Simon Lamb

The Great American Shambles

The Great American Bash 2004, an event that will live long in the memory of wrestling fans. For that night was the darkest night in the history of the WWE. That was the night that Bradshaw, long term member of the APA, became World Wrestling Entertainment World Champion. That was the night that Vince McMahon crossed the line. How much is a fan supposed to take?

The Great American Bash 2004, an event that will live long in the memory of wrestling fans. For that night was the darkest night in the history of the WWE. That was the night that Bradshaw, long term member of the APA, became World Wrestling Entertainment World Champion. That was the night that Vince McMahon crossed the line. How much is a fan supposed to take?

Indeed, at the Great American Bash, in another extended episode of Smackdown that we were expected to pay for, Bradshaw finally reached the top after years of jobbing (whilst making sure he didn’t look bad when doing it) as a tag team wrestler. We all feared that it might happen, since the word was that the JBL gimmick was one that Vince was very proud of rehashing… I mean creating. And at the Great American Bash the honeymoon period for all of us ended. Eddie Guerrero inevitably lost the title.

It was great while it lasted, having Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit as Smackdown and Raw World champions, but we all knew it had to end at some point, so I’m not too bothered about that. After all, it gave us one of the greatest Wrestlemania moments ever in Guerrero and Benoit celebrating afterwards in the ring. So I have no problems with the job.

However, I do have a problem with who it was to. You don’t need me to tell you that the Smackdown situation is/was/shall continue to be awful since the outstanding Brock Lesnar left the show, I’m sure you’ve either heard about or indeed seen that for yourself. And no doubt you’ve discussed with other people the ways they could fix that, most of the suggestions made being ridiculous. Amazing how many annoying people there are out there who thought something like Kurt Angle joining the n.W.o. would work who really do discredit at times the views of fans on the net.

Anyhow, back to what I was saying. I was absolutely raging when that idiot Hardcore Holly was given a title shot before he was accordingly squashed by King Brock. So you can imagine how disgusted I was when another midcarder was to step up to the main event from out of nowhere. Only this time, the midcarder in question had a new gimmick, which we were all supposed to be entertained by.

As we all know, Bradshaw got his inevitable title shot at Judgment Day, to which many people, some of which should have known better, were flapping their gums about how Bradshaw did “better than expected” and how the match was “not bad in the end”. Excuse me for wanting to be entertained, but here was me thinking that with the number one wrestling company in the world, with all the resources and all that money, that we are allowed to expect more than just “not bad” and that they could find someone a bit more fitting for the role of number one contender than some no-selling, stiff, arrogant, midcarder-for-life tag team wrestler.

Then again I’m obviously a fat, un-athletic Internet fan who knows nothing and hasn’t done anything more athletic than play checkers for saying that no doubt. Thankfully I don’t fall into any of those insulting categories but I have no doubt that Bradshaw would find some other way of insulting anyone who dares to criticise his outstanding work.

I just don’t get it… I really don’t. No matter HOW bad Smackdown gets, this is just surely wrong. It is surely wrong for the WWE to give Bradshaw the Smackdown world title. They are the NUMBER ONE COMPANY IN THE WORLD GODDAMNIT. The champion of the WWE is meant to be the best wrestler in the WORLD. And with the exception of perhaps 3 or 4 guys who have held in the past (argue perhaps against Sid, Kane and Kevin Nash if you really want to), every man who has held that title has DESERVED it.

Bradshaw, in the strongest possible way, has NOT. He has not earned it unless loyalty to the WWE makes you a great wrestler all of a sudden.

I will say this now and I know wrestling fans all over the world agree with me. Bradshaw is the WORST WWE champion EVER. Worse than Sid and definitely worse than Kevin Nash, no matter how much you hate him. Nash was marketable in my eyes, and you could definitely picture him on posters etc promoting, he was “cool” to fans at the time (well… most fans). Bradshaw is about as marketable as mouldy fruit. I said it about Hardcore Holly at the time, and I’ll say it about Bradshaw, even if he is wearing a suit these days. Putting someone in a suit does not make them a good wrestler all of a sudden.

I have to admit, I’m the same with Bradshaw as I was with HHH. I liked HHH up until No Way Out 2001 when Mr. Foley had done his best to inflate Big Nose’s ego, and with Bradshaw I have to admit I liked him back as part of the Acolytes and then in the APA until it got stale (around about late 2001/2002… it was that long remember). Since then I only saw him as a no-selling ass who was clearly pissed off at new talent (mainly guys coming from WCW) getting a shot ahead of him. If you had said to me previously that he would ever main event I would have laughed in your face.

I read someone on the forums saying “Eddie Guerrero sucked in the Radicalz, now look at him… you’ll get used to Bradshaw as champion”. Let me make a point here. Eddie Guerrero was a brilliant wrestler, and as a matter of fact did not suck in the Radicalz. That is unless you didn’t enjoy the whole hilarious Chyna storyline and Eddie’s character at the time, or his great feud with Jericho… or infact any of his other great work. Then look at Bradshaw… who had previous great work with… um… the New Age Outlaws?

I didn’t watch the Great American Bash, I’m glad I didn’t, and I never will watch it. Chances are if you did you either have money to waste or you are the type of fan who won’t be bothered about Bradshaw being champion. When I heard that Bradshaw had won I honestly felt quite deflated… For a while I was thinking “I can’t be bothered watching the WWE anymore” which for me was crap since I’ve watched it since I was a kid and although the wrestling channel allows me to watch other really good quality wrestling I don’t like to be in a situation where I just can’t watch the WWE because it’s got so bad. It’s happened a couple of times in the past, I stopped watching for about 6 months at one point during the Rock v HHH nonsense in 2000. But this is just so much worse.

No good can come of this, infact all I can see happening is more people switching off. I don’t even think the majority of smarks out there will moan about it too much… they will probably have lost all will to criticise. At least beforehand it was easy enough to pick the odd things that were going wrong, and there was a number of solutions to the problems… but here, how do you write about something that is just SO awful and SO wrong. I’ve enjoyed moaning about wrestling for years now, but this is not fun anymore. It’s too depressing. Here I have witnessed the worst thing to have ever happened in my time as a wrestling fan. Jeez, I’d even be relieved if HHH came over and won the Smackdown belt, that’s how bad it is.

So really… to summarise….. what a load of cobblers. Email me when Bradshaw loses the title, until then I don’t think I can bring myself to ever watch Smackdown again. Oh no, wait… that means I won’t get to watch Rey Mysterio v Chavo Guerrero Jr. for the millionth time. I think I may cry.

Bah. Until next time.