The Bash 2009 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on June 28, 2009 at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. This was the sixth and final show in WWE's production lineage for The Great American Bash event (twentieth overall) and the only one to be referred to as The Bash. It featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands. There were eight matches on for the event's card.
The card for the event was a supercard due to it having three main attraction bouts. This included: Randy Orton defeating Triple H in a 3 Stages of Hell match to retain the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk getting disqualified against Jeff Hardy, and John Cena defeating The Miz in the first official encounter between the two. The undercard for the show featured five matches: ECW Champion Tommy Dreamer defending his title against Christian, Jack Swagger, Finlay, and Mark Henry in a Championship Scramble match, Chris Jericho wagering the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Rey Mysterio's mask, Dolph Ziggler versus The Great Khali in a No Disqualification match, The Colóns defending the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship against The Legacy and Edge and Chris Jericho, and Michelle McCool challenging Melina for the WWE Women's Championship.
The event had 178,000 buys, down on The Great American Bash 2008 figure of 196,000 buys.
The Bash featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, ECW and WWE Superstars—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated into a wrestling match or series of matches. All wrestlers were from WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to a television program of the same name.
The primary rivalry from SmackDown was over the World Heavyweight Championship. Three weeks prior at Extreme Rules, CM Punk invoked his guaranteed title match, which he received from winning the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXV, and defeated Jeff Hardy to win the title. The two had tense confrontations in the coming weeks, which resulted in a match between the two for the championship being announced for the Bash on the June 15 episode of Raw by SmackDown general manager, Theodore Long.
After winning the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules, Batista was assaulted on the succeeding episode of Raw by former champion, Randy Orton, incapacitating Batista and leading to him vacating his title due to a legitimate tear in his Biceps brachii muscle. On the following edition of Raw, a Fatal Four-Way match was held to determine the new champion, which featured Orton, Triple H, John Cena, and The Big Show. Orton won the match, and it was later announced by the owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon, that the next man to face Orton for the title would be the winner of a 10-man battle royal; Triple H won the match, and became the number one contender. It was also announced on this episode of Raw by storyline owner, Donald Trump, that the title would be defended the next week on Raw between the two in a Last Man Standing match, match that has both wrestlers attempt to incapacitate their opponent for a count of ten; the winner would go into The Bash with the title, defending against the other. The match ended in a draw when neither man was able to answer the referee's ten-count; Orton retained the championship as a result. Later in the show, Mr. McMahon acquired Raw back from Trump with his first act back in control being to change the match between Orton and Triple H at The Bash to a two-out-of-three falls match, dubbed "Three Stages of Hell", consisting of a singles match, Falls Count Anywhere, and a stretcher match for the first, second, and third falls respectively.
For the two months before the event, Christian, Tommy Dreamer, and Jack Swagger had been in constant conflict with each other over the ECW Championship with Christian defeating Swagger at Backlash and Judgment Day, and Dreamer defeating both at Extreme Rules. In the wake of their conflict, Finlay (Dave Finlay) inserted himself into the rivalry on the June 16 episode of ECW on Sci Fi by attacking all three men. It was announced following the program that the four wrestlers, along with Mark Henry, would participate in a Championship Scramble match at The Bash.
Following Rey Mysterio retaining the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho at Judgment Day, Jericho had begun moral crusade, accusing Mysterio of being dishonest to the fans for wearing his mask, not showing his true face; he assaulted him after posing as a fan in the crowd wearing one of Mysterio's masks. This led to another match between the two at Extreme Rules, in which Jericho won the title after removing Mysterio's mask. On the June 19 episode of SmackDown, it was announced that the Intercontinental title would be defended at The Bash in a match where if Mysterio were to lose, he would remove his mask.
Since being drafted to Raw in April, The Miz had been making challenges to John Cena. These were generally made after Cena either had been injured or was already in a match, leading to The Miz claiming victory by forfeit. This would continue until The Miz accumulated a record of 7-0. After some confrontations, as well as an ambush by The Miz with a steel chair as a weapon, on the June 22 episode of Raw, it was announced Cena and The Miz would officially meet in a match at The Bash.
Prior to the show airing live on pay per view, the crowd in attendance was shown an untelevised match match pitting R-Truth against Shelton Benjamin, which saw the former defeat the latter by pinfall.
The show commenced with the ECW Championship Scramble match. The match would start with two wrestlers competing for three minutes with another wrestler entering every three minutes thereafter; when a wrestler scores a decision over another, they are declared the interim champion for the time being, and would only lose the distinction if another wrestler scores a decision after them. Whoever was the interim champion as the time limit expired would be named the official champion, thus winning the match. The first two competitors were Christian and Jack Swagger before the entrance of Finlay. Swagger became the first interim champion by pinning Finlay after exploiting his legitimately scratched cornea; Finlay eventually retaliated by hoisting Swagger onto his shoulder, driving his head to the mat with the move he calls the Celtic Cross. When incumbent champion Tommy Dreamer and Mark Henry entered the match, Henry became the interim title holder by pinning Dreamer, only to have Swagger regain the distinction by pinning Henry following a body press from the corner. As the time limit was set to expire, Dreamer grabbed Christian with a facelock, and executed a DDT before pinning his opponent. As the final minute of the match progressed, Dreamer spent the time preventing the four other men from scoring a decision before winning the match and retaining the title.
Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio's match for the Intercontinental title followed; the contest was kept at a fast pace, leading to Jericho going to the floor of the arena surrounding the ring to have his opponent dive onto him from the top turnbuckle with a body block called the seated senton. As the move also damaged Mysterio, Jericho gained control, whipping the challenger into the guardrail surrounding the ring before returning the action to the ring; Mysterio regained his momentum to take down Jericho with a backflip press following two bounces off the top rope. The match continued with both men countering each other's signature maneuvers in attempts to score a pin. Mysterio gained the upper hand by dropkicking the champion onto the bottom rope in an attempt to execute his signature kick that has him swing through the ropes, the 619; once connected, Jericho quicklt regained composure, stopping the challenger's momentum, applying his signature submission hold, the Walls of Jericho; Mysterio struggled out of the position, leading to an exchange of surprise pin attempts. The match came to an end when Jericho made an attempt to remove his opponent's mask, only to see another one in its place, leading to Mysterio taking advantage of the confusion by executing the 619 again before jumping off the rope, performing a body press to pin his opponent, winning the title and retaining his mask.
Third on the card was the No Disqualification match between Dolph Ziggler and The Great Khali stemming from weeks of inconclusive finishes in their matches together; this stipulation would guarantee a winner without any dispute, as all paraphernalia was legal to use. The match quickly went to the arena floor with both men trying to gain control of a steel chair to use as a weapon. Kane made his return in this match by assaulting Khali with the chair before Ziggler made a pin to win the match.
The following match was between The Colóns (Carlito and Primo) and The Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship. As the match was about to proceed, after being pressured by Vince McMahon to improve the quality of SmackDown, Theodore Long announced another team would be inserted into the match, making it a triple threat match; the team would be Chris Jericho and Edge. The match centered around The Colóns and The Legacy isolating themselves for the most part before Edge managed to tag himself into the match as Carlito went to pin Rhodes, but due to Edge tagging Rhodes, the match continued for Edge to connect with a tackle referred to as a spear to Carlito, pinning him, and winning the titles.
Melina would next defend the WWE Women's Championship against Michelle McCool. The match focused around McCool attacking her opponent's leg with her associate, Alicia Fox, inhibiting Melina. As the champion went to wrap her legs around the challenger's torso, McCool positioned her adversary between her legs and drove her upper body into the mat with her finishing maneuver dubbed the Faith Breaker, to garner the pinfall victory, winning the title.
Main event matches
The first of three matches billed as the main event was the World Heavyweight Championship match between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy. The match was wrestled at a fast pace as the two exchanged a series of holds and kicks. As Punk was about to deliver a knee to the face in the form of a finishing move called the Go To Sleep (GTS), Hardy maneuvered his way down from the position to grab Punk with a facelock. Hardy then twisted his arm around to perform his own move called the Twist of Fate, dropping Punk to the mat on his face; the challenger followed up on his attack by ascending the top turnbuckle where he dove off and connected with a flipping body block called the Swanton bomb; Hardy then covered his opponent and got the pin. Though it appeared initially that he won the title, the referee soon discovered Punk's foot was under the bottom rope (the ropes neutralize any offense and null any pin attempts), causing the match to continue. As the competitors continued to fight, Punk performed a roundhouse kick on the referee, causing him to get disqualified, thus retaining the title. Following the match, a frustrated Hardy assaulted the champion, leading to the two being pulled apart by the referee and other officials.
John Cena and The Miz had their first official match together next. Cena was able to beat down on his opponent quickly before using the Attitude Adjustment before using the STF to make the Miz submit.
The main event of the evening was the 3 Stages of Hell match. In the first match, a Singles match, Triple H was disqualified after hitting Orton with a chair, giving Orton a victory, therefore leading the series. The next fall was Falls Count Anywhere, which allows a wrestler to score a victory over their opponent anywhere in the arena. Triple H won this decision with little effort after attacking Orton with the chair he was previously disqualified for using, followed by a pin on the floor of the arena after a Pedigree on the outside, tying the series, leading to the Stretcher match. Triple H tried to end the match early by wheeling the champion over the yellow line on the stage that signified the end of the match only to have Orton slide off, leading to a brawl between the two on the stage. The momentum shifted to Orton's favor as he caught the challenger on the stretcher before performing a DDT from the structure onto the entrance ramp. The fight went back up to the stage with Triple H driving Orton's face into the structure whilst holding the arms with a move called the Pedigree, followed by loading the stretcher with Orton until Orton's two protégés, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, interfered, preventing Triple H from winning by distracting him to have Orton attack him, put him on the stretcher, and carried him across the finishing line to win the match.
On the edition of Raw following The Bash, it was announced that the general manager position for the Raw brand would be eradicated and replaced with a new weekly special guest host role. Batista was then announced as the first person to be special guest host. In his position, Batista announced the WWE Championship would be defended at the July event, Night of Champions; the competitor who would face Orton would be determined by the winner of the tournament that commenced that night. The semi-finals saw Triple H defeat Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) and John Cena defeat The Miz to advance to the finals of the tournament to be held on the July 6 edition of Raw.
Following his match, on the July 2 episode of Superstars, CM Punk revealed he suffered a (storyline) eye injury at The Bash; after a match with Edge that caused him to forfeit due to extra damage inflicted in the match. Punk claimed the reason he struck the referee because he was unable to see who his target was. Hardy continued after Punk, leading to the announcement the two would meet at Night of Champions for the title.
The show was rated as merely average by wrestling journalists. Canadian Online Explorer had analyst, Brian Elliott, review the show; he would comment that the show "failed to live up to expectations, largely due to bad booking." This criticism was built around what he had felt to be the inability of the company's creative writers to showcase effective segments and matches. Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, wrote a real-time commentary during the event; he was disappointed by a few moments in the show, but still saw the wrestling as a positive, particularly the main event, but said it was "nothing compared to their match (Triple H and Orton had) on Monday and this was the one you were paying for."
A seemingly-universal praise for the event from critics came in their commentary of the WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho. Elliott dubbed this the "Match of the Night", giving it a rating of 8/10. James Caldwell, an editor for the Pro Wrestling Torch, commended the effort of both men for the overall quality of their rivalry over the past few months leading up to this encounter, saying to the two had "great chemistry". Meltzer called it "one of the better WWE matches this year."
The most noteworthy criticism of the show came from John Cena's match with The Miz. Wade Keller, editor of the Torch, who also wrote a report for the show, said the encounter "was pretty much the worst finish possible" with the logic of his criticism being that it was not helping to elevate the status of The Miz as a viable competitor. Despite the favorable reviews of 3 Stages of Hell, Keller would refer to it as "stale" due to how many times prior to the show these two wrestled.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: R-Truth defeated Shelton Benjamin
- Tommy Dreamer defeated Christian, Finlay, Mark Henry and Jack Swagger in a championship scramble match for the ECW Championship (14:46)
- Swagger pinned Finley
- Finley pinned Swagger
- Henry pinned Dreamer
- Swagger pinned Henry
- Dreamer pinned Christian
- Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a title vs. mask match (15:42)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated The Great Khali (w/ Ranjin Singh) in a no-DQ match (5:00)
- Edge & Chris Jericho defeated The Legacy (Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase) & The Colons (Carlito & Primo) (c) in a Triple Threat Match to win the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship (9:39)
- Michelle McCool (w/ Alicia Fox) defeated Melina (c) to win the WWE Women's Championship (6:33)
- Jeff Hardy defeated CM Punk (c) by DQ in a World Heavyweight Championship Match (14:58)
- John Cena defeated The Miz (5:39)
- Randy Orton (c) defeated Triple H by 2 falls to 1 to retain the WWE Championship in a three stages of hell match (21:21)
Other on-screen talent
- The Bash 2009 Official Website
- The Bash 2009 at CAGEMATCH.net
- The Bash 2009 at Online World of Wrestling
- The Bash 2009 on WWE Network
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