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WWE Great American Bash - July 20, 2008
by SamoaRowe

-They are airing live from Long Island, New York. Our hosts for the evening are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Jim Ross and Mick Foley for Smackdown, and Mike Adamle and Tazz for ECW.

WWE Tag Team Championship:
John Morrison and The Miz © vs. Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder vs. Jesse and Festus vs. Finlay and Hornswoggle

Festus clears the ring as the bell sounds. Miz and Morrison dish Hornswoggle into the path of Festus. Hornswoggle rolls up his sleeves for a fight, which is just simply adorable. Festus is distracted, and Hornswoggle launches himself to the floor on the champs. Festus gets his hands on The Miz and dominates him, making a quick tag to Jesse. Monkey flip by Jesse is followed up with a Neckbreaker variation. The Miz kicks out of a cover, but Festus gets a tag and continues the hard hitting assault. There’s an audible “We want Finlay” chant in the building, and the crowd gets their wish, unfortunately Finlay is immediately dropped. Morrison tags and isolates Finlay, keeping things fresh with The Miz. Finlay escapes a hold, but Miz immediately hit’s a side Russian takedown. Morrison tags and catapults onto a propped Finlay. Morrison works a headlock. Finlay fights to his feet, but eats a Neckbreaker. Finlay mounts a comeback against the champions. Zach Ryder gets a blind tag and aggressively jumps Finlay. Hawkins gets a tag and dishes out a beating before tagging his partner back. Finlay hit’s the Celtic Cross on Ryder, but Hawkins prevents a pinfall. Finlay gets a blind shillelagh shot. The Edgeheads rebound and put Finlay in a chinlock. Hornswoggle tags and takes down Ryder with a hurracanrana. Jesse gets a blind tag (to some heat) and cleans house on Ryder. Festus gets a tag and dishes out the punishment onto Ryder, and takes a moment to kick Hawkins off the turnbuckle. Festus fights off Miz and Morrison. Hawkins prevents Jesse and Festus’s double team, and Hawkins and Ryder pick up the win at 9:06. The match was standard, but this was a pretty lousy way to end Miz and Morrison’s lengthy title run, **.
Winners and new WWE Tag Team Champions: Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder

United States Championship:
Matt Hardy © vs. Shelton Benjamin

This is playing off a recent television match, where Benjamin picked up a win over Hardy. They struggle for dominance in the early going, exchanging holds. Benjamin quickly targets the head, but ruins into a hip toss and a deep arm drag from the Sensei of Mattitude. Hardy works the arm, but it leads to a rope break. They have a blocking game briefly. Hardy is tossed over the ropes and skins the cat, but Benjamin kicks him to the mat. Benjamin blocks Hardy from getting back into the ring and directs his skull into the ring post. Cover by Benjamin gets 2. Back suplex by Benjamin gets another two count. Benjamin works what J.R. describes as a “sitting abdominal stretch.” There is a dueling chant from the crowd, which is neat to see in this environment. I’m going to cite this match the next time someone tells me that Benjamin continually loses his pushes due to not getting over. Hardy fights out of the hold and hit’s a nice modified slam. Hardy counters Benjamin’s slam and gets a near fall. Benjamin blocks Hardy and applies a rather cool rest hold, centering his knee into Hardy’s spine. The dueling chant is back, which is making this match much more enjoyable than it might normally have been. Benjamin hit’s an explosive spin kick but Hardy counters his Stinger splash attempt. Bulldog by Hardy gets a cover for 2. Hardy plants Benjamin for his flying leg drop and it connects! Cover by Hardy gets a 2.9. Hardy dives off the top, but Benjamin catches him in midair and power bombs him into the turnbuckle! Hardy rebounds with the side effect, earning another near fall. Benjamin blocks the Twist of Fate and plants him on the top ropes. Hardy elbows Benjamin off the top and attempts a moonsault. Hardy missed the landing, but Benjamin managed to make it look like a block. Benjamin plants Hardy and pins him for the win and the title at 9:36. This was really heating up when it abruptly ended, the crowd was also electric for this one, **½.
Winner and new United States Champion: Shelton Benjamin

-Cole and Lawler discuss the upcoming CM Punk/Batista title match. They recap an interview with Punk from Monday, when Grisham asks him about the doubt in the fans’ minds that Punk can hold on to the title against Batista. Punk discusses that people have always doubted him, he was never supposed to make it to the WWE, win titles, make it to Raw, and then become the World Champion. Punk is in the business of proving everyone wrong.

ECW Championship:
Mark Henry © (with Tony Atlas) vs. Tommy Dreamer (with Colin Delaney)

There’s actually an “ECW” chant from the crowd as the match begins. Well, this is Long Island, I guess. A “Tommy Dreamer” chant can also be heard in the early going, as Henry easily throws Dreamer across the ring. Dreamer mounts some offense, but Henry brushes Dreamer off him with little effort. Henry proceeds to methodically dismantle Dreamer. During this time, the crowd turns on the match, as the dreaded “boring” chant breaks out. Finally, Henry misses a splash (which Adamle mistakes for the World’s Strongest Slam) and Dreamer manages to dish out some token offense. Dreamer hit’s a Neckbreaker and gets a cover for 2. Dreamer dishes out a DDT, but is distracted by Atlas at ringside. Dreamer goes high risk, but he’s blocked by… COLIN DELANEY?!? Henry uses this to his advantage and picks up the win at 5:31. This was boring, but the Delaney heel turn was nifty, ½*.
Winner and still ECW Champion: Mark Henry

Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
After a lengthy stare down, they tie up, with Jericho quickly turning to brawling tactics. HBK speeds things up and dishes out a knife edge chop. Jericho reverses a hard Irish whip, but runs into HBK’s boot. HBK tackles the back of Jericho’s knee and goes right for a figure four variation. HBK is already selling his ribs, by the way, which the announcers are really selling as a focal point of the match. The hold is broken, and Jericho uses the corner to shield himself from HBK’s clubbing blows. Jericho whips HBK into the turnbuckle and drop-kicks him to the floor. Both men are already selling heavily, but it works so far as they are trying to injure one another. Jericho is in firm control now, attacking HBK at ringside and directing traffic back to the ring. Jericho is targeting HBK’s midsection, psychology FTW!!~ HBK fights out of a stretch and slugs things out with Jericho before eating an enziguri. Jericho dishes out some slams and goes high risk. HBK counters with an atomic drop. HBK hurts himself doing the kip up, and finds himself trapped in the Walls of Jericho. HBK is trapped in the Walls for a superhuman amount of time before finally getting a rope break. Jericho argues with the ref and blocks a surprise Sweet Chin Music attempt. Jericho hit’s a hard Irish whip, but HBK blocks a bulldog with a hard shot to the face. Cover by Michaels gets 2. HBK goes high risk, but Jericho shakes the ropes. HBK blocks Jericho’s superplex attempts and kicks him to the mat hard. HBK connects with the flying elbow drop! HBK signals Sweet Chin Music, but Lance Cade runs in and makes the distraction. HBK blocks the Code Breaker and gets a near fall. HBK dumps Jericho out of the ring, right onto Cade. HBK hit’s a moonsault off the top onto both Cade and Jericho at ringside! HBK’s injured eye is busted open by a wild elbow shot from Jericho. The action returns to the ring, where Jericho is now directly targeting the bloodied eye. HBK is in a daze and misses his swings. Jericho smells blood and continues the aggressive assault to the eyes. Cade even gets a cheap shot in, proving he’s not completely worthless. Jericho gets cocky and finds himself victim to a surprise Crossface from Michaels. Jericho fights to his feet and drops HBK head first into the bottom rope. HBK begs the referee not to stop the match due to his blood loss, but doesn’t seem to stand a chance against Jericho’s flurries of assault. Jericho wraps himself around HBK, choking him with his own arm. The referee pulls Jericho off and calls for the bell at 18:18. That beating at the end went way too long, but this was a good story match up until the last eight minutes or so, **¾.
Winner: Chris Jericho

Divas Championship:
Michelle McCool vs. Natalya Neidhart

This match is for the “honor” of being the first Divas Champion. Michelle takes control in the early going, since she’s the baby face and all. Natalya bounces Michelle off of her, but Michelle lands on her feet and is kicking. Natalya hangs up Michelle on the ropes. Natalya wraps up Michelle in a surfboard arch stretch! That’s the coolest spot of this entire show thus far. Michelle fights out and reverses into a heel hook. Natalya stretches Michelle against the ring post and makes good use of the five count. Cover by Natalya gets 2. Natalya applies the sharp shooter and this could be over! Michelle gets the rope break, which only angers Natalya. Michelle counters a second sharp shooter with the heel hook. Natalya holds out for a bit, but taps at 4:43. Not bad at all, *¾.
Winner and the first Divas Champion: Michelle McCool

-Eve and Cherry come out to celebrate with Michelle, but they are cut off by Chris Jericho on the stage. Jericho has some important news. He wants everyone to take their ticket stubs and preserve them, because they are from the night that HBK had his last match. Apparently, Michaels has been diagnosed with a detached retina, and that means he’s finished. Bryan Danielson begs to differ. However, Jericho claims this proves that sometimes the good guy wins and the wicked gets theirs. You see, for Shawn Michaels, the worst is over now.

World Heavyweight Championship:
CM Punk © vs. Batista

They lock up and Batista predictably powers Punk into the corner. Punk attempts a headlock, but Batista powers Punk into the ropes. Punk goes for a hammerlock, but Batista knocks him off. Punk lands some kicks to Batista’s legs, and this strategy is working a lot better. Punk runs into Batista’s arms, but blocks the slam. Batista snapmares Punk and kicks him in the face, earning a cover for 2. Punk attempts a school boy, but Batista blocks. Punk hits an enziguri, which sends Batista crashing to the floor. Punk hit’s a baseball slide, sending Batista crashing into the barricade. Punk then connects with a suicide dive to Batista on the floor! Punk directs Batista to the ring, picking up a near fall. Punk gets some shots in, but falls victim to a hard Irish whip. Another hard whip by Batista and then a suplex! Cover by Batista gets 2. Batista applies the camel clutch. Batista breaks the hold willingly and continues to target the lower back of CM Punk. Punk suddenly strikes back at the face and kicks Batista out of the ring. The martial arts kicks continue to be Punk’s best friend, as he continues to weaken the bigger challenger with them. Punk hit’s a cross body off the turnbuckle and gets a quick near fall. Punk jumps Batista in the corner, Batista counters with a Batista Bomb attempt, but Punk counters. Batista finally plants Punk and signals the end. Punk blocks the Bomb with the ropes. Punk hit’s the knee to the face, but Batista blocks the bulldog. Punk hit’s a stiff kick to the head, but still can’t get the pinfall. Punk attempts the Go 2 Sleep, but it’s blocked. Batista corners Punk and uses his strength to wear down the champion. Batista plants Punk on the top, but Punk wraps his legs around Batista and applies an illegal submission. Punk hit’s a springboard clothesline and gets another near fall. Punk locks on the Anaconda Vice! Batista counters with a cover, but gets kicked in the head for his troubles. Batista unleashes a clothesline! Batista mounts a corner assault, but Punk ducks and the Animal hit’s the ring post hard. Punk dives off the apron onto Batista on the floor, but Batista catches him with a spine buster! Batista tosses Punk into the ring, but suddenly Kane runs in, attacking Batista! The referee calls for the bell at 11:05. Kane hits a choke slam on Punk for good measure. Kane is still sporting the “mysterious bag” and seems satisfied with ruining the title match. This was a quality match up until the abrupt nonfinish, ***¼.
No contest due to a double disqualification.

-Punk celebrates with the title, as if he won the match. This angers Batista, who hits the Batista Bomb on Punk. The crowd wasn’t happy with that move at all.

NYC Parking Lot Brawl:
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. John Cena

This is one of those weird matches where most of it is pretaped and the fans who paid to get into the arena have to watch it on a screen, just like the viewers at home. JBL makes his way to the garage first, and is surrounded by parked cars. JBL looks worried, since he tried murdering Cena on Raw by running him over. JBL climbs on top of a red car looking for Cena, when suddenly the car right behind him is on! Cena crashes his car into the car JBL is standing on and begins his physical assault. Cena incorporates the parked cars (and their accessories) as weapons. Cena even steals Kane’s 2003 attack on Shane McMahon, roasting JBL’s nuts with a car battery. JBL finally fights back after trying to escape. JBL whips Cena violently into an open car door! This gives JBL the edge for a while, and the brawl continues around and on top of the cars. Eventually, JBL gets murder in his eyes again, as he fetches a gas can from his limousine. With Cena planted in a car, JBL pours the gas all over the outside. JBL sets the car on fire, so I hope the police are watching the pay-per-view. Firemen storm in and put out the blaze. Cena is pissed now and the brawl is back on. Cena plants JBL inside a car and then fetches a fork lift. Cena crashes the fork lift into the car and then lifts it up. Cena drives the fork lift out to the arena and stands on the car, as if he’s just caught some prey. JBL crawls out, but Cena isn’t finished with him. They brawl up the stage. Cena back drops JBL onto the steel stage and hit’s the five knuckle shuffle. Cena goes for the F-U on the stage, but then reconsiders. Instead, he carries JBL to the edge, but JBL fights back and sends Cena crashing off the stage onto the windshield. JBL crawls onto him for the cover and gets the win at 15:10. This was as ridiculous and over the top as it needed to be. Most of this felt like a movie fight scene, so no rating, but it was fun to watch.
Winner: John Bradshaw Layfield

WWE Championship:
Triple H © vs. Edge

Edge angrily lunges at HHH as the match kicks off. Edge is undoubtedly unhappy with the way that Triple H ruined his wedding to Vickie Guerrero on the last Smackdown. Edge’s emotions get the better of him, as Triple H gains control, smashing him all around the ringside area and back into the ring. Triple H targets the back of Edge’s head. Edge catches his breath at ringside and blocks a charging Triple H, shifting the momentum of the match. Triple H finds himself speared in the corner. Triple H slugs back, but Edge dishes out a hard Irish whip. Edge drags HHH to ringside and sends him crashing into the steel steps. Edge drops Triple H onto the announce table and directs him back to the ring. Edge applies the body scissors. Triple H twists his body around so he can land some shots on Edge and escape the body scissors. Edge rebounds with a drop-kick and gets a cover for almost 2. Edge tries to spear Triple H off the apron, but The Game side steps and Edge hit’s the floor hard. Edge gets back to the ring and they slug it out. Triple H hits his patented face buster and sends Edge back to the floor. Triple H incorporates the steel steps and the ring post to punish Edge. Edge finds some second wind and hit’s the impaler DDT on Triple H on the floor! Edge rolls Triple H into the ring for a cover for 2. Edge goes high risk, but Triple H catches and catapults him into the turnbuckle. Triple H dishes out a DDT and gets a cover for 2. Triple H goes for the Pedigree, but Edge counters, whipping HHH’s skull to the mat. Triple H dodges the spear and gets a roll-up for 2. Edge kicks the face, but is too hurt to immediately follow through. Edge attempts the spear, but runs into a spine buster! Triple H attempts the Pedigree again, but Edge backs him into the corner. Edge plants Triple H on the top rope and hit’s the superplex! Edge’s wedding planner, Alicia Fox, runs in and grabs the WWE title and tries to pass it off to Edge. Vickie Guerrero runs in and clotheslines Alicia, to a face pop! Vickie grabs the WWE title, but Alicia jumps her and a cat fight breaks out! Edge tries to spear Alicia, but misses and blasts his wife, Vickie! Edge is caught off guard with the Pedigree and Triple H picks up the win at 16:46. The match was okay, but there was nothing memorable here, **½.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H

Final thoughts:
The crowd was pretty decent, considering they were in Long Island. Maybe they deserved a better show, as nothing here really stood out. The only two matches that had some momentum going (Batista/Punk and Hardy/Benjamin) both ended abruptly and were ultimately unsatisfying. Also, I question the logic in making Punk celebrate his DQ title retain, as that should be the seeds of a heel turn but the writers are typically so incompetent that I’m not sure. There was only one bad match on the card and lots of little things to like, but there is nothing here worth going out of your way to see.

Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.

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