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WWE Bash Preview and Predictions

June 26, 2009 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Triple H vs. Randy Orton  The WWE Bash will be headlined by six title matches. For the first time in months, we will get to see some fresh matchups. Two of the three headlining matches will be first-time matches on pay-per-view. That in itself is a breath of fresh air for fans that have struggled with the same routine of consistent matches since WWE WrestleMania.

Triple H vs. Randy Orton for the WWE championship in a Three Stages of Hell Match.

Considering all of the matches that these two have wrestled against each other, this one is a first. This will be a nice shine on a feud that has become extremely rusty over the last few weeks. Long layoffs and hot angles haven’t been enough to save what has turned into the most disappointing feud in ages for WWE fans.

The good news is that you really can’t go wrong with three gimmicked matches. The bad news is that it requires two-three Triple H vs. Randy Orton matches in one night. These two have the tendency to wrestle lengthy matches. The bright side to this is that I would expect short matches.

The WWE Bash has seven scheduled matches which doesn’t include an extra one-two from Triple H and Randy Orton. With a possible nine matches, I would expect at least two of these matches to be quick. Unfortunately, this means that we could be in for a combined 45 minutes of watching Orton and Hunter wrestle on Sunday.

The highlight here will be the Falls Count Anywhere Match. Those are generally fast-paced and all over the place. I would be shocked if this one doesn’t go three falls. I would suspect that in the end, Triple H goes over and gets the title back. Then again, with the WWE that title reign could last a week. Regardless, I think Triple H comes back and wins the last two falls to regain the title.

CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy for the WWE world heavyweight title. Finally, the WWE offers a fresh matchup on the top of the cards. This is the first-time that these two have wrestled in a singles match on pay-per-view. The bigger story here may be the backstage gossip regarding Jeff Hardy and his WWE contract.

Hardy recently posted a countdown online. Most speculate that the countdown represented Hardy’s last WWE match. Personally, I think this could be one big swerve. Everyone at this point is aware of Hardy’s status. Either it is a swerve, or the WWE may put him over to surprise the fans. The WWE did the same exact thing for Rob Van Dam when he wrestled Randy Orton before his contract expired.

I completely forgot that CM Punk was a defending champion at last year’s Bash. Punk’s first title reign is all but forgotten at this point. I think it is fair to say it was a disaster and did more to hurt Punk in the end. This match right here will show Punk fans whether this time around will be any different than the first.

Rumor has it that Punk is working hurt. Other than chopping his leg off, I don’t think there is anyway he is going to miss time due to injury right now. However, this could hamper his abilities inside of the ring. Reportedly he has some kind of a chest injury. Depending upon the severity, he may not have much of a choice when it comes to his immediate future.

I think CM Punk has a world of pressure on him with this match. How can anyone not have a great match with Jeff Hardy? Punk still has his detractors within the WWE. If Punk looks anything but great against Hardy, his title reign could be in serious jeopardy. I would expect the best out of Jeff Hardy. Hardy shines best when he is in there with other athletic wrestlers.

I am going out on a limb here and predicting that Jeff Hardy wins the title. I think it will be a swerve for one thing. Another key component here is that it could spice up Punk’s heel turn. If the heel turn is as inevitable as most think it is, a loss would make perfect sense. Otherwise, I expect an old school heel trick out of Punk to keep the title and simmer the heel turn.

Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio…Mask vs. WWE Intercontinental title. While this isn’t a fresh match, I could watch these guys wrestle all day. So far, I have enjoyed every match of theirs immensely throughout this series. These guys have great chemistry and seem to come up with new things every time out.

Once again, the backstage drama plays a component in this match. Reportedly, Rey has been upset with management and has threatened to quit. It is far fetched, but maybe part of a condition of his release is the mask. Rey just re-signed several months ago so the WWE could hold on to him for a few years. The mask could be the solution for everyone’s problems.

It is well documented that the plan going into this was for a lengthy feud, possibly through WrestleMania. I think that may be a little long, but this one has yet to get stale. I think both have looked better against each other than they have in years. The two just seem to bring the best out of one another.

I can’t see Rey losing the mask here if he isn’t leaving. The WWE have millions of dollars tied up in merchandising. Have you see the amount of kids wearing Rey Mysterio masks on television? This isn’t Jericho’s first time challenging for a mask. I am shocked that the WWE hasn’t played off his winning Juventud Guerrera’s mask in WCW. I think the WWE missed the boat on creating some intense drama in this match with the omission.

My bet here is that Rey Mysterio wins back the title. The title win gives this yet more depth and takes the feud to another level. Jericho can stew a bit and dig down deep back into that nasty heel character of his. I predict a great match, if not a show-stealer from these two. I predict Rey Mysterio with the win and the title…if he’s staying.

John Cena vs. The Miz. Wow, can it be? Are we really getting a fresh opponent for John Cena? Between Big Show and Edge, it seems like it has been years since Cena has wrestled anyone new on pay-per-view. On top of that, it has been just as long since we have seen a new face on top.

I know a lot of people love The Miz. I like his character and his promos are pretty funny. However, I just can’t get into him as a wrestler. I think I still carry the reality television stigma when I see him in the ring. I just can’t take him that seriously. I love where they are going with this, but I just can’t quite embrace The Miz as a top wrestler.

I am sure I speak for many when I see I am sick of John Cena. The guy makes me turn my television whenever he comes on. People can say whether he is a draw or not, but I could argue that for weeks. Has anyone looked business recently? His promos are great if you are an eight-year old boy watching WWE RAW and that may be insulting to all eight-year old children who watch WWE RAW.

There is only one answer to this one. The Miz needs to win here. Anything other than a win from The Miz is a waste of time. The WWE has something here whether I can get into it or not. The WWE has a golden opportunity to create a star and give an old star some new life. Do I think that will happen? Absolutely not as I predict a John Cena win and an abrupt end to the feud.

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The First NWA Great American Bash

June 24, 2009 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Nikita KoloffThis weekend marks the official end of a pro wrestling tradition. The WWE will no longer promote the Great American Bash as an event. The show has been officially renamed the WWE Bash. Mark this as yet another once great wrestling tradition put into extinction by the WWE.

It is almost 24 years ago that Dusty Rhodes created the Great American Bash for the NWA and Jim Crockeet Promotions. Vince McMahon wasn’t the only one to take big risks on big shows. Jim Crockett Promotions and Dusty Rhodes may have bit off more than they could chew with the first Great American Bash on July 6, 1985.

In 1984 Dusty Rhodes made one of the biggest jumps in pro wrestling history. Rhodes jumped as booker of Eddie Graham’s Florida Championship Wrestling into the same seat within Jim Crockett’s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Would a new audience and a new clientele eat up Rhodes’ crazy angles and super hero babyfaces like the fans in Florida?

Rhodes was one of the most successful territorial bookers in the business at this point in time. Rhodes likes to take credit for the first pro wrestling super show. Rhodes brought this idea to life which such extravaganzas as Battle of the Belts, and Lord of the Ring at the Orange Bowl. One of Rhodes’ first orders of business was to take this idea to a bigger stage. The Great American Bash was born.

Rhodes wanted to bring the same stadium concept to a bigger stage. Florida was a territory while Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling was making a national presence due to its WTBS programming. Rhodes cherry picked the best of the territories, booking a true super card of pro wrestling. Rhodes’ gambling didn’t just end with the show itself.

Rhodes took an equally big gamble on the main-event. Rhodes took a virtual rookie and entrusted him with the biggest main-event of Rhodes’ tenure as booker. Rhodes took Nikita Koloff with only a year in the business and put him in the main-event against the NWA world champion. This was a move that would have had the Internet buzzing with controversy if it were done in 2008.

A big part of the first Great American Bash was the pro wrestling magazines. Cable television was still in its infancy. Unable to gain access to the burgeoning WWF, the magazines were happy to devote coverage to the territories. Wrestlers like the Road Warriors, Magnum TA, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Jerry Lawler, the Freebirds, Kamala, and others were almost mythical to readers who never got the chance to see them in their towns.

It should be no surprise that Pro Wrestling Illustrated was a big investor in the first Great American Bash. Pro Wrestling Illustrated sponsored a Ringmasters VHS video release of the event. The video was heavily promoted for years in their sister publications and was the only way for most fans around the country to see their favorite stars in action that they have only read about.

The event was a huge success. The stadium drew 27,000 people with an estimated live gate of $300,000. If you take inflation into account, that is a tremendous gate for a relatively small promotion. I am sure the company made hundreds of thousands of dollars on video sales in addition to the live gate, and merchandise sold at the event.

The show was built around Nikita Koloff vs. Ric Flair for the NWA world title. Flair was a tweener at the time which means he would play dual babyface and heel depending upon where he would wrestle. In the Carolinas, Flair was coming off a feud with the popular Magnum T.A. Koloff clotheslined announcer and Flair friend, David Crockett to turn Flair completely babyface.

 The match itself was quite a spectacle. The ripped up, muscle bound Koloff promising to take the belt back to Russia against the blonde haired, cocky, arrogant champion. Koloff talked quite a bit about the match and the event on my radio shows a few years ago.

That particular match again, I feel pretty privileged to have been in it. I was only 13 months into the business, and here I’m wrestling in front of 30,000 plus people for the World Heavyweight Title, and needless to say I was pumped and ready brother. I was pumped, and I just look back on that match and feel thankful that I had an opportunity to partake in that.

The introductions of the match are probably more memorable than the match itself. Flair entered the stadium via helicopter with one of the greatest entrances of all-time. Flair pinned Koloff to retain the title and make the fans happy. David Crockett acted as special referee for the match. As a representative of the United States, Flair was cheered wildly by the fans.

It should be of no surprise to anyone that has followed Rhodes who closed the show. Dusty booked himself in the closing match of the show against Tully Blanchard in a Steel Cage Match. Tully was accompanied by Baby Doll and J.J. Dillon. Rhodes pinned Blanchard to win the NWA television title and the services of Baby Doll. Those services would end when Baby Doll rode off on one of Rhodes’ horses in a classic television segment.

In another match of note, the Road Warriors came to town for one of their first appearances in Jim Crockett Promotions. Dusty followed his successful title vs. title formula and booked the AWA tag team champion Warriors against the NWA tag team champions, the Russians. The Road Warriors fought Krusher Khruschev and Ivan Koloff to a double disqualification.

Dusty Rhodes would take the Bash on the road to stadiums around the country the next year. Rhodes turned the Bash into a summer touring series which proved to be disastrous at the box office. The Bash would move into arenas the following year and rebound with the War Games. The Bash would never return to its roots after 1987 with stadium shows.

The first Great American Bash deserves recognition for one of the gutsiest and innovate shows in pro wrestling history. It is fair to argue whether Vince McMahon would have had the same ambitions for WrestleMania without the first Great American Bash.

In other results;
Magnum T.A. defeated Kamala by disqualification to retain the U.S. title
The Andersons defeated Buzz Sawyer and Dick Slater to retain the NWA national tag team titles
Ron Bass and Buddy Landell fought to a draw
Manny Fernandez, Sam Houston, and Buzz Tyler defeated Superstar Billy Graham, Konga the Barbarian, and Abdullah the Butcher
Jimmy Valiant defeated Paul Jones in a Dog Collar Match

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