The Great American Bash 2008 was the fifth annual Great American Bash pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on July 20, 2008 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York and featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands.
The main match on the SmackDown brand was between Triple H and Edge for the WWE Championship. Triple H won the match and retained the WWE Championship after pinning Edge following a Pedigree. The primary match on the Raw brand was between CM Punk and Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, which ended in a double disqualification following interference from Kane. The predominant match on the ECW brand was between Mark Henry and Tommy Dreamer for the ECW Championship, which Henry won by pinfall due to the interference and heel turn of Colin Delaney, with Henry proceeding to perform a World's Strongest Slam to retain the championship. The featured matches on the undercard included John Cena versus John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl and Shawn Michaels versus Chris Jericho. The event also crowned the first ever WWE Divas Champion, and it was the last pay-per-view event by WWE before transitioning to a PG rating.
The main feud heading into The Great American Bash on the SmackDown brand was between Triple H and Edge, with the two feuding over the WWE Championship. On the July 4 edition of SmackDown, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced that Triple H would defend the WWE Championship at The Great American Bash against Edge. On that same edition, Edge took his frustrations out on Vickie due to the fact that he lost the World title (that he had won at One Night Stand in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match) to CM Punk several days earlier Raw and told her the wedding was off. The following week, however, after Guerrero saved Edge from a con-chair-to by The Big Show, Edge re-proposed, and the wedding was back on. On the July 18 edition of SmackDown, Edge and Vickie Guerrero held their kayfabe wedding reception. At the end of the reception as Guerrero and Edge were in the ring, Triple H appeared to reveal Edge's secret love affair with Edge and Guerrero's wedding planner, Alicia Fox.
The primary feud going into The Great American Bash on the Raw brand was between CM Punk and Batista, with the two feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship. On the June 23 edition of Raw, CM Punk and Batista was drafted to Raw from their respective brands on the same edition where WWE Champion, Triple H was drafted to SmackDown from Raw. At Night of Champions, it was determined that either Batista or John Cena would bring a World Championship to the Raw brand. During that event, Batista was unsuccessful at winning the World title from Edge while John Cena failed to defeat Triple H for the WWE title in a WrestleMania 22 rematch. On the following night on Raw, CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract that he won at WrestleMania XXIV and defeated Edge to capture the title, after Batista delivered a beating to Edge. Later on that night, Punk defeated John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) to retain the World Championship with the help from John Cena and Cryme Tyme. On the July 7 edition of Raw, CM Punk successfully defended his World title over Snitsky. Later that night, Batista became the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship after defeating JBL, John Cena, and Kane in a Fatal Four-Way match. On the July 14 edition of Raw, Punk defeated Kane by countout in a non-title match. After the match, Kane attempted to attack Punk, but Batista ran to the ring to stop Kane. Batista took a steel chair and hit Kane in the forehead, as Kane rolled out of the ring. Punk offered Batista a handshake, but Batista declined and instead delivered a spinebuster to Punk.
The secondary feud on the Raw brand was between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. On the June 9th episode of Raw, when Michaels was guest on Jericho's talk show The Highlight Reel, he revealed to Jericho that he lied to him about his knee injury and Jericho turned heel by attacking Michaels and throwing him into the Jeritron 6000 television screen. Jericho later claimed that he did this cause the fans were supporting Michaels instead of him. Lance Cade later aligned himself with Jericho and stated that he refuses to allow Michaels the chance to turn on him like he did others. He also stated that unlike the fans he appreciates Jericho. Last month at Night Of Champions, Jericho lost the Intercontinental Championship to Kofi Kingston when Michaels appeared and tried to attack him. Jericho punched Michaels in his injured eye after the match. The next night on Raw, Jericho challenged Michaels to a match at The Great American Bash to which a week later Michaels accepted.
The predominant feud on the ECW brand was between Mark Henry and Tommy Dreamer. On the July 1 edition of ECW, Henry faced Colin Delaney in a match where if Delaney had won, Dreamer would receive a title shot against Henry. Henry won the match, and Dreamer was not granted a title match. The following week on ECW Henry faced Dreamer in a non-title match. The match ended in a no-contest after Henry escaped the ring to try and attack Delaney, who was at ringside with Dreamer. Tony Atlas was the special guest ring announcer for this match, and stepped in to save Delaney from Henry's attack. Instead, Atlas turned heel, and allowed Henry to attack Delaney. Henry then returned to the ring to attack Dreamer, as the match was ruled a no-contest.
The Divas feud on the SmackDown brand was between Michelle McCool and Natalya. On the April 4 edition of SmackDown, Natalya debuted as a villainess and assisted Victoria in attacking Michelle McCool and Cherry, kicking off a feud involving all four Divas. On June 6, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced the creation of the WWE Divas Championship, and on that same day, Natalya was announced as one of the combatants for the title after winning a Golden Dreams match to earn the shot. On the July 4 edition of SmackDown, McCool won a second Golden Dreams match to become the second combatant for the Divas Championship at The Great American Bash.
The first match of the Bash was a Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships. John Morrison and The Miz defended the titles against Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, Jesse and Festus and Finlay and Hornswoggle. As the bell rang, Festus cleared the ring until The Miz and Morrison tossed Hornswoggle in the ring. The Miz and Morrison then jumped onto the ring apron, but Festus knocked them off. Hornswoggle dove out of the ring through the top and middle ropes to land on top of The Miz and Morrison. Throughout the match, the eight wrestlers would attempt to make physical contact with their respective partners to get themselves tagged into the match. Hawkins and Ryder won the titles after pinning Jesse.
The next match was a singles match for the WWE United States Championship. United States Champion Matt Hardy faced Shelton Benjamin. Hardy was pinned after being hit with the Paydirt, meaning Benjamin was the new United States Champion.
The next match was a singles match for the ECW Championship. ECW Champion Mark Henry with Tony Atlas retained the title against Tommy Dreamer with Colin Delaney. Tommy Dreamer was on the turnbuckle about to finish Henry off but Delaney turned on him and pulled him into the top rope. Mark Henry then hit the World's Strongest Slam to get the win.
The next match was a singles match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. The match started and already Michaels suffered kayfabe cracked ribs and internal bleeding. During the match Jericho hit a wild elbow to Michaels' right eye which was injured months before by Jericho. Michaels was bleeding for the remainder of the match. Lance Cade also interfered and hit many cheap shots on Michaels while the referee's back was turned. After Jericho hit many shots on Michaels' face the referee deemed Shawn Michaels unable to continue, therefore Chris Jericho was declared the winner.
The next match scheduled was a match to determine the inaugural WWE Divas Champion between Michelle McCool and Natalya. McCool forced Natalya to tap with a Heel hook. After the match, Eve Torres and Cherry joined McCool in the ring to celebrate.
The next match was for the World Heavyweight Championship. The champion CM Punk faced Batista. Each man continually built momentum on different occasions. Batista managed to hit a Spinebuster outside of the ring. As Batista pushed Punk back into the ring Kane interfered by attacking both Batista and Punk which ended the match. This meant that Punk retained the World Heavyweight Championship by double disqualification.
The next match was a New York City Parking Lot Brawl. The contestants were John Cena and John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL). They both performed extreme moves including Cena using JBL's body to smash a car door off its hinges. In a planned spot, JBL set fire to a car with Cena inside. Cena destroyed a car with JBL in it with a forklift. Cena was about to hit the FU but JBL countered and pushed Cena into a window, which cut Cena's arm, allowing JBL to win the match.
The final match was for the WWE Championship. WWE Champion Triple H defended the title against Edge. Both men were dominating at different times of the match. Near the end of the match Alicia Fox tried to give Edge the WWE Championship belt so he could use it as a weapon. Vickie Guerrero started brawling with Fox, however, and Edge accidentally speared Guerrero in an attempt to hit the referee to delay the match. This distraction allowed Triple H to hit a Pedigree to retain the WWE Championship.
On the July 25 episode of SmackDown, Edge apologized to Vickie Guerrero for his actions at The Great American Bash. Guerrero accepted the apology, but informed Edge that she has already re-instated The Undertaker (Mark Calaway), who had been fired as a part of the storyline between himself and Edge. Guerrero announced that at the upcoming pay-per-view event, SummerSlam, Edge would face Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match, where the ring is surrounded by a steel structure. On the following week's edition of SmackDown, Mick Foley gave Edge a stern taking about what he needed to do to win Hell in a Cell against the Undertaker. After recalling his own words from the past, describing Edge as the "Greatest Superstar in the WWE", Foley warned that if the new Edge - the "white-tuxedo-wearing" and "luffa-sponge bathing Edge" - walks into Hell in a Cell, the Undertaker will tear him apart. After Foley's cutting words, Edge claimed to understand the advice but suddenly attacked Foley, leading to a melee culminating in Edge leaping from atop of the ladder and smashing Foley through a table. At SummerSlam, Undertaker defeated Edge after performing a Tombstone Piledriver. Following SummerSlam, Edge was scripted to be out of action. Undertaker began to feud with Guerrero and Big Show (Paul Wight) at the next pay-per-view event, Unforgiven, when Big Show attacked Undertaker to save Guerrero from being attacked.
After Chris Jericho beat Shawn Michaels in a singles match, Michaels came to the ring on August 17 at SummerSlam to announce his storyline retirement. Jericho, however, interrupted the announcement and, in an attempt to punch Michaels, accidentally struck Michaels' wife Rebecca. On the following night on Raw, Jericho stated that he had no remorse for what he did to Michaels wife, claiming that Michaels "had it coming to him". The following week on Raw, Michaels announced he was not going to retire and asked Jericho for an Unsanctioned match at Unforgiven. Jericho agreed to the match and the following week on Raw there was a contract signing for the match. The signing ended with Jericho and Michaels attacking each other. During the match at Unforgiven, Michaels' persistent assault on Jericho would lead to Jericho obtaining a legitimate bruised and swollen jaw.
Following The Great American Bash, John Cena and JBL ended their feud, as did Batista and CM Punk (after a rematch the next night on Raw, which Punk won). On the July 28 episode of Raw, John Cena and Batista defeated JBL and Kane in a tag team match. After the match, on-screen authority figure, Mike Adamle announced that at SummerSlam, Batista would face John Cena in a standard match. On the following episode of Raw, Cena and Batista defeated Cody Rhodes (Cody Runnels) and Ted DiBiase to capture the World Tag Team Championship. On the August 11 episode of Raw, Cena and Batista lost the tag team championship to Rhodes and DiBiase in a tag team rematch.
On the August 4 episode of Raw Adamle announced that JBL and Chris Jericho would face CM Punk in a two-on-one match that night, where whoever pinned Punk (if anyone) would face Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. JBL won the match for his team after he pinned Punk, setting up the match between himself and Punk for SummerSlam.
The event was met with mixed to positive reception from critics. The Sun rated the event as 8 out of 10. The reviewer praised the Michaels/Jericho match, with particular praise going to Shawn Michaels. Similar praise was given to the emphasis on storylines and good quality wrestling, such as the Edge/Vickie storyline and the Cena/JBL match. The World Heavyweight Championship match was criticized, however, as was the fact that Punk played a very minor role in both the match and the outcome.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Umaga defeated Mr. Kennedy (4:00)
- Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder defeated John Morrison and The Miz (c), Jesse and Festus, and Finlay and Hornswoggle in a Fatal Four-Way match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship (9:05)
- Shelton Benjamin defeated Matt Hardy to win the WWE United States Championship (9:33)
- Mark Henry (w/ Tony Atlas) defeated Tommy Dreamer (w/ Colin Delaney) to retain the ECW Championship (5:29)
- Chris Jericho defeated Shawn Michaels (18:18)
- Michelle McCool defeated Natalya to become the first WWE Divas Championship (4:41)
- World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk fought Batista to a double disqualification (11:10)
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield defeated John Cena in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl (14:36)
- Triple H defeated Edge to retain the WWE Championship (16:46)
Other on-screen talent
- The Great American Bash 2008 Official Website
- The Great American Bash 2008 on WWE Network
- The Great American Bash 2008 at CAGEMATCH.net
- The Great American Bash 2008 at Online World of Wrestling
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