TJR Retro: WWE Great American Bash 2006 Review (Booker vs. Mysterio, Batista vs. Kennedy, Punjabi Prison debut)

TJR Wrestling

The WWE Great American Bash 2006 show was a Smackdown event that took place at a time when the blue bland wasn’t that hot. Batista was out for the first half of the year and he was their top guy. This was his PPV return match. Rey Mysterio was elevated to World Champion partly because he was paying tribute to Eddie Guerrero, who passed away in late 2005. They were trying to elevate some newer guys too.

This was not a memorable show in terms of the matches, but I remember there was a lot of news at the time mainly about “elevated liver enzymes.” Bobby Lashley, Great Khali and Super Crazy were pulled from competition because of them. The concern with the elevated liver enzymes was that it’s possible that they are a sign of Hepatitis C, which can be easily spread. I remember after the show it was revealed that all three guys didn’t have Hepatitis C. The interesting thing about elevated liver enzymes is that liver issues can occur as a side effect of oral steroid use. That’s why when you hear about steroid use, you often hear of needles because they are safer. There were no failed drug tests announced for Lashley, Khali or Crazy, but the popular opinion is that some kind of oral steroid usage is what caused the liver enzymes issue. With Khali out, that meant that the Punjabi Prison match designed for the big man from India would not include him.

Mark Henry also missed this show, so Batista’s match was switched to Ken Kennedy instead of him. Henry had a torn patella tendon in his knee that he suffered about one week earlier, which was a very serious injury. He missed about ten months of action.

I can’t even remember if I watched this show live or if I ever saw the whole thing even after the fact. I remember it because of the liver enzymes, but I’m not sure if I ever watched it.

For the last few years, I have been reviewing WWE PPVs starting in 2003 through the mid-2000s. Check out my WWE Retro PPV archive here if you want to read any of the reviews during that period. Let’s get to it.

Even though the Great Khali didn’t wrestle on the show, he was still on the DVD cover. Everybody loves Khali! No.

WWE Great American Bash
Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
July 23, 2006

This event has a rating of TV-14 and “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network. Considering there’s a bra and panties match on this show, that makes sense.

The opening video package aired promoting The Undertaker vs. Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison match. They also promoted King Booker challenging Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship.

The show began with pyro going off, shots of the live crowd and Michael Cole welcoming us to the show. Cole was ringside to call the action with John Bradshaw Layfield. The Spanish announcers were at ringside as well.

WWE Tag Team Championships: Paul London and Brian Kendrick vs. The Pit Bulls (Jamie Noble and Kid Kash)

Pre-match notes: London and Kendrick were the face champions while Noble and Kash were the heels. The Pit Bulls won a non-title match on Smackdown to set up this match, which is common WWE booking to set up a title match.

Kash knocked London over with a shoulder tackle followed by punches. London came back with a dropkick, shoulder tackle and a headscissors takedown. Kendrick tagged in and London launched him for a cross body block that got a two count. Kendrick with two armdrag takedowns on Kash. Kash took control with headbutts and he brought in Noble, who sent Kendrick into the turnbuckle. Kendrick countered a slam into a pin attempt for two. London tagged in and jumped off the top with a kick to the back. Kendrick back in with an elbow attack on Noble, then London back in with a double axehandle on the arm of Noble. Noble sent London face first into the turnbuckle. Kendrick back in and the faces each hit dropkicks to knock the heels out of the ring. London and Kendrick each hit suicide dives to take out both opponents on the floor. The heels took over when the ref was distracted, so the Pit Bulls double teamed Kendrick with Noble slamming him off the top rope. Noble kicked Kendrick in the back repeatedly and a double team shoulder tackle got a pin attempt for Kash, who was the legal man. Kash grounded Kendrick with a chinlock. Kendrick broke free with a headscissors and London tagged in against Noble with forearms and a belly to belly suplex. London with a flapjack on Kash. London battled with Noble in the ring, Kash grabbed London’s leg and Noble kicked London out of the ring when London was trying a skin the cat move on the ropes. Good spot along with a painful bump for London. The heels took control on London with Noble slapping on a chinlock. When London broke free, Noble took him down with a leg lariat. That looked great. Kash stomped away on London to keep him grounded followed by forearms to the face. London kicked Kash into Noble on the apron and then Noble pulled Kendrick off the apron to stop a tag. London with a back body drop on Noble and London avoided a suplex leading to a hot tag to Kendrick.

Kendrick was on fire with a missile dropkick on Kash followed by forearms to both guys. Kendrick with a clothesline on Kash. Kendrick with a forearm to Kash, kick to Noble and a jumping kick to Kash got a two count as Kash got his hand on the bottom rope. Kendrick with a hurricanrana for two because Noble broke up the pin. London back in with a spinning heel kick that knocked Noble out of the ring. Cash knocked down London with a clothesline. Kendrick dropkick sent Kash out of the ring. Kendrick went up top and hit a cross body block on Noble on the floor. Kendrick jumped off the top with a sunset flip on Kash, then London did a dropsault and Kendrick pinned Kash for the pinfall win at 13:28.

Winners by pinfall: Paul London and Brian Kendrick

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good opener featuring four cruiserweight wrestlers with London/Kendrick as an exciting face team that found a way to retain the gold. It was smart to put this match on first. I liked the finish a lot. It was clever with Kendrick being unable to hit the sunset flip on his own, but after the dropsault by London, they were able to get the win.

Post match, London and Kendrick celebrated the win.

Analysis: The London/Kendrick title reign lasted nearly one year (331 days officially) from May 2006 to April 2007, so this was still early in their title reign. Kash and Noble worked well together as heels, but this was Kash’s last WWE PPV match because he was gone in September 2006. It was not a big loss.

There was a backstage scene with Great Khali and Daivari talking while the camera was on the ground to show how big Khali was. Daivari wondered why Khali didn’t want to wait for his match and Khali yelled loudly while picking up Daivari. End scene. That was weird.

Teddy Long, the Smackdown General Manager, made his entrance in the ring. Long said that he had bad news. Long said that during his regular physical examination, Bobby Lashley was found to have “elevated enzymes in the liver.” Cole: “What?” Long said that Lashley will not compete tonight and the fans booed. Lashley made his entrance to a good pop. JBL said it was crap and that Lashley didn’t want to compete.

Bobby Lashley was in his ring gear as he entered the ring with Long. Lashley said with all due respect to Long and the doctors, he doesn’t think there is a damn thing wrong with him. Lashley said that he came all the way down here to get his title back (the US Title) and he’s ready to fight. Fans chanted “let him fight” for him. Long said he wants Lashley to compete and he thinks it’s a damn shame, but he owes it to Lashley and the WWE fans that this administration takes a long term view at Bobby’s health. Long said that when Lashley is medically cleared, he will have the opportunity to be US Champion again. The fans booed because they wanted a Lashley match now.

Analysis: It was a decent explanation for why Lashley was out because at least it was the truth. I wonder if WWE regrets actually saying the legit reason and I’m surprised they didn’t book some sort of injury angle to set it up.

Lashley left the ring and he went up the aisle as Finlay, the US Champion, made his entrance along with William Regal. They walked past Lashley on their way to the ring.

Finlay said told Long to “give me some skin, player” and Regal shook Long’s hand as well. Finlay mentioned “elevated enzymes” twice and claimed that Lashley had a knot on his head, a yellow streak down his back and he’s afraid of the competition. Finlay told Long to announce him as the winner by forfeit.

Long said that he promised the fans that there would be a US Title match tonight. Long made a new match with William Regal challenging Finlay for the US Title. Long called for a referee (it was Nick Patrick) because the match will start right now. Regal and Finlay weren’t happy about it while JBL whined about it.

United States Championship: Fit Finlay vs. William Regal

Pre-match notes: They were both heels and allies.

Regal started the match looking under the ring to see if the leprechaun (Hornswoggle) was under the ring, but he was not. Finlay tried a rollup for a two count, so Regal punched him in the face. They worked at a slow pace with Finlay hitting a shoulder tackle. Regal tossed Finlay out of the ring. JBL was ranting a lot about how it’s not fair that Teddy Long put them in a match. The Little Bastard (later known as Hornswoggle) appeared from under the ring and hit Regal in the foot with a shillelagh. Back in the ring, Finlay hit a clothesline. Finlay whipped Regal into the turnbuckle and Regal oversold it. The fans chanted “We Want Lashley.” Regal hit a double underhook suplex. The Little Bastard bit Regal’s hand without the referee seeing it. Finlay worked over the injured left hand of Regal by shoving the hand into the top rope. Regal slapped on a chinlock, Finlay with a running forearm and a jumping splash. Finlay drove Regal’s chest into the side of the ring apron. JBL called Lashley a coward for not being there while Finlay and Regal did a collision spot where they were both down at the same time. Regal hit a rare dropkick while JBL was ranting about elevated enzymes. Overhead suplex from Regal followed by a knee drop. The fans were chanting “boring” as Finlay trapped Regal against the ring apron. Cole claimed they chanted boring because they wanted Lashley. That’s a decent way to cover for it. Regal went back in the ring without his right boot, so the idea is that Little Bastard took it off. Regal had one boot and one sock. Regal avoided a corner charge and hit a rollup for a two count. Regal grabbed the shillelagh, the referee got that weapon out of the ring, Little Bastard gave Finlay the red boot of Regal and Finlay hit Regal in the head with the boot. Finlay covered with his feet on the ropes for the cheap win at 13:49.

Winner by pinfall: Fit Finlay

Analysis: **1/4 It was an average match that was boring at times. They are good workers, but a heel vs. heel without a story is tough to pull off no matter who you are. This match just felt off from the beginning. At least they found a good way to utilize Little Bastard, who was later called Hornswoggle. JBL’s commentary for this match was awful because he kept whining about how unfair it was and then trying to put this over as a classic. It was not and fans were chanting “boring” for it. Heel vs. heel does not work. I don’t mind good heel commentary, but this was bad.

Post match, Little Bastard grabbed the US Title from Finlay, so Finlay kicked him back under the ring and grabbed his title. JBL was ranting about how this was a great fight. It was not that.

Rey Mysterio was in the locker room with the World Championship hanging in there with him. Chavo Guerrero showed up and said that Rey is like family. Chavo said Rey’s fans are proud of him, so are Eddie’s fans and Chavo is proud of him. Chavo said that Rey was living his dream while claiming that one of Eddie’s last dreams was to regain the World Championship, so Rey is living Eddie’s dream. Chavo said he’s there to make sure dreams come true.

Analysis: It was obvious what was coming in the main event, but I won’t spoil it here in case you are unfamiliar with it.

Gregory Helms vs. Matt Hardy

Pre-match notes: Gregory Helms was the heel Cruiserweight Champion and Hardy was the face. This was not a title match. They were close friends from North Carolina.

Hardy with a deep arm drag that sent Helms across the ring, then a hiptoss and a headlock. Hardy did a “what’s up with that?” taunt that mocked Helms’ previous Hurricane gimmick. Hardy with an atomic drop, he sent Helms out of the ring and Hardy went over the top onto Helms on the floor. JBL said that Matt’s weakness is that he loves the fans. Helms took over while sending Hardy on the top rope and then he hit a neckbreaker. Helms hit another neckbreaker for two. Hardy with a jawbreaker, but Helms came back with a clothesline. JBL commented on how amazing this show was. Helms with a boot to the face, but then Hardy came back with a punch to the gut and a Russian legsweep for a two count. Helms countered a slam attempt into a two count. Helms went up top, Hardy knocked him down with a punch and Helms set up Hardy on the top rope. They were both standing on the top rope with Helms hitting a swinging neckbreaker. That was a great spot and an awesome bump for both guys. Helms sold it like he was in pain as well. Helms managed to get a two count while Hardy put his foot on the bottom rope to kick out. Hardy drove Helms back first into the turnbuckle, they got into a slugfest and Hardy connected with the Side Effect slam for a two count. Hardy with a corner clothesline followed by a bulldog that got a two count. Hardy wanted a Twist of Fate, but Helms hooked the arms of Hardy and slammed him back first into the mat for a two count. Helms went for the Shining Wizard knee, Hardy avoided it and then Helms connected with the Shining Wizard for a two count. Hardy came back with a moonsault press off the ropes for a two count. The crowd bought that as a nearfall while Hardy followed up with an elbow smash off the ropes. Helms sent Hardy face first into the turnbuckle and a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights was enough for Helms to win at 11:43.

Winners by pinfall: Gregory Helms

Analysis: *** Good match with back and forth action along with some believable nearfalls in the last few minutes. The finish was cheap for Helms, which fit his heel persona. Helms getting the win continued the strong booking he had for most of 2006 as the Cruiserweight Champion even though this wasn’t a title match. Helms was one of the best and most consistent guys on SD this year.

Backstage, The Great Khali and Daivari were walking down a hallway. Daivari told him to take his time. The Undertaker showed up and attacked Daivari. Undertaker had a staredown with Khali when Big Show showed up to get a cheap attack on Undertaker and knock him down with punches. Referees showed up to break it up.

They went to a video package for the Punjabi Prison match with The Undertaker facing The Great Khali even though Khali was not wrestling on this show.

There was a shot of Khali, Big Show and Daivari were walking backstage. Show had the ECW Championship on his shoulder. Teddy Long showed up saying that Big Show doing their dirty work isn’t going to work. Long said that there’s only one man that will face Undertaker in the Punjabi Prison and it’s Big Show. The heels complained about it and Long told Show the match is next. Daivari complained that it is Khali’s match while Khali was yelling about it.

The announcers argued about this with JBL saying it’s not fair and Cole said too bad because it’s going to happen.

Analysis: The real reason Khali was out of the match was because of elevated liver enzymes just like Lashley, but they didn’t say that. They just did a storyline where Long replaced Khali with Show because Show attacked Undertaker. I’m guessing it’s because WWE didn’t want to say two guys had elevated liver enzymes. What a mess.

The Punjabi Prison structure was around the ring and Cole called it an “awe-inspiring structure.” It looked ridiculous.

How did they come up with the rules for the Punjabi Prison? According to Shawn Daivari in a 2017 interview, they just came up with it on the fly. Here’s how he explained it:

“So they advertise this thing (Punjabi Prison), we don’t know what it is, not even the company is building it, going out to like some concert stage company who build this thing. So the day before pay-per-view, they rent a soundstage like in Indianapolis or wherever the f—- we were, and they set it up. Just no, there’s a ring in a warehouse and like a soundstage and this giant wood cage around it. We go up to punch this thing, it’s solid steel. And then Pat [Patterson] comes up and is like, ‘Why don’t maybe,’ cause there’s a little cage with four doors, there’s a big Hell in a Cell size cage outside of it. Pat goes, ‘What if the doors open once and then they shut every 60 seconds and once they shut, they don’t re-open. And that way we create a false finish by Taker can get out, but when the last one opens, you throw him back in, the door shuts, he’s locked in there, you look like it escaped and then Taker gets over the top.’ I was like, ‘This motherf—er is just making up rules to create false finishes. This is amazing.’ I knew he was smart but just seeing that process right in front of me, I would never have the wherewithal to create that scenario.”

It’s not like it was a good match concept, but at least we got some insight into how they came up with it.

Michael Cole read rules of the match. The interior structure had four doors and when a competitor asked the door to open, it remains open for 60 seconds. The outer structure has no door, so you have to escape both structures to win.

Big Show made his entrance with the ECW Title on his shoulder. Show mouthed “What the F**k” as he walked out there while looking at the Punjabi Prison structure. JBL ranted about how this wasn’t fair. Cole said that Show should have stayed away from Smackdown.

The Undertaker entered to a good pop. It took the usual three minutes for Undertaker to get into the ring.

Punjabi Prison Match: The Undertaker vs. Big Show

Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face while Big Show was a heel.

They started out doing a slugfest with Show taking control with punches, kicks and headbutts. Show whipped Taker into the turnbuckle, Taker came back with kicks and JBL was ranting about how Undertaker was damaged after his matches with Khali. Taker knocked down Show with kicks. Undertaker tried to climb out of the first cage, but he couldn’t get past the razor sharp spikes, so Show tripped him up and crotched Taker on a hole in the prison. Show choked Undertaker with a leather strap. Show with a running clothesline followed by an elbow drop. Undertaker came back with two running attacks that sent Show into the side of the cage. Undertaker countered a Chokeslam attempt with a DDT. Undertaker called for one of the doors to open, so he had 60 seconds to get out. Big Show brought Undertaker back in the ring and stomped on Taker to keep him from leaving. Show kicked Taker down, so Taker did not get out during the 60 seconds he had to escape. Show whipped Taker in the back with a leather strap followed by a choke using the leather strap. Show exposed one of the steel turnbuckles. Taker came back with a running tackle. Taker teased the Old School rope walk, but Show slammed him down. Show called for the door to open, he looked exhausted and Taker stopped him from leaving. Undertaker tried to get out, but Show kept him inside the ring. The clock ran down from 60 seconds as Show hit a Chokeslam on Undertaker, but Show was unable to get out of the door. Show drove Undertaker’s face into the steel turnbuckle, so Undertaker was bleeding after that. Quick blade job by him. Show worked over Undertaker’s head with punches. Show tried to climb out of the cage. Show tried to climb out, which never would have happened and Undertaker hit Show with a low blow punch to the groin. They battled on the top rope with Undertaker hitting a superplex, which led to a mild “holy shit” chant. The third door opened, so Undertaker fell out of the door and he was outside the ring with that second structure there that he had to climb out. Big Show got back to his feet, told the referee to open the fourth door, so he slid out of that and they were both outside the inner cage.

The two men had to climb out of the outer structure to win the match. Show knocked Undertaker down from a climbing attack and Show whipped Undertaker into a table, which broke. Show tossed Undertaker back inside the ring and the last door closed, so Undertaker was back inside the ring alone. The only way Undertaker could get out is by climbing over the top. Undertaker climbed the inner structure while Show climbed the outer structure. Undertaker easily climbed out (so much for the “razor-sharp” top of the structure!) and went right to the outer structure. Undertaker kicked Show and they were both down on the floor. Show was hovering over a table, so Undertaker hit him with a running leg drop to the back of the head while also putting Show through a table. Big Show was busted open after that with blood pouring from his head. Taker whipped Show into the side of the cage again. Great Khali and Daivari entered through the crowd. Undertaker climbed the inner cage, jumped onto Big Show and they went crashing through the outer cage. The Undertaker was declared the winner even though they broke the cage at the same time. It went 21:35. It felt like it was double that.

Winner: The Undertaker

Analysis: -* Holy shit, this was bad. No, that’s not strong enough by me. This match was a f’n disaster. That’s why I went negative one star. The whole point of the match was to climb out of the outer cage, but instead they just broke the cage. It went too long, it didn’t make sense, the work in the match was poor and it made me never want to see this kind of match ever again. Sadly, WWE did bring it back two more times. I don’t even blame the wrestlers either. Even if there were great workers in there I don’t know if they could have a match with this structure and these rules. I feel bad for Undertaker and Show for being in this match. Show looked very tired about halfway through the match. It wasn’t selling. He just looked like he was unable to go for as long as they did. Going 20 minutes was a bad decision. Don’t watch this match. You shouldn’t suffer through that pain like I did. My favorite part was when it was over.

Post match, Undertaker and Show sold it like they were exhausted probably because they were. Great Khali was climbing up the cage for some reason. That made no sense, but there he was. Undertaker left as the victor while Big Show was a bloody mess that was frustrated at ringside.

King Booker was backstage with Queen Sharmell. She spoke about great men trying to rule the world while noting that they failed in the end. Sharmell said that Booker will eclipse them all because when he beats Rey Mysterio, he will become King of the World. Booker said “King of the World” repeatedly. Booker kissed Sharmell, said “yes” and that was it.

The announcers put over the Punjabi Prison match with JBL saying that it was the most barbaric match they have ever seen. Heels lie. How do you follow a Punjabi Prison match? With a 4-Way Bra & Panties match of course.

Kristal Marshall was up first followed by Michelle McCool, who would later marry rich and become Michelle McTaker. That’s what I called her anyway. Jillian Hall made her entrance to no reaction. Ashley Massaro was the only one of the three women to get a reaction with the fans cheering for her.

Fatal 4-Way Bra and Panties Match: Kristal Marshall vs. Michelle McCool vs. Jillian Hall vs. Ashley Massaro

Pre-match notes: Kristal Marshall and Michelle McCool were the heels while Ashley Massaro and Jillian Hall were the faces. None of them were very experienced. I think Jillian was the only one that had more than a year of in-ring action by this point and she was still in her first year on the main roster.

There was some awful wrestling action to start. Kristal took off Ashley’s top and celebrated about it, so Ashley knocked her out of the ring. McCool hit a backbreaker like move on Ashley and Hall tackled Michelle. Hall hit a body slam on McCool. With Hall trapped against the turnbuckle, McCool pulled Hall’s top off to leave her in her bra. McCool whipped Hall into the turnbuckle. Cole called them great athletes, which led to JBL complaining about it and said that he didn’t care if they are athletes because they are hot. McCool and Marshall were whipped into eachother by the face. The skirts were taken off McCool and Marshall, but McCool had a second skirt on. Marshall and McCool rolled around the ring with eachother. Hall dropkicked McCool to the floor. Hall did a boob shake and then rubbed Marshall’s face into Hall’s cleavage. Ashley removed Marshall’s top, so Ashley wins the match at 5:17.

Winner: Ashley Massaro

Analysis: 1/4* It was bad wrestling of course, but they looked great doing it. I’m being nice with that rating.

After the match, Jillian didn’t seem happy about Ashley winning the match, but Ashley brought her back in the ring and whispered something in her ear. Jillian climbed the turnbuckle and Ashley took off Jillian’s pants. Jillian went over to the other turnbuckle and took off Ashley’s skirt. The babyface women Ashley and Jillian celebrated in their bra and panties. JBL: “Five stars. Five stars.”

Analysis: At least it was more fun to watch than a Punjabi Prison match. That’s fair to say. I think they did that post match angle to try to make Jillian more popular because she turned face a few months before this. Michelle McCool ended up as the biggest star among these four women.

The Miz was backstage and he interviewed Mr. Kennedy. There wasn’t much of a question as Kennedy took over the interview saying that he’s going to beat Batista tonight. Kennedy said that he can beat Batista and he will. He did his “Mr. Kennedy…Kennedy” bit to end it.

Batista made his entrance to a huge ovation. This was his big return match after being injured for about six months, so the pop for him was louder than usual. A clip was shown of Mark Henry having knee surgery last Tuesday with the announcers saying he would be out 8-10 months. It was around ten months.

Mr. Kennedy made his entrance. There wasn’t much of a reaction for him. Kennedy wanted to lower the microphone from the ceiling for his entrance, but Batista attacked him before the bell.

Batista vs. Mr. (Ken) Kennedy

Pre-match notes: Batista was the face and Kennedy was the heel.

Batista was aggressive early on as he whipped Kennedy into the turnbuckle leading to Kennedy bailing to the floor. Batista drove Kennedy back first into the side of the ring apron. Batista sent Kennedy face first into the steel steps. This was a key part of the match because Kennedy used his hands to make the noise, but his head also hit the steps and Kennedy was bleeding profusely from the forehead. It was not a blade job. It was a brutal cut that led to Kennedy getting 20 stitches in his head after the match. Back in the ring, Batista hit a running clothesline. Kennedy complained about what Batista did to him, he said see you later, then ran back in the ring and Batista decked him with a spear. Batista dumped Kennedy out of the ring and when Batista followed, Kennedy did an eye gouge followed by a kick when they got back in the ring. They replayed the spot where Kennedy’s head hit the corner of the steel step. Kennedy worked over Batista with punches. There was blood on Batista’s face, but it looked like it was Kennedy’s blood on him. Kennedy with a running boot to the face. Kennedy sent Batista into the steel steps. JBL: “Great! It’s what he deserves!” Kennedy covered for a two count followed by an armbar on the left arm because Batista’s six month absence was surgery on his left triceps. When they showed a closeup of Kennedy’s head, you could see a huge gash that looked nasty. Kennedy let go and gave Batista a hard slap in the face. Batista fired back up, he drove Kennedy into the turnbuckle and Batista hit five shoulder tackles. Batista whipped Kennedy into the ring post three times in a row. Batista stomped away on Kennedy against the turnbuckle, he put his foot on Kennedy’s throat, referee Charles Robinson tried to get Batista to stop and he wouldn’t, so Robinson disqualified Batista. That means Kennedy wins by DQ at 8:38. Fans booed that finish.

Winner by disqualification: Mr. Kennedy

Analysis: ** The effort was there and there was intensity, but it was really just an average match. The finish was bad, so that hurt the match too. Since Batista was getting the World Title shot at the next PPV (SummerSlam), he really should have gotten the win here. I guess the booking logic behind the finish is that they wanted to keep Kennedy strong, but I don’t think he would have been hurt if he lost this match.

Post match, Batista picked up Kennedy and hit three Spinebusters in a row. JBL complained about Batista being a sore loser. Batista picked up Kennedy and dropped him with a Batista Bomb. Batista stood over top of Kennedy while Batista’s music played and posed even though he lost the match.

Analysis: Batista lost the match, but then he got to stand tall with the post match attack. They should have just put him over clean and not done the post match attack. It wasn’t needed although I guess the idea was that Batista was more intense than ever.

After Batista left, Kennedy was looked at by a doctor. Here’s a shot of it from more of a distance because the closeup is disturbing to look at.

Analysis: As I mentioned before, that was a hardway cut for Kennedy. I had completely forgotten about how bad it was, but that was tough to look at as the match went on. It took about 20 stitches to cover up the wound.

The video package aired to set up Rey Mysterio defending the World Championship against King Booker. Booker T won the King of the Ring, then he became King Booker and won a battle royal to earn the World Heavyweight Championship match.

Analysis: Rey was one of the most poorly booked World Champions ever. He was booked to lose several non-title matches to bigger opponents, but he was able to hold the title for about four months going into this show.

King Booker made his entrance with his wife Queen Sharmell. They entered on a throne where they were driven into the arena. JBL was very over the top talking about Booker by saying that we are witnessing royalty, we are so blessed to see royalty and so lucky to be visited by royalty. This entrance may have taken longer than The Undertaker. It must have been about five minutes or even longer. I’m guessing they were told that they had time to kill.

Analysis: Booker was a 5-time WCW Champion going into this match and he was 41 years old. Booker was in WWE for about five years before this and he had not won a World Title in WWE at this point.

Rey Mysterio entered with the World Heavyweight Championship around his waist as he greeted a lot of fans on his way to the ring. Good pop for the champ for this matchup of former WCW stars. Both men stood in the ring for the championship intros from ring announcer Tony Chimel with Nick Patrick, the referee, holding up the World Championship.

Analysis: Another thing I remember from this period that stood out when Chimel did the intro was the way they named the title. When Rey was the champion, they stopped saying “World Heavyweight Championship” and just called it the World Championship because a smaller guy like Rey holding it was somehow a bad thing in the eyes of Vince McMahon promoting this show. It’s just one of those weird quirks of Vince where he doesn’t want certain words used.

World Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. King Booker (w/Queen Sharmell)

Pre-match notes: Mysterio was the face World Heavyweight Champion while Booker was the heel challenger.

Booker stomped away on Mysterio followed by chops and Mysterio fired back with forearms to the face. Running leg drop by Mysterio, so Booker backed into the corner as Cole noted that Booker is 7-1 at the Great American Bash. The fans chanted “Eddie” while JBL ranted about how underdogs didn’t build this country. Booker took control with a high back elbow to the chest followed by an armbar. Mysterio came back with a snapmare takeover followed by a running dropkick that got a two count. Mysterio hit a flying headscissors takeover. Booker missed a corner when Rey moved, so Booker went shoulder first into the ring post. Mysterio went up top and hit a seated senton splash on Booker on the floor. That was impressive. Back in the ring, Mysterio hit a springboard splash to Booker’s back. Booker avoided a moonsault and hit a superkick for a two count. Booker put Rey’s head against the ropes, so Sharmell gouged his eyes a bit or at least that was the idea behind whatever she was doing. Booker hit a back kick to the head followed by an armbar. Booker continued the offense with three vertical suplexes known as the Three Amigos that Eddie Guerrero did, so that drew boos from the fans. Booker went for the Scissors Kick, Mysterio avoided it, set up Booker by the ropes, 619 missed and Mysterio hit a kick to the head for a two count. Mysterio with a dropkick to the back. When Mysterio ran the ropes going for a 619, Sharmell tripped him, referee Nick Patrick saw her do it and he ejected her from ringside. The fans loved that while Sharmell freaked out about it. Booker complained to the ref about it.

Mysterio with a kick to the face, he charged in, Booker countered a bulldog and hit a belly to back suplex. Good spot. Booker off the middle ropes, Mysterio with a boot to the face and Mysterio hit a dropkick to the left knee. Mysterio hit a headscissors takedown with Booker doing a flip bump. Mysterio with a springboard cross body block off the middle ropes for a two count. The crowd bought that as a believable nearfall. Mysterio charged in and hit a jumping DDT for a two count as Booker got the left shoulder up. They did a spot out of the corner, where Booker had Rey on his shoulders and he tossed Mysterio across the ring right into referee Nick Patrick. That led to Patrick taking a ridiculous bump under the bottom rope and all the way to the floor. Mysterio hit a springboard senton followed by a dropkick and the 619 kick to the face connected. Mysterio went up top and he connected with a Frog Splash like Eddie Guerrero. Mysterio covered, Booker was down for several seconds and Patrick was still out on the floor. Booker got back into it with a punch to the groin. Booker hit the Book End. Booker brought a steel chair into the ring. Mysterio avoided a chair shot and dropkicked the chair into Booker’s face. Chavo Guerrero ran down to the ring, he grabbed the chair, teased hitting Booker with it and then he smashed the chair into Rey’s head. That was a nasty looking and sounding chair shot! Ouch. The crowd reacted with loud boos. Cole wondered what the hell was that. It’s called a heel turn. Mysterio sold it like he was knocked out while Chavo had an angry look on his face. After acting shocked by what happened, Booker covered Rey, referee Nick Patrick recovered enough to make the count for the one…two…three. Booker T was the new World Champion at 16:46. JBL: “King of the world!”

Winner by pinfall and New World (Heavyweight) Champion: Booker T

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match with Booker controlling most of it and Mysterio nearly coming back to win. The intensity really picked up after the spot where Sharmell was sent to the back. Rey worked his ass off to make Booker look impressive here and I thought Booker did very well too. They had nice chemistry together. The finish was obvious since Chavo turning heel on Rey was clearly where they going in the weeks leading up to this. Booker was gaining a lot of momentum as King Booker, so it made a lot of sense to put the title on him.

Booker was joined in the ring by his wife Sharmell and he was given the World Championship. JBL said that he told us all along that you can not trust a Guerrero. Booker celebrated with the World Title while Sharmell put the crown on his head. Replays aired of Chavo’s cheap attack. Sharmell said “All Hail King Booker” as she loved to do.

Analysis: Whenever people ask me if WWE will ever have a black WWE Champion, I always mention Booker because they did it with him in 2006. Yes, this is not the WWE Title, but it was a World Title and the show was booked by Vince McMahon. The same can be said about Mark Henry in 2011. I also count The Rock going back to his first WWE Title win in 1998 because his dad is black and his mom is Samoan. Some fans don’t want to count this World Title because of his lineage going back to WCW and NWA. However, in 2002, it became a WWE championship. The way I see it is that Vince McMahon booked this like he has booked everything on the WWE main roster, so I think it counts just as much as if this was the WWE Title.

Booker celebrated in the ring with the World Heavyweight Title while the fans booed him. Sharmell continued to say “All Hail King Booker” while the announcers thanked us for watching the show.

Analysis: They followed up from here with Chavo saying that Rey was disrespecting the Guerrero name and those two had a rivalry for the rest of the year. Booker went on to hold the World Title for a few months.

This event had a run time of 2:40:16 on WWE Network.


Show Rating (out of 10): 4.5

It was a below average show with a lot of strange things happening. There was a lot of poor content on this show, especially the Punjabi Prison match disaster. Plus, all the lineup changes led to several instances where the crowd was booing the decision making and chanting “boring” as well.

The three matches around the three-star level prevented it from being an all-time bad show. It was also a bloody show thanks to Undertaker and Big Show doing blade jobs while Kennedy had a nasty gash on his head that was legit. I normally don’t get disgusted when I see blood, but there was one closeup of Kennedy’s head where you can see how big the gash was and it was tough to watch.

I can also guarantee you that there will never be another WWE show where the phrase “elevated liver enzymes” is used as much as it was during the 2006 Great American Bash. That’s a good thing.

Best Match: Booker T vs. Rey Mysterio and London/Kendrick vs. Noble/Kash (***1/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: The Undertaker vs. Big Show in a Punjabi Prison Match (-*)

Five Stars of the Night

  1. Rey Mysterio
  2. Booker T
  3. London/Kendrick
  4. Noble/Kash
  5. Gregory Helms

Next up: SummerSlam 2006, which was a Raw and Smackdown show.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton –

Twitter @johnreport

Check out my other retro WWE PPV reviews here as well.