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Another, not THAT great...Bash
on 12 July 2011
On reflection, The Great American Bash could hardly be called a must-see event in the years WWE adopted it for their pay-per-view schedule. Despite two marvellous exceptions (the 2007 and 2008 events), the Bash was mostly a tedious annual show, filled with rubbish matches and little to no outstanding contests that made history.
The 2006 edition unfortunately followed the same trend as previous years, but also, some key superstars (Bobby Lashley, Super Crazy, Great Khali & Mark Henry) were forced off the card due to injuries/health problems, forcing WWE to change their match line-up.
Of course, the end result can't be excused. This year's Bash was mostly disappointing. But there ARE some surprises that make this DVD worth your time.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs. The Pit Bulls
London and Kendrick were absolutely phenomenal. Their ELEVEN MONTH reign as Tag Champions was the stuff of legend, because they were both awesome high-fliers, and that they would often give you the best match of the night. This opener is another chapter of their illustrious reign, featuring thrilling offence and blistering action that goes at a high-octane pace. The Kid Kash/Jamie Noble pairing for the revival of the old ECW Pit Bull gimmick was strange yet it worked. Shame they never realised their full potential. (8/10)
United States Championship Match
Finlay (Champion) vs. William Regal
Originally meant to be a triple-threat featuring Bobby Lashley, who unfortunately was sidelined due to elevated enzymes in the liver (a fate that also befell Super Crazy & Great Khali). So instead we had a difficult heel vs. heel collision. Thankfully, these are two of the purest technicians in history, and they wrestle a mat-based story with some stiff brawling and quality action, plus some funny stuff from Hornswoggle. The dead crowd don't appreciate this, though, while JBL's commentary adds to the entertainment. Difficult to rate due to the circumstances and the rare style of wrestling used, but I DID like it. (7/10)
Gregory Helms vs. Matt Hardy
Originally meant to be a Cruiserweight title defence against the abruptly-sidelined Super Crazy. Nevertheless, we now had a dance between two talented blokes/sparring partners from Carolina, so it was a win-win situation. Could've featured better storytelling, and the finish feels cheap, but it's worth watching. Watch out for the spectacular neck-breaker off the top rope! (7/10)
Punjabi Prison Match
The Undertaker vs. Big Show
This was a first. An uneventful, difficult first. Originally, Khali was meant to be in it, but was hastily written off (again due to ill-health). So that left Taker fighting the (then) ECW World Champion. The Punjabi Prison had never been seen before so people didn't know what to expect, and unfortunately, there were too many rules/obstacles for the gimmick's own good. Not even Taker and Big Show could save this from being a total flop. (3/10)
Four-Way Bra & Panties Match
Ashley vs. Jillian Hall vs. Kristal vs. Michelle McCool
Waste of time, waste of the talents of both Jillian Hall and Michelle McCool. SKIP. (1/10)
Batista vs. Mr Kennedy
Originally, a revenge bout for Batista against Mark Henry who had injured the Animal several months prior. Then ironically, Henry himself got injured before they could square off, with Mr Kennedy stepping in as a replacement. Although there was no history between the Animal and Kennedy, they made history here in a bloody, violent fight that succeeded in elevating both superstars. Batista was absolutely intense and Kennedy was just so crisp. It's a true clash of personalities with gripping psychology and an outcome that makes sense. Okay, so it's essentially a brutal squash...but WHAT a brutal squash! (8/10)
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Rey Mysterio (Champion) vs. King Booker (w/Queen Sharmell)
For those who were dissatisfied with the show until now, this main-event would send fans home happy. Booker T's 2006 King of the Ring triumph would revitalise his WWE career and put him back in the main-event where he BELONGED. Rey Mysterio's title reign suffered from bad booking, yet time and again he showed his worthiness as world champion. It's the same here, as he and Booker put on an absolutely riveting contest. Goes at a fast-pace, tells a fine story and has a shock ending. Match of the night. (9/10)
There're some great special features to be found on this disc, which are an exclusive backstage segment between the Big Show and Paul Heyman (how I miss him!), and (most important) King Booker's victory speech and fantastic rematch with Rey Mysterio from the following addition of SmackDown. Certainly, these are extras that are more valuable than the additional features you get on pay-per-view home releases THESE days.
But let's be honest, if it weren't for the excellent main-event and opening bout, the 2006 Great American Bash would be forgettable, complete with bouts you could easily see on SmackDown. Yes, Batista vs. Mr Kennedy is wicked, and Finlay/Regal and Hardy/Helms are good, but (except for the Batista/Kennedy collision) those are bouts you can see ELSEWHERE, and performed much better. The Punjabi Prison bout is rubbish, and the Divas `bout' is a complete waste of time. The show would have been better off without them.
All in all, an average event. Certainly worth it for King Booker vs. Rey Mysterio, Batista vs. Mr Kennedy and the WWE Tag Title match. But don't worry too much about avoiding this.