The “Great American Bash” name originated from the NWA/WCW promotion going way back to 1985 and it ended in 2000 when WCW died. This was the first time WWE used it for one of their PPVs. I thought it was a great idea because of the tradition surrounding the event. Plus, it sounds like a fun event. It’s not just a wrestling show – it’s a bash. Sounds good to me.
Eddie Guerrero was WWE Champion at the time. It was a tough period for Smackdown because Brock Lesnar just left the company a few months earlier, Kurt Angle was out of action for a couple more months due various injuries, they didn’t really have enough top heels (as evidenced by the main event of this show) and the midcard was thin as well. They were trying to mix in some new characters along with the established veterans. Some of them worked while others failed miserably. It was definitely a transition period for WWE’s blue brand. I loved Smackdown in 2002 and 203. It was clearly better than Raw. However, by mid-2004 it was a much different story.
This is another show from 2004 that I reviewed live 13 years ago, so I’ll add to it with additional comments in orange font as well. Let’s roll.
WWE Great American Bash
Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia
We start off with the usual video package highlighting the main matches on the show. It started out with Eddie/JBL, then the US title and then The Undertaker’s situation. There was also lots of US patriotism throughout.
Torrie Wilson, in her USA gear, is in the ring and she welcomes us to the show in the American colors. Pyro follows immediately after.
The announce team of Michael Cole and Tazz were at ringside ready to call the action. The Spanish announcers are at ringside as well.
John Cena comes out first sporting the Virginia Tech Michael Vick jersey. Good choice, I’d say. He does a rap, hints that Angle and Luther enjoy foreplay. Says the only thing RVD is rolling is blunts. Probably right. He mentions GI Bro when talking about Booker T, calling him a sucker like a knee high ho. Cena finishes it off by saying Rene Dupree is more of a bitch than Fifi. He mentions the Navy is in the house to a big pop while also ripping on Dupree. Rob Van Dam is out next. Also of note is that the ropes are red, white and blue as opposed to all red, all blue or all black. Rene Dupree comes out with Fifi and the French flag. Ha, the French! The Greeks beat the French in Euro 2004. Put the flag down! HELLAS! HELLAS! I’m Greek-Canadian, so I can do that. I’ll stop now, though. Maybe. Booker is out last.
(Cena’s raps were awesome during this period. I was a huge fan of the pre-match raps. The crowd loved him since he was a star on the rise.)
United States Title Elimination Match: John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Rene Dupree vs. Booker T.
(Pre-match notes: Cena and RVD were faces while Dupree and Booker were heels.)
Rules are simple. All four guys start in the ring and after a fall you have to go to the back.
RVD tosses Booker over the top to the floor, then puts him face first into the guard rail. Booker drives RVD back first into the side of the ring, then whips him head first into the steel steps. In the ring, Dupree suplexes Cena at one. Dupree rakes the eyes, hits a knee to the gut and a dropkick to the back of the head. Dupree punches Cena down, drops an elbow and that gets two. Into the ropes, Cena catches him in an atomic drop. He charges in at him, then Dupree tosses him out. Booker throws RVD in, Dupree gets a Mr. Perfect like necksnap for two. Booker is just sitting on the outside of the ring, watching all the action. Dupree gets a chinlock, RVD fights back with a kick. Split legged moonsault is messed up the first time, but the second time hits good for two. Tosses Dupree in, hits a sidekick, rolling thunder and that gets two. Whip in, RVD bounces out, then slingshots Dupree over the top rope to the floor. RVD’s the only one in the ring now.
Cena goes over to Dupree, RVD charges in and hits a somersault tope over the top to the floor. He rolls Cena in for two. Another rollup gets two. Cena goes for a suplex, RVD turns it into a rollup, then Cena gets one of his own. Lots of nearfalls. RVD slides out, then tosses Booker back in. Cena rolls him up for two. Cena and Booker exchange blows, toss in and Cena gets a back elbow for two. Body slam for two. Cena slides out, then tosses Dupree back in. Booker and Dupree go at it in the ring. Slam by Dupree followed by the French Tickler! He charges in, Booker comes up, hits a huge spinebuster. RVD to the top, Five Star Frog Splash to Dupree. Cena to the top, he gets kicked off by RVD. RVD gets a Five Star Frog Splash on Booker. Cena comes in, rolls up RVD from behind, who was selling the frog splashes, and gets the pinfall. RVD is out of the match.
Rob Van Dam eliminated by John Cena
(The dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again.)
Cena tosses Dupree into the ring, then Booker decks Cena on the floor with a clothesline. Cena gets double teamed as Booker gets a suplex and a knee drop. They agree to work together on Cena. Sidekick by Booker, Dupree covers. Booker yells at him. Dupree rolls him up for one. They argue. Double clothesline by Cena and he whips them into the same turnbuckle, back body drop on Dupree and a Throwback on Booker. Cena gets a weak looking FU on Dupree. Scissors kick by Booker on Cena. Booker covers Dupree for three. Dupree is out of the match.
Renee Dupree eliminated by Booker T
Booker goes to cover Cena three times, but Cena kicks out every single time. Slam by Booker. Cena is up with blows, Booker gets a back elbow for two. Chinlock for Booker. Cena fights out with punches to the gut. Booker gets a back kick that nets him a two count. Booker with a chinlock, which Cena breaks with fists, clotheslines and a back elbow. Side slam by Cena. He tells Booker he can’t see him, then hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop for two. Cena pumps up the shoes. Booker gets a knee to the gut, whip in, Booker gets a cradle out of the corner. Booker with a kick to the chest, kick to the gut, scissors kick is avoided, kick to the gut for Cena and he gets the FU for the pin. Match went 15:52.
Booker T eliminated by John Cena
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: *** Pretty good match. Nice job of putting over Cena in a big way. They all showed good energy in the match. I didn’t particularly like it when, for the first half of the match, there was never more than two people going at it. I know it’s “strategy” but it also hurts the point of the match. The pinfalls were done well, except Dupree’s elimination because Cena’s FU was poor. Otherwise, it was about what I expected. If they got ten more minutes it could have been even better, but it’s still a good match.
(Four way elimination matches were rare during this period. They did four ways occasionally, but triple threats were much more common.)
Backstage, Cena is walking with the US Title. Jackie Gayda, dressed in a USA style bikini, is hit on by Cena even though Charlie Haas was there with her. Kurt Angle appears in his wheelchair. Angle yells at Haas about how far he’s fallen in WWE, so he informs him that he has Luther Reigns in a match up next.
Analysis: They pretend like this match wasn’t expected, even though it was advertised on WWE.com nearly the entire day today.
Sable’s in a hot tub backstage wearing a bikini. She mentions the divas are hosting the show tonight, interviewing people. She says she’s the biggest star of them all and she’ll beat Torrie tonight.
(I liked Sable, but story wise she didn’t have much to do in her 2003-04 run. Her run in the late 1990s was more memorable.)
Charlie Haas (w/Jackie Gayda) vs. Luther Reigns (w/Miss Jackie)
Haas comes out with Jackie. Luther comes out with Angle, who is in the wheelchair.
(Haas ended up marrying Jackie and they have four kids together.)
Boring start to the match. Luther with a military press slam for two. He goes for a modified single leg crab, but Haas is near the ropes. Luther pulls him out to the center of the ring. Haas boots him in the face to get out of it. Haas rolls Luther up from behind for two. Luther with a clothesline for two. Luther whips him in, Haas ducks out, then hits a t-bone suplex that was beautiful. Cradle gets two. German Suplex is blocked by Luther’s hands, which are on the ropes. Haas tries again, then hits a bridging German Suplex for two. He whips him, Luther moves out and Haas goes shoulder first into the post. Luther hits a twisting neckbreaker type move. It was kind of like the Roll of the Dice move that Reno used to do in WCW. Cool looking move. Match ended at 7:10.
Winner by pinfall: Luther Reigns
Analysis: *1/4 Boring match without much build. Too short to be anything really good. Just an easy win to put over Reigns.
(Luther was the first guy named “Reigns” that WWE had high hopes for. I think it’s fair to say he did not reach the same heights that Roman did.)
Backstage, John Bradshaw Layfield did a promo talking about how he guaranteed victory at Judgment Day and he won, but Eddie is still WWE Champion because he got himself disqualified…on purpose. JBL guarantees us that he will become the new WWE champion.
(Did I believe he was going to leave with the WWE Title? Not really.)
Cruiserweight title match is up next. Chavo comes out first. They show highlights of the battle royal from Smackdown that showed how Chavo won the right to have this match. As Rey comes out, I’d like to mention how this is way better than any kind of cruiser title match involving the now fired Jacqueline and Chavo Classic. This is what the division needs to be about. In ring action.
Cruiserweight Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero
(Pre-match notes: Rey was the face champion and Chavo was the heel.)
They mat wrestle to start. Rey gets a couple of cradles for two to start it off. Chavo gets a couple pinfall attempts of his own for two. Chavo gets a standing armbar, Rey rolls through, arm wringer of his own, Rey gets a kick to the arm in order to break it. Chavo charges at him, Rey does an arm drag of his own, then holds onto it. Whip in, Chavo ducks, leapfrog, jumps over the monkey flip, springboard into an armbar, then a cradle for two. Wow. All of that took about five seconds. It was insanely fast. Chavo gets a kick to the gut, then some forearms and punches. Whip in, Rey grabs ropes as Chavo’s dropkick gets nothing. Sliding dropkick by Rey to the shoulder, then a legdrop onto the shoulder. Knee to the left arm. Chavo kicks out of it. Arm wringer by Rey, then a dropkick to the arm. Chavo whips Rey chest first into the turnbuckle, Rey elbows back. He goes to the top, Chavo with a springboard dropkick to Rey while he was on the top. Rey to the floor, grabbing his knee.
Back in, Chavo kicks away at the left knee of Mysterio. He puts a knee bar on Rey, then drops down with his butt onto the knee as its draped over the bottom ropes. There’s another one. He goes for it again, but Rey kicks him, which sends Chavo to the floor. He recovers by wrapping Rey’s knee around the ropes. Hey Chavo, sell that arm better. Rey comes back with a headlock, Chavo holds up the knee and drops it onto his own like a backbreaker. Awesome looking single leg crab by Chavo. Rey kicks out of it with his right leg, Chavo goes for a Boston Crab, Rey counters and hits his bulldog counter move that always rules. Rey opens up in the corner, Chavo whips him and Rey collapses as he’s running. Nice selling there. Kick to the knee by Chavo, Rey’s on the apron. Chavo suplexes him in for two. Rey kicks at him, Chavo comes back with a kick to the bag of the leg, Mysterio spins all the way around and lands on his back. Rey rules. That gets two. He does the 360 flip again.
Chavo uses his head to bend the knee, in a bow and arrow type move. Rey gets to Chavo’s head somehow, then whips Chavo down somehow. They brawl, Chavo carries him into the corner, then kicks away at the left knee as Rey is in the corner. Chavo charges in, Rey uses the right foot to knock him down. Rey gets on his shoulders, spins around and hits a hurricanrana. He goes for another jump, but collapses. Chavo hangs Rey upside down in the turnbuckle corner. He charges, Rey moves up and Chavo’s injured left arm goes straight into the post. Mysterio to the top, Rey gets a senton to the floor! Wow, Rey rules. We’ve got a bad knee of Mysterio and a bad shoulder of Chavo. Love the psychology.
Rey tosses him into the turnbuckle. They climb up the same turnbuckle. Chavo has him in a headlock, ready to suplex Rey to the floor. Rey counters. They’re standing on the top and they each do a facebuster to the other guy off the top. They’re both down on the mat in the center of the ring as ref Charles Robinson counts them down. At eight, Chavo covers. Rey kicks out, the cradles him Awesome again. I’m loving this match. Slingshot to Rey, but he lands on the second rope. He comes back with a dropkick. Whip in, Rey limps across, hits a crossbody, then a side Russian legsweep for two. Rey charges in, Chavo backdrops him to the apron, Rey collapses. He punches Chavo back, then hits a seated Senton for a nearfall. Rey pounds away, Chavo gouges the eyes. Whip in, Rey hangs on. He charges in for a hurricanrana. Chavo reverses it to a Gory Bomb! Awesome. Chavo can’t hook him up good because of the arm. He gets two. Tremendous nearfall. Chavo taunts the crowd, Rey gets an enziguri. Chavo draped over the ropes, Rey limps all the way across, hits the 619. He goes for the springboard leading to the West Coast Pop. Chavo catches him! Single leg crab! Crowd going nuts. Chavo pulls him out to the center of the ring. Rey almost gets ropes, Chavo pulls back. Rey crawls over again to get ropes. Chavo pulls him out to the center, sets him up for a Gory Bomb, Rey counters into a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for 1…2…3! Awesome. Match went 19:40.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: **** Awesome performance four stars out of five. Fantastic match with an excellent finish that put over Rey as a credible champion. Rey sold the knee injury really well, Chavo did a lot of smart heel tactics and in the end it was a slick counter by Mysterio that got the job done. Fun match they countered everything, had great nearfalls and the last five minutes were especially excellent. I enjoyed that a lot.
(I had forgotten about this match being so great. It’s definitely one of the better cruiserweight matches in WWE during this period. Rey and Chavo worked together so much that I’m not surprised they had such an awesome match when they were given that much time. As I alluded to earlier, matches like this helped the cruisers much more than Jacqueline vs. Chavo, which was more of an angle than a match. The problem is that WWE wasn’t able to sustain greatness in the cruiser division.)
Backstage, Torrie Wilson talks to Billy Kidman, Spike Dudley and Funaki about the cruiserweight match and they’re all in a hot tub. They all said they could have beat Rey. The three guys argued about it. Torrie slowly got out of the water (a great visual) and said she had to get ready for her match. The guys stared at her with Funaki saying “God Bless America” to end it with a joke.
(She’s a fine looking woman. Segments like that are done to get a cheap pop. Torrie was married to Billy Kidman at the time, so kudos to him. They were married in 2003 and got divorced in 2008.)
Kenzo Suzuki (w/Hiroto) vs. Billy Gunn
Kenzo is out first to no heat with Hiroto. That’s his real life wife. Billy Gunn is next. This is going to suck. That’s my prediction.
Lockup to start. Into the ropes, Suzuki gets a double thrust with his hands to Gunn’s chance. Jumping knee missed. Gunn gets a fisherman’s suplex for two. Suzuki eats boot, he goes for a chop that misses and Gunn gets a neckbreaker for two. Suzuki with a thrust to the throat. He palms the head, then hits his legsweep that has been his finisher. No pin. He knees to the face, then does a nerve hold. I can see the people going to the restroom in the crowd. Smart people. The nerve hold lasted for about thirty seconds. He slams Gunn down, then does a chop. All he does is knee and chop. Now he does another nerve hold. This is so damn boring. Gunn elbows out, Suzuki hits a knee to the gut. Of course he does, all he can do is knee. Another knee to the gut is reversed into a counter pin for Gunn. Gunn gets up, then like an idiot runs right into a back elbow. Kenzo chokes with his knee. Vertical suplex by Suzuki for two. Seated abdominal stretch for Suzuki. USA chants come from one quarter of the crowd, because the rest are asleep. Can’t blame them. Gunn fights back, back elbow and a clothesline. Whip into the turnbuckle, Gunn charges, hits a Stinger splash, kick to the gut, Fameasser is avoided, Suzuki hits a kick to leg. Suzuki hits a Shining Wizard for a nearfall. He charges in at Gunn, but Gunn gets a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Suzuki to the corner, he hits a punch to the groin when the ref’s not looking. He finishes him off with a reverse DDT where Gunn’s back hits his knee. That’s the move Christian has moved for years now. That finishes it. Never won a match for Christian, but it wins for this guy. Lame. It went 8:06. Felt like hours because it was so slow.
Winner: Kenzo Suzuki
Analysis: 1/4* This was horrifically bad. The psychology was poor, there were no interesting nearfalls and the finish felt flat. I don’t blame the crowd for being crowd because I would have been bored if I was there too. I don’t know why management likes Kenzo Suzuki. I see nothing good about him.
(I stand by that barely over a DUD rating. It was atrocious. Kenzo didn’t last that long in WWE even though they tried their best to get him over.)
Backstage, Paul Heyman talks to Paul Bearer as he sits in a chair with his mouth covered. Heyman tells him that if Undertaker doesn’t do the right thing then Heyman’s going to bury him in concrete. Heyman said he wants to hear him scream and he’ll watch the concrete go over Bearer’s entire head. Heyman ended it by saying he was sure Undertaker will do the right thing and wondered if he (Heyman) would do the right thing as well.
(When people talk about the greatness of guys like Heyman and Bearer they don’t mention angles like this because it was one of the worst things either man did. I’ll rant about it more later.)
There was a shot of the cement mixer truck by the stage for the main event.
Sable vs. Torrie Wilson
(Pre-match notes: Sable was the heel and Torrie was the face.)
Sable comes out first. She’s wearing actual ring gear that’s red and black. Torrie comes out with ring gear of her own, including some USA style top.
Sable slides out to the floor. Torrie charges, but the ref blocks her. Torrie has USA on the back of her pants. Head slamming for Torrie. Sable comes back with a back elbow and some kicks to the gut in the corner. Snapmare takedown for Sable. Sable hits a necksnap that came out of nowhere. Into the ropes, Torrie gets a pinfall for two. Torrie lunges, Sable trips her so she’s choked on the bottom rope. She hits a forearm to Torrie. Chokehold by Sable. Knee to the gut for Sable, then some more choking. This is lasting way too long. Torrie gets a kick to the gut, then suplex and a float over attempt that was really sloppy. Seated dropkick for Torrie. Chop to Sable. Torrie charges in with a running clotheslines in the corner. Cross corner whip, Sable blocks it, turns around they knock heads, sending both women down for the ten count. Torrie’s up first. Sable doesn’t move. The ref goes to check on her. Crowd boos. Torrie looks around, not knowing what to do. Sable comes up from behind, hooks the tights for a schoolgirl and picks up the victory. Torrie’s shoulders were not down as the replays showed. The ref Charles Robinson apparently never saw it. It went 6:06.
Winner by pinfall: Sable
Analysis: 1/2* Boring match with a cheap finish. They each had nice outfits on. That’s about the only good I can say about. Let’s just move on.
(Here’s a pic of the awful finish. Pic is from after the ref counted twice. Torrie’s right shoulder was way up, yet he kept counting to three while he was right there.)
(The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again. They were not good in-ring performers. Smackdown’s women’s division featured a lot of best body type competitions rather than actual matches. Sable left WWE within a few months after this because creative didn’t have much for her. Plus, she was dating Brock Lesnar, who left WWE on bad terms three months before this. Sable ended up marrying Lesnar and they have two sons together.)
The Undertaker was shown walking in a darkened hallway. Another shot of the cement mixer truck.
Backstage, Dawn Marie interviews Rene Dupree. He says he’s going to protest the US Title match. He asks Dawn if she wants to see his French Tickler. He did his dance. Nunzio walks in with Johnny Stamboli and shows off his size 15 boots. He asks Dawn if she wants to see his size 15 shoes. She didn’t get it right away, but after a while she’s interested and leaves with him.
(It didn’t lead to anything, but it put Dawn Marie in a bikini and that’s really all that mattered at the time. Congrats to whatever writer got the big feet = big dick joke on television. I hope you’re proud.)
Hardcore Holly vs. Mordecai
(Pre-match notes: Mordecai is the heel and Holly is the face. The fans really don’t care about either guy. There wasn’t much of a story.)
Holly hooks him up into the ropes, then pounds. He whips Mordecai in, but he goes to the floor. He whips Holly into his crucifix. Tosses him back in, then beats on him a bit. Holly kicks away at his gut, but Mordecai pounds him down in the corner. Holly gets up, punches away, Mordecai with a kick to the gut and boot to the face for two. Chinlock time for Mordecai because I guess he needs rest holds three minutes in. Holly fights out, so Mordecai grabs a headlock. The crowd is booing out of boredom, I gather. I’m booing too. Holly fights out, hits a stun gun on the top rope, then Mordecai bounces off and they hit heads. Mordecai charges in, Holly gets a boot and a couple of clotheslines. To the top, Holly gets a flying elbow/clothesline thingy that made very little contact. Mordecai whips him in, Holly hits an inverted DDT for two. Crowd is dead. Holly goes to pick him up, Mordecai hits a sitout spinebuster for two. Still no crowd noise. Into the ropes, Holly hits his dropkick for two. Kick to the gut, Alabama Slam setup, but he fights out with punches to the gut. He hits a Crucifix Bomb (Razor’s Edge/Splash Mountain) for the pinfall. Match was seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mordecai
Analysis: 3/4* Boring match with a predictable ending. The good thing is they started off fighting right away, but then they slowed down it almost put me to sleep. Better than the last squash Mordecai had on PPV. It was still very boring.
(That’s the third match in a row that was stinker. The crowd was dead for a reason. The Mordecai character was taken off TV within a few weeks after this. The man that played Mordecai was Kevin Thorn and he returned as part of the ECW brand two years later. That didn’t work out well either, but at least it lasted longer.)
There was a cool SummerSlam commercial with an Olympic feel to it.
There was a video package to set up the WWE Title match between champion Eddie Guerrero and John Bradshaw Layfield. It’s a rematch from Judgment Day when JBL beat Eddie by disqualification after Eddie hit JBL in the head with the WWE Title. The match also featured one of the bloodiest blade jobs ever with Eddie cutting himself too deep.
Ring announcer Tony Chimel offers up the rules. It’s long. The gist is they have to be hooked to the rope at all times. First guy to slap all four corners while the opponent is hooked up with the bullrope is the winner. If you try to intentionally get out of the bullrope you can be disqualified by referee Nick Patrick. There are lights (red for Eddie, green for Bradshaw) just outside the turnbuckles to visually signify when a wrestler hits the turnbuckle. Again, that means no pinfalls here. It’s the first person to touch all four corners.
JBL is out first in a white limo. Eddie is out next in a lowrider and he gets a big ovation. As we’ve seen, there’s a cowbell in the middle of the rope.
WWE Championship – Texas Bullrope Match: Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
(Pre-match notes: Eddie was the face champion and JBL was the heel.)
Each man has their left hand in the bullrope. Eddie dropkicks to start. He does a toss using the rope as support. JBL uses the cowbell to hit Eddie in the knee, knocking Eddie out of the rope. No DQ because it wasn’t on purpose. JBL chokes him, then tosses him over with the rope. Eddie fights out, but JBL drills him throat first with the rope. He touches two corners, then Eddie dropkicks him to stop it. Chops by Eddie. Whip in, Eddie gets a backdrop. He touches two corners, but JBL holds on to prevent him. Bradshaw decks Eddie to take control. Cowbell to the back. Another shot to the back. He chokes Eddie with the rope, trying to hang him on his back. JBL takes the cowbell and drills Eddie in the side of the head with it. Bradshaw hangs Eddie upside down in the corner, then chokes him around the ringpost using the bullrope as leverage. It’s legal in this match. JBL rips apart the Spanish Announce Table. Crowd cheers that huge. Head first into the US announce table. He doesn’t clear the monitors there. Eddie wraps the rope around Bradshaw’s ankle, so when Bradshaw tried to pick him up he tripped over the bullrope. Cowbell to the face of Bradshaw. Eddie with another cowbell shot to the top of the head. Still no blood yet.
Eddie rolls outside to the other side of the ring, runs full speed and rams JBL’s shoulder into the ringpost. He does it again. Cool spot. Bradshaw counters a whip, sending Eddie over the announce table, just in front of the railing. Bradshaw comes in at him, Eddie picks up a steel chair and kills Bradshaw in the head with it. Awesome shot there. JBL comes up bloody. That’s similar to their spot at Judgment Day, so it’s good to see the continuity. Back in the ring, Bradshaw is up again. Eddie drills him in the head with the chair. One corner, two corners, three, but JBL holds on. Eddie lunges across, JBL continues to hold on. Crowd going nuts. Eddie with a dropkick to the face and a legdrop out of frustration because he can’t get to the rope. Now standing, Eddie carries him across to the corners. He gets to three, but JBL collapses into the into the middle ropes. Ref waves off the lights again. They exchange blows standing up now, JBL gets a big boot, a kick to the gut and DDT for JBL. He gets one corner, two corners, but Eddie counters by using the rope to do a low blow. Eddie gets three lights, runs for the fourth, but JBL pulls him away. Eddie going for the three vertical suplexes and he hits all three. He climbs to the top on the inside of the ring, then hits a frog splash. Goes to the corner for one, two, three and JBL rolls out to the floor across the ring to break up the count. No more lights.
On the floor, Eddie whips him headfirst into the steps. With JBL on the floor, Eddie goes inside. He pulls JBL into the ring using the rope. Bradshaw uses the cowbell to the head to fight him off. Eddie’s standing on the middle ropes, facing the announce table. JBL hooks him using the rope and chucks him to the announce table. It doesn’t break. Eddie took that bump on his front side more than his back, it looks like. Nasty. “Holy Shit” chant from the crowd. JBL picks him up and powerbombs him stiffly through the Spanish Announce Table just to make sure that it’s broken. We’re over 15 minutes in now.
Bradshaw rolls him into the ring. He gets the first corner, the second corner, the third corner and just as he’s about to the fourth, Eddie hooks his whole body onto the bottom rope across the ring. JBL used that as a counter. Cowbell to the head of the Eddie. JBL gets one corner, two corners, three corners, he’s inches away and Eddie pulls him as hard as he can. Eddie gets a low blow to counter it. Nice spot. Eddie with some cowbell shots to the back. Eddie gets a turnbuckle, Bradshaw gets it too, they each get two. Eddie has three, JBL with a clothesline to the head and he gets three. That’s three each. JBL is very close, about five inches away. Eddie with a cowbell shot to the back. Eddie charges in, jumps over Bradshaw and hits the turnbuckle at 21:06. At the same time, Bradshaw’s back hit the turnbuckle as well. The ref raised Eddie’s hand and Eddie’s music played. Kurt Angle comes out.
Angle says that as the general manager he needs to make sure that the right decision was made. We go to the replay of the finish. JBL’s back and shoulder hit the top turnbuckle before Eddie’s hand. Uh oh. Angle says he’s sorry, but as the GM he has to announce that the winner of the match is Bradshaw. Eddie’s clutching the belt. Nick Patrick takes the title from Eddie, hands it to Bradshaw and JBL celebrates with it as his music played.
Winner and New WWE Champion: John Bradshaw Layfield
Analysis: ***1/2 The match was pretty good. Better than I thought it would be at least. They used the weapons well, it had nice drama and it was booked well. I hated the finish because I wanted Eddie to win, but they were trying something different by having JBL leave with the title.
(It was an entertaining match. At the time I thought it was the wrong decision. A lot of people that way. Eddie’s title reign was about four months old at this point and it would have been nice to see him holding the title for longer. However, Eddie was dealing with a lot of stress as the champion, so WWE felt like they would be better off putting it onto JBL. As a match, it holds up very well with an intelligent ending that was unique. It was one of the cheapest WWE Title wins in the history of wrestling. It also led to a nine-month run as WWE Champion for JBL, which nobody could have predicted in June 2004.)
After the match, a bloody JBL walked away with the WWE Title. Eddie gets a huge ovation for the crowd with Eddie looking sad in the ring. Eddie’s dejected as he leaves without his title.
(It was the end of Eddie’s only WWE Title run. Looking back on this, I’m glad he was able to have that moment with the fans supporting him so much.)
There was a shot of the cement mixer again.
The video package aired for the Concrete Crypt match.
Paul Bearer is shown sitting in a cage like structure, which I guess is the crypt. Heyman’s standing by the cement mixer. Dudleys come out first with Paul Heyman, who is carrying the urn. The Dudleys were the WWE Tag Team Champions as well.
The Undertaker is next. A handicapped match as the main event of a PPV? This is not a good thing. Undertaker glances at Heyman and Bearer, who are on the right side of the aisle near the curtain. Cole says only two people know what the “right thing” is, Undertaker and Heyman.
After Undertaker gets into the ring, Paul Heyman asks Undertaker if he’s going to do the right thing. He then pulls down on a lever as a demonstration of what will happen to Bearer. Cement fills up through the top of the crypt, filling up at his feet. Bubba asks him to prove to the world that he is with them. Bubba asks him to do the right thing and lay down.
Concrete Crypt Match: The Undertaker vs. Dudley Boyz
(Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face and Dudleys were heels.)
(It says “Concrete Crypt Match” because that was the official name of it, but it was really just a regular match.)
The bell rings to start the match. Lots of staring. More talking from Bubba. Cole says Undertaker has been with Bearer for 13 years. Well, I guess you could say that even though Bearer turned on him in like 1996. So much for logic. Undertaker lays down. Bubba says he’s been waiting for this his whole life. Undertaker chokes him. D’Von comes in, he chokes him. Heyman says that’s not the right thing, so they hit Undertaker. Whip in, Taker fights out by tossing D’Von and Bubba to the floor. Bubba head first to the announce table, punches to D’Von and a whip arm first into the ringpost. He decks Bubba with a punch. He tosses D’Von in. Old school armbar for Undertaker to a big pop as usual. Heyman yells “bad dog” at Undertaker. More cement goes into the crypt. It’s up to his waist in his seated chair. “Old school is not what I call doing the right thing” says Heyman. D’Von charges in, and then eats a boot. Bubba pulls him out, hitting his groin into the ringpost. Each Dudley gets a legdrop. D’Von’s in the ring while Bubba is on the apron. After some pounding, he tags in Bubba. Into the ropes, Undertaker with a swinging DDT. D’Von comes in, takes a backdrop and a side slam. Undertaker walks down the aisle to Heyman. Bubba knocks him down. Heyman pulls the lever because he’s tired of giving Undertaker other chances. The lever is still down as the cement is up to Paul’s shoulder. Bubba stops the lever. He tells Heyman to let them finish him off, then he can deal with Bearer after that.
D’Von works on Undertaker on the floor with some punches. D’Von in the ring gets a chinlock. Undertaker fights out with fists and a big right hand, but D’Von fights back with a flying back elbow. Tag to Bubba, double suplex on Undertaker followed by an elbow drop by Bubba. Crowd is pretty dead. Cover for two. Tag to D’Von, he chokes Undertaker over the middle rope. Bubba cheats behind the ref’s back. D’Von tosses him to the floor, Bubba beats on him out there. Back in, D’Von’s cover gets two. Crowd is still dead. Bubba comes in with punches, Undertaker comes back. He decks both guys with punches. Whip in, Bubba gets a sleeper, but Undertaker counters with a back suplex. Tag to D’Von, Undertaker with a big clothesline. Snake eyes on the turnbuckle followed by a big boot to the face. Into the ropes, legdrop for Undertaker. Bubba comes in, Undertaker whips him to the ropes, countered, Bubba’s charge is missed. Undertaker clotheslines both of them in the corners. Undertaker goes or Old School clothesline on Bubba. Tombstone countered by D’Von with a low blow. Backdrop into a neckbreaker by the Dudley Boys. Heyman walks down to ringside. Cole says Heyman is holding the urn that Bearer had for 13 years. Again, that goes against all logic. Chokeslam to Bubba, Tombstone Piledriver to D’Von for the three count after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: * Boring match for the most part. The crowd was silent for the end parts pretty much the whole way through. They wanted Undertaker to win, but the stipulations to the match were never made that clear. Is it a good thing that the tag champions lost a handicap match? Nope. Not at all. The Dudleys looked like losers the whole match, which is partly why the crowd was dead for much of it.
Paul Heyman, now back in the aisle, says since Undertaker didn’t do the right thing he was going to do the right thing himself. As he walks over to the crypt, a lightning bolt flashes to stop Heyman. That led to Heyman leaving to the back.
Undertaker walks up the aisle to where Bearer is. He walks over to the crypt, then bows to Paul Bearer in the crypt. Cole and Tazz say that’s the way it should be. They again say the 13 years garbage. He stares at the mixer and walks over to the lever. No music is playing now.
Undertaker grabs a microphone: “Paul, I have no other choice. Rest in Peace.”
The cement goes into the crypt and covers all of Bearer’s body. That’s how they ended this show as Bearer’s entire body was buried in cement.
(What a terrible angle this was. One of the worst storylines in the careers of Undertaker, Heyman and Bearer. It was never really explained why Undertaker had no other choice, but to bury Bearer in cement, yet WWE tried to put over that point by having Undertaker say it. The story didn’t make a lot of sense from the beginning and after this over, they just moved on from it. Heyman became the manager of Heidenreich, which was also a terrible decision that led to plenty of matches with him and Undertaker. This was not a good stretch for The Undertaker character in general. I thought they might be turning Undertaker heel after this angle. That was not the case. I don’t know what the point of the angle was other than to waste time.)
Here’s a rehearsal clip of the ending to the show.
The show has a run time of 2 hours, 45 minutes on WWE Network.
1. Rey Mysterio
2. Eddie Guerrero
3. Chavo Guerrero
5. John Cena
Best Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero (**** out of 5)
Worst Match: Kenzo Suzuki vs. Billy Gunn (1/4*)
Show Rating (out of 10): 4
This was not a good show from top to bottom. It had the excellent Mysterio/Chavo match, a couple of decent matches with the WWE Title and US Title matches, but the rest was atrociously bad. Great American Bash was a show I’d like to forget although I doubt I could do that considering some of the things that happened.
I take it that most will be complaining loudly about JBL winning the WWE Title. I will too. However, I think his reign will be very short. I think WWE wants to do Eddie vs. Undertaker as Smackdown’s top match and since Undertaker is a heel (more on that in a bit) that’s their best bet. I’d expect Eddie to win back the title on Smackdown within a month. If it doesn’t happen and JBL gets to be champ heading into SummerSlam then I think Smackdown will be worse than ever. It’s been really bad since WrestleMania. I think it can get worse, just because of the champion. We can no longer say that “it sucks, but Eddie is champ.” That’s not applicable anymore. It’s JBL now. It’s also very depressing.
(I left in my original take from 2004 to show you my feeling at the time. I think I was right to say Smackdown would get worse because it did. Business was done across the board in terms of ratings, attendance and interest in the show. I was also wrong in my prediction for the length of JBL’s WWE Title run.)
The idea that The Undertaker would bury his “mentor” in cement is pretty lame. One of the worst angles I have ever seen. In terms of match quality, it was a very poor main event. The crowd was dead except for five or six signature Undertaker spots. What a horrible main event match and angle all things considered.
(It’s still one of the worst angles ever. Let us never forget the awfulness that was the Concrete Crypt Match.)
There were three squash matches featuring heels who have debuted within the last two months. Are they going to push them all the same at the exact same time? It’s too much. I like Luther Reigns the best only because he’s not playing a ridiculous gimmick.
The only reason this show is better than Judgment Day is because of the Cruiserweight Title match. It was the boost this show needed.
(I gave Judgment Day a 3.5 out of 10. Both shows were awful.)
Next up: Vengeance 2004 presented by the Raw brand. I don’t remember much about it, but I see in my saved files that I wrote about it live. I’ll have that review up soon.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]
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