The Great American Bash 2004 was the 15th Great American Bash professional wrestling pay-per-view event, and the first produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The event, presented by Subway, took place on June 27, 2004, at the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia and was a SmackDown! brand-exclusive event. Three of the eight matches on the card were contested for a championship; one was lost while the other two were retained. The event grossed $325,000 with 6,500 ticket sales and received a 0.47 buyrate.
The main event was a Handicap match between The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and The Undertaker. Undertaker won the match after pinning D-Von following a Tombstone Piledriver. One of the featured matches on the undercard was a Texas Bullrope match for the WWE Championship between John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) and champion Eddie Guerrero. JBL won the match and the WWE Championship after touching all four turnbuckles in succession. Guerrero was at first declared the winner, but General Manager Kurt Angle came out and showed that JBL had touched the final turnbuckle before Guerrero. Another primary match on the undercard was Rey Mysterio versus Chavo Guerrero for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, which Mysterio won with a sunset flip.
The main feud heading into The Great American Bash was between The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and The Undertaker. On the May 27 episode of SmackDown!, Paul Heyman told The Dudleys to "make an impact". As part of the storyline, The Dudleys responded by abducting Paul Bearer, Undertaker's manager. The following week, Heyman told Undertaker that the only way he would ever see Bearer again, was to align himself with The Dudleys. Two weeks later, on the June 17 episode of SmackDown!, a Handicap match match between The Dudleys and The Undertaker was booked for The Great American Bash, with the stipulation being if Undertaker won, Bearer, as part of the scripted events, would be cemented in a glass crypt.
Another primary feud heading into the event was between Eddie Guerrero and John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) over the WWE Championship. At the previous SmackDown! brand pay-per-view event, Judgment Day, JBL defeated Guerrero by disqualification after Guerrero hit JBL with the WWE Championship belt. Since a championship cannot be lost via countout or disqualification, Guerrero retained the title. Two weeks later, on the May 27 episode of SmackDown!, General Manager Kurt Angle announced that JBL was the number-one contender to the WWE Championship at The Great American Bash, and that JBL was allowed to choose the stipulation for the match. The following week, JBL announced that his match against Guerrero would be a Texas Bullrope match, in which the object is to touch all four turnbuckles (one in each corner of the ring) in succession.
One of the main matches on the undercard was a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWE United States Championship between the champion, John Cena, René Duprée, Booker T, and Rob Van Dam. At Judgment Day, Cena defeated Duprée to retain the United States Championship. Four days later, on SmackDown!, Cena faced Duprée in a rematch for the title. Duprée executed a low blow on Cena outside the ring, which caused Cena to be counted out. Duprée won the match, but not the title since a championship cannot be lost via countout or disqualification. The following week, Cena defeated Duprée in a Lumberjack match to retain the title. On the June 3 episode of SmackDown!, Cena confronted Booker about his interference in the Lumberjack match the week before. As General Manager Kurt Angle told Cena to leave the arena, Booker attacked Cena from behind and pushed him onto Angle. Angle claimed he was going to strip Cena of the United States Championship for what he did. The next week, on SmackDown!, Cena faced Booker, Van Dam, and Duprée, respectively, in one-on-one matches with a five-minute time limit. The man to defeat Cena would become the number-one contender to the United States Championship at The Great American Bash. Cena, however, won all three matches as no man was able to defeat him within the time limit. This led to Angle booking Cena in a Fatal Four-Way match for the title at The Great American Bash. On the June 17 episode of SmackDown!, Angle changed the match to an elimination match.
The Divas rivalry heading into the event was between Sable and Torrie Wilson. Sable and Torrie teamed together at WrestleMania XX and defeated Raw Divas Miss Jackie and Stacy Keibler, but when Torrie was featured on the cover of SmackDown! Magazine, Sable turned villainous by displaying jealousy over Torrie's cover and berating her in a backstage segment. The two Divas later brawled with each other, which led to the announcement that Sable and Torrie will face each other at The Great American Bash.
The first match of the event was a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWE United States Championship. John Cena defended the title against René Duprée, Booker T, and Rob Van Dam. Van Dam was the first man eliminated, as Cena pinned him with a roll-up. Shortly after, Booker eliminated Duprée after pinning him following an FU (fireman's carry takeover) from Cena. Cena last eliminated Booker, after executing an FU, to retain the championship.
The third match on the card was a singles match between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Guerrero gained the early advantage, as he applied various submission holds to Mysterio's knee, including a single leg Boston crab and an Argentine leglock. After a back and forth match between the two, Mysterio pinned Guerrero with a sunset flip to win the match and retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
The match that followed saw Kenzo Suzuki face off against Billy Gunn. The match went back and forth, as each man was able to gain the advantage numerous times. Suzuki defeated Gunn after pinning him following an inverted headlock backbreaker.
The following match was between two divas, Sable and Torrie Wilson. Sable controlled Wilson throughout the contest, as she choked her using the bottom rope and applied a criss-cross choke. After both women ran into each other, Sable pinned Wilson with a schoolgirl to win the match. As part of their storyline, the referee counted the pinfall even though Wilson's shoulders were off the mat.
Main event matches
The next match was a Texas Bullrope match for the WWE Championship between champion Eddie Guerrero and John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL). Throughout the duration of the match, both men were strapped together by a rope, with a cowbell attached in the center. In order to win the bout, one must touch all four turnbuckles (one in each corner of the ring) in succession. One preplanned move in the match saw Guerrero hit JBL with a steel chair, which caused JBL to bleed. Guerrero then got back in the ring and went on to touch three turnbuckles; however, he was unable to touch the fourth as JBL was holding him back. Guerrero executed a dropkick on JBL and attempted to touch the fourth again. JBL, however, held him back and took the advantage. JBL threw Guerrero into the Spanish announce table and executed a powerbomb onto him through it. Towards the end of the match, each man had touched three turnbuckles and were vying for the fourth. Guerrero attempted to jump over JBL and touch the remaining turnbuckle, but was unsuccessful; he splashed himself and JBL into the turnbuckle as a result. Guerrero was declared the winner, as it appeared he had touched all four turnbuckles first, but General Manager Kurt Angle came out and reversed the decision. He showed on the JumboTron that JBL had touched the final turnbuckle via his shoulder before Guerrero; as a result, JBL was declared the winner and new WWE Champion.
The final match on the card was the main event, which saw The Undertaker face off against The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) in a Handicap match. Per the pre-match stipulation, Paul Bearer would be cemented in a glass crypt if Undertaker won. Throughout the duration of the match, Bearer was locked on a chair inside a glass crypt with the pump of cement truck above him. After a match evenly controlled by The Undertaker and The Dudleys, Undertaker pinned D-Von following a Tombstone Piledriver to win. After the match, Undertaker pulled the lever to the cement truck, which in turn filled the crypt with Bearer inside full of cement.
At the event, John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) defeated Eddie Guerrero to begin his first reign as WWE Champion, which would last nearly ten months. JBL began feuding with The Undertaker following the event, and the two faced off for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. JBL won the match and retained the title after Undertaker was disqualified for hitting JBL with the title belt. The two faced off again at No Mercy in a Last Ride match, in which the object is to place your opponent in a hearse and drive out of the arena. JBL defeated The Undertaker and concluded their storyline after interference from Heidenreich.
Following the conclusion of his title match against JBL at the event, Eddie Guerrero began to feud with Kurt Angle. During a Steel Cage match between Guerrero and JBL for the WWE Championship, El Gran Luchadore (Kurt Angle in disguise) interfered on JBL's behalf, which allowed JBL to escape the cage and win the match. After the match, Guerrero attacked El Gran Luchadore and pulled off his mask, revealing him to be Kurt Angle. The following week, Vince McMahon scheduled a match between the two at SummerSlam. Angle won the match, and their feud concluded at the November pay-per-view, Survivor Series, when Guerrero's team defeated Angle's in a 4 on 4 Survivor Series match.
On the July 8 episode of SmackDown!, Booker T challenged John Cena for the WWE United States Championship. During the match, General Manager Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns interfered on Booker's behalf, and Booker inadvertently caused Cena to attack Angle. The match ended in a disqualification subsequently thereafter; however, Angle stripped Cena of the title for attacking him. On the July 29 episode of SmackDown!, Booker T won the vacant United States Championship after last eliminating Rob Van Dam in an elimination match. The following week, Cena defeated Van Dam to become the number-one contender to the title. Theodore Long, who proceeded Angle as General Manager after he was fired as part of the storyline, announced that Cena would be facing Booker in a "Best of 5 series", in which the winner would be the man who earns three victories over the other first. Cena defeated Booker in the first match at SummerSlam, and eventually won the fifth and final match at No Mercy to begin his second reign as United States Champion.
Torrie Wilson and Sable also continued their rivalry. On the July 1st episode of SmackDown!, Kurt Angle's Enforcer Luther Reigns called Charles Robinson who was the referee of the Divas match between them at The Great American Bash into his office to point out that Torrie's shoulder's were off the mat when she was pinned by Sable. To correct the mistake, Reigns made a rematch between Sable and Torrie and told Robinson that he must referee the match again and not to screw up like he did at the Pay-Per-View. Robinson agreed and later that night Torrie defeated Sable after a DDT.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- WWE HEAT: Spike Dudley defeated Jamie Noble (4:13)
- John Cena defeated Rene Dupree, Booker T and Rob Van Dam in a Fatal-Four Way Elimination match for the WWE United States Championship (15:52)
- Luther Reigns (with Kurt Angle) defeated Charlie Haas (w/ Miss Jackie) (7:11)
- Rey Mysterio defeated Chavo Guerrero for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship (19:40)
- Kenzo Suzuki (w/ Hiroko) defeated Billy Gunn (8:06)
- Sable defeated Torrie Wilson (6:06)
- Mordecai defeated Hardcore Holly (6:31)
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield defeated Eddie Guerrero in a Texas Bullrope match for the WWE Championship (21:06)
- The Undertaker defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) (w/ Paul Bearer) in a Concrete Crypt Hadicap match (14:42)
|Fatal Four-Way eliminations|
|Elimination No.||Wrestler||Eliminated by||Elimination move||Time|
|1||Van Dam||Cena||Pinfall with a roll-up||08:19|
|2||Duprée||Booker||Pinfall after an FU from Cena||11:17|
|3||Booker||Cena||Pinfall after an FU||15:52|
Other on-screen talent
- The Great American Bash 2004 Official site
- The Great American Bash 2004 at CAGEMATCH.net
- The Great American Bash 2004 at Online World of Wrestling
- The Great American Bash 2004 on WWE Network
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