WWE Great American Bash 2007 7/22/2007
July 22, 2007
San Jose, CA
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Joey Styles & Tazz
Chuck Palumbo defeats Chris Masters (Chris Mordetzky)
Fun Fact: This is California’s twentieth PPV, tying it with New York for the most all-time. It’s the second show in the state this year, as No Way Out was in Los Angeles. It’s the third PPV ever in San Jose, following the 1998 Royal Rumble and Summerslam 2001.
Pay Per View
1) MVP (Hassan Assad) defeats Matt Hardy to retain US Title with the Playmaker at 12:53
Fun Fact: On 7/6, Matt Hardy defeated MVP in a long, non-title match. The next week, it was announced that Hardy had earned a US Title match at the Bash. During that show, MVP was on commentary as Hardy defeated Chris Masters. After the bout, MVP distracted Hardy, allowing Masters to assault him from behind. MVP then pounced and hit Hardy with the Playmaker and Ballin Elbow.
Scott: In what would begin one of the longest feuds in Smackdown history, Matt Hardy begins a new chapter of his solo career against our US Champion. After ripping MVP to shreds when he first debuted in late-2006, JBL has been firmly in his corner since the turn of the year. After his three PPV feud with Chris Benoit solidified him as a player in Smackdown’s universe, MVP starts a fresh feud with Hardy, who’s spent the past eight months punching his and his brother Jeff’s ticket as one of the greatest tag teams of all time. I’m always skeptical of California crowds being flat and without any energy and I definitely felt that way about San Jose. Certainly during this match the “late arriving crowd” didn’t show much in the way of energy early in this match. Both guys really worked themselves over with grapples and “tests of strength.” We have contrasting styles here as Hardy is high-flying, whereas MVP has a defensive style where he counters on his opponents mistakes and works from there. Hardy’s solo push in 2006 flatlined after he went to Smackdown, but after teaming with his brother it was time for Matt to get back in the solo game, particularly to fill holes in the mid-card. MVP really did a great job of dictating tempo with quick strikes and unorthodox weardown holds. Matt works the comebacks in and then they battle back and forth, mostly with Matt hitting strikes off the top or second rope. Matt was selling a head injury throughout the match, and when he reversed the Playmaker into a Side Effect, I thought he’d take the strap there. We’d get more near falls and Matt’s just missing it. MVP recovers with a boot to the head and after a Playmaker MVP retains his title. That was a fun title defense to get the show started, as MVP gets the best of Mattitude. Grade: 2.5
Justin: The most improved member of the Smackdown roster and current US champion kicks off this month’s PPV, defending his title against the veteran Matt Hardy. With the Hardy Boys having gone separate ways, Matt now settles back into an upper mid-card role on Friday nights. He earned this match by pinning MVP in a non-title affair a few weeks ago. As improved as MVP has been, a feud with Hardy can only help him grow in the ring so I was excited to check this one out. The early part of the match saw some hesitant feeling out as the crowd rallied behind Hardy. Matt took over a bit from there, but MVP quickly cut him off and started to ground him. Matt turned things around and slugged away at the champ, keeping him off balance and staggered. In a desperation move, MVP yanked Hardy off the ropes and regained control. MVP has really been impressive since the calendar turned. I credit that feud with Kane for giving him some legitimacy and turning from goofy joke to legit player. MVP zeroed in on the head and neck of Hardy and Matt really sold it well, staggering around woozily during every comeback attempt. This came into play as Matt tried to ascend the top rope, and couldn’t quite pull it off, opening the door for a great MVP superplex. This felt a bit like a heavyweight fight, with both men feeling each other out, trying to play it safe and landing big blows to rock the other. Hardy’s comeback wasn’t as fast or crisp as we were used to, thanks to all the head damage that had been done. Still, he was able to pick up a handful of close near falls off of reversals. MVP kept targeting the head as he did all he could to retain his title. After Matt’s final pin attempt failed, MVP answered with a stiff Yakuza kick and Playmaker to win the hard fought match and retain his strap. This was really good and I dug the strategy and story within the bout. MVP continues to impress and we will see if he is past Hardy or if Matt will be back for more. Grade: 3
2) Hornswoggle (Dylan Postl) defeats Chavo Guerrero, Jimmy Wang Yang (James Yun), Shannon Moore, Sho Funaki and Jamie Noble (James Gibson) in a Cruiserweight Open to win WWE Cruiserweight Title when he pins Noble with a Tadpole Splash at 6:59
Fun Fact: On 6/29, Chavo Guerrero defeated Jamie Noble and Funaki. With no set challenger in place, a Cruiserweight Open was set for the PPV.
Fun Fact II: This is Funaki’s final WWE PPV match. He would remain an active competitor for WWE through 2010, mainly doing underneath job work. His long tenure with the company officially ended on April 22, 2010. After leaving the promotion, he would head to the Independent circuit, where he still competes today. His final record is 2-8.
Fun Fact III: This is also Shannon Moore’s final WWE PPV appearance. He would remain a low-card fixture on ECW and Smackdown until his contract ran up on August 8, 2008. After leaving the company, Moore would have a quick stint on the Indy circuit before resigning with TNA in January 2010. His final record is 0-4.
Fun Fact IV: This is Jimmy Wang Yang’s final PPV match. Yang would remain with WWE until April 22, 2010 when he was part of the annual spring cleaning releases. Before he was cut, Yang competed regularly on Smackdown and Superstars as a low-card talent. After his release, Yang hit the Indy scene in addition to stints in Japan and TNA. He also runs a wrestling school and pest control business. His final record is 0-5.
Scott: Back in February, Chavo Guerrero won the Cruiserweight Title in this same type of match in this same state. This feels like the fifth or sixth time in the past couple of years that they’ve done a multi-person match to decide a Cruiserweight Champion. Once again the crowd is fairly flat, so it’s really hurting the match’s momentum. All of these guys are capable workers, almost to the point where Chavo almost seems out of place due to the fact he’s older and slightly bigger than the other participants. Shannon Moore is a long way from being a student of Mattitude but one of the best workers in the company. Yang and Chavo worked a decent match last month at Vengeance but Yang must share his second chance with others. Noble had Funaki in a nice armbar submission but Moore hits a top rope leg drop to break it. Noble, Yang and Chavo work a pretty sweet Superplex as well, but the crowd’s just not doing it for the match. Then, to really flush any credibility down the drain, Hornswoggle tadpole splashes Noble and becomes…the Cruiserweight Champion? Oh brother. Well those guys all look like idiots as they just lost a Cruiserweight match to a midget. Grade: 1
Justin: When in doubt and when you are out of challengers for the Cruiserweight strap, toss a bunch of them in the ring for an Open. This has been a staple of the last three years, and as usual Chavo Guerrero is the man defending the gold. It was quite the eclectic mix of cruisers and it shows that the talent pool of the division isn’t quite as strong as it used to be. Just as the match is about to begin, Hornswoggle runs into the ring, slides out the other side and dives under the ring. A confused Chavo got jumped off the bell and tossed to the floor, kicking things off. Jimmy Wang Yang looked great as always and I have really enjoyed his style in these cruiser matches. I am sad that we won’t see him on PPV again after this show. It was also good to see Jamie Noble back in the PPV mix after being missing in action for a while. The match was filled with the usual spots as guys countered holds, broke up pins and traded control on and off. While Yang was decently over, the crowd was a bit flat here without someone to really get behind in this one. Yang really looked the strongest down the stretch here, wiping everyone out and finally waking up the crowd. After a tower superplex wiped out Chavo, Noble and Yang, Hornswoggle appeared from out of nowhere, scaled the tope rope and dropped a Tadpole Splash to steal the title. After a few moments of shock, Hornswoggle hopped onto the announce table and celebrated with Cole and JBL. In one of the best camera shots of the night, Hornswoggle celebrated at ringside as the five remaining cruiserweights stared him dumbfounded from the ring. The match was solid, so no complaints there and Hornswoggle’s win was a nice shock but I am really not crazy for making the title into a joke once again. After Gregory Helms spent over a year bringing some legitimacy back to the title, it is back to being a goofy prop once again. Hornswoggle at least has some personality though, so that is something. Chavo loses his gold and Jimmy Yang comes up short yet again. Grade: 2.5
3) Carlito (Carly Colon) defeats Sandman (Jim Fullington) in a Singapore Cane match with a Backstabber at 5:31
Fun Fact: During the draft, Sandman was traded from ECW to Raw. On 6/19, Carlito was in the ring ripping on Ric Flair, who had been drafted to Smackdown. An angry Sandman came down through the crowd and ran Carlito off. The next week, Sandman lost to Carlito by DQ when he smacked him with his cane. On 7/9, Sandman was facing William Regal when Carlito tried to get involved. Sandman grabbed his cane and cracked both men across the skull. The next week, Sandman defeated Carlito by DQ when Regal interfered.
Fun Fact II: This is Sandman’s final WWE PPV match. Following this show, he nearly won a battle royal to become GM of Raw, but came up just short. His final match was a win over Santino Marella on 9/10. He injured his ankle in that match and was released two days later. Upon leaving, Sandman would make various Indy appearances, in addition to a stint with TNA. He is currently semi-retired and owns a successful construction company based Utah. His final record is 2-3.
Scott: It’s good that they’ve finally gotten Sandman in a legit feud. I wish they had paid for the rights to “Enter Sandman” instead of this awful generic rock music. Carlito lost to Ric Flair on PPV earlier in the year and now needs to get back on track against an ECW legend. As JR would say, this match will probably be “bowling shoe ugly” as Sandman really doesn’t have much of an in-ring repertoire, but Carlito will do his best to try and make this thing workable. Did I mention this crowd is pretty bad? Another match where they bring nothing in terms of energy to the table. Although I can’t blame there here as you need at least one match to get nachos or go to the bathroom. The point is to climb to one corner of the ring and grab the Singapore cane which would be completely legal. Obviously Sandman would get the cane, but he wouldn’t get a chance as Carlito hits the Backcracker to get the win. Well then what the hell was the point of the cane if no one was going to use it? That was a waste. Grade: 1
Justin: Sandman makes a rare PPV appearance here as he was drafted to Raw in June and entered right into a feud with Carlito. He even gets a nice long entrance as he heads down through the crowd, however no beer on this night. The brash Carlito starts things off by spitting some apple in to Sandman’s face, angering him even more. The cane hung above the ring and Carlito did his best to scamper up and grab it, but Sandman blocked him and broke him to the mat. The match was a bit disjointed, as you would expect given the competitors. As the match wore on, it degenerated into each man just stopping the other from climbing for the cane. Carlito would work in a move here or there, but the pace was pretty slow. After a bunch of teases, Sandman was finally able to procure the cane to a mild pop. Unfortunately, it didn’t matter because Sandman whiffed on one swing and Carlito dropped him with the Backstabber for the win. The match was just sort of there and both guys put the effort in, but Carlito gets a solid win to send Sandman packing. Grade: 1.5
4) Candice Michelle defeats Melina to retain WWE Divas Title with the Candy Wrapper at 6:22
Fun Fact: On 7/2, Melina and Candice brawled after Melina defeated Maria in a match. On 7/9, Candice Michelle teamed with Mickie James to defeat Beth Phoenix & Jillian Hall. After the match, Beth, Jillian and Melina all assaulted Candice. The next week, Melina beat Mickie James.
Scott: I have to laugh when JR says that Candace is getting a tremendous ovation and you can hear a pin drop, but enough of ripping the crowd. We have a rematch from Vengeance where Melina became the only titleholder who lost their title on that title match-filled show. So the Screamin’ Demon gets her rematch here against Candace, who tried very hard in the ring but never really had that overall wrestling package. Melina dictated most of the action, working over Candace’s arms and shoulders. Melina’s getting frustrated that she can’t get the three count and continues to work Candace over. Candace hits a jawbreaker, followed by some really ugly looking bulldog finisher, and Candace retains her title. In fact, the move is called the “Candy Wrapper”. After a really solid opening match between MVP and Matt Hardy, we’ve had three real duds in a row. Grade: 1
Justin: For the third month in a row, these two divas square off, with Melina wanting to gain her gold back. Candice, on the other hand, was out to prove she wasn’t a fluke champion. Melina would ground Candice early, as JR discussed Candice’s continued improvement. Just like last month, Melina was clearly carrying things in the ring, but Candice was solid enough to go along with it and not try to do too much. Sometimes, depending on the Diva involved, simple structure is the way to go. As the match moved along, Melina just kept hooking various submissions, keeping Candice stagnant until the champ made a somewhat sloppy comeback. I’ll give Candice credit for working hard to improve and for developing into a competent hand that could be carried, but she just didn’t quite have the ability and coordination to really make a match anything above solid. And with that said, Candice was able to retain, finishing Melina with a bulldog off to retain her gold, proving she wouldn’t just be a footnote in history. Melina now has to regroup and wonder where this all went wrong. Grade: 1
5) Umaga (Eddie Fatu) defeats Jeff Hardy to retain WWE Intercontinental Title with a Samoan Spike at 11:20
Fun Fact: On 7/2, Umaga defeated Santino Marella to regain his IC title. On 7/16, Jeff Hardy defeated William Regal, Santino Marella and Shelton Benjamin to earn a PPV IC Title match.
Scott: Now we get a complete 180 degree turn. The crowd suddenly perks up big time as Jeff Hardy takes the ring to take on the Samoan Bulldozer for the IC Title he once held earlier in the year. Umaga, who was Mr. McMahon’s muscle for a few months, won back his IC title by ending the Cinderella reign of Santino Marella. Umaga has had a really solid year being in the spotlight every month, from feuding with John Cena to brawling with Bobby Lashley. As mentioned earlier, Jeff was Intercontinental Champ but has spent the past eight months teaming with his brother Matt and dominating the tag team scene on Raw. They usually opened the shows with solid tag team title defenses and really got the crowd going. On this night, Matt opened the show with a great match in a losing effort, but then after three duds in a row we have the other Hardy try to get this show back on track taking on Umaga. As for Umaga, he’s really taking it to the Enigma, pummeling him with power moves and strikes, with Hardy making his usual big comebacks. However, here Umaga is countering everything Jeff is bringing to the table, but can’t get a three count. I enjoy Jeff Hardy matches when he takes on bigger opponents, mostly because he knows how to bump and put over his opponent’s moves as well as pulling off incredible counters. Jeff Hardy gets his opening after Umaga hits the ring post, but after Jeff hits the Swanton, Umaga shockingly kicked out. The crowd went crazy after that one, but then when Umaga hit the three-move set of the kick, the butt splash and the Spike, and Umaga retained the title. I was sure Jeff was going to win this match, but Umaga deserves a solid title defense victory and he certainly got it. After three straight duds, we get a really great match, and it, as usual, involves a Hardy. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Well, we saw Matt Hardy back in singles competition earlier when he came up short in his quest for solo gold. His brother looks to also take home some gold tonight, but his opponent proves to be a bit more of an uneven matchup. Since destroying Santino Marella and retaining his gold, Umaga has his mojo back and was being reestablished as an unbeatable monster quite nicely. I actually thought this was a great pairing, as Umaga had killer offense and you knew Jeff would bump like hell for him. Umaga controlled right out of the gate, smacking Hardy both inside and outside the ring. The first high impact move of the match came courtesy a leaping Samoan Drop from Umaga. Jeff was just unable to get any traction, as Umaga worked a flawless bout by using his power advantage. As Umaga slowed things down with a nerve pinch, JR spouted off a list of Jeff’s many upset wins over the years. The match was pretty hot early, but really hit a wall when Umaga kept going back to the nervehold. Just when Jeff had an opening, Umaga stopped his short with a tremendous spinning sidewalk slam, with Jeff taking a great bump. Jeff quickly received another chance to get back into the match after Umaga missed a diving headbutt. Once he took over, Jeff knew he had to take to the air and relentlessly land some wild offense. As usual, the best way to beat Umaga was to allow him to make a mistake, and that is what Jeff did. However, Umaga just wouldn’t stay down and kept kicking out to stay alive, including a tremendous near fall after he hit the ring post and Jeff followed with a Swanton. That was Jeff’s last stand, as Umaga smashed him with a Bulldozer and a Samoan Spike for the win. If it wasn’t for the slow middle portion, this would have been pretty damn good. As is, it was a solid title match and it is great to see Umaga back to being a high impact monster that just beats guys to a pump. The Hardys come up empty on the night, but both looked poised to continue their feuds past this show. Grade: 2.5
6) John Morrison (John Hennigan) defeats CM Punk (Phil Brooks) to retain the ECW title with a kick to the knee as Punk leapt off the top rope at 7:50
Fun Fact: On 6/26, CM Punk defeated Elijah Burke in a Best of Three Falls contest to earn a title match at the Bash. The next week, the two men were forced to compete in Pick Your Poison matches, with Nitro defeating Tommy Dreamer and Punk beating Kevin Thorn. Both guys stayed hot on 7/10, with Nitro defeating Dreamer in an Extreme Rules match and Punk knocking off Stevie Richards. A week later, a representative revealed that Johnny Nitro had a major announcement in that he would never appear on ECW again. Later that night, the representative brought out the newly christened John Morrison. Morrison had a newer look, with the idea to make him more like the legendary Jim Morrison. He also became even more conceited and aloof as part of the gimmick as well. At the end of the show, Morrison attacked Punk and left him laid out after a neckbreaker.
Scott: This match has already upped the grade for this otherwise average show for a couple of reasons. First, Styles and Tazz do their lone match of the show and already have intrigued me with references to MMA and Tully Blanchard. Secondly, its CM Punk. His growing influence in the company continues here as pretty much being the #1 babyface on the ECW roster. Sure it’s the third brand, but hell you have to start somewhere. That’s ok too, I’d rather he be tops on the third brand than fiftieth on the Raw or Smackdown brand. He’ll get his chance soon enough. As for the Nitro/Morrison character change, it was a welcome influence. It distances him from the MNM era and makes him a legit singles player. He was already being given references as the “next Shawn Michaels”. That’s a ridiculous reference to make right now. He needs a lot of seasoning to even think that. The crowd is trying to wake up from their show-long nap by getting into this one and the guys are helping with non-stop action, but the crowd deflates quickly when Morrison scores a quick pin when he kicks Punk in the knee in mid-air. I thought it was a strange finish as Punk looks kind of weak there. I thought either there would be some heel chicanery involved after the two met at Vengeance and it ended clean. I think the crowd expected a big Punk win here, and walked away disappointed. The match was great, as more will come from both of them. Grade: 3
Justin: The newly rechristened John Morrison has been positioned as the top dog on ECW, showing that the promotion had a great deal of faith in him as a singles star. CM Punk is still looking for the brass ring that has been just out of his reach since late last year. We saw last month that these two had some very good chemistry in the ring and I was interested to see if they could build upon it. Punk worked the champ over early with his unique offense and Morrison’s bumping made it look even more effective. And once he took control, Morrison’s offense was equally as unique. He beat Punk down as the crowd cheered on the challenger. It was good to see this youth and athleticism front and center on ECW, because at this point it was clear that this is what the brand should be used as. It was a perfect vehicle to give guys reps and get the familiar with the fans before pushing them on Raw and Smackdown. It took them about a year to get there, but really ECW was best used like this than as a semi-nostalgia trip. Punk rallied back, but Morrison tried to escape before he could build much momentum. After he was forced to go drag Morrison back in, Punk got caught off guard with a kick as he came off the top and Morrison was able to steal the pin and retain his title. This was another solid match between these two but Punk comes up short once again and Morrison’s unlikely title reign continues. Grade: 3
7) Randy Orton defeats Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels) in a Bullrope Match after hitting Rhodes in the head with the cowbell at 5:40
Fun Fact: On 7/2, the legendary Dusty Rhodes was backstage with his son Cody, who was about to embark on his WWE career. While chatting, Randy Orton popped in and started to rag on both of them. Cody took offense to the disrespect and Dusty let Randy have it as well. Orton responded by smacking Dusty across the face and walking off. The next week, Dusty and Orton had a face-to-face in the ring with Dusty confronting Randy about the slap from the week before. Orton then challenged Dusty to a match at the PPV. Dusty agreed but made it a Texas Bullrope Match. After they agreed, Cody popped in the ring and smacked Orton across the face. On 7/16, Orton defeated Cody in his debut match. Dusty wanted to fight after the bout, but Orton left the ring before anything could go down.
Scott: Wow, this match came out of nowhere. Where’s Baby Doll? Or Sweet Sapphire? Big Dust makes his first PPV match appearance in sixteen years. But the newly minted Hall of Famer comes in here to defend the honor of his son Cody, taking on the Legend Killer. Dusty is the master of the bull rope match, his most famous one being the war with Superstar Billy Graham at the Garden in 1978. Orton is slowly starting to turn into the character he’d become best known for, by shedding some of that baby fat and HGH bulk and toning down into a much more streamlined competitor. There was no shock going into this match that Orton was going to win, as bigger things were planned for him. Dusty would give him about as good a match as he could at his age. Orton dominated the action early which makes sense as he’s the younger competitor. Dusty would get his shots and bionic elbows in to give the crowd some pops, not that the crowd took advantage of them. Six years earlier at Summerslam 2001 the crowd was much better and crazier than here. Mercifully to not let this match lag on, Orton smacks Dusty with the cowbell and gets the victory. Dusty really didn’t get much offense in here and for Orton the glorified squash was necessary. Now with the skull punt in his arsenal, Orton is becoming more devastating and is growing a killer instinct that he was very sorely lacking. The match wasn’t much, but it served its purpose. Grade: 2
Justin: Well, this match here had me quick excited. It has been a long time since we have seen Dusty Rhodes in a WWE ring, so when “American Dream” fired up over the speakers and Dusty made his way out, Bullrope in hand, I was marking out. Randy Orton has reestablished himself as a killer heel, and here he looks to yet another legend to his hit list. Orton has had his run ins with Dusty’s son Cody on Raw the last few weeks, so Dusty yet again steps up to defend the honor of one of his sons. I liked the stipulation here too, because it adds just a little bit of intrigue and makes you think Dusty could sneak out a win. Dusty would mess with Orton’s head early and was able to smack Orton around with his classic elbows to the head. Dusty kept the assault going on the floor, where he violently yanked Orton down to the steel grating. Orton gathered his bearings and jacked up Dusty’s knee with the bell to finally slow the Dream down. Dusty battled back with a flip, flop and fly but that was his last stand as Orton cracked him in the skull with the bell to end the bout. Dusty put up a good fight and this was kept short enough to never really drag. Orton wants to punt Big Dust after the bell, but Cody made the save for his dad. Orton needed the win and Dusty does the job to keep the Legend Killer hot. Grade: 1.5
8) Great Khali (Dalip Singh) defeats Kane (Glen Jacobs) and Batista to retain World Heavyweight Title when he pins Kane with the Tree Slam at 10:02
Fun Fact: On 7/13, Edge tore his pectoral muscle when he was attacked by Kane. It was a major blow and as a result, Edge was forced to forfeit the title so he could go rehab the injury. He would be off TV until the end of the year.
Fun Fact II: On 6/29, Batista defeated Edge in a non-title match. The next week, Kane was a guest on the Cutting Edge. After a verbal spat, Kane grabbed Edge and flung him over the top rope to the floor. Teddy Long then came out and announced that Kane would be challenging Edge at the Bash. On 7/13, Edge held a Mardi Gras party in the ring, complete with bead tossing. During the celebration, Kane popped up from under one of the character masks and assaulted Edge. The following week’s show opened with Teddy Long announcing Edge’s injury and the decision that he had to forfeit the title. An emotional Edge appeared, handed over the title and vowed to be back. Long then announced that the new champion would be crowned that night in a battle royal amongst the roster. Shockingly, Great Khali, who was drafted to Smackdown in June, won the match and the title. Teddy and Assistant GM Vicki Guerrero then decided that Batista and Kane would compete to determine who would challenge the new champion at the Bash. The two men battled to a no contest, so Long determined that both men would face Khali at the PPV.
Scott: In a year that has been heavy with injuries all over the place, we have our second vacancy, technically, of the World Title. Undertaker was hurt, and because Edge had Money in the Bank due to Kennedy’s injury, continuing the trend, he got the belt off of the Deadman. Now Edge gets hurt, and we have another vacancy. This time we have a battle royal, and the Punjabi Nightmare becomes the new World Champion. Kane was slated to face Edge at the Bash for the title, but he ended up getting screwed twice. He lost the battle royal, then had to face Batista in a #1 contender match and now must share his title shot. This is a cosmetic thing, but can someone tell Khali to not hold the belt upside down? Goldberg used to do that all the time too. I’m all for a match full of big hosses, but I knew the pacing and overall workrate was going to suffer with all these power guys in the ring at once. Khali moves so slowly, even slower than the average power wrestler that it really takes any energy out of the match. This is a “war of attrition” match, at least for Kane and Batista. The beginning of this match was booked well as Khali is sitting there pummeling two 300-plus pound wrestlers like they were cruiserweights. Eventually all three guys would get their shots in but it was really booked to make Khali look incredibly strong. Khali earned this chance with two impressive matches with John Cena the past two months on PPV. I am happy Batista hasn’t pretty much lost all of his juice after losing five consecutive PPV title matches. However, as usual, Batista is about to win after Batistabombing Kane. Yet Khali drags the Animal out and throwing him into the stairs. Khali then finishes Kane off with his power bomb, and Khali retains his title after an ugly, but fun bowling shoe title match. Grade: 2.5
Justin:Just when it seems like he is gaining some momentum and being positioned as the main man on a brand, Edge goes down with yet another injury. He was set to fight Kane here, but was injured in a brawl on Smackdown and was forced to forfeit his gold yet again. In a shocking move, Great Khali ended up winning the vacant title in a battle royal. He then interfered in a number one contenders match, leading to this three way here. So, with Edge out of the way, Batista is now once again eligible to compete for the big gold, so here he is, right back at it. The question remains, can he finally win the big one? I will say one thing, regardless of ability, Khali did look kind of cool stomping to the ring with the belt draped over his shoulder. I liked how Michael Cole really put over how Khali’s reign was a big deal in India. Batista and Kane actually teamed up early, trying to break down Khali. The Champ fought them both off and started to dominate, knocking Kane to the floor and locking in a nerve pinch on Batista. The booking to this point really made Khali look pretty damn unstoppable and as awkward as he was in the ring, he was built to be a effective monster here. Kane and Batista continued to team up to try to gain some momentum and were finally able to wipe Khali out with a double spinebuster through the announce table. With Khali down, the two hosses started to brawl. The crowd was pretty into this one and I must say I found myself getting into it as well. Khali finally ambled back into the ring but he was met with an impressive Kane chokeslam. Batista followed with a spinebuster, but the champ hung in there. The big blows and near falls continued as this has evolved into a fun heavyweight slugfest with each man trying to find the right move and right timing to win. Kane finally grabbed a chair, but Batista met him with a spinebuster and Batistabomb. Khali broke up the pin, wiped out Batista on the floor and planted Kane with a tree slam for the win. Damn, this one impressed me as all three guys busted it and definitely overachieved. Batista comes up short yet again, but this time he avoids the pin, lining him to continue to be a top challenger. The improbable Khali reign continues, but strong booking has him developing into a nice monster heel champ. Grade: 2.5
*** King Booker and Queen Sharmell come to the ring to cut a promo. Booker discusses his cease and desist order to prevent Triple H from calling himself King of Kings, because Booker is the true King. He then turns his attention to “Jerome” Lawler, accusing him of regicide. He offers Lawler the chance to enter the ring, bow down and lay his crown at Booker’s feet. Lawler tells Booker to come get it so Booker declares the retort an Act of Treason before simply walking off. ***
9) John Cena defeats Bobby Lashley to retain WWE Championship with an FU off the top rope at 14:51
Fun Fact: On 7/2, Jonathan Coachman had to miss the show, so William Regal was in charge for the night. He announced that there would be a Beat the Clock Challenge to determine John Cena’s challenger for the Bash. Lashley would win the Challenge and he and Cena signed the contract to end the show. On 7/16, the two men met face-to-face for an interview that ended with Lashley being escorted to the back by officials. Cena baited him back into the ring and the two had a skirmish as the show went off the air.
Fun Fact II: This is Bobby Lashley’s final WWE PPV appearance. On 7/30, he was put on the shelf after a match with Mr. Kennedy. The kayfabe injury was a cover so he could recover from a legitimate injury he had suffered back in April. While recovering, Lashley posted an update to his website in January that he had been released against his wishes and was now focusing on a career in MMA. On February 4, WWE.com confirmed the surprising story, which some had doubted just based on the amount of time and resources that had been put into building Lashley up. After leaving, Lashley would compete briefly in Mexico and TNA, but has mainly focused on his MMA career and dabbled in acting roles as well. His final record is 8-9.
Scott: They really did a fine job pumping up this main event. Cena is Cena, but Lashley probably needed a little more out of the vignettes to put his spot over here, and it worked. He’s had a pretty good 2007, but nothing like Cena. He’s held the title since beating Edge last September at Unforgiven, and has every type of challenger thrown in front of him. He made both Umaga and Great Khali tap, and he’s won three multi-wrestler matches in that stretch. It’s one of the most impressive single title reigns in recent memory. Now does this match have that Hogan/Warrior feel to it? A passing of the torch, perhaps? I doubt it. Cena is still on a roll and there’s no sense that he is going to lose anytime soon. This is just another type of opponent that Cena hasn’t faced yet. Umaga and Khali were just big hulking presences. However Lashley is stacked and very athletic. With both men being sustained babyfaces, the pacing here will be different as both men will get short stretches of dictating. The males doing the usual “Cena sucks” chants, but I’m not even sure they think Lashley is their guy for the WWE Title. It still brings a good vibe to the match and the crowd is finally into a match. It’s sad that it took all the way to the main event, but what can you do with west coast crowds. Cena eventually gets his big run going but Lashley stayed on his feet and hits a big power slam for a two count. This is the first main event since Wrestlemania that really had some juice and sizzle to it. The other matches had something to them that made them entertaining but they didn’t totally have that big match feel that this one does. Cena finally hit an FU but he was too spent to go for a count until after almost a minute and Lashley kicked out. Cena then gets the elusive STFU on the big man but Lashley got to the ropes. This match definitely lived up to the hype. Lashley had that one moment, when he hit the spear after getting out of the STFU but Cena kicked out. Cena finally ends it by hitting an FU off the top rope for the win. A great ending to a great match, and I thought from here Lashley would be elevated to the stratosphere. Would he? Grade: 4
Justin: Our main event was quite hyped and had quite a bit of interest amongst fans and insiders. In fact, many were surprised that WWE was using a marquee match on a secondary PPV, but as we discussed above, Lashley was headed to the sidelines with an injury, so perhaps they wanted to ensure they got the match in. A big hook of the match was whether Lashley could finally be the guy to end Cena’s epic title reign, which had now been running for ten months. Lashley has some new theme music and looked poised to really be pushed as the next major star, so I am still really surprised that this ends up being his final WWE PPV appearance. This crowd seemed a little bit more pro-Cena than normal, but it was clear that the cheers would be split between the two as the match went on. The two men felt each other out early, using a test of strength and some basic chain wrestling to set the tone. Lashley naturally dominated that portion, using his amateur skills to keep Cena off balance. When you look at their complete arsenals, Lashley seems to be the favorite, as he may have Cena beaten in power, wrestling acumen and agility. However, Cena has been on fire all year, so this was shaping up to be a great match from the get-go. Lashley took over with a nice t-bone suplex and then really started to work Cena over with his power offense, seemingly smelling a title win was near. Cena started to fight back with some high impact moves, including a blockbuster and a top rope legdrop for a near fall. Lashley recovered and tried to wear Cena down, but it was short-lived as Cena again used his big move repertoire to fend off the challenger. Things started to pick up here, as Lashley almost won the belt with a powerslam. He followed that up with a great torture rack backbreaker that rattled the champ. Cena somehow shook that off and landed an FU to a huge pop. Cena was unable to capitalize, allowing Lashley to survive the move. The champ then dodged a spear and ratcheted up the STFU, but Lashley survived again and reached the ropes. By this point, this match was really starting to feel big time and as it edged along it felt like we really could see a changing of the guard. Both men were weary as they battled up the ropes and on to the top buckle. Cena was able to catch Lashley, scoop him up and drop him with an FU from the top. He pounced down, covered and won this war. This was a very good match and a hell of a way for Lashley to go out, hanging move for move with the dominant champion. Cena is still the top dog as his title reign closes in on one year. Grade: 4
Scott: This was an up and down show with some real good matches and some real duds. The crowd brought really nothing to the table except for the matches with the Hardy Brothers and the main event. Some of those matches, like Sandman/Carlito, were destined to be total duds, and others just didn’t come off well in the ring as I think they thought them to be. In the first PPV after the Chris Benoit mess, things still seemed fairly stable. The problem is that we had a show without three of the biggest stars out at the same time in Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Edge. One of them returns next month, and maybe things will be spruced up a bit again. The show can’t be totally failed as we had a couple of good title matches and two solid mid-card matches. There were some duds that level it out however. I’m curious to see what the product will indeed look like at the end of the year with what happened with Benoit and the product’s view from the mainstream public. There was quite a bit, as expected, of backlash and hopefully they work their way through it. One thing John Cena is doing successfully is giving stability to Raw and the WWE title since there so much uncertainty on Raw with the myriad of injuries and the World Title being bounced all over the place. This might be a show I would throw in again sometime down the line, but skip over some of the lowlights. Final Grade: C+
Justin: This was a pretty solid outing, as there was nothing really bad, but nothing really great either. Everything ranged from solid to very good, which is fine really. It was nice to see some new matchups after months of rematches following Wrestlemania. Separating the Hardy Boys definitely helps shore up the midcard on both shows, and we see that decision paying dividends immediately. The Cruiserweight title is now officially a joke and this seems to be the death knell of a once great division, sadly. The booking on the show was good as well, as pretty much everyone that needed to be built up and established picked up wins where needed and all the matches were given the proper amount of time. The main event delivered and certainly felt like a heavyweight fight between two top dogs. Cena survives to fight another day as we bid adieu to Bobby Lashley. Overall, the first PPV of the new WWE landscape is a solid one filled with hard work, a fun crowd and good overall booking. Grade: C
MVP: John Cena & Bobby Lashley
Runner Up: Great Khali
Non MVP: Chavo Guerrero
Runner Up: Melina