WWE The Bash 2009
Every year, there is a PPV that feels thrown-together or barely promoted. It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad show, but it definitely doesn’t feel as significant as other cards or even other B-level events. In 2009, The Bash was that show, with a double main event that felt secondary and other unusual match bookings, despite having one of the very best bouts of the year. A decade on from this event, let’s take a look at The (no longer Great American) Bash 2009.
ECW Championship Scramble Match
Tommy Dreamer (C) vs. Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry
Opening the card was the return of the Championship Scramble match, which had previously been seen in triplicate at Unforgiven 2008. Dreamer went into the match as the defending ECW Champion, and it seemed likely he would drop the silver-eagled title here. But that didn’t happen: towards the finish, Tommy pinned Christian to become the interim titleholder, and he managed to hold on to the end of the 15-minute time limit to retain the crown. We haven’t seen the Scramble match since then, which I think is a shame since it was something different that had the potential to create real drama. Maybe we’ll see it return at some point.
Intercontinental Championship vs. Mask Match
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Rey Mysterio
Next up, we have our undisputed best bout of the show, and what was the best match not involving Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker from the whole of 2009. This was the third and final PPV match between the two veterans, and while the in-ring standard had been high in their previous two supershow battles, they managed to reach new heights here. This was packed with great spots, including Rey jumping from one side of the top rope to another strand where he sat down and moonsaulted Jericho, which was awesome. Some cracking near-falls and reversals by both led to the finish, where Jericho thought he had unmasked Rey (which he had done at Extreme Rules), only to discover that Mysterio was wearing a second mask! A 619 and a springboard splash followed to earn Rey the IC Title for the second time and to help him retain his hood in an outstanding battle.
No Disqualification Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali
What could follow that stunner? Certainly not early stage Dolph, who was still shaking hands for a living, against Khali, who could barely walk at this point. See what I mean by odd pairings? The match having a No DQ didn’t really lead to fireworks either, and this was ultimately fast-forward material. Khali thought he had Dolph beaten, only for Kane to return from a two-month absence to strike The Punjabi Playboy with a steel chair, giving Ziggler the victory. This led to Khali vs. Kane on two straight supershows, which were about as entertaining as a Hillbilly Jim Hall Of Fame speech.
Unified Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Carlito & Primo (C) vs. Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes vs. Edge & Chris Jericho
Around this time, Vince McMahon was pressuring Teddy Long to improve SmackDown (even though the show was awesome at this point). In response, Teddy decided to spice up a title bout between The Colons and Legacy by adding Edge and Y2J, the latter of whom had already competed. Whenever you see a late addition to a planned PPV contest like this, you know damn well that the surprise entrant or entrants will be victorious. And so it proved here, as a Spear to Carlito by Edge earned him and Chris the titles (allowing Jericho to win a title in his second unplanned bout of the evening for the second time in less than a year). What could have been a classic Canadian doubles act was unfortunately short-lived when Edge tore his Achilles heel less than a week later.
Women’s Championship Match
Melina (C) vs. Michelle McCool
I honestly had zero memory of this match taking place until the time came to look back on The Bash. What’s more, I had forgotten that Melina was even on SmackDown again for a few months in mid-2009, and had brought the Women’s Championship with her. And I had definitely forgotten about the alliance between McCool and Alicia Fox. The match was okay, but if I – a wrestling nerd, to be frank – couldn’t remember this, then anyone not in Sacramento probably didn’t either. McCool claimed the win and the title with a Faith Breaker a.k.a. a Styles Clash. Alicia would soon be binned off (ending one of her many mini-pushes) in favour of Layla, giving us LayCool. Aren’t you delighted by that?
World Heavyweight Championship Match
CM Punk (C) vs. Jeff Hardy
This was a part of a fondly-remembered conflict between two polar opposites, but the story was still gathering steam at this stage. This meant that Punk, who had cashed in Money In The Bank at Jeff’s expense three weeks earlier, was still a tweener against full-on babyface Jeff. They had a good match, and because Punk wasn’t preaching about his straight-edge lifestyle as much as he would in the weeks to come, it felt more like a technical exhibition rather than a true grudge bout. The jury was still out on whether Punk could retain main event stardom in WWE, so a title change here wasn’t out of the question. But Punk retained, albeit via dubious means: Punk hit referee Scott Armstrong with a roundhouse kick, though it wasn’t obvious if he meant to catch the referee or not. Whatever his intentions, Punk was disqualified, which infuriated hardy who attacked CM after the bell.
John Cena vs. The Miz
This was Miz’s first big match, and the culmination of a storyline where new Raw draftee Miz was challenging Cena at times when he either wasn’t present or couldn’t compete (during which time he introduced his “Awesome!” catch phrase). This marked John’s chance for retribution, and he rolled through Miz easily within a matter of minutes, wrapping it up with an Attitude Adjustment and a STF. Miz May have been disappointed at the time, and it took him a while to recover. But recover he did, to the point where he would eventually retain the WWE Championship against Big Match John in the main event of WrestleMania XXVII. I guess Miz really was Awesome.
WWE Championship Three Stages Of Hell
Randy Orton (C) vs. Triple H
The main event was a super-stacked contest in the continuation of what seemed to be a never-ending feud between Randy and his former Evolution mentor. The first fall was a straight wrestling match, but the hostility between these two was too high to allow for wristlocks and headlocks, so HHH (the babyface) got himself intentionally disqualified by walloping Orton with a chair, thus allowing him to continue nailing him to set up a ringside Pedigree for the second fall under Falls Count Anywhere rules. The third fall was a Stretcher match, and it was long, arduous but watchable as both men did everything possible to claim victory in this deeply-personal battle. Fan exhaustion with the feud as a whole meant that it didn’t have that desired big match atmosphere, but it was still a good effort by Randy and H. In the end, Tripper thought he had Orton beaten on the stretcher, only for Legacy to come out and assault The Game, leaving him laying on the stretcher for Orton to claim victory. Afterwards, HHH clobbered Randy with his sledgehammer, meaning that the rivalry still wasn’t over. Damn.
The Bash 2009 definitely has its moments, including a classic match between Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio, but it feels more like a special edition of Raw due to the rushed nature of the booking and the occasional mismatches. I wouldn’t deter you from seeing this show for yourself, but Jericho vs. Mysterio is the only match that you simply have to see, in my opinion.