TJR Retro: WWE Great American Bash 2007 Review

TJR Retro: WWE Great American Bash 2007 Review

The name Great American Bash goes back to 1985 when the NWA started running Great American Bash events. The name came from the mind of the legendary Dusty Rhodes, who starred in many of the early GAB events. Dusty also wrestled on this 2007 edition of the Great American Bash, which we’ll get to shortly. The WWE history using the Great American Bash name began in 2004 as a Smackdown show for the first three years and then by 2007, it included all three WWE brands.

This was a tough time for WWE because it was about one month after the Chris Benoit double murder/suicide that was a terrible thing. The mainstream media was going after WWE since Benoit worked there, he was a steroid user obviously, he had brain damage issues and all these other things that the media could use to try to attack WWE. It was tough on a lot of us, even fans, because it was hard to enjoy pro wrestling as much as we did before knowing one of our favorites in Benoit did such a heinous thing. I know I found it hard to keep watching every show every week. It had nothing to do with the talent, but this was around the time when I took a bit of a break and didn’t watch every single show.

It also seems like every time I write about one of these PPVs in 2007 there’s another big name with a notable injury. Edge, who was the World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown, suffered a torn pectoral muscle during a Mardi Gras celebration on the June 13 edition of Smackdown when Kane attacked him. Kane was going to be his opponent at this PPV and Edge got hurt in a non-wrestling segment. One week later on July 20 Smackdown, Edge had to give up the World Title and he was out of action for over four months. They had a battle royal that same night for the World Title and the winner was…The Great Khali. Oh f**k. That was my reaction in 2007. It’s still my reaction.

Anyway, that meant the injured list of top guys at this point was Triple H, Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Edge. The good news was that Hunter and Rey were back by the next PPV, which was SummerSlam. I liked the roster a lot in 2007, but it is tough to have consistently great shows when you’re missing so many big names.

This event did a good number in terms of PPV buyrates with 230,000 buys. It was an average number for 2007 and similar to what the Great American Bash one year earlier.

For the last few years, I have been reviewing WWE PPVs starting in 2003 through the mid-2000s. Check out my WWE 2003-2007 PPV archive here if you want to read any of the reviews during that period. Let’s get to it.

The description on WWE Network looks like this:

WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2007
14+ (D,L,V) / John Cena defends the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley. A Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship features Batista and Kane challenging The Great Khali. John Morrison puts the ECW Championship on the line against CM Punk. Chavo Guerrero defends the Cruiserweight Championship in the Cruiserweight Open.

The original poster had Rey Mysterio on it, who did not wrestle on the card.

This is what the DVD looked like:

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WWE Great American Bash
July 22, 2007
From HP Pavilion in San Jose, California

The opening video package focused on the big matches coming up on the show with a major focus on the big matches like the World Title triple threat and John Cena’s WWE Title defense against Bobby Lashley. That match was clearly the main event.

There was the usual impressive pyro display to start the show and the crowd in San Jose looked like it was pretty full. Michael Cole said it was sold out with nearly 14,000 people on hand.

The announce team of Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield of Smackdown were at ringside. The Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler put over the big Cena vs. Lashley main event. Joey Styles and Tazz were also there to call their one match on the card.

Matt Hardy got a nice ovation from the crowd. Putting the Hardys as a team or one of them in singles to open a PPV was always a good idea because they were so loved by the fans. Matt beat MVP non-title three weeks earlier to earn a US Title shot. Montel Vontavious Porter made his entrance as the US Champion with the fans booing him and I really liked the presentation of his entrance. I liked the red, white and blue ropes for this show with the GAB name.

Analysis: The champion losing a match non-title to set up a title match is one of WWE’s favorite and most repetitive booking moves. I am very tired of it as I write this 13 years later.

United States Championship: Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Matt Hardy

Pre-match notes: MVP was the heel US Champion on Smackdown that won the title about two months earlier. Matt Hardy was the babyface challenger. This was the early stages of a long rivalry between these two men.

Matt sent MVP out of the ring early on. MVP slapped on a wristlock for about a minute, Matt managed to send MVP out of the ring and Matt went over the top with a cross body block on the floor. Matt worked over MVP with elbow drops and MVP came back with a hiptoss. MVP slapped on a chinlock, then Matt broke free and hit a suplex as MVP bailed to the floor, so Matt left the ring and brought him back in the ring. MVP charged at Matt, who hit a back elbow, but then MVP yanked Matt off the middle ropes by pulling his feet out from under him and Matt took a big back bump into the ring. MVP with a drop toe hold that sent Matt face first into a mat followed by a boot to the face for a two count. MVP slapped on a submission where he hooked Matt’s arms behind him and Matt bit MVP’s upper thigh to break free. Matt came back with punches, MVP with a slam off the shoulders, but then Matt came back with a clothesline. Matt stumbled climbing to the top rope to sell a head injury and that allowed MVP to follow up with a superplex off the top rope for a two count. They went up top again with MVP trying a belly to back suplex off the top, but Matt turned over and landed on top of MVP for a two count. Hardy worked over MVP with punches, a corner clothesline, MVP blocked a bulldog attempt and Matt hit a kick to the face followed by a bulldog off the middle ropes. The fans bought that as a nearfall. Hardy went to the middle ropes and hit a leg drop for another two count. MVP with a kick to the gut, Matt countered into a Side Effect for a two count. The fans really bought that as a nearfall too. MVP with a trip into a pin attempt almost like an SOS that Kofi Kingston would use in the future. Matt came back with an inside cradle for a two count, but then MVP got back up with a clothesline. MVP missed a running boot and Matt got a rollup for two. MVP sent Matt into the turnbuckle, Matt paused to stop himself and MVP hit the running kick to the face. MVP hit the Playmaker in a sloppy way and MVP hooked both legs for the pinfall win at 12:55.

Winner by pinfall: Montel Vontavious Porter

Analysis: ***1/4 Good match to open the show with some solid counter wrestling by both guys and the champ found a way to retain. The fans really got into it as the match went on in a very even match where each guy had several moments where it looked like they might win. That running boot to the face by MVP looked brutal. Matt sold it very well by crumpling into a heap almost, but it just looked like it could have knocked a guy out. The Playmaker as a finishing move was okay although it was a bit sloppy in this case.

Post match, MVP celebrated with the US Title while Matt was selling it like he was knocked out. JBL put over MVP saying he’s better than the fans and better than Matt Hardy while adding that MVP can back up his trash talk.

Analysis: I wanted MVP to be a main event level guy after this run as the US Champion. It didn’t happen for him. At least he’s in WWE today in 2020 in his late 40s.

Dusty Rhodes was interviewed by Todd Grisham with the American Dream saying that some people say he mentioned the Great American Bash. That’s because he did invent it. Dusty said that young Cody made him a proud daddy even in defeat. Dusty said that he had a dressing room full of superstars that have respect and Orton needs a teacher. Dusty said that the cowbell to Randy’s heart will help Randy feel that respect. Dusty told some story about cows and ended it with “woo” as he looked into the camera. This was weird.

The next match was a Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Championship. It looked like there were five guys in the match, but then Hornswoggle went into the ring and then went under the ring.

Cruiserweight Championship – Cruiserweight Open: Chavo Guerrero vs. Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Shannon Moore vs. Funaki vs. Jamie Noble vs. Hornswoggle

Pre-match notes: The first fall wins the match. Chavo Guerrero entered the match as the champion. Chavo won the title about five months earlier. I’m a Funaki fan.

The wrestlers worked together to send Chavo out of the ring. Yang with a hurricanrana on Moore, Noble went for a suplex, but then Yang came back with a spin kick on Noble. Chavo went back in and hit a belly to back suplex on Yang. Moore with a cross body block off the middle ropes on Chavo. Funaki with a cross body block off the top onto Moore and then a suplex. Noble with a running elbow smash. Noble with a powerslam on Yang, Chavo back in with a body slam on Noble and an uppercut on Yang. Chavo knocked Noble out of the ring. Yang charged, Chavo rolled through and slapped on a half crab submission, but then my guy Funaki showed up with an enziguri. Moore sent Funaki into the turnbuckle. Cole asked if we saw that, which led me to say yes because the fans were dead. Moore with a body slam on Noble. More whipped Funaki into the steel steps, Funaki with a forearm and Noble hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Funaki as Moore hit a springboard leg drop on Noble for a two count. Funaki with an enziguri on Moore and Chavo broke it up with a dropkick. Chavo with a Gory Special slam, but Yang broke up the pin. Chavo with two suplex, Yang blocked a third and Chavo hit an uppercut. Yang went up top and hit a moonsault off the top for two as Noble stopped that pin attempt and the fans were getting a bit louder. Noble hit a dive on Funaki on the floor. Moore got a running attack on Yang for a two count. Yang with a back body drop on Moore over the top on Funaki and Noble. Chavo went after Yang by the turnbuckle and then they did a Tower of Doom style superplex spot out of the corner. That was Hornswoggle’s cue to get into the match and Hornswoggle hit the Tadpole Splash off the top on Noble for the pinfall win at 6:59.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Cruiserweight Champion: Hornswoggle

Analysis: **1/2 The five guys worked hard to have a decent match where the crowd was dead for most of it until later in the match when they were reacting well to the big moves. Hornswoggle winning made me groan back in 2007 as well as today because I just didn’t care much for the leprechaun gimmick, especially when he was winning matches.

Hornswoggle celebrated with the Cruiserweight Title. Cole wondered how it was legal and it was because it was a Cruiserweight Open where anybody was able to be in the match as long as they are a cruiserweight. JBL: “He’s the shortest champion since Tazz.” That was pretty funny. Hornswoggle got the title and went under the ring, the other wrestlers went after him and Hornswoggle waddled his way up the ramp.

Analysis: This was pretty much the end of this version of the Cruiserweight Title. The title was retired two months later. Once Hornswoggle, the fans knew it was a joke and it was not a surprise that WWE retired the title at that point. Hornswoggle was only 21 years old at the time of this match as well, so that made him one of the youngest champions in WWE history.

There was a video package about Bobby Lashley that showed highlights of Bobby in his college days as a successful amateur wrestler. Lashley said that WWE is always steps and achievements. Lashley talked about how he got a big win early in his career by beating John Bradshaw Layfield to win the US Title. After that, Lashley won the ECW Title when he beat Big Show (at the awful December to Dismember 2006 PPV). They showed highlights of Lashley in the ring as he said he wanted to be a household name in the business and take this business to a whole new level. Lashley said he’s doing it, but he’s not done.

Analysis: We had no idea at the time of this match, but Lashley’s WWE career would be cut short way too soon. I’ll get into that a bit more later.

The Sandman made his entrance through the crowd with a Singapore cane in his hands. No beers for Sandman on his way to the ring. Carlito entered eating an apple, then spit the apple onto Sandman and the match began.

Singapore Cane Match: The Sandman vs. Carlito

Pre-match notes: Sandman was a babyface while Carlito was a heel. This was a Raw brand match. There was a Singapore Cane on a pole connected to the ring post. Most people call it a kendo stick anyway. I have no memory of these guys feuding.

Carlito with some punches early and then Sandman gave Carlito a back body drop over the top to the floor. Sandman tried to climb the poll, but Carlito stopped him by wrenching the arm against the top rope. Sandman with a whip into the turnbuckle and Carlito came back with a dropkick. Carlito tried to climb the pole to get the cane, but Sandman held onto him to stop that and Sandman slammed Carlito into the mat. Carlito came back with punches followed by a low dropkick to the ribs. They exchanged punches again, Carlito to the ropes with a back elbow, but Sandman moved and Carlito hit the mat. Sandman retrieved the cane from the pole as the crowd cheered after being silent for several minutes. Sandman swung the Singapore Cane, Carlito avoided it and Carlito hit the Backstabber for the pinfall win at 5:31.

Winner by pinfall: Carlito

Analysis: 1/2* This was really bad. It was a boring match to put Carlito over a veteran babyface wrestler in Sandman. The fans were dead for it because they knew nothing interesting was going to happen until they got the cane into the match and then it was a heel finish with no cane shots to pop the crowd. Carlito got a lot of start and stop pushes in his career. It’s not like Sandman had an impressive run on Raw, so beating him didn’t mean that much.

Randy Orton was interviewed backstage by Todd Grisham. Orton said he was happy that Dusty was in a good mood. Orton noted that it was Shawn Michaels’ birthday, Grisham said he didn’t know that and Orton said Shawn didn’t know either after Orton retired him. Orton told Dusty he’s going to kick him in the skull and there won’t be a lot to remember for him either.

Melina entered as the challenger for the Women’s Championship match on the Raw brand. Candice Michelle entered as the champion in what is her first PPV title defense. JR put over Candice for her hard work.

Women’s Championship: Candice Michelle vs. Melina

Pre-match notes: Candice was the babyface champion while Melina was the heel. Candice won the title at the previous PPV, Vengeance, when she beat Melina clean. It was Candice’s first and only reign as champion.

Melina grabbed a wristlock that she used to control Candice early on until Candice took over with a side headlock, then Melina with a leg scissors and Melina got a backslide pin attempt. Candice hit a running neckbreaker, then a fireman’s carry into a pin and that got a nearfall. Melina took over with a forearm to the face followed by the double knees to the ribs while up against the turnbuckle. Melina did some choking against the ropes followed by Melina wrenching the left arm against the ropes. Melina pulled on the arms of Candice leading to a slam into the mat. That looked sloppy. Candice came back with forearms, two clotheslines and a dropkick. Candice sent Melina into the ropes leading to a spinning clothesline for two. Candice went up top and she hit a cross body block for a two count. Melina hit a split-legged neckbreaker for two followed by some screaming in frustration by Melina. Candice ran off the ropes with a leaping clothesline. Candice went for a spin kick, Melina moved and Candice hit the mat. Candice with a jawbreaker, then a side headlock and Candice hit a standing bulldog called the Candy Wrapper for the pinfall win at 6:22.

Winner by pinfall: Candice Michelle

Analysis: *1/2 It was a decent match to give Candice a win as the champion. I did admire that Candice improved in the ring, but it’s not like she was having great matches compared to some of the other women in the company. Some of the offense looked good like the cross body block off the top into a pin for a nearfall. They could have had Melina on offense more with some nearfalls in there because the flow of the match just seemed off. Candice retaining meant that the feud was over at this point.

Candice Michelle celebrated with the Women’s Title as her positive momentum continued. The announcers once again put over Candice for being successful and beautiful.

There was a backstage segment with Matt Hardy walking up to brother Jeff Hardy with Matt telling Jeff to stay focused. Matt said he lost his focus for one second and it cost him, so he wanted Jeff to stay focused. Candice Michelle walked up to them in her ring gear with her Women’s Title. She reached into a bucket of bottled water, then she drank some and poured a lot of her all over her body as some music played. The Hardys were shown watching Candice as she continued to pour water on her body. Matt and Jeff were making excited faces. Ron Simmons showed up, looked at Candice as well and dropped his famous line: “DAMN!” Indeed.

Analysis: I don’t know what kind of analysis I can add to that other than to say that I agree with Mr. Simmons. I certainly won’t complain about something like that. Star of the night: Water.

Jeff Hardy entered for a match and he got a big pop as usual. Umaga entered as the Intercontinental Champion.

Intercontinental Championship: Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy

Pre-match notes: Umaga was the Intercontinental Champion on the Raw brand. At the last PPV, it was the start of him turning face, but I think he still more of a heel at this point. Jeff was one of the most popular faces in WWE as usual.

Jeff charged right into Umaga, who decked him with an uppercut punch. Umaga punched Jeff out of the ring followed by Umaga sending Jeff into the ring apron. Jeff hit a sitout jawbreaker, then he ran the ropes and went right into Umaga, who dropped Jeff with a Samoan Drop. Umaga hit a leg drop, then a running back elbow and a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Umaga with another hard whip into the turnbuckle followed by a vice grip on the trapezius of Jeff for over one minute. JR put over Umaga for wrestling a very smart match. When Jeff tried to fight back, Umaga slapped on the vice grip again. Jeff broke free briefly and another vice grip by Umaga. Jeff tried a body slam, but landed on top for a two count. Umaga used the ropes leading to splash to Jeff’s chest with Umaga doing it two times in a row. When Umaga tried it a third time, Jeff got the knees up to block it. Jeff jumped off the middle ropes, Umaga caught him and Umaga hit a spinning sidewalk slam for a two count. That was a nice nearfall after a very impressive powerful move. Umaga went to the middle rope, took way too long and missed a splash off the middle rope because Jeff moved. The fans fired up chanting “Hardy” as Jeff began a comeback with forearms to the head, a mule kick and a DDT that Umaga didn’t sell much. Umaga charged, Jeff ducked and Umaga bumped over the top to the floor. Jeff with a cross body over the top onto Umaga. Back in the ring, Umaga blocked a sunset flip, but missed a splash and Jeff hit a running dropkick for two. The fans actually bought that as a nearfall. Umaga went for the running hip attack, Jeff moved and Umaga hit the turnbuckle hard. Hardy went to the top rope and hit a Whisper in the Wind splash onto a standing Umaga for a two count. JR called it a Twist of Fate, but that’s a different move. Umaga missed a corner charge, Jeff moved and Umaga hit the ring post. Jeff went up top and Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb, Jeff waited a few seconds to cover because he was selling and it got a one…two…no! The fans were pissed at that. They thought that was it. Umaga blocked a Twist of Fate attempt, he sent Jeff into the turnbuckle, Umaga with a superkick and Umaga hit a Samoan Spike to the throat for the pinfall win at 11:20. Jeff sold that great.

Winner by pinfall: Umaga

Analysis: ***3/4 This was great, especially the finish. Jeff was selling his ass off for the bigger opponent, Umaga looked so impressive and the crowd bought into the beating so much that when Jeff made the comeback, the fans really bought into it. I thought Umaga went to that vice grip too much to that point that it hurt the first half of the match. The last five minutes were very exciting with the crowd getting into more as the match went on. It was a believable story of the powerful guy facing the smaller guy with Jeff capitalizing on Umaga mistakes like the dive off the ropes and the running hip attack where Jeff moved.  That nearfall after the Swanton Bomb drew a huge reaction because guys didn’t kick out of Jeff’s finisher that often. After that, Umaga hit three moves and that was it.

Umaga celebrated with the Intercontinental Title while Jeff was down selling in the ring.

Analysis: These guys had great matches together. The WWE bosses obviously knew that because Umaga and Jeff would have more awesome matches in the future as well.

There was a video package about John Cena talking about how John was a fan of the wrestling business as a kid. They also showed highlights of Cena’s successful WWE career over the five years leading up to this match.

John Morrison entered as the ECW Champion. The ECW announcers got to call their one match on the show. There wasn’t much of a reaction to Morrison, who got a generic rock song without any lyrics. CM Punk got a pretty good reaction. Punk earned the title shot by winning a four-man tournament to get this title shot.

ECW World Championship: John Morrison vs. CM Punk

Pre-match notes: Morrison was the heel champion that won the title one month earlier at Vengeance. Morrison changed his name from Johnny Nitro prior to this match and had a bit of a different look. CM Punk was the babyface challenger.

Morrison with a running shoulder tackle with Punk coming back with a drop toe hold into a chinlock. Punk worked over Morrison with kicks to the legs followed by a slingshot suplex and a dropkick to the back. Punk with a monkey flip where Morrison sold it by doing a big flip across the ring. Morrison left the ring, so Punk went after him with a clothesline. When Punk tried to walk back into the ring, Morrison tripped him up and Punk bumped into the steel steps. Morrison drove Punk ribs first into the side of the apron. Morrison took over in the ring with kicks, Punk tried a GTS, Morrison with elbows and a leg drop to the back for two. Morrison picked up Punk with a sitout slam where he drove Punk face/chest first into the mat. Punk with a front suplex off the top rope followed by a cross body block off the top. Punk with kicks, then a clothesline, body slam and a flapjack. Punk with a roundhouse kick to the chest for two. Punk got a rollup for two, Morrison cover got two with his hand on the ropes because referee Scott Armstrong caught it. Punk with a rollup again and then a kick to the head for two. Punk with a running knee lift by the turnbuckle, he tried a bulldog, but then Morrison avoided that and bailed to the floor while taking the ECW Title. Punk stopped Morrison from walking away, so Punk sent Morrison back in the ring. Punk went for a springboard attack off the top, Morrison kicked Punk in the knee, Punk was selling the right knee and Morrison covered for the pinfall win at 7:50.

Winner by pinfall: John Morrison

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. They had chemistry issues sometimes and just didn’t have matches as good as you would think considering the talent that Punk and Morrison have. The fans weren’t into this much at all although they did care a bit when Punk was on offense. I thought the finish was flat. Morrison won on a counter move, which is okay, but it didn’t get much of a reaction at all.

Post match, Morrison celebrated with his title while Punk continued to sell the right knee injury.

A video package aired to set up Randy Orton vs. Dusty Rhodes, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier in the year. Orton slapped Dusty in a backstage segment with Cody Rhodes there with his father. Dusty called Randy disrespectful, so Randy issued the challenge and Dusty picked the stipulation with Randy accepting the Texas Bullrope rules for the match.

Randy Orton made his entrance with the announcers mentioning that Orton has taken out Rob Van Dam (who left the company when his contract expired) and Shawn Michaels (out for knee surgery). Dusty Rhodes got a pretty good pop as he brought the bullrope down to the ring.

Texas Bullrope Match: Randy Orton vs. Dusty Rhodes

Pre-match notes: Dusty was the babyface that is one of the greatest legends in wrestling history. Orton was one of the top heels in WWE at the time. There was a big age difference here because Dusty was 61 years old at the time of this match while Randy Orton was 27 years old.

The wrestlers left wrists were tied together by a bullrope that has a bell on it. There are no countouts or disqualifications. You can win by pinfall or submission.

Orton did a lot of stalling to start to get some heat. Orton was reluctant to start the match, but the left wrist was hooked up. Orton stepped on the rope, so Dusty pulled on it and Orton took a bump. Dusty continued to use the rope to his advantage as he pulled on it leading to a bump from Orton. When Orton left the ring, Dusty pulled on the rope to send Orton into the ring post. Dusty pulled the rope again leading to Orton bumping on the ramp. When they went back into the ring, Orton grabbed the cowbell and beat on Dusty’s left knee with the cowbell. Orton slapped on a chinlock for nearly two minutes. Orton worked over Dusty with punches, but then Dusty came back with some of his own punches and the big elbow to the head. When Dusty went for an elbow drop, Orton moved out of the way. Orton grabbed the ring bell and hit Dusty in the head with it for the pinfall win at 5:40.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: ** It was an entertaining match with the younger Orton getting the win over the veteran Rhodes, which was the obvious outcome for a match like this. Dusty was always talented in terms of selling and he showed that off here as well. There was no reason for this to be a longer match considering Dusty’s age. They did enough to tell the story they needed to tell.

After the match, Orton teased going for The Punt on Dusty, but Cody ran out to the ring to protect his father. Orton stared at Cody while leaving the ring.

Analysis: It was early in Cody’s career since he was just 22 years old at this point. It was over a year after this when Orton led the Legacy group that Cody was a part of. The next night on Raw, Orton did kick Dusty in the head with The Punt as Orton’s rise continued.

A video package aired for the World Heavyweight Championship match. Edge was originally going to defend the title against Kane at Great American Bash. On the Smackdown episode that aired on July 20 (two days before GAB), Edge had to surrender the World Heavyweight Championship due to a torn pectoral muscle. Great Khali won a battle royal to win the World Title with Khali eliminating Batista and Kane at the same time to win the match. Batista faced Kane in a singles match, Khali went after both guys and Teddy Long made it a triple threat at Great American Bash.

Analysis: As mentioned earlier, the earlier plan for this PPV was Edge vs. Kane for the World Title and Batista vs. Great Khali. They ended up going with this triple threat match instead.

Kane was up first as a challenger and he got a decent pop as a babyface that was without a mask at this point in his career. Batista got a big pop as he was in another World Title match on a PPV. That happened a lot for him this year. Great Khali entered as the World Champion with manager Ranjin Singh by his side. Ranjin Singh is a member of WWE’s creative team – his real name is Dave Kapoor. I have mentioned it in previous reviews as well.

Analysis: I was curious about Batista in World Title matches, so I looked it up. Out of the 15 pay-per-views in 2007, Batista was in the World Title match for 13 of those PPVs. The first PPV of the year was New Year’s Revolution, which was Raw only, so that’s why he wasn’t on that show. No Way Out 2007 didn’t have a World Title match and he still was in the main event of that show. That’s a dominant run in the title picture.

World Heavyweight Championship: The Great Khali (w/Ranjin Singh) vs. Batista vs. Kane

Pre-match notes: The Great Khali was the heel World Champion while Batista and Kane were faces.

Kane and Batista went after Khali with punches, but Khali decked them both with a double clothesline. JBL wondered if any man can beat Khali. What about John Cena, who did it twice earlier in the same year? But this is WWE where they want us to forget things. Khali decked Kane with an elbow followed by a clothesline. Batista walked right into a clothesline from Khali. Batista also ran the ropes, right into a kick by Khali. Cole said Khali showed agility by sticking up his leg while Batista ran into it. WHAT THE HELL? THE MAN LIFTED HIS LEG! It’s not agility. It’s a leg lift with Batista running into it like a jackass. Khali punched Kane out of the ring. Khali put a vice grip on Batista’s shoulder and then when Kane got in the ring, Khali did it to him as well. Batista went up to Khali, so Khali gave him a Chokeslam. Khali gave Kane a Chokeslam as well. Cole: “Get used to it, Smackdown fans.” Groan. Khali took off the cover of the ECW announce table. Kane went after Khali, who fought him off and then Batista went after the champ, but Khali hit Batista with a forearm to the chest. Kane and Batista took turns punching Khali and they sent Khali into the steel steps. Kane and Batista gave Khali a double Chokeslam that put Khali through the table. The crowd popped big for that. Kane with a sidewalk slam for two. Kane charged right into a powerslam by Batista for a two count. Batista set up Kane on the turnbuckle, Kane fought him off and that set up Kane hit the clothesline off the top that he did in nearly every match. Khali got back in the ring, so Kane hit him with a Chokeslam where he barely lifted Khali and that got a two count as Batista broke up the pin. Batista hit Kane with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Batista shoved Kane into the steel ring post. Batista walked right into a boot to the face by Khali. Batista avoided a chop and hit a spinebuster for two as Kane broke up the pin. JBL: “This is absolutely amazing to watch.” I don’t agree. Kane missed a corner charge when Batista moved, so Kane hit the ring post. Kane with a back body drop on Batista followed by a Chokeslam for a two count. Kane brought a chair into the ring, Batista stopped that and hit a spinebuster. Batista with a Batista Bomb. After that, Batista positioned his pin attempt so that his legs were near where Khali is, so that led to Khali pulling Batista out of the ring. Khali whipped Batista into the steel steps at ringside. Back in the ring, Khali hit the two handed Chokeslam that was sometimes called a Tree Slam for the pinfall win on Kane at 10:04

Winner by pinfall: The Great Khali

Analysis: * This was awful. I’ll go as high as one star because I liked the table spot to take out Khali and then it was a decent story after that. Khali matches are tough to watch and get into because of how terrible he is in the ring. The guy can barely move, so it was basically Kane and Batista running into him as if they were a couple of idiots that have never been in a wrestling match in their life. There were also a few good nearfalls that the crowd bought into, so that helped the match. The booking was smart in the sense that Khali only had to work about half the match and spent the other half on the floor. Khali beat Kane here because they wanted to protect Batista since he was Khali’s next feud.

Post match, Khali left with the World Heavyweight Title with Ranjin Singh joining him while the announcers were very over the top in talking about how one man will “never” beat him for the title.

Analysis: Khali’s reign that will “never” end ended in less than two months. We will get to that in the Unforgiven review.

There was a video that aired about Triple H returning to action soon at SummerSlam, which was the next PPV. Triple H tore his quadriceps (the second time in his career with a torn quadriceps) in January at New Year’s Revolution 2007 and had surgery. He was out for seven months.

King Booker walked out to the ring with Queen Sharmell. Booker complained about how Triple H was not the King of Kings because there is only one king in WWE, King Booker. That led to Booker calling out “Jerome Lawler” aka Jerry “The King” Lawler. Booker wanted Jerome to come into the ring to bow down and lay his crown at Booker’s feet. Lawler did nothing, so Sharmell told Lawler to relinquish his crown. Lawler told Booker that if he wants his crown then he should walk over to the announce table to come get it. Booker said that as a king, he doesn’t come to you, they come to him. Booker said that since Lawler disobeyed his direct command then Booker told Jerome that this was an act of treason. Booker left with Sharmell. Ross pointed out that Lawler was called “King” for 30 years. The fans booed Booker and Sharmell.

Analysis: It was a way to set up Booker’s match with Triple H at SummerSlam with the storyline being that Booker had a problem with somebody else was using a nickname that had King in it.

There was a great video package to set up John Cena defending the WWE Title against Bobby Lashley. They featured clips of wrestlers like Steve Austin, Batista, Ric Flair, Mick Foley and John Bradshaw Layfield offering their opinions on the match. It was really presented as a big deal.

The tale of the tape was posted on the screen with both announcers saying that the big match experience gave the edge to Cena. I don’t think Lashley was really two inches taller, but wrestling tends to lie about that stuff.

Bobby Lashley entered first as the challenger. This was his first WWE Title shot in a singles match. He was in the WWE Title match at the last PPV, but it was not a singles match. The next singles WWE Title match that he had was at Backlash 2020.

John Cena made his entrance as the WWE Champion with a loud reaction full of cheers from the screaming younger fans and also some boos from other fans as well. I would say the cheers beat the boos with this crowd. It was always a loud reaction, that’s for sure.

The wrestlers stood in the ring as Lilian Garcia did the pre-match introductions. They didn’t do that all the time at this point like they do today. It gave the matchup a big time feel.

WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley

Pre-match notes: They were both babyfaces with Cena going into the match as the WWE Champion for ten months at this point. They were both in the prime of their careers with Cena at 30 years old and Lashley was 31 years old. If you would have told me going into this match that this would be his last WWE PPV match for over a decade I would not believe you. More on that later.

They locked up with neither guy getting the advantage. Cena was wearing black Reebok Pump sneakers. They did a test of strength spot with Lashley getting a bit of control. Lashley with a waist lock takedown followed by a front facelock to show the amateur skills. When Cena tried to lock in the STFU submission, Lashley slipped out of that and bailed to the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley with a leapfrog leading to a shoulder tackle. Lashley charged, Cena moved, Cena with a bulldog and a body slam followed by an elbow for two. Cena hit a Fisherman’s Suplex for two as some fans chanted “Cena Sucks” although the chant didn’t pick up that much. Lashley charged into a boot by Cena, but then Lashley hit an impressive overhead suplex for two. Lashley worked over Cena with shoulder tackles against the turnbuckle. Lashley with a sidewalk slam followed by a hard whip into the turnbuckle and Lashley hit a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Cena came back with a blockbuster neckbreaker, then Cena went up top and hit a leg drop to the top of the head. That’s an impressive move when Cena does it the right way like he did here. Bobby sold it well. Lashley had Cena on his shoulders and then dropped to his knees, so it was like a shoulderbreaker. Lashley slapped on a tight headlock with a body scissors around the waist. When Cena got back up, Lashley charged, Cena moved and Cena hit a spinning sitout slam. Lashley got back up, so Cena did the spinning slam again. Cena did the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop. Cena wanted the FU, but Lashley got out of that and hit a powerslam for a two count. Lashley with a running clothesline. Lashley had Cena on his shoulders again and dropped down for another shoulderbreaker. There were a mix of cheers and boos at that point. Cena came back with the FU to a huge reaction, but Cena was too tired to cover right away. Cena crawled over into a cover for one…two…no because Lashley got the left arm up to kick out!

Lashley with an elbow to the head followed by a running clothesline. Lashley charged, Cena with a drop toe hold into the STFU submission and Lashley looked like he was fading, but then Lashley managed to crawl to the bottom rope to break the hold. The fans were standing up at this point and screaming in reaction to the action. Lashley got back up as Cena regrouped and Lashley hit a Spear for one…two…no. Cena got the left shoulder up. JR was screaming about this and shocked that Cena kicked out. They went to the ropes with Lashley trying to set Cena up for something, but Cena managed to get Lashley on his shoulders and Cena hit the FU off the middle ropes. Cena crawled down to the ring and covered Lashley for the one…two…three at 14:52.

Winner by pinfall: John Cena

Analysis: **** This match was so great. It’s four stars to me and I think if they got a few more minutes it would have been even better. It was probably one of the better PPV main events of 2007. There was a lot of hype going into it and I think they exceeded expectations with a hot crowd that did an awesome job of getting into the match, which always helps a match. I like how even the match was with both guys looking like they were going to win at different times and if Lashley did win, I think the fans would have reacted to it in a big way. Cena worked hard here and they had good chemistry together. I think maybe they should have Lashley hit a Dominator at one point to have Cena kick out of that or get to the ropes to cause the two count and that way there would have been even more drama. The final FU from Cena was more of a slam because Cena didn’t take a bump as well, but it did feel like a big deal.

Post match, Cena was selling exhaustion as he was handed the WWE Title and Cena celebrated once again. The announcers put over the emotion of the match while adding that it could have been Lashley’s night. They replayed some of the key spots in the match.

When Lashley got back up, each guy was still selling the physicality of the match. Lashley extended his hand for a handshake, Cena looked Bobby in the eye, nodded his head and they shook hands as a sign of respect. Ross called them two great Americans that laid it all on the line at the Great American Bash. Lashley left as the loser while Cena continued his celebration. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: There might have been some people watching this that thought maybe Lashley would turn heel after failing to win. That didn’t happen as they went the respect route here.

This event had a run time of 2:44:59 on WWE Network.

 

Bobby Lashley Leaves WWE

I can’t finish covering this show without mentioning that this was Lashley’s last WWE PPV match until he returned to the company after WrestleMania in 2018. He was gone for 11 years. The reason that Lashley left is that he was dating Kristal Marshall, who ended up getting released later in 2007 because she wasn’t happy with how WWE was utilizing her in their storylines. There were rumors that Kristal was going to be put in the role of Smackdown GM where she would be Edge’s love interest, she didn’t like that because she was dating Bobby and that role went to Vickie Guerrero. The couple went on to have two kids together (a son named Myles and daughter named Naomi while Lashley had another daughter as well with another woman), they were engaged, but never married according to Kristal. They broke up at some point after their second child was born in 2011.

There was a point in the match with Cena where Lashley hurt his shoulder although we couldn’t really tell by watching. Lashley had surgery and could have returned, but he didn’t. Lashley was officially released by WWE on February 4, 2008. When Kristal got released, Bobby didn’t feel comfortable in WWE. An interview with Kristal in 2009 noted that Michael Hayes (who has been a major part of WWE’s creative team for decades) made racial comments towards Lashley that Bobby didn’t like, so even though Bobby was making millions in WWE, Bobby felt like he had to leave. It is believed that Bobby asked for his release, which WWE granted him six months after he was taken off TV to clean up his shoulder injury. Lashley would go on to work to TNA/Impact for a bit in 2009, then he did some MMA fights, then back to Impact for a few more years from 2015 until early 2018 and then it was back to WWE at that point. Lashley had an impressive 15-2 record in his MMA career from December 2008 to October 2016.

It sucks that Bobby left when he did, but if he had those issues with creative and with Michael Hayes especially, then I can certainly understand why he wanted out of there even while he was making a lot of money. It makes you wonder what kind of career Bobby would have had if he never left WWE because at 31 years old, he could have had a really strong run in the company over the next date. Lashley’s nearly 44 years old now (birthday July 16), he’s still in amazing shape and doing very well in WWE…now that the Lana angle is finished. I like Bobby as a performer. He’s not an outgoing, loud guy that’s known for being an over the top character, but he has been a great performer at times in his career.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show Rating (out of 10): 6.75

This was a slightly above average show thanks to the three best matches: Cena vs. Lashley, Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy and MVP vs. Matt Hardy. There was also a lot of crappy stuff like Hornswoggle winning the Cruiserweight Title (which killed that title soon after), Khali defending the World Title, the Women’s Title match was poor, Morrison vs. Punk was boring and Carlito vs. Sandman was awful too. I don’t think it was a great idea to have Dusty Rhodes in a match, but he was there to put over Randy Orton and bring along Cody as well.

Overall, I think the good moments were more important than the bad matches thanks to that great main event. The crowd was really into it. I love seeing that especially as I write this in 2020 and I miss seeing hot crowds at wrestling shows. It’s just a shame that it was Lashley’s last WWE PPV match for 11 years and his last WWE Title match for 13 years (until Backlash 2020). I’d recommend the top matches, but most of the rest of the card is skippable.

Best Match: John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley (**** out of 5)

Worst Match: Carlito vs. The Sandman (1/2*)

 

Five Stars of the Night

  1. John Cena
  2. Jeff Hardy – Amazing selling in his match. One of the best guys ever at taking a beating and getting the crowd behind him for his comeback.
  3. Bobby Lashley
  4. Umaga
  5. MVP/Matt Hardy

 

Here are my rankings for the WWE PPVs in 2007 so far with ratings out of 10 and links for each:

Backlash (April 29) – 8.25

WrestleMania 23 (April 1) – 7.5

Royal Rumble (Jan. 28) – 7

Great American Bash (July 22) – 6.75

One Night Stand – Extreme Rules (June 3) – 6.5

New Year’s Revolution (Jan. 7) – 6.5

Vengeance – Night of Champions (June 24) – 6

No Way Out (Feb. 18) – 6

Judgment Day (May 20) – 5.5

 

Next up: SummerSlam 2007.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – [email protected]

Twitter @johnreport

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