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Wrestling with 'The Great American Bash'

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Batista_l

Batista_lI like to think I’m a good mom. I know that my eight-year-old son, Dylan, takes ballroom dancing and piano lessons in large part because it makes me happy. (OK, if he really hated them, I would let him do something else). So when a friend of mine heard about a wrestling extravaganza called The Great American Bash, I figured it was time to do something that would make Dylan really happy — and I knew I would score some major cool mom points by taking him, his seven-year-old buddy Edward, and Edward’s mom, to the show.

The Bash, held at the Nassau Coliseum on Sunday, was definitely a hot ticket, selling out 14,000 seats in just 45 minutes back in May. Never mind that all I know about wrestling could fit on the head of a pin. And never mind that I’m pretty much on the prim side of, say, Charlotte from Sex and the City. I could do this, I told myself. I could totally hang with the boys and not seem like the Church Lady from SNL.

As we were waiting on the security line, I noticed there were some clearly defined groups. About five or six young men had caps and T-shirts with the words “Cena Sucks” on it. After a few minutes, an older man came up to them smiling, holding the sign “JBL Sucks.” They eyeballed each other for a few seconds, nodding and smiling warily, but no verbal smackdowns ensued. That was quite a civil exchange, I thought. I was encouraged.

The show, which featured stars from RAW, ECW, and Smackdown (and aired on Pay-Per-View), started off with the standard wackiness I expected from wrestling: really loud heavy metal music; lots of posing and sinister-looking soap-opera faces; and a politically incorrect use of midgets (this would be the Irish wrestler Finlay’s tag team partner, who was mainly there for comic relief, and yes, everybody laughed).

More Bash after the jump…

I do have to say there were some truly spectacular physical stunts:backwards flips off the top rope, lots of Cirque du Soleil-stylecontortioning, with a crowd appreciative of everything. (Even those whocouldn’t tell a moonsault from a Brazilian Heel Hook if their livesdepended on it. Ahem.) Could I have done without seeing all the bloodthat spewed forth from Shawn Michaels at the hands of Chris Jericho?Yep. The latter boasted that his opponent had had his last match, sincehe was now suffering from… dramatic pause here… a detached retina. Andthe pre-taped segment that showed John Cena and JBL battling it out ina parking lot, with Cena attaching jumper cables to JBL’s crotch andJBL in turn gassing a car and lighting it on fire with an unconsciousCena inside? A bit over the top, to put it mildly.

But I’ve passed over my favorite match of the event, and no, itwasn’t the love triangle involving Edge and Vickie Guerrero and thewedding planner (though I do secretly adore the fact that the featuredmatch was based on a timeless story of a cheater and a woman donewrong, plus the ensuing catfight). It was the match between CM Punk andBatista, a fellow known as the Animal. Batista, with none of theobvious mugging for the camera that the other Superstars employed, hada quiet yet forceful presence, and was clearly the classiest wrestlerof the whole bunch. No matter that his match ended in a disappointingdouble disqualification. He performed his classic move (I’m told), theBatista Bomb, which has to do with getting your opponent face-forwardon your shoulders and promptly dropping him to the mat (and yes, Ilearned the mat is mic’ed to heighten the sound so folks in the rafterscan hear it). He didn’t say much, but he didn’t have to. One look atthe dragon tattoo on his back and the six-pack on the flip side and ohmy, is it getting a little warm here in the Coliseum? I’m thinking hecould be the next big crossover wrestling star, like the Rock. Andlook, he’s the thinking woman’s wrestler — he’s already written anautobiography detailing his hardscrabble background. It’s enough to make the Church Lady stand up and start whooping it up with the rest of the crowd.

All right, you wrestling fanatics, what did you think of the GreatAmerican Bash? Do you think Edge will reunite with Vickie? Who was yourfavorite? Have at it.

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