Thursday 16 May 2019

WWE Great American Bash 2008 Review

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series with worse comebacks than The Ultimate Warrior in WCW! The Great American Bash of 2008, the beginning of the PG Era that every fan wines about and claims killed off their interests in wrestling. But all the big stars are here, could it really be as bad as they say from the get-go? Of course not, bad booking and management decisions contributed to the decline of popularity of wrestling not a TV rating, a discussion for another time. We have had a few brand changes, Edge finds himself with a new adversary in The Game Triple H, the two have not fought since the days of Rated RKO vs DX while new World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk who cashed in on Edge finds himself across the ring from The Animal Batista who simply cannot bring home the gold in recent times. However, the most personal match comes in the form of student turning on mentor as Chris Jericho, the man who idolized Shawn Michaels comes to end his career inside of the ring. It’s a stacked card and I am invested 100%, let’ see what The Great American Bash has to offer!

Opening Promo

Edge’s wonderful wedding ruined by Triple H, Edge had an affair with Alicia Fox. With Vicky hating on Edge, the leverage that Edge possessed is well and truly gone. Cena and JBL will meet in a New York City brawl while CM Punk looks to rise to the challenge of The Animal. The Great American Bash set looks very different from the usual American-themed set that they use, keep this in mind as WWE goes HD and the sets begin to look just a little similar.

(WWE Tag Team Championship Match) John Morrison & The Miz © vs Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder vs Jesse & Festus vs Finlay & Hornswoggle

Ok, it was cute the first time Hornswoggle and Finlay attempted to win the championships but a second attempt? They are legitimate contenders for the championships? Come on, the bell rings and Festus is in the ring with Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle dives onto the champions, Miz squares off with Festus. Massive leg drop for two, headbutt from Festus. Toss to the corner, rights and lefts from Festus. Corner splash and tag to Jesse, monkey flip out of the corner. Arm-wringer and Paige-turner for two. Big right hand from Festus, Finlay blind tags into the match. Festus boots Finlay, Miz tags Morrison. Morrison mounts Finlay and takes control, front chancery and uppercut from Morrison.

Double beatdown from champion, elbows and reverse chinlock from Miz. Russian legsweep for two from Miz, tag to Morrison. Forearm and splash onto the knees of Miz, two for the champions. Knees and neckbreaker from Morrison, tag to Miz. Finlay takes down Miz, knee from Miz. Miz tags Morrison, Finlay takes down Morrison. Headbutt from Finlay, Ryder tags in off Morrison. Ryder barely gets a one count, neck crank from Ryder. Tag to Hawkins, Finlay fights out of the corner. More takedowns and right hands before Hawkins ains control. Finlay meets the knee of Ryder, Irish whip by Ryder. Ryder misses a corner splash, rolling firemen’s carry for two.

Shillelagh shot from Finlay, the champions save Ryder. Hawkins gains control on Finlay, reverse chinlock. Irish whip by Hawkins, Hornswoggle tags in off Finlay. Headscissors takedown, Jesse tags in off Hornswoggle. Facebuster and Lou Thesz Press, snap fisherman suplex for two. Jawbreaker from Hawkins, Hawkins decks Hornswoggle. In comes Festus, flapjack on Hawkins. Pump kick on Ryder, shoulder block to Hawkins. Flying splash, Festus hurls Morrison into Miz. Ryder drags Festus out of the ring, Hawkins yanks Jesse off the top rope neck first, we have new tag team champions.

Certainly a hot opening match, the crowd responding big time to Finlay and Hornswoggle, is it me who is wrong? Possibly, for Finlay works the majority of this match against the two heel teams before brief flurries from Hornswoggle attain the loudest cheers from the audience. Sadly, it was over before it began as an abrupt finish leaves me wanting more from this match, Hawkins and Ryder are also not Edgeheads as far as I can tell, they have less heat than when the did and the time to put the championships on them was when Edge was running on all cylinders, not now. However, that is just my thoughts and while it was fun to see Finlay and Hornswoggle be the stars of this match, can we get some real teams into the mix for the championships?

Winners: Hawkins & Ryder Over Everyone Else!

(WWE United States Championship Match) Matt Hardy © vs Shelton Benjamin

While the feud between Matt Hardy and MVP was fun, let’s see what can be done with the championship moving forward, Benjamin has a non-title victory over Hardy. We begin and Benjamin out-wrestles Hardy, side headlock from Benjamin. Hardy nails a hiptoss, arm-drag from Hardy. Push back to the corner, early Pay-Dirt attempt from Benjamin, Benjamin counters a Twist of Fate. Elbows by Hardy, Hardy is sent over the top rope. Hardy wants to skin the cat but Benjamin dropkicks Hardy to the floor. Hardy is drilled into the ringpost from the apron, back suplex from Benjamin for two. Benjamin is wrenching the face and neck of Hardy, Hardy escapes but Benjamin stomps away at Hardy.

Back-breaker from Benjamin, seated-abdominal stretch from Benjamin. Hardy reverses with a Samoan drop like manoeuvre, Hardy counters with a suplex with a crossbody. Two for Hardy, mean right hand from Hardy. In the corner, Benjamin boots Hardy and Benjamin counters a Side Effect for an STO. Another back-breaker with a stretch hold, Dragon Whip from Benjamin. Hardy avoids another kick, clotheslines and bulldog for good measure. Two for Hardy, scoop slam and middle rope leg drop for two. Hardy goes high again, Benjamin counters a hurricanrana for a buckle bomb of epic proportions. The two men trade roll-ups, Side Effect from Hardy for two. Twist of Fate is avoided, forearm to the back from Benjamin.

Benjamin places Hardy on the top rope, super back suplex in mind for the challenger. Hardy battles out of the hold, moonsault is on the menu but Hardy misses the moonsault as Benjamin sticks up his knees. Hardy clutches his head, Benjamin measures the champion. Pay-Dirt and we have a new United States Champion, Shelton Benjamin is back where he belongs, with gold around his waist.

This was a tasty United States Championship match, the two had a great back and forth match with Hardy being solid as always inside of the ring when called upon, Benjamin has his mojo back, the promos might not be there but in terms of natural talent, Benjamin is a freak of nature. Wish the back work played into the finish, maybe Hardy did just overshoot the moonsault and was supposed to hold his ribs or something, maybe but that’s not important now. What is important is that these two had a kick-ass match and I would love to see them given a lot more time.

Winner: Shelton Benjamin over Matt Hardy Via Pay-Dirt!

(ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match) Mark Henry © vs Tommy Dreamer

The champion comes out first, what is this madness? Dreamer comes to the ring with Colin Delaney while Henry has Tony Atlas in his corner. Loud ECW chants, Henry punks out Dreamer to begin the match. Lock-up, Henry shoves down Dreamer with ease, Dreamer tries to tackle Henry but to no avail. Dreamer ducks Henry’s clothesline before a massive clubbing blow takes down Dreamer. Kicks to the ribs from Henry, Henry steps all over Dreamer. Henry chokes and rakes at Dreamer’s face, headbutt from Henry. Neck crank from Henry, Dreamer attempts to fight out but Henry continues to wear down Dreamer. Arm-wringer from Henry, Dreamer battles before a massive axe handle takes down Dreamer.

Dreamer fights back again but Henry brings down Dreamer. Dreamer avoids a splash though, low dropkick from Dreamer. Rights and lefts, Irish whip by Henry. Dreamer elbows Henry, clothesline does not take down Henry. Henry shoves Dreamer to the corner, splash is avoided. Neckbreaker by Dreamer for two, Dreamer DDT. Atlas is on the apron, Delaney chases off Atlas. Dreamer is on the middle rope, Delaney hangs up Dreamer on the top rope, World’s Strongest Slam and Dreamer has been defeated.

I liked this match an awful lot, Dreamer wastes no time in showing Henry is as strong as they come, Dreamer knows he is up against it, Dreamer knows that Henry can kill him in one go and Dreamer’s plan is about surviving the onslaught in the hopes of one shot at Henry. Henry dominates, looks good doing so and Henry’s trash talk is tremendous too with Henry saying “The fans can’t save you”. Brilliant from Henry, Dreamer shows that Henry is the man and you have a feud readymade for Dreamer vs Colin Delaney.

Winner: Mark Henry over Tommy Dreamer Via World’s Strongest Slam!

Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho

Jericho wants to end the career of Michaels, Michaels cost Jericho his championship while Jericho may have cost HBK his career due to his eye injury, Jericho threw Michaels into The Jeritron 3000. Michaels’ words ring out through the arena, “No matter what you accomplish, you will never be me” Chills ladies and gentlemen, Jericho has been rocked to his core with these words, the defiant heel shaken to his foundations, can Jericho cement his legacy?

The two stare one another down, Michaels is unfazed by Jericho but Jericho looks a little tense and a little nervous. Lock-up, right hands and forearms by both men. Shots to the eye, knees to the ribs. Chop from HBK, Irish whip to the corner. Forearms to the side of the head, HBK is holding his ribs constantly. Jericho sends HBK to the corner, boot by Michaels. Chop block, takedown and an attempt and a successful one with a figure four. Stomp in the corner, all directed at the leg. Forearms in the corner from HBK, Jericho is begging for a break, using the referee as a shield. Irish whip to the opposite corner, HBK is reversed and flips over to the apron. Triangle dropkick from Jericho, Michaels crashes to the floor while Jericho sells the leg.

Axe handle from the steps by Y2J, HBK is tossed back in the ring. Big kick to the ribs, Jericho steps on the head of Michaels. Back suplex, slaps from Jericho. Shoulder thrusts in the corner, snapmare into a stretch, focusing on the back of Michaels. Michaels breaks free, elbows from both men. Enzuigiri from Jericho stops HBK’s offence, two for Jericho. Scoop slam by Jericho, Jericho measures Michaels. Middle rope axe handle fails Jericho, inverted atomic drop by Michaels. Flying forearm, kip-up but Michaels holds his ribs. Jericho rolls through on Michaels, Walls of Jericho. Michaels crawls and makes the ropes, Jericho has to break the hold. Massive forearm from Jericho, Jericho whips HBK to the opposite corner. Looking for a bulldog, Michaels counters with a massive clothesline for two.

Michaels climbs to the top rope, Michaels is too slow. Jericho crotches Michaels, Jericho meets Michaels on the top rope. Superplex is blocked, Michaels shoves off Jericho. Massive Elbow Drop from Michaels, Michaels is all fired up looking to end this match. Lance Cade is here, distracting Michaels. Jericho attempts The Codebreaker but Michaels blocks and jacknife covers Jericho for two, roll-up from Jericho for two. They trade forearms once more, HBK hiptosses Jericho onto Cade at ringside. Cade and Jericho stagger to their feet, The Show-Stopper is on the top rope. Top rope moonsault from HBK, Michaels, Jericho elbows Michaels as Michaels re-enters the ring. HBK’s injured eye has been opened up, Michaels blades fantastically as always.

Jericho kicks HBK to stop a back body drop, Jericho’s face says it all. The eye is the target, straight right hands to the eye of Michaels. Closed fists over and over, Michaels is bleeding everywhere, the crimson mask has been donned. Jericho is ruthless in his assault on the eye, Michaels sells the beating like death. Cade gets a boot in too for good measure, Michaels acts like a wounded animal, trying to cover up from the damage. Jericho adds to the punishment with headbutts to the eye, great little touch. Out of nowhere, crossface from Michaels. Jericho sends HBK into the middle rope, the eye is the target once more. Again, a sickening boot to the eye. Michaels tries to pull himself up, forearms to the face from Jericho, Jericho ties up Michaels in a crucifix-like hold with repeated shots to the eye. The referee calls off the match, Jericho is your winner as Michaels can no longer continue.

That was a tremendous angle with a match that lived up to the hype that the story-line commanded, a lot of little things to like about this match. Little selling details, facial expressions such as Jericho realizing the target on Michaels, the crucifix and headbutts were a nice addition and the blade job Michaels did was so accurate for being hit with a stray elbow, Michaels scratching and clawing throughout the beaten was great, Michaels is going to be sorely missed when he retires for I enjoy every match he has given me since his return at Summerslam 02, I cannot think of a bad Shawn Michaels match. Thought the assault may have gone on too long at the end, could have been shortened for more dramatic affect but it does not take away of how good this was and infamously, this is the match that got blood banned in PG-WWE.

Winner: Chris Jericho over Shawn Michaels Via TKO!

(WWE Divas Championship Match) Michelle McCool vs Natalya

This match will crown the inaugural Divas champion, too good female wrestlers competing for a new championship, I welcome the addition of a second championship as the brand-split allows two rosters so why not? Mccool takes down Natalya, waist-lock counter from Natalya but McCool dropkicks Natalya. Two, arm-wringer and uppercuts. Irish whip, McCool flips over Natalya and nails a big boot. McCool attempts a Mysterio-style bulldog but Natalya counters and sends McCool into the ropes. Natalya slams McCool into the mat, Natalya looks for a Romero special. Beautifully executed, McCool counters and applies a heel-hook with Natalya reaching the ropes. From the apron, Natalya nails a forearm and stretches McCool across the ringpost.

Natalya stomps the leg and gets two, forearms to the face. McCool battles back from her knees, Natalya trips McCool, looking for The Sharpshooter, Natalya locks the hold in the middle of the ring. McCool reaches the ropes, Natalya is shocked and lays into McCool with right hands. Second sharpshooter attempt is countered for a heel-hook in the middle of the ring. Natalya cannot reach the ropes, Natalya kicks and claws but is forced to tap.

This was good, I enjoyed the match despite the lack of time given to the two wrestlers, McCool and Natalya could have a good match given the time. Natalya is technically sound in the ring, loved how she worked the legs and back of McCool, like McCool’s finish too. Looking forward to seeing what they do with McCool as the babyface of the division. My hopes are dashed within seconds for a legitimate Divas division as McCool is our inaugural champion who does not get a proper celebration as Jericho cuts a promo on HBK which tells you all you need to know.

Winner: Michelle McCool over Natalya Via Heel-Hook!

(WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match) CM Punk © vs Batista

So, Batista and Punk have been jerked around for months, Punk won Money In The Bank which meant losing his ECW Championship clean to Chavo Guerrero and suffering losses on pay per view and Raw until cashing in on Edge. Due to stale booking in the WWE, Batista had been in and out of the world championship picture suffering loss after loss to Edge. Here we go again with Batista looking to win the world championship but a new and younger foe is staring back at Batista, that being CM Punk.

Punk comes out first, that’s a pet peeve of mine hit right away. Punk is viewed as an underdog heading into this match, can Punk topple The Animal? Lock-up, obvious power advantage for Batista, Batista smiles at Punk. Lock-up again, Batista is in control. Hammerlock from Punk, massive elbow from Batista. Batista is laughing at Punk so far, Punk kicks the legs of The Animal. Quickness from Punk, forearms from the champion. Off the ropes, no powerslam for Batista. O Connor roll does not pay off for Punk, elbow from Batista for two. Batista misses a corner clothesline, no schoolboy for Punk. Massive enzugiri drives Batista to the floor, baseball slide from Punk.

Suicide dive from Punk, two for Punk. Stiff kick to the back, more kicks from Punk. Irish whip but Batista reverses Punk, hard Irish whip from the challenger. Punk hits the turnbuckle hard again, suplex for two. Camel clutch from The Animal, Punk escapes and Batista pummels Punk in the spine. Over and over, Punk’s back is targeted with massive forearms. Punk fires back with a leaping calf-kick, Batista is on the apron. Kicks from Punk, whip to the corner from Batista. Punk elbows Batista, high-flying crossbody from Punk for two. Kick into the corner, Punk’s high knee is blocked for a powerbomb attempt. Punk escapes but does not dodge the running powerslam. Batista Bomb is blocked as Punk holds onto the ropes, Punk kicks Batista from the apron. High knee in the corner, no bulldog but a massive right roundhouse for two.

GTS is countered, more spine shots. Corner clothesline from Batista, make it two. Batista gets caught in a triangle choke using the ropes, springboard forearm from Punk for two. Anaconda Vice attempt from Punk, Batista rolls over for two. More kicks to the shoulder, Batista blocks the kick. Slaps and backfists from Punk, lariat from Batista. Spinebuster into the corner, shoulder thrusts. Batista misses a corner spear, hitting the ring-post hard. Punk attempts a crossbody from the apron, spinebuster onto the concrete from The Animal. Punk is lifeless, here is Kane! Why? Not sure but here’s Kane, we have a DQ!

So, that came off as interesting in the beginning, two babyfaces with Batista healing it up against his younger adversary. Punk earns the respect of Batista through heart and determination, causing Batista to get serious against Punk. Some nice spots mixed in but that finish leaves it all very flat, what need for Kane was there? Why would Punk celebrate like he’s the better man considering it was a DQ that ended the match? Also, the chemistry between Lawler and Cole simply is not there just yet, it feels awkward and lifeless at times, it annoyed me during Michaels vs Jericho but it really got to me in this match. Batista comes off as a sore loser again, coming up short like an amazing choke artist while Punk is destroyed and left laying, not very champion like.

Winner: Double DQ!

(New York City Parking Lot Brawl) John Cena vs JBL

JBL has been fantastic since his return to the WWE, very few would play the bully character better than JBL. I guess a case of art imitating life but JBL is completely unlikeable in his role and believable which is tremendous. This feud goes back to Wrestlemania 21, the two have had first blood and brawls which have kicked a whole lot of ass, looking forward to the end of the feud in this match. JBL also tried to kill Cena with his Limo, very nice! Not really, it is ridiculous.

They talk about Cena’s mental state to begin which is baffling considering the one with the deranged mental state is obviously I don’t know maybe the guy who nearly killed him? JBL enters the circle of cars first with a crowbar, JBL is understandably nervous. A clanging of bars freaks JBL out, where could Cena be? Cena was hiding in another car, Cena tried to run over JBL. Cena exits the car and batters JBL with jumper cables. JBL is slammed off the hood of a car, the hood is closed on JBL’s head. JBL has his balls electrocuted because why not Cena picks up a keg. JBL just dodges the keg, trying to escape in a car. JBL has his head rammed into the steering wheel, fist fight with JBL winning that war.

JBL whips Cena into a car door which flies off the car, JBL pummels Cena with boots to the head. Cena is slammed off a car roof, clubbing blows from JBL. Hangman’s neckbreaker on the hood of the car, two for JBL. JBL continues to dish out punishment to Cena with a devastating DDT on the roof of a car. JBL misses a crowbar shot but floors Cena with a massive knee to the ribs, Cena is coughing pretty bad. JBL sends Cena through a car window head-first, JBL tosses Cena into the back of said vehicle. JBL walks over to his limo, revealing JBL’s plan. JBL has a petrol tank and plans to light Cena on fire, but Cena’s mental state should be questioned. JBL attempts murder, walking away like a man who knows that victory is assured, that and a possible death sentence.

Cena survives, battering JBL off another car. JBL is tossed inside of a car, Cena enters a forklift and spears the shit out of JBL who is in the car. Cena proceeds to lift the car with the forklift, bringing the action to the stage in front of the fans. Cena has JBL down on the ramp, right hands from both men. Series of rights from JBL before Cena hits his spinning back suplex, a Five Knuckle Shuffle on the ramp? Wham, it connects for Cena who hurts himself in the process. Cena measures, FU but wait, Cena wants to do it on the car. JBL was playing possum though, Cena is thrown and hurled through the windshield of the car. JBL steals the win!

Happy to see JBL get a win in the series, JBL had been dominated so to walk away with a win was nice, the match itself was nice in parts. Very physical, hatred coming out of both men throughout, noticeably silly in parts. JBL and Cena both tried to murder one another like it was nothing, absolutely ridiculous. However, the action itself was solid and Cena’s lust for vengeance is what cost him the match and ultimately, that told a good story in a solid match from two good workers.

Winner: JBL over John Cena Via Windshield Horror!

(WWE Championship Match) Triple H © vs Edge

Edge had vanquished The Undertaker and Batista but a cash-in from CM Punk robbed Edge of his cultivated top-spot in the company. Edge finds himself across the ring from WWE Champion Triple H who just so happened to ruin the one thing that Edge thought could never go wrong and that was Edge’s relationship with Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. Triple H uncovered footage of Edge cheating with his wedding planner, burning that bridge to the ground between Edge and Vickie.

Edge jumps on Triple H, Edge is all fired up. Edge nails right hands, Irish whip reversal with Edge being sent to the floor. The Game whips Edge into a barricade at ringside, elbows across the throat from Triple H. Slingshot across the top rope from Triple H, Triple H does it again with the neck being the target this time. Knee drops across the neck from the champion, right hand from The Game. Irish whip to the corner and clothesline to the back of the neck, Triple H dominating this match. Edge gains the upper-hand when Triple H makes a costly mistake, the ribs are the intended target. Corner Spear from Edge, Triple H battles back but Edge nails knees to the ribs and clubbing blows to the back.

 Hard Irish whip, The Game is sent into the steel steps hard. Edge gloats in the ring, Edge spears Triple H into the apron and flapjacks the champion onto the announce table. Two for Edge, body-scissors from The Rated R Superstar. Triple H escapes and boots Edge, right hands from The Game. Irish whip, boot to dodge the back body drop from Edge but Triple H nails a huge clothesline. Irish whip with Edge reversing, knee face-buster from The Game. Edge spills to the floor, Edge hits the ring-post hard. Edge kicks away Triple H who was trying to re-enter the ring. Baseball slide misses for Edge but Edge nails The Impaler on the floor.

Two for Edge in the ring, Edge climbs to the middle rope. Dropkick does not work, catapult into the corner by the champion. Massive DDT from Triple H, two for the champion. Pedigree is countered for an Edge O Matic, two for Edge. Edge misses the spear, hitting the turnbuckle hard. Roll-up for two, Edge boots The Game in the face. Triple H nails a spinebuster to stop the spear, Pedigree is blocked again. Edge backs Triple H into the corner, Edge sets up The Game for a superplex. Edge headbutts Triple H, superplex with both men laying flat in the middle of the ring.

Here comes Edge’s wedding planner, Alicia Fox. Alicia has the championship, Alicia slides the championship to Edge. Vickie comes out and takes the championship, Vickie is in the ring. She pie-faces the referee, we have a catfight in the middle of the ring. The referee is all caught up, Edge Spears Vickie. Edge looks on like Fuck, Triple H is up. Pedigree and Triple H retains the championship.

Not overly impressive, I liked where the match was going with the rib work but it is all over before we can get a satisfying climax. Interference in the second world championship match of the night, third if you think of the ECW match so that’s frustrating. Loved Edge’s initial rage with The Game taking advantage but it just never kicked into that second gear, I much preferred Randy Orton as champion, so sad his reign was cut short but onwards and upwards, let’s see what The Game gives us on Smackdown.

Winner: Triple H over Edge Via Pedigree!

That was WWE’s Great American Bash 2008, a solid show from the WWE. I would not praise the card too highly for the championship matches were disappointing for reasons I will list below and a good angle could have been so much more. To kick off, the tag team championship match was fun although it was on the short side, I an only predict putting the championships on Ryder & Hawkins must be due to Morrison and Miz splitting up because they were money together and do not deserve to be wasted. Benjamin capturing the gold was good too, a solid match with Matt Hardy and the chance to bring out his natural talent in championship matches is something I look forward to. The ECW Championship match went five minutes, at least it can build to a feud for Dreamer and Delaney but that’s all there is about that match.

Michaels and Jericho had a great build and the selling of Michaels carries this match into the awesome territory but that awesomeness comes crashing down as the end was far too long. It was dramatic but the match should have been stopped before, it brought down what was a touching and emotional moment. Facials and selling were great, story-telling was great but just too long in the end. CM Punk’s questionable booking continues with a DQ finish to his first world championship defence on pay per view and being destroyed by both Kane and Batista once the match had ended, I thought the booking would improve but I am not sure how determined WWE is to make Punk a top guy during this time, lord knows they need more top people in the company. Triple H and Edge begins in a fun manner before never reaching that next level needed for a main event, solid but nothing to write home about. Thanks for reading and remember: There’s always another night!

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