As the new year begins, we're all taking a large breathe before the Road to WrestleMania™ begins with the Royal Rumble. While we wait, why not take a jump back to our Quixo-WWE universe (trademark pending, #quixotine) that we started with Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37. I will warn you, dear reader - we now have what's called "continuity" so please go back and catch up with our version of the Show of Shows™ - you'll be glad(?) that you did.
So what's the set-up here? You saw the title - why are we doing the Great American Bash, an old WCW show? It was most recently used by NXT last year as a two-week event that saw Keith Lee win the NXT title from Adam Cole before losing it a month-ish later to Karrion Kross (who was injured in the match and vacated the title). Before that it was the one WCW show name brought back by WWE and used in their monthly PPV rotation from 2004-2009 (though renamed "The Bash" in 2009), and before that it was a WCW/NWA fixture from 1985-2000 acting as the SummerSlam to Starrcade's WrestleMania, in both cases before the WWE's versions.
In short - it's a solid go-to show name with sweet delicious history.
We primarily cover WWE shows here at Quixotronic but we do also enjoy all of the wrestling, including All Elite Wrestling and Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA Wrestling). For those not watching either of those shows, some quick history - when everyone went into #quixotine last spring, WWE was not the only organization to jump straight into empty arena shows - AEW (via the Khan family-owned Daily's Place in Jacksonville, FL and their partnership with TNT) and Impact (via Skyway Studios in Nashville, TN and by way of being owned by television channel AXS) were both able to continue programming "as usual" while other smaller brands like Ring of Honor, Major League Wrestling, and Quixo-favorite the National Wrestling Alliance had to stop shows all together.
While WWE/NXT dables in "inter-promotional" material from time to time (primarily during Survivor Series), AEW and Impact both jumped in head-first recently on the December 2nd Dynamite when Kenny Omega defeated AEW Champion Jon Moxley for the title and immedietly ran out of the arena with his newly-won belt and his friend Don Callis who was a guest on commentary by Omega's request. The odd thing? Don Callis is the co-Excutive Vice President of Impact Wrestling. The next week, AEW Champion Kenny Omega showed up on the December 8th Impact on AXS.
Since arriving in Impact, AEW Champion Kenny Omega and Don Callis, the Invisible Hand™ of wrestling have made their mission clear - they are changing wrestling and have been for years. It was Callis and Omega who called not-under-contract Chris Jericho in 2017 about a match with Omega at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January 2018. That injected Jericho, Le Champion, into the world outside of WWE. Their match helped spark interest for Tony Khan to team with Jericho, Omega, and the Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) to form All Elite Wrestling while Callis continued on commentary for both NJPW and Impact the following year. See? It was Callis and Omega the whole time!
But what if they're mission continued into what we would call impossible territory? What if they were able to bring WWE into it? What if AEW Champion Kenny Omega stepped into the Thunderdome on WWE television? What would cause WWE to even allow that to happen?
Part, the first: the behind-the-scenes set-up.
Wrestling is a business, and because of the #quixotine, business has been... different? Let's pretend that our Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 happened (seriously, read it first) as proposed - we were still in the Thunderdome in a two-night affair because we still weren't doing live shows. But let's pretend optimistically (very very optimistically) that in the two months after that, by June 2021, enough people were vacinated to allow for a live show. WWE, I don't think we have to pretend, would make a huge fucking show of it with all of the fireworks and all of the ga-ga and it would be very pro-America because we as Americans beat this thing and we're going to celebrate.
A "bash" for a "great America," if you will. But not that kind of G**** A******, that's bad. Side-note: WWE Hall of Famer D***** T**** has been expelled from the not-actually-a-physical-thing WWE Hall of Fame and replaced by long-overdue-celebrity Andy Kaufman. You're welcome.
Once things are looking good for live shows to come back, WWE books a huge thank-you show at Tropicana Field baseball stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, original site for this year's WWE Royal Rumble 2021 even when booked in the before-times, and current home of the WWE ThunderDome.* Only now, we're letting in fans instead of screens.
*Fun fact: when the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team briefly used Tropicana Field from 1993-1996, it was known as the "ThunderDome". That makes this ThunderDome a ThunderDome within a ThunderDome. A Tur-thunderdome-ken. The more you know.
Now let's imagine that AEW and Impact have been working with each other for about 6 months at this point, and Kenny Omega has defeated Rich Swann to become the Impact World Champion along with his AEW World title. Don Callis and Tony Khan both meet with Triple H and it is somehow agreed that as a thank you to America, they will do a one-time-only show with all three promotions at Tropicana Field because Vince McMahon fell asleep or something. I have no good idea why Vince would allow this other than death so we're just going to say he's letting Triple H handle this... for reasons? Money reasons. That'll do, pig.
Part, the second: the on-screen set-up.
With the "behind the scenes" reasoning vaguely taken care of - what happens on television? To briefly catch AEW and Impact up to Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 time (again, please read it if you've made it this far)...
On Impact television, at their Hard to Kill show in early January, Kenny Omega and Impact Tag Team Champions the Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson), all former Bullet Club-members now "taking the name back" defeat Impact World Champion Rich Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin). Deonna Purrazzo and TJP retain their Impact Knockouts title and Impact X-Division title respectively while Jazz & Jordynne Grace are crowned the new Impact Knockouts Tag Team champions. The next month at their Sacrifice PPV, Deonna Purrazzo and Jazz/Grace both retain again (against Tenille Dashwood and Taya Valkyrie/Rosemary) while TJP loses his X-Division title to former champion Chris Bey while "TNA World Champion" Moose loses his chance at Rich Swann's Impact World title when Kenny Omega attacks Swann causing the DQ. Moose, currently claiming to be the TNA World Champion having pulled the belt out of storage, is not happy.
On AEW television, as we saw recently the Young Bucks have signed back up with Bullet Club along with Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers, all backed by Don Callis. At this point they're out right calling themselves Bullet Club again even though it gets bleeped every time they say it since the name is owned by New Japan Pro Wrestling. At February's Revolution, Omega retains his AEW World title against PAC, Darby Allin retains his AEW TNT title against Ricky Starks, Britt Baker finally captures the AEW Women's title from Hikaru Shida, and the Young Bucks retain their AEW Tag Team titles against both John Silver & Alex Reynolds and Evil Uno & Stu Grayson, all of the Dark Order in a brief feud-for-power after Brodie Lee/Luke Harper's far-too-soon death.
That gets all three shows roughly to the same place by April 2021.
Futher on AEW & Impact television, as mentioned, Kenny Omega defeats Rich Swann to add the Impact World title to his collection. This heats up things between the two companies so that Chris Bey defends his X-Division title at AEW's Double or Nothing 2021 show in May and loses the title to Jungle Boy - now AEW has two of Impact's titles. Omega retain against Colt Cabana in what should be a feel good match but Omega is full-asshole now, Allin retains against Scorpio Sky, Baker retains against Kris Statlander, and the Young Bucks retain against Death Triangle members Pentagon Jr & Rey Fenix. In good news for Impact, Chris Bey is able to regain his (and Impact's) X-Division title from Jungle Boy on an episode of Impact, and better still, Impact's Taya Valkyrie defeats Britt Baker for the AEW Women's title, giving Impact control of all the women's titles between the two promotions. AEW and Impact are fully intangled.
Part, the third: the not-quite Invasion.
And then it happens - Omega and Callis, now drunk with power, show up to the (new) ThunderDome on WWE Smackdown in early June 2021. After bragging about how WWE was too stupid to ever deactivate the Good Brothers' credentials allowing them to "sneak" in, Omega gets to the pont - he has two titles and wants to show that he is the Best in the World. WWE security tries to get rid of them but Don Roman and The Family stop them - he would like to hear them out. The Usos, Seth Rollins, Rikishi, and the entire Bloodline of Tamina, Nia Jax and Naomi (who have been traded to Smackdown at Roman's pleasure), destroy WWE's security leaving Roman alone in the ring with Omega and Callis.
While Omega respects what Roman has done with his one show, and being on national television is top notch, Omega has been all over the world in multiple organizations. He's been collecting proof that he is the Best Bout Machine. Roman Reigns is good, he's the champion of the “universe" (very heavy finger quotes here) but that is still one belt. In fact, it's not even the top belt in his company - he shares that distinction with Raw's Drew McIntyre! He has half the top belts of his one company, while Omega has two top belts from two different companies. Three if we're counting his AAA Mega Championship!
Roman must admit, Omega has the quantity, but defiantly disagrees that he has the quality. And so, with Roman speaking for WWE, Omega speaking for AEW, and Callis speaking for Impact, they agree to Callis's suggestion of having a series of challenges not unlike WWE's Survivor Series - champions against champions - at the first show for all three companies to allow fans in-person again. It's what Triple H would call "Best for Business."
Four matches are easily set - tag team champions, women's champions, secondary men's champions, and the world champions. For the other matches, Triple H, Khan, and Callis agree that each brand (Raw, Smackdown, AEW, and Impact) will allow two of their superstars each to pick a challenge against another brand's superstars, giving us 8 additional matches (WWE via both Raw and Smackdown get 4 picks due to allowing the use of the ThunderDome). May the best promotion win.
As for the "challenges," they are determined somehow, it doesn't matter. Picked to make these "challenges" are Bobby Lashley and Nikki Cross of WWE Raw, Bayley and Seth Rollins of WWE Smackdown, Cody Rhodes and PAC of AEW, and Moose and the Motor City Machine Guns of Impact.
Who will survive!?
Quick note - while Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 happened as described, I am adding an addition - Randy Orton wasn't involved in WM37 due to the Fanboy Fantasy version of his Firefly Funhouse match proposed in our WWE TLC 2020 preview/fantasy booking - just assume he was "saved" by the Undertaker in the epilogue along with AJ Styles and John Cena (for fuck's sake read the damn article!). At this point however, only AJ Styles has reappeared on television post-Firefly Funhouse. Randy Orton and Edge (along with Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman, and their savior Undertaker) are all still missing.
Continuity is exausting and the best.
WWE/AEW/Impact Great American Bash Pre-Show Matches
NXT/ROH Confrontation (on NXT on USA)
Fanboy Fantasy: The recently-crowned NXT Champion Karrion Kross, along with Scarlett, begins the last NXT before the Great American Bash with some... complaints. NXT, for some reason, has been left out of this grand wrestling gesture to the fans - not that he cares what they think (cheap heat!). NXT has been left out of this show, out of last year's Survivor Series, and the Raw/Smackdown brand draft. All NXT got was a few WWE leftovers after WrestleMania and the theft of some of their homegrown talent being "promoted" to Raw and Smackdown. Plus, the most recent cast off, the man he beat for this very title, Finn Balor - he hasn't been seen since Kross beat him weeks ago. Because NXT will get the respect it deserves, he calls out Ring of Honor Champion Brody King and he wants to see him in the Capital Wrestling Center: right. now. Kross and Scarlett stare at the entryway when from behind MLW Champion Jacob Fatu and his Contra Unit group rush the ring and attack the NXT Champion. Thankfully King makes the save and helps fight off Contra Unit, only for Kross to turn on him immedietly like the snake he is. A three-way dance is set for the main event: Brody King vs Jacob Fatu vs Karrion Kross. It ends quickly when Contra Unit again swarms the ring. Ring of Honor's PCO and the Briscoes try to make a save, but it's a mess. No contest. Security escorts all MLW and ROH superstars out of the CWC. Maybe next year, right?
Your winner: n/a
Great American Bash Score: MLW 0, NXT 0, ROH 0
Men's Battle Royal (on AEW Dynamite on TNT)
Fanboy Fantasy: AEW Dynamite hosts a men's battle royal while airing at the same time as NXT's NXT/MLW/ROH battle - maybe that's a factor in NXT being excluded? Shrug emoji? Basically every man not taken up in a "challenge" match is in this match and it's done under AEW's Casino Battle Royale rules - every three minutes, eight wrestlers are sent into the ring. It's a giant hour-long mess with admittedly quick eliminations. Smackdown's Cesaro is set-up up quickly as the iron man of the match, coming in with the first group (along with Smackdown's Dolph Ziggler, Raw's Dominik Dijakovic and Drew Gulak, Impact's Brian Myers and Ace Austin, and AEW's Darius Martin (formerly Mondo Lucha's Air Wolf!) and Christopher Daniels). Cesaro and Daniels go the distance and work their way through everyone until a final four including both of them, Raw's new 2021 Money-in-the-Bank holder Andrade (though Miz still has his current 2020 briefcase from last year as well), and Impact's former champion Rich Swann. Cesaro eliminates Andrade while Swann surprises Daniels with an elimination before Cesaro takes care of Swann. Cesaro wins the match and brings the first "point" to WWE, quickly scaring the internet into assuming WWE is going to run right through everyone else. But also, good things for Cesaro? Please, I want good things for Cesaro.
Your winner: Cesaro
Great American Bash Score: AEW 0, Impact 0, WWE 1
Women's Battle Royal (on WWE Smackdown on FOX)
Fanboy Fantasy: Two nights later, WWE Smackdown holds a woman's battle royal, though this time under WWE's Royal Rumble rules with one woman out every thirty seconds (to speed it up a bit but still easily takes the second half of the show). Your iron woman of the night is AEW's Serena Deeb who recently lost her the NWA Worlds Women's title back to Thunder Rosa. Your final four include Deeb, current NWA Worlds Womens champion Thunder Rosa who's been wrestling on AEW Dark, Smackdown's Rhea Ripley (spoilers for the call-ups Karrion Kross made reference to?), and Raw's Shayna Baszler. These four have all of the tension, as Ripley also ended Baszler's nearly one-and-a-half year run with the NXT Women's title. The ending isn't as clean as the men's battle royal - Baszler and Ripley eliminate eachother and need to be separated by FOX referees once they're on the outside, and Deeb/Rosa go a solid 10 minutes on the top television show of a promotion that neither belong to. With both on the apron, Rosa is able to finally knock Deeb out of the ring, bringing the next "point" to AEW. Thunder Rosa celebrates in the middle of the ring with her NWA Worlds Women's title, its image blurred by FOX, as the credits roll.
Your winner: Thunder Rosa
Great American Bash Score: AEW 1, Impact 0, WWE 1
WWE/AEW/Impact Great American Bash 2021
World Women's Champions 8-Woman Tag-Team Challenge: Asuka (WWE Raw ©), Bianca Belair (WWE Smackdown ©), Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott (WWE Tag Team ©) vs Deonna Purrazzo (Impact ©), Taya Valkyrie (AEW ©), Jazz & Jordynne Grace (Impact Tag Team ©)
Fanboy Fantasy: Since Impact Wrestling controls all of the non-WWE women's titles, it's quickly agreed on an 8-woman tag-team match. Readers may remember that Zelina Vega walked out of Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 with the WWE Smackdown Women's title, but since then she lost the title back to former-champion Bianca Belair (we'll call it unfortunate correction as she was recently terminated, stupidly, by WWE). Both teams work like well-oiled machines with refreshingly no friction between any of the champions - it's just a solid 15-minute multi-person tag-team match. Jazz and Grace are able to take down Ruby Riott before Valkyrie tags herself in to steal the pin for Team Impact. On Commentary (an unruly four-man booth of Smackdown's Michael Cole, AEW's Tazz, Raw's Samoa Joe, and Impact's Madison Rayne), Tazz quickly argues that as AEW Women's champion that AEW should receive a point as well. Narrator: it does not.
Your winner: Taya Valkyrie (w/ Deonna Purrazzo, Jazz, & Jordynne Grace)
Great American Bash Score: AEW 1, Impact 1, WWE 1
RAW-picked Challenge: Bobby Lashley (WWE Raw) vs Ken Shamrock (Impact)
Fanboy Fantasy: In our first "challenge" match, Bobby Lashley easily won the honor on Raw and Hurt Business manager MVP put it simply: Lashley defeated one MMA legend in Brock Lensar at Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 and before The All-Mighty Bobby Lashley complete his destiny in becoming WWE World Champion, he wants another MMA legend: Impact's Ken Shamrock. Over on Impact, Shamrock quickly agreed and tries to make it a cage match, though the request is denied. Shamrock enters flanked by his ally Sami Callihan while Lashley has the entire Hurt Business. Benjamin, Alexander, and MVP surround Callihan the whole time allowing no interference. Lashley and Shamrock start slow and work a very submission-heavy match. Honestly it's a little boring? After several rest spots, Lashley comes out of no-where with the Full Nelson, locking it in for three long minutes. Shamrock, refusing to tap, passes out and the referee calls the match for Lashley. MPV allows Callihan to slide in and check on Shamrock after the match, but when Callihan tries to attack Lashley mid-pose, Benjamin and Alexander swoop in and take care of business. Business is a-boomin'. WWE takes the lead.
Your winner: Bobby Lashley
Great American Bash Score: AEW 1, Impact 1, WWE 2
Impact-picked Challenge: FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood of AEW) vs Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin of WWE Raw) vs Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin of Impact) vs Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford of WWE Smackdown)
Fanboy Fantasy: After Shamrock and Callihan are helped out of the ring, Lashley joins MVP on the outside as Alexander and Benjamin get ready for their challenge match - a tag team special hand-picked by Impact's Motor City Machine Guns who have been on the front-line of the new Bullet Club's invasion of Impact Wrestling. This match goes not nearly as long as one may want, though Hurt Business, Motor City, and Street Profits all bring the flips that FTR actively works against. Unfortunately for the Machine Guns and the Street Profits, the match is very quickly about the othjer two teams while they spend too long on the outside out of the spotlight. Though MVP and Lashley are able to corner FTR's manager Tully Blanchard for most of the match, Tully is still sneaky enough to distract Shelton Benjamin to fall into FTR's Big Rig (formerly the Shatter Machine in WWE and Goodnight Express in AEW, renamed in honor of Brodie Lee/Luke Harper) for the win. FTR shake the hands of both the Street Profits and Motor City Machine Guns, but stare a hole into MVP and his business before offering their hands. After a tense moment the handshakes are accepted, MVP hillariously scares Tully enough to run out of the arena. AEW ties up with WWE.
Your winner: FTR
Great American Bash Score: AEW 2, Impact 1, WWE 2
AEW-picked Challenge: Chad Gable, Daniel Bryan, & Kevin Owens (WWE Smackdown) vs Death Triangle (PAC, Pentagon Jr, & Rey Fenix, AEW)
Fanboy Fantasy: PAC won the right to choose a challenge on AEW Dynamite, and along with his Death Triangle compatriots very quickly chose Daniel Bryan. Bryan can bring whomever he wants to face him and Death Triangle, but he wants the American Dragon. Bryan, who has been working part-time since before Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 and has been primarily coaching his son*** Chad Gable. The two tap Kevin Owens as their third and we're off to the races. Bryan and PAC start the match and spend the first 10 minutes with eachother refusing tags from their partners. Finally Pentagon Jr forceably tags himself in and the match evens out with all particpants taking part. Every time Bryan tags in, PAC forces himself into the match until Pentagon decides to just ignore him. The Lucha Brothers spend the rest of the match facing the other three until Pentagon Jr is able to hit the Pentagon Driver on Bryan for the win. PAC leaps at Pentagon immedietly for stealing his pin but Fenix is able to calm him down. Later on the next Dynamite, Pentagon explains that PAC had fear of Daniel Bryan. The Lucha Brothers operate under Zero Fear. Now that Bryan is out of the way, PAC also has Zero Fear. Death Triangle is all equal. PAC agrees. For now. AEW picks up its third win.
Your winner: Pentagon Jr (w/ PAC, Rey Fenix)
Great American Bash Score: AEW 3, Impact 1, WWE 2
Men's Tag Team Champions 8-Man Tag-Team Challenge: Bullet Club (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson, Impact ©, Matt & Nick Jackson, AEW ©) vs New Day (Kofi Kington & Xavier Woods, WWE Raw ©) & The Family (Jey & Jimmy Uso, WWE Smackdown ©)
Fanboy Fantasy: The second champions match is another 8-man tag team match as the Bullet Club obviously isn't going to fight each other, so this forces rivals the New Day and the Usos to team together. As you may remember from our trip to Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37, these two have some history, even in our Quixo-WWE universe. Bullet Club comes out first all together, followed by the Usos flanked by Don Roman, followed by all three members of the New Day. Roman excuses himself to the back while staring daggers into Big E, but E stays to cheer on his boys. Matt Jackson and Xavier Woods start the match, finally giving us New Day/Young Bucks even if Big E and Kenny Omega aren't actually in the match. Jackson appears to be having fun with Woods for the first minute or two until his mood changes and he hits a quick superkick and tags in the big Doc Gallows. The match goes downhill from there for WWE as the Bullet Club works cohesively and New Day/Usos struggle to work together. Big E tries to pep talk both teams and things start looking up for for a few minutes until commentator Samoa Joe mentions there's some commotion on the side of the ring - Big E is attacked by former NXT Champion Finn Balor! Balor, in full gear, rams Big E into the stairs, points his dick at him, hits him with a slingblade, and then hops onto the Bullet Club's corner. Balor tags in but the referee tries to stop it. While they argue, Kofi hits Balor from behind and tells the ref that Big E is in the match too so make the damn tag legal. The ref gives up and allows it as Big E climbs up to the WWE corner. As soon as he gives the go-ahead, Kofi tags E in and Big E goes right for Balor, but Balor slides to his corner and tags Nick Jackson in. Big E wrecks Jackson quickly and literally throws him back at Bullet Club and demands Balor back. Doc Gallows steps back in and evens the match out. As Big E tries to power through Gallows, the Young Bucks and Balor rush the other end and take out both the Usos and New Day causing a big brawl that the ref can only ignore. That leaves Gallows and Anderson with time to hit Big E with the Magic Killer - and he kicks out. That was not the plan. This allows New Day & Usos to rally and beat back the Bucks and Balor. And now we hit the portion when the clusterfuck moves into the ring and tags fly all willy nilly. Usos hit the Samoan Drop/Diving Splash on Anderson, kick out. The Bucks hit a Superkick Party and Meltzer Driver on Jimmy Uso, saved by Woods. New Day hit Up Up Down Down on Matt Jackson, saved by Balor. Balor hits the 1916 on Big E, kick out on his own. Big hits the Big Ending on Balor, kick out on his own. Finally the Good Brothers catch Woods in another Magic Killer for the pin. As the Bullet Club celebrate, Samoa Joe slides in the ring with a microphone and confronts Balor - why has he joined AEW and Impact Wrestling? Why has he betrayed WWE? Joe and Balor won the first Dusty Rhodes Classic - why, Balor, why? But Samoa Joe knows, as does everyone else. The Bullet Club is back, and the Prince is back with the group that he started. The Prince goes where he wants, when he wants. His brothers know it, and now we know it. They all too-sweet eachother, and then beat the crap out of Samoa Joe before the New Day can make the save. As the Good Brothers are contacted by Impact, they get the point.
Your winner: The Good Brothers (w/ the Young Bucks & Finn Balor)
Great American Bash Score: AEW 3, Impact 2, WWE 2
Smackdown-picked Challenge: Jon Moxley (AEW) vs Seth Rollins (WWE Smackdown)
Fanboy Fantasy: Seth Rollins has been working for Roman Reigns as his foreign hitman since before Quixo-WrestleMania 37 but is still a delusional cult leader with no cult. Roman (clearly to the viewers) keeps Rollins at arms length while the rest of The Family is comprised of Samoans. While it’s not exactly a new match by any stretch of the imagination, Rollins earns a pick and challenges AEW’s Dean Ambrose (during his on-air challenge, Paul Heyman whispers that his name is Jon Moxley now but Rollins grins and ignores him). For Rollins, he and Roman are best friends again, but Ambrose left. Rollins, as the Family’s hitman, will remind Ambrose why he should come home and be who he truly is. Over on Dynamite, Moxley accepts - but not for the reasons Rollins thinks. Rollins wants to remind him who he is? Baby, Mox has been who he truly is for two blood-filled years now and he can never be “Dean Ambrose” again. And while he’s finally free, he still sees Rollins and Reigns as his brothers. Seth has it backwards though - it’s Rollins that has become a shell of himself. A character. A cult leader? Because an demonic children’s host beat you up? But you’re also a hitman? No more - he’ll bring the Architect back, kicking and screaming and bleeding and dying if needed. Brothers fight together and die together. Moxley counter-challenges for a hardcore match, which Rollins doesn’t actually accept though a contract comes in pre-match with his “signature“ on it. Moxley goes to absolute town on Rollins - every time Rollins gains a minute of offense, Moxley gets five minutes more. As the two very quickly fight to the back and throughout the ThunderDome backstage areas, it can be overheard that Rollins is still calling Mox “Dean” to the point where Moxley starts jokingly calling Rollins “Tyler” (Rollins worked as "Tyler Black" in Ring of Honor). The finale sees the two fight their way into The Family’s dressing room - the Bloodline get ready to attack but Don Roman tells them to stand down and leave. Moxley starts beating on Rollins while staring down Roman who remains calmly seated. While punching him over and over and over, Rollins finally asks Roman to help him - but Don Roman again remains calmly seated. Moxley, now frustrated over Roman doing nothing, hits the Paradigm Shift and pins Rollins for the win. While Rollins can be heard softly crying off screen, Moxley turns back to Roman. “This isn’t you, Roman. I don’t know what all of this is, but it’s not you. I like your focus, but you need to stop. That man right there? He’s not your lackey, your ’hitman.’ That is your brother. My brother. And he needed help, just like when you did. Just like when I did. Fix it.” Don Roman finally stands up and smiles. “It was nice to see you again, Dean. Congrats on your win.” Roman extends a very half-hearted fist before quickly thinking better of it, and walks out. Moxley wipes Rollins blood off his fist.
Your winner: Jon Moxley
Great American Bash Score: AEW 4, Impact 2, WWE 2
Men's Champions 4-Man Challenge: Aleister Black (WWE Smackdown ©) vs Chris Bey (Impact ©) vs Darby Allin (AEW ©) vs Mustafa Ali (WWE Raw ©)
Fanboy Fantasy: Unlike the previous two champions matches, this one is actually a fatal four way like one would assume all of the matches would have been. Sorry? Aleister Black and Mustafa Ali are still champions after both winning their titles at Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37, Darby Allin has held onto his belt since AEW Full Gear, and Chris Bey most recently gaining his title back from a fluke-reign(?) from AEW's Jungle Boy. Considering all four involved, this match is an old school WCW cruiserweight carwreck. Flips, crashes, everything. Admittedly, this match has no story beyond "hey the champions need to fight" so... Chris Bey eventually wins this train wreck by pinning Aleister Black. Things are (sadly) not looking good for Aleister Black. Post-match, Mustafa holds out his hand to Black as Retribution begins filing into the ring as a bid to have Black join them. Black instead hits a Black Mass kick on Ali before Retribution gang beat him. Bey can be seen near the entry-way laughing while Darby Allin runs back for the save before also getting beat until the lights go out... snow begins to fall... and Sting makes the final save! Retribution runs away and Aleister accepts a handshake from Darby and Sting. Face-turn! (BTW - Aleister Black is currently a heel. If he was on television, you'd remember that).
Your winner: Chris Bey
Great American Bash Score: AEW 4, Impact 3, WWE 2
RAW-picked Challenge: Dark Order (Colt Cabana, Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Anna Jay) (AEW) vs Firefly Funhouse (Bray Wyatt, Jeff Hardy, Bo Dallas, Abyss, Nikki Cross, and ??) (WWE Raw)
Fanboy Fantasy: Just because we have fans in-person again doesn't mean we're getting rid of cinametic-matches! On Raw, Mistress Money-in-the-Bank Nikki Cross (let that sink in, dear reader) took time out of her day of mind-fucking Asuka with her goth-briefcase to win a match to earn a challenge - and obviously she picked AEW's Dark Order in a Firefly Funhouse match. Anna Jay, Dark Order #99, graciously accepted, though corrected her that it would be a Dark Order match. At this point the Dark Order, though briefly feuded in early 2021, are once again a fun-loving party cult, in complete contrast to the hillbilly nightmare that is Bray Wyatt's crew. Cross challenges 6 members of Dark Order, despite the Funhouse only comprising 5 members since adding Wyatt's brother Bo Dallas in a trickster/Puck type role. (Where my Sandman-fans at? Holla if ya hear me!) On the final Dynamite before the show, Matt Hardy is abducted before he can enter the men's Casino Battle Royal in very obvious foreshadowing. The match starts with the Dark Order on set at the Firefly Funhouse and entering the door split-screen with the Fireflies entering the Dark Order party-bar area. Everyone warps to the Wyatt swamp (as last seen at WWE The Horror Show at Extreme Rules) and classic Matt Hardy is seen tied to a tree. Dark Order start heading for the tree to save Matt, but Jeff Hardy/Willow appears from behind the tree and hisses. Nikki Cross and Bo Dallas leap out of the tree top while Abyss can be seen rising from the swamp. Willow cuts Matt from the tree and tosses him in the swamp only for Broken Matt Hardy to materialize back. "I knew you'd come!" he tells Willow, and the Broken Hardyz join the attack. Cross tries to bite Anna Jay in the neck. Abyss chases Silver and Reynolds into the House of Horrors and re-inact a live action Scooby-Doo door chase. Colt Cabana, now wearing a Ghostbusters custume, tries to bust the ghosts out of both Hardyz with little success (but yes, they have the budget for the photon packs). Bo Dallas who can now teleport like Nightcrawler (shrug emoji) and keeps teleporting back and forth between Evil Uno and Stu Grayson confusing the shit out of them. Back in the house, Silver and Reynolds have lost Abyss, so pause to get a snack out of the kitchen. We literally take time to show them making sandwiches. Just as they're about to take their first bites, there's a crash off screen. Silver needs to check it. Reynolds tells him not to check it. But Silver needs to check it. Silver slowly opens the door to reveal Wyatt Family-era Bray Wyatt - to which Silver quickly closes the door and pretends like he saw nothing. He heads back to the table and grabs his sandwich, but Reynolds is gone - Husky Harris-era Wyatt is eating the other sandwich instead. Comedic pause. Silver screams, the lights go out for a second, the come back on and Fiend-era Bray Wyatt is there holding Silver and Reynolds both in twin Sister Abigails. Boom, pin, WWE ties up with Impact. Cut back to the swamp and the rest of the Dark Order is also beaten. Jeff Hardy nods to Abyss who then chokeslams Matt Hardy who reverts back to classic Matt Hardy, Spider-Verse style, and is left lying with the other AEW members. We fade out while hearing Bo Dallas remark "they call themselves a cult?"
Your winner: Bray Wyatt (w/ Abyss, Bo Dallas, Nikki Cross, and the Broken Hardy Boyz)
Great American Bash Score: AEW 4, Impact 3, WWE 3
AEW-picked Challenge: Cody Rhodes (AEW) vs Triple H (WWE)
Fanboy Fantasy: Cody Rhodes opens the Dynamite after the Omega/Roman confrontation and comments on AEW's two challenge opportunities. While yes, another member of AEW will be able to win their way into a challenge, he makes a rare executive decision: he will be taking AEW's other challenge for himself so he can face Triple H. As always, it's best for business. He's grown a lot since leaving WWE, and while people may not believe him, he admires Hunter. They have similar roles in their respective promotions. They even come from storied wrestling families; Cody is the grandson of a plumber, an American nightmare, a Rhodes. Hunter is a cerebral assassin, a king of kings, a McMahon....ish. But back when Cody was with WWE, he primarily fought Hunter in tag matches, and they actually only had three singles matches on Raw over ten years ago - two of which Hunter won, and one draw. Cody has never beaten Hunter. Cody wants to beat Hunter. Cody needs to beat Hunter. So at the Great American Bash, which his father Dusty Rhodes created, Cody wants Hunter. This becomes your big-show prize-fight match of the night. Triple H comes to the ring flanked by Ric Flair, Batista, Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman, Road Dogg, and Stephanie McMahon. Cody Rhodes comes to the ring flanked by Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, Diamond Dallas Page, Tommy Dreamer, Ted DiBiase Jr, and Billy Gunn. We get a cute staredown between the New Age Outlaws because of course. Each competitor gets a long introduction from the ring announcer, the entourages leave, and we get a slow too-long southern style brawl. Triple H is obviously slower than usual as he's not exactly a current competitor, and Cody blades way too early. There's a ref bump, Hunter goes for the sledgehammer, but Cody is able to steal it and use it against him. Goes for the pin, but the ref comes to after the crowd finishes counting three and Triple H kicks out. Hunter regains control, hits the Pedigree, Cody kicks out. They go on for 15 more minutes (again, longer than they should), with more finisher-kick outs. Finally Cody is able to hit two Cross-Rhodes and a Bionic Elbow for the win. The Nightmare Family comes back out to celebrate with Cody while Evolution/DX return to help Triple H up. Before they're able to leave, Cody grabs Hunter from behind, they stare down for a moment, and Cody offers his hand, clearly mouthing "thank you." Triple H bats his hand away and instead embraces Cody. Everyone celebrates, Cody points to the sky, and Dusty's American Dream music replaces his music as everyone heads to the back.
Your winner: Cody Rhodes
Great American Bash Score: AEW 5, Impact 3, WWE 3
Smackdown-picked Challenge: Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, & Sasha Banks vs Big Swole, Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida, & Nyla Rose
Fanboy Fantasy: Bayley wins the right to challenge anyone for Smackdown and decided that she is going to get the band back together! The four horsewomen will take on the best AEW could find, which admittedly may be hard since they don't even have their own women's championship at the moment. Bayley, being the role model that she is, gets Charlotte Flair to accept her horsewoman reunion right away and Flair is able to make something resembling peace between Bayley and Sasha. Maybe they'll have fun again and be able to put their past behind them? As for their fourth - Becky Lynch is still enjoying being a mom and says no. So who else can ride with them? How about one of the fake MMA horsewomen? On Raw, Charlotte makes the approach to Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey who have been working on getting on the same page since their loss at Quixo WWE-WrestleMania 37 and Rousey quickly accepts. Baszler buts in that maybe they should talk about what will work better for the team before Charlotte informs her that she wasn't speaking to her. She was only talking to WrestleMania main eventers. As for AEW's team, former champion Britt Baker takes the lead and taps former champions Hikaru Shida and Nyla Rose, and then holds "try outs" for their fourth won by Big Swole. In the match, it quickly becomes the Bayley and Flair show as the two work most of the match. Bayley tries to tag in Sasha, but Banks refuses her tag. Baker is quickly outclassed and clearly pissed off about it, though Shida and Swole start to turn the tide over to AEW's side. Banks accepts a tag from Flair and quickly becomes the Ricky Morton of the team as Shida easily dominates her. Rousey, who no one has even tried to tag, gets fed up and tags herself in when Banks is knocked close to their corner. Shida pauses, slowly walks back to her corner, and tags in Nyla Rose. It does not go well. Rousey starts off well but Rose shakes her off and beats her down - even Rose's teammates are surprised she's doing so well. Baker tags herself in and even she is able to match a clearly-shaken Rousey until Bayley tags in, saving Rousey and the match for WWE by hitting a fast Rose Plant for the 1, 2, 3. The Horsewomen celebrate with Rousey, but she is clearly not one of them. Mmmm... foreshadowing.
Your winner: Bayley (w/ Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, & Sasha Banks)
Great American Bash Score: AEW 5, Impact 3, WWE 4
Impact-picked Challenge: AJ Styles vs Moose
Fanboy Fantasy: AJ Styles returned the Raw after Money in the Bank, needing the month and half or so after WrestleMania to regroup after being buried alive for the second time at Quixo WWE-WrestleMania 37. Unfortunately for him, the next week Kenny Omega, the man that kicked him out of Bullet Club, showed up on Smackdown, giving him another thing to worry about. And finally, over on Impact television, Moose, the "TNA World Champion," earned the right to challenge anyone... and picks Styles. Who else would someone claiming to be the TNA World Champion pick to solidify his claim to the title than the man who made TNA for over ten years. The man who was a combined 5-time NWA/TNA World Champion (3 NWA World titles, 2 TNA World titles) and first TNA grand slam champion. Of course Moose wants AJ, it's not his fault Styles is still working through some shit. Before the match, we have a backstage segment where the Good Brothers show up behind Styles and offer their services - they've dealt with Moose before, and they'll always have AJ's back. Bullet Club is 4 life. AJ thanks them for the offer, but he can handle himself and he heads to the ring. Moose enters next with his TNA title and showcases it to AJ who actually smiles at seeing the belt. Moose lets AJ hold the belt for a moment before ripping it back from him and hitting him with a hard clothesline to start the match. The two go back and forth but Moose is able to overpower AJ despite everything he throws at Moose. AJ goes for the Phenominal Forearm but Moose is able to hit him with his No Jackhammer Needed spear mid-air for a 2.99999 count. AJ works his comeback but Moose hits a Game Breaker for a clean pin. Without a question Moose is the TNA World Champion now and Impact ties up with WWE in points. On AJ's way to the back, the Good Brothers and Finn Balor all appear to.. console him? Nope, Bullet Club beat down. Moose laughs and walks past as Bullet Club hit the Magic Killer and 1916 on AJ's dead body. The three too-sweet over his dead body before referees and security can get to him.
Your winner: Moose
Great American Bash Score: AEW 5, Impact 4, WWE 4
Men's World Champions Tag-Team Challenge: Drew McIntyre (WWE Raw ©) & [mystery partner] vs Kenny Omega (AEW & Impact ©) & Roman Reigns (WWE Smackdown ©)
Fanboy Fantasy: After their initial confrontation on Smackdown, Kenny Omega and Don Callis both quickly get in Don Roman's ear - they're the same. They're both masters of their domains, leaders of the top factions of the modern era. They should pool their resources and take out the false profit, the "other" champion of WWE, Drew McIntyre. What if, instead of a three-way dance (since Omega has both AEW and Impact titles), they offer McIntyre the option to bring in another "world" champion and then Roman and Omega can show how they are both the best in the world. And when maybe Roman pins McIntyre again (last pinning him in the champion vs champion match at WWE Survivor Series), maybe then he has a claim to take the belt and become the true champion of WWE. As for who should tag with McIntyre, maybe that new kid Karrion Kross down in NXT? Or what about Brody King, he's been ROH champion for a little while now. They'll show their collective dominance over yet another promotion, the Bullet Club and the Family will stand proud together. It's a win, win, win - we all win, even Don Callis. Don Roman likes the sound of that. He doesn't trust Omega, but this is business. The challenge formally goes out to McIntyre via video on the next Raw - find another champion, add to the money purse, bring in eyeballs, and show up to lose to the best. There’s nothing wrong with losing to the best. Believe that. After Roman pins McIntyre, they'll have a titles match at SummerSlam and he’ll have half of nothing - he’ll be the one and only true WWE Champion. Omega slides in from off-screen and points out that he'll probably pin McIntyre, but they can still do that SummerSlam thing after he's gone, that sounds good.
Main event time, Kenny Omega enters first with Don Callis and the Young Bucks as the Good Brothers and Finn Balor are still hanging out around the ring post-AJ beat-down. Omega and Balor share a too-sweet, solidifying their alliance despite never serving in Bullet Club together. Don Roman Reigns and The Family (sans Seth Rollins who has been taken to Local Medical Facility) enter next along with MLW Heavyweight champion and cousin Jacob Fatu, filling the ring with way too many lackeys. Drew McIntyre, very alone comparably, comes out next as Omega makes jokes at him and Roman cooly stares him and his WWE title down. As McIntyre makes it to the ring, The Gilded Warrior music hits and out comes NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis (along with his wife and WWE superstar Mickie James and NWA owner Billy Corgan) entering with the Ten Pounds of Gold™. The two UK warriors shake hands and slide into the ring. The referee kicks all Family and Bullet Club members out while Billy Corgan is allowed to stay on commentary mostly to explain the NWA. He calmly explains that while current circumstances may show otherwise, traditionally it is the NWA Worlds Heavyweight champion (and nowadays their Worlds Women's champion) who is allowed to enter whatever promotion he wants and defend against whomever they choose. Drew and Roman start the match and Drew has the upper hand to a surprised Reigns. Roman brushes it off and tags in a literally jumping Omega. From there, the interpromotional main-event truly begins as the AEW (and Impact) champion faces the WWE champion. The two go back and forth with neither gaining a true advantage for a few minutes. McIntyre tags in Aldis and Aldis surprises Omega at his capabilities. While having held his title the longest, he is clearly the least known quantity. The match goes on with neither pair getting a true advantage and surprsingly little cheating from either Roman or Omega - they're too good to need it. Roman is able to hit a Superman Punch on Aldis but he kicks out. McIntyre surprises Roman with a Claymore and Aldis slides in for a pin but another kickout. Omega tags in while Roman hits an ugly spear on McIntyre taking them both to the outside. With McIntyre and Reigns on the outside, Omega tried to get Aldis in position for the One-Winged Angel, but Aldis is able to powerout and reverse into a Tormentum and hook the King's Lynn Cloverleaf. Right before Omega can drag himself to the rope, Aldis is able to drag him back to the center of the ring where Omega taps just as McIntyre is able to hit a Claymore on Roman on the outside.
Immedietly Bullet Club and Family members rush the ring and rush both Aldis and McIntyre. The ol' numbers game takes care of them pretty quickly until, finally, reinforcements come: first Jon Moxley, followed by the New Day, then Cody Rhodes, then a still hurt AJ Styles, while Asuka, Bianca Belair, and Thunder Rosa all show up to take on the Bloodline. While still outnumbered, the good guys are able to beat back the two forces. McIntyre and Aldis are able to celebrate their win as the good guys cautiously head to the back. With Aldis getting the win and Thunder Rosa being again acknowledged as an NWA competitor, that changes the scoreboard - Rosa's and Aldis's win go for the NWA, dropping AEW back down to 4, evening it up with both WWE and Impact. Hooray, they're all even!
Your winner: Nick Aldis (w/ Drew McIntyre)
Great American Bash Score: AEW 4, Impact 4, NWA 2, WWE 4
Epilogue 1 : Money-in-the-Bank cash-in: The Miz vs Drew McIntyre ©
Fanboy Fantasy: As Aldis and McIntyre head out of the ring, The Miz and his 2020 Money-in-the-Bank briefcase show up from out of the crowd and he nails Aldis in the face with the briefcase followed by a nut shot to McIntyre. This gives Miz enough time to slide McIntyre back into the ring and hand off his briefcase, officially cashing in his briefcase. Miz hits a Skull-Crushing Finale on McIntyre and hooks the leg for a pin but McIntyre kicks out at two. Aldis is able to regroup by this point by McIntyre waves him off - this is his fight. Miz trips McIntyre up and hooks a figure four leglock, but McIntyre is able to reverse it and put the pressure on Miz instead. McIntyre gets up first and starts the count down: 3, 2, 1 - Claymore to Miz. Not to be outdone, he hits a second Claymore on Miz and hooks for the pin. 1, 2, 3, the champion retains.
Your winner: Drew McIntyre
Epilogue 2 : Money-in-the-Bank cash-in: Andrade Almas vs Drew McIntyre ©
Fanboy Fantasy: Instead of McIntyre's music hitting upon his win, Andrade Almas' music hits as he strolls out with his 2021 Money-in-the-Bank briefcase and flanked by Charlotte Flair. McIntyre again waves off Aldis and dares Andrade to try it. Two cash-ins in one night? Sure, why the hell not. Andrade calmly hands his briefcase over to the referee as Miz is still crawling out of the ring and the bell rings yet again. McIntyre, clearly tired while in his third match, still holds his own. Mickie James is able to counter any cheating Charlotte Flair tries while Aldis keeps an eye on Miz who is still crying on the outside. Andrade is able to duck a Claymore, then McIntyre is able to dodge a La Sombra attempt. With the two already going into the ten minute mark, Andrade knocks McIntyre nearly to the outside and then motions to the referee, then Roman Reigns shows up out of nowhere and hits a Drive-By on McIntyre's head and slides him back in the ring. The Miz is up and brawls with Aldis while Andrade pushs the ref out of his way, positions McIntyre in the corner and hits a double-knee smash followed by a La Sombra. One, two, three. Andrade Almas has cashed-in to become the new WWE World Champion. It took three matches and two cash-ins, but McIntyre's over 400+ day reign as champion is over. Sorry, folks! It may have been inter-promotional, but in the end it's still a WWE show. Andrade and Flair celebrate as we fade out. Don Roman is pleased.
Your winner, and NEW WWE World Champion: Andrade Almas
Epilogue 3 : Back to the Swamp (aka the Lord of the Rings ending?)
Fanboy Fantasy: Fade back in. Back in the swamp, an arm reaches from off screen to help (classic) Matt Hardy. Hardy wakes up and takes the arm to reveal: Edge. The two old rivals embrace as Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman, and Randy Orton are all seen helping the rest of the Dark Order up. Finally, The Undertaker appears and congratulates the Dark Order on their match. They may have lost, but they gave them hell. And he even laughed a little - and that doesn't happen much. But don't worry boys, we'll take it from here.
You’re welcome? I’m sorry. And I'm tired. We'll check back in with Quixo-WWE after the "real" WrestleMania 37 to compare notes and push our way through Quixo-SummerSlam. Maybe we'll even check back in with AEW and Impact? We’ll be back later this month as the Road to WrestleMania™ begins with the Royal Rumble!