Yes, instead of putting together a short video package showing apple pies steaming on window ledges, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon and other American icons spliced with footage of proud moments from throughout company history WWE decided to air a series of backstage skits that were more tiresome than dull.
WWE blew an opportunity with this Great American Bash show. It was the perfect opportunity to try to elevate the US championship. Had a title defence been announced beforehand and a short video put together to highlight the strap’s history the show could have had a very eventful headline bout and Santino Marella could have been made to look like a star. Instead we got the aforementioned dreary vignettes and a battle royal ending the night.
Let’s talk about that battle royal. At the start of the evening a graphic for the match was flashed onto our screens, at which point Booker T stated that twenty of the top superstars in the company would be competing in the bout. While John Cena and CM Punk can very much be considered among the promotion’s top draws the same cannot be said of Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Jack Swagger and most of the other competitors. Even eventual victor Zack Ryder is not a huge name.
‘Long Island Iced Z’ winning was a nice surprise that sets up a potentially interesting episode of SmackDown for next week (the prize for winning was being the blue brand’s GM for a night). With no heels champions for Ryder to book himself against I assume he will instead face off with Damien Sandow. Over the last few weeks of television the two have entered into a mild feud that so far has consisted mostly of bickering. With Ryder in charge I expect that programme to be escalated a little.
Zack Ryder will be SmackDown General Manager next week
Perhaps the most ridiculous thing from the Great American Bash 2012 was the show’s opening segment. Yes, it was even more absurd than those backstage segments. Alberto Del Rio, who at one time looked like he was going to be a standout heel main eventer, to accuse paying customers of being in the country illegally (the show was held close to the US border with Mexico).
Del Rio’s MITB opponent Sheamus took exception to this and came out to give ‘The Essence of Excellence’ a walloping. That went well at first but then Ricardo Rodriguez involved himself and allowed ADR to gain the upper hand. Del Rio then smashed Sheamus in the back of the head eleven times with the hood of his car.
That should have caved in the World champion’s skull and killed him. Instead he was helped to the back with only a light trickle of blood on his face. The entire angle made it impossible to suspend disbelief. It was complete overkill.
CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and AJ had an enjoyable segment together that did a great job of getting over the characters involved. AJ was presented as being in need of mental help. Bryan wanted to benefit from this state of affairs by convincing AJ that he still cares for her, thereby hoping that she will favour him in the WWE title bout she will officiate at Money in the Bank.
‘The Voice of the Voiceless’ didn’t play those sort of games.
Punk told AJ she needed help and that he was worried about her. ‘The Diva Next Door’s’ response was to kiss both men and then skip out of the arena. That was a disappointing end to an otherwise exemplary segment as it made Punk (who got the second kiss) look like a clown for not pushing her off after she’d smooched the guy he’s feuding with (and Punk has compared Bryan’s face to that of a goat to boot). Does the WWE champion have no standards or self-respect?!
Finally, Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes both qualified for the World Heavyweight championship briefcase bout (as predicted last week in the case of the latter). I expect ‘The Show Off’ to be booked as one of the stars of the match and take some memorable bumps. It’s possible he’ll win the thing but I think Rhodes is a slightly more likely candidate. He’s fallen down the card over the past few months but that often means a wrestler is being prepared for a big push with WWE.
Great American Bash party
Tweet 1: Time to watch SmackDown's Great American Bash. Yes!Tweet 2: Natalya marking out Bret Hart there...
Tweet 3: There's so much nonsense going on here. It simply cannot all be commented on.
Tweet 4: Rosa Mendes, Kaitlyn and Natalya? Yes!
Tweet 5: Teddy Long has been on the screem for around a minute now and he hasn't danced yet. Bad times.
Tweet 6: Ah, there he goes. Nice to see that Kane is firmly back in the comedy face camp. Who needs consistent booking?
Alberto Del Rio promo
Tweet 7: A graphic of twenty wrestlers appears. Booker mentions that it shows some of the biggest superstars in WWE. Heath Slater can be seen...Tweet 8: Albertooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Deeell Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 9: Getting jobbed out by Del Rio is the highlight of Sin Cara's WWE career.
Tweet 10: I like Del Rio’s pronunciation of "Ireland." He says it better than Sheamus does.
Tweet 11: ADR is asking for papers from ringside fans. This is such a generic way of getting heat. Del Rio deserves better.
Tweet 12: Nice to see WWE is doing its bit with regards to recycling: Del Rio has been given JBL's old gimmick.
Tweet 13: Del Rio just slammed a CAR HOOD on to Sheamus around ten times. He'd be dead. This is why people don't take wrestling seriously.
Tweet 14: It was eleven times. I will repeat that Sheamus should be dead. Hilariously, he has only a light trickle of blood on his face.
Antonio Cesaro and Aksana v The Great Khali and Layla
Tweet 15: Layla and Khali are teaming against Antonio Cesaro and Aksana. Khali can't even walk convincingly.Tweet 16: Antonio. Heeeey!
Tweet 17: Cesaro took some nasty looking lumps from clumsy Khali then a hefty bump over the top rope to the floor. Must've hurt.
Tweet 18: Layla's theme song is "I'm Insatiable." Not a very good message to send out to the kids is it?
Teddy Long and Cody Rhodes talk in a corridor
Tweet 19: What's on Teddy's head?Tweet 20: So it's Cody v Christian, with Cody getting into MITB if he wins. I'm sure he will.
What's with the headgear, playa?
Money in the Bank qualifier – Christian v Cody Rhodes
Tweet 21: There's a briefcase hanging above the ring. Nobody has given a reason why.Tweet 22: Instead of trying to pin Christian Cody decides to pause and stare at the briefcase. Booking like that makes wrestlers look daft.
Tweet 23: "You don't get many second chances here in WWE" - Michael Cole, who apparently doesn't know that you can do ANYTHING once you're a headliner
Tweet 24: As I type this Bobby Lashley is trending. Is his lack of personality enough to get him talked about that much?
Tweet 25: "Snapmare!" - Michael Cole after Christian performed an inverted DDT
Tweet 26: Rhodes wins and will compete in the World Heavyweight championship Money in the Bank match. I predicted that last week. He's my pick to win.
Great American Bash party
Tweet 27: Slater's now jobbing to food.Tweet 28: Are we meant to believe that WWE stars like nothing better than watching a midget in a paddling pool and dancing to entrance music?
Money in the Bank qualifier – Alex Riley v Dolph Ziggler
Tweet 29: Another MITB qualifier. Alex Riley v Dolph Ziggler. I think we all know who's going over here.Tweet 30: Ziggler's even using Billy Gunn's "pause as I enter the ropes" spot. Yeah, I notice things like that...
Tweet 31: WHAT IS BOOKER TALKING ABOUT?!
Tweet 32: Ziggler in a ladder match? Consider that show stolen.
Michael Cole interviews AJ, featuring Daniel Bryan and CM Punk
Tweet 33: Another Michael Cole exclusive interview. Joy.Tweet 34: What’s up with Cole’s hair?
Tweet 35: WWE have done great work making AJ an interesting and popular character. If put into the Divas division she could do a lot of good.
Tweet 36: What happened to Punk's promise that he'd get rid of this fugly championship belt?
Tweet 37: That was a great segment, although I disagree with Punk not having a problem with taking Bryan's sloppy seconds.
Santino, Sergeant Slaughter and Jim Duggan v Hunico, Camacho and Drew McIntyre
Tweet 38: Santino, Slaughter and Jim Duggan v Hunico, Camacho and Drew McIntyre. Why isn't Slater involved in this?Tweet 39: "USA!" chant. I'd like to point out US champ Santino is playing an Italian and is actually Canadian.
Tweet 40: The faces win. What a shock. That match was a waste of time.
Great American Bash party
Tweet 41: I like Ezekiel Jackson's dancing.Tweet 42: "Be it symbolic or genetic I am by no means your brother" - Damien Sandow to Zack Ryder
Tweet 43: Eve got all wet…
Curt Hawkins v Ryback
Tweet 44: Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks are getting the pre-match promo spot usually given to jobbers that face Ryback. Their careers aren't going well.Tweet 45: Something positive about Hawkins: I like his tights. Not enough wrestlers wear tights that match their boots.
Tweet 46: I assume that next week we'll see Reks lose to Ryback. Maybe Ryback will beat them both at Money in the Bank.
Hawkins' tights warrant a push
Twenty Man Battle Royal
Tweet 47: Teddy Long has not lived up to expectations as GM. He didn't book a single tag match mid-show and he barely danced.Tweet 48: Battle royal. More shows should end with these.
Tweet 49: Kane gets a big babyface pop. I hope he switches between heel and face multiple times during this.
Tweet 50: Tensai entered to silence. I feel a bit sorry for him.
Tweet 51: Cena is actually bearable when used in a diminished role like this.
Tweet 52: I imagine a face will win this. I can't see a heel GM happening.
Tweet 53: Tyson Kidd's push has been paused for the night so he can make Big Show look good (an article about Kidd is available here).
Tweet 54: Kane v Big Show choke slam contest. Not seen that before... #sarcasm
Tweet 55: Cena just steamed through three heels. How is anyone new going to get over when he sells nothing?
Tweet 56: Final two: Kane v Ryder. I'm picking Ryder. Kane as GM? No. Just no.
Tweet 57: Ryder will be SmackDown GM for a night. With all the belts held by faces he's unlikely to book himself a title shot so what WILL he do?