Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Great American Bash 2004
Date: June 27, 2004
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
We had to get here at some point and that’s not the most appealing thing in the world. The double main event will see JBL challenging Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Title in a Texas Bullrope match (totally different than the Montana bullrope match) and the Undertaker vs. the Dudley Boyz in a Concrete Crypt match (totally different than the good idea match). Let’s get to it.
The opening video focuses on being yourself (like Eddie Guerrero and John Cena) no matter what people say (like JBL and Kurt Angle). And something about Undertaker trying to save Paul Bearer from being encased in concrete as a bunch of children recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Here’s Torrie Wilson as the sexy Uncle Sam to welcome us to the show, with a special shout out to the US armed forces. That’s nice of them, but when you cut to the cement mixer that might be used for televised murder, it doesn’t have the same impact.
US Title: John Cena vs. Booker T. vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Rene Dupree
Cena is defending and this is under elimination rules. We get the pre-match rap with Cena making his usual gay jokes, this time about Kurt Angle. He also throws in a GI Bro joke for old times’ sake but that’s a bit too classy so let’s get some gay jokes in on Rene as well. The brawl is on to start with Booker and Rene being knocked down so we can have the Van Dam vs. Cena slugout.
Booker pulls Rob outside and sends him into various things as Rene suplexes Cena for two. Rene actually wins a slugout with Cena (how odd) and even low bridges him to the floor. After Rene struts a bit, Booker is smart enough to send Rob inside so he doesn’t have to do much early on. That means chinlockery as Booker yells at the fans. Van Dam fights up and hits Rolling Thunder as the singles match continues. Dupree gets sent outside so Rob flip dives onto both he and Cena with the latter being thrown back in.
Some rollups give Rob two as Booker is still content to watch from ringside. Again: not the worst idea and showing some good thinking here. Some place switching leaves us with Rene vs. Booker for a double knockdown, allowing Van Dam to hit a Five Star on Rene. Cena gets knocked off the top and now the Five Star hits Booker. The writhing around on the mat takes too long though and Cena rolls Van Dam up for the first elimination.
The double teaming of Cena begins with Booker dropping the knee. Booker isn’t going to let Rene steal his cover though and there’s the required argument between two morons who are in complete control. Cena makes his comeback in short order and there’s an FU on Rene, but Booker kicks Cena down and steals the elimination.
We’re down to one on one with Booker hitting a side slam for a fast two. The chinlock goes on for a long time (albeit with a stop for a kick to the face in the middle) and Cena fights up as you might expect. Right hands and a side slam set up the Shuffle for two as Cena is getting fired up. Booker is right back with his kick to the face but the ax kick misses, setting up the FU to retain Cena’s title.
Rating: C+. Good opener here with Cena fighting through the odds and getting a nice win. They’re turning him into a star with this reign and beating three guys is a great way to get him higher up the ladder. You could easily do a Cena vs. Booker feud to make things even better from here.
I’m still not sure what difference it made to have this be an elimination match though, as Cena won the first fall and the rules let him avoid a lot of punishment by standing outside. Odds are it’s just a time thing, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense at least from Angle’s perspective. The one thing that worries me here: this was one of the few solid matches they had on the show and we have nearly two and a half hours to go. This could get bad in a hurry.
In the back, Cena hits on Jackie Gayda (also in a red, white and blue outfit) when Angle comes up. He’s not happy with Charlie Haas, who has fallen way too far. Charlie can face Angle’s new protege right now. Good thing Charlie was standing right there in his gear. This segment was straight out of a regular episode of Smackdown.
Sable is in a hot tub to interview….herself. She’s hotter than Torrie and can prove it tonight.
Charlie Haas vs. Luther Reigns
Jackie and Angle are here too, making this about as overbooked as you could ask it to be. Charlie tries the wrestling to start but can’t do much with the really strong Reigns. A boot to the chest drops Charlie and the stomping begins. One heck of a whip into the corner has Angle applauding and Haas gets tossed outside. The chinlock goes on and Jackie goes into cheerleading mode, which fits well given that she’s in something close to a cheerleading outfit.
A gorilla press gives Reigns two and we hit a half crab, which is about as bad of an idea as you could have right now. Charlie fights up and gets punched into the corner as Angle tells Reigns to hurry up. Some suplexes give Charlie two but he misses a charge into the post, setting up the rolling cutter to give Reigns the pin.
Rating: D-. What am I even supposed to say here? It’s a match that would have been boring on Smackdown and is getting pay per view time because they don’t have anything else to put on in its place. Reigns is fine for what he is, but that doesn’t mean he needs to be getting a pay per view spot, especially in a bad squash.
JBL says he got ripped off at Judgment Day and tonight, he gets what he wants. As always. And remember: everyone who doesn’t like him is wrong because he’s great and gets to prove it. Thank goodness the fans were already asleep after the previous match.
Cruiserweight Title: Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
Chavo is challenging after winning a battle royal on Tuesday. He’s on his own here as I guess we’re no longer graces by the essence of Classic. Dang it he was one of the best things about this show (not the highest bar to clear but still). They hit the mat to start with Rey rolling him up for two as Chavo can’t keep up. Chavo’s rollup gives him two of his own and that means a standoff.
Rey slaps on an armbar and gets two more off another rollup, meaning the second standoff in just a few minutes. Seems like they have a lot of time here. It’s back to the arm with a short armscissors but Rey tries to go for a springboard, allowing Chavo to dropkick him to the floor. Rey comes up holding his knee and Chavo has a target. Some cannonballs down onto the knee have Rey in trouble but he uses the good leg to kick Chavo out to the floor. It doesn’t do much good as Chavo comes back in for a half crab Liontamer.
For some reason Chavo picks him up in a wheelbarrow, allowing Rey to plant him with the bulldog. Sometimes villains never learn. Chavo is fine enough to whip him into the corner and the knee gives out. A near Jackhammer gives Chavo two and it’s right back to the knee. It’s off to a Brock Lock for a bit until Rey fights up with a headscissors (though it was more like Rey falling down and Chavo flipping). Chavo is smart enough to kick at the knee again and this time he ties Rey in the Tree of Woe.
As expected though, Chavo tries a completely unnecessary charge and goes shoulder first into the post. That means a seated senton off the top, with Rey landing on the knee again. My goodness there are some stupid people in this match. Back in and they go to the top at the same time for a double faceplant. Rey gets two off a rollup and hits a quick middle rope dropkick, followed by a Russian legsweep for a little change of pace.
The springboard seated senton gets two but Rey charges into a Gory Bomb for two (with the bad arm keeping him from hooking the leg). Rey enziguris him into the ropes but the 619 is countered into another half crab. That’s rolled through as well so Chavo tries a second Gory Bomb, which is reversed into a sunset flip to retain the title.
Rating: B. I’ve got a feeling this is the high point for the show and we’re not even halfway through. They had a nice story going with the knee vs. the arm and it played into the action multiple times. These two know each other so well that it’s almost impossible to not have a good match and the nearly twenty minutes never felt long. Solid match here and the best thing the show is likely to have.
Torrie is in the hot tub with some cruiserweights. They argue over the match until she stands up. Funaki: “God bless America.”
Kenzo Suzuki vs. Billy Gunn
For those of you who were begging for a rematch. Cole on Suzuki: “He’s undefeated on American soil.” He’s not even undefeated this week ham head. We even see a clip of the loss to make Cole look even dumber. They stare at each other to start, though Gunn stares at Hiroko to add in some flavor. Gunn starts with some right hands and a fisherman’s suplex for two. A swinging neckbreaker keeps Gunn in trouble but the claw legsweep drops him.
The nerve hold goes on as you can hear the fans slowly dying before our eyes. Suzuki elbows him in the face to cut off a comeback and it’s time to choke with a knee. A suplex sets up a seated abdominal stretch to keep Gunn in trouble. The USA chants (remember this is a Navy town so they’re extra strong) eventually overcome the power of boring wrestling so Gunn starts the comeback with a Stinger Splash.
That’s about it though as Suzuki hits a running knee to drop him again. A tilt-a-whirl slam doesn’t do much as Suzuki hits him low and hits a reverse DDT onto the knee (Christian used to use that as a regular move) for the pin. I mean…I guess that’s better than the claw legsweep, but egads what in the world was his third best idea?
Rating: F. It was bad on Smackdown and it was even worse here because it had more time. Suzuki is already a disaster and I don’t see him getting any better anytime soon. He has no charisma and isn’t intimidating as he’s every Japanese stereotype you can think of in one bad heel. The finishers are even worse as they’re the kind of moves you would expect about two minutes into a ten minute match, not as a way to wrap things up.
Heyman has Paul Bearer bound and gagged (Again: SOMEONE CALL THE COPS ALREADY!!!) and promises that he isn’t bluffing. He explains the idea of murdering Bearer by encasing him in concrete and undoing the gag just as Bearer is about to suffocate. Is he going to have a fishing pole rigged up or is he diving into the concrete to get the gag? Undertaker has to do the right thing of Bearer dies. This gets dumber and dumber every time they talk about it.
Torrie Wilson vs. Sable
Torrie is in red, white and blue while Sable is in red. Commie. Sable bails to start as the cameraman suddenly starts getting some rather close shots with some carefully selected angles. Something like a snapmare out of the corner lets Sable carefully kick her in the back. They manage to screw up a sunset flip and a drop toehold before Sable chokes on the rope.
The chinlock goes on and since it’s sitting there in one place, it’s the best part of the match so far. Torrie fights up with what can generously be called a suplex and a basement dropkick. The announcers are trying not to crack up at how bad this is as as the women collide and fall down. Sable feigns death, suckering Torrie in for the rollup pin…which she manages to botch as well as she rolls too far, pulling Torrie’s shoulder way off the mat. At least it’s over.
Rating: F. That’s one of the worst women’s matches I’ve ever seen as not only did they look terrible, but they even had a few minutes to work, making the punishment last even longer. Just have them stand around and look good and be done with it because this is a disaster. Oh and well done on having the one in the American flag gear lose in the match after the evil Japanese guy won. I would ask if they wanted to kill the crowd, but just look at the show so far.
We’ve come a long way since this:
Replays show that neither shoulder was down. How do you possibly screw that up so badly?
Dawn Marie is by the hot tub to talk to Rene, who insists that he’s getting a rematch for the title. He offers to show her his, ahem, French Tickler and then dances. The FBI shows up with Nunzio showing off his shoe size. She doesn’t seem to get the reference so let’s make fun of Dupree for having small shoes.
Mordecai vs. Hardcore Holly
Because WWE hates us. They start fighting at the bell with Holly tying him in the ropes. That’s not a good look for a religious zealot. Mordecai gets loose and sends him into the staff at ringside before starting in on the back. A boot to the side of the head sets up a chinlock, which again is an improvement after what we’ve sat through so far. Holly fights up and hits a hot shot, followed by a top rope clothesline. Mordecai plants him with a sitout spinebuster for two, followed by the crucifix bomb for the pin.
Rating: F. I don’t remember the last time I saw three F’s in a row. High school probably. This was another terrible mess with Mordecai having a great look but not being able to do a thing in the ring. Then again, what are you expecting in a match against Holly on pay per view? This had no business being on a major show, especially the third terrible match like this in a row.
We recap Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL. Eddie was left a bloody mess at Judgment Day but he retained the title. Now it’s a Texas Bullrope match because JBL is still a thing and he doesn’t want Eddie to be able to get himself disqualified. Hearing his promos over the highlight package are draining, which says a lot given that I just sat through the three previous matches on the card.
Smackdown World Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Eddie is defending and it’s a Texas Bullrope match, meaning they’re attached at the wrist and you win by touching four consecutive corners. There are lights over the corners to designate someone touching a post. Tony Chimel announces the rules, and says you can get disqualified if you unhook yourself from the rope. Wait. We just sat through a video where JBL said he made the rules so Eddie can’t get disqualified. But there’s a rule where Eddie can get disqualified? That’s some Roddy Piper Starrcade 1996 logic.
Of course there’s a bell on the rope, just in case you were hoping to avoid some really annoying sounds in this one. Eddie goes for the knee to start and them tosses JBL down with the rope. A bell shot to the knee has Eddie in trouble as the rope comes off for a few seconds. Eddie comes back with a backdrop and gets two buckles but a rope shot to the throat breaks the momentum (always the clearest concept in the world) and we’re back to even.
There’s a cowbell to the head and JBL ties him in the Tree of Woe for some choking. It’s time to set up the announcers’ table but Eddie slips out of what looked like a powerbomb and trips him down. Eddie uses the rope to pull JBL into the post a few times and then CRACKS him in the head with a chair (same spot as at Judgment Day) but JBL’s cut is nothing compared to Eddie’s gusher.
Back in and JBL begs off so Eddie chairs him down again and gets three buckles until JBL wakes up. That’s enough to break the momentum so Eddie chokes with the rope as the blood is really flowing now. A DDT gets JBL out of trouble but Eddie crotches him with the rope, only to get pulled down after three buckles. Three Amigos set up the frog splash and Eddie gets three buckles (a buckle per Amigo I guess) so JBL rolls outside to break the momentum in a smart move.
JBL catches Eddie up top with a bell shot to the head and LAUNCHES him onto the announcers’ table, which doesn’t break. Cole declares the wooden tables to be nearly concrete. Must be mahogany. JBL powerbombs him through the table and falls down for a few moments of his own. That’s only good for three buckles so JBL bells him in the head again.
Three more buckles are touched until Eddie gets in a low blow with the bell to break things up. Both guys are spent but manages to stumble into three buckles but it’s a tug of war for the fourth. Eddie pulls JBL away from the corner and even whips him with the rope, though none of that counts as breaking momentum. A big dive over JBL reaches the fourth buckle though and Eddie retains.
Rating: B. Actually a heck of a brawl with JBL going with the power offense that he’s pretty good at instead of doing headlocks and holds like in the previous match. The rules suited them a lot better this time around and the blood made it look very violent. Also, it’s rather cool to have Eddie retain because the idea of JBL as champion gives me hives.
Actually hang on as Angle is wheeled out to show us a replay. It turns out that the dive sent JBL’s back into the corner and that means we have a new champion. A good part here: the announcers had made it clear that it could be any part of the body touching the buckle to count so it fits the rules perfectly. Eddie is crushed and I’m in need of some medication for these hives.
I go back and forth on this one:
Long recap of the Dudley Boyz vs. Undertaker, which is actually headlining here. Heyman wanted to see more aggression from the Dudleys so they kidnapped Paul Bearer for the sake of forcing Undertaker to follow Heyman’s orders. Of course this turned into Heyman threatening to BURY BEARER IN CONCRETE, because that’s the first logical move. Undertaker now has to “do the right thing” (still not specified) or Bearer is, uh, killed.
Undertaker vs. Dudley Boyz
Bearer is in a concrete case near the entrance with Heyman controlling a lever which will pour cement inside. Before the match, Heyman gives a demonstration of the cement flowing. He pulls the lever, and cement flows. Yep. That’s certainly a thing that works. Apparently DO THE RIGHT THING involves Undertaker laying down for the pin. After a minute and a half, and some Bubba trash talk, Undertaker lays down but grabs Bubba by the throat before the cover.
Heyman says that’s not doing the right thing so…nothing as the Dudleys start beating him down. Undertaker fights back and they head to the floor with Undertaker sending D-Von into the post and punching Bubba down. That’s not cool with Heyman, so let’s get the cement up to Bearer’s knees. Bearer keeps shouting that the Undertaker will save him so you know where this is going.
We start properly with D-Von hammering away in the corner so Undertaker makes a comeback. As expected, that earns more yelling from Heyman and the cement going up to Bearer’s shoulders. Bubba actually goes up to Heyman and tells him to chill because they have this. Back in and Undertaker slugs his way out of a chinlock but gets elbowed in the jaw for two instead.
A double suplex gives Bubba two and it’s time for more shouting. Bubba takes him outside for a piece of the announcers’ table to the back for two. The slow beating continues because the Dudleys have nothing to offer here outside of the 3D. What else did they really expect this match to be anyway? And now, just because, Bubba grabs a sleeper. Thankfully Undertaker gets in a hurry off a belly to back suplex as Heyman likes the visual of Bearer in cement.
Undertaker makes his comeback with the big boot and legdrop to D-Von as Bubba makes the save. That means Old School to Bubba, who jumps up before impact for some reason. A low blow gets Bubba out of the Tombstone and there’s the reverse 3D to put everyone down. Heyman comes to ringside so Undertaker sits up for the scary staredown. There’s a chokeslam to Bubba and the Tombstone pins D-Von.
Rating: F. That has to be in the running for worst main event of all time. Again, what were they expecting here? This was horribly boring with Undertaker stumbling around as Bubba and D-Von did nothing that would make you think Undertaker was ever in danger. It’s a really bad match, and made even worse when you remember that it’s headlining this show. They couldn’t even go with the World Title change here instead for a great visual of the dejected Eddie ending the show?
Oh and again: ATTEMPTED MURDER! That’s the story of this whole thing and they wonder why it didn’t work. This was just so bad on every level and the wrestling was actually worse than I remembered. It didn’t help that the first half of the match was spent on Undertaker taking over and Heyman calling him off. That’s not even touching on Undertaker pinning the Tag Team Champions clean on his own. Just a complete disaster on every level and an all time mess.
Post abomination, Undertaker walks up to the truck to save Bearer….and then says he has to do this. He pulls the lever and crushes Bearer himself with the announcers being silent to end the show. Probably because they’re now witnesses in a murder trial. One more bonus: earlier in the day, footage of the rehearsal of the ending leaked, just to make things look even dumber and spoiling the result.
Overall Rating: D-. I wanted to call this a failure so badly but three good matches keep it just above the line. That being said, WOW this was horrific stuff with five out of eight matches being completely terrible and not even worthy of a bad episode of Sunday Night Heat. I mean, Sable vs. Torrie, Mordecai vs. Holly, Suzuki vs. Gunn and Reigns vs. Haas? It’s like they tried to take a modern episode of Superstars and put it on pay per view.
When they were planning this show out, did no one thing that MAYBE they should have split up the four way and let one of those nitwits face either Van Dam or Booker? Just for the sake of taking away one of the terrible matches? Apparently not, because we were subject to watching this wreck, which somehow got worse as it went along. There are good matches on there, but sweet merciful popsicles, how can this be the best thing you can put together for a full price pay per view?
That’s not even considering the booking choices. We’re now looking at JBL as WWE Champion, showing that you can be as boring as you want to be and kill the show off and you too can get a push, just because Vince seems to love it. That means more promos about money and how great America is because it’s really all we can get out of the champ. Are they trying to make this the wrestling company for the white collar businessmen demographic?
Finally, Undertaker is now a murderer. Like, there’s no other way to put it. He won the match, though I’m still not sure what that was supposed to accomplish as there was no reason for Heyman not to do something horrible anyway. At the same time, even if Undertaker lost, was he going to be freed anyway? I don’t know why he would have been, but the whole thing didn’t make much sense either way.
Overall, the show is a complete disaster with five matches that had no business being on pay per view, plus JBL becoming World Champion in one of the worst decisions the company could have made. Why I’d want to keep watching is beyond me, and I can imagine there are a lot of people who walked away after this. It’s not like there’s much of a reason to stick around, aside from maybe another murder.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the History Of In Your House.
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The post REVIEW: Great American Bash 2004: Thank Goodness For Freedom From This Show appeared first on WrestlingRumors.net.
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