Sunday, 16 September 2007

WWE The Great American Bash 2006 on Sky Sports - TV Review

It’s that time of the months again where I break out the usual opening line as World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown brand give us The Great American Bash, hosted this time by Michael Cole, along with his new broadcast partner John “Bradshaw” Layfield.

We begin with tag-team action, as the Ring of Honor dream team of Brian Kendrick and Paul London defend their tag titles against the new Pitbulls team of Jamie Noble and Kid Kash. Now this is what tag-team wrestling should be about. This was a great way to open the show as both teams pulled out all the stops to put on an excellent match, as they have done throughout their short rivalry in both singles and doubles action in recent weeks. The end came when Kendrick pinned Kash following some great double-team work, Kendrick coming off the top rope with a sunset flip attempt, and London drop-kicking Kash over so Kendrick could get the pin. More of this, please!

Backstage, the giant Indian goofball that is called Khali starts arguing with his manager Daiviri, showing just how impatient he is as he wants his match with the Undertaker to start straight away.

Back in the ring, and Teddy Long comes out to tell everyone that Bobby Lashley isn’t allowed to compete tonight because of health problems. This brings the big guy out, who begs Teddy to let him fight. As the general manager refuses his request, his opponents for the evening, U.S. Champion Fit Finlay and William Regal come to the ring, and Finlay demands to be given the match via forfeit, something which Teddy isn’t prepared to do. Wanting to please the fans, Teddy orders Finlay to face Regal in a U.S. title match there and then, and what follows is a match that is both enthralling and annoying in equal measures, enthralling because it’s a good old fashioned wrestling match between two of the best wrestlers the United Kingdom has ever produced, and annoying because the fans in the arena just didn’t get what this was about, chanting “boring boring”. I guess 21st century wrestling fans really are different, aren’t they? Anyway, back to the action, and Finlay came out with the title retaining victory in this one, with help from his little friend who lives under the ring. During an encounter with the troll, Regal lost a boot. When the referee was distracted, the troll gave the boot to Finlay, who clobbered Regal with it, and then gained the pin with the assistance of the ropes. A very entertaining contest, and to all you fans and writers who just don’t recognise good wrestling when they see, I say screw you.

Backstage, Rey Mysterio meets up with Chavo Guerrero. Young Chavo tells Rey that the entire Guerrero family is proud of Rey.

A surprise next, as Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms faces Matt Hardy, in what was obviously a non-title match, with Hardy being over the 215 pound limit. It’s another entertaining bout between the two, with two guys who know each other very well pulling out all the stops to put on a great match, with Helms getting the win with the help of Hardy’s tights. This is another bout I’d like to see again.

Backstage, Khali is still arguing with Daiviri, before the Undertaker appears from out of nowhere, only to be attacked by ECW Champion the Big Show. After several officials break up the attack, Teddy Long dishes out the punishment, and orders Big Show to take Khali’s place tonight.

Then it’s on to the match in question, the Punjabi Prison Match, with the Undertaker taking on the Big Show, with one cage surrounding the ring, and a bigger cage surrounding that. I won’t go into the exact rules here, but all I will say is that for some reason I found this match to be very disappointing, and it wasn’t because the Big Show replaced the Indian goofball. I just couldn’t get into this one, and it seemed to drag on and on, with the Undertaker winning the match after crashing through the outer cage first. This one lasted over twenty minutes, but it seemed to last a lot longer than that.

Backstage, the King and Queen, Sharmell and Booker, talk about famous kings that ended up failing.

Back in the arena, it’s the four way bra and panties match. Hey, I like seeing half naked women as much as the next man, but this was as dull as the prison match. Am I the only one who likes seeing women wrestlers actually wrestle these days?

Backstage, the Miz, the most annoying man on television, interviews Mr. Kennedy, who proclaims victory in his upcoming match.

Time for the animal to make his pay-per-view return, as Batista takes on Mr. Kennedy, a replacement for the thankfully injured Mark Henry. Kennedy gets busted open early on after Batista rams his head into the steel ring steps, and it looks like a bad one. It’s a relatively short and entertaining match, and halfway through I remember that these two guys were actually out with the same kind of injury at the same time, so it’s kind of ironic that they get matched up with each other. Anyway, Kennedy got the victory, as the referee disqualified Batista for refusing to stop choking Kennedy with his foot on the ropes. This is another encounter I’d like to see again.

On to the main event, as the smallest World Heavyweight Champion in history, Rey Mysterio, takes on King Booker, who as always has his Queen by his side. This was another entertaining encounter, and it made you forget just how small Rey is, as he put on another great bout. Unlike other title bouts, it made you actually think that the challenger could emerge with the victory, and this Booker did, with the help of Chavo Guerrero. With referee Nick Patrick knocked out cold, Rey hit a frog splash off the top, but for obvious reasons couldn’t get the count. Booker came back with a low blow and the Book End, but again, no count because the referee was still down. Booker then went outside and grabbed a steel chair, which ended up being drop-kicked into his face. It was then that Chavo ran into the ring and clobbered Rey with the chair, and as the referee came to, Booker got the title winning pin, and Queen Sharmell asked us to hail the new champion as the show came to an end.

In conclusion - a good show here, with the exception of a couple of matches, with four matches I’d really like to see re-matches for in the near future. Well done to the Smackdown crew here.

And I really must give dues to new Smackdown colour announcer John “Bradshaw” Layfield. JBL has settled quickly into his new role, although it seems like he’s been at it for years. He comes across as an entertaining, very intelligent and knowledgeable announcer who’s done his research and knows what he’s talking about, and he seems to be bringing the best out of Michael Cole as well. Kudos to JBL, and let’s hope he stays in this job for a long time.