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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Great American Bash 2007: Cena Retains and
Other Reasonably Predictable Outcomes 
July 23, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

You know the deal by this point....
 

Though I consider my greatest gift to be my ability to take WWE's turds and polish them up so that they resemble luminous gems that you might actually be willing to display in your house or on your person, I'm increasingly of the opinion that there are two kinds of turds. And I only have the patience and energy to polish one kind.
 

I mean, obviously, you have the big, heroically stinky turds that your friends, family, and/or housemates can't help but notice, and which you take some perverse pride in. These are the turds so awful, they will be remembered. But then you have the vast majority of turds, which are deposited, flushed away, and forgotten in the span of 90 seconds, because really: you poop everyday, and usually it's not worth writing about.

In the past, WWE has tended towards periods of being solidly good and entertaining, and their missteps? Of the monumental kind. The WrestleCrap kind. The kind you're kind of glad you saw, and even more glad that The Rick took the time to write about, all so you can remember it vividly months and years from now. 

But today's WWE? An utterly gutless, spineless, unimaginative, uncompelling display of forgetability and ignorability. The missteps are fewer, and more unfathomable than appalling: they don't inspire anger the way they used to. And worse: the high points -- the GOOD stuff -- peaks way lower. Awesomeness is forgotten 99% of the time. And that leaves us to embrace mediocrity, if we are to embrace anything at all.

To wit, I have a very quick, utterly unpolished recap of the non-memorable and purely biological function that was The Act of Watching Tonight's Great American Bash:  

  • Monsignor Voldemort Porter (or NAMBLA, for short) beat Matt Hardy to retain the US Title. I missed a memo somewhere, because MVP's a new Smark Sweethart. Following all of one good match (against the late Chris Benoit, at Backlash) in his career. And with nobody still giving a shit about him, so even if he's in a good match, it's got no sizzle. Six months from now, if his act catches on, he'll be like JBL (pushed way too soon and too fast, but eventually maturing into his role), but now? Nuh uh, not even close, internet wankers. This match proves it: fans were willing to side with Hardy early, but heat faded, and things were really quite sloppy in spots, proving that either MVP is still learning, or Matt Hardy is not Chris Benoit. Or possibly proving both. Probably overlong at 15 minutes of action that would have been unremarkable even by Friday night standards.
     
  • Hornswaggle (a/k/a "Little Bastard," a/k/a "Finlay's Midget") won the Cruiserweight Title in a 6 Man Tornado-Style Match. First pinfall wins, so forget about anything particularly intriguing or exciting. Just 4 minutes of six guys fighting, then a big final spot where Li'l Bastard splashed Jamie Noble when Noble was the "legs" of a double-stack superplex spot. You know me: I loves the midgets, and this could've been a lot of fun. As it was: 4 minutes of crap, followed by one comedy spot.
     
  • Carlito beat the Sandman in a "Singapore Cane on the Pole" Match. Sandman got the cane first, whiffed on his one clean swing in epic, Adam-Dunn-like fashion, and then Carlito hit the double-knee backbreaker (or "Backstabber," if you like WWE's overly-cutesy, underly-convincing name).  Another case of 7-8 minutes of PPV time being wasted on something so flaccid it wouldn't even have been a blip on the radar of an average Monday night.
     
  • Candice Michelle beat Melina to retain the Women's Title. Ugh. Another case where the internet is falling all over itself to praise borderline competence. Doesn't anybody remember when Titties McSuperbowl was repellent and to be mocked? And now? She's the women's champ. And some people applaud that, because "she's improving." Folks, she's past 3 years of tenure. She's currently roughly as smooth and entertaining as Diva Search Ashley. I grant that represents "improvement," but it's still not "satisfactory." And she's not just wrestling in title matches, SHE'S THE GODDAMNED CHAMPION. Candice with a clean pin following a bulldog, after about 5-6 minutes of nothing you'd be willing to pay to see. Somebody shoot me. On second thought, I like myself too much for that: so somebody shoot Johnny Ace. Somehow, this is his fault.
     
  • Umaga beat Jeff Hardy to retain the IC Title. Exactly what you'd expect: Hardy getting his ass kicked, VERY convincingly. Hardy hitting some hope spots and near falls, also very convincingly. But in the end, Umaga countered a Twist of Fate with a thrust kick, a butt splash, and the Asiatic Spike. Maybe shortish at 10 minutes; unlike his brother, Jeff had the entire crowd rocking and rolling for this match, which is doubly impressive considering Umaga's recent babyface reactions. One of two matches on the card that trespassed into the "good" range. Not great, certainly not excellent. Just good. Again: let's be realistic, folks, and not fly off the handle lording superlatives over what I doubt the Meltzarians would call much more than a *** match.
     
  • John Morrison beat CM Punk to retain the ECW Title. In Morrison's first match since morphing out of the "Johnny Nitro" character, he succeeded only in putting fans to sleep. Which I thought was CM Punk's job. Or at least, the name of his finishing move.... anyway, maybe 7-8 unobjectionable minutes that played to 100% crowd apathy, and then an odd finish, as Punk missed an awkward springboard move, and then Morrison quickly rolled him up out of nowhere for the pin. Legit injury, or maybe just an audible to get them out of a match that was dying with the live fans?
     
  • Randy Orton beat Dusty Rhodes in a cowbell match. All you need to know? This was 5 minutes long, and Orton STILL managed to work a chinlock in. Oy. I had this pegged as a potential crowd-pleasing Sports Entertainment Segment, but nope: 30 seconds of crap in a 5 minute bag is all we got. Not just objectively poor, but poor despite a lot of fans maybe having moderately high expectations. Double whammy. After Orton scored the clean and decisive pinfall, he tried to punt Dusty's head, but Cody came to the rescue, and ran Orton off. Yippee?
     
  • The [redacted] Khali beat Kane and Batista to retain the World Heavyweight Title. They tried; Kane and Batista had some decent stuff together, anyway. But ultimately, they failed to broach the threshold of "average." All WWE 3-ways are de facto No-DQ, No-Count-Out matches, and even with Khali being demonstrably incompetent, they never really took advantage of this to add any bells or whistles. Instead, basic three-way fare and only light drama, leading to the finish where Batista had Kane beat following a solid sequence (and a BatistaBomb), but Khali recovered from loafing in time to pull Batista out of the ring, slam him, and then get into the ring to pin the already-debilitated Kane. Good lord. So I guess we're just waiting for Rey and the David vs. Goliath feud, then? Or wait: Hornswaggle vs. Khali! Champion vs. Champion, baby! I wish I was joking.
     
  • John Cena pinned Bobby Lashley to retain the WWE Title. Has Cena matured from The Carried into The Carrier? Eh, not quite. But this match had great pace to it, and was a lot crisper than I would have guessed. To all smarks who said anything good about the Cena/Khali matches: you're embracing the mediocrity again, and *this* is the type of match that goes much further in terms of establishing Cena's resume as a bankable top level performer. Going 15 entertaining minutes against Lashley easily trumps going through the formulaic motions in under-10-minute matches against Khali (especially when the same formula had just been executed by Cena earlier this year in an INFINITELY better series of matches against Umaga). Didn't drag, and a strongly vocal crowd (giving mixed reactions to both guys, though Cena seemed just barely the nominal favorite) helped add that intangible sizzle, too. Final spot was Lashley trying for a superplex, but Cena countered into an awkward-looking F-U. Clean and decisive, but you know WWE is "protecting" a guy when Cena has to settle for pinning him, instead of getting him to tap out to the world's shittiest-looking STF. Lashley has room for rematches, if they want, and teasing a heel turn would be one way to milk it.
     

That's it. If you can find $40 worth (or 170 minutes worth) of truly PPV-caliber material, the way it used to be for god only knows how many years, let me know. The show I saw, however, was a 3 hour display that included a grand total of 2 matches that were measurably different from what we're used to seeing for free on Mondays and Fridays. The only real surprise of any kind was a midget winning the CW Title. And among a certain type of fan, that's a surprise that's probably every bit as appalling as Khali winning the World Title. I am not that type of fan. But I will get annoyed at a show where pretty much every finish represented the utterly-predictable inevitability that is "WWE Think." So boring.

Anyway, put it all together, and it's a show that not bad. But it's also not good. It's just.... you know? Kinda forgettable. I stand pat in my belief that WWE has the horses they need; it's just that their being run by the incompetent jockeys known as the Writer Monkeys.

And the owner isn't helping, either. 

A closing side note: with his anvilicious WWE Title win, John Cena has now held that title for 44 straight weeks (roughly 308 days). If he can make it to mid-September, he'd be the first man to last a calendar year with the title since Randy Savage (from WrestleMania 4 till WrestleMania 5). Though it should be noted that Hulk Hogan also had an uninterrupted reign from WM5 till WM6 that was 364 days, and is essentially the same thing as what Savage did.

Unless Cena loses the title at SummerSlam (and I don't see how he can), he's a lock to accomplish this.

More disturbing, in the 117 weeks since Cena won the WWE Title at WrestleMania 21, he has held the title for 100 of those weeks. That's 86% of the time. When people bitched about Triple H being all backstage power-hungry and ruining the World Title picture, his WORST run was 32 months between September 2002 and WM21, when he held the title for 84 weeks out of 139 (60%). Anybody still want to pretend HHH was part of the problem?

I have a bunch more stats and observations about "title domination" in the "post-Hogan era" (since 1984), which I'll share with you later this week. I think you'll be downright surprised at some of them. And outright vexed by others.

Salivate away, and I'll probably pass those along on Wednesday-ish. See you then, kids.


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 

 


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