Written By: Alexander Settee
The Bash 2009, June 28, 2009, Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
Announcers: The teams of: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross & Todd Grisham, and Josh Matthews & Matt Striker
On to The Bash now, which is apparently no longer Great, nor American, and also seems like it was a pretty much forgotten show in the wake of a three hour Raw, and Donald Trump’s commercial free Raw, both of which got plenty of hype. Perhaps then it’s no coincidence that the two matches I’m most looking forward to, which would be Jericho/Mysterio and Punk/Hardy, are both from Smackdown, which seems like a forgotten show itself lately, and has done way better than Raw lately in terms of quality. With the possible exception of Miz/Cena, because it will be interesting to see how Miz is portrayed in an actual match with a top guy, nothing else really has me excited, so let’s see what we get.
Opening Match, ECW Championship Scramble: Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Fit Finlay vs. Tommy Dreamer © vs. Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas)
I seem to be in the minority, but I don’t hate the Scramble Match concept. Obviously one on one is preferable to anything, but my biggest complaint about Unforgiven last year was seeing three of them in one night. ECW’s was the best one on that show, and here they get another shot at it, so it could be alright. They have cut down on the time a bit by having three minute intervals between entrances, with only the final period after the last guy enters being five minutes, but otherwise the rules are the same. Christian and Swagger start. Swagger pounds him and gets a modified powerslam for 2. They go back and forth for a bit with nothing too exciting happening. Christian gets a top rope dropkick for 1 just as Fit Finlay is the third guy in. He beats on both guys and gets a senton on Christian for 2. Christian comes back with an elbow off the 2nd rope for 2. After a brief brawl on the floor, Swagger rakes Finlay’s bad eye and rolls him up for 3 to become the “current” champion. Christian gets a couple of near falls on Swagger around a sequence of trading finisher tries. Swagger gets him with a Rock Bottom as the actual champion Tommy Dreamer is entrant number four. He gets a bulldog on Swagger and a spinebuster on Christian for 2. He continues dominating until Swagger tosses him and rams him to the table. Finlay comes in and posts him though. Back in, he gets the Celtic Cross and that gets 3 to give Finlay the current Title. Dreamer gets Christian on the top rope, but gets knocked back. Now Swagger tries a superplex on him, but can’t get it until Mark Henry comes out as the last guy in and give him an assist. They have an on screen countdown for the final period going now. Dreamer comes off the top on Henry but gets caught in the World’s Strongest Slam and pinned to make Henry the champ. They do the big dive spot where everyone takes a turn jumping to the floor. Henry teases it, but Swagger nails him, and then connects with a Vader Bomb for 3 to take the Title again. Now Swagger gets defensive, just trying to break up other pinning attempts. Christian gets him with the Killswitch though, but only gets 2 as Dreamer saves. Dreamer then gets Christian with a DDT for 3 to get the Title back. The finish sees several nearfalls, but they always get broken up until the 14:00 time limit expires at 14:47. Dreamer is shown as the “new” champion on the graphic, but according to their own rules, none of those other Title changes count, so as far as history goes, it should say that he simply retains. This was about like I expected, solid, but definitely not blow away. **1/2
Edge visits with a now on probation Teddy Long to complain about not being booked tonight. He wants the Punk/Hardy match to become a three way, but Long is having none of it. Edge leaves after threatening to get Long fired.
Intercontinental Championship vs. Mask Match: Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.
It’s far too soon for this program to be culminating, but other than that, this is one of the better things they’ve had going recently. Jericho tries for the mask right away, but no dice. Rey takes him to the floor with a rana, and then tries a baseball slide, but get caught and thrown to the barrier. Back in, slingshot to the ropes and a suplex get 2 for Jericho. He works Rey over, but gets knocked back off the top rope. Rey gets a vertical bodypress, but Jericho comes right back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. After being sent out, Rey slips out of a suplex and fires away, but gets nailed again. Dropkick gets 2 for Jericho. Rey then avoids a charge, and Jericho goes out to the floor. Dive off the top hits, and then he gets Jericho in for a springboard bodypress for 2. Springboard moonsault also gets 2, but he gets caught on a second try and powerslammed for 2. Jericho misses a charge again and hits the post and now Rey does get another moonsault for 2. Rana is countered to the Walls, but Rey struggles to the ropes to what is actually a mixed reaction. Rey knocks him to the apron, but misses the 619. Jericho hits a clothesline and goes up, but Rey meets him there. Rey tries a rana, but Jericho counters to a powerbomb for 2 in spite of putting his feet on the ropes. Lionsault misses, and Rey cradles him for 2. He sets up the 619 and goes for it. Jericho catches him, but Rey still manages a DDT for 2. Rey comes off, but gets hit with the Codebreaker for another 2. Jericho goes up, but gets knocked down. Dropkick leads to the 619, but on the splash, Rey gets caught and hooked in the Walls again. He breaks it, but gets cradled for 2, which they reverse and reverse back for more near falls. Now Jericho rips the mask off, but Rey has a second one underneath. With Jericho confused, Rey nails an ensiguiri and the 619. Springboard splash follows and that gets the 3 count at 15:43. Rey wins back the IC Title and holds on to his mask. Best thing on the show, which no one really expected it to be anything but. ****
Now Jericho pleads his case to Teddy Long and wants his rematch tonight, but Teddy tells him where to go. Jericho also threatens to have him fired.
No Disqualification or Countout Match: Great Khali (w/Ranjan Singh) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph has picked up two wins over Khali in recent weeks, one by DQ and one by countout, so those rules are waived tonight. Dolph tries using speed to stick and move, but soon enough gets caught and chopped down. He tries going for the knee, but gets dumped. Khali clotheslines him on the floor, but Dolph then avoids a chop and Khali hits the post. Dolph the hits a dropkick from the apron. Khali chops him from the floor to knock him back in. He misses a boot though and that allows Dolph to grab a chair, with which he nails Khali in the leg. He then gets a Fameasser, but only gets 1 from it. To a front facelock, but Khali just tosses him right off. At this point, Kane, who had the forethought to let both the sound guy and pyro technician know that he would be doing a run in at this exact moment, comes out and beats Khali down with the chair. After Kane leaves, Dolph comes back in and covers for 3 at 5:00. Well, that does exactly nothing for Dolph Ziggler, and sets up a new feud that has the potential to produce some of the worst matches of the year. All in all, this was a waste of time. DUD
Now Vince McMahon comes to see Teddy Long and justifies his reasoning for placing him on probation. Apparently he’s accomplished nothing, his leadership is lacking, and Vince would rather shoot himself then be stuck in a foxhole with him.
Unified Tag Team Championship Match: Carlito & Primo Colon vs. Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes vs. Edge & Chris Jericho
Here’s a fun fact for you. This is the fist Tag Team Title match on PPV since last September at Unforgiven. Kinda makes you wonder why they bother at all, although I suppose that unifying the Titles is a step in the right direction. So before our scheduled match can get underway, Long comes out and announces his decision to add a Smackdown team of Edge and Chris Jericho to this match, because I guess that caving under pressure is somehow considered accomplishing something in the WWE Universe. Carlito and Dibiase start with Carlito getting a backflip into a clothesline. Tag Primo and they do a drop toehold/headbutt combo for 2. Jericho steals the tag from Dibiase, but Rhodes steals it right back. The story is that the Colons and Legacy resent Edge and Jericho being added, so they don’t want to let them in. Dibiase gets tagged back in, but Primo gets him with a kick and legdrop for 2. Crowd is disappointed that Edge’s partner is not Christian as they chant both “We want Christian” and “Edge and Christian” throughout the match. That’s a card they have up their sleeves for one day I guess, but I like this Edge/Jericho as a team idea for now. Tag to Carlito and the champs get a double dropkick for 2. The Colons and Legacy keep trading off with no one really controlling. At one point Edge manage to steal a tag, but like Jericho he gets it stolen right back. Dibiase suplexes Primo and drops some elbows for 2. Primo rolls him up for 2, but then Dibiase gets the tag to Rhodes. Rhodes gets a dropkick for 2 and a rollup for another 2. They hold Primo in their corner for a bit. Edge actually runs in and breaks up a submission move at one point. Finally Primo manages to backdrop Dibiase to the floor. He makes the cold tag to Carlito, who springboards in onto Rhodes. A kneelift followed by a not so nice looking springboard elbow gets 2. It breaks down into a four way brawl now. In the melee, Jericho hits a Codebreaker on Primo. Carlito tosses Jericho and nails Edge. Rhodes misses a charge to the corner at Carlito though, and that lets Edge take the tag from him just before Carlito gets the Backcracker on him. Carlito covers Rhodes, but he’s not the legal man. Edge spears Carlito, covers, and gets the 3 count at 9:39. Edge and Jericho are the new Champs, which is a good bit of temporary elevation for the belts if nothing else, and as I said, I like the potential of them as a team. The match however, wasn’t anything special. *
Randy Orton meets Rhodes and Dibiase backstage and lets them know that what just happened doesn’t matter because the most important this is that he holds on to his Title later on. Dibiase objects to being considered nothing more then Orton’s lackey and storms off. Rhodes follows in hopes of talking some sense into him.
Women’s Championship Match: Melina vs. Michelle McCool (w/Alicia Fox)
Not really sure if there’s an issue behind this one, and I don’t care to look it up either, so we’ll just get on with it. McCool pounds her to start and tries a throat toss, but Melina rolls through and hits some punches. Backdrop and a couple of clotheslines get 1 for Melina before McCool dropkicks her in the leg. She goes to work on that for quite awhile, including stomping it between the ring and the steps. That gets a 2 count. Boot in the corner misses and Melina fights back, but the knee gives out. McCool clips it and sets up the Faithbreaker, but Melina uses a headscissors to stop it. They trade kicks which gets each of them a 2 count. McCool gets her on top, but gets shoved down. Melina then gets a faceplant for 2 as Fox gets McCool’s foot on the ropes. Melina dropkicks her through the ropes, but then takes a big boot. Faithbreaker hits this time and gets the 3 count at 6:36. McCool wins the Women’s title in a nothing match. *
World Heavyweight Championship Match: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
This is here as a result of Extreme Rules where Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to take the Title that Hardy had just won from Edge in a hard fought ladder match. Punk is pretty clearly having a good time going heel, so that character should be fun going forward. He gives an early clean break, a signature spot of anyone who’s playing that they’re in denial of a heel turn. A bit of trading leads to a GTS attempt, but Hardy rolls him up instead for 2. Twist is blocked, but Punk still gets backdropped to the floor. Hardy hits a dive, but misses Poetry in Motion off the stairs. Punk is happy to try for a countout win, but Hardy just beats it in. Punk works over the back and gets a backbreaker for 2. After a slam, an elbow misses, as does a charge in the corner and Hardy hits Whisper in the Wind for 2. Three clotheslines connect, and a legdrop followed by a seated dropkick get 2. He goes up, but Punk rolls to the floor, so Hardy just clotheslines him off the apron. Back in, Punk catches him on the seated dropkick in the corner and then connects with high knees and kicks. Bulldog gets a 2 count. He hits more kicks, but Hardy then gets the Twist of Fate out of nowhere. He goes up, but the Swanton misses. Punk sets up the GTS, but gets small packaged for 2. Punk sets it up again, but Hardy avoids it again and hits another Twist of Fate. This time the Swanton hits, and gets the 3 count. The ref immediately calls it off though as he notices Punk’s foot underneath the ropes. Hardy argues the point, but the match continues. Another Twist of Fate is countered to a GTS try, but Hardy hits some elbows to escape. Punk sells an eye injury, and the ref moves in to check on it. Then, a supposedly blinded Punk, “accidentally” kicks the ref, who calls for the disqualification at 14:53. Hardy wins, but Punk keeps the Title. Hardy confronts, and even attacks Punk after the decision with Punk pleading innocence. Good stuff here and I like where they’re going with Punk as a heel. ***
Meanwhile, The Colons confront Teddy Long, who justifies himself by saying that he had to do something to keep his job.
Orton tries to call Cody for an update on whether he and Ted will be there for him, but can’t get a hold of him. He looks worried.
The Miz vs. John Cena
So, The Miz makes it to a semi main event on PPV, huh? The buildup here has been interesting, but how this match goes will determine whether it was worthwhile or not. Cena starts out by taking him down at will and controlling him easily. He gets a hiptoss, and even though he puts his head down on an Irish whip, he no sells Miz’s kick. Miz runs, and Cena chases, but Miz manages to catch him coming in and drop him on the ropes. He works Cena over, but no one buys his nearfalls because they all come from basic stuff like a double axhandle, suplex, and clothesline. Does he even have an actual finishing move? Anyways, Cena makes the comeback, hitting two shoulderblocks and the Protobomb to set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He then gets the Attitude Adjustment, but that’s not enough, so he hooks the STF and gets the submission at 5:40. Remember John Cena’s debut way back when? He answered a challenge from Kurt Angle, and although he lost the match, he did so in a way where they still put him over, and if they were serious about doing something with Miz, I think that’s what they should have gone for here. I understand that’s a big “if”, but if that’s not the case, then why did they bother with this program at all? ½*
Main Event, WWE Championship Three Stages of Hell Match: Randy Orton vs. Triple H
Yes, the feud continues, this time with a three match series. If this were a great feud, that would be one thing, but seriously, it’s time to move on.
First Fall: We start out with a Wrestling Match, which is a crazy concept if there ever was one. Slugfest kicks things off with Orton then getting a shoulderblock, but running into a high knee. HHH gets a clothesline, but runs into a boot. Orton wastes no further time in going after the leg that HHH is still selling from the Last Man Standing Match on Monday. HHH blocks a shot to the post and hits a suplex for 2. Pedigree is tried, but Orton is right back on the leg. RKO is avoided and HHH comes back with a spinebuster, but he’s still selling the leg. Orton gets a neckbreaker and HHH rolls to the floor. While there, HHH grabs a chair, which he nails Orton with to draw the disqualification at 4:52. Orton 1 HHH 0
Second Fall: This one is Falls Count Anywhere, so HHH just keeps beating him with the chair until he rolls out, and then hits a Pedigree on the floor for the 3 count at 6:19. Orton 1 HHH 1 The announcers, to their credit, actually provide us with a plausible explanation of how the match has gone so far: HHH, due to his injured leg, realized that he would never be able to hang with Orton in a straight up match, so he sacrificed that first fall knowing that the beating he would lay down would allow him to easily take it right back in the second fall. Good enough for me.
Third Fall: Our deciding fall is a Stretcher Match, which by WWE rules means that you must place your opponent on the stretcher and wheel it over the finish line that has been placed at the top of the stage. HHH gets him on it right away, but Orton gets off in time, running the stretcher into HHH’s leg in the process. They fight over the barrier and brawl into the crowd which is the classic Attitude Era method of killing time in a big match without actually having to do anything. They eventually make their way back and HHH gets whipped to the stairs. Orton then gets the stairs in the ring, but HHH drop toes him and he falls on them face first. HHH nails Orton with the stairs and gets him on the stretcher. He wheels Orton up the ramp, but Orton fights back and they end up rolling back down and crashing into the barrier. Orton gets the hanging DDT off the stretcher, but misses the punt and ends up kicking the stretcher. Pedigree is tried, but Orton backdrops him onto the stretcher. Now Orton wheels him up, but HHH gets off in time. They’re at the top of the stage now, where the RKO misses, but the Pedigree hits. HHH has it won, but Cody Rhodes appears and blocks the stretcher from making it across the line. HHH disposes of him in pretty easy fashion and turns his attention back to Orton, but after teasing dissention earlier, Ted Dibiase returns to attack HHH as well. HHH does just fine against both guys for a bit, but finally the numbers catch up and they beat him down. They go to help Orton up, but HHH has another trick up his sleeve: A sledge hammer hidden below the stage. He uses it to take out Rhodes and Dibiase, but Orton grabs the piece of stage HHH pulled up to get it and nails him with that. HHH lands on the stretcher and Orton pulls it about a foot to cross the line for the win at 21:22. But if you thought that two major gimmick matches in the span of six days would bring this feud to an end, well you could not be more wrong my friend. HHH attacks as Orton poses with the belt and leaves him laying. Oh, and the match that we paid for here tonight was significantly worse then the one we got for free on Raw. **
Ok, so that’s The Bash. Jericho/Mysterio is easily the best thing on the show, and while it’s kinda too bad that feud is over, I like where they can go with he and Edge as a team. Out of out top three matches, only one even comes close to a level I would expect from matches in those positions. The Smackdown Title scene looks to have the most potential in the short term here as they have some guys who are new to the top of the cards and an interesting Champion in CM Punk, while over on Raw it’s the same old HHH battling the same old Randy Orton, now with the same old John Cena thrown in to make it the same old three way. For this show itself I didn’t like the last two matches, and as good as Jericho/Mysterio was, there’s just too much suck on the rest of the show to go anywhere but Thumbs Down, and with the exception of said Jericho/Mysterio match, there’s nothing here really worth tracking down.