WWE Great American Bash 2004 6/27/2004

June 27, 2004
The Scope
Norfolk, VA
Attendance: 6,500
Buy Rate: .57
Announcers: Michael Cole & Tazz

Sunday Night Heat

Spike Dudley (Matt Hyson) defeated Jamie Noble (James Gibson) with the Dudley Dog at 4:13

Pay Per View

1) John Cena defeats Booker T. (Booker Huffman), Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) and Rene Dupree (Rene Goguen) to retain United States Championship

John Cena pins Rob Van Dam with a roll-up at 8:17
Booker T. pins Rene Dupree after a Cena F-U at 11:15
John Cena pins Booker T. with the F-U at 15:51

Fun Fact:
On the 5/20 Smackdown, Rene Dupree defeated John Cena by countout. Cena would get revenge a week later by pinning Dupree in a Lumberjack match. On 6/3, Cena accidentally knocked Kurt Angle out of his wheelchair, leading to Booker inadvertently kicking the GM in his bad leg. The next week, an angered Angle told Cena that he would have to face Booker, Dupree and RVD in three separate five-minute matches. Cena had made things worse by refusing to apologize to Angle, only increasing Kurt’s vendetta against Cena. The first man to pin Cena would earn a title match at the Bash. None of the contenders were able to pin Cena within five minutes, so Angle announced that Cena would face them all at the PPV. After the announcement, Cena intimated that he would retain, but RVD landed a kick to the face of the Champ. On 6/17, Cena and RVD teamed up to battle Dupree and Booker but the match ended in a no contest when Undertaker interfered.

A pretty solid choice for the opener as one of WWE’s hottest young stars defends his title against three solid challengers. Booker T’s coming off that flat feud against Undertaker and to me seems rejuvenated against faster opponents. Rene Dupree has the look, but to me is not at the level of the other three guys. RVD is RVD, but this is where it seemed like the bookers didn’t have any long term plans for him and instead just threw him into stuff to up the workrate and quality of a match. As for the Champ, he’s way over with the fans as his raps continue to catch on and the crowd keeps digging it. Booker spent the early part of the match ducking any action and skulked around ringside. Cena eliminates RVD first and that led to a few boos from the crowd. Cena’s over, but he’s no RVD. I just realized that this was an elimination four-way match. Cena essentially wrestled a handicap match from this point, and the pace kept moving. Rene got eliminated and this was where the pace really picked up. Booker and Cena really cook here and create some nice chemistry. Cena hits the FU and retains his title, but clearly he and Booker have something to go off of for the future. Pretty good match, and a rare highlight tonight. Grade: 3

Justin: Smackdown returns to PPV looking to improve upon their weak Judgment Day effort. After defeating Dupree in May, John Cena looks to eviscerate him again, along with two new challengers. Cena was really over here as he was in the midst of feuding with heat machine Kurt Angle. Cena would proceed to cut a great rap as well, taking more digs at the GM. Dupree was really improving at this point as well and his scummy French character was a solid one. I also thought Fifi was pretty funny prancing to the ring behind Dupree. As over as Cena was, RVD had him matched, so the crowd was split fairly evenly between the two. Dupree looked good early as he worked over Cena and RVD was sharp as well. I liked the strategy shown here, as the guys would rotate who was in the ring and the other two hung on the floor, staying fresh and waiting for eliminations. The pace was crisp and the crowd was into the match as it wore on. RVD had a cool stretch where he dropped great Frog Splashes on Booker and Dupree. RVD was the first to go down, and that swung the crowd fully behind Cena. Booker was kept strong here, but the match slowed down a bit when he locked in a resthold. The crowd would rally Cena and he would take Booker out and pick up the solid win. The finish was good and Cena did a really nice job selling the neck as Booker worked him over. This was a good opener that sagged a bit in the middle bit showed that Smackdown had some nice workers to carry a match like this and keep the crowd invested. Grade: 2.5

*** Backstage, Charlie Haas congratulates John Cena, which angers Kurt Angle. Angle takes his frustrations out on Haas, telling him that he is disappointed with how his former protégé had turned out. As punishment for his crossing the boss, Angle put Haas in a match with his heavy Luther Reigns and scheduled it next. ***

2) Luther Reigns (Matt Wiese) defeats Charlie Haas with the Reign of Terror at 7:11

Scott: Kurt Angle’s former Team Angle cohort is punished by the Smackdown GM’s new protégé. Reigns is just a big dude, pure and simple. I wonder how the writers saw something in Shelton Benjamin, but not in Charlie Haas? Benjamin went to Raw and immediately won two matches with Triple H, but Haas is fodder for this new guy. Very strange. The match is pretty bland, as Reigns is pretty green and it’s a sloppy power squash. At least Charlie has Jackie, who is particularly smoking hot tonight. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Kurt Angle rolls out to the ring his bodyguard Luther Reigns for a match that was just made minutes beforehand. Luther was overpowering and methodical as he beat on Haas, who was now a bit directionless after he and Rico dropped the tag belts. The crowd was pretty quiet here after having been hot for the opener. It was just a basic squash, with Haas only getting brief spurts of offense in. Reigns picks up a win in a match that really should have been on TV. Grade: 1

3) Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) defeats Chavo Guerrero, Jr. to retain WWE Cruiserweight Championship with a sunset flip at 19:45

Fun Fact: On 5/20, Chavo had to put his title on the line against Spike Dudley and his father. Classic would win the match and title after he collided with Spike and fell on top of his son. A week later, Classic showed that he was letting his title win go right to his head with a funny backstage segment. He then went out and defeated Akio with an assist from his son. On 6/10, Rey Mysterio got involved in the Guerrero’s family’s business by defeating Chavo in a match after interference from Classic backfired. On 6/17, Mysterio got a title shot and made quick work of Classic to regain his title. The next week, Chavo won a battle royal to get a rematch with Mysterio at the Bash.

Fun Fact II:
On June 15, Chavo Classic was fired for missing a live event two nights prior. Chavo had also had incident at a recent Cauliflower Alley Club event where he was intoxicated and accosted Verne Gagne, looking for a payoff from decades earlier. Figuring he wasn’t worth the headaches, WWE quickly cut him loose and had him job his title to Mysterio. Guerrero was contrite and admitted he blew a great job with a couple of stupid actions.

One of the other bright spots of SD in 2004 is this feud, which started back in February when Chavo robbed Rey of the Cruiserweight Title at No Way Out. After some silly nonsense involving Jacqueline and the title, we’re back to what we really want to see out of it. Rey is comparable to RVD in terms of a cult following with the crowd, but unlike RVD it seems the writers have a specific path they’re taking with him. Rey was the king of the Cruisers in WCW, and WWE is not straying from that path. One thing I like about Chavo is that he’s generally bigger than most of the other Cruiserweights, but he knows how to work with smaller guys without really making it seem like he shouldn’t be wrestling Cruisers. Here Chavo works Rey’s knee over for a good five-six minutes using the extra size he has. It was a good idea for this match to be almost twenty minutes considering the rest of the show, and the pace really picked up in the last five minutes. Rey goes for the West Coast Pop but Chavo reversed it into the one-legged crab. Rey sneaks a roll-up to retain, but it was the match of the night, better than their NWO affair. Grade: 4

Justin: These two men delivered a great match back in February and were looking to replicate that performance here. Chavo is now without his dad, which is a shame because Classic was pretty funny during his brief run. Mysterio is back on top of the Cruiserweight division and the belt always seemed more important when it was on Rey’s waist. The match had a basic start as both men worked the arm to try to gain an advantage. Chavo would gain control and turn his attention to Rey’s knee, slowly dissecting and breaking Rey down. The match told a good story as Rey was hobbled by Chavo’s attack and he had to find ways to fight his way back into the match. These two just had great chemistry out there and it showed in a great near fall off a Gory Bomb and a fantastic West Coast Pop reversal into a half crab by Chavo. The finish was solid too as Rey blocked a Gory Bomb and got a sunset flip for the win. This was well worked, but a bit slower and more methodical than their usual work. Grade: 3

4) Kenzo Suzuki defeats Billy Gunn (Monte Sop) with a backbreaker at 8:06

Fun Fact: This is Billy Gunn’s final PPV appearance. On November 1, Gunn was officially released from the promotion. At the time of his release only Undertaker and Shawn Michaels had been wrestling in WWE longer than he had. In a 2005 shoot interview, Gunn ripped into his former employers, especially his old DX running buddy Triple H. Gunn would hook up with TNA in 2005 and remain there until the end of 2009. During his TNA run, he hooked back up with his good friend Brian James, formerly known as Road Dogg. Following his release, Gunn continues to compete on the Independent circuit. Gunn’s final PPV record was 25-37. He was 2-9 at the Rumble, 1-3 at Wrestlemania, 6-0 at KOTR, 4-1 at Summerslam, 3-3 at Survivor Series, and 9-21 at other events.

Fun Fact II:
Kenzo Suzuki made his professional wrestling debut in Japan in 2000. He was the New Japan Rookie of the Year and stayed with the promotion through 2002. In 2003, he followed mentor Riki Choshu to World Japan but his run was short-lived as he quickly decided to move to the US. There are rumors that Suzuki was blackballed by World Japan because a student he was training died in the ring under his watch. After brief stays in MLW and TNA, Suzuki was signed by WWE. Early in 2004, promotional videos for a new character named Hirohito began airing on Raw. There was a quick backlash against the character before he even debuted, as the videos definitely intimated that he was based on Emperor Hirohito of Japan and many feared the gimmick would be a racist rehash of World War II politics. The idea was quickly scrapped and Suzuki was kept off of TV until he debuted on Smackdown on June 10. His wife Hiroko, who portrayed a geisha girl, accompanied him and he was carried to the ring on a sedan. On 6/24, Billy Gunn defeated Suzuki by disqualification when Hiroko threw salt in his eyes. That set up the rematch here.

You must be kidding. We go from a four-star affair between two awesome workers to an unknown Japanese gimmick and…the Assman. The lazy bastard goes for a fisherman’s suplex, and doesn’t bridge himself so his shoulders aren’t down too. I don’t know what the writers’ plans were for Suzuki, but if he had a big time cache of ability, putting him in the ring against this moron was not the way to go. Can we go back to Armageddon 2000 when Chris Benoit chewed this guy up and spit him out? If they’ve run out of tag team partners for him, then release him. They eventually do, so they must have listened to me. Cole & Tazz tried really hard to put this guy over but I can’t get over the fact that his PPV debut is with a guy that Shawn Michaels would have trouble putting over three stars. The crowd is totally crapping on this after the pretty good beginning to this show, and unfortunately there’s not much more to cheer for from here. Fortunately Kenzo cheats to win, and not a minute too soon. Ugh, that sucked. Grade: 1.5

Justin: After years of being pushed above his head relentlessly, I felt Billy Gunn had finally settled into a good jobber to the stars spot here. He was a good veteran name that could be used to elevate new stars. It is too bad that as soon as he got into this spot, he ended up being released five months later. I liked Suzuki’s look and thought he moved pretty smoothly for a bigger guy. His wife was good in her role as well and they worked well together as a team. Unfortunately, the crowd was not in the mood for another helping of squash so they are quiet once again. Kenzo would hook in an endless nervehold that completely killed the match. Kenzo gets the win but the match was flat, boring and just way too long for what they were trying to accomplish. This was another match that should have been on Smackdown and it felt like they were just trying to eat time. Kenzo would actually get on a roll after this show and be in a pretty good spot by the end of the year. Grade: .5

5) Sable (Rena Lesnar) defeats Torrie Wilson with a roll-up at 6:06

Fun Fact: This is Sable’s final PPV appearance. She left the promotion on August 10 per mutual agreement so she could spend more time with her family. After divorcing Marc Mero in 2004, Sable got engaged to Brock Lesnar. The engagement was broken off in early 2005, but renewed in 2006 and the two were later married. Sable’s final PPV record was 8-1, with her only loss coming to then-husband Mero at Over the Edge 1998. Sable will always be remembered as one of the original Divas that helped paved the way for the current crop on TV today.

Fun Fact II:
Sable didn’t like that Torrie was being portrayed as the host of the Bash and felt she should be involved as well. They got into a catfight backstage on the 6/24 Smackdown.

These two had their skirmishes during 2003, and the final confrontation is here. Tazz really digs in when he queries whether there will be some “catch as catch can” action going on. Clearly it isn’t but at least they’re both hot. They should have done some kind of gimmick match where they both had their bikinis on from earlier in the night while they were in the hot tubs. This match was a little longer than it needed to be, with a lot of posturing and then the botched ending when Sable rolled Torrie up and essentially “over-rolled her” and Torrie’s shoulders were off the mat. Wow yet another clusterfuck and what was a pretty good show to start is quietly sliding downward. Grade: 1

Justin: This was business as usual for these two in their never-ending story. Sable actually looked pretty good here as she worked stiff and landed some snug kicks. The match was going along fine until a long resthold killed it off. The finish was weak as well as Torrie’s shoulder was clearly off the mat, to the point that Cole and Tazz even mentioned it. Sable gets the win in her swan song as she heads home to take care of her fiancé Brock Lesnar. Sable has had a great run and along with Sunny and Marlena, she was definitely the standard bearer for the Diva role that has become a WWE fixture. Grade: .5

6) Mordecai (Kevin Fertig) defeats Bob Holly (Robert Howard) with a Crucifix Powerbomb at 6:21

Fun Fact: On the 6/24 Smackdown, Mordecai attacked Bob Holly backstage and after a brief brawl, Mordecai told Holly that he was going to crucify him.

Fun Fact II:
This is Mordecai’s final PPV appearance. Despite inferences of a feud with Eddie Guerrero, Mordecai was sent back to OVW in July and was released in mid-2005. He will be back soon afterwards, however, with a new gimmick and look.

Good god. Poor Mordecai. Another out of date boob who shouldn’t have still had a job takes on the Pale Undertaker. Similar to the Kenzo Suzuki situation, if the writers really wanted to put over Mordecai as a legit threat, they should have put him in against guys who would accept a squash to work for the better of the company. Hardcore Holly doesn’t care about anybody but himself, so instead we have a plain, boring match and Mordecai’s character quickly is lost in the crowd. I think the problem with the Mordecai character is that it didn’t get a slow build of squashes before some legitimate opponents. Instead Mordecai is thrown right into regular feuds and treated like just another guy. At least Holly took the loss but I think Mordecai’s bloom has already fallen off the rose. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Mordecai had been a steady force on Smackdown since his debut on May and had been issuing warnings against various superstars, including Eddie Guerrero. He also began referring to a higher power and vowed to crucify sinners. After jumping Holly the previous Thursday, this match was set up. Holly started with his usual stiff striking arsenal but Mordecai weather the storm. It was a simple brawl that again featured a lengthy resthold to further knock this crowd out of the show. The pace would pick up a bit towards the end and Mordecai did a nice spot where he reversed out of the Alabama Slam and dropped Holly with the crucifix powerbomb for the win. Mordecai was an interesting character and was decent enough in the ring, but this is final show as the gimmick was scrapped and he was sent back to developmental for more seasoning. Holly just keeps chugging along, adding another PPV loss on his resume. Grade: 1

7) John Bradshaw Layfield defeats Eddie Guerrero in a Bullrope Match to win WWE Championship at 21:11

Fun Fact: On 5/20, JBL came out and demanded he be given the WWE Championship after defeating Guerrero by disqualification. Eddie offered to give him a rematch that night, but GM Angle refused to grant it. Instead he made a six-man match, which ended with JBL pinning Eddie after an assault backstage and the massive blood loss from the night before had weakened him and he passed out. The next week it was announced that JBL’s rematch would come at the Bash and that he could choose the stipulation. Later that night, Angle said he was going to force Edie to sign a medical waiver before allowing him to compete again. A week later, JBL announced that the stipulation would be a Texas Bullrope match. On 6/10, a video package of JBL having a beauty day in New York City aired. He then arrived at the arena in his limo, but due to the stench in the air, he quickly got back inside and asked to be driven back to NYC. The limo driver turned around and revealed himself to be Eddie, who then proceeded to crash the limo into various things. A week later, it was revealed that JBL had been fired from his CNBC analyst job. After Eddie mocked him, JBL cut an intense and passionate promo cutting down the American media, Eddie and the people of America. The promo ended with a brawl between the two stars. They would brawl once more on 6/27 to ramp up the heat on their upcoming match.

Fun Fact II:
Despite being in the spot he had always dreamed of, Eddie Guerrero was beginning to crack under the pressure of being the top dog of the Smackdown brand. Factoring in Eddie’s drug-laden past, for the sake of his health and because Vince wanted to give JBL the gold, Eddie drops the title here despite being massively over as Champion.

Fun Fact III:
On June 5, JBL was wrestling Guerrero in Munich, Germany. As a way to get cheap heat, JBL goose-stepped in the ring, invoking memories of the Nazis. Later that week, CNBC, who had recently hired JBL away from Fox News as an analyst, fired him due to his antics. JBL and WWE got a lot of negative press from the incident, but Vince came to JBL’s defense on the issue and it was soon dropped on a mainstream level.

After their big time brawl at Judgment Day, Eddie and the former Acolyte rematch in JBL’s specialty. I didn’t know that was his specialty since I can’t remember the number of times he actually wrestled in one. With the last few matches being real dogs, this one kind of had to deliver for the show to not be a complete bomb. It was still a pretty good brawl and both guys brought their A-game to the dance, however with the stipulation and both guys dragging each other around with a rope it slowed things down at times. I did like the concept of the lights at each corner. I’m surprised other promotions throughout the years didn’t come up with that concept. There were a couple of nice spots in this match: JBL choking Eddie upside down while Eddie was in the Tree of Woe, and JBL powerbombing Eddie through the Spanish announcers table. Now there were rumblings that Eddie was extremely stressed out over being Champion because Smackdown’s ratings were not very good and the product in general was not as good as the year before, on Smackdown, not WWE in general. As I mentioned in previous reviews, Eddie was rewarded for his hard work over the years with a main event run. His elevation left a gaping hole in the mid-card, and the WWE should take the blame for filling the mid-card with Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn, rather than good workers. However Eddie prided himself on being the best and holding the brand’s title means extra responsibility. So the rumor was that Eddie wanted to relinquish the title and take that burden off of him. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, but the ending was somewhat of a shock. Eddie and JBL are following each other from one corner to the next and are tied at three. At the fourth corner JBL is battling to touch it while Eddie is pulling on the rope. Eddie decides to try and jump over JBL to touch the final turnbuckle, and in normal speed he appears to do that and retain his title. His music starts playing, when suddenly GM Kurt Angle comes down the ramp with his new charge Luther Reigns. Angle wants the replay shown and clearly when Eddie jumped into the corner he pushed JBL into the corner also, and JBL’s shoulder touched the turnbuckle before Eddie’s hand. Thus Angle reversed the decision and the former beer-swilling member of the Corporate Ministry is the new WWE Champion. I was a little stunned when I first watched because I thought this was JBL’s testing ground to build his main event credibility and then perhaps a title run later on down the line. However winning just three months after officially turning heel and becoming a main eventer? That was quite a shock, which may feed into the rumors about Eddie volunteering to drop the strap. I still don’t believe them, but regardless Eddie’s memorable title run is over, and now the question remains: How long does this JBL title run last? The length of it is even a bigger shock than the win itself. As for this match, it was pretty good but maybe a notch below their first match in May. Grade: 3

Justin: Eddie Guerrero enters his third PPV as champion and is still over big time with the fans. These two put on an unexpected bloody war in May and now have a gimmick added in to try to top it. This had a big match feel to it, but JBL still didn’t seem like a legit threat and I don’t think too many people actually thought he was going to pull out the win here. I liked how both men used the Bullrope here as they worked it into the flow of the match instead of letting the gimmick dictate their pace, specifically JBL who was improving in his dominant role. The crowd was really into Eddie here, rallying him back every time JBL took control. The drama continued to build, and the crowd popped when Eddie crushed JBL with a sickening chair shot, seemingly obtaining revenge for the steel he ate in May. And just like Eddie, JBL struck a gusher afterwards. Eddie followed that up with a stiff Frog Splash but couldn’t get the win. I really thought they kept a nice pace for using a gimmick that normally hamstrung the competitors. One neat spot I dug was JBL rolling to the floor to block Eddie from touching the fourth corner. They had some good table spots too with Eddie throwing JBL through one off the ropes and JBL drilling Eddie through one with a stiff powerbomb. Both men showed good psychology in stopping the other and it led to a fun war. It may seem like the finish was muddied but I thought it was an effective swerve. JBL clearly touched the corner first so it wasn’t like he cheated Eddie out of the belt. The way they did it just added more heat to both Angle and JBL. On a whole this was a great brawl and within that twenty-minute span JBL took a big step towards legitimacy. Eddie’s dream title run has come to end, but he delivered a lot of great moments and matches during that time. JBL is now on top of Smackdown and would end up as one of the most controversial and divisive champions in WWE history. Grade: 4

8) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats the Dudley Boys in a Handicap Match when he pins D-Von Dudley (Devon Hughes) with a Tombstone at 14:38

Fun Fact: On 5/27, Paul Heyman helped the Dudleys win a match with Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio. Backstage, he confronted the Dudleys and told them that while they had been successful, they had never risen to main event levels and that they had to pinpoint and make an impact against a victim to get there. Later that night, the Dudleys kidnapped Paul Bearer and drove off with him. The next week, Undertaker was wrestling Booker T. when Paul Heyman came out to taunt Taker about Bearer’s disappearance. Taker attacked Heyman but the Dudleys saved him. Heyman then told Taker that he could either join their alliance or never see Bearer again. On 6/10, Heyman called Taker to the ring and Taker submitted to him and dropped to one knee when Heyman held up Bearer’s urn. On 6/17, the Dudleys defeated Charlie Haas & Rico to regain the WWE Tag Titles. Later that night, Heyman took credit for the Dudleys victory and then said he controlled Undertaker’s conscience and proclaimed that he would train the big dog. He then explained the concrete crypt rules for the Bash. Heyman told Undertaker that he had to do the right thing at the PPV or else Bearer would be buried in the concrete.

Fun Fact II:
This is Paul Bearer’s final PPV appearance. After his concrete burial, Bearer was taken off TV and was added to the booking team until his contract ran out in April 2005. He signed a new deal in June to keep him around to make special appearance and be used for merchandising. Bearer continued on his life-saving diet and as of 2007 it was reported that he lost over 240 pounds. Bearer would run his own independent promotion for a couple of years before closing down shop to focus on his funeral parlor business.

Fun Fact III:
After winning the match, Undertaker walked over to the cement truck and pulled the lever that sent cement into the crypt, completely burying Paul Bearer and effectively killing him. Bearer actually was not at the event as WWE had recorded footage of him in the crypt before the event. During the actual event, there was a stunt double in the crypt and only the TV audience could only him. This concrete filled crypt ended the PPV and WWE received complaints as they had basically shown a murder. The live audience saw differently though, as Bearer surfaced for air and was carried out on a stretcher. On the following Smackdown the next week, we were told Bearer was alive, but very injured. Adding to the follies, during the rehearsal taping earlier in the day of the Bash, with Undertaker ad-libbing his parts and only half of the stunt complete inside the vacant arena, footage was accidentally leaked onto the internet and actually broadcast live by accident in numerous TV markets, tipping off the eventual outcome of the show.

So, after a pretty good match and a surprise title change we come to this. And after the time of this writing, April 2010, I still have no idea what the whole point of this storyline was. Paul Heyman was blackmailing Taker into joining his little group by killing Paul Bearer in a crypt of cement? In the immortal words of Triple H’s sign in 1997, “Who booked this crap?” I guess it was a thrown together storyline to get Taker on the show since he really was the brand’s flagship character and you can’t really have a show without him when the cupboard is fairly bare. So they come up with this convoluted nonsense about Paul Bearer being kidnapped and Heyman taking control of the urn. Now look, its 2004. Do we still have to suspend disbelief that Taker actually follows the power of the urn? This isn’t 1995, as much as we love the Undertaker character and can suspend disbelief about that for the marks inside of us. Then there’s the Paul Bearer character in general. They really didn’t need a storyline hook to take him off camera. He does the one night shot at Wrestlemania to bring the Deadman back and that’s it. He doesn’t come back and nobody asks any questions. Instead we come up with this convoluted nonsense? On top of the fact no one cares about the Dudleys anymore and they really shouldn’t strike fear into the Undertaker. The match is an abysmal mess, as three big guys lumber all around and not really do much. Then on top of it after he defeats the Dudleys, he lets the cement go and “kill” Paul Bearer anyway? What? And that’s not a Stone Cold What, but a “I have no clue what’s going on” What. This reminds me of another Undertaker main event I’d like to forget. Does anyone remember Summerslam 1994, when we had a awesome world title match, followed by an Undertaker main event that was a complete disaster? Ten years later and it happened again. This show, which had some hits and misses throughout the way, ends on a lousy and confusing note. Grade: 1

Justin: There have been some curious main events on PPVs past, but this may be one of the most bizarre main events in wrestling history. The Dudleys make the jump up to the main event picture and since our last outing, they turned heel, won gold and hooked up with Paul Heyman. Heyman wanted to control Smackdown, and decided to use Undertaker to accomplish that goal. His goons kidnapped Paul Bearer and now he is trapped in a crypt, staring death in the face. Heyman would demonstrate the cement truck lever and Bubba Ray would give Taker a chance to lie down and do the right thing. Taker would lie down but it was just to lure Bubba in as he grabbed him around the neck and sat up quickly. The match was quite disjointed as they brawled around the ring while Heyman would provide constant distraction by adding more cement to the crypt. As the cement continued to fill the crypt, Bearer kept telling himself that Taker would come save him. As Taker continued to attack, Heyman decided to end things by filling up the tank, but Bubba Ray ran over and stopped him because they wanted to pin Taker for the win. That was just bad news for everyone as the three men continued their flat brawl with no flow or crowd heat at all. Heyman’s antics were the only bright spot here as he showed he really was a great on screen character. After all, he was taking an awful idea and running with it and carrying this whole thing on his back. The Tombstone finish was cool but it couldn’t save this plodding mess. Heyman was pissed that Taker didn’t do the right thing, but Taker would chase him off before he could pull the lever. Instead, Taker looked around and pulled the lever himself, killing off his friend. The finish to the show was confusing and pretty stupid. The whole angle didn’t make much sense other than Heyman’s desire for control. Paul Bearer is now gone and Taker is back on his own. One big thing to come out of this mess was that the Dudleys were now heels and back on top of the tag team mountain. Grade: 1

Final Analysis:

Scott: When I first put the DVD for this show in again, I liked how it started. The four-Way match for the US title was pretty good as John Cena showed his mettle against three different types of opponents. Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero put on a fantastic big man-little man Cruiserweight Title match. Then the run of bad matches starts, as we have a pitiful Torrie/Sable match, and more Billy Gunn and Hardcore Holly garbage. The title match brought the show back a little, but the main event was an utter disaster from a workrate and a storyline viewpoint. Smackdown really showed their vulnerability in the roster with this show, which proved that there was no foresight into the roster moves that they made at the start of the year. I hate beating a dead horse, but with Chris Benoit on Raw and Eddie moved to the top of the card the Smackdown heads needed to fill those holes and they filled them with…Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn. Wow that took a lot of foresight. The Mordecai character was ruined because instead of treating him like the Undertaker, which was invincible and foreboding, they treated him like just a regular guy with a gimmick. When we get to the No Mercy review I’ll give my theory as to how they could have really enhanced and beefed up the Mordecai character. Another point I want to get out is that these secondary shows are starting to feel like the secondary shows in 1995 and 1996. Look at the attendance. 6,500 people? Raw’s PPV next month has a similar total. There’s another sign that the overall product was feeling a dip as they were getting smaller and smaller PPV house gates. The house show attendance was atrocious as WWE doesn’t even treat them like special shows anymore so no one will spend the money to go. Sadly, it seems this show is a microcosm of Smackdown’s problems in 2004: A lack of star power and some pretty weak booking led to a show with very few highs. Rey and Chavo saved this show from really being a dud but I may be even stretching with this grade. Final Grade: C-

Justin: This was an interesting outing as the pieces for the framework of a solid PPV were there, but the filler around it really dragged things down. The US Title opener was well done and John Cena picks up another big win. Rey and Chavo delivered another solid outing, as did JBL and Eddie. The rest of the card was just sort of there and was full of matches that were better suited for TV. The JBL era is upon us and many fans weren’t happy with the shift in direction. However, he was Vince’s current pet project and Eddie was crumbling under the pressure of being Champion, so they pull the trigger with a bloody brawl and some antics by Kurt Angle. I don’t have left to say about the disastrous main event, so we will leave that be for now. All that matters is that after a really good title match, the PPV ends on a sour note and the memory of that debacle really drags down what could have been a decent show. Final Grade: D+

MVP: Eddie Guerrero & John Bradshaw Layfield
Runner Up: Rey Mysterio & Chavo Guerrero
Non MVP: Main Event
Runner Up: Sable & Torrie Wilson

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