Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 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 2008
Date: July 20, 2008
Location: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Attendance: 12,454
Commentators: Jim Ross, Mick Foley, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Tazz, Mike Adamle

We’re wrapping up the period before the Summerslam build here and the card is one sided to put it mildly. The Smackdown side is pretty much Edge challenging HHH for the Smackdown World Title, plus a four way Tag Team Title match. On the other side, Raw has John Cena vs. JBL in a parking lot fight, CM Punk defending the Raw World Title against Batista and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho in a grudge match. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks at Vickie Guerrero and Edge’s wedding, plus HHH revealing that Edge cheated on her the night before to end Smackdown. The other big matches get some attention of their own.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Edgeheads vs. Miz/John Morrison vs. Finlay/Hornswoggle vs. Jesse and Festus

Miz and Morrison are defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Festus clears the ring as tends to be his custom before Hornswoggle comes in for a stare…uh, up. Hornswoggle rolls up his sleeves but opts to dive onto Miz and Morrison instead. We settle down to Jesse monkey flipping Miz and knocking him down again for two. Festus beats on Miz as well before handing it off to Finlay. Morrison comes in and actually takes over on Finlay before bringing Miz back in for a chinlock.

It’s back to Morrison for his own chinlock as JR continues his Morrison to Rick Rude comparisons. Finlay fights up and double legs Miz down before doing the same thing to beat on Morrison. They collide in the corner so Ryder tags himself in to hammer Finlay down. The neck crank doesn’t last long on Finlay so Hawkins comes in to keep Finlay in trouble.

The Celtic Cross hits Hawkins and a shillelagh shot gets two, with Miz and Morrison making the save. Hawkins grabs a chinlock but Finlay is back up again, this time getting over to Hornswoggle to pick up the pace. Jesse tags himself in just as fast though and the fans are not pleased with the lack of Hornswoggle. Hawkins comes back in for a cheap shot on Hornswoggle but it’s back to Festus to really clean house. Miz and Morrison are sent outside and Hawkins breaks up the Rocket Launcher to pin Jesse and win the titles.

Rating: C+. It was a fast paced opener with a bunch of moving parts but they managed to keep the focus on just a few people at a time until the ending. Hawkins and Ryder winning the titles is the right way to go as Miz and Morrison have gotten everything they can out of them and La Familia is still the biggest thing on Smackdown. Give the team some more gold, as it’s not like Jesse and Festus or Hornswoggle/Finlay are worth anything.

US Title: Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin

Hardy is defending and is quickly taken to the mat to start. A small package gives Hardy two as well as a breather but Benjamin is right back with a headlock. That’s reversed into an armbar as they’re certainly starting slowly. Benjamin sends him to the apron for a ram into the post, setting up the armbar back inside. A gutbuster sets up the seated abdominal stretch as commentary talks about Benjamin’s aggression, despite there being nothing to suggest it exists here.

Hardy fights up and tries a Side Effect but gets planted with something like an STO. Back up and Hardy blocks Paydirt to start the comeback and hits the bulldog out of the corner. Hardy’s middle rope hurricanrana is countered into a heck of a buckle bomb and they’re both down. A Side Effect gives Hardy two but the moonsault…I think it was supposed to hit knees but Hardy overshot it anyway. Paydirt gives Benjamin the pin and the title.

Rating: C. The match was far from bad, but it wasn’t exactly thrilling, as it came off as more of a house show match. The ending didn’t help things either as commentary had to scramble to cover Hardy missing. It’s not like hardy was doing anything with the title anyway so switching it over to Benjamin works as well as anything else.

We see an interview from Monday, with CM Punk talking about how he’s always been the underdog. It’s not about your size or muscle and he’s in the business of proving everyone wrong, which is what he’s always done.

We look at HHH revealing that Edge cheated on Vickie Guerrero the day before their wedding.

ECW Title: Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer

Henry is defending and has Tony Atlas in his corner while Dreamer has Colin Delaney. Dreamer charges at him and is quickly shoved into the corner, with Henry throwing him around again for a bonus. A hard clothesline puts Dreamer down again and Henry steps on his head as a few BORING chants start up.

Henry works on the arm (which is code for he leans over and grabs the wrist), Dreamer fights up, Henry takes him down and works on the arm again. The splash misses though and Dreamer hits the basement dropkick but has to escape the World’s Strongest Slam. The DDT puts Henry down and Dreamer goes up for no apparent reason, allowing Delaney to pull him down. Henry hits the World’s Strongest Slam to retain.

Rating: D+. This was a good example of everything that is wrong with ECW. First of all, there was no reason to believe Dreamer was going to take the title. He hasn’t been nearly that important for a long time now and it wasn’t going to change here. Second, the Delaney turn doesn’t mean much as he’s a loser who didn’t exactly become a star when he was with Dreamer. Third, the match was really boring, which is quite ECW in a lot of ways. Rather dull stuff here and by far the worst thing on the show.

We recap Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels, and thank goodness as the show needs it. Jericho claimed Michaels is a hypocrite (and was kind of right) and then took out his eye. Now Michaels is back for revenge and to prove that no matter what Jericho does, Michaels will always be better.

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

They lock up to start and thankfully drop that in all of two seconds to start hitting each other in the face. Shawn gets the better of things with some chops and knocks Jericho into the corner before going after the leg. The reverse Figure Four has Jericho in early trouble but he’s in the ropes pretty quickly. Shawn stays on the leg and the referee stops things for a second to check on Jericho in the corner.

Jericho is fine enough to send Shawn over the corner and out to the apron, with Shawn favoring his back. The knee is fine enough to hit a triangle dropkick out to the floor before Jericho takes him inside for a double arm crank. With that broken up, Jericho dives into an atomic drop and Shawn drops him with the flying forearm. Shawn nips up but Jericho pulls him straight into the Walls, which is counter you don’t see very often.

This time Shawn makes the rope so Jericho loads up the bulldog, only to get dropped with a clothesline for two. The top rope elbow is broken up but Shawn wins a fight on top and now the elbow connects. Cue Lance Cade to break up the superkick but Shawn blocks the Codebreaker. They slug it out again until Shawn hiptosses him out onto Cade for the big crash. Naturally Shawn is right there with a moonsault onto the two of them and everyone is down again.

Back in and Shawn’s bad eye is busted open, with commentary not being sure when it was cut. Naturally Jericho goes right after the eye and knocks him into the ropes, where Cade gets in the cheap shot. The very bloody Shawn manages to pull him into a crossface but Jericho pulls him into the buckle for the violent escape. The referee wants to stop it but Shawn begs him not to, meaning Jericho is right back on the eye. Shawn is COVERED in blood and does the “pull myself up on the other guy’s tights” spot, only to have Jericho punch him down again and hammer away….until the referee finally stops it.

Rating: B+. This took some time to get going but there is almost no one better than Shawn at making you think he was dying in front of your eyes. Shawn was trying to fight and was still in there until the injury flared up again, along with Cade offering the distraction. This felt like the big middle piece in a bigger story and they pulled me in with the emotion and hatred. Awesome match and we’re almost certainly not done yet.

We get the emotional exit for Shawn, who has to be helped out.

Edge is really not pleased with HHH for violating his privacy and taking away his personal life. All Edge has left is his professional life and tonight, he will be extra dangerous.

Divas Title: Michelle McCool vs. Natalya

For the inaugural title but commentary is to busy talking about Edge/Vickie Guerrero. They grapple to the mat to start as commentary compares McCool to softball star Jennie Finch. Natalya wheelbarrow drops her throat first over the top to take over and we hit the surfboard to stay on McCool’s….well various parts. McCool powers out so Natalya switches to the Sharpshooter. That’s broken up as well and this time McCool pulls her into the heel hook for the title.

Rating: C-. These two were in the death slot as there was almost no way they were going to be able to follow the previous match. It doesn’t help that the match was almost a Natalya squash until McCool got in her one hold for the win. It’s rather nice for the women on Smackdown to have something to do, but they could use some more blood in the division or it is going to turn old fast.

Post match here is Chris Jericho to interrupt, saying you need to save your ticket stubs because this is the night of Shawn Michaels’ last match. Shawn has a detached retina and that means his career is over. It shows that the good guys win and the wicked are punished and the worst has finally come for Shawn. Jericho was feeling the evil here and it worked.

We recap CM Punk defending the World Title against Batista. Punk won Money In The Bank and used it to become champion, meaning he needs to prove himself worthy. Batista doesn’t seem to be overly intimidated so Punk is extra motivated.

Raw World Title: Batista vs. CM Punk

Punk is defending and we go old school with a weapons check. Batista powers him around to start and Punk realizes he might need another plan. Some kicks to the legs slow Batista down but he elbows Punk in the face to cut him off. An enziguri knocks Batista outside and Punk follows him outside with a suicide dive.

Back in and Punk strikes away, only to be run over to give Batista two. The camel clutch goes on to keep Punk in trouble, which is broken up as camel clutches tend to be. Punk gets up a shot to the face in the corner and hits a high crossbody for two. The Batista Bomb is countered but a powerslam isn’t, meaning Punk has to counter the Bomb again.

Punk hits the running knee in the corner but can’t hit the GTS, instead settling for the springboard clothesline. The Anaconda Vice (been a minute since Punk used that) is broken up and Batista hits a heck of a clothesline. Batista’s charge hits the post and he falls outside, where he is able to catch a diving Punk with a spinebuster. Cue Kane to jump Batista for the DQ.

Rating: C+. They were starting to get somewhere but then just stopped for the DQ ending. This is either setting up a triple threat (erg) or Punk vs. Batista II, but Punk needs to win something on a big stage. It was bad enough that he got the title via Money In The Bank, but he’s lucky to crack the top five stars on Raw. This didn’t help things, though I guess Batista needed to be kept strong. Granted that makes me wonder why he was in the match in the first place, but I can picture Vince’s “oh it’s fine” face from here so we’ll move o.

Post match Kane lays out Punk, Batista, and a production worker. With Kane gone, Batista hits the Batista Bomb on Punk to make things even worse for the champ. Somehow this is a double DQ, despite Kane not touching Punk before the bell.

We recap John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield. With Vince McMahon gone, JBL has declared martial law but Cena isn’t having it. Now they’re going to fight in a parking lot.

John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

This is taking place in the parking lot in a circle of cars and JBL shows up in his limo, fighting in most of a suit. There’s no Cena to start so JBL gets on a hood, only to have Cena pop up in another car and ram into him. Cena chokes him with a cord and then slams a car hood onto JBL’s back. Some jumper cables to the crotch set up some electrocution and JBL screams a lot.

JBL is put on another hood and Cena throws a well placed keg, only to hit windshield. With JBL trying to drive away, Cena grabs him for some rams into the horn. JBL fights back to little avail but manages to whip Cena through a car door, knocking it off the hinges. Cena gets punched off a car for two and then sent through the windshield of another for the big crash.

A crowbar shot misses for JBL and Cena slugs away but JBL sends him through a window. With nothing else working, JBL goes to grab some gasoline (with his limo rolling away) and douses one of the cars (with Cena inside). The car is lit on fire and promptly extinguished, with an annoyed looking Cena getting out. JBL goes over to a forklift but Cena is there to send him into another car.

Now Cena gets in the forklift and gores said car, only to lift it up and carry it into the arena. Commentary kicks in as Cena knocks JBL around and plants him with the ProtoBomb onto the stage. Cena loads up the FU but walks JBL over to the edge of the stage, only to take too long as JBL slips off. JBL sends him off the stage and through a windshield for the upset win.

Rating: C-. This was quite the situation and I wasn’t wild on most of it. They had a bunch of slow brawling in the back with car stuff before coming to the arena for a few minutes. JBL had to get a win of some sort but egads this means we’re going to have to hear him talk even more, which is about as painful of a thought as I can imagine. Not exactly great here, but what are you expecting from JBL?

We recap Edge vs. HHH for the latter’s Smackdown World Title. Vickie Guerrero gave Edge the title shot before their wedding but then Edge cheated on her the day before said wedding, with HHH revealing Edge’s, uh, indiscretion. Now it’s about the title, though Edge is more than a bit distracted.

HHH has no regrets over what he did.

Smackdown World Title: HHH vs. Edge

HHH is defending and we get the Big Match Intros with a weapons check. Edge charges right at him and hammers away but gets sent outside. HHH sends him outside and grabs a neck snap across the top. A ram int the buckle has Edge on the floor again but he knocks a diving HHH out of the air. Back in and Edge hits the running shoulder in the corner before sending him outside for a whip into the steps.

A drop onto the announcers’ table keeps HHH’s ribs in trouble and Edge grabs a bodyscissors back inside. HHH fights up but gets dropkicked to the apron, where he sidesteps a spear to send Edge crashing to the floor. Back in and HHH slugs away before they go outside (again) with Edge going into the post. Edge is right back up though and grabs the Impaler on the floor, which means a rather delayed cover gets two.

HHH hits his own DDT for his own two but the Pedigree is countered into the Edge-O-Matic. The spear only hits buckle but Edge’s big boot only hits HHH’s jaw, leaving them both down again. Back up and the spear is countered into the spinebuster to give HHH a much needed breather. The Pedigree is countered again, this time with a ram into the corner. Edge takes him up top for a superplex but here is wedding planner Alicia Fox to send in the title. Cue Vickie Guerrero to take Alicia down and the catfight is on in the ring. The spear hits Vickie by mistake, allowing HHH to grab the Pedigree for the pin to retain.

Rating: B. It was good but they never came close to hitting that really high level. At the same time, it didn’t help that this was more about the Vickie/Edge stuff, with the title just kind of being there on the side. These two feel like they should have had their first big match on a more important show, but at least what they got to do here did work. It just could have been a pretty good bit better.

Overall Rating: B-. This was a perfectly fine show that should have been better than it was. There were some big matches on the card and those matches worked, but the lower card stuff is completely forgettable, even with three new champions being crowned. It’s a show where things happened, but it’s not a show that felt important. Instead, it came off like a “the big one is next time”, which doesn’t make for the most enjoyable event.

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You can find more from Thomas Hall at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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