SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A rabid early-arriving crowd endured temperatures of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) outside Arco Arena to take in what can only be termed as a disappointing edition of “The Bash.”
Those who braved the heat, and there were many, were in for a special treat prior to the show as both Adelitas Way (who performs both the WWE Superstars theme and the new entrance music for Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes) and Rev Theory, known for performing “Light It Up”, one of the themes for WrestleMania 24 and Randy Orton’s theme “Voices”, performed for the crowd outside the arena.
Once Adelitas Way departed, Orton made his way onto the stage to an enthusiastic response, asking the crowd, “Are you ready to see me kick Triple H’s ass tonight?”
Along with “Light It Up” and “Voices”, Rev Theory also performed their hits “Hell Yeah” and “Favorite Disease.”
WWE superstars Evan Bourne (sporting a CM Punk shirt) and Jimmy Wang Yang were seen milling about the crowd, taking pictures and signing autographs for the fans.
Once the doors opened, the crowd made its way to the seats to see a dark match between R-Truth and Shelton Benjamin.
After a passionate rendition of “What’s Up” with the crowd, Truth danced his way to an easy win over his rival.
In the opening bout of the pay-per-view telecast, the crowd was much behind Tommy Dreamer’s win in the ECW Championship Scramble once it happened, but didn’t get behind him much in the match itself.
Mark Henry’s offense was well received by the crowd, especially when he threatened to jump from the top rope to the outside before being cut-off by Jack Swagger.
But the match that stole the show as the Intercontinental Championship match between Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio with Mysterio’s mask on the line if lost.
Surprisingly, a good portion of the crowd was pro-Jericho, despite being in California, Mysterio’s home state.
The match built until finally Mysterio was able to pick up the win after each wrestler failed to finish the other despite several chances. By the time it was over, the crowd was decidedly in Mysterio’s corner.
After being rundown for much of the night in the backstage area, Smackdown General Manager Theodore Long put his foot down and made a splash, adding a big match aura to the Unified Tag Team Championship match between the Colons and DiBiase and Rhodes by adding the team of Edge and Chris Jericho to the match.
The addition immediately got the crowd interested in the bout and one of the loudest reactions of the night came once Edge picked up the pinfall victory to immediately add value to the tag titles, which have been lacking a star draw for awhile now.
While the crowd did not care at all for the Women’s Title match between Melina and Michelle McCool, the crowd amped up for Jeff Hardy’s charge for the World Heavyweight Championship against CM Punk.
This one wasn’t even close, as Hardy blew Punk away in terms of reaction, as the crowd was solidly in Hardy’s corner throughout the match. While the match itself was nothing to write home about and probably won’t be remembered very long, if at all, the ending stirred the crowd up.
Referee Scott Armstrong counted Punk down for three following a Swanton Bomb, but immediately waved it off after seeing Punk’s foot under the rope. The crowd booed the decision to restart the match viciously and, after following Punk’s disqualification for kicking Armstrong following an eye poke, the crowd, encouraged by Hardy, chanted their displeasure with the decision to DQ Punk and not let the match continue.
The view from Matt Bishop’s seat at The Bash.
Although The Miz had a few supporters in the crowd for his grudge match with John Cena, the former WWE Champion got one of the biggest reactions of the night after his submission win.
While Triple H was popular with the crowd, his match “3 Stages of Hell” match with Orton fell short. One fan voiced his displeasure by holding up a sign that read “3 Stages of Boring.”
The first two stages were absolute throwaways and it was the stretcher match that would decide the contest. Despite being at the top of the card, many fans showed apathy toward the match and both Triple H and Orton, with several fans leaving the building during the match, despite it only being 7:30 p.m. local time.
Following Orton’s win, Triple H attacked Orton from behind with his sledgehammer, eliciting a rather mixed reaction from a crowd that was behind him in solid numbers.
While The Bash wasn’t much to write home about, it was still a solid live event, but only the match between Jericho and Mysterio seemed any different than anything you’d see on WWE’s weekday programming.
Matt Bishop is SLAM! Wrestling’s ECW reporter. His vacation to California will next take him to Monday’s double taping of Raw in San Jose. You can follow his journey on Twitter at twitter.com/mbish86. He can be reached at [email protected]