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Ah The Great American Bash, a wrestling tradition. This years Bash reminded me of another great American tradition, namely the old bait-and-switch scam. The premise of the scam is simple, get people to give you their money by offering something of value, and then once you have their money, give them something worth much less than what you promised. SmackDown fans learned about this the hard way tonight. If they shelled out money to see Bobby Lashley, or The Great Khali, they would be in for a rude awakening, (and I don?t mean the 1980?s finishing move).
The show opens up with JBL and Michael Cole welcoming the viewers to the show, after which we go straight to the ring.
Match 1: Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs. The Pitbulls - Tag Team Championship Match
Although the timing of these two teams was a little off in the beginning, they eventually settled down into a well synchronized match. The crowd was excited by this pairing, and they let it show by being loud and raucous throughout the entire match. London & Kendrick did their usual high flying routine, while the Pitbulls kept things more basic using a punch and kick smash-mouth style. They paced the match rather quickly and it definitely helped to make it more enjoyable. In the end, London pinned Kash to get the win, and give the show a very good start.
We then go backstage were an irate Khali has decided not to wait for his match, and to seek out the Undertaker backstage. After delivering his lines, (as only he can), he is stopped by Daivari and we are sent to ring-side. Switch time. Theodore Long goes to the ring and announces that Lashley is not medically cleared and will not compete. Even after Lashley came out to plead his case, Theodore stood his ground. He then announced that Finlay would face William Regal for the U.S. championship belt. This was a long segment and the crowd was not happy.
Match 2: Finlay vs. William Regal ? United States Championship Match
As one might expect, this was a rather slow paced match; although I do believe it was a bit quicker than a typical Regal match up. Though they tried to make up for the slow pace with some Little Bastard comedy, it just wasn?t enough. This match was simply too long, and too slow, and the crowd just couldn?t take it. Chants of ?boring? broke out a few minutes before it ended, and even when the chants stopped, the crowd was fairly quiet. Mercifully the end came when Finlay rolled up Regal for the win. Had this match been half as long, and featured more of the Little Bastard, it might have been enjoyable, but as it was it absolutely killed the crowd, and brought the show to a screeching halt. The momentum for the first match has been completely lost, and the show now as a hole to dig itself out of.
Next we go backstage for a segment with Rey and Chavo. They do another ?Doing it for Eddie?, pep talk after which we are returned to the ring.
Match 3: Mat Hardy vs. Gregory Helms
If you want to see two guys merely go through the motions of a match, look no further. It seemed that both Helms and Hardy had decided to give an 85% effort tonight. The match certainly wasn?t bad, but it was defiantly a TV quality match. The crowd seemed to feel the same way, as they never really worked themselves up, although they were noticeably more involved here than in the previous bout. When the two were done ?phoning it in? Helms got the pin, ending the match. The show hasn?t gotten worse, but this match did not make it any better.
It?s backstage again for switch part 2. The Undertaker is ambushed by The Big Show in a plot set up by Daivari, the result of which caused Long to pull Khali from the match, and replace him with The Big Show. That?s right, the match made for Khali, will not have Khali in it. If you listen really hard, you can almost hear someone saying ?Gottcha! What a bunch of suckers.?. Again the crowd was not happy with this announcement, and greeted it with a chorus of boos.
Match 4: The Undertaker vs. The Big Show - Punjabi Prison Match
There must be a magical power put out by a double bamboo cage, because although I was bored as hell with this match, the crowd seemed to like it. I found the small bamboo cage, inside of the larger bamboo cage too obstructive of several camera angles. That, combined with the fact that Taker and Show just threw punches and kicks all night long, made this match very unappealing to me. The crowd however did not seem to mind as they cheered from start to finish. Even when the match ended with the ?inescapable? cage having two large bamboo French Doors effortlessly swing open allowing The Undertaker to win, the crowd was still in love with the match. I don?t understand it, but the crowd is happy once again, so perhaps the show has made it back to par.
We go backstage once again to see Sharmell giving Booker T a pep talk, and then it?s back to the ring.
Match 5: Kristal vs. Michelle McCool vs. Jillian vs. Ashley ? Bran and Panties Match
I didn?t believe it was possible, but I found a match involving four women who can?t wrestle more entertaining than the last match that featured two guys who can. At any rate this was a obvious time filler match, that ended with Ashley getting the win.
Next, Mr. Kennedy does a quick interview and then we are sent back to ring-side for his match.
Match 6: Ken Kennedy vs. Batista
The crowd becomes a little more vocal during this match, spurred on by the good pace set by Batista and Kennedy. The two worked well together, but unfortunately the match was cut short when Batista ?snapped?, and failed to break a choke by the 5 count. He then proceeded to beat Kennedy after the match, stopping only after delivering his trademark Batista Bomb. This could have been a good match, but since they decided to only give us a taste of things to come, it left me a little disappointed. If you want to end a match with a DQ, do it on Friday night.
In the final non-wrestling segment of the night, we see a video package showing he Booker/Rey feud, before going back to ring-side for their mach.
Match 7: King Booker vs. Rey Mysterio ? World Heavyweight Championship Match
Although I only found this match to be average, once again the crowd was much more excited about it than I was. Both Booker and Mysterio delivered their standard offerings, and as usual did so in a very competent manner. However if you were looking for something new, you would not have found it in this match. They maintained a good pace through the bout, and although the match was entertaining, I certainly though it could have been much better. In the only twist in the match, Chavo comes to ring side and hits Rey with a steel chair, allowing Booker to get the win and the belt. This match was OK, but defiantly not a show saver.
So their you have it Bait and Switch 2006. Though the opening tag match was very good, I didn?t think anything else on the show came close to that level. Even though as I noted above, there were a few matches that the crowd seemed to enjoy more than I did, I cannot see my way to recommending this PPV. Two of the matches we were promised didn?t take place, and too many of the ones that did were lackluster to say the least. Skip this show, and watch something else instead. I hear there are some wonderful programs running on the BBC this week.
06:21, Feb 17 2012
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