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KELLER'S WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH PPV REPORT 7/20: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV

Jul 20, 2008 - 10:21:22 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY


By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH PPV REPORT
JULY 20, 2008
UNIONDALE, N.Y. AT NASSAU COLISEUM
LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW


-A video package aired hyping the three singles main event matches. Then they went right to ring announcer Justin Roberts without the usual announcers-at-ringside introduction.

1 -- MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. HORNSWOGGLE & FINLAY vs. JESSE & FESTUS vs. CURT HAWKINS & ZACH RYDER -- WWE Tag Team Title match

After a minute of initial chaos, it settled into Festus and Hornswoggle staring each other down mid-ring. Hornswoggle rolled up his sleeves. Festus ran into the ropes to gain momentum, but bumped into Miz and Morrison. Hornswoggle then dove through the ropes onto Miz and Morrison on the floor. It settled into Miz and Morrison tagging in and out against Finlay. Foley noted the logic in this match of making sure you or your partner is in the match, so he drew the conclusion that Miz would probably tag out to another team. Ryder actually tagged himself in to finally enter the match at 5:00. At 8:00 Finlay finally tagged out to Hornswoggle, who happened to be in the corner he fell into after kicking Ryder. Jesse, though, quickly tagged himself in and went to work on Ryder. Hawkins knocked Hornswoggle off the ring apron, a rare WWE missed shot by the director. Festus tagged in and went to work on Hawkins. He tossed Miz ad Morrison out of the ring, then set up Jesse for a Rocket Launcher onto Ryder. However, Ryder yanked Festus out of the ring by his leg, Hawkins yanked Jesse off the top rope and then pinned him.

WINNERS: Hawkins & Ryder in 9:00 to capture the WWE Tag Team Titles.

STAR RATING: ** -- Solid opener.

-A commercial aired hyping the Triple H DVD where he reflects for the first time ever on his own legacy.

2 -- MATT HARDY vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN -- U.S. Title match

Ross said nobody in history has entered the Bash as the U.S. Champ and leave with the belt. Foley said there is a first time for everything. Ross said if Shelton wins it, he'll become only the 21st man in the history of the industry to hold both the Intercontinental and U.S. titles. He said the last was Ric Flair. "Only the 21st man"? That's a lot. There shouldn't even be that many IC Champs or U.S. Champs, much less that many who have held both belts. Foley noted Shelton recently beat Hardy in a non-title match. Steady early build with a Shelton headlock and Hardy armbar. Shelton yanked Hardy into the ringpost, knocking him off the ring apron to the floor. Foley said that's the meanness that Shelton needs to combine with his athleticism to get to the next level. In the ring the crowd chanted "Let's go Hardy!" When Hardy showed a sign of life, Shelton aggressively stomped away at him and then settled into a sitting abdominal stretch. Hardy stood up and dropped back to slam Shelton and score a two count.

When Hardy charged Shelton in the corner, Shelton caught him with a boot to the face. Shelton drop wheel kicked Hardy and then splashed him in the corner. On a second splash attempt, Hardy caught him with a boot. Hardy gave Shelton a bulldog for a near fall with a half-hearted kickout by Shelton. Hardy hit a second rope legdrop for a believable near fall at 8:00. Hardy dove at Shelton out of the corner, but Shelton caught him and threw him right back into the corner. Nice spot. They showed a photo-finish of the previous kickout, but misseda near fall sequence meanwhile as Shelton rolled Hardy up near the rope. Hardy reversed for a two count, then hit the Side Effect for another near fall. Hardy then stood and signalled for the Twist of Fate. Shelton shoved Hardy away and elbowed his back, then set him on the top rope. Hardy elbowed Shelton off of him, then went for a top rope moonsault. Hardy, though, landed right on Shelton's knee with his head. Shelton then dove into Hardy gave him a power DDT for the win. Foley said Shelton's two your drought without a title is over. Ross said the 23 year streak of the U.S. Champ leaving with is title is also over.

WINNER: Shelton Benjamin in 10:00 to capture the U.S. Title.

STAR RATING: **1/2

-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler talked about the C.M. Punk vs. Batista match. They threw to an interviews from WWE Mobile recorded Monday. Todd Grisham said many people don't believe Punk can beat Batista. He asked him what he says to him. Punk said people have doubted him every step of the way. He said he now has his name engraved on the top title in the industry. He denied he's a fluke. He said if at the Bash, he's going to prove people wrong because that's what he's been in the business of doing his entire career. He said he's not Batista, not John Cena, not Shawn Michaels, not Bret Hart. "I'm C.M. Punk, World Heavyweight Champion." Good promo. It shows why Punk is in the spot he's in despite certain traits that usually hold people like him back from such opportunities.

-Ross told Foley if anyone relates to Punk's emotions, Foley would. Then they threw to video footage of the Edge hitting on and making out with Vickie's wedding planner, aired on Friday's Smackdown. They announced a text message poll asking whether viewers felt the most sympathy for Edge or Vickie.

3 -- MARK HENRY (w/Tony Atlas) vs. TOMMY DREAMER (w/Colin Delaney)

Mike Adamle said this was Dreamer's Super Bowl and an opportunity he's been waiting a long time for. Tazz said it's an uphill battle for Dreamer. When Henry went for a submission on Dreamer, Adamle stumbled into saying Dreamer will never give up. Tazz quickly corrected him and said he might have no choice at some point. Henry dominated early. Tazz said Henry has "an animal-like head and skull." Dreamer came back at 3:00. Adamle said Dreamer needs to use his quickness to win. If that's the case, Dreamer is doomed. He gave Henry a neckbreaker for a two count. He hit a DDT. Adamle said, "He hit another one!" even though it was his first. Atlas jumped on the ring apron to distract Dreamer from making the corner. Dreamer went to the second rope. Colin Delaney jumped onto the ring apron to signal the big splash was coming, but Delaney then turned on Dreamer by yanking him by his arm so he hotshotted the top rope. Henry then got up and powerslammed Delaney for the win. Delaney smiled and walked to the back. Tazz said he thought he had seen everything. Adamle said Dreamer got Delaney his contract. He said it was betrayal and despicable.

WINNER: Henry in 5:00 to retain the ECW Title.

STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Fine for what it was. Good angle at the end as it gives both Dreamer and Delaney something to do on ECW.

-A video package aired on the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho feud.

4 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. SHAWN MICHAELS

They had a staredown early. Great facial expressions by both. This was the first match call by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler of the night. Michaels got an early advantage and applied a figure-four at 1:00. Jericho reached the bottom rope to force a break. Michaels pounded on Jericho in the corner. Jericho held the ref for protection briefly. Jericho reversed Michaels into the corner, where Michaels flipped over and onto the apron. Jericho springboard dropkicked into Michaels, knocking him to the floor. Jericho went on sustained offense for three minutes. Michaels made a comeback at 7:00 and nipped up, but Jericho fired right back by locking on a Walls of Jericho. Michaels crawled toward the bottom rope, but was quite a ways away. He did manage to get there after about 30 seconds of struggling. Jericho fans in the crowd booed. Jericho stomped on Michaels's back. The ref admonished him.

Michaels climbed to the top rope. Jericho knocked him off balance. Jericho went for a superplex. Michaels fought him off. It was a clinic in a believable struggle on the ropes between two wrestlers. Michaels eventually kicked Jericho to the mat and then hit a top rope elbow. It may have taken him slightly longer than ideal as it didn't seem totally believable that Jericho was knocked out by the bump to the mat. Michaels showed fire and then stomped the mat. Lance Cade ran to the ring. Michaels kicked him before he could enter the ring. It was enough of a distraction to give Jericho a chance to recover and go for a Code Breaker. Michaels grabbed the top rope to block the move. Michaels flipped into a leverage pin attempt on Jericho for a believable near fall. Jericho reversed into his own leverage two count at 11:00. When Jericho charged at Michaels, Michaels sidestepped him and threw him onto Cade on the floor. Michaels climbed to the top rope and flipped both Jericho and Cade, neither of whom did much at all to catch him or soften his land in the spirit of "taking the move." Michaels pretty much scored a field goal between them.

Michaels came up behind Jericho as he attempted to reenter the ring. Jericho elbowed backwards into Michaels's face. Michaels reentered the ring and came up bleeding heavily. Cole said it was Michaels's injured eye. Jericho got wide-eyed when he saw Michaels's crimson face. The ref asked if Michaels was okay. Michaels nodded yes, but staggered out of the corner, not able to even keep his balance. Jericho knocked him to the mat, then waited for him to get up. He threw more punches. Michaels blindly swung back, but Jericho easily ducked. Jericho kicked Michaels in the face. As the ref admonished Jericho, Cade gave him a running boot to the side of his face. Jericho headbutted Michaels. Michaels surprised Jericho with a Crossface. he locked it on hard. Cole excitedly asked if Michaels could pull it off. Jericho managed to snap Michaels into the ropes throat-first to escape. He pounded on Michaels. The ref pushed Jericho back so he could check on Michaels's condition. Michaels pleaded with the ref to let him fight. Jericho showed more restraint in going after Michaels. The ref again pushed him back. The camera zoomed in and Michaels's right eye looked odd. Jericho took Michaels to the mat and pounded away at his face repeatedly. The ref dove onto Jericho and called off the match. Some fans booed, others were silent with shock or concern. It was a very bloody scene, with Jericho covered in Michaels's blood.

WINNER: Jericho in 19:00.

STAR RATING: ***3/4 -- It was a really good standard match up until the cut, and then it was a very dramatic scene perfectly played out until the blood stoppage. There were so many little things and big things they did well in this match; the attention to detail was excellent throughout.

-Afterward, several officials and medics came to check on Michaels. Cade and Jericho watched from afar on the stage. Jericho had a mixed mood of celebration and seeming genuine concern. Lawler talked solemnly and softly as if he were just talking to Cole and not the viewers, speculating about a potential detached retina or broken orbital bone. Michaels crawled out of the ring with help. Lawler said this is certainly not the way Michaels expected to be leaving the ring. They went to shots of individual fans buying into the scene as something off-script. Lawler said it showed questionable judgment of Michaels to even take the match if he wasn't 100 percent.

-A Summerslam commercial aired, with a Summer Blockbuster Movie theme of mystery, adventure, and romance.

-Ross and Foley were shown at ringside discussing the Michaels situation. Then Ross threw to Edge asking him how he feels. Edge said Triple H crossed lines you don't cross in this business. He said: "What kind of a pervert puts a camera in another man's hotel room. You took away my personal life. It's gone. I only have a professional life yet." He said it's okay because he's made him desperate. He said when he's desperate, he's even more dangerous. He said he ruined his life, so he'll ruin his in return. He vowed to take what is most precious to him - the WWE Championship. Ross said Edge's eyes almost conveyed that he was deranged.

5 -- NATALYA vs. MICHELLE MCCOOL -- Divas Championship

Ross noted this is the first time there are two women's titles in WWE. Natalya dominated and applied a Sharpshooter at 3:00. McCool reached the bottom rope. McCool countered Natalya into a heel hook submission, which she may have learned from Undertaker, for a tapout win. Cherry and Eve celebrated with McCool in the ring.

WINNER: McCool in 5:00 to win the Divas Title.

STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Fine for a short match.

-Jericho cut the celebration short. He stepped out onto the stage and told the fans to save their ticket stubs because this was the night Michaels's career came to an end. He said Michaels suffered a detatched retina and it shows that sometimes the good guys do win and the wicked are punished. He said Michaels can take comfort in one thing: "For him, the worst has finally come."

-A Ric Flair DVD commercial aired.

-A split screen showed Punk and Batista warming up backstage. Then they went to a long video package previewing the match.

6 -- C.M. PUNK vs. BATISTA

Cole said for the first time in a long time the champion maybe the underdog. Batista powered Punk into the corner after the first lock up. The crowd wasn't sure how to react to the match-up early. There were some chants for Punk, but nothing that gained real momentum. Cole asked Lawler what the champion needs to do. Lawler said use Batista's overconfidence against him. Punk threw some rapid-fire roundhouse kicks. Batista caught Punk and set up a bodyslam, but Punk slipped out. When Punk charged, Batista caught him with an elbow. Batista gave Punk a kick to the face for the first pin attempt at 2:00; Punk kicked out at two. Punk went for a schoolboy out of the corner, but Batista blocked it. Punk kicked Batista, knocking him through the ropes to the floor. Lawler said that was a statement by Punk. Punk slidekicked Batista, sending him into the security wall. Punk then dove at Batista, but Batista turned Punk mid-air into the security wall. Back in the ring Batista reverse whipped Punk into the corner hard. Batista applied a camel clutch. Cole cited Iron Sheik.

At 6:00 Punk punched out of a Batista Bomb attempt. Batista, though, caught a charging Punk and powerslammed him. He then shook the top rope and signalled for the Batista Bomb. He lifted Punk, but Punk grabbed the top rope to block it. He threw knees and kicks to knock Batista off balance. Then he hit a running knee in the corner. Batista shoved Punk off of him as he attempted a bulldog. Punk kicked Batista and made the cover for a believable near fall. Batista blinked a few times as he tried to regain his senses from the roundhouse kick to the side of his head. Punk lifted Batista for a GTS, but Batista escaped and then nailed Punk with a hard clothesline in the corner. He followed with a second clothesline in the opposite corner. Punk applied an armbar submission while hanging over the top rope. The ref forced a break. Punk hit a top rope crossbody block for a near fall at 9:00. He settled into a headlock variation on the mat. Batista tiled Punk back into a pin attempt. Punk kicked Batista. They slapped each other, then Punk hit a spinning backfist. Batista fired back hard with a clothesline off the ropes. Lawler said that may be the turning point in the match. Batista charged in the corner. Punk moved and Batista went shoulder-first into the post. Punk leaped off the ring apron at Batista, but Batista caught him and gave him a spinebuster on the ringside mat. Batista lifted and rolled Punk into the ring. Kane attacked Batista from behind, threw him into the ringpost, and then gave him a big boot. The ref called for hte bell. Kane then entered the ring and gave Punk a chokeslam. Kane gave a big boot to the cameraman at ringside, then left. Lilian announced it as a "double disqualification." It really should have been called a "no contest" as DDQ's are reserved for when the two wrestlers involved cause a mutual DQ, whereas a no contest is when outside interference that doesn't show a bias toward either party ends the match. Punk stood with his belt in hand raised above his head. Batista didn't like that, so he kicked him and gave him a Batista Bomb. The crowd boos. Batista snarled and threw off his elbow pads. Batista left. Punk did get up and glared back at Batista, clutching his belt all along.

WINNER: No contest at 12:00.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- That was really solid until the finish, which was a copout to be sure, but not entirely offensive since it is honestly tough to see how they could have gotten out of Punk vs. Batista with a clean win given the state of both characters at this point. Batista really has come a long way as a worker. What he lacks in grace and youthful athleticism he has made up for with a real obvious effort to be a ring general in other ways. He was not an obvious choice to go with a few years ago coming out of Evolution as someone to build main events around, but other than some terribly clunky Kane matches (which is just bad chemistry in the ring given their styles), he's come through as someone who produces main event quality matches against a variety of opponents.

7 -- JBL vs. JOHN CENA -- Parking Lot Match

In the parking garage, JBL got out of his limo with a tire iron in hand. He went looking for Cena. The ref said nobody had seen him. They do much to escablish he was even alive. JBL stood on a car. It happened tobe opposite a car Cena was in. Cena drove the car into the car JBL was standing on, then got out and choked JBL with jumper cables. Cena clamped jumper cables on JBL's crotch and then touched the other end to a car battery. They zapped and JBL screamed. Cena carried a keg on his shoulder and threw it at JBL, but hit a car windsheild. JBL tried to escape into a car. Cena beat him against the steering wheel, sounding the horn a few times. Cena said he's not going anywhere. JBL made a comeback. There was no commentary and the crowd was pretty quiet for it other than gasp or ohh and ahh here and there. JBL whipped Cena into an open back door, knocking it off its hinges. The fought for several minutes. Cena ended up knocked out in the back of a car. JBL poured gasoline over the car and then threw a lighter on it, despite the ref pleading with him not to. Help came with fire extinguishers. Cena managed to get out of the back of the car. JBL, who had crawled onto a forklift, got wide-eyed and went after Cena. Cena regained control of the fight. He threw JBL into a car and slammed the door. Cena then got on a forklift and revved it up. He rammed the car with the ends of the fork, then got under the car and lifted it. Cena drove the car out of the arena parking lot and into the arena bowl, which the fans cheered. Cole then began calling the match. What is the logic of them not calling the action up until that point? Cena stood on the car and raised his arms in the air. JBL rolled out of the car door. Cena laughed. JBL showed signs of life on the stage as they brawled, but Cena back suplexed him onto the stage. Then he signaled for You Can't See Me and went into the routine at 11:00. He then yelled something, seemingly in Umaga language, then waited for JBL to get to his feet. Then he lifted him for an FU. He smiled and looked over at the car. JBL escpaed and threw Cena into the windshield, which shattered when he landed. Lawler said Cena took too long to execute the FU. JBL covered Cena on the windshield and scored the pin. Cena was shown bleeding from his elbow as he regained consciousness on the windshield. JBL was helped to his feet, also, and aided to the back by two referees. A dejected Cena walked to the back on his own after another minute.

WINNER: JBL in 17:00.

STAR RATING: n/a -- There were some lousy aspects of that, including the ridiculous fire situation (not ridiculous because it wasn't a cool visual, but because it just something that the pro wrestling environment isn't equipped to deal with any more than the attempted vehicular homicide last week on Raw). It wasn't the worst of this kind of match, though, with some successful stunts that could have easily been corny. There was a lot of corny in it, too, though.

-Ross and Foley hyped Summerslam, then talked about the Cena-JBL feud. That probably brought back memories of the Halftime Heat boiler room match between Foley and Undertaker. They revealed text message voting results - 55 percent sympathize more with Edge, 45 more with Vickie. A video package aired on the Edge-Vickie saga.

-Eve interviewed Triple H on his way to the entrance tunnel. She asked if he had any regrets over what he did to the Edge-Vickie relationship. He answered, "Eve, do I look like a guy who regrets anything."

8 -- TRIPLE H vs. EDGE -- WWE Hvt. Title Match

During Edge's ring entrance, Ross said it'll be interesting to see what kind of state of mind he's in. Foley said there were a lot of laughs to go around on Friday, but the consequences were serious. He said Edge has to use those emotions to his advantage against Triple H. Foley said he has no doubt Edge loved Vickie and it devastates him to see his marriage (of less than two hours) crumble, but he has never loved anything more than the World Title. Edge looked emotionally wrecked. Foley said no pun intended, but he appeared to be on the Edge. Triple H iced Edge by not coming out right away, giving him about 15 seconds of silence before his music played. Ross said Edge and Triple H have 43 WWE championships between them. Foley said they are two of the most legendary champions in WWE history. Triple H was aggressive at the start. He took Edge to the floor at 2:00 and whipped him into the security wall. Back at ringside at 4:00 Edge sent a diving Triple H into the security wall. Edge then went on sustained offense. At 6:00 he dropped him over the announce table. Back in the ring he scored a two count. Edge applied a body scissors on the mat. Triple H sidestepped a diving Edge, who flew through the ropes rather than hit a spear. Back in the ring, Edge DDT'd Triple H on the floor. They were both nearly counted down. Edge got up at five and shoved Triple H into the ring. He quickly followed to break the count. Triple H catapulted Edge into the corner, then hit a DDT for a near fall at 13:00. Edge came back and set up a spear at 14:00. Triple H side stepped him and then schoolboyed him for a near fall. Edge gave Hunter a boot to the face immediately afterward to down Triple H. Edge went for a spear, but Hunter turned it into a spinebuster. Hunter set up a Pedigree, but Edge powered Hunter into the corner to break his grip. Edge superplexed Triple H. Both stayed down. The wedding planner ran to the ring with the WWE Title belt in hand. She slipped it to Edge. Vickie Guerrero ran out and delivered a silly looking running clothesline to the wedding planner, Alicia Fox. Vickie entered the ring with belt in hand. Alicia jumped her and they had a wild cat fight. The ref separated them. Edge went for a spear, and he ended up hitting Vickie full force. Edge couldn't believe what happened. Ross called it a stunning turn of events. Triple H gave Edge a Pedigree for the win.

WINNER: Triple H in 18:00.

STAR RATING: *** -- Solid match. Not a great main event. It may have been one angle-reliant finish too many for the big matches on this PPV show, although this match needed it, too, as this match was never about Triple H and Edge as much as it was about the Edge-Vickie situation, with Triple H as a side player - a letdown in and of itself for what could have been a dream match of sorts from WWE's two main event wrestlers who had avoided crossing paths for so long.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.

-For another perspective on this PPV, be sure to check out James Caldwell's report on the PWTorch Main Listing. VIP members, check out the PWTorch VIP Audio Show section after the event for the post-show roundtable discussion with Wade Keller, Bruce Mitchell, and Pat McNeill.

-Also, be sure to check out Jason Powell's www.ProWrestling.NET, the fastest growing website of 2008 and already one of the few go-to primary insider news sources on the Internet with as many news updates each day as you'll probably find anywhere.

-Also, for coverage of last night's two big MMA shows (Affliction's PPV with tons of big MMA names, plus UFC's special Spike TV event with Anderson Silva), check out our sister site, www.MMATorch.com.


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