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Eddy Guerrero v John Bradshaw Layfield (Bullrope Match)

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JBL vs. Eddie Guerrero (Bullrope Match) (Great American Bash 04)


Ok, I watched this one a couple of weeks ago but hadn't seen the JD match. So, while I enjoyed it on first viewing, I went back and viewed it in its proper context and had a match to immediately compare it to.


This one is slower to get started than JD. Whereas both guys came out with fists flying in the last match, they are more reserved here. While they both use the bullrope liberally in some nice spots (JBL's attempted hangman, whacking each other with the bell, the tree of woe corner choke) but it doesn't really start to heat up until they go to the outside. The biggest problem with this thinking is that the match can't be won on the outside. What's the point?


Compared to JD, the action on the outside is alot slower. Can the bullrope be dragging them down that much? The match finally warms up after Eddie pulls on the rope to ram JBL into the ringpost. In a nice turnabout from JD, Eddie is the won who gets thrown over the announcing table and is able to grab a chair first. This leads to JBL's bladejob which is decent but nothing compared to Eddie's gusher. This is really the first big shot of the match and gives Eddie a bit of revenge.


When they go back inside, both men trade attempts at going for the four corners. The inside action played up the gimmick and made for some great heat segments. In one nice spot, Eddie uses the rope to make JBL sing soprano. This was the first instance in the match where the opponent didn't simply cling to the bottom rope to prevent the opponent from touching the urnbuckles. This is follwoed up by an Eddie frogsplash. To prevent losing, JBL rolls out of the ring.


Back outside, JBL is able to fling Eddie from the 2nd rope onto the Spanish Announcing table followed by a powerbomb. This leads to the finish where JBL wins after Eddie and JBL have both touched three corners and as Eddie attempts to leap over JBL to tag the 4th, JBL's back falls on the turnbuckle first. The crowd thinks Eddie won but Kurt Angle comes out to give the match a Dusty finish and makes JBL champion.



The Good

---I normally don't care for gimmick matches but the bullrope made for some great heat segments. Once they got beyond clinging to the bottom rope, they countered each other's attempts with some nifty offense. The bullrope also made for some interesting offensive spots. The tree of woe in the corner, flinging each otherover the tables, whacking each other with the bell, obvious choking... all made sense in the match. It also allows the crowd to get involved as they count each corner.


---Once again, Eddie and JBL worked well off each other and gave as well as they got. My first assumption going into these matches was that Eddie would bump off of JBL and grab hope spots similar to the Lesnar match. This wasn't the case at all. Just like the JD match, the action never indicated one way or another who was going to win the match. I may have knwn the result but the give-and-take was enough to where either man could have won and the win would be credible.



The Bad

--- The gimmick falters. In each corenr, there was a light for each wrestler yet on a couple of occasions the light looked like it was malfunctioning. The crowd did a good job of counting the corners and keeping track without the lights. There was really no need for them


Another problem with the gimmick was inconsistency in its application. early on in the match, JBL rams Eddie into the turnbuckle so, understanding the outcome of the match, it would only make sense for Eddie's light to go off or for the announcers to play that Eddie touched the corner. I understand that it was a simple spot but it was one where the gimmick interfered.


This isn't so much a complaint as it is an observation. This match moved much slower than the JD match. In JD, Eddie was full of fire and never let up. Here, boh wrestlers were going 2/3 of the speed and you really got the sense that Eddie wasn't as motivated as he was during the JD match. Maybe he was disappointed over losing the title or maybe the gimmick imposed limitations that the wrestlers and the viewer just has to accept. Surprisingly, I think Bradshaw was the better wrestler in the match.


The ending sucked. As I mentioned earlier, the lights were inconsistent early on and there was no reason to think eddie couldn't keep the belt. The Dusty Finish also seemed fitting on a PPV that has roots in the old WCW.




I know I was critical of this match, and it was still entertaining, but compared to Judgment Day, it does not come close. The JD match was a brawl that stands out for its violence, logic, and intensity. This match will probably be noted for the JBL title win and a few nice spots but I don't think it will stand the test of time. The gimmick both worked for and against the match. I think some of my complaints with the gimmick are fairly minor but they still drag the match down. If Eddie would have won, the match would still have som of the problems thatg I mentioned but the inconsistency of the rules would not have bothered me so much. If you plan on watching the JBL-Eddie matches, go in with an open mind. You will be entertained.


On a sidenote, Loss and I were talking about famous brawls and I think I need to watch Flair-Funk "I Quit" to compare the JBL-Eddie Judgment Day match to another note-worthy brawl.

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