WWE The Great American Bash 2008

Nassau Coliseum – Long Island, NY

MATCH #1: Fatal Four-Way Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship – John Morrison & The Miz vs. Finlay & Hornswoggle vs. Jesse & Festus vs. Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder

Morrison & Miz have been the champions since 11.16.07 and this is their tenth defense. Hawkins wears the short tights, Ryder wears the long. They’re from Long Island, but I wonder if people in the audience even know that. Festus goes crazy at the bell and everyone bails. Hornswoggle comes in and looks ready to fight. He decides to dive through the ropes on the champions instead. Miz gets rolled into the ring and Festus goes to work on him. Jesse comes in and continues to work on Miz. Fetus tags back in, and Finlay makes a blind tag and gets Festus’s boot in his face, so Miz goes over and tags Morrison. Now the champions work on Finlay in their corner. Finlay makes the comeback and he and hits a few moves on Morrison and then they crack heads and Ryder tags himself in and goes to work. Finlay fights out of the corner but Hawkins is able to take him down again. Finally Finlay comes back and hits a Finlay Roll on Ryder but Hawkins breaks up the pin. The referee misses Finlay using the shillelagh on Ryder, and Morrison and Miz break up that cover. Ryder recovers quite quickly and gets a schoolboy for two, broken up by Hornswoggle. They go right back to work on the Celtic Warrior. Finlay recovers and makes the tag, and he hits a few moves on Hawkins before Jesse tags himself in. Jesse looks like he could really get good. Festus comes in and hits a huge flapjack on Hawkins and a shoulderblock. He knocks Ryder off the ropes and hits the Flying Biscuit. Miz and Morrison come in to break it up and Festus dispatches them. They go for the rocket launcher but Ryder pulls Festus to the floor and Hawkins sweeps Jesse’s legs out from the top rope and that’s enough for the pin and new WWE Tag Team Champions at 9:04. I don’t see any reason to take the belts off Miz & Morrison, especially to give them to these two bland blondes. The match itself was actually really fun, and I don’t even mind Hornswoggle anymore since he just hits two or three moves and mostly stays on the apron and isn’t involved in a main storyline.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: United States Championship Match – Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin

Hardy has been the champion since 4.27.08 and this is his fourth defense. Benjamin defeated the champ in a non-title match on Smackdown to earn this title shot. He aggressively takes Hardy down to the canvas and then knocks him down with a shoulderblock. Hardy gets a quick inside cradle for two. Benjamin goes back to the headlock. Hardy breaks out of it and hits a hip toss and an armdrag, and then bars the arm. They take turns countering each other’s holds, and Benjamin throws Hardy over the top rope. Hardy tries to skin the cat but Benjamin dropkicks him to the floor. He follows that up by whipping Hardy into the post from the apron and Hardy crashes to the floor again. Back in the ring Benjamin goes to work on Hardy’s back, and then inexplicably goes after the neck. He slugs Hardy a bit and then puts him in a seated abdominal stretch. Hardy stands up and drops back down, getting a near fall. Benjamin goes for a bodyslam and Hardy falls back on him for another near fall. He sends Benjamin to the corner but charges in and eats a boot. Hardy then tries the Side Effect but Benjamin blocks it and hits a modified STO for two. He goes back to work on Hardy’s back. He hits the spinning kick and the Stinger Splash to the back. He tries another one but Hardy gets the knees up this time. Hardy goes on offense now and executes the Raven comeback. He hits the second rope legdrop (why doesn’t that have a name?) for two. Hardy goes back up and tries a rana (since when does he do that?) but Benjamin blocks it and hits a Buckle Bomb. Benjamin tries a power bomb but Hardy reverses it and they reverse a couple of pin attempts. Hardy hits the Side Effect for two. He tries the Twist of Fate but Benjamin shoves him off and sets him up backwards on the top turnbuckle. Hardy knocks him down and goes for a Moonsault but Benjamin gets a knee up and it looks like it hit Hardy in the head. He follows that up with “Some Paydirt” (according to JR) to get the pin and the title at 10:36. That’s the second straight good match for this show. These two had good chemistry and it’s nice to see Benjamin getting yet another push that probably won’t go anywhere.
Rating: ***

MATCH #3: ECW Championship Match – Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer

Henry has been the champion since 6.29.08 and this is his first defense. Dreamer lost a match to Henry, and then fought Henry to a no-contest. Henry is accompanied by Tony Atlas, and Dreamer is accompanied by Colin Delaney. They lock up and Henry shoves Dreamer down. The challenger tries going for the legs and Henry tosses him down again. Dreamer hits a few punches but Henry clotheslines him down, kicks him, and steps on him. Henry hits a headbutt and then puts on a neck crank. Dreamer tries to punch his way out and Henry tosses him down to the canvas again. Now Henry works on the wrist and a “boring” chant breaks out. Dreamer tries to fire up but gets clotheslined again. Henry goes for a splash and misses, while Mike Adamle calls the splash attempt “The World’s Strongest Slam.” Dreamer finally hits a couple of moves, ending in a neckbreaker for a two count. He then hits a DDT but Atlas jumps on the apron to distract him. Delaney comes over but does nothing. Dreamer goes to the second rope and encourages Delaney to do his pose with him, signaling the heel turn that no one needed to see. Henry gets the World’s Strongest Slam to get the pin and retain the title at 5:30. I don’t see how a five-and-a-half minute match could be so boring, but there’s the proof right there. Dreamer just needs to have one last hardcore match and call it quits.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #4: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

Both men try staring each other down and then give way to slugging at each other. Michaels takes the early upper hand and goes after Jericho’s leg. He puts on that weird figure-four that he does. Jericho comes back and whips Michaels to the corner, and he flips over and to the apron. He dropkicks Michaels down and then brings him back into the ring and kicks him in the ribs. He continues working over the ribs. Jericho goes to the middle rope and flies off with something that allows him to be in position for Michaels to hit an inverted atomic drop. Michaels tries to power up but his ribs are really hurting him. That gives Jericho the chance to put the Walls of Jericho on. Michaels reaches the ropes. He tries Sweet Chin Music but Jericho grabs the leg and punches Michaels in the face. That’s my favorite counter hold. Michaels comes back with a clothesline, but gets crotched when he goes to the top turnbuckle. Jericho joins him up on the ropes and attacks Michaels’s face, and then goes for a superplex. Michaels fights him off and this the Macho Elbow. He motions for Sweet Chin Music but Lance Cade comes out and eats a dropkick for his troubles. Jericho tries the Code Breaker but Michaels blocks it and gets a jackknife pin for two. Jericho gets a rollup for two. He charges and Michaels hip tosses him over the ropes right onto Cade. Michaels then goes up to the top rope and moonsaults onto Jericho and Cade, neither of whom do a great job of catching him. Then Michaels shoves Cade down and goes over to Jericho, who back elbows Michaels in the face. Jericho must have caught him just right because Michaels is bleeding around the eye. It takes Jericho a moment to notice it but as soon as he does he punches him right in the face. That’s pretty awesome. Shawn’s blading and selling are still second to none. Jericho continues to just beat on the injured area, and he distracts the referee so Cade can get a shot in too. He even uses a headbutt on Michaels’s gross head. Michaels comes back and gets a Crippler Crossface out of nowhere, but Jericho escapes and goes right back to punching Michaels in the face. The referee wants to stop the match but Michaels pleads with him not to. Michaels’s face is just all kinds of awesomely bloody right now. Jericho continues to aggressively attack it, while the referee says “Why, Chris, Why?” Jericho ties up Michaels’s arm and just unloads on his face and the referee finally has to call for the bell at 18:20. I think I recall this match getting mixed reviews but I thought it was a tremendous match with an awesome story that worked on every possible level. Jericho gets crazy heel heat. Shawn never quit so he still looks like a fighter, and the feud has reason to continue. Jericho’s blood-spattered face and body makes for a cool visual as he makes his way back to the locker room. Trainers are out immediately to attend to Michaels.
Rating: ****

MATCH #5: Divas Championship Match – Michelle McCool vs. Natalya

The winner of this match will be first-ever Divas Champion, which is the completely unnecessary second Women’s Championship, and the Cruiserweights don’t have any. Well, Michelle is pretty hot, so good for her. She controls the early going and blows a spot. Natalya recovers and wheelbarrow slams McCool onto the top rope. She goes to work on the legs, and uses the surfboard. You don’t see that too often in WWE. McCool breaks out of it and reverses to a Brazilian Heel Hook. Natalya gets out of it and stretches McCool against the ring post. Back in the ring Natalya gets a near fall and stays on offense. She works on the leg and then locks on the Sharpshooter. McCool reaches the ropes. Natalya drags her back out and tries the hold again, but McCool reverses it to the Brazilian Heel Hook again. Eventually Natalya taps out at 4:39. So Natalya works on Michelle’s leg but Natalya submits to a leg hold out of nowhere. Eve and Cherry come out to celebrate with their friend, and they might as well all kiss.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Match – CM Punk vs. Batista

Punk has been the champion since 6.30.08, and this is his second defense. What’s with all the champions coming out first? Batista overpowers Punk in the early going, just to show that he can. Punk tries outwrestling Batista, but winds up eating a back elbow to the face and a kick to the face for a near fall. The champ fights back and hits an enziguiri to send Batista to the floor. He follows up with a suicide dive and throws Batista back in the ring for a near fall. Punk controls for a minute before Batista reverses a whip to the corner and the challenger is back on offense. He works on the back, even using a version of the camel clutch to wear the champion down. Punk fights back and hits a flying kick to send Batista to the floor again. On his way back in Punk kicks him again. Punk hits a twisting cross body off the top rope for a near fall. He tries the running knee in the corner and Batista catches him and almost hits the Batista Bomb. He settles for hitting a big powerslam on the champion instead. He goes for the Batista Bomb again but Punk avoids it and hits a couple of kicks to the head and tries to slide back into the ring. There’s Punk again doing stuff he can’t do. He does though hit the knee to the face and another big kick to the head for two. Punk sets up for Go to Sleep but Batista blocks it and hits a couple of clotheslines in the corner. He sets Punk up on the top rope and Punk counters with an armbar over the ropes, and follows up with a slingshot clothesline for two. He then goes to the Anaconda Vise and Batista rolls him over for two. Punk tries more kicks and Batista catches one, so Punk hits a couple of punches only to get clotheslined by the challenger. Batista rams Punk into the corner and drives his shoulder to the midsection. He charges in and Punk moves, so Batista hits his shoulder on the post. Punk dives onto Batista on the floor, but Batista catches him and delivers a spinebuster on the floor! Batista rolls Punk back into the ring, and then from out of nowhere Kane comes out and nails Batista with a big boot and the referee sees it and calls for the bell at 11:09.

Kane then goes in the ring and chokeslams Punk. I guess that’s a DQ win for Batista since he quite clearly got attacked first. Then Kane kicks a camera man just for fun. Man that camera man took a hell of a bump. For some reason the referee calls the match a double-disqualification and Punk retains the title. The match itself was actually pretty good, and I thought Punk got a good amount of offense in and Batista sold for him really well. Then Batista gives the champion a Batista Bomb, and that kind of makes Punk look like a chump.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: New York City Parking Lot Brawl – John Cena vs. JBL

So how exactly did Cena survive getting hit in the face with a speeding car? This match is taking place in an actual parking lot, but JBL makes his usual entrance. He’s come armed with a crowbar, and makes sure to remove his jacket and tie before going to look for his opponent. Cena finally appears and attacks JBL with jumper cables. He slams his head in the hood of a car and does what Kane did to Shane McMahon back in 2003. It hasn’t been seven years yet, Cena! Bradshaw tries to get in a car and drive away, but Cena stops him and slams his head into the horn a bunch of times. Cena tries a whip but JBL reverses it and Cena crashes into the open door of a car, tearing it from its hinges. I just notice that there’s no commentary on this match. JBL is in control of the action now. He hits a couple of big moves on Cena, even throwing him head first through a car window but can’t score the three-count. He throws Cena into the back seat of a car and starts walking towards his limo. He pulls out a can of gasoline, and despite the pleading of the referee he douses the car in it. He lights the car on fire and people come with fire extinguishers right away. JBL goes over to a fork lift and Cena gets out of the car unscathed and pretty pissed off. He throws JBL into the side of a car three times and then puts him in the front seat. Cena now goes to the fort lift and smashes it into the car. He then lifts it up and drives it into the arena. They fight on the entrance ramp and Cena hits the Proto-Plex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena picks him up for the FU and wants to deliver it off the stage onto a car. He spends too much time thinking about it though and JBL slips out and tosses Cena right onto the windshield. That gives JBL the win at 15:36. Sue me, I liked the match. It was ridiculous sure, but it was a lot of fun and was a different kind of match and I appreciate that.
Rating: ***

MATCH #8: WWE Championship Match – Triple H vs. Edge

Triple H has been the champion since 4.27.08, and this is his fifth defense. JR reveals that between HHH and Edge they have held WWE gold 43 different times. That’s pretty impressive. Anyway, the match has started and Edge comes after the champion right away but HHH is ready for him and abuses Edge both inside and outside of the ring. It’s all HHH early on, as Edge can’t get anything going. Finally Edge avoids a charge and HHH runs into the guardrail. Back in the ring Edge goes to work on the midsection. They go outside the ring and Edge throws HHH into the steel steps. He also throws him into the ring apron and drops him on the announce table. Back in the ring he gets a two count. Edge then puts on a body scissors to wear the champion down. HHH punches his way out of it and comes charging at Edge, who lands a dropkick for two. The champion goes to the apron and Edge tries to Spear him but he moves and Edge goes crashing to the floor. Back in the ring they exchange right hands and HHH lands a big clothesline. He hits a face buster and Edge rolls to the floor. The champion follows the challenger out and rams his face into the steps and the ring post. A series of reversals leads to Edge hitting the Impaler DDT on the floor. Back in the ring Edge gets a two count. Edge goes to the second rope and tries the kind of dropkick someone would only try if they wanted the guy taking it to grab their legs and slingshot them into the turnbuckle. HHH then hits a kick and a DDT for two. They get up and a series of reversals sees Edge hitting the Edge-O-Matic for two. Edge tries a Spear but misses. HHH gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Edge responds with a boot to the face. He once again tries a Spear but HHH catches him with a spinebuster. He goes for the Pedigree but Edge counters it once again and sets the champion up on the top rope and hits a superplex. Both men are down, and the hot wedding planner Alicia Fox runs down and hands Edge the WWE Title, but Vickie Guerrero comes down and knocks Alicia down and grabs the belt herself. She gets in the ring and motions to hit Edge with it, but the Alicia comes in and we have a cat fight. Edge goes for a Spear on Alicia Fox (why?) but hits Vickie instead. That gives HHH the opportunity to hit the Pedigree and score the pin at 16:45. That was a solid match that definitely didn’t need the Alicia/Vickie stuff at all. Unfortunately, I think these two are capable of doing a lot better than “solid,” especially in a main event setting, so this was highly disappointing.
Rating: **¾


About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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