Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Road to Summer Slam 2018

Monday, July 01, 2019

Wrestlemania 34 is here.

And so, another wrestling season begins. 

Here’s the card for Summer Slam 2018, the 31st Summer Slam. 

WWF Title: Shinsuke Nakamura v. Samoa Joe

Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. The American Dragon Bryan Danielson

IC Tournament Final: Cedric Alexander v. Prince Devitt

Tag Titles: The Revival (Dash/Dawson) v. Bullet Club (Styles/Black)

Special MMA Attraction: Ronda Rousey v. Charlotte Flair

Kevin Steen v. La Sombra (w/Mysterio and Zelina)

Jeff Hardy v. Luke Harper

Winner Gets Tag Title Shot: Roman Reigns-Uso (w/Usos) v. Mike Mizanin (w/Sheamus/McIntyre)

Gods of Carnage (Rusev/Strowman, w/Lana) v. New Day (Woods/Langston)

WWF Title: Shinsuke Nakamura v. Samoa Joe
Let’s start at the top.  RAW the night after Mania concludes with the big Nakamura introduction –or, at least, that’s how it’s billed all evening – but that introduction is interrupted by the returning Joe, he attacks Nakamura during his dance to the ring, laying the WWF Champion out –and then, it appears Joe is exiting as the show ends – but he returns and chokes out he violin player (last time we see the violin player) and the show ends with Joe smashing the violin.

Joe and Nakamura are each other’s biggest WWF rivals, they feuded over the dark ride belt, they feuded as part of the Horsemen v. Bullet Club program.  Joe, as the babyface, got the better end of that program – but now they meet again with the roles flipped.  Its going to be Summer of Joe; he beats guys up and cuts scathing promos.  Joe’s been gone the entire calendar year thusfar, he won the title at Summer Slam, but then had to essentially defend it in a handicap match and never got a rematch. This allows Joe to get back that angry edge he had when entering the promotion – the “y’all forgot about Joe” edge that gives his heel persona credibility.  Joe’s angry at the promotion, angry at Danielson, angry at the fans – just angry.

Nakamura returns after six weeks, he attacks Joe with a violin during a promo – the Horsemen get revenge a few weeks later – since Joe left, there’s been speculation about his continued association with the Horsemen (Roode/Strong/Charlotte) but Roode would dismiss it as not worth discussion.  

However, even after Joe’s return he’s never seen with them, so when Roode/Strong attack Nakamura with about a month left in the Summer Slam build, it’s a surprise. 

That’s going to lead to the go home match – Nakamura/Kenta v. Joe/Strong – Kenta/Hero feuded with Strong/Roode throughout the summer, and we can combine those two programs together to get the dream tag team of Nakamura/Kenta.  Roode goes over Hero in the undercard for that go home show, but the babyfaces win in the main (Kenta pins Strong) there’s not really any Nakamura/Joe physicality during the tag match, maybe the briefest section – just enough to tease the Summer Slam match.  Kenta/Nakamura teaming together gets a few weeks of build so there can be a lot of talk about how the entire country of Japan will be riveted to that matchup. 

It’s Joe challenging Nakamura for the title in Brooklyn. 

We’ve also got a number one contender. 

Claudio has vignettes throughout the summer from various vacation destinations – there’s Claudio in Ibiza, there’s Claudio in Morocco, like that.  He’s surrounded by various young Europeans, all looking fabulous in very expensive locations.  Claudio still doesn’t speak English, the vignettes are all subtitled, they all involve taking shots at fat Americans who smell like hamburger and are too dumb to know they’re getting screwed over (“they pay money to go to college”) that kind of thing (granted, under President VKM the country is moving toward economic justice, but whatever “they have to pay to go to the doctor”, “the person with the most votes doesn’t always become President” makes sense goes here.  Just a lot of fabulous Europeans laughing at American expense. 

The vignettes always end the same way – a long lingering look at Claudio’s torso (Claudio gets as cut as he can during this stretch, it’s abdominal Castagnoli) and then Claudio utters his only English phrase “You’re Welcome”. 

Gargano and Claudio haven’t broken up – but Gargano is busy running from Ciampa all summer.
Claudio is the number one contender – he will face either Nakamura or Joe at Survivor Series. 

Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. The American Dragon Bryan Danielson
Speaking of long running rivalries.  Danielson returned after 3 years and lost to Styles at Mania; he loses again to Styles in his next match a couple of weeks later in the IC Tournament that we’ll talk about when we get to the Finals in a second.  That causes Danielson to cut a “I’m not there yet” promo – it’s vulnerable, “look, I’m not the guy I used to be right now and I’m not sure I’ll ever be that guy again”. Danielson then “starts over” a series of really basic TV matches with enhancement guys (No Way Jose, Baron Corbin, like that) that clearly show Danielson working on just a couple of specific elements of his ring work depending on the opponent.  We should see some comradery building between Danielson and these guys, they’re training him/he’s training them – that sort of thing.

And that goes on until one week, Danielson is interrupted in the ring by the unannounced return of Paul Heyman. 

Lesnar lost the big title v title fight to Nakamura at Mania and then left, there’s no talk about him on the broadcasts, his name is removed from the roster on the Network, but we’re told on Network programming (there are ESPN-like daily shows on the Network, both kayfabed and on the “secret menu” shoot style) and we know that Lesnar has one match left on his WWF deal and is expected then to go back to UFC.

IRL, Lesnar did that unannounced appearance in UFC this summer to do a face to face with Cormier, that happens here – this Heyman appearance is timed to follow that.  Heyman tells Danielson that Brock’s leaving, going back to UFC to beat Daniel Cormier’s ass – but still has one match left on his deal and the only guy he wants to fight is Danielson. 

Heyman will reset the reasons for that – we don’t need to go through the full history here, the bottom line is Danielson is Lesnar’s biggest WWF rival and really the only guy he demonstrates any respect for as a fighter.  They’ve had WWF Title fights and it makes sense that, with the two men even against each other in their careers, that if Brock really does only have one wrestling match left, he’d want it against the Dragon.

Danielson says no – which Heyman does not expect – he says he’s not ready and he can’t give Brock the kind of last match that he deserves. 

Heyman says he can’t really go back to Lesnar with that answer.  Lesnar is contractually required for one more WWF match and there’s just not another option.  Danielson says he appreciates that, but he’s firm, and it’s no – and Danielson exits. 

Within a couple of weeks there’s a tag match with whomever the 4 guys are who Danielson’s been wrestling each week – and there’s no finish because Lesnar enters and kills them all dead. 

Heyman cuts promo – “so, now that’s settled, you should be free, Bryan.  See you in Brooklyn”

Danielson cuts promo the following week, he’s angry but turning down the offer again – when the four enhancement guys limp their way to the ring and they convince him he should do it.  Danielson agrees and that sets up the match.  It’s sold as the blow off match to this feud and maybe the last Brock Lesnar match ever (we don’t promise that, as you probably expect, this is not going to be Lesnar’s last match, so this is not talked about as “you must tune in for Lesnar’s last match” as it’s a sports based contract thing and not a wrestling stip, so we don’t want to heavily press that button) and that’s a pretty compelling reason to buy the show. 

Oh yeah – so, you’re not buying the show anymore.

The business model since the creation of the WWF Network has been to keep PPVs as PPVs – the Network has that tape library, Dark Ride, and a ton of original content – but PPV remained on PPV, that wasn’t a revenue source  they wanted to give up.

That ends with Mania – Summer Slam becomes the first PPV to be shown as part of the package – this year, everything except Mania will be part of the package, Mania will still be on PPV but WM35 will be the last one. 

So – come, on – this has to be worth your $9.99 – we got Nakamura against Joe and Lesnar against Danielson. 

And then 7 more matches. 

IC Tournament Final: Cedric Alexander (w/BWI) v. Prince Devitt(w/Bullet Club)
The 71st IC Champ will be crowned at Summer Slam; Lesnar came into Mania as champ, lost that title vs. title main event to Nakamura, and that led to the IC belt being relinquished and an 8 man tournament:

Round 1:
Prince Devitt d. Matt Riddle
-Devitt’s battle against Dark Ride isn’t ending; he lost to Alexander at Mania but then cuts a taped promo that is played during the first Dark Ride broadcast subsequent saying he’s going to own that company.  Riddle and Keith Lee are the new Clique, they and Michaels spend the summer feuding with GDI (Cole/O’Reilly/Fish when healthy), British Strong Style (Dunne/Cole/Seven), and BWI (Alexander/Ricochet/Tozawa)

AJ Styles d. Bryan Danielson
-Obviously a highly anticipated rematch of their Mania matchup – when AJ beats Danielson again, we see that Bryan really feels the full measure of that defeat, and that leads to the Danielson summer previously described.  That means we’re going to have a Styles/Devitt matchup in round 2. 

Cedric Alexander d. Pete Dunne
-Alexander is in Blood Warriors International with Ricochet (Dark Ride Champion) and Tozawa – Dunne’s in British Strong Style with Bate and Seven, managed by Nigel. 

Keith Lee d. Adam Cole
-Lee, as mentioned, is in the Clique. 

Round 2
Devitt d. Styles
-They’ve maintained their roles inside the Bullet Club, despite turbulence (and there’s been some more turbulence this summer in connection with the tag titles) and that relationship holds here, despite Devitt holding the tights to get the win to advance to the finals.

Alexander d. Lee
-And in the finals, we get the rematch from Mania – Devitt will meet Alexander, the winner the 71st IC Champion.  Their feud was based on Alexander carrying the Dark Ride banner after Devitt and the Bullet Club killed Jack Gallagher after the Rumble.  Dark Ride v. Bullet Club was the program going to Mania, and so we see that continue a little bit here; there’s a go home Bullet Club v. Dark Ride ten man (Devitt/Anderson/Gallows/Black/Styles) against Alexander/Riddle/O’Reilly/Bate/Gargano.  The Bullet Club wins when the Dark Ride coalition breaks down, including an attack of Gargano by Ciampa (wherever you see Gargano this summer you know Ciampa is not far behind).

Pretty good workrate match for your $9.99 – we’re crowning an IC Champ, Alexander taking on Devitt.

Tag Titles: The Revival (Dash/Dawson) v. Bullet Club (Styles/Black)
The Revival took the belts from the Usos at Mania; they’re babyfaces, that happened at the culmination of their program with their developmental rivals, American Alpha, in a “we respect each other” sort of a deal.  Who didn’t respect Alpha was Anderson/Gallows – the Bullet Club ended their long feud with Alpha by potentially ending Jordan’s career prior to Mania.  The Revival was in a title program at the time so couldn’t really shift focus to the Bullet Club – but coming out of Mania, with the belts around their waists – they take dead aim at a former ally of theirs.  And for the first month of the summer, Revival is programmed against Anderson and Gallows, it’s a program where they go over. 

A week after the blow off match, the Revival is in the ring with their manager, Arn Anderson, at the close of RAW – the announce (Ranallo does all three shows, RAW, Fight Night, Dark Ride – the color analyst on RAW is Nigel, Fight Night is Regal, Dark Ride is Graves – Renee is in the Mean Gene role for all 3 shows – Howard had been the primary ring announcer right up until Mania, he was given a big send off and he’s now fully retired – his replacement is Jeremy Borash) says there have been rumors all day long about what’s going to happen.

What happens is Arn announces his retirement – he says he promised Dash and Dawson that if they just kept their heads down and did things the right way, he could take them to the titles – and they did that at Mania, with Ric Flair by their side – there’s no better time than now to go home.  Arn says he didn’t want some sort of big ceremony, just wanted to say goodbye.  Dash and Dawson have tears in their eyes – Fit Finlay and Dean Malenko, both of whom work at WWFU and, along with Arn, once served as the three headed WWF Commissioner, enter, surprising Arn – they say Double A does not leave the sport through the back door.  A highlight package of Arn’s career plays – the locker room empties – and an ovation is given as Arn exits.  The camera follows him as he goes to the back, shakes hands, gets to the door leading to the parking lot, is handed a bag, takes one last look – and exits. 

That’s how RAW goes off the air.

There’s a RAW post show, like that Smackdown IRL post show they used to have with Danielson, and they’re doing whatever studio based stuff they’re doing when they quickly break to the arena– we’re shown some young worker (maybe Lio Rush) runs in from the back and – barely able to choke it out – says – Double A…the Bullet Club….come quick…

What’s happened is that Arn was ambushed in the parking lot (as we can later see from parking lot footage..some combo of security cameras and fan cell phones) by Black/Devitt/Anderson/Gallows (AJ was away) they kill him dead – burying him under the Bullet Club flag on top of his rental car.  

And that wraps up Arn Anderson.

That buys the Bullet Club lots of heat – the Revival needs to stay away for a month, the story is they’re with Arn, aiding in his recovery – we’re told they demand they face the Bullet Club at Summer Slam and they don’t care which two guys it is.

So – that then starts the speculation – and Black/Devitt/Anderson/Gallows in various combinations start tagging together.

Obviously, missing is AJ – we learn he knew nothing about the Anderson attack, he’s irritated by it – why are we buying trouble – Black’s got the briefcase (Black won Money in the Bank, he always has the briefcase and cuts briefcase promos) AJ is the Best Wrestler in the World – why do we want to buy all this heat with everyone in this entire promotion? 

Devitt says “because we’re the Bullet Club, Styles.  It’s what we do”

As previously discussed, AJ loses to Devitt in the IC tournament (Devitt cheats) and further see the irritation Styles has with the group. 

But when it comes time to make the decision about who will face the Revival for the belts – with Devitt out of the running, since he has the IC Final – and Anderson/Gallows having already lost to the Revival over the summer – the choice became clear.

Tyler Black.  AJ Styles. 

Black is an obvious choice – he was in the Shield, arguably the most dominant tag team in promotion history (perhaps inarguably) if there’s a tag title on the line, he’s the guy to go get it. 

And while you might think “I don’t know if AJ wants to be in this match, given the current atmosphere with the Bullet Club” – those concerns are assuaged when you realize that if they win the belts – AJ wins the Triple Crown.

We saw both Angle and Benjamin fail in their efforts to win the Triple Crown during the previous wrestling year, so we had that reminder of what the Triple Crown was and who was its most recent winner (Nemeth, that means he is the keeper of the Triple Crown Trophy, which has all the winners names engraved thereon). It’s the highest honor in the sport – so even though AJ doesn’t want the heat the Bullet Club has now, he steps into it. 

So – when the Revival returns with just a few weeks remaining before Summer Slam – who they wind up attacking is Styles, and now, even though he wasn’t involved in the Anderson attack, AJ now has a personal issue with Dash and Dawson headed to Summer Slam. 

So that’s a good match, right?  Worth your $9.99?  Revival against Black and Styles?  For the belts?  Possible Triple Crown?  You feel pretty good about watching this show, right?

Special MMA Attraction: Ronda Rousey v. Charlotte Flair
RAW after Mania opens the same way Mania did – a cold open on Rousey’s entrance music, with Rousey, along with HHH-M, headed to the ring.  Rousey’s appearance at Mania was designed to be a one off, this is her first appearance live on WWF television – she’s going to be handed a ceremonial Women’s Title belt by Hunter who will thank her for coming to Mania.

And as that happens – the women’s roster, all wearing “Nice Girl” t-shirts, come to the ring, led by Paige (no Asuka, no Becky, no Charlotte, no Sasha).  So, in one of Rousey’s pre Mania interviews (Kimmel, was my thought) she referred to the WWF women as “nice girls” in a line that could be seen as throwaway but that the women’s roster clearly thought of as dismissive.  That’s what Paige (gone for a while until last night) articulates, speaking on behalf of the full roster.  She winds up challenging Rhonda to a fight.

Rousey’s irritated – with Hunter – she says “come on, we talked about this stuff, I don’t want any of this wrestling stuff” – that heats up Paige “don’t talk to him, talk to me” – Rousey keeps addressing Hunter, “you have my agent’s number – if you want another fight, call him, don’t do this stuff” – Rousey then thanks the fans again and exits, completely ignoring Paige who keeps goading her on as Rousey leaves.

Well – they’re going to fight, of course, it’s going to be a main event for Fight Night in a month, Paige returns to the WWF ring for a shoot fight with Rhonda Rousey, Rousey fighting on free WWF TV.  The month allows for a tie in to Paige’s movie, and a reminder of Paige’s role in 4-Ground, framing the modern history of the women’s division around the history of 4-Ground. 

It’s a minute long fight (in the same cage as the one at Mania, Rousey’s got her training squad, it should look as much like MMA as possible, it’s worked, but it’s presented as not worked) Rousey hits Paige with a couple of shoot punches, taps her out – really just scornfully; Paige is a former women’s champion but just no match at all for Rousey (it’s Paige’s last ever in ring appearance, she doesn’t have to do anything but get punched in the face and go to the mat). Rousey shakes her head postmatch “are we done now? Anybody else?”  It’s a destructive end to Paige’s career.  Rousey exits – not smiling, irritated “goodbye WWF”

As she gets to the top of the ramp, she’s confronted by Charlotte Flair.  They have words – Rousey attempts to brush Charlotte aside – but Charlotte won’t stand down, she keeps blocking Rousey’s path (“ooooh”) – and a fully angry Rousey then shoves Charlotte hard – Charlotte lunges at Rousey and knocks her down – security is there quickly – it should feel out of control, Rousey has personal security that emerges from the back and we see them scuffle with WWF personnel – it’s full chaos as the show ends. 

We’re told the next week that Charlotte and Rousey will meet in an MMA style cage fight at Summer Slam.

It’s a sports build for Charlotte, we see her training in some type of MMA gym, ideally with recognizable figures in that world, it’s not a shoot fight but it should feel like it.  The training is also sort of half going on in addition to being storyline; it’s hard to work a shootfight and the biggest discomfort with this match would be if Charlotte can carry it off.

It’s the last of these MMA style matches, incidentally. 

Ronda’s got show business commitments, and when we see her she’s doing her celebrity Ronda Rousey character; she’s on location someplace, she’s in costume shooting a guest spot on CSI:Whatever.  She’s matter of fact, this was unplanned, but the dollar amount was good, once she taps out this wrestler that’s it, she’s going to retire from combat sports like she’s been trying to do all year. 

They do a split screen via satellite interview with Ranallo in the go home week; Charlotte is lean, focused, she recognizes she’s an underdog but she’s here to represent the Horsemen, here to represent women’s professional wrestling, and she’s going to give Rousey all she has.  Ronda says this is light work, she’s coming to Brooklyn, tapping Charlotte out, getting her check and saying goodbye to the WWF for good. 

There’s actually a second women’s match that is promoted all summer but doesn’t happen – it’s Asuka defending the belt against Natty.  The Anvil dies just before Summer Slam and the match is canceled, but that’s what Asuka, still unbeaten, now the Women’s Champion, is doing all summer, gearing up for Natty.

Kevin Steen v. La Sombra (w/Mysterio)
At Wrestlemania, Kevin Steen lost a mask match against his oldest friend, El Generico – and then he unmasked him anyway.

This is going to be positioned by Mysterio as the ultimate wrestling crime – back at Survivor Series 2006 CM Punk threw down the WWF Title belt and the entire roster – for years – viewed him as a villain.  It’s a wrestling crime, a norm that cannot be violated. 

For Mysterio and the other masked wrestlers, that’s this.  It’s not just that Steen effectively murdered a beloved masked wrestler in El Generico; it’s not just that El Generico was his best friend; it’s that Steen lost the match.  If you can’t trust a man to uphold a sacred stipulation, what can you trust him with? 

Mysterio goes hard – Kevin Steen has no place in this sport – Mysterio says he knows he’s been gone for a few years, but he’s back now and will soon be wrestling full time again, and being a veteran – heck, being a legend – it still means something in this sport – and what that means, in this instance, is that Kevin Steen has no place in Rey Mysterio’s locker room.

And so – over the summer, there is a campaign to effectively shut Steen down – his bags are thrown in the hallway, and then thrown in the parking lot. Eventually, we’ll see Steen sit in the parking lot during TV broadcasts as he’s not allowed in the locker room.  Steen’s entrance music is taken away and Mysterio is able to push to fans that they shouldn’t even boo him – they should be deathly quiet whenever they see him. So – Steen matches become really weird, as fans cheer his opponent and are just quiet, tumbleweeds level quiet, for him.  And eventually, guys stop wrestling Steen altogether, and he has to bring in scabs to work against.

Steen starts off the summer no-selling it; what the fuck has he ever cared about the rest of this locker room?  Kevin Steen cared about GDI; Kevin Steen cared about El Generico; Kevin Steen cares about his family and that WWF Title.  But the rest of the locker room?  The fans?  Screw that.  Steen says he did the right thing – and one day Sami will come back and understand that.  Steen freed Sami Zayn from El Generico – and one day, when Sami Zayn is holding the WWF Title – when he’s holding the Triple Crown Trophy – everyone will acknowledge that Kevin Steen was right.

But by the end of the summer, this just wears him down, you can see the fight has just gone out of him – it’s just relentless – and maybe, maybe you start to feel a little sorry for Steen, so thoroughly ostracized by everyone (and he’s lost all of his friends – first Claudio and Pac – then Gargano – and Ciampa got hurt and even though he’s back, he is maniacally focused on Gargano without any recognition that anyone else exists – and now, not only is Generico gone – Generico is gone). Even self inflicted wounds are still wounds. 

It all breaks loose late in the summer;  Steen decides, “screw it, I’m moving my stuff back into the locker room” – Zelina and La Sombra toss it right back out (Rey has made it clear, Steen doesn’t live there anymore) and Steen just breaks loose – he attacks Sombra furiously; the other masked wrestlers are needed to pull him off.  Steen just screaming “I hate you guys – I hate you guys” – that sets up Steen and La Sombra at Summer Slam. 

Jeff Hardy v. Luke Harper
El Generico isn’t the only character we said goodbye to at WM; the Matt/Nemeth match ended with both men and Jeff in the Lake of Reincarnation.

The next night on RAW we find out what that means when there’s a retirement ceremony for Matt Hardy.  The build to that match, the match itself – was designed to really walk us through the full Matt Hardy career, top to tail – and when he went into the Lake – the message was that all of his gimmicks were gone.

It’s not Broken Matt who appears on RAW to retire – it’s Matt Hardy. 

He gets the full ceremony, with video package – with appearances from the expected guests – Edge, Christian, Lita, Trish, at least D-Von and Bubba if we can get him.  Eric Bischoff is here.  There’s the WWF fork. It's a shoot retirement (maybe) Matt's not on the booking sheet the rest of the wrestling year, I've kept the Undertaker/HHH retirements, I have two scenarios where I could see turning around on this one, but at present, Matt's done.  

And Jeff – because when he went into the water, it’s just Brother Nero who died forever.  But Jeff – as we understand from this ceremony, he will be returning to the ring – as Jeff Hardy – at Summer Slam against Luke Harper. Jeff won’t wrestle all summer, there will be taped pieces with highlights of his whole WWF career, it’s a high flying veteran, a WWF legend, really, Jeff Hardy – returning as Jeff Hardy for the first time in many years.  Harper turns heel over the summer, he’s a big, nasty athletic brawler and he promises to make Jeff’s return a short one. 

There’s another retirement announcement over the summer.

Kurt Angle, wearing a Shoot Nation track suit, says he’s wrestled his last ever singles match; and at WM 35 he’ll wrestle his last match, period. 

But between now and then – he’s going to have some fun.

Angle says the best time of his career was Team Angle, when he led a real team of athletes and they battled The Clique.  And now he sees that Shawn Michaels is back and there’s a whole new Clique. 

If HBK is back…then so is Kurt. 

Angle says he’d like to introduce the men he’s going to ride with through WM – the other members of a group he is calling Shoot Nation –

Shelton Benjamin.  Chad Gable.  Nick Nemeth.

The three men enter – Nemeth has cut off all his hair, it’s the end of the Show Off Nick Nemeth gimmick and now he is amateur wrestler guy, like the other guys in the stable.  They’re all wearing the track suits. 

Angle says amateur wrestling is in his blood, he thinks amateur wrestlers are the best athletes on earth – and there are three great ones he’s proud to stand beside the rest of his career. 

Angle takes the three guys to live and train out in Colorado Springs; they work with the US team, they do long features about their summer on the Network, just to see them living that lifestyle, to see the foursome becoming closer.  Conspicuously, there are multiple context clues that a fifth guy is expected (an extra track suit is in one piece, an extra locker, an extra bed, it’s never discussed, but it’s there if you’re paying attention; it’s almost like a fifth guy is there, but they’re not showing him…at least that’s some of the internet speculation – “who is the fifth guy” becomes a talking point)

In the last piece, near the end of the summer – Angle says since he’s wrapping up his career, he wants to make sure he wrestles all the guys he wants to wrestle.

And where he wants to start – is AJ Styles. 

Angle says the RAW after Mania will be the first match for Shoot Nation – and they’re going to take on the Bullet Club.  Angle tells AJ to bring all his guys – all 5 members of the Bullet Club – and they’ll take on Shoot Nation.  “You 5 guys against…..the five of us...” and then Angle looks at someone off camera “You ready to show them what you got, big man?”  and then Angle smiles “AJ – go win your Triple Crown.  See you the night after.”

Winner Gets Tag Title Shot: Roman Reigns-Uso (w/Usos) v. Mike Mizanin (w/Sheamus/McIntyre)
Big night for Sheamus and Mizanin at Mania; they won the four way match, going over Full Circle (they’ll be programmed against them during the summer and go over again, that wraps Full Circle for the rest of the wrestling season).  And they are joined by Sheamus’s old partner McIntyre; he returns after a few years away, kicked Roman’s head off – and he joins up with Mizanin and Sheamus.

The Usos lost their tag belts at Mania, they spend a month away, licking their wounds – and then return to jump Miz/Sheamus/McIntyre (they spend some time trying to pick a name – Sheamus says they should call themselves the Bar, because they don’t just raise the bar, they are the bar – Mizanin says Sheamus clearly doesn’t understand that saying; Mizanin says they should call themselves Mike and the Mechanics, given the connotation the word mechanics has with wrestlers – and Mizanin always liked the song The Living Years. 

McIntyre has no time for any of this – he doesn’t really fit that well with the somewhat comedic stylings of Miz and Sheamus – he’s all twitchy intensity in his return, he does a lot of scowling.  We see the occasional sideways glance at Mizanin.  The tease, of course, is that McIntyre might, at some point, just decide he and Sheamus don’t really need Mizanin and kick his head off.

We get a couple more brawls among the 6 men and then it’s shut down – the decision, for some convoluted reason – is that at Summer Slam, each team will have one man represent them and the winner will earn their squad a tag title shot at Survivor Series. 

The Usos, of course, pick Roman. 

There’s unease with the other squad – they can’t even settle on a name, how can they pick a representative?

They decide to vote.  Mizanin says it’s McIntyre; he’s a monster and they need a monster to go against Roman.  Sheamus says it’s McIntyre; he’s known him for years, he’s the guy to get them this title shot. 

McIntyre says he’s going to decide.  He says it’s Mizanin.  And he doesn’t explain, he gets up and walks away.

It’s Reigns against Mizanin, winner earns the tag title shot at Survivor Series. 

Gods of Carnage (Rusev/Strowman, w/Lana) v. New Day (Woods/Langston)
GoC  chose to destroy New Day as opposed to winning their WM 4-way, and that’s what we’re told about GoC over the summer – they don’t need belts, they want to wreck people.  GoC keeps squashing guys all summer.  New Day returns at mid summer and largely looks to laugh off their Mania match; they got beat in a matter of seconds, they decide to own it, comparing their loss to other high profile defeats in their promos.  But at Summer Slam, they’ll make up for it.  No physicality at all between the two teams all summer.

That’s the build.  In addition to all of that, Moon/Sane/Shirai now make up the core of the women’s division in Dark Ride – also on Dark Ride we see the new Underground alliance that debuted at Mania, Alestair Black, Murphy, AoP – they program against War Machine, Dijak, and whichever of Nicholls and Haste didn’t leave, I always forget.  And Mustafa Ali is programmed against Mascara Dorada. 

It’s Summer Slam 31.  It’s Brooklyn.  It’s coming in August. 

WWF Title: Shinsuke Nakamura v. Samoa Joe

Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. The American Dragon Bryan Danielson

IC Tournament Final: Cedric Alexander v. Prince Devitt

Tag Titles: The Revival (Dash/Dawson) v. Bullet Club (Styles/Black w/Anderson/Gallows)

Special MMA Attraction: Ronda Rousey v. Charlotte Flair (w/Roode/Strong)

Kevin Steen v. La Sombra (w/Mysterio and Zelina)

Jeff Hardy v. Luke Harper

Winner Gets Tag Title Shot: Roman Reigns-Uso (w/Usos) v. Mike Mizanin (w/Sheamus/McIntyre)

Gods of Carnage (Rusev/Strowman, w/Lana) v. New Day (Woods/Langston)

Star Ratings-Survivor Series

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Summer Slam ratings are here

Survivor Series 1987
WWF Title: Ricky Steamboat d. Dynamite Kid 4 1/4
IC: Randy Savage (w/Liz) d. Rick Rude (w/Bobby) 4
Tags: Rougeaus (Jacques/Ray) d. Hart Foundation (Bret Hart/Davey Boy Smith) (switch) 3 ¾
Rick Martel d. Tito Santana 3 ½
Hulk Hogan d. Paul Orndorff 3
Killer Bees d. Power&Glory 3

Survivor Series 1988
IC: Bret Hart d. Davey Boy Smith (w/Anvil) 4
Tags: Brainbusters (Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard) d. Rougeaus (switch) 4
Curt Hennig (w/Rude) d. Owen Hart 4
Cage: Jake Roberts d. Rick Rude (w/Cheryl) 3 ½
WWF Title: Randy Savage (w/Liz) d. Dynamite Kid 3
Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) d. Tito Santana 3
Rockers (Shawn Michaels/Marty Jannetty) d. Demolition (Ax and Smash) 3

Survivor Series 1989
WWF Title: Curt Hennig d. Randy Savage (w/Liz) 4 ¼ (switch)
Bret Hart d. Arn Anderson 4
Tags: Rockers d. Rougeaus 3 ¾ 
IC: Ted DiBiase d. Rick Rude (w/Heenan) 3 ½ switch

Survivor Series 1990
IC: Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels 4
WWF Title: Curt Hennig (w/Brain) d Kerry Von Erich 3 ½
Rick Martel d. Marty Jannetty 3

Survivor Series 1991
Shawn Michaels d. Marty Jannetty 4 ¼
WWF Title: Ric Flair (w/Hennig) d. Davey Boy Smith 4 (switch)
IC: Roddy Piper d Bret Hart (switch) 4

Survivor Series 1992
WWF Title: Submission: Bret Hart d. Ric Flair 4 ¼
IC: Owen Hart d. Shawn Michaels 4 ¼ (switch)
IC: Shawn Michaels d. Randy Savage 4 ¼ (switch)
Razor Ramon d. Rick Martel 3

Survivor Series 1993
IC: Shawn Michaels (w/Clique) d. Sean Waltman 4 ¼
Owen Hart d. Randy Savage (DQ) 3 ½
WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Lex Luger 3 ½ 
Steiners d. Rock and Roll Express (w/DiBiase) 3
Bam Bam Bigelow d. Jacques Rougeau 3
Heavenly Bodies d. Headshrinkers 3

Survivor Series 1994
WWF Title: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) d. Owen Hart (w/Bulldog) 4 ¾ (switch)
IC: Ladder: Razor Ramon d. Sean Waltman 4 ¼
Tags: Hart Foundation (Bret/Anvil) d. Lex Luger/Bam Bam Bigelow (switch) 3 ½
Diesel d. Davey Boy Smith 3
Jeff Jarrett (w/Dogg) d. Savio Vega 3 
Smoking Gunns d. Heavenly Bodies 3

Survivor Series 1995
WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Davey Boy Smith 4 ½
IC: Shawn Michaels d. Shane Douglas 4
Sean Waltman (w/Clique) d. Hakushi 4
Tags: Razor/Diesel (w/Clique) d. Smoking Gunns (Billy/Bart) (switch) 3 ½ 
Chris Candido d. Savio Vega 3 ¼
Tables: Public Enemy d. Louie Spicoli/Marty Jannetty 3
Owen Hart d. Ahmed Johnson 3
HHH (w/Clique) d. Bob Holly (DQ) 3

Survivor Series 1996
WWF Title: Bret Hart (w/Anvil/Pillman) d. Shawn Michaels 4 ½ (switch)
IC: Cage: Cactus Jack d. Vader (switch) 4 ½
Steve Austin d. Owen Hart 4 ½
Tags: Marc Mero/Bart Gunn d. Doug Furnas/Phil LaFon 3 ½
No DQ: 2 Cold Scorpio d. Al Snow 3 ½
HHH (w/NAO) d. Goldust 3
New Age Outlaws d. Savio Vega/Bob Holly 3 

Survivor Series 1997
WWF Title: Montreal Match: Owen Hart d. Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin 4 ¾
IC: Octagon Ken Shamrock d. Cactus Jack (switch) 3 ¾
Phil LaFon d. Doug Furnas 3 ¾
Tags: NOD (Rock/DLo w/Mark Henry) d. NAO (w/HHH), Road Warriors 3 ¼
Vader d. Davey Boy Smith 3
Goldust d. Marc Mero 3

Survivor Series 1998
WWF Title: HIAC: Cactus Jack d. Ken Shamrock 4 ¼
IC: Steve Austin d. Steve Regal 4 ¼
Sean Waltman (w/HHH) d. 2 Cold Scorpio (w/Henry) 3 ¾
Tags: NOD (Rock/DLo) d. NAO (Dogg/Billy) 3 ½
Hardys (w/ E and C) d. Too Cool (w/Jerry) 3 ¼

Survivor Series 1999
WWF Title: Cactus Jack d. Rock, HHH 4
IC: Chris Jericho d. Sean Waltman (switch) 3 ¾
Tags: Tables: Dudleys (w/Stevie) d. Hardys 3 ¾
DLo Brown d. Al Snow 3
Edge (w/Trish) d. Ulysses Morley 3

Survivor Series 2000
WWF Title: Chris Benoit d. Steve Austin 4 ¾
Eddy Guerrero d. Dean Malenko 4 ½
IC: Steve Regal d. Chris Jericho (switch) 4 ¼
Cage: Hardys (w/Lita) d. Dudleys 3 ¾
Tags: Edge/Christian d. HHH/Waltman 3 ½
Kurt Angle d. Perry Saturn 3 ½

Survivor Series 2001
WWF/ECW Title: Lumberjack Match: Kurt Angle d. Booker T 4
IC/US/TV: Taz d. Tajiri (switch) 4
Rock d. Steve Regal 3 ¾
DDP d. Steve Austin 3 ¾
Edge/Christian (w/Trish) d. Hardys 3 ½
Tags: Dudleys d. Raven/Dreamer (w/Heyman) 3 ¼
Chris Jericho (w/Stacy) d. Justin Credible (w/Heyman) (Guest referee- Lance Storm) 3 ¼
RVD(w/Heyman) d. SpreeKillers (Chavo/Helms) 3

Survivor Series 2002
WWF Title: Kurt Angle d. Chris Jericho 4 ¼
IC/US/TV: Ladder RVD (w/Heyman) d. HBK 4 ¼
Tags: Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero(w/Horsemen) d. Jamie Noble/Billy Kidman 4
Rey Mysterio d. Steve Regal 4
No DQ Chavo (w/Horsemen) d. Helms 3 ¾
Lance Storm (w/Stacy) d. Edge (w/Trish and Christian) 3 ½
Brock Lesnar (w/Angle) d. HHH 3 ¼

Survivor Series 2003
WWF/ECW/NWA: Eddy Guerrero d. Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit 4 ½
Christian (w/Trish) d. Chris Jericho 4
IC/US/TV: Chavo Guerrero d. Tajiri (switch) 3 ¾ 
Jamie Noble d. Chris Benoit 3 ¾
Tags: HBK/HHH d. Dudleys 3 ½
RVD (w/Heyman) d. Booker (w/Bischoff) 3

Survivor Series 2004
WWF/NWA/ECW: Chris Benoit draw Eddy Guerrero  4 ¼
Tags: Kurt Angle/Shelton Benjamin (w/Team Angle) d. RVD/Rey Mysterio (switch) 4 ¼ 
IC/US/TV: Chris Jericho (w/Trish) d. Chavo Guerrero 3 ½
Edge d. Kidman, Spike 3 ¼
Shane Helms (w/Rhyno) d. Booker T (w/Orlando Jordan) 3

Survivor Series 2005
IC/US/TV: Chris Benoit d. Kurt Angle (triple crown) 4 ½
WWF/NWA/ECW: Rey Mysterio d. Juventud Guerrera 4 ¼
Weapons Match: HHH-M d. HBK 4 ¼
Tags: Booker/Bradshaw d. Orton/Cena (switch) 3
Ric Flair d. Leviathan Batista (w/Arn) 3 

Survivor Series 2006
Matt Hardy d. Shawn Michaels 3 ¾
Edge d. Jeff Hardy 3 ¾
Randy Orton d. Fit Finlay (w/Dean) 3 ½
Shane Helms d. Charlie Haas (w/ Arn and Benjamin) 3 ¼
WWF/NWA/ECW: CM Punk d. Ric Flair 3 (switch)

Survivor Series 2007  
NWA: Johnny Nitro (w/Melina) d. Fit Finlay (w/Dean) 4 (switch)
ECW: CM Punk (w/Maria) draw Jeff Hardy 3 ¾
WWF: Rey Mysterio d. Undertaker 3 ½
Tags: HBK/HHH-M d. S&S (Cade/Murdoch) 3 (switch)
IC/TV: MVP d. Randy Orton (switch) 3

Survivor Series 2008
WWF Title: Chris Jericho d. CM Punk (w/Colt and Maria) (Guest referee- Ricky Steamboat) 4 ¼
Parking Garage Brawl: Randy Orton (w/Dean) d. Steve Regal 3 ¾
Johnny Nitro d. Shelton Benjamin 3 ¾
IC: MVP d. Rey Mysterio 3 ½ 
Tags: Edge/Blood Dragon d. WMD (Cena and Leviathan w/Arn) 3 
Brian Kendrick (w/Colt) d. Matt Hardy 3

Survivor Series 2009
Tags: D1 (Jack Swagger/Nick Nemeth w/Kelly) d. Steve Regal/Fit Finlay  4 ¼
Rey Mysterio d. Matt Sydal 4
IC: Shawn Michaels d. Shelton Benjamin 3 ¾
WWF Title: Chris Jericho d. Chavo Guerrero 3 ½
CM Punk draw Christian 3 ½

Survivor Series 2010
Bryan Danielson d. Low Ki 5
Rey Mysterio d. Nick Nemeth (w/Kelly) 3 ¾
WWF Title: Edge d. Jack Swagger 3 ½
IC: Johnny Nitro (w/Miz and Natty) d. MVP 3 ¼
Tags: Young Money (Killings/Kingston) d. Hooligans (Sheamus/McIntyre) 3 
Dos Caras, Jr. d. Cody Rhodes 3

Survivor Series 2011
WWF Title: Nick Nemeth d. Mistico 4
IC: Sheamus (w/McIntyre) d. Johnny Nitro (w/Miz and Natty) 3 ¾
CM Punk draw John Cena 3 ½
Randy Orton d. Cody Rhodes 3 ¼
Rock d. Dos Caras, Jr 3
IkeaDeathMatch: Killings d. Kingston 3 

Survivor Series 2012
WWF Title: Bryan Danielson (w/Steamboat) d. Rey Mysterio 4
Dos Caras, Jr. (w/Vicki and Ricardo) d. CM Punk 3 ½
Claudio Castagnoli (w/Steamboat) d. John Cena 3 ½
Mistico d. Tyson Kidd 3 ¼
Nick Nemeth d. Miz 3

Survivor Series 2013
WWF Title: Bryan Danielson draw CM Punk 3 ¾
IC: Dean Ambrose d. Kingston 3 ¼
Jack Swagger (w/Heyman and Bellas) d. Claudio Castagnoli 3 ¼
Wyatts (Harper/Dustin w/Bray) d. Defiance (Orton/Cody w/Bernard) 3 ¼

Survivor Series 2014
Tags: TLC: The Shield (Black/Ambrose/Langston) d. The Usos 4 ½
WWF Title: NoDQ Claudio Castagnoli d. Bray Wyatt 4
IC: Luke Harper d. Nick Nemeth (switch) 4
Falls Count Anywhere: Dustin Rhodes d. Cody Rhodes 3 ½ 
Womens Title: Natty d. Paige d. AJ 3

Survivor Series 2015
WWF Title: Kevin Steen (w/Claudio) d. Nick Nemeth 3 ¾
IC: No DQ: Dean Ambrose d. Bray Wyatt (switch) 3 ½ 
Pac d. Kalisto 3 ½
Tags: New Day (Kingston/Langston w/Woods) d. Sheamus/Barrett 3 ¼ (switch)
Dos Caras, Jr (w/GHB and Lana) d. Luke Harper 3
Women: Charlotte Flair d. Paige (switch) 3

Survivor Series 2016
Claudio Castagnoli/TJ Perkins d. Kevin Steen/El Generico 4 ¼
 Finals: AJ Styles d. Luke Harper 4 
Quarters: AJ Styles d. Kalisto 4
Bullet Club (Karl Anderson/Doc Gallows) d. American Alpha (Chad Gable/Jason Jordan)  3 ½
Semi: Luke Harper d. Chris Jericho 3 ½ 
 Quarters: Chris Jericho d. Roman Reigns Uso 3 ½ 
Quarter: Luke Harper d. Sheamus 3 ¼
Women: Charlotte Flair d. Natty Neidhart 3 ¼

Survivor Series 2017
No DQ: Tyler Black d. Dean Ambrose  4 ¼ 
Tag Titles: 6 man Tornado Match: Usos v. New Day  4
Tres Bon Mask Challenge: El Generico v. Kalisto 4
Asuka d. Bayley  4
WWF Title: Samoa Joe v. Prince Devitt v. AJ Styles  NC (double pin) (Danielson, guest referee)  3 ¾ 
Womens Title: Becky Lynch (w/Anderson and Gallows) d. Charlotte Flair (w/Strong) 3 ¾ 
Shinsuke Nakamura d. Bobby Roode 3 ½ 
Kid Canada (Kevin Steen) d. Claudio Castagnoli 3 ½ 
Orton/Cena d. Miz/Sheamus 3 ¼ 
IC: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) d. Kurt Angle (w/Benjamin) 3

Top 10
1. '10 Bryan Danielson d. Low Ki 5
2. '00 WWF Title: Chris Benoit d. Steve Austin 4 ¾
3. '97 WWF Title: Montreal Match: Owen Hart d. Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin 4 ¾
4. '94 WWF Title: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) d. Owen Hart (w/Bulldog) 4 ¾ (switch) 
5. '96 WWF Title: Bret Hart (w/Anvil/Pillman) d. Shawn Michaels 4 ½ (switch)
6. '96 IC: Cage: Cactus Jack d. Vader (switch) 4 ½
7. '05 IC/US/TV: Chris Benoit d. Kurt Angle (triple crown) 4 ½
8. '00 Eddy Guerrero d. Dean Malenko 4 ½
9. '03 WWF/ECW/NWA: Eddy Guerrero d. Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit 4 ½
10. '95 WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Davey Boy Smith 4 ½

11. '14 Tags: TLC: The Shield (Black/Ambrose/Langston) d. The Usos 4 ½
12. '96 Steve Austin d. Owen Hart 4 ½

Back in a month for the build to Summer Slam 2018 - the main event, Shinsuke Nakamura defending the WWF Title against Samoa Joe.

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