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The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
The Bash: Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz reports the highlights and sidelights and delves into the meaning of it all!.

The Bash brought some surprises and several title changes, but the overall show turned out to be a little disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but it had the aura of a set-up show for bigger events to come such as SummerSlam.

Let’s look at the The Bash in detail to see what happened – and why.

The Actual Match:

Actual Grade:

The Kingfish comments:

The pre-show, again hosted by Jack Korpella, focused on the WWE and World Championship matches with some coverage of Great Khali=Dolph Ziggler.

Korpella also presented a clip from the cage tag team contest from the 6/27 Smackdown.

The Kingfish comments: Although Jack Korpella has injected a little more personality and life into the last couple of ‘Free-for-All” shows, but TNA has pulled way ahead in the contest to air the best pre-show.

As events developed, the booking of the cage match and the decision to show it on the “Free-for-All” set up the emergence of the Jericho-Edge team later in The Bash.

The jarring note is that the bookers had Jericho and Edge embroiled in a struggle for supremacy on Smackdown. The verbal confrontations between them really lit up the ring – and now they’re going to the trashcan.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed fans to Sacramento, CA’s Arco Arena for The Bash.

The Kingfish comments: The opening seemed unusually low-key and generic.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Jack Swagger vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry vs. Christian
ECW Championship
Scramble Match
The Story: Tommy Dreamer has never had it easy. Probably, he doesn’t even want it that way. This time, the Innovator of Violence faces all the top contenders. The odds are stacked against Tommy, but he has beaten long odds before. Can he do it again?

My Prediction: Finlay and Henry aren’t likely to get the title, even for a short period of time. That leaves Christian, Swagger and Dream. Dreamer will come through with the win – and probably will drop it to one of the other two at SummerSlam.
Predicted Grade: B-

The Actual Match: Swagger and Christian started. The All-American American had Capt. Charisma in trouble several times, but the pin eluded him.

Finlay attacked both men simultaneously, when he entered. That proved to be a bad idea, because Swagger rolled him up for the one-two-three when the Fighting Irishman ran out of gas,

Tommy Dreamer joined the fight and made Jack Swagger his main target. In the end, though, it was Finlay who actually pinned Swagger to become interim ECW Champion.

Mark Henry got in the ring just in time to prevent Swagger from scoring a pin after a top-rope Double Underhook Suplex. Henry then subjected Tommy Dreamer to the World’s Strongest Slam and pinned him.

Mark Henry contemplated an out-of-ring Cross Body too long. Jack Swagger Speared him from behind and pinned him with about two minutes remaining.

Jack Swagger kicked free when Christian covered him after a Kill Switch. Tommy Dreamer pounced on Christian and drove him into the mat with a DDT! The Innovator of Violence covered for the pin.

Despite a rapid series of near falls as time was expiring, Tommy Dream hung on to remain ECW Champion.

Actual Grade: B+

The Kingfish comments: Some fans don’t like the Scramble format, but it worked well enough this time. There’s no reason to get rid of Dreamer as champion until he has fought Christian and Swagger for the title, since either match has fan appeal. There might be a three-way with all of them at Night of Champions.

Edge braced Teddy Long in the GM’s office. The Rated R Superstar demanded inclusion in the pay per view and tried to intimidate Long by mentioning that Mr. McMahon put the general manager on probation.

The Kingfish comments: This foreshadowed later developments on the show. It cleverly entwined two separate threads )Edge wanting the spotlight and Teddy Long being on the griddle) into a series of between-match vignettes.

Rey Mysterio d. Chris Jericho
Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio must unmask if he loses
The Story: Chris Jericho has the gold, but he wants something more: Rey Mysterio’s pride. He has goaded the Masked Marvel into putting up the hood in exchange for another chance to get at the wiseass Jericho.

My Prediction: If Rey Mysterio is going to unmask, it’ll be at SummerSlam. The finish here will see Mysterio run off with his hands shielding his face to give Jericho a count-out victory. This could lead to a match in which Mysterio risks losing his mask to protect his reputation as a wrestler after this COR loss.
Predicted Grade: B+

The Actual Match: The match seesawed until Rey missed a Baseball Slide and then took a brutal header into the outer barrier, courtesy of the Inter-Continental Champion.

Jericho left Mysterio lying on the arena floor and returned to the ring to wait for a COP. The Masked Marvel barely beat the count.

After Mysterio Leg-Tripped Jericho to the outside, he did an amazing out-of-ring West Coast Pop. It looked like he dinged his always-vulnerable knee. Jericho trained his guns on the weakened joint for the rest of the contest.

Rey Mysterio blasted his foe with a Double Springboard Moonsault, but Jericho wouldn’t surrender. Another Moonsault, this time out of the corner, gained no better result. Chris actually turned the second one into the Walls of Jericho, but Rey got free.

Jericho continued to demonstrate his ability to block the 619, disrupting it twice during this match. He also survived a Mysterio DDT. On the other hand, Rey weathered a Codebreaker. Jericho tried to use the hold as an opportunity to unmask his adversary, but Rey had a second mask under that one!

Chris Jericho got so rattled by this that Mysterio finished him with the 619-West Coast Pop combo.

Rey Mysterio kept his mask and gained the title.

Actual Grade: A

The Kingfish comments: This may be the end of this program for now, which is too bad in a way. These two generate such entertaining matches that I’d be tempted to give Jericho a rematch at Night of Champions.

A video bored fans with a recap of the Trump-McMahon segment from the last RAW before The Bash.

Chris Jericho ran into Teddy Long’s office to complain about Mysterio’s “double mask” trick. The GM wasn’t intimidated, but Jericho’s mention of the probation rattled him.

An extensive video chronicled the feud between Dolph Ziggler and the Great Khali.

Dolph Ziggler d. The Great Khali
The Story: Dolph Ziggler went right at Khali from the day he landed on Smackdown The stipulation guarantees that the arrogant blond will pull out all the stops as will the Punjabi Playboy,

My Prediction: Whom did Khali offend to get into this one? This is a match between a guy who was over-pushed (Khali) and a guy who got a long, lame push (Ziggler).

They seem to be heading in opposite directions at present, but that can reverse in a hurry. Great Khali should eventually get some revenge, but it makes sense to do that at SummerSlam. That means this match will go to Ziggler, but only as a result of heavy use of a foreign object.
Predicted Grade: C-

The Actual Match: Khali pretty much had his way with the Brash Blond until Kane rumbled to the ring. When Great Khali turned his attention toward the Big Red Machine, Ziggler attacked,

That wouldn’t have ended the match, but Jane barged into the ring with a chair in hand. He dealt the Punjabi Playboy a stomach-turning series of chairshots.

Dolph Ziggler returned to the ring and scored the pin.,

Actual Grade: C

The Kingfish comments: The Great Khali will probably get revenge on Ziggler on Smackdown, but the future will be a program against Kane that will lead to a featured match on SummerSlam.

Mr. McMahon started by praising Teddy Long, but he ended up threatening the GM’s job. The

Just before the opening bell, Teddy Long came to the upper stage. The GM announced that the team of Edge and Chris Jericho were joining the contest, making it a three-way dance,

Chris Jericho & Edge d. Primo & Carlito & The Legacy
Unified Tag Team Championship
The Story: Ted DiBiase’s injury stopped The Legacy’s climb to tag team greatness. Even after DiBiase returned, he and Rhodes seemed to function as little more than Orton’s henchmen. They’re still tightly bound to Randy Orton, but they are now refocused on getting their own careers back in gear. This match would certainly accomplish that, though the Colon brothers will have something to say about that.

My Prediction: It makes sense to put the straps around the waists of DiBiase and Rhodes, because they are largely under-utilized in their current roles. A good possibility is that Rhodes and DiBiase will win by under-handed methods. A new GM cold review the vid and rule that, though all decisions are final in wrestling, that the Colons merit a rematch at SummerSlam with a Special Guest Referee.
Predicted Grade: B

The Actual Match: The champs and Legecy agreed on one thing; none of the four of them willingly tagged in Jericho or Edge, thus freezing them out of the fight.

When it looked like Primo Colon would submit to Legacy, Edge jumped into the ring and saved him to keep the match going. After that, the added starters forced their way into the mix whenever possible.

Carlito thought he had it won when he nailed Cody Rhodes with the Back Stabber, but Cody wasn’t the legal man! Before the official could straighten out the mess, Edge speared the champ and got the pinning cover,

Chris Jericho and Edge are the Uneasy Alliance, is now the Un-fried – sorry, still thinking of those KFC buckets — Unified Tag Team Champions.

Actual Grade: B-

The Kingfish comments: The outcome was obvious the minute Jericho and Edge appeared on the upper stage. The new champs will have a team to battled on RAW and another on Smackdown, which should keep WWE supplied with tag team contests for the rest of the summer.

Backstage, Randy Orton urged Legacy to shrug off the loss and concentrate on helping him.

Rhodes readily agreed, but Ted DiBiase put up a lot of resistance. He stalked off, after complaining about being reduced to a mere henchman. Cody Rhodes promised Orton that he would talk to his partner.

Michelle McCool d. Melina
Women’s Championship
The Story: When Melina joined Smackdown, Michelle McCool targeted the Women’s World Champion. McCool plans to become the first woman to have held both the Diva and Women’s titles.

My Prediction: There’s evidence that WWE is shaking up he women’s division. Changing the title would be a good place to start, since it would elevate Michelle McCool by making her the first to win both belts.
Predicted Grade: B-

The Actual Match: Alicia Fox joined Michelle McCool at ringside. She tried to interfere about two-thirds of the way through the match, She broke up an attempted pin that would have given Melina the victory.

Michelle McCool executed a Face Breaker, her version of the Styles Clash, to set up the pinfall that made her the first to hold both women’s titles..

Actual Grade: B-

The Kingfish comments: Now might be a good time to bring forward Beth Phoenix or Gail Kim as challengers for the Divas Championship, perhaps at Night of Champions, with a unification bout between McCool and the winner of that one at SummerSlam.

Jeff Hardy d. CM Punk via DQ</b
World Heavyweight Championship
The Story: CM Punk got the title by challenging Hard for the “Money in the Bank” match after the Charismatic Enigma had just won the gold in a grueling match. He’ll be fresh and ready this time, so Mr. Straight Edge will have his hands full in his first major title defense.

My Prediction: Jeff’s reluctance to sign a new contract guarantees that CM Punk will win this match and keep his title. Jeff will have to be satisfied on exiting on a tremendous match that will make fans, and WWE management, wish he was going to stay.
Predicted Grade: A-

The Actual Match: After a super-sized video, CM Punk entered to a mixed reaction and then Hardy came down the ramp to a modest babyface pop.

Jeff Hardy did not wear the face paint for this match. The announcers didn’t make clear whether this was a show of earnestness or laziness.

Jeff Hardy relied on mat wrestling while the champ employed his usual, strike-oriented offense during the early going. This caused a lengthy stalemate until CM Punk went for the Go To Sleep and Hardy reversed it into a roll-up that came close to stealing the decision!

Jeff got the better of some brawling in the ringside area, until he went high risk. He ran parallel to one side of the ring and used the steps as a launch pad. Unfortunately for him, Pink evaded the human missile and Hardy crashed into the barricade! Jeff barely returned to the ring before the 10 count.

CM Punk rocked the challenger with an Across-the-Knee Backbreaker. He clamped on a Figure-Four Headlock, but Jeff twisted around until he got his foot over the bottom rope.

Jeff Hardy hit Whisper in the Wind. It didn’t set up a pin, but it did enable the challenger to go on a very good offensive run, capped by an Inverted Sit-out Powerbomb. Punk tried to escape to the outside, but Hardy pulled off a Cross Body Block from the top.

CM Punk jolted Hardy with a kick to the head and a High Knee in the corner. The champion brought him back to center-ring with a Bulldog, but he couldn’t keep Hardy own long enough for the three count.

CM Punk escaped a Twist of Fate-Swanton Bomb combo when Hardy missed his leap by two feet. His luck didn’t hold, though. Jeff Hardy stopped his adversary with another Twist of Fate and, this time, a successful Swanton.

Hardy covered and the referee did the count. Immediately afterward, though, the ref indicated that his third count had been a mistake, because Mr. Straight-edge had a foot under the bottom rope.

Hardy and Punk each tried their finisher, but neither move connected. Hardy fired Punk into the corner. When the champ came out, though, he hit the referee. That caused a disqualification that enabled CM Punk to retain his belt.

Actual Grade: B+

The Kingfish comments: WWE did a very smart piece of booking in this one. If Hardly doesn’t sign, CM Punk beat him. If the Charismatic Enigma does ink a new pact, they’ll claim he lost unfairly to give him a rematch.

The blocks and reversals made his a good match, though the lame ending kept it from hitting its predicted “A-.”

Jeff Hardy dragged Punk back into the ring and began to pummel him on the mat! The official pulled him away, but he went back for a second helping and, this time, it took a crew of officials to pull him off the champion.

Carlito and Primo Colon went to see Teddy Long. The General Manager showed considerable stress as he banished them from his office.

A worried Randy Orton tried to call Cody Rhodes on the phone. He got voice mail and pleaded for a call.

After a long video, the combatants for the net match came to the ring.

John Cena d. The Miz
The Story: The Miz kept calling out John Cena on RAWM.I<, but he generally did so when Cena wasn’t in the arena. This time, The Miz will have to fight if he expects to leave the ring with his life, much less a victory.

My Prediction: It’s hard for me to predict this one, because I don’t fully understand why it is taking place. The Miz just doesn’t seem to be on anything close to the same level as John Cena.

This match smells. Sorry, the devil made me put the period there. This match smells like a heavily booked contest that will lead John Cena into an important SummerSlam match. How about this: someone interferes, perhaps as Cena heads to the ring, and John is unable to meet the bell. The match goes to The Miz by forfeit so he can continue to crow about it until Cena beats him in a squash on RAW. I’m not a praying man, but I may get down on my knees and beg the Wrestling Ghods not to let the attacker be Big Show. (But it probably will be.)
Predicted Grade: N/A

The Actual Match: The Miz tried a series of unimpressive strategies, all of which did nothing.

The Miz targeted Cena’s neck. Cena took some damage, primarily from a Suplex, but he never failed to get his shoulder up in time.

When Cena was ready, he hit his Side Plant, Five-Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment. Abruptly, Cena decided to give The Miz the full experience; he clamped on the STF and wrung a submission from the loudmouth.

Actual Grade: C+

The Kingfish comments: This is the kind of match that shouldn’t be foisted on the PPV customers. It turned out to be the Bathroom Break Special, ousting the women’s match from a position it has monopolized for several months.

Randy Orton d. Triple H
WWE Championship match
Three Stages of Hell
The Story: The war continues. This time, the combatants have three falls to dismember each other. The EMTs will stand by on alert during this one.

My Prediction: It’ll go three falls. Interference by Legecy will help Orton keep the belt, despite a Herculean effort by The Game. The Game will receive a rematch.
Predicted Grade: A-

The Actual Match: The first stage of hell ended when Triple H returned to the ring with a chair and clouted Orton with it. The referee disqualified HHH, but then the Cerebral Assassin’s strategy became clear. Hunter blasted Orton with the chair about six more times. The champion rolled out of the ring to evade more chairshots. That’s where Triple H gave him the Pedigree and pinned him to even things at one fall each.

Triple H immediately loaded RANDY Orton on the gurney and pushed it toward the yellow line. Orton jumped off a few feet from the goal and the Stretcher Match portion of Three Stages of Hell roared into full life!

They brawled everywhere in the arena and then back to the ring. Randy tried to bash his foe with half of the ring steps, but Triple H knocked it back against Orton’s cranium.

Just when it looked like Triple H had it won, Cody Rhodes rushed out to stop the cart inches from the yellow line! HHH heaved the Plumber’s Grandson into a wall and turned to complete his mission.

That’s when Ted DiBiase attacked! Triple H fought bravely, but he couldn’t overcome the two-to-one advantage. It looked like Orton would win without even getting off the floor.

That’s when The Game played his Hidden Ace. He pried up a steel plate on the stage and pulled out his trusty sledgehammer! He made short work of Rhodes and DiBiase, but his own tactics boomeranged when Orton smashed him in the head with the steel plate!

Triple H toppled onto the gurney. An exhausted Randy Orton got it across the line to win the match and retain his title.

After the match, and a little recuperation, Randy Orton raised his arms in victory. He didn’t see Triple H coming up behind him with the sledgehammer. The Cerebral Assassin waited until Randy became aware of his presence and half-turned in his direction.

Then he hit him with the sledgehammer.

Actual Grade: A

The Kingfish comments: Didn’t they use the same gimmick with DiBiase in a previous match? Still, it gave Orton a victory and Triple H a defeat that doesn’t tarnish his image.

Predicted Grade for The Bash: B

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, because your help is what keeps “The Katz Files” growing, I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]