Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Great American Bash 2006
Date: July 23, 2006
Location: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
It’s time for a Smackdown pay per view and the card is actually pretty stacked. This time around the main event is Rey Mysterio defending the World Title against King Booker, but we also have a Punjabi Prison match between Undertaker and Great Khali, plus the big Batista pay per view return. Let’s get to it.
The opening video talks about how everyone has freedom because of America before switching into a look at the show’s biggest matches. Standard but safe theme.
Tag Team Titles: Brian Kendrick/Paul London vs. Pit Bulls
The Pit Bulls are challenging as JBL goes on a rant about having to sit next to the Spanish commentary team. Kash and London brawl to the mat to start and it’s an early standoff. The rather rough lockup goes on as commentary talks about the famous teams to wrestle at the Great American Bash over the years. Kendrick comes in off the top but gets caught n the corner, with Noble sending him face first into the buckle.
An armbar takes Noble down though and the champs take turns coming off the top and onto Noble’s arm. Noble manages to send London hard into the buckle but London and Kendrick are right back up with stereo suicide dives to the floor. Back in and a double shoulder gets two on Kendrick, meaning it’s time to rake his face. Noble misses a charge though and gets caught in the ropes, setting up the hot tag to London to clean house.
London gets sent over the ropes though and Skinning The Cat is broken up with a hard dropkick to the floor. Back in again and we hit the chinlock with London not even bothering to stay down very long this time. Kash comes in to choke on the ropes but has to dive at London’s legs to cut off the tag.
London kicks him into Noble for the knockdown though, allowing the hot tag to Kendrick. The pace picks up in a hurry as everything breaks down. Kendrick hits some running dropkicks and the big dive to the floor takes Noble out. Back in and Kash can’t hit the Dead Level, allowing Kendrick to try a top rope sunset flip. He can’t get Kash over, so London adds the Dropsault to knock Kash down, giving Kendrick the cradle pin to retain.
Rating: B. This was as good of a choice of an opener as they had with both teams looking pretty awesome and flying all over the ring, which is a great way to start the show. London and Kendrick can do that style all day and the Pit Bulls are able to hang in there just as well. Heck of an opener here, and hopefully something can hang with it tonight.
Great Khali wants to do something but Daivari wants to know why it has to be now. Daivari is promptly lifted up into the air, leaving his feet flailing away.
Here’s Teddy Long to say that Bobby Lashley can’t compete tonight because he has elevated liver enzymes. Cue Lashley to say to say he’s fine and wants to fight tonight. Teddy says he can’t do that because they have to take a long term view of Lashley’s health. When Lashley is healthy though, he can have a title shot.
Lashley walks to the back so here are William Regal and Finlay, who walk around him in a great visual, to talk to Long. Finlay asks Long to lay some skin on him and Regal has a rather wacky handshake. With the hip part out of the way, Finlay doesn’t buy the liver enzymes theory but wants Teddy to name him the winner by forfeit. Not so fast though because Long has another idea.
US Title: Finlay vs. William Regal
Finlay is defending and JBL goes into a great rant about how he and Ron Simmons drank forever but they never had bad livers. Hold on as wants to check underneath the ring for the Leprechaun. Finlay goes after him and gets hit in the face to start fast. They lock up and head to the floor without letting go before walking up the steps and back inside, again without letting go.
Back in and Regal takes him down by the leg but Finlay flips his way to freedom. A hard toss to the floor has Finlay in trouble but cue the Leprechaun to hit Regal in the leg with the Shillelagh. Regal backs into him and runs away screaming, allowing Finlay to start the exchange of uppercuts. Regal gets the better of things but goes after the Leprechaun again, allowing him to bite Regal’s fingers.
Finlay goes for the leg but gets taken down into a chinlock for his efforts. That’s broken up in a hurry so Finlay sits on his ribs, followed by a chinlock of his own. That doesn’t last long either so they run into each other for a double knockdown. It’s Regal up first with a dropkick of all things for two, followed by a knee drop for the same.
The fans call it boring, with Cole trying his darndest to say it’s because they want to see Lashley. Regal gets tied up in the ring skirt and comes up minus a boot, meaning it’s time for Finlay to stomp on his toes like a villain should. The referee is confused so Regal grabs the Shillelagh, only to have the Leprechaun slip in the boot. A shot to the head and a rollup (with feet on the ropes because of course) retains Finlay’s title.
Rating: C+. It wasn’t a classic but calling this boring is quite a bit too extreme. It was a different style and I can understand the fans not getting into it, but boring was too far. These two have probably had a match like this a hundred times (ok maybe minus the Leprechaun) and you could see how much fun they were having.
Post match the Leprechaun steals the title so Finlay has to kick him back underneath the ring.
Chavo Guerrero gives Rey Mysterio a pep talk and brings up Eddie Guerrero a few times. I think you know where this is going.
Gregory Helms vs. Matt Hardy
Non-title and Hardy is replacing Super Crazy, who was also enzymed (Crazy was never announced for the title match but they weren’t hiding it on Smackdown). Matt drives him into the corner and then armdrags him back out as the fans are behind Hardy here. There’s a headlock takeover to the mat but Helms is right back up, only to have Hardy strike the Hurricane pose. Helms gets sent outside and taken out for a dive, which is good for two back inside.
A quick neck snap across the top rope sets up a running neckbreaker for two on Hardy, followed by a regular neckbreaker for the same. The chinlock goes on but Hardy is back up, meaning Helms has to clothesline him right back down. Helms goes up to mock Matt’s yelling elbow, allowing Matt to punch him out of the air (I wonder what gave Matt the hint). Matt hits a Russian legsweep but takes too long loading up a superplex.
The delay lets Helms nail a super swinging neckbreaker for two, as Matt has to put his foot on the rope. Helms changes things up a bit with a double underhook on the mat with some knees to the face, but Matt fights up again with the Side Effect. There’s the running bulldog out of the corner for two but the Twist of Fate is countered into another hard takedown.
Helms’ running enziguri gets two so he takes Matt up top. The superplex is broken up though and Matt nails a moonsault press, followed by the top rope elbow to the head for his own two. With nothing else working, Matt hammers away in the corner but gets dropped face first onto the turnbuckle. Helms grabs the rollup with tights for the pin.
Rating: C+. This worked out well, which isn’t surprising given how well they know each other. Matt wasn’t the most logical replacement, but he’s a lot more interesting than Super Crazy or Psicosis. It would be nice to have had the title on the line, but it’s not like the thing has meant anything in….years really.
Khali is heading towards the ring and doesn’t want to hear from Daivari. Cue Undertaker to throw Daivari aside and go after Khali, only to have Big Show pop up to jump Undertaker. The beatdown is on until referees come in to get rid of the giants.
We recap Great Khali vs. Undertaker. Khali destroyed Undertaker at Judgment Day but now Undertaker is back to fight him in the huge rematch. We’ll throw it in the Punjabi Prison, which hasn’t actually been explained coming into the match. On the way here, Undertaker has had to deal with Big Show and Khali, who have beaten him up more than once.
Daivari, Big Show and Khali run into Teddy Long, who puts Show into the Punjabi Prison instead. Why? No reason given, meaning JBL’s rant about how unfair this is makes sense. And yes, Khali was enzymed as well.
Big Show vs. Undertaker
Non-title and inside the Punjabi Prison. The ring is surrounded by a bamboo cage, but then there is another around the ring to keep them locked up even more than usual. The inner cage has four doors which can be opened, but only for one minute each for the entire match. Once they are locked back, they cannot be opened again, though you can still climb over. There are spikes over the top of the outer wall to prevent anyone from escaping. However, you have to escape that one as well, with the first one escaping to the outside winning.
Show goes after him to start and pounds Undertaker down in the corner, meaning the TAKER chants start up in a hurry. Undertaker strikes away but gets knocked into the cage wall for his efforts. Show charges into a boot though and it’s time to start kicking away at the leg. That’s enough to let Undertaker climb but he gets cut off by the spikes. The delay lets Show catch him on top and drive him into the corner, followed by a hard running clothesline.
Back up and Undertaker sends him into the wall, setting up the running hip attack to knock Show into the cage again. Show grabs a chokeslam attempt, only to get DDTed down. Undertaker asks for the first door to be opened but Show beats him down until the clock runs out. With Undertaker down, Show pulls one of the straps off of the wall (because there are leather straps on the wall). Instead of using it though, Show pulls the turnbuckle pad off, allowing Undertaker to strike away.
The jumping clothesline drops Show and Old School connects, only to have Show knock him down again. The second door is opened, with Undertaker cutting Show off just like Show did to him. That’s enough for the clock to run out so Show hits Undertaker in the face to draw some blood. Show pounds away at the cut before going up, only to get caught with a low blow. The superplex brings Show back down and Undertaker is able to get through the third door.
That door closes so Show goes out of the fourth and catches Undertaker climbing the outer cage. For some reason JBL calls this Undertaker being done and seeing his legend end. I’d guess because he’s kind of into hyperbole. Show gets smart (oh dear) by throwing Undertaker back inside the inner cage before time expires. Undertaker is fine enough to climb the inner cage and step over to the outer one, making that whole RAZOR SHARP SPIKE deal seem pretty stupid.
Show pulls him back down, so Undertaker lays him out again and drops a leg. Now Show is busted open as well and appears to be near tears. Cue Daivari and Khali through the crowd as Undertaker climbs the inner structure and dives onto Show, sending them through the cage. Undertaker falls outside first and that’s enough for the win, meaning JBL suddenly remembers Undertaker is AWESOME.
Rating: D. They were held down by the last minute change here as this would have been better suited for Khali, but sweet goodness imagine how bad he would have been in this thing. The problem is that Undertaker and Big Show do not have the best matches under normal circumstances and this was a messy version of the cage match. I don’t dislike the idea, but they got too complicated for their own good here and it hurt things a lot. That and there is only so much you can do in a rather crazy match like this one.
Sharmell says Booker can become King of the World if he wins tonight. Booker’s accent gets stronger and stronger every week.
Kristal vs. Michelle McCool vs. Ashley vs. Jillian Hall
Bra and panties and the first woman to strip someone else wins. The double catfight is on to start with Jillian chasing Michelle around the ring. That leaves Kristal to take Ashley top off but Michelle comes in. Jillian jumps her but Kristal ties Jillian in the Tree of Woe. That lets Michelle rip the top off as JBL laughs at Cole for talking about the athletic ability. Ashley and Jillian rip the skirts off of Michelle and Kristal but Michelle has a second skirt on for protection. Jillian is back up and jiggles a lot before shoving Kristal’s face into her chest. With Jillian grabbing Kristal’s legs, Ashley rips Kristal’s top off for the win.
Rating: D. I think you get the idea here and they served their purpose well. There was almost nothing resembling wrestling in the whole thing and that is completely understandable. Watching this was a lot easier than watching them try to have a match, but it was pure eye candy and filler after the big match. Just more of the same from the Smackdown women.
Post match Ashley and Jillian de-pants each other. JBL: “WHERE’S THE HOT TUB??? SOMEBODY GET MISS TEXAS AND MY BLACK AMERICAN EXPRESS!”
Miz interviews Mr. Kennedy, who thinks it’s impressive that Batista is getting in the ring with him. Mark Henry didn’t get to beat Batista but Kennedy will. Miz loves the double “KENNEDY” line. It’s hard to fathom that Miz would blow away Kennedy’s accomplishments but that’s wrestling for you.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy
This was billed as a #1 contenders match on Smackdown but there is no mention of it here. Batista jumps him from behind so Kennedy pokes him in the eye to get away. That just makes Batista knock him to the floor, with Kennedy being busted open early off a ram into the steps. Some right hands don’t do much to Batista but his right hands send Kennedy (who is rather bloody) bailing.
The head fake doesn’t work though as Batista spears him down, only to have Kennedy get in another cheap shot. Some shots to the face and a clothesline put Batista down and there’s a running boot in the corner. Kennedy takes it outside for a ram into the steps and puts on an armbar back inside. Since it’s an armbar, Batista is right back up to send Kennedy shoulder first into the post. Batista chokes in the corner long enough for the DQ.
Rating: D+. They started well (that blood looked good) but then it turned into Kennedy having nothing to hang with Batista. This felt like the kind of match you put Batista in to make it clear that he was on the show and nothing more. The match didn’t make Batista look good and Kennedy was busted open and beaten down by the end, leaving this as just ok at best. That being said, it’s another case where they had no reason to be fighting so they did what they could here.
We recap King Booker vs. Rey Mysterio. Booker won the King of the Ring to gain the crown and went a bit nuts as a result. He has the King’s Court helping him though and won a battle royal to become #1 contender. Mysterio’s title reign is still a complete mess and it seems to be a matter of time before he finally drops the thing to anyone else. This gets the music video treatment.
Smackdown World Title: King Booker vs. Rey Mysterio
Mysterio is defending and Booker, with Sharmell, rides out on a throne. They take their sweet time with the entrances here and it feels like they’re filling in time. Cole calls Mysterio a great American and JBL is just done with him, going into a crazed rant about how horrible Mysterio is. Feeling out process to start with Booker kicking him down and unloading with chops in the corner. Rey is right back with a knockdown of his own and a running legdrop gets one.
Commentary is in an argument over socialism as Booker elbows him in the face and grabbing a hammerlock. A flying mare gets Rey out of trouble but Booker takes him back into the corner for some right hands. Booker misses a charge into the post though and the top rope seated senton to the floor puts him down. Back in and the springboard splash gets two on Booker, who is right back with a sidekick for a near fall of his own. Sharmell even gets in a rake to the eyes to keep Rey in trouble and Booker adds another kick to the face.
The armbar still doesn’t work though and Booker has to send him into the corner to cut off a comeback attempt. Booker goes evil with the Three Amigos but misses the ax kick. It’s too early for a 619 so Rey tries it again, only to be tripped by Sharmell. That’s enough for an ejection so Booker hits a clothesline for two. Booker goes to the middle rope to dive into the raised boots and they’re both down, with Booker holding his knee.
A pop up hurricanrana sets up the springboard spinning crossbody for two on Booker. Rey hits a DDT for the same but the referee gets bumped. The springboard seated senton sets up the 619 into the frog splash but there is no referee. Booker uses the chance to hit a blow blow and the Book End, allowing him to grab a chair. Rey dropkicks it into his face so here’s Chavo Guerrero with his own chair….to knock Mysterio silly. The referee is back in and Booker steals the title.
Rating: C+. It was a good midcard match but this didn’t feel like a World Title pay per view main event. That being said, there was zero reason to consider keeping the title on Mysterio at this point and Booker was the best choice to take the title. Granted I would hope that they could come up with something more interesting than Chavo Guerrero to get rid of him, but the ending was the right call.
A lot of ALL HAIL KING BOOKER’s and some tears take us out.
Overall Rating: C-. This show started off well and then collapsed in a hurry. As usual, it’s a brand exclusive B show so there is only so much that you can get out of the whole thing. Then when you factor in the amount of changes that had to be made due to the enzymes, the show was running with a big anchor. It could have been a lot worse, but thank goodness those early matches were as solid as they were or this could have been in serious trouble.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!