Great American Bash 2004 – This Is The Prefered Method Of Torture In 19 Countries

I had to get to these eventually I guess. This is widely considered one of the worst series of shows ever and the stage was set for that with the first one. The only good things about the first two are Torrie looking hot on the posters. I don’t think they ever had any idea what they were doing with these shows and the name certainly doesn’t live up to the WCW incarnation. Let’s just plow through these and get them over with.

Great American Bash 2004
Date: June 27, 2004
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Attendance: 6,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

I had to get to do this one eventually. This won worst show of the year according to Meltzer and I can’t disagree with him at all. It’s a double main event with JBL in the world title match and the Undertaker vs. the Dudleys. If the Dudleys win, Paul Bearer is buried in concrete. I’m going to pause to let the idiocy of that sink in for a minute. Let’s get to it.

The opening video has a patriotic theme to it, showing JBL being all awesome. He claims to be a real American while Eddie is a disgrace. Angle also hates Cena so he’s sending him into a fatal fourway. And there’s the stupid Taker vs. Dudleys thing.

Torrie welcomes us to the show. This is Smackdown only.

US Title: John Cena vs. Rene Dupree vs. Booker T vs. Rob Van Dam

This is elimination rules and Cena is champion coming in. Cena fires up the crowd a bit and that’s a LOUD chant for him. He makes gay masturbation jokes about Angle in his pre-match rap. Also RVD likes marijuana, Booker used to be GI Bro and Rene Dupree wants to be Cena. This is also a Navy town so Rene is gay right? Booker and RVD go at it as do John and Rene to start us off. This is under tornado rules.

Rob and Booker fight to the floor. I think Rene is the only heel here but I’m not sure on Booker. Off to Rene vs. RVD. Booker is chilling on the floor to avoid getting beaten up which is really smart strategy. Yeah Booker is officially a heel in this. He turned on RVD a few weeks back. See? Cole can be useful at times. Rene hooks a chinlock on RVD to waste some time. Rob fights back and hits a split legged moonsault for two.

Rolling Thunder gets the same. Cena does something for the first time in about four minutes, picking up Rene on the floor, only to get flipped onto by RVD. Cena vs. Rob in the ring now and they exchange near falls. RVD slides to the floor and tells Booker to get in. They get in an argument so RVD throws Booker in for a beating. Cena slides to the floor and throws Rene in to replace him. Cena and RVD are just kind of chilling on the floor.

Dupree hits a powerslam and does the French Tickler (don’t ask) but walks into a Booker spinebuster. Five Star hits Rene but there’s no cover. Cena goes up and gets kicked off by RVD. Five Star hits Booker this time but Cena rolls in and cradles Van Dam for the first elimination. Booker and Dupree team up on Cena with Booker hitting the side kick for two. Rene got the cover and Booker isn’t thrilled with that.

Cena takes advantage of their argument to beat them both up. The fans aren’t exactly thrilled by this match either. Throwback to Booker and Cena pumps it up. FU (noticeably different than the modern version) puts down Dupree. Booker hits an axe kick on Cena and eliminates Rene. So it’s down to one on one now. Side slam gets two and what appeared to be a fast count. Off to a chinlock to kill some time.

The announcers talk about a mini feud Cena has had with Taker. Today, that’s a Wrestlemania dream match. Here, it’s a two week filler feud. Booker chops away in the corner and gets the Jack Brisco spinning sunset flip out of the corner for two. Axe kick misses though and the FU keeps the title on Cena.

Rating: C-. Not bad here, but the problem was in the match structure. With it being elimination rules, it actually made things easier on Cena. Like you saw with Booker and Dupree, you can pretty much just chill on the floor for two eliminations and then get it down to a one on one match. Then again, Cena pinned RVD first anyway so he would have won either way, which again begs the question of why it wasn’t just one fall. That would be because they needed to fill an extra seven minutes.

Cena walks through the back and hits on Jackie Gayda. He leaves and Angle rolls up to yell at Charlie Haas, who is with Jackie. Charlie defends himself and gets thrown into a match with Luther Reigns tonight.

Sable is in a hot tub and says the Divas will be hosting the show tonight. She’ll be interviewing herself. Sable faces Torrie tonight and says she’s hotter than Torrie. Ok then.

Charlie Haas vs. Luther Reigns

Good thing Charlie just happened to be in gear and right by the entrance isn’t it? Power vs. speed here to start but Charlie is in over his head here. Reigns hammers away and is very slow. I mean REALLY slow. A kick puts Haas down as we hear about how Angle can never wrestle again. Angle says he’s loving this. Luther works on the back for a bit but Charlie “hits” (you can see the space between the feet and Luther) a pair of dropkicks. He gets sent to the floor and it’s time for a chinlock.

Luther can’t even do a chinlock right, as the hands are about four inches from Haas’ face. Press slam gets two. The fans are really not all that interested. Luther uses all of his skill to gauge their reaction and puts on a half crab. Angle says they’re running out of time and Charlie hits a suplex for probably his only big offense of the match. German suplex gets two. Charlie’s shoulder goes into the post and a Roll of the Dice (Cross Rhodes) ends this.

Rating: F. Even Jackie’s hotness couldn’t save this. The fans DID NOT care at all here, mainly because the match was thrown together in the back about 2 minutes before it started. Reigns was really bad in the ring and Haas was a total jobber here despite having talent. I have no idea what the point here was, but I think it might be exhibit A as to why not to have brand exclusive PPVs.

JBL says he’ll win the title tonight. It’s a Texas Bullrope match tonight, which means the four corners kind. Oh joy. He says tonight is his vindication and he’s awesome.

Cruiserweight Title: Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio

Match #89 of about 384. Rey is champion and Chavo won a battle royal on Thursday to set this up. They speed things up to start and Rey grabs a pair of rollups for two. Chavo works on the arm so Rey spins around a lot and kicks Chavo’s arm to escape. As they just did a few seconds ago, they fly around a lot and work on the arm. Chavo dropkicks Rey as he’s on the apron to send him to the floor and possibly injure his knee.

The knee goes around the post and Rey is in trouble. Back in the ring Chavo hooks a one legged Liontamer. Rey kicks out of it and hits the bulldog (DDT according to Cole) to break it up. Chavo works the knee even more, kicking it so hard that Rey spins around in a circle. Off to a hold formerly called the Brock Lock to further damage the leg. Chavo charges into a boot and Rey gets in some offense. It’s so nice to see an actual story being told in a match after the previous horrible display.

Rey gets tied in the Tree of Woe but Chavo misses his charge, going arm first into the post. Rey fires off a seated senton to the floor and both guys are down. They fight to the apron and Chavo teases a superplex back to the floor. They both stand on the top and wind up hitting kind of a double facejam to the mat. Rey counters a slingshot into a dropkick and the knee is rapidly getting better. Russian Legsweep gets two.

Seated senton gets two so Rey pounds away on him. He charges into a Gory Bomb for two though as Chavo takes over again. Chavo works on the knee even more but an enziguri sets up the 619. Rey’s knee can barely work so he can’t hit the West Coast Pop. Off to the one legged Liontamer again and then a half crab. Rey slaps the mat as he’s crawling but that isn’t a tap in this case. He finally makes a rope and the crowd is WAY into this now. Chavo loads up another Gory Bomb but Rey rolls through into a sunset flip for the surprise pin to retain.

Rating: B. Good match here and a NICE breath of air on this show. It’s not really surprising to see these two have a good match though so it’s hardly a classic, but it’s always cool to see Rey vs. a Guerrero for twenty minutes. The psychology was here too and it made for a good match. It’s a shame Rey was nowhere near his best at this point though.

Torrie is in the hot tub with various Cruiserweights who say they would have won had they been in there. Torrie stands up in her flag bikini and leaves. Funaki: “God bless America.”

Kenzo Suzuki vs. Billy Gunn

Suzuki is a Japanese guy who wants revenge for Japan because of what America did to it in World War II. I kid you not. This is a rematch from Smackdown where Hiroko, Kenzo’s chick, threw salt in Billy’s eyes to save Kenzo. Somehow, Gunn’s music (his most famous one) is catchy. Kenzo’s tights are brown/orange. He’s one of those guys that is a martial arts expert, which means he hits a chop and then poses.

Neckbreaker gets two for Gunn. This is a very dull match in case you can’t tell. The Claw STO puts Billy down but he drops a knee instead of covering. Off to a nerve hold, which would be a little more effective if he would, like, squeeze his hand or something. After what seems like an eternity, Billy gets a rollup for two. Suplex gets two for Suzuki.

Off to ANOTHER chinlock kind of move and the fans are loudly booing now. They slug it out and Billy hits a Stinger Splash to set up the Fameasser but Kenzo stands up. Shining Wizard gets two but he walks into a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. A low blow slows Billy down and Kenzo gets a pin after that knee to the back out of a reverse DDT position that Christian does. It didn’t even look good. HORRIBLE finish.

Rating: F. Remember when I said the other match was exhibit A? This might have just trumped it. I mean this was TERRIBLE. Who in the world thought these two deserved eight minutes on a PPV? Kenzo was awful and everyone knew it, so they put him with Rene Dupree and gave them the tag titles. Don’t you get the logical progression of events there? Terrible match and Gunn would be gone soon.

Heyman is with the tied up Paul Bearer and tells him that he will in fact bury him in concrete tonight. Yes, this is really one of the main event angles for this show. Heyman almost seems turned on by this.

I forgot to mention: there’s a huge cement truck next to the entrance of the arena, just to further the idiocy of the event.

Sable vs. Torrie Wilson

So they’re fighting over who should be the spokesperson for this PPV. Torrie said she should be, so Sable said she looked fat. You know it’s on after that. To the shock of no one, neither of them can do anything other than look good in shorts. Sable kicks a lot and they mess up a sunset flip. The fans are already booing. All Sable so far here. Time for a chinlock by Sable as this is dying quickly. The fans are mostly silent at this point.

Torrie hits one of the worst suplexes I’ve ever seen. Cole says there are Torrie chants but I don’t hear them. Then again Cole thinks some odd things at times. They collide and both girls are down, drawing even more booing. Sable plays possum and rolls Torrie up for the pin. They couldn’t even do THAT right, as Sable rolled over her and Torrie’s right side was completely off the mat.

Rating: F. If I need to explain this one, you’re not paying enough attention.

Taker is in the back and he starts walking to the ring. His match isn’t next but I guess he needs to get a running start.

Dawn Marie is also looking hot in a flag bikini and talks to Rene Dupree who says he got cheated. He’s going to protest Cena’s title reign. He hits on Dawn and offers to show her his French Tickler. He starts dancing and the FBI shows up. Penis and shoe jokes are made. Hint to WWE production guys: just show us Dawn.

Mordecai vs. Bob Holly

Mordecai is a religious character who wound up in PPV matches with Scotty 2 Hotty and Bob Holly. This would be his last appearance despite implying he was going to come after Eddie next. You might remember him as Kevin Thorn in ECW. Cole just flat out says this isn’t going to be pretty. Holly ties him in the ropes and pounds away to start. This crowd is SILENT. For once, I can’t blame them. This is Hardcore Holly in a singles match after watching a horrible Divas match and Billy Gunn in a match.

Off to a chinlock as this match dies even further. Taz makes fun of the way Mordecai talks and basically makes the whole character sound like an idiot. I mean more than the character itself already did. Holly fights back with a hot shot but they collide, I think by accident, when Mordecai bounces off the ropes. Holly hits a bunch of clotheslines, including one off the top for two. A kind of sloppy looking reverse DDT gets two as well. Mordecai grabs a sitout spinebuster for two. Alabama Slam is countered into the Razor’s Edge for the pin.

Rating: D-. Why in the world was this on PPV? I don’t think anyone else really knew the answer to that either. Either way it’s not like it mattered as after this Mordecai was sent back down to OVW, which to be fair he probably belonged there anyway. The gimmick didn’t help him, but he just wasn’t ready for the main shows yet.

We recap Eddie vs. JBL. They had a WAR at Judgment Day with both guys just gushing blood. Tonight it’s a bullrope match, because we need to have the match be as boring as possible. It’s the kind where you have to touch all four corners. JBL says Eddie got disqualified intentionally at Judgment Day, so here Eddie can’t run or hide.

Smackdown World title: Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

Yes, the concrete match is going last. This is no DQ, unless you intentionally unhook yourself. There’s a bell on the rope of course, because we’re wrestlers so we all want to be cowboys! Eddie goes for the leg and chokes him out a bit with the rope. That bell is getting really annoying really fast. They have these stupid lights on the corners because just counting the number of corners for each guy is too much for Nick Patrick.

Both guys get two corners but they get their momentum broken up. The rope goes around Eddie’s neck and there’s a bell shot to put him down. Bradshaw puts him in the Tree of Woe and chokes him upside down as Eddie is in trouble. Here comes the Spanish Announce Table but Eddie blocks a powerbomb through it. Cowbell to the head puts JBL down and it’s Eddie in control.

JBL sends him over the table again but Eddie CRACKS Bradshaw over the head with a chair. Oh yeah he’s busted too. That’s enough for Eddie to get three corners but JBL breaks it up enough for the fourth to not count. Patrick says the momentum is broken, meaning the streak is broken. Eddie gets three corners again and again JBL grabs the rope. After a JBL DDT, Eddie crotches him with the rope and gets three buckles but the streak is broken.

Three Amigos hit and Eddie adds a frog splash for good measure. In a REALLY smart move, JBL rolls to the floor to stop the fourth corner from being touched. Smart because Eddie can’t drag him from the floor like he could in the ring. They go to the top and JBL hits him with the bell. He wraps the rope around Eddie’s neck and throws him onto the announce table which doesn’t break. Cole says it’s like rock or concrete. These jokes write themselves at times.

A powerbomb puts Eddie through the table and both guys are down again. Somehow that only gets three corners back in the ring. JBL gets three corners again but takes a cowbell low to stop things again. Since this is a four corners bullrope match, we get the only ending that ever happens in these things: they both get three and the good guy dives to touch the fourth one just in time.

Rating: B. Pretty solid brawl here but at the same time these matches get really repetitive after awhile. It becomes wrestler A gets a few corners, then wrestler B gets a few corners, then we reset things. The brawling in between that was pretty solid stuff though so I can’t really complain here. At the end of the day though, this gave us JBL as world champion. Here’s why.

Angle comes out and shows us the replay, which shows that when Eddie dove at JBL, it knocked JBL into the buckle first, which means he’s champion. This would go on until Wrestle-freaking-Mania.

We recap the main event. Heyman started managing the Dudley Boys and convinced them to kidnap Paul Bearer and steal the urn. The idea is that Taker is lost without Bearer, because those years and world titles without him never counted. Taker followed Heyman for awhile because Heyman had the urn.

Dudley Boys vs. Undertaker

They’re really vague about the stipulations here. All they say is that Taker has to “do the right thing” or Bearer gets buried. There’s a cement truck with a trough going into a case made of glass. Heyman is at the switch and if Taker does something wrong, Bearer gets buried alive in cement. This was a main event in 2004 on a $35 PPV. Let that sink in for a minute. Oh and the Dudleys are Smackdown tag champions.

Now we get the really stupid part of this. Heyman gives us a “preview” by putting in some cement then turning it off. If it can be stopped, WHY DOES TAKER NOT GO LAY HEYMAN OUT AND TURN THE THING OFF??? Bubba yells that the right thing is for Taker to lay down. In case you’re missing the point, the idea here is that if Taker doesn’t lay down, Paul Bearer will be killed.

Taker lays down but grabs them by the throat. Heyman says that’s not the right thing and the Dudleys take over. They fight to the floor and Taker is in control. He loads up Old School and Heyman says Bad Dog and loads in a lot more cement. The Dudleys take over and this is so dumb. Taker beats them down and goes after Heyman but the Dudleys make the save. Bearer keeps saying that Taker will….the cement is lower than before. Did I mention that this wasn’t live and a lot of the concrete stuff was taped earlier? The ending of the match leaked online earlier in the day.

Bubba stops the cement, saying they can take him out on their own. The fans are loudly booing now. They beat on Taker using very basic stuff like suplexes and elbows. Out to the floor and Bubba basically lays the piece of the announce table on Taker for two. And then it’s a sleeper. Are you kidding me? Thankfully they are as Taker suplexes out of it. He beats up D-Von and it becomes a big brawl. This place is SILENT too. Old School hits but D-Von hits Taker low. Taker sits up and Heyman holds up the urn. And then a tombstone ends D-Von.

Rating: F. Ok come on now. Where’s my real main event? Where’s the match that I really paid this much money to see? I mean it couldn’t be this, because this was a boring 15 minute match with Heyman constantly teasing that he’ll murder Bearer. I mean…ok I’ll drop it now. The match SUCKED and the concept is further fetched than wrestling should be allowed to go.

Heyman goes to pull the lever again but Taker sends a bolt of lightning to stop him. Then he pulls the level himself to kill off Paul Bearer for about five years. The idea was without his conscience he could be more violent or whatever.

Overall Rating: R. As in returned like a bad steak at a restaurant.  Oh just no. I mean NO. This isn’t acceptable. Let’s see: attempted murder, actual murder, Bob Holly, Billy Gunn, Charlie Haas, and JBL, who at the time was a midcard guy for about ten years, is the new WWE Champion. This was AWFUL and while there are some ok matches, some of the things here simply are not acceptable whatsoever. Horrible show, and somehow it might get worse next year.

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