WWE The Great American Bash 2007 Review feat. John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley

Logo for WWE The Great American Bash 2007
Image Source: WWE
CompanyWWE
EventThe Great American Bash 2007
SeriesThe Great American Bash
Edition4
FormatPay-Per-View
DateSunday July 22 2007
VenueHP Pavilion
LocationSan Jose, California, USA
Attendance13,034

WWE The Great American Bash 2007

WWE was still reeling from the Chris Benoit tragedy when The Great American Bash 2007 was held. This meant that not only were the company still putting on a brave face, but so were the fans, who weren’t quite ready to fully immerse themselves into the WWE product again at this point. For those who could put these thoughts aside for a couple of hours (which was admittedly tough; I know because I felt the same way at the time), this ended up being a decent show with a surprisingly excellent main event match.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS TV SHOWS? READ OUR PRE-PPV REVIEWS OF RAW, ECW & SMACKDOWN!

WWE United States Championship Match
MVP (C) vs. Matt Hardy

Image Source: WWE

Kicking us off, we had Matt Hardy, who had enjoyed a strong few months alongside Jeff as The Hardy Boyz reigned as World Tag Team Champions once again, taking on MVP in what was arguably Matt’s biggest singles bout to date. After all, he had built up some real momentum and was challenging for one of the secondary singles belts on a PPV event. MVP was also starting to find his niche in the company, having started to demonstrate that his in-ring skills were worthy of matching his top-drawer verbal skills. The upshot is that this was a very good match, with fans believing that Matt could pull off the big victory. It was not to be, though, as MVP struck him with a Playmaker to retain the crown. As it turned out, this was only the beginning of what would be a long-running storyline involving the two, which eventually saw Hardy finally become the United States Champion at Backlash 2008.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS EDITION? READ OUR WWE THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2006 REVIEW!

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Cruiserweight Open Match
Chavo Guerrero (C) vs. Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Shannon Moore vs. Funaki vs. Jamie Noble vs. Hornswoggle

Image Source: WWE

This match is remembered for one thing, and one thing only. This unannounced free-for-all was open to anyone, yet fans still didn’t make the connection instantly when Hornswoggle ran down the aisle and under the ring prior to the bell ringing. Therefore, after an underrated effort by all involved, it was a surprise when Hornswoggle appeared back from below the canvas, climbed to the top rope and nailed Noble with a Tadpole Splash to become Cruiserweight Champion. To die-hards, this was the last insult when it came to the cruiserweight division, and it would indeed prove to be the final nail in the coffin for the belt itself as it was retired a few months later after Horny was revealed as Vince McMahon’s bastard son (yep). Personally, I didn’t mind this because, at the time, it was a fresh idea to focus on Hornswoggle as an actual wrestler, albeit in a comedic fashion opposite Noble in the weeks that followed. And besides, it’s not like Horny himself made the decision to be the final Cruiserweight Champion during this era of WWE. Plus, it’s arguably the thing that this PPV is remembered for most, so if nothing else, it was memorable.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS PPV? READ OUR WWE VENGEANCE 2007 REVIEW!

Singapore Cane On A Pole Match
Carlito vs. The Sandman

Image Source: WWE

Talk about a forgotten rivalry from 2007. Actually, it was less of a rivalry and more of a few back-and-forth exchanges that led to the first Singapore Cane On A Pole match to be held on a WWE PPV. This was obviously based around The Sandman, with the stick being his personal weapon of choice, but against the credible and dangerous Carlito, he was arguably the underdog here. They had a decent scrap, albeit one which was forgotten as soon as it ended. Sandman ultimately retrieved the cane, only to immediately taste a Backstabber which gave Carlito the victory. It’s worth noting that Sandman got the same amount of offence with the Singapore cane as a far more reluctant Bayley did ten years later at Extreme Rules 2017, so suddenly Bayley’s struggles to use the object don’t seem too bad.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FIRST EDITION? READ OUR WWE THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2004 REVIEW!

WWE Women’s Championship Match
Candice Michelle (C) vs. Melina

Image Source: WWE

Candice had recently progressed from being used as nothing more than eye candy to becoming a credible force within the women’s ranks. At Vengeance, she had defeated Melina for the Women’s Championship, and this was Melina’s first chance to regain the gold. The match was fairly forgettable, as Michelle was never the most advanced in-ring performer, but compared to the likes of their Pudding match at One Night Stand, this is a much more tolerable viewing experience. I had assumed going in that Melina would recapture the title on this night, but instead Candice retained after hitting her Candy Wrapper finishing move. The Divas division still hadn’t really found its way after the retirements of Trish Stratus and Lita in 2006, but it soon would as Candice would shortly enter into a feud with the lady that would become one of the faces of the female scene over the next few years, Beth Phoenix.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Umaga (C) vs. Jeff Hardy

Image Source: WWE

In contrast, it was fairly clear that Umaga was going to retain his championship here, partly because he had only recently regained it from Santino Marella. Despite Jeff’s popularity and credibility, a decisive win for the Samoan Bulldozer was inevitable. And so it proved, as Umaga won with the Samoan Spike. Crucially, though, the action between the ring bells chiming was awesome: they played the formula of the smaller, lighter and faster competitor using all of his key attributes to try and take down the monster heel perfectly, with Hardy in particular looking awesome. Just like Matt, Jeff was slowly building momentum to go it alone as a real force in the singles ranks, but unlike Matt, Jeff would (despite a couple of Wellness Policy violations) take the ball and run with it, with his major singles push eventually culminating in a WWE Title win at Armageddon 2008. That was all still to come at this point, though, and Jeff’s only consolation concerning this defeat came earlier in the night was when he and Matt got to watch Candice celebrate her own win by pouring water over herself in a seductive manner. Ron Simmons turned up and, of course, remarked “DAMN!” to end a ridiculous segment.

ECW Championship Match
John Morrison (C) vs. CM Punk

Image Source: WWE

Though Jeff Hardy’s overall status in WWE represented progression, it was a tougher time for CM Punk, the presumed winner of the ECW Title at Vengeance who was instead coming for a second crack at the gold on this night. Johnny Nitro had just renamed himself John Morrison, and though it didn’t seem this way when he first pretended to be Jim Morrison, this would prove to be a turning point in terms of the real-life John Hennigan being taken more seriously. However, he was a far way off being able to have great matches every single night, as he and Punk struggled here for the second straight PPV (and they had several weeks’ notice on this occasion, so there was no real excuse not to tear it up). Morrison tried to sneak his way to victory by holding the ropes, but no worries for the heel titleholder as he pinned Punk after hitting what would later be called the Flying Chuck. Punk lost to Morrison for a third time at SummerSlam before finally winning the ECW Title in early September.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LAST EDITION? READ OUR WWE THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2008 REVIEW!

Texas Bull Rope Match
Randy Orton (C) vs. Dusty Rhodes

Image Source: WWE

Randy Orton was slowly building himself up as the top heel in the whole of WWE, and though it was clear beforehand that he would win here, it was certainly another feather in his cap as the Legend Killer took down one of the biggest names in wrestling history. With Cody Rhodes having been introduced as a new member of the Raw roster, Randy took this opportunity to target the American Dream (who had earlier cut a bizarre backstage speech that ended with him mooing), and in his own speciality match no less, the Texas Bull Rope bout. Considering that Dusty was 61 at this stage, it’s no surprise that this match was based more around Dusty’s signature spots and charisma rather than work ethic, and it worked a treat as fans were happy to see Dusty do this thing one more time. Of course, Orton was able to overcome Dusty, doing so by walloping Rhodes with the cowbell (the “clunk” of the object whacking Dusty’s head was amusing), and Orton further antagonised him by Punting him the next night on Raw. So, Randy received the additional boost required to push him into a WWE Title feud with John Cena at SummerSlam, and Dusty got to enjoy one final moment in the squared circle, as this proved to be his final match.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING PPV? READ OUR WWE SUMMERSLAM 2007 REVIEW!

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match
The Great Khali (C) vs. Batista vs. Kane

Image Source: WWE

Originally, we were meant to see Edge defend the World Heavyweight Title against Kane, and Batista battle The Great Khali. But when Edge suffered a major injury, he had to vacate the WHC, and Khali became the (mostly unwanted) new champion just a few nights earlier on SmackDown. Teddy Long then announced a tag team match … actually it was a three-way that he announced, right here at The Bash, for the gold. I feel bad for Kane not getting his singles shot, but I realise that WWE wanted to make the best of a bad situation by throwing Batista back into the title mix for good measure. As for the match itself, it wasn’t as bad as people might have you think, but it was still hardly a reason to immediately watch this card on the WWE Network either. Khali won when he pinned Kane, allowing Batista to earn the right to face Khali for the belt at SummerSlam. This was the precursor to the proper main event, though we also had time for King Booker and Queen Sharmell to cut a promo at Jerry Lawler’s expense, which was really designed to continue building towards the announced SummerSlam return of Triple H.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING EDITION? READ OUR WWE THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2008 REVIEW!

WWE Championship Match
John Cena (C) vs. Bobby Lashley

Image Source: WWE

I was excited about this one because Cena had held the WWE Title for ten months, dating back to Unforgiven, and with Lashley being positioned as one of WWE’s top babyface acts, it really felt like Bobby had a legitimate chance at unseating Cena as WWE Champion. The use of several legends to discuss why this was an epic encounter always helps as well, giving this a big-fight feel. However, given how much the smarks disliked Cena by this point (they didn’t hate Lashley, though they hardly viewed him as Shawn Michaels either), it was a big statement that these two were able to go out and put on a tremendous main event. Indeed, this was a thrilling battle, and they kept fans guessing as to who would come out on top. After the usual big moves (from which the combatants slowly recovered after kicking out, making a refreshing change from nowadays where headliners will hit finishers and the recipients will not only get up, but to do so as if nothing happened), it seemed like Lashley had the title in the bag with a Spear, but Cena managed to stay in the match. John ended up retaining after hitting an FU from the turnbuckles, sending Lashley for a hard crash to the canvas in a great-looking and, at the time, innovative spot. Cena shook hands with Lashley afterwards to endorse him, but as it turned out, Bobby wasn’t long for WWE. He went on the shelf within a couple of weeks and that was it, because he left WWE in early 2008. He eventually returned in 2018, the night after WrestleMania 34. One can only wonder how long Lashley might have stayed in WWE the first time around had he defeated Cena here, but needless to say that it wasn’t to be for big Bobby. As for Cena, his stranglehold of the company’s biggest prize would eventually be curtailed due to injury in early October, but fans should really give more respect to Cena’s 2006-2007 run, because to me it was the highlight of his entire WWE tenure (it was certainly his most successful reign in terms of longevity), more so than his much-lauded United States Title Open Challenge storyline in 2015.

Image Source: WWE

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING TV SHOWS? READ OUR POST-PPV REVIEWS OF RAW, ECW & SMACKDOWN!

WWE The Great American Bash 2007 isn’t without its big moments. The main event is awesome, Umaga vs. Jeff was thrilling, and getting to see Dusty Rhodes wrestle one final time was a nice treat. But overall, the card is a bit meh, and given the dark cloud over WWE and wrestling as a whole at this point, it’s understandable why few fans discuss this card nowadays. If you do check it out, though, there are a few rather good bouts to justify your decision.

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