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Rock bottom
Next WWE pay-per-view could hit all-time ratings low


Vince McMahon has a pretty bad track record when it comes to resurrecting gimmicks from WCW. From the botched invasion angle to the Goldberg fiasco, no matter how well an idea worked in a different environment, McMahon has always used the WWE cookie-cutter to mess up imported storylines.

If it ain't broke, Vinnie Mac will try to fix it anyway.

This weekend, that tradition continues with The Great American Bash.

The patriotic-themed event, a WCW mainstay from 1985 until the group's demise in 2001, will make its WWE debut tomorrow night at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.

In the marquee clash, Eddie Guerrero and John (Bradshaw) Layfield go at it one more (hopefully last) time in a bullrope match.

Layfield has improved on the mic and WWE has pulled out all the stops to give the feud some intensity -- Guerrero nearly killed himself with a sick blade job in their last encounter -- but it's just not enough.

Guerrero vs. Layfield would be a tough sell at the best of times. And the Smackdown brand is hovering somewhere around the quality level of a WCW Thunder episode -- if you were watching during WCW's dying days, you'll understand the comparison. If you weren't, consider yourself lucky -- Guerrero and Layfield could be ultimately responsible for the least-watched pay-per-view in WWE history.

As hard as it is to believe, the card actually goes downhill from there.

The Undertaker will take on the Dudley Boys in a laughable handicap match, which is expected to end with the Dudleys killing the Paul Bearer character by burying him in cement. Undertaker will then return the favour by killing the Dudleys careers.

The uninspired undercard will also feature John Cena defending the U.S. strap in a four-way against Booker T, Rene Dupree and Rob Van Dam, while Chavo Guerrero takes on Rey Mysterio for the cruiserweight belt.

Of course, as with any pay-per-view that seems destined for the bargain bin, WWE is throwing in a hefty dose of cleavage to entice fence-sitters to plunk down cash.

Dawn Marie, Torrie Wilson, Miss Jackie and Sable, who will be hosting the show, are expected to duke it out in sand wrestling, chicken fighting and beach volleyball face-offs -- a triple-threat disaster just waiting to happen.

Not only is Sable going to be limited due to her recent surgery to repair a leaky breast implant but four non-professionals trying to work a presumably fixed volleyball game does not good TV make.

The Great American Bash goes down at 6 p.m. tomorrow night on PPV. Calgary fans can also catch the action at Bottoms Up Sports Pub on 17th Ave. SW and at the Cineplex Odeon Sunridge Spectrum. Due to an exclusivity agreement with Cineplex, the PPV won't be shown at Famous Players theatres.

- - -

EURO ROAD TRIP: WWE CEO Linda McMahon announced plans for the 2004-05 season at a conference call with investors Tuesday morning.

Starting this fall, Raw and Smackdown TV shows will be moved overseas for four episodes, taking advantage of the red-hot wrestling markets (and crowds) in Australia, western Europe and Japan. The first foreign tapings will take place in Manchester, England, in October.

Tough Enough is set to launch a long-awaited fourth season in September but this time, the reality-TV antics will appear as segments on Smackdown each week. The grand finale, when the winners are awarded WWE contracts, will air as a TV special.

Capitalizing on the media craze surrounding the U.S. Presidential Election, WWE will hold a storyline election of their own to determine a new on-screen president to fill the chairman role previously occupied by Vince McMahon.

WWE and Spike TV are both anxious to extend their current contract, which expires in September 2005.