Vintage Vault “Pre-Viewing of Punk: The Great American Bash 2008

CM Punk vs. Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship

We continue on through the summer of 2008 and things have changed a lot in the short span of a month as Punk was now no longer a part of ECW and was now on RAW thanks to the draft, but he is now the World Heavyweight Champion thanks to a successful cash in of his Money in the Bank briefcase. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some that thought he would be the first one to fail at his cash in, but sure enough he did succeed and is now the top dog on RAW which is crazy given who else was on RAW by this point. On the other side, Batista was back on RAW after two years though he finds himself in another familiar position as challenging for the World Title which seems like it was again getting old, but at least he was now facing someone he had never faced before. Now the question was if they were going to go back to the well with Batista or would they actually give Punk a solid run with the title and give him a huge win over an established name like Batista.

On the 6/30 RAW, Jim Ross was giving his farewell address when Edge, Curt Hawkins, and Zack Ryder came out with Edge mocking Ross and he would have Hawkins and Ryder escort Ross to the back, and Edge bragged about RAW not having a World Champion or General Manager only for Batista to come out and attack him. As he headed to the back, Punk would come out with a referee and cashed in his briefcase as he would defeat Edge and win the World Heavyweight Title, and on the 7/7 RAW Vickie Guerrero came on RAW and demanded Punk relinquish the title back to Edge though he refused. JBL, John Cena, Kane, and Batista would all come out and demand a title shot as a match was made with those four men which Batista would win to become the Number One Contender, and on the 7/14 RAW Punk defeated Kane by countout and Kane would attack him afterwards until Batista made the save. He would help Punk to his feet and Punk offered a handshake which Batista refused as he said he would become champion, and he would pat Punk on the cheek and Punk shoved him back which led Batista to give him a spinebuster. While it would’ve been nice for someone else to get the title shot here, this was still a fresh matchup and it was going to be interesting to see how these two would mesh together.

Both men get a good pop from the crowd with Batista getting a slightly bigger pop than Punk though the crowd is pretty split for the whole match. The two men lock up to start with Batista backing Punk into the corner and the ref forces a break, and they lock up again with Punk hooking a headlock and Batista backs him into the ropes to force a break. Punk goes behind Batista and works the arm until Batista hits a back elbow and Punk kicks at his leg, and Punk continues to kick at his legs and ducks a shot as he pounds on Batista who catches him on a leap. Punk slides off his shoulder and Batista blocks a rollup attempt as he hits a back elbow and a snapmare, and he kicks Punk in the head for a two count and whips him into the corner only to miss a charge. Punk attempts a rollup though Batista blocks it and sits down on Punk as he grabs him by the throat and shoves him into the corner, and Punk catches him with a back elbow and hits a step up enzurgiri which sends Batista through the ropes to the outside. He hits a baseball slide that sends Batista into the barricade and then he hits a suicide dive onto Batista on the floor, and he kicks at Batista and throws him back into the ring for a two count as he hits a low dropkick to the back of Batista’s head for a two count. He kicks Batista in the back and continues to kick at him in the corner as Batista reverses a whip and sends Punk hard into the other corner, and he whips Punk hard into the corner again and hits a suplex for a two count before hooking a camel clutch on. He slams down on Punk’s back twice and pounds on his back only for Punk to catch him with a shot, and he hits a dropkick that sends Batista to the outside and Batista gets on the apron as Punk catches him with a kick. He kicks at Batista’s legs only for Batista to get a knee in and he whips Punk into the corner only for Punk to catch him with a boot to the face, and he hits a springboard crossbody on Batista for a two count and gets a kick in only for Batista to catch him on a running knee attempt. Punk pounds on Batista and escapes a Batista Bomb only for Batista to catch him in a powerslam, but Punk grabs the rope on a Batista Bomb attempt and Batista sends him over the top to the apron. Punk gets a kick in and blocks a ram into the buckle as he nails Batista and gets another pair of kicks in, and he slides back into the ring and hits the running knee on Batista in the corner only for Batista to shove him off a bulldog attempt. Punk kicks Batista in the head for a two count and hoists him onto his shoulders only for Batista to slide off, and he whips Punk into the corner and splashes him before whipping him into the other corner and he splashes him again. He puts Punk on the top rope only for Punk to block a superplex as he hooks a submission on Batista in the ropes, and he hits a springboard clothesline on Batista for a two count and hooks the Anaconda Vice on as Batista hooks a rollup for a two count which causes Punk to break the hold. Punk kicks at Batista who catches a kick attempt and Punk pounds on him only for Batista to hit a clothesline, and he hoists Punk up and drives him into the corner as he rams the shoulder into his ribs repeatedly. The ref forces a break and Punk avoids a charge as Batista rams his shoulder into the post and he falls to the floor, and Batista catches Punk on a dive and hits a spinebuster on the floor before throwing him back into the ring. Just then, Kane runs down to the ring and nails Batista from behind as he rams him into the post and hits a big boot which draws the DQ and the match ends in a draw. After the match, Kane gets in the ring and grabs Punk by the throat as he hits the Chokeslam and grabs his bag, and he starts to head to the back only to hit a cameraman with a big boot and he heads to the back. Batista rolls back into the ring as Punk celebrates with the title only for Batista to get a kick in and he hits the Batista Bomb before heading to the back.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a pretty solid match for the time they got. They heated up Punk very quickly after cashing in his briefcase and becoming champion, and I did like this story of Punk proving that he was a legit champion and Batista was a good gatekeeper as a main eventer for the last 3 years. On paper, it seemed like they wouldn’t have the best of chemistry, but they did work pretty well together as Punk used his kicks to weaken Batista and made it seem like he had a good shot. The ending was pretty weak as they were boxed into a corner as they didn’t want Batista to lose clean again, but they obviously weren’t going to take the belt off Punk so they did the double DQ and it made some sense as Kane had been involved in this as well. The crowd was pretty into the match and both men though they did side more with Batista, but they are not happy with the ending. The match ends in a double DQ and Punk escapes with the title as both men move on.

Final Grade: ***