WWE Great American Bash 2006 7/23/2006

July 23, 2006
Conseco Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN
Attendance: 9,750
Buy Rate: .58
Announcers: Michael Cole & John Bradshaw Layfield

Dark Match

Funaki defeats Simon Dean (Mike Bucci)

Pay Per View

Fun Fact: Just prior to this PPV, reports came out that three Smackdown stars, Great Khali, Bobby Lashley and Super Crazy, were being forced to the sidelines due to elevated liver enzymes that showed up in their Wellness tests. It was a major blow to the brand as all three stars were set to compete on this show, and Lashley and Khali were set to play major roles. Rumors began to swirl as to reasons why enzyme levels would be elevated, with steroids usually being claimed as the culprit. The follow-up tests came back clean and all three men would be back in action by August. We will go over the affect this had on the individual matches as we go through the rest of the show.

Fun Fact II:
This is Indiana’s third PPV, and first in ten years since IYH: Buried Alive in 10/96.

1) Brian Kendrick & Paul London defeat The Pitbulls to retain WWE Tag Team Titles when Kendrick pinned Kid Kash (David Cash) with a sunset flip off the top rope at 13:30

Fun Fact: The Pitbulls consisted of Jamie Noble and Kid Kash, who had begun teaming back in May. They adopted the old ECW gimmick and began wearing dog collars to the ring, officially debuting as the Pitbulls on 6/30. They would remain a unit until Kid Kash was released on 9/27. After his release, Kash has returned to the Indy scene, including a brief return to TNA in 2010. His final WWE PPV Record is 1-4.

Fun Fact II:
On 7/14, Jamie Noble pinned Paul London and on 7/21, Kid Kash picked up a victory over Brian Kendrick, giving the challengers momentum for this title match.

Scott:
One thing I will say about the Smackdown PPVs, they always pick the right combo to start things off. Paul London and Brian Kendrick have been on fire since winning the Tag Titles and the best thing that the SD bookers have done is find some great complements to these guys. So take two floundering mid-card cruiserweights and put them together. I like these guys, including their swank matching tights with chains and pitbulls on them. The pacing is solid as even with four small quick guys, the spots are stiff and loud. I can’t believe it’s been ten years since the last time Indianapolis hosted a PPV. It’s a solid Midwest city with an updated arena, yet this is the first PPV since 1996. Anyway this match is getting better by the second, as London & Kendrick counter the pounding, grinding work of the Pitbulls with their aerial strikes in and out of the ring. Pitbulls dictated the pace for the most part with big time strikes and chops. They almost are wrestling like ECW’s Pitbulls of the 90s, minus about seventy pounds per guy. London’s been the face in peril for most of the match until he finally gets the tag to Kendrick who goes crazy. One match into his PPV career and I’m already loving JBL on commentary. He’s fair, leaning to the heels, but fair and knowledgeable. Kendrick carries this match for a while and I’m really enjoying it. The champs win it with the drop kick/sunset flip combo to retain their titles. That was a great opener to fire things up. Grade: 3.5

Justin: In a refreshing concept that could have really vaulted the Smackdown tag division, it looked like the creative team was starting to filter their overabundance of cruiserweights into teams to pad the division. And one of those teams that really gelled nicely was the new version of the Pitbulls. This was an even match, filled with fluid offense and great teamwork by all four teams, leading to a hot start. The champs were really great here, breaking out a sweet double plancha through the ropes into the challengers. The action continued non-stop, with crisp offense that included a stiff powerbomb and well-worked near falls that fed into the classic tag style they were going for. Kendrick and London would eventually pick up the win in a nice finish, closing out this great opener. I really don’t have much to say here besides gushing superlatives, because the action was balls out and really got the crowd going. London and Kendrick were proving to be great champs that could deliver tremendous PPV matches each month. Grade: 3.5

*** Backstage, Great Khali wants to find Undertaker to take him out before their match, but Daivari implores him to wait. Back in the ring, Teddy Long announces that Bobby Lashley would not be able to compete in his match due to elevated liver enzymes. Lashley comes out, claiming he can still wrestle but Teddy refuses to clear him and reveals that Finlay will instead defend the US Title against his fellow King’s court lackey, William Regal. ***

2) Finlay defeats William Regal (Darren Matthews) to retain Unites States Title after hitting Regal with Regal’s boot at 13:51

Fun Fact: On 5/26, Bobby Lashley defeated John Bradshaw Layfield to win the US Title. The next week, Lashley pinned King Booker in a non-title match. After the bout, Booker, Finlay and Regal assaulted Lashley and forced him to kiss Booker’s feet. On 6/9, William Regal was bragging about the previous week’s beatdown but was interrupted by a Lashley attack. Teddy Long then announced that the two men would fight and if Lashley won, he would get a match with Booker. Lashley would win the bout and his match with Booker was set for the next week. The following week, Regal and Finlay jumped Lashley on his way to the ring, causing the match to be delayed. Finally, in the main event, Lashley picked up a clean, hard fought win over the King. On 6/23, Booker received another match with Lashley and this one ended in DQ when Finlay and Regal got involved. After the bout, Booker told Teddy Long that he would never fight Lashley again, but Long disagreed and made a cage match between the two for the next week. On 6/30, Lashley would win the cage match, finally ending his long feud with Booker. However, Lashley would still have his issues with Booker’s court as, on 7/7, it was announced that he would defend his US Title against Regal at the Bash. Unfortunately for Lashley, he wouldn’t make it to the PPV as champ because Finlay would steal his title with the aid of his shillelagh on 7/14. The next week, Lashley lost his rematch by DQ when Regal got involved. Lashley was set for a rematch here, but his liver enzyme issue knocked him out.

Fun Fact II: After winning King of the Ring, Booker adapted the King persona and really took it to another level. He began using an English accent, wore his robe and crown everywhere and formed his own court, which consisted of his wife Queen Sharmell and his new muscle, William Regal and Finlay.

Fun Fact III:
Beginning on 5/26, a mysterious little leprechaun began appearing from under the ring and aiding Finlay in his matches. In a funny twist, Finlay would also abuse the little guy, kicking and throwing him around with reckless abandon, often shoving him back under the apron. The leprechaun would be called Little Bastard, as coined by Michael Cole on commentary. Indy wrestler Dylan Postl portrayed Little Bastard. Prior to signing with WWE in May, Postl spent time in NWA Wisconsin as Shortstack.

Scott: We have our first Liver Enzyme casualty as Bobby Lashley loses his United States Championship match for the night, and the champion Finlay wants a forfeit. Instead GM Teddy Long decides to let two members of King Booker’s court to face each other for the US Title. Now on paper this match should be incredible. We have two European brawlers who have met in the past and probably forearmed the shit out of each other. Cauliflower ears, broken noses and cheekbones have marked their past wars. Now in the ring we also know we’re going to get a great stiff battle of two potato throwers. Unfortunately you have two heels in the ring that were just bashing the babyface Lashley, so regardless of how good the match is the crowd couldn’t care less. Having Finlay’s crazy leprechaun around ringside was a sad attempt to try and get any energy from the crowd, but it wasn’t working. Way too much leprechaun interference and the lack of a popular guy make this match much flatter than it could have been. Having the popular Lashley in the match may have dropped the workrate a bit, but the crowd’s heat would have made up for that. Instead we get a good match, but not a great match. Grade: 2.5

Justin: With liver enzyme madness tearing up this card, the anticipated title rematch between Lashley and Finlay is now delayed. So, Teddy Long forces Finlay’s buddy William Regal into action instead. JBL was great on commentary here, really bringing the heat and indignation over Teddy’s decision and what he perceived to be Lashley ducking Finlay. As expected, these longtime rivals worked a stiff mat-based style, feeling each other out early. The entertaining Little Bastard would be involved as well, popping up here and there and distracting Regal whenever the opportunity arose. As the stiff war raged on, the fans started calling for Lashley, which to me was a good sign. Sure it may have meant they weren’t digging this match, but it also meant that Lashley was really getting over with the fans. The flow here was interesting as they traded control of the match throughout, without either man having a long heat segment. Despite the hard-hitting offense and the antics of Little Bastard, the crowd turned on the match, not really able to get behind either man. After Regal’s boot comes off while he was tangled in the ring apron, things picked up a bit, as the Bastard reappeared and got the crowd up a bit. A few stiff minutes later and Finlay picked up the win to retain his belt. This was a good match, but I was expecting a little more out of it. It didn’t help that both men were heels that the fans really didn’t care strongly about. Finlay is a good champ but he clearly needs a strong face to play off of and the sooner Lashley could get back in the picture, the better. Grade: 2.5

3) Gregory Helms defeats Matt Hardy in a non-title match after dropping Hardy face-first on the top turnbuckle at 11:55

Fun Fact: Gregory Helms was originally scheduled to face Super Crazy, but he was pulled off the card due to the enzyme issue. Hardy was a last minute unannounced substitution.

Scott: Here we have a solid match between two former OMEGA stars, even though they weren’t meant to get together. They say that Matt Hardy is above the 215 lb weight minimum so this isn’t a Cruiserweight Title match, but of course he’s replacing the liver enzyme-challenged Super Crazy. Matt Hardy is pretty much floating around filling out cards, whereas Helms continues to get the much-deserved heel push as Champion. The problem right now is that there are not a lot of credible cruiserweights to give Helms. Kid Kash and Jamie Noble are tag partners; Rey Mysterio is the World Champion, and…who else? This match is pretty solid, as Helms pulls out all the stops, including a top rope neckbreaker. JBL is hilarious as he’s making fun of the internet fans who will go online for their guy Matt Hardy after the match. After that hot tag team opener, the crowd is kind of flat. I know the previous match of two heels will do that, but you’d think a popular guy like Matt Hardy could wake this crowd up but it’s just not happening. Helms uses some chicanery to get the win which doesn’t help the crowd either, but I enjoyed the match. Grade: 2.5

Justin: With Super Crazy forced to the sidelines, these two longtime friends get to face off on PPV. JBL would even mention their relationship and how they grew up in NC together, which was a nice touch. Matt was really getting over at this point, despite the shoddy booking that plagued him since his hot return a year earlier. After an early stalemate, Hardy got a laugh by mocking Helms’s old Hurricane pose. After dying off a bit in the previous match, these two would keep the crowd into it working a basic counter-maneuver based style with some big spots sprinkled in. One of those spots was a great looking neckbreaker off the top rope by Helms. Matt would show great tenacity, continuously battling back against the champ. Finally, Helms was able to prevail after dropping a groggy Hardy face first on the top buckle in a stiff finish. This was a good little match and Helms gets a really hard fought win and Hardy continues to solidify himself as one of the premier workers on Smackdown. Grade: 2.5

*** Backstage, Khali finds Undertaker and jumps him. Taker fights him off but Big Show comes in and beats Taker down. An angry Teddy Long took Khali out of the match and put Show in his place. Of course, this was done because of Khali’s liver enzyme issue. ***

4) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Big Show (Paul Wight) in a Punjabi Prison match by escaping the prison at 21:28

Fun Fact: Following Judgment Day, Great Khali went on a weekly reign of terror over Smackdown. On 6/30, Daivari challenged Undertaker to face Khali in a Punjabi Prison match at the Bash. The next week, Daivari wheeled a casket down to ringside. When he went to open it, the lights flickered, smoke poured out and the Undertaker’s voice bellowed out, accepting Daivari’s challenge. Taker would return to TV for the first time since Judgment Day on 7/14, officially accepting the challenge in person. On the 7/15 SNME, Khali and Big Show headed to the ring and talked about fighting someday to determine whom the true giant of WWE was. Before they finished, Taker came to the ring and knocked Khali to the floor. Taker and Show then brawled until Khali came back in and they dropped Taker with a double chokeslam. Later that week on ECW, Taker and Show fought to a double countout.

Scott: Now this is our third Liver Enzyme casualty, although this time it completely wrecks a well-built storyline. Switching up a title match is one thing, but a gimmick match specifically for the Great Khali was booked here, but because his liver enzymes were elevated, he had to be scratched. However telling everyone that a second wrestler’s liver enzymes are high and he can’t wrestle makes things just a little fishy and could lead to some bad rumors the company doesn’t need. So Big Show in injected into the storyline on this night to move Show into the match and Khali out. Here’s the problem. It doesn’t make the workrate any better, and now the whole Punjabi Prison facet of the match is completely pointless. The structure is impressive, a tall cell of bamboo with a table of weapons and metal spikes on top and the like. I suppose the fact these guys are slow to begin with helps with the drama of the gimmick. It also doesn’t help matters that Big Show continues to look sicker and sicker as his eyes are sunk in his head and he’s grossly overweight. Both men take forever to climb the walls and hit each other. Plenty of blood in this match, but they steal the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre cage match and instead of climbing over the top, which wasn’t going to happen, they throw each other through the cage door and Taker just falls…farther I guess? It was quite confusing at the end, but frankly not having Khali in the match ruins the whole thing for me. I’ll grade the match as a stand-alone but it doesn’t save the fact that Khali’s failed physical came at the wrong time. Grade: 2

Justin: For the third time tonight, another match is wrecked by the liver enzyme epidemic. Despite the ugly possibilities here, Khali going down may have been the biggest loss based on the push he had been receiving heading into this show. However, on the flip side, Show stepping in was definitely an upgrade as he and Taker had solid chemistry. Before the match, Michael Cole read the convoluted, but interesting rules to the crowd. Despite being an upgrade in the match, physically Big Show was looking terrible, seemingly getting worse by the week. I remember really starting to fear for him at this point, especially considering all the brutal hardcore matches he had been doing on ECW. Playing up the fact that he had been out of action for two months, JBL did a great job pushing how Taker looked off and didn’t look like himself. Early on, we got the usual slugfest between the two, but Show took over by using one of the hanging straps to choke Taker. Some of the shots into the bamboo looked cool and I must say the concept grew on me as the match went on. I liked the rule where they had sixty seconds to escape before the door locked for good as well. That added touch added a feeling of desperation to the match and both men sold it well. Taker would blade here and as the blood flowed, Taker took Show over with a nice superplex. The crowd was pretty hot here and they really stayed into this, which was a testament to the hard work and stiff brawling. Both men would make it out of the ring after some maneuvering, even after Show was able to trap Taker in the ring after the doors had locked. In the outer cage, Taker struck back by putting Show through a bamboo table with a legdrop. As Show began to bleed, Great Khali came down and stalked around. Before he could get in, Taker dove at Show and they went crashing through the wall and to the floor. Taker hit the outside area first so he was declared the winner. Taker would avoid Khali after the match and it was clear that the feud would continue once Khali was cleared. I was pleasantly surprised by this one as the intrigue of the new concept and the hard work of both men delivered a solid match. Grade: 2.5

5) Ashley Massaro defeats Kristal, Michelle McCool and Jillian Hall (Jillian Fletcher) in a Bra & Panties match by removing Kristal’s top at 5:18

Fun Fact: On 6/9, these four women competed in a bikini contest, which was won by Ashley, who had debuted on Smackdown the week prior. On 7/21, Ashley teamed with Jillian to defeat Kristal and Michelle McCool.

Fun Fact II: Former schoolteacher Michelle McCool made her WWE debut during the 2004 Diva Search. After elimination, she signed a three-year deal with the company. She showed up on Smackdown in early 2005 with a personal trainer gimmick and made her in ring debut in a mixed tag match on 3/3. After a brief feud with Melina, Michelle was sent to DSW for some developmental work. On 6/2/06 she returned to Smackdown as a heel with a sexy teacher gimmick.

Fun Fact III:
Kristal Marshall spent time as a model, music video dancer and as a Barker Beauty on Price is Right before signing up for the 2005 Diva Search. After finishing fourth, she was signed to a deal and sent to DSW. In December 2005, she was brought to Smackdown as a backstage correspondent. By early 2006, she slowly transitioned into an active competitor role.

Scott: There’s not much to say here, as it’s simply a spell to get between the Punjabi mess and our next match. I was on a pretty big Ashley kick at this time, but over this match was a lot of running around and clothes being whipped around. Other than that, it was time to grab a beer, take a leak, or stare at the Pacers banners. Grade: 0

Justin: After a hot start to this show, things are starting to trend downward, starting with this sloppy catfight between four fairly fresh faces on the blue brand. Jillian was easily the most talented of the four and you could see her trying to hold things together to no avail. JBL’s commentary was easily the highlight here. Ashley and Jillian strip their opponents and then strip down themselves and that is that. Grade: .5

6) Mr. Kennedy (Ken Anderson) defeats Batista by disqualification when Batista refused to stop standing on Kennedy’s throat at 8:38

Fun Fact: Mr. Kennedy had been out of action since December after tearing a back muscle during an overseas tour. After working off the rust in OVW in May, Kennedy returned to Smackdown on 6/9, defeating Scotty 2 Hotty.

Fun Fact II:
After also having been on the sidelines with a major injury, Batista made his long awaited return to Smackdown on 7/7, calling out the man who had put him on the shelf, Mark Henry. Henry would answer the call and Batista would get the best of him with some help from the ring steps and a chair. The next week it was announced that the two would face off in a number one contenders match at the Bash. Teddy warned the two men not to touch each other during the contract signing or else they would lose their spot. The next night on SNME, Batista teamed with Lashley and Rey Mysterio to wrestle Henry, Finlay and Booker in a six-man match. During the bout, Henry messed up his patella, literally splitting it in two, and it was revealed that he would be sidelined to rehab the injury, knocking him out of the Bash match. On 7/21, Batista issued an open challenge and Mr. Kennedy answered it, offering to face Batista at the Bash.

Scott: The return of the Animal. Unfortunately this was another match that was put together at the last minute. Batista was originally supposed to face Mark Henry, in the revenge match from the biceps injury that he suffered against Henry in a steel cage match. Unfortunately Henry suffered another injury that will keep him out for eight months. This is what, Henry’s fifth or sixth injury since 1996? Every time he gets a real major push, he gets hurt. So Mr. Kennedy, who hasn’t been on PPV since late 2005 thanks to injury, gets a shot here just to fill the card. The crowd’s gone back and forth on the matches, mostly because this entire card has been haphazardly put together due to injuries and medical reports. Batista then inadvertently busts Kennedy open, which maybe adds some energy to the situation and of course the Animal hasn’t wrestled on PPV since Armageddon 2005 so he’s now busted open too. Oh wait I think that’s Kennedy’s blood. The crowd is up for this one mostly because the Animal is back. Although having Mark Henry there, believe it or not, would have added real juice. This just feels like a Smackdown match. Eventually Batista gets disqualified for not taking his boot off of Kennedy’s throat. So Batista continues the barrage with three straight spinebusters, followed by a Demon Bomb. The match was TV quality, but not PPV quality. Grade: 2

Justin: After having their roster depleted since 2006 dawned, Batista finally returns to Smackdown and helps bolster the depth chart. He receives a very warm welcome for his return but you could tell right from the start that he had quite a bit of rust to shake off. Kennedy also makes his first PPV appearance in quite a while, having been out since December. So, it was clear that neither man was really in the best shape to carry this one. Batista was angry and aggressive early, beating Kennedy all around the ring and ringside, bloodying Kennedy from the outset. Kennedy kept trying to back off, even teasing leaving at one point, but that strategy backfired as he ate a stiff spear when he charged back into the ring. Once Kennedy did take over, he just used some basic strikes, really slowing things down with simple offense, focusing on the arm. Cole and JBL did a nice job putting Kennedy over as a future star as well. Batista would make a strong comeback, and just when it looked like he was going to put Kennedy away, he started choking him in the corner with his foot, refused to break and the ref DQ’d Batista in a really lame finish. I get that they wanted to protect Kennedy, but really a loss to Batista wouldn’t have really been that awful. After the bell, Batista got his heat back anyway, pummeling Kennedy and leaving him a bloody mess. The match was pretty blasé but I blame the combined ring rust, lack of chemistry between the two and the fact that this match was hastily thrown together at the last minute for that. However, despite those factors, the finish was really inexcusable and a better ending could have saved this a bit. Grade: 1.5

7) King Booker (Booker Huffman) defeats Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) to win World Heavyweight Title after a Chavo Guerrero chair shot at 16:48

Fun Fact: On 6/16, Michael Cole interviewed Chavo Guerrero, asking him if he was going to come out of retirement. During the interview, Mark Henry assaulted Chavo and dropped him with two powerslams. The next week, Chavo helped Rey Mysterio defeat Henry by DQ by using some classic Guerrero tricks. On 6/30, Chavo told Henry he would not be goaded out of retirement, but Henry started trashing the Guerrero name, including shots at Eddie. Chavo hit the ring, but Henry beat him down and pulverized him until Rey came to defend him. Henry was able to fight Rey off and continued to beat on Chavo. The next week, King Booker won a battle royal to earn a world title match at the Bash. On 7/14, Rey vanquished Booker’s servant William Regal, despite interference from Booker. Finally on 7/21, Rey defeated Booker in a non-title match with an assist from Chavo.

Scott:
I’m very excited for this match because King Booker hasn’t had a main event title shot in what seems like ages. This is his moment, and he’s earned it. He’s been left off Wrestlemanias, been stuck in hideous mid-card feuds with worm eaters, but he has worked through awesome feuds with Chris Benoit. His last main event world title shot was in front of almost 60,000 at Safeco Field in Seattle. He lost that night to Triple H, and hasn’t sniffed a main event slot since. Here he faces the young lion that has captivated the audience since winning the Royal Rumble in January. Then at Wrestlemania he won the World Title, pretty much by circumstance, and then has been booked hideously on TV. He beat JBL at Judgment Day but here he faces a guy who has really started to carry things on Smackdown since winning King of the Ring. The crowd unfortunately could care less. They pop from time to time but really I feel bad for this crowd, as they’ve been handed an overall piece of junk for a show. Due to all the injuries and enzyme issues, anything that was logically booked went completely out the window. As with most Rey Mysterio matches, the bigger opponent took the entire tempo for himself and took the crowd with him. Michael Cole says Eddie Guerrero’s last match was here in Indianapolis, which is fitting because the whole Eddie Guerrero emotion train finally ends here too. It had lost its luster four months earlier but that’s just an opinion. The crowd gets some energy during Rey’s comebacks but really I feel the crowd had a feeling that Rey wasn’t leaving with the title. Rey of course gets his phantom pin but we have a ref bump, and I’m wondering when the other shoe will drop. After a Royal Bookend, Booker grabs a steel chair, but Ray fights back and drop kicks the chair. Then in comes Chavo Guerrero to the ring and there’s your dropping shoe. He cracks Rey with the title belt and King Booker is your new World Heavyweight Champion. I’m actually quite pleased with it. Hey, JBL said it all. “When do you ever trust a Guerrero?” Grade: 2.5

Justin: I will really give it to King Booker, he took this gimmick and ran with it. Between his Court, the new theme, Queen Sharmell’s introductions and his over the top shtick, it was a complete refreshment of what had become a stale character. JBL gets some credit too with his reverence and joyous commentary, pushing Booker to the moon during his really long entrance. Rey gets a big pop and as he enters, you really wonder what could have been with his reign if he had been made to look stronger. Or maybe he never should have been champion at all. Rey gets off to a fast start with some elusive offense, staying away from Booker’s power advantage. Once Booker took over, he busted out some abusive offense, really slamming and tossing Rey around. These two had some nice chemistry and you could see that they had a lot of trust in each other. Rey would battle back throughout, one time hitting a sweet seated senton from the top rope to the floor. As you watched him in the ring you could tell that Booker was rejuvenated by this new gimmick and renewed push. Trying to add insult to injury, Booker took Rey over with the Three Amigos, but that fired Rey back up and he was fast and crisp in his comeback. Sharmell tried to get involved, but the referee caught her and threw her out. After some near falls, the ref got taken out and Rey got a visual pin on Booker with a frog splash. Booker recovered and grabbed a chair, but Rey avoided it until his friend Chavo Guerrero hit the ring and grabbed the chair away. Then, however, in a pretty well done swerve, Chavo smacked Rey in the skull with a vicious chair shot. I say the swerve was well done because it wasn’t drawn out at all and was just a quick strike from Chavo, who did a nice job of not telegraphing it. While this was probably one of Rey’s best title matches, Booker definitely deserved the title here as he continued to hone his gimmick and worked hard to take advantage of the push. The crowd was hot here, staying into the match and a nice swerve brings an end to Rey’s disappointing title reign that seemed doomed from the start. Rey now turns his attention to his former friend while the rest of us hail King Booker! Grade: 3

Final Analysis:

Scott: Infamously known as the “Liver Enzyme PPV”, this show was nicely put together until all these medical issues and injuries threw everything into complete chaos. The opener again was red hot with the young lion tag team champions, but then with our first casualty, Lashley, everything is turned upside down. We have heels facing heels, gimmicks that made no sense, and a crowd that is completely confused. The Regal/Finlay match was good, but the crowd didn’t care. The Punjabi Prison match was visually awe-inspiring but without Great Khali actually in the match it took all logic and back story out of it. King Booker finally wins a World Title after five years of lollygagging and mid-card stagnation. The Rey Mysterio emotion train is mercifully over and an old Cruiserweight feud is re-ignited between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero. On paper this would have been a pretty decent show but with all the switches and changes the quality suffered. Final Grade: C

Justin: I must say that early on with this show I was getting excited because it was looking like it was going to be a hidden gem. Unfortunately, as it went along, the quality started to dip a bit as injuries and poor in-ring work took a toll on the quality of the show. The opener was really good and as I stated above, I liked the idea of using the cruiserweights in the tag division. While the in ring quality of the US title match was boosted with Lashley on the sidelines, the heat of the match took a hit as the crowd clearly had a hard time getting into the Regal/Finlay brawl and it hurt the match a bit. Despite the fact that the match was built around Great Khali, I thought the Punjabi Prison match was pretty solid and despite the fact that it looked like Show had one foot in the grave, he still knew how to build a solid power match. The Batista/Kennedy match was a disappointment and it was quite clear that Batista had a lot of rust to work off and that he wasn’t going to step right back into the hot groove he was in before getting hurt. The main event was good and I was happy to see Booker get the belt after he worked hard to rejuvenate his career since his heel turn. Rey’s title reign was a mess from the start and at this point it was probably for the best to take the title off him. After a really rocky 2006, it looked like Smackdown roster was finally starting to solidify and a good heel character on top in Booker and a tremendous heel commentator like JBL really helped exacerbate that. This show ended up being better than I expected, but not as good as it could have been. Final Grade: C

MVP: King Booker
Runner Up: London & Kendrick
Non MVP: Great Khali, Super Crazy & Lashley
Runner Up: Batista & Mr. Kennedy

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