The Great American Bash; a name once synonymous with the WCW and the NWA all the way back to the days of Jim Crockett, an idea by Dusty Rhodes and the last remnants of Vince McMahon’s opposition, reduced, since 2004, to a B-level WWE pay-per-view that has been forgettable at best.
Running Time: 165mins
- WWE United States Championship Match – MVP © v Matt Hardy
- Todd Grisham Interviews Dusty Rhodes
- Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Champion – Chavo Guerrero © v Jimmy Wang Yang v Funaki v Shannon Moore v Jamie Noble
- Singapore Cane on a Pole Match – Sandman v Carlito
- Todd Grisham Interviews Randy Orton
- WWE Women’s Championship Match – Candice Michelle © v Melina
- Matt Hardy gets Jeff Hardy fired up for his Match
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Umaga © v Jeff Hardy
- ECW Championship Match – John Morrison © v CM Punk
- Texas Bull Rope Match – Dusty Rhodes v Randy Orton
- Triple-Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Title – The Great Khali © v Batista v Kane
- King Booker addresses Triple H and his claim of being the King of Kings
- WWE Championship Match – John Cena © v Bobby Lashley
- Smackdown! 13/07/07 – Edge’s Mardi Gras Celebration
- RAW 02/07/07 – John Cena/Bobby Lashley contract signing
The big question going into last year’s event wasn’t whether WWE could provide a good show, but how badly will they fail in trying… but the show surpassed the low expectations set up by the previous three shambolic events under the WWE banner.
The biggest fear, in most people’s opinion, was whether John Cena could carry Bobby Lashley to a main-event level match in their title headliner. Those fears proved to be unfounded, as both men excelled themselves and provided one of Lashley’s best efforts with the company.
But before we get to that, we have two and half hours of show to work through… and it starts off with an almost flawless 13mins of action between Montel Vontavious Porter and Matt Hardy, as the former puts his recently won United States Title on the line in the first match of what would become the highlight feud of the WWE for the next few months.
The elder Hardy gets a fantastic ovation as he enters the arena, with MVP getting an equally vitriolic response upon his arrival.
I know I’ve repeated myself in all of my PPV reviews, but once again, this match showcases exactly why JBL was the best colour commentator in the business today… and was closing in on becoming the best colour guy in the history of wresting. His performances and ability to put people over regardless of their position on the card or whether they were heels or faces was phenomenal. I seriously believe, had he stuck at announcing, he would have surpassed Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan as the best ever.
The US Title match is a perfect testament to the improvement of MVP and the job Chris Benoit did in making him look a serious competitor. The fact that he gelled so well with Matt Hardy is a bonus.
A lot nice chain-wrestling takes up the first third of the bout, until Matt starts to pick it up with a plancha and then some elbows. MVP recovers and slaps on a nice straight-jacket chinlock to take over the momentum. Being a good heel champion, MVP also uses the old “powder to the outside” to his advantage as well.
All in all, it’s a great contest and a fantastic start to an awesome feud. An interesting fact is that the medical MVP took after this match diagnosed his heart condition (Wollf-Parkinson-White syndrome) and led to the series of challenges that were the highlights of Smackdown over the next few weeks (basketball, football, chess, Matt boxing against Evander Holyfield, MVP in a drinking contest against Steve Austin) and both men becoming the WWE Tag Team Champions.
Up next is The Grish interviewing “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and the “fat man” shows the youngsters how to cut a promo that’s both serious, full of intent and funny.
From there, we cut to the second of seven title matches; the Cruiserweight Open. This match is how you expect it to be, with various leaps and near falls crammed into 6+mins of forgettable action. The only purpose of this match, or so it seems, was to find a way to remove the Cruiserweight Title from television… but it did give us Jamie Noble being hilarious backstage and JBL high-fiving a leprechaun, so it’s not all bad.
The Sandman; ECW Original and, to some, the original beer-swilling anti-authority figure in wrestling. The “Hardcore Icon” was known for his violent matches and vile cane shots to the head and body of many a poor opponent. So why his Singapore Cane on a Pole Match sucks so much is a mystery when it should have been so simple.
Carlito is the heel who deserves a caning, yet has managed to avoid one for the most part and Sandman is the person to give it to him. Yet the bookers, for whatever reason, decided to have a cane match where the cane isn’t used once. Take from that what you will, but at least it doesn’t take too much time to come to a close. The Sandman has never been as neutered as he was in this match. He even does some chain-wrestling for God’s sake. That’s just wrong.
Staying on the subject of Sandman for a second; he must have been the easiest wrestler to book on the WWE roster. Let him come out through the stands to Enter Sandman, drinking beer and busting himself open, whenever you needed someone to have the crap caned out of him. He doesn’t even have to be in many matches, just let him come out every now and again. Don’t even get me started on what they should have been doing with Balls Mahoney.
Randy Orton follows the travesty and cuts a very good heel promo. It has to be said, apart from his “Legend Killer” run in late 2003-early 2004, this was Orton’s greatest period in WWE.
The ladies are up next as Melina tries to take the WWE Women’s Championship from Playboy cover girl (even though she is the ultimate in “Nice body, shame about the face”) Candice Michelle.
Fair play to Candice; she obviously tried damn hard to improve her in-ring skills, and with Melina, puts on a decent Diva singles contest. Given more time, this could have been great, but as it is, it’s still good viewing… but not a patch on what follows.
Jeff is preparing for his match against Umaga and brother Matt comes across for a pep talk. Candice, fresh from her contest against Melina, appears in the same area and gets herself a drink of water. Unfortunately for her, she can’t drink to save her life. She can, however, perform a soft-porn dance to soft-porn music (much to the amusement of Matt and Jeff)… DAMN!!!
Suitably fired up, Jeff now has to try and get a soaking-wet Candice out of his head as he attempts to wrest the Intercontinental Championship from the Samoan Savage; Umaga.
These two always had good matches, and this is no exception. Jeff (pre-main event haircut) suffers early with a Samoan Drop (possibly the best Samoan Drop around) and spends the first few minutes of the contest being slung around and then trapped in a nerve hold by Umaga. The Samoan also lands his awesome version of a spinning side-slam, which is worth repeat viewing all by itself. With the fans solidly behind him, Jeff Hardy manages to get back into things and hits all his of his high-flying arsenal… including the Swanton. It’s the last one that is the turning point of the match though, as Umaga appears to be woken up and lands a superkick, the Samoan Arse and his Samoan Spike in quick succession for the title retaining pinfall.
The finish was perfect, with Umaga being the unstoppable savage to the nth degree.
Umaga deserves an awesome amount of credit for the job he’s been able to do in portraying an 80s gimmick in the late 2000s. The character shouldn’t work in this day and age, but, with the performance and portrayal we’ve been witness to throughout his WWE run, it does. Part of that is down to the booking team and their handling of Umaga, but without the man himself, it would amount to nothing.
A nice little video package is shown after the IC title match to get us in the mood for the main event and remind us how important the WWE Title is to John Cena.
The ECW (not World anymore) Championship is defended next as John Morrison takes on the internet darling, CM Punk.
Morrison was an unusual choice to become the ECW kingpin following the death of Chris Benoit (with everyone assuming Punk would win the belt in the Punk/Nitro match from Vengeance), but he’s come on leaps and bounds in talent and character since that night.
The match isn’t the best of their series, but the crowd are into it, which helps. What doesn’t help is that the finish was botched badly and therefore closes the bout on a downer.
“Head-punting” Randy Orton’s entrance music heralds the second gimmick match of the evening; The Texas Bullrope Match.
Dusty Rhodes is super-over as he makes his way to the ring, cowbell in hand and not a polka-dot in sight. Goldust’s daddy is still as charismatic as ever and has the crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire contest; be it selling a beating or working an ass-kicking. At under six minutes, it doesn’t get a lot of time to tell as story, but Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do an excellent job of filling everyone in on the history of the Bull Rope Match, Dusty Rhodes and the Bash itself before the bout gets underway.
The sound of the bell going elicits a loud pop from the fans, as does Dusty pulling out some tricks with the rope. A couple of Bionic Elbows follow to an awesome reaction, and then Rhodes gives a lesson in psychology by taking his time and using the rope to his advantage.
It can’t last though, and Orton eventually gets the upperhand and gets a massive chorus of boos by smashing the cowbell into the left knee of Dusty over and over again. Rhodes does get a quick comeback, but a cowbell to the head stops him in his tracks… another legend killed.
IT’S MARDI GRAS TIME!!!!
Or it would have been if Edge didn’t get injured. During the Mardi Gras celebration (one of the disc’s extras), Edge tore his pectoral and had to relinquish the title on the following week’s show. That promo was a blinder. Edge gave an emotional address explaining what the title means to him and his disgust at people not caring. A battle royal was held the same night and The Great Khali was crowned the new champion.
This led to the first appearance of Khali and his dancers, but also ruined Kane’s PPV shot at the World Heavyweight Championship as Teddy Long made him face Batista for the #1 contendership. Khali interference caused that match to be a draw, so the Smackdown GM decided to make it a Triple-Threat for the title instead.
The match is as you would expect from the three men involved, but this was a post Wrestlemania 23 Batista, so he carried his end of the bout amazingly well.
Khali dominates for the early going as he decimates both men with ease. The Punjabi Giant hurls both men around and keeps them down with a nerve hold before chokeslamming them both to the mat. This leads to all three men being on the outside and Khali being (kind of) chokeslammed through the ECW announcing table. The big man deserves more credit than he gets for his selling.
With Khali out of it, Batista and Kane pick up where they left off the previous Friday and lay into each other as JBL does his damned best to put everyone and everything over. There are some great spots in this match, with a Kane chokeslam on Khali and a Batista spinebuster on the same man being highlights. The fans are electric for the last few minutes of the match, with big move after big move for the last three or four minutes.
This surpassed what most people expected, and is a great example to show those who say Khali, Batista or Kane can’t have a good match,
HHH’s return at Summerslam is hyped with a video and a King Booker segment. Booker and Sharmell (oh, how the mighty have fallen) are not amused that Trips is still calling himself the King of Kings, and he plans to do something about it. With Triple H unavailable, it’s left to that rapscallion, Jerome Lawler, to face the king’s wrath as King Booker orders him to come into the ring and relinquish his crown at the feet of Booker and Sharmell.
The fans are 100% behind Lawler as he refuses to acquiesce to a “direct command” and leaves King Booker with no choice but to consider that an act of treason. This led to a mini-feud between the two over the weeks leading to Summerslam itself.
It’s main-event time; John Cena defending his championship against a guy who had a ton of potential in Bobby Lashley. In my opinion, it’s a shame that Lashley felt he had to leave the company, as I feel he would have improved and become an asset to Vince and WWE as a whole.
A hype video package does a good job of, um, hyping the match as people like Steve Austin, Batista, Ric Flair, Mick Foley and JBL giving their opinions and insight as to what the match means to both men. These type of “shoot” comments always add credibility to any contest, and this is no exception.
Lashley was coming off his feud with Vince McMahon and had recently been stripped of the ECW Title when he was traded to RAW in 2007’s draft lottery and Cena was in the midst of the longest title run in recent memory, so something had to give.
Considering himself the uncrowned champion, Bobby Lashley was a serious threat to the WWE Title and there was some serious doubt as to whether Cena would come out with the belt still in his possession, so it was interesting to watch from that point of view as well.
The crowd were unbelievably hot between the challenger entering the ring and the first bars of the champions entrance music… and then blew the roof off as 14,000+ erupted as Cena’s theme began. Love him or loathe him, no-one can deny that Cena gets the best reaction of any pro-wrestler since the Attitude Era, making his matches that extra bit special.
One thing I really liked about this match was that it featured two young guys (and babyfaces to boot) in the main event fighting for the biggest prize in the business. It made a refreshing change.
Both men possess speed, agility and power, so it was a very evenly matched contest (and worthy of main-eventing a PPV) that kept the fans on their feet from bell to bell. The bout was fought back and forth, with both Cena and Lashley getting chances to shine and pull out all their signature manoeuvres.
The finishing sequence was awesome; the STFU, as poorly applied as the facelock part appears to be, is an extremely over submission hold, so when Cena locks it in on Bobby Lashley, the fans erupt and leap to their feet. From there, the chanting reaches peak levels as Lashley lands a spear, but is undone by a second-rope FU (the second FU of the night) that rattles the ring.
A great end to a great pay-per-view. WWE had a stellar 2007 when it came to supershows, and this wasn’t an exception.
Two extras on the DVD, but nothing of any real substance. The first one comes from Smackdown and is the Mardi Gras celebration Edge had in honour of his title reign. An interesting fact about the parade is that Paul Burchill is the one dressed as a pirate as an inside joke. Also, Edge deserves a lot of credit for working the rest of the angle with a torn pectoral muscle.
The second is the contract signing between Bobby Lashley and John Cena from RAW. Some words are exchanged before Bobby signs the document, but Cena gets interrupted by King Booker and Mr. Kennedy.
The two faces chase the heels away and Cena gets to sign the contract… and then turn straight into a brutal spear.
As set-ups go, it was a very effective one.
A vast improvement over the previous WWE-bannered GAB events, the 2007 edition continued the great run of PPVs in that year.
With only one duff match on the card (Carlito/Sandman) and a few surprisingly good ones (Kane/Khali/Batista and the women’s match), this event is highly recommended.
Ten matches on the card seemed a bit too much, especially as some of the matches come across as rushed. The Cruiserweight Open is memorable for the fact it was the last time the Cruiserweight title meant anything on WWE programming, which is a shame, and the ECW title match disappointed as both men appeared to have an off night, but the overall quality was pretty high in the rest of the contests.
All in all, this is the first Great American Bash to be worthy of the name since Vince resurrected the event, as as such deserves to be purchased.
Points: 8 / 10