiots.
They actually pre-taped all of the Paul Bearer stuff earlier and have a stunt man in the box for the actual match. Tazz points out on commentary that some of the concrete would already be starting to dry by this point, which once again would be plenty of just cause for security or the police to show up and shut this down, as even if it doesn’t get filled all the way enough damage was set to be done regardless and immediate intervention was required. Bubba actually ends up putting the lever back up because he wants to beat Undertaker properly without all the shenanigans, which Heyman agrees to. I will say that Bearer does a good job acting whilst the concrete swirls around him, and Heyman is hamming it up as only he can, but the material is so awful that there’s little they can do with it.
The crowd is pretty much silent after a certain point, as they’ve realised that the actual match portion of this really is just going to be The Dudley Boyz wrestling The Undertaker in a pay per view Main Event. I know Bubba Ray Main Evented a pay per view with Taz back in ECW in 1999, but even back then people questioned that as a show closing bout. The Dudleyz hadn’t sniffed the Main Event scene for years prior to this, so dropping them out of a helicopter to headline a major show against The Undertaker was never going to work. Adding the stupid stipulation just made it even worse.
The Dudleyz work a bit of heat on Taker when he gets distracted by Bearer’s impending DOOM, but he ends up fighting back eventually and makes a comeback, which seems to go awry at points due to Bubba and Taker being on different pages at stages. D-Von manages to catch Taker right in his Death Valley with an uppercut at one stage, but Undertaker sits up following a double team neck breaker and Choke Slams Bubba before giving D-Von the Tombstone to finally put everyone out of their collective misery.
WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER
LOSERS: THE REST OF HUMANITY
This was a dull heatless match made all the worse by the stupid storyline and match stipulation
Undertaker decides not to save Paul Bearer following the match and makes the decision to kill Bearer off so that no one can use Bearer against him again. Then why did you even bother going through the match then? Just walk off and let Heyman kill him if you wanted him out of the way to begin with. Paul Bearer does his best to sell the whole situation, but it’s too stupid even for him to rescue it. The crowd doesn’t even boo or cheer, they just watch on in silence wondering what the heck they are watching as the show fades to black.
Is It Really A Stinker?
I think I’d be really stretching the definition to call this a Stinker when it had two matches as good as Rey/Chavo and Eddy/JBL, but it’s the most down to the wire one of these ever I think because, though the good on this show was very good, the bad was very very bad. This show highlighted the frightening lack of depth the Smackdown roster had at the time, a point that was accentuated further when they crammed four guys into the opener, meaning that the rest of the card had to be filled up by the likes of Luther Reigns, Kenzo Suzuki and Mordecai.
The good wrestlers who were put in situations to succeed mostly all delivered, and the bad/green wrestlers who were sent out there to sink or swim mostly all sunk without a trace. Thankfully for Reigns he was in there with Charlie Haas, who actually knew what to do in order to get his opponent over and gave him the match he needed, whilst Gunn and Holly seemed more interested in protecting their own spots rather than giving the green newbies they were working a helping hand.
The Main Event was an absolute debacle and one of the very worst matches, stipulations and storylines that WWE has ever done. Wrestling is all about suspending your disbelief and that sometimes means you might be somewhat generous when it comes to letting stuff slide that wouldn’t happen in real life. Even taking that into consideration, there’s no way to get around the fact that Paul Heyman was literally attempting to kill someone by drowning them in concrete. Wrestling or not, there’s no way the authorities are letting that one slide, or that WWE would leave themselves legally on the hook for televised manslaughter.
Great American Bash 2004 is extraordinarily lucky that Rey Mysterio Jr and Eddy Guerrero were there to bail it out of Stinkerville, because if just one of those matches hadn’t delivered then it would be the most open and shut case I think I’ve done since Heroes of Wrestling. As it is, the two good matches were good enough that this doesn’t get a full-on Stinker rating, but BOY was it close!
Final Rating – Stinky
Ratings go Stinker/Stinky/Odourless/Pleasant/Fragrant