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WWE Great American Bash July 22, 2007
by Samoa Rowe

-The “uncrowned champion” Bobby Lashley steps up to the plate and challenges the dominating WWE Champion, John Cena, for the gold.

-The usually good video package includes a shot of Khali holding the World Championship over his head, upside down. Khali can’t even pose with the belt properly and they expect him to carry Smackdown?

-They are airing live from San Jose, California. The building looks packed. Our hosts for the evening are JBL and Michael Cole for Smackdown, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, and Joey Styles and Tazz for ECW.

United States Championship:
Montel Vontavious Porter (c) vs. Matt Hardy

They lock up after some show-boating by MVP. Hardy gets the clean break in the corner. MVP starts a shoving match, as Hardy armdrags MVP, sending him to the floor to regain his head. MVP returns and goes for the waistlock, which Hardy reverses into work on the wrist. Takedown by Hardy transitions into a hammerlock, which MVP reverses into a wristlock. Hardy tries flipping out, but MVP keeps the hold. MVP transitions into a hammerlock, and Hardy escapes by sending MVP flying through the ropes. Hardy slingshots over the ropes onto MVP. Hardy rolls MVP into a cover. Elbow take down and an elbow drop by Hardy for another cover. MVP returns with a hip toss for a cover and then chokes Hardy with his own arms. Hardy fights out and head butts MVP while in a test of strength. Flurry of forearm shots by Hardy and then a suplex for a cover. MVP retreats to the floor again, but Hardy pursues and tosses him back to the ring. MVP reverses an Irish whip into the corner, but Hardy goes high risk. MVP knocks Hardy off the top and goes for the cover. Hardy hit the mat in brutal fashion, so MVP capitalizes by attacking the head, applying the drop toe hold and a running kick to the temple. Hardy gets his foot on the rope, saving him from the cover. MVP sets Hardy up for a rest hold, but decorates it by elbowing Hardy in the head. MVP strikes the head of Matt Hardy again, as he breaks the hold. Hardy fires back with shots of his own, but MVP gets him on his shoulders. Matt fights it, but gets dropped face first on the mat. Hardy takes down MVP and goes high risk, slipping on the ropes while selling the head injury. MVP chases Hardy to the top and connects with the superplex! It takes MVP too long to go for the cover, so Hardy kicks out. MVP plants Hardy on the top again, positioning for a back superplex. Hardy counters the attack in mid-air, gets the cover, but MVP barely kicks out! Neat! They exchange shots, with Hardy coming out on top. Bulldog is blocked by MVP, but Hardy ends up hitting a bulldog off the second rope for a very close cover. Hardy connects with the leg drop off the second rope, but MVP barely kicks out again. MVP blocks the twist of fate, Hardy blocks the playmaker, and Hardy hits the side effect! MVP barely kicks out again! MVP blocks the twist of fate and rolls up Hardy, hooking the leg, for a close fall. Small package by Hardy gets 2. Hard clothesline by MVP. MVP misses the big boot, Hardy gets another hearbreakingly close near fall. MVP counters the twist of fate again and hits the big boot. MVP finally hits the playmaker and pins Hardy to retain the title at 12:54. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the two best reasons to watch Smackdown. ***.
Winner and still United States Champion: Montel Vontavious Porter

-Backstage, Todd Grisham is standing by with Dusty Rhodes, who is facing Randy Orton in a Texas bull-rope match. Dusty feels that the entire WWE locker room has respect, except for Orton, so he’s going to have to teach him. Dusty then does his best impression of a cow, apparently intended to mock Orton.

Cruiserweight Championship:
Chavo Guerrero (c) vs. Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Shannon Moore vs. Funaki vs. Jamie Noble

This is another invitational match. These matches are designed for a surprise entrant to show up and take the title. That’s how Chavo won the belt he’s defending, and that’s how former champion Gregory Helms did it too. Hornswoggle runs in at the beginning of the match and causes a distraction. The bell rings and everyone attacks Chavo at once, throwing him over the ropes. Moore takes on Yang as Noble attacks Funaki. Funaki takes down Noble, and gets blindsided by Moore. Yang hits a head scissors takedown, sending Moore out of the ring. Yang counters a suplex from Noble and almost beats him, but Chavo returns with a vengeance. Chavo attacks everyone who comes near him, but gets hit by a flying crossbody from Moore. Funaki hits a flying crossbody on both Chavo and Moore. Snap suplex by Funaki on Moore. Noble returns and gets caught with a kick from Yang. Noble almost wins with a scoop slam on Yang, but Chavo breaks it up. Chavo attempts dominance, but Jimmy Wang Yang mounts a come back. Chavo rolls through and applies the half Boston crab on Yang. Funaki breaks it up with an enziguri. Moore hits Funaki’s skull into the turnbuckles with disgusting force. Noble gets caught in the slam by Moore, who doesn’t look like a jobber in this match. Funaki knocks Moore to the floor and goes for the DDT on Noble off the top. Noble counters into a suplex into an armbar. Moore returns and breaks it up. Funaki hits the enziguri on Moore, but Chavo breaks up the cover. Chavo hits the Gory bomb on Funaki, but Yang breaks up the cover. Chavo hits the two vertical suplexes on Yang, but the third is broken up. Yang hits a moonsault off the top onto Chavo, but Noble breaks the cover. Noble ducks a spin kick from Yang and improvises into a suicide dive to the floor onto Funaki. Yang unloads Moore onto Funaki and Noble, still on the floor! Yang goes high risk, but Chavo climbs up for the superplex. Noble catches Chavo and hits the power bomb as Chavo suplexes Yang! Hornswoggle then returns and hits a frog splash on Noble and pins him for the championship at 6:58! What the hell! So for the third time in a row, the Cruiserweight title changes hands in an invitational match to a surprise entrant. Luckily, this match was very good, as the cruiserweights were allowed to have a nice spot-fest and look good for a change, **1/2.
Winner and new Cruiserweight Champion: Hornswoggle

-After the match, Hornswoggle runs for safety. Chavo is beside himself for losing the belt and Noble looks embarrassed for losing to a leprechaun.

-Hype video for Triple H’s return. Yawn.

-Bobby Lashley gets his own video package, looking back at all of his amateur wrestling accomplishments, as well as his history within the WWE. The package does an adequate job of making Lashley look credible for his big main event tonight. It’s sad, I had already forgotten that Lashley was the first to break the master lock of Chris Masters.

Singapore Cane on a Pole match:
The Sandman vs. Carlito

Wow, this match would have been right at home at one of the horrible Great American Bash pay-per-views that WCW produced in the early 90’s. Of course, WWE doesn’t have a very good track record of producing quality Great American Bash shows themselves, so it fits in here as well. Sandman is eager to get a shot at Carlito and attacks him before the bell can even ring. They tie up briefly before Carlito tries darting up the pole. Sandman brings his brawling offense, and throws in a hammerlock for the sake of fun. Look at that Sandman, finally learning how to work WWE style. Sandman goes for the pole, but Carlito pulls him off and brings his OVW offense. Sandman dumps Carlito over the ropes to the floor and goes back to the pole. Carlito catches up and knocks Sandman down to the mat. Stomping by Carlito, and lots of it. Carlito tries climbing the pole, but Sandman cuts him off, violently whipping him into the turnbuckle. Big drop kick by Carlito. Sandman grabs Carlito by the boot in an attempt to stop him from climbing and as a result is forced to eat more stomps. Suplex by Carlito, and more stomping! Carlito attempts the might climb again, but is prevented by Sandman, which Carlito answers with more, you guessed it, stomping! Sandman grabs Carlito by the tights to prevent further climbing and slams him down to the mat. Carlito reverses an Irish whip to the corner and hits a clothesline and a drop kick. Carlito tries to climb again, but Sandman stops him and initiates a brawl. Sandman ducks the springboard back elbow from Carlito and heads back to the pole. Sandman catches the cane! Carlito ducks a swing and hits the backstabber for the victory at 5:31. That was a bullshit finish and the crowd lets them know it. This was probably the best possible match you could expect from these two, *1/2.
Winner: Carlito

-Backstage, Todd Grisham is standing by with Randy Orton. The Legend Killer is very happy to see Dusty Rhodes in such a good mood (the moo gave it away). Orton reminds us that today is Shawn Michaels’ birthday, which even Michaels has forgotten. That was funny. Orton promises that Rhodes will have memory problems after he’s through with kicking his head in. Wow, that’s harsh.

Women’s Championship:
Candice Michelle (c) vs. Melina

J.R. reminds us that Candice is the first former Diva Search contestant to win the Women’s title. Considering who the other contestants have been, I wouldn’t be bragging about that. I might add that Melina is the first Tough Enough competitor to be Women’s champion as well. No one brings that one up, eh? Anyhow, they tie up with Melina getting the takedown. Melina goes to work on the arm, twisting it back in a variation of the hammerlock. The hold is broken and the match restarts. Candice gets the side headlock takedown and works the hold. Melina counters into a head scissors around the neck of Candice. Candice breaks the hold into a counter in a VERY impressive spot. Candice gets the kick to the gut and a snapmare. Candice hits a running blockbuster. Candice hits a fireman’s carry and bridges into a cover. Melina charges and sets Candice up in the turnbuckles for a stomp off the turnbuckles. NICE! Melina then ties Candice up into the ropes, risking disqualification. Melina leaps off the apron, driving the arm of Candice Michelle into the ropes. Melina then slams Candice down, driving Candice’s arms into her own neck. Candice escapes the cover and gets stretched again. Candice fires away with forearms and hits the clothesline. Candice fires away with a drop kick and another big clothesline for the cover. Candice goes high risk and hits the flying crossbody, but Melina kicks out of the cover! Melina hits a neckbreaker, but the cover only gets 2. Candice hits the running clothesline, but misses the heel kick. Melina goes for the sleeper, but Candice counters into a stunner. Candice hits the standing bulldog, which is enough for the victory at 6:22. I was blown away by Candice in this match, she has developed into a very capable in-ring performer. **1/2, though I’m tempted to rate this higher.
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Candice Michelle

-Backstage, Matt and Jeff Hardy are hanging out. Matt tells Jeff he needs to stay focused against Umaga. They are distracted by Candice Michelle, who is here to cool off after her match. Cue the porno music, as Candice spills water all over herself. The Hardy’s reactions are priceless and redeem this segment. I figure with that last match, Candice was looking too much like a real wrestler, so they had to remind us all of her diva-ness. Ron Simmons wanders in and gives the crowd-pleasing “...DAAAAMN!”

Intercontinental Championship:
Umaga (c) vs. Jeff Hardy
Hardy charges with strikes, but Umaga takes him down with a single strike. Umaga knocks Hardy to ringside and pursues, slamming Jeff’s head into the apron. The action spills back to the ring, where Jeff tries to get the upper hand with quick strikes and a sit-down jaw-breaker. Jeff unfortunately runs right into a Samoan drop. Angry strikes and a head butt by Umaga, followed by a leg drop. Umaga dominates Jeff, driving him into the ring corner a couple of times. Umaga locks a claw on Jeff’s shoulder. Jeff fights out, but Umaga reapplies the hold. Jeff fights out again, but Umaga is determined to keep using the claw. Umaga finally breaks the hold, as Jeff falls onto his back. And I was wrong, Umaga goes back to the claw. If that was anyone other than Jeff Hardy in this match, the crowd would be booing this shit. Jeff elbows to freedom and goes for a power slam, but falls under the weight of Umaga, putting himself into a pinning predicament. Umaga drags Jeff to the ropes and uses them to launch his ass onto the fallen Hardy boy. Umaga attempts this a third time, and Jeff gets his knees up to block. Jeff goes for the flying crossbody, but Umaga catches him for the black hole slam. Umaga goes for the cover, but Jeff kicks out! Umaga misses his second rope head-butt. Quick strikes by Jeff, including a mule kick and a DDT. Umaga charges, and Jeff pulls on the ropes, sending Umaga crashing to the floor. Jeff hits the base ball slide and sling shots himself over the ropes onto Umaga on the floor! The action returns to the ring, Jeff goes for the sunset flip, but has to dodge as Umaga drops ass first to the mat. Jeff hits the drop kick to the sitting Umaga and gets a painfully close near fall. Umaga pummels Jeff into the corner, but misses his running ass shot. Jeff hits the whisper of the wind, into another close fall. Umaga blocks a whip and sends Jeff to the corner. Umaga charges, but Jeff moves out of the way. Jeff hits the swanton bomb perfectly! Jeff gets a heart-breaking near fall. Umaga blocks the twist of fate and hits a stiff kick to the face. Umaga follows up with the ass shot in the corner and the Samoan spike, then pinning Jeff to retain the title at 11:20. See how much better these matches are when Jeff is allowed to look strong and not just be squashed? ***1/4, this was a tremendous underdog performance by Jeff.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Umaga

-It’s John Cena’s turn for a video package. Like with Lashley’s package, they play clips of Cena’s debut (hey, it’s a Kurt Angle appearance). This includes clips of Cena dominating Angle, but not losing. That was a nice touch.

ECW World Championship:
John Morrison (c) vs. CM Punk

Morrison needs better music than this generic rock riff they’ve given him. Right now he looks like a Heat jobber who happened to win the ECW title. CM Punk comes out to a nice ovation from the crowd, which contradicts the haters who say he isn’t over. They tie up with Morrison getting the waistlock, but Punk reverses it. They chain wrestle, with Punk getting a hammerlock. Headlock by Morrison is broken up by Punk, who then suffers a shoulder block. Punk trips Morrison and applies the side headlock. Morrison drags Morrison to free himself, but Punk hits a rope assisted suplex for a cover for 2. Drop kick to the head by Punk for another count of 2. Punk reverses the Irish whip and hits a hard monkey flip! Morrison retreats to ringside, as he’s been taken off his game. Punk tries leading Morrison back to the ring, but Morrison trips him on the steel steps. Morrison shoves Punk into the ring apron. Back in the ring, Morrison gets a cover for 1. Morrison hits some nice roundhouse kicks, but Punk goes for the Go 2 Sleep, but Morrison escapes. The champ drops the leg and gets another cover for 2. Morrison applies the grapevine body scissors. Punk elbows his way to freedom, but Morrison halts the momentum with a sloppy face buster. Morrison goes for the cover, but once again gets 2. Morrison plants Punk on the turnbuckle for a superplex, but Punk throws Morrison off into a face buster. Punk hits the flying crossbody, but can’t get up fast enough for the win. Both men get up and Punk blocks a punch and connects with kicks and a round house strike. Punk goes nuts and almost gets the victory with a cover. Morrison gets his own roll-up and grabs the ropes, but the ref spots it. Punk rolls up again, and hits a shining wizard! Punk goes for the cover, but only gets 2 again. Punk hits a hard knee strike to the head of Morrison, who then retreats to ringside. Punk chases Morrison, and tosses him back into the ring. Punk sling shots off the ropes, but Morrison catches him with a strike in mid-air. Morrison then pins Punk for the victory at 7:50. I would have rather seen the bullshit count-out finish then that finish. The lack of extreme rules is another pet-peeve, but the ECW title never seemed more mid-card than it did here, **1/2.
Winner and still ECW World Champion: John Morrison

Texas Bull Rope match:
Dusty Rhodes vs. Randy Orton

Heavy stalling by Randy Orton before the belle rings. Orton is very reluctant to tie the bull rope around his wrist. The bell rings and Dusty looks absolutely delighted. Orton tries stomping on the rope, but Dusty pulls it, sending Orton crashing onto his back like a jackass. Orton grabs the bell and misses a shot. Dusty connects with bionic elbow shots. Dusty positions the rope between Orton’s legs and pulls, causing Orton to somersault onto his back. Watching Orton take this punishment is fun. Orton escapes to ringside, but Dusty pulls on the rope, forcing Orton’s skull into the ring post. Dusty takes the bell and swings, but Orton ducks, with the bell hitting the post to a fun noise. Dusty decides to use his elbow instead of the bell, and lays out Orton in the entrance aisle. The action spills back into the ring, where Orton uses the bell to take out Dusty’s knee. Orton flashes a goofy evil heel facial expression and continues his disgusting attack. Orton follows up with the dramatic chinlock. Orton improves on his chinlock by wrapping the rope around Dusty’s face. Dusty shows signs of life, but Orton applies the hold more tightly. They reach the point in the rest hold where the babyface comes back regardless of what the heel does, with Dusty backing Orton into the ring corner. Orton keeps control, hitting several strikes and stomps. Dusty hits some jabs and the bionic elbow. Dusty misses the elbow drop. Orton takes the bell and knocks it over Dusty’s skull. Orton goes for the cover and wins at 5:40 in anticlimactic fashion. This was much more entertaining than I would have expected, but Orton succeed in killing it with the chinlock, *3/4.
Winner: Randy Orton

-After the match, Orton quickly removes the bull rope. He goes for his trademark kick to the temple, but Cody Rhodes blocks it. Cody takes the bell, as Orton circles like a shark. Orton decides to fight another day and backs his way up the entrance ramp.

World Heavyweight Championship:
The Great Khali (c) vs. Batista vs. Kane

Great, this should be a real pleasure to recap. “This will be monkey-butt ugly” claims JBL. I imagine he’s going to be correct. Khali makes his entrance and poses with the belt upside down again. I cannot believe how badly he sucks. Every time I think he’s getting better, he proves me wrong again. The bell rings and both Kane and Batista jump Khali, who clotheslines both of them. Khali shoves Batista into the corner and stomps a mud hole in him. Khali casually knocks Kane off of him and hits an ugly clothesline. Khali hits another ugly clothesline on Batista, but Batista gets back up and hits some desperate strikes. Batista runs into a high kick from Khali, who turns around in time to tap Kane out. Khali applies the claw on Batista’s shoulder. Why do I think the next ten minutes will consist of mainly this? Thankfully, the move is broken by Kane, but Khali applies the claw hold on Kane as well. Batista breaks it up, but Khali shoves him away and hits the chokeslam. Khali grabs Kane and chokeslams him as well. Both Kane and Batista retreat to ringside, leaving Khali to soak in some positive heel heat (for once). Khali tears apart the announce table, giving Kane a chance. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Khali shoves him off. Batista attempts the Batista bomb, but Khali counters that too. Kane connects with a shot on Khali, as Batista joins him in trading shots on the giant. They whip Khali’s skull into the ring step and the two of them team up to put Khali through the table! Hurray! With Khali out for the time being, they focus on each other, as Kane drags Batista into the ring and hits a side slam for a cover. Batista kicks out, but Kane looks confident. Batista fights back, and hits a scoop slam for a cover. Batista plants Kane on the top turnbuckle, but Kane knocks him down during the superplex attempt. Kane hits the flying clothesline. Kane signals the chokeslam, but Khali returns and chokeslams Kane instead. Batista breaks up the cover. Batista tosses Kane to ringside, and pushes the red monster into the ring post. Batista catches Khali by the ropes and drops his neck. Khali shakes it off and hits the big boot on Batista. Batista hits the spinebuster on Khali, goes for the cover, but Kane breaks it up. Kane charges Batista, who dodges, forcing Kane into the post. Kane blocks the Batista bomb with a back body drop, and chokeslams Batista. Kane goes for the cover, but Batista kicks out at the last second. Kane grabs a chair out of frustration, but Batista hits the spinebuster. Batista hits the Batista bomb on Kane, but Khali pulls Batista out of the ring. Khali sends Batista crashing into the steel steps. Khali grabs Kane and hits the double choke slam and pins Kane to retain the title at 10:01. It’s amazing how much work has to go into making a Khali match watchable, but they pulled it off this time. The violence and big bumps, along with some smart booking, went a long way here, so a ** rating is in order.
Winner and still the World Heavyweight Champion: The Great Khali

-Another Triple H hype video plays, so I take a quick bathroom break.

-King Booker and Queen Sharmell come out to the ring to address the fans. Something seems odd about a pay-per-view where King Booker didn’t get a match, but Shannon Moore did. Booker is upset that Triple H is still using the “King of Kings” name even though Booker apparently sent him a letter telling him to stop. Booker claims to be the only king in the WWE. Booker turns his attention to “Jerome” Lawler, who is sitting at commentary. Booker wants Lawler to turn his crown over to him. Lawler refuses and gets some words in, which drives Booker and Sharmell from the arena, angry.

WWE Championship:
John Cena (c) vs. Bobby Lashley

Cena has a lot of supporters in this crowd, as well as some haters. The bell rings and they take their time locking up. Lashley backs Cena into the corner and they have a clean break. They have the test of strength with Lashley overpowering Cena down to one knee, but Cena manages to power back into the contest. Lashley shoves Cena off into the turnbuckle and gets a waistlock takedown and aggressively takes him down into a pinning predicament by the head. Lashley gets Cena into the ropes, forcing a break, with Cena getting taken down. Cena gets the drop toe hold, but Lashley escapes before the STFU can be applied. Lashley circles the ring, sizing Cena up. Back in the ring, Cena elbows out of a waistlock, but gets hit by a shoulder block. Lashley foolishly goes for the cover, which has Cena immediately getting into the ropes. Cena hits the bulldog and the scoop slam into an elbow drop. Cena goes for the cover, but it’s only a 1. Lashley reverses the Irish whip but gets caught in a fisherman suplex. Cena goes for the cover, but Lashley kicks out quickly. Lashley hits the hard Irish whip, but runs into Cena’s boot. Lashley recovers with a suplex for a cover, which gets 2. Lashley grabs Cena and drives his knee into the abdomen. Lashley hits shoulder thrusts into Cena’s gut into the corner. Lashley hits a nice sidewalk slam and gets another 2 in a cover. Hard Irish whip by Lashley, and then a stalling suplex! Lashley goes for the cover, but it’s only 2 again. Cena comes back with the blockbuster. Cena goes high risk and hits a great leg drop onto Lashley’s head!

Cena delays going for the cover (due to selling, of course) and only gets 2 on the cover. Lashley drives his shoulder into Cena’s abdomen with a press slam and locks on the rear naked choke. Cena rolls out of the hold, but Lashley improvises into a chinlock. Cena breaks the hold, but Lashley strikes the back. Cena explodes with his modified slam (J.R. has yet to name it). Cena hits his trademark slam again and reminds Lashley that he can’t see him. Five knuckle shuffle by Cena, who then goes for the F-U. Lashley escapes and power slams Cena into a close near fall. Lashley hits a running shoulder thrust into the corner and a running clothesline into the opposite corner. Lashley places Cena in the torture rack and drops down to his knees, sending Cena to the mat hard. Lashley plays to the crowd to mostly boos. Cena counters another slam and hits the F-U! Cena takes too much time crawling into the cover so he only gets 2.99999! Lashley comes back with a clothesline and signals the finish. Cena dodges the spear with a drop toe hold and applies the STFU! It takes several seconds, but Lashley finally gets to the ropes. Cena is tired as well and gets caught by a surprise spear from Lashley, who makes a cover and gets the 2.99999! Lashley plays the shoulder thrust game again and plants Cena on the turnbuckles. Lashley climbs up, but this is a mistake. Cena hits the F-U from off the top rope! Cena makes the cover and pins Lashley to retain the title at 15:02! That was an awesome finish to a very good power contest. Cena and Lashley stepped up and proved that they could carry the main event together, ***1/2.
Winner and still WWE Champion: John Cena

-After the match, Cena and Lashley share a handshake. It seemed more forced than the sincere handshakes you see on almost every ROH show.

Final Thoughts: This card didn’t look like much on paper, but it turned out to be enjoyable enough. There isn’t a lot here that I would probably hunt down to watch again, but it was worth watching once. The main event delivered, and the triple threat match for the World title exceeded my (low) expectations. The main purpose of this show seemed to be really be putting over Cena and Lashley as the stars of a new generation, and that worked. It’s a shame that Lashley had to go on the shelf almost immediately. The WWE should also feel lucky that they have Matt and Jeff Hardy there to provide the work-rate in the mid-card. Both of them are long overdue for main event shots.

Mild Recommendation for the Great American Bash

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