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.
Wrestlemania XVII 2001
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Rumble is here.
Wrestlemania XVII Houston 2001
(Dark – Dean/Perry d. Taka/Aguila)
Taka's off tv now, but he'll work dark and house shows until his deal runs out. Dean and Perry, of course, can't work the show because they attacked Angle - but it's dark, you know.
JR/Cornette/Heenan. Bobby can add whatever he can, health permitting. In fact, if he can only work a match or two, that's fine. Whatever he has. One also notes a change in the set - the ramp is now white.
1. Vince/Kane d. Skip/PAUL~
PAUL and Kane do some limited amount of big man stuff, leading to the point where Vince, in a WWF arena for the first time in two years, and still wearing the robes (bald, very thin, monklike McMahon) shockingly tags himself in.
PAUL then turns to tag in Skip - it's gonna be Skip and Vince - Skip and Vince -
But instead - PAUL turns on Skip - chokeslamming him, Vince enters, pins his boy, and that's that. Vince gets the fall on Skip – Vince wins, keeps the company, Skip’s gone. Kane and PAUL~ then turn on Vince, chokeslamming him simultaneously. They get two tables and then double chokeslam the McMahons through both of them. That wraps Skip, and, absent maybe one more appearance in a couple of years, wraps Vince too...at least...for now...
Kane and PAUL then each then hold up five fingers as the Undertaker’s music plays. The Dead man comes to the ring – the three monsters united as a powerful heel force. JR and Cornette freak out - look at these men - the three largest men in the WWF - these Dead Men Walking...Leading us in to…
2. Legend’s Match: Rock d. Undertaker (w/ Kane/PAUL)
The Rock goes into a tough spot, with the Undertaker/Kane/PAUL all lined up against him, he obviously, struggles with the outside interference – as the monsters overwhelm him. But he’s the Rock, after all, and this is a good spot to mark the transition from Rock getting title shots to Rock, novelty act. Rock overcomes all, gets the fall, the legend's win, keeping the 'Taker from passing Andre and Hogan – but after the match, the monsters beat him down and ready him for what will be their signature move…the triple chokeslam
They pick him up --- when the Rock is saved by….Mick Foley. Foley’s good like that.
Foley and the Rock beat the Monsters away. Face pop – Foley, not in the Cactus Jack gear, gets on the mic, puts the Rock over as the new legend of the WWF, wishes Kurt Angle luck tonight, says Bang, Bang, and disappears again. Mick Foley!
We're gonna run some comedy Foley now, he's gonna do some announcing, do some Rock/Sock stuff, show that side of the personality as he stays out of the ring.
3. Ulysses Morley d. Justin Credible
Stevie enters in the wheelchair, gets taunted by Justin – then Stevie rises, hits Justin with the StevieKick, allowing Morley to hit Liberation Falls. Morley wins at Wrestlemania! Morley wins! Morley wins! Stevie is then attacked by Raven and Taz…save by the Dudley Boys…brawl to the back.
4. Cage Match: HHH d. Waltman (w/ Trish, E and C)
It’s Hunter’s last PPV before the quad blows out, so he’s still at the top of his curve, and his last match at this level. Waltman is nearing the end of his WWF career, and is too high to focus, but he can still bump for his boy – hence the cage stip. This is your blood match, double color. It’s pinfall/Submission, no escape allowed. Hunter goes over, pedigree. Hunter’s gonna be a face for awhile, so hop on board. It’s face HHH and he’s gonna get a little bit of a run. Well, first he’s gonna get hurt – but then, a bit of a run.
After the fall, E and C enter the cage, beating Hunter down, save by the Hardys…and the Hardys and E and C brawl to the back. So, we’re ready for the tag title.
They're gonna give Hunter a babyface run between Mania and Summer Slam against the Monsters --- that’s gonna end with the Monsters severly injuring Hunter – say, a Triple Chokeslam off the ramp. Hunter gets the neckbrace, EMT, stretcher, ambulance thing – and that writes him out of the storyline for the rest of 2001. When he comes back, recall how he was injured, ‘cause that’s who he’ll come after.
5. Chris Jericho d. Eddy Guerrero (special guest referee, Hector Guerrero)
And this is the blowoff to this feud. ‘Cause that’s the point of Mania, after all. Eddy submits to the Liontamer, no run in, Jericho gets to stand triumphantly in the ring. Y2J…Y2J..Y2J.. They establish Jericho as a big time workrate guy, they keep putting in the spot where he has great matches – and now we see him as a guy who has great matches. He carries on the Hart legacy. Coming to the ring after the match…Stacy Keibler, she kisses Jericho, and there’s that. Man gets a valet. That's gonna get awfully soapy, I'm just sayin'.
6. Tags: Elimination Match: Dudley Boys d. Raven/Taz d. Hardys d. E and C
They garbage up the first fall – with the tables and ladders and chairs and garbage cans and street signs and stapleguns and chainsaws and whatever you got. Jeff puts Edge through a table and gets the fall, eliminating E and C.
Second fall – Taz chokes out Matt, Hardys eliminated.
So, the ECW group goes at it – finish comes with the Duds hitting 3D on Raven, retaking their titles. Stevie hobbles to ringside – the three men celebrate in mid-ring. Big night for faces here in Houston – the big crowd is very happy.
7. IC: Falls Count Anywhere: Steve Austin d. Steve Regal
Since we have the in ring stuff in the main, we get a brawl here, in the stands, in the back, in the lobby, in the men's room – it’s a heated feud, the blow off to a heated feud, and it’s in Houston – so Austin’s got the hometown thing going. This is my ECW style Austin match, I’d like them in the crowd, the fans giving Austin things to hit Regal with. I see Austin in the stands, bleeding, the fans all around him chanting his name as he holds the IC belt above his head. It’s a very emotionally satisfying Wrestlemania as the faces continue to roll.
8. WWF Title: Kurt Angle d. Chris Benoit
Long time coming.
Lot of buildup, lot of drama, both men unbeaten since joining the WWF - Angle has never lost a match, which, recall, was his goal upon entering, this match has been building for a year - the fans, as now they'll do for each WWF Championship match - throw the ribbon as the wrestlers introductions come in the ring (Howard, incidentally, is always the ring announcer - as long as he's drawing a paycheck, Howard's the ring announcer)
Angle's good enough by now to keep up - Benoit's as good as anyone's ever been - and I'm guessing this is every bit as good as it could be.
The wolverine, champ for a year, drops to Angle. Olympic Slam. Pinfall.
Eddy, Dean, and Perry hit the ring postmatch – Angle is joined by the entire face locker room in ejecting all of them from the ring – Angle’s lifted in the air as the people cheer. Angle in the air with the belt as we fade out. And we have a new WWF Champion. Peace reigns in the World Wrestling Federation.
One of the biggest RAW main events ever is the next night. Maybe the biggest.
Alliance in the ring – they say it’s time to go all in – they want their belts back. So, they call out Angle, Austin, and the Dudleys.
Angle and Austin and the Duds enter. Benoit says we want an 8 man – tonight on RAW. If we win – then I get the WWF Title and Eddy gets the IC and Dean and Perry get the tags. The Alliance walks out with all the gold. ALL THE GOLD.
And Angle says – if we win – you four get the hell out of the WWF.
The Alliance huddles…and agrees.
So, the main is Alliance v. The Champs. If Alliance wins, they win the straps, if Champs win, the Alliance leaves town. They do it as a War Games match. Steel cage. 2 guys start. Every five minutes, another guy enters until everyone is in. Someone has to submit for the match to end.
Are you feelin' me, player? Big stakes. Cage. Submission only. RAW is WAR.
Eddy and Angle draw the first numbers. Next in has to be a heel, so we’ll make it Perry. Perry and Eddy do some beating. Then Bubba. So it’s 2-2. Then a face, D-Von. So, 3-2. Then Dean. 3-3. Then Benoit. 4-3. Then Austin. 4-4. Everyone bleeds, lots of teased submissions – finally, Angle gets Dean to tap to the ankle lock.
Alliance attacks after the match (Dean has no more PPV left, so I’m pulling the plug, Perry does have more, but I’m sacrificing for the angle, Eddy gets fired for the drug use, and Benoit has his neck surgery and goes down for a year – hence, the angle) but the face locker room again emptied – and they beat the Alliance down. The faces stand triumphant in the cage as we go to commercial.
We come back – all the faces in the company once again in the ring, Alliance gone, the cage has been taken down. Angle says thanks to the fans, says that a year after the WWF was invaded…the invasion is now over. Angle says I chased this belt for a year – I chased the Alliance for a year. And now I issue an open challenge to anyone in the world – Kurt Angle is ready to beat you.
And that’s when all hell breaks loose.
The NWA Monday Nitro music plays. And, from one side of the arena, coming down to the ring through the crowd, is the NWA. In front, the US Champ, Lance Storm, behind him the tag champs, DDP and Kanyon, then Booker, Chavo, Shane Helms, and Billy Kidman.
Lance, wearing pink and black, gets in Austin’s face, Page and Mortis find the Dudleys, Booker finds the Rock – all in a nose to nose.
Lance gets the mic. Says that Angle’s wrong – says the Alliance was just the first shot – says that the NWA has been in existence since 1904, that’s a century of the finest wrestling in the history of civilization – and now – they’re bringing that wrestling to RAW. From now on…RAW is NWA…..
Hit the ECW music. This….is….Extreme…..
From the other side of the arena, comes Paul E., behind him the ECW TV Champ, Tajiri, the ECW tag champs, Rhyno and Spike Dudley, Taz, Raven, Justin, Tommy Dreamer. Tajiri finds Austin and Storm (see, ‘cause they’re the secondary champions) and Spike and Rhyno find the Duds and Page/Kanyon (‘cause they’re all wearing tag belts, six guys, one ring, tag belts).
Paul E. tells Lance he’s part right – and by the way Lance, thanks for walking out on us – that it is time for a takeover. The WWF has ruled professional wrestling with an iron fist for the last 16 years – but they’ve gotten fat and lazy, just last night, I had to sit through a Wrestlemania where Vince McMahon wrestled Skip McMahon. This used to be a company where the Dynamite Kid wrestled Ricky Steamboat - and last night - Vince McMahon wrestled Skip McMahon.
That’s why in Philadelphia, we take things to the Extreme. The Extreme Revolution is underway..and it will be televised…here on RAW.
Angle takes the mic, says thanks for the introductions, because otherwise, he wouldn’t know who some of you are….but now that you’ve introduced yourselves….let me introduce myself…
I’m Kurt Angle.
The World Wrestling Federation Champion.
Now get the hell of my ring.
Brawl as the show ends.
Time for the disclaimer. This still isn't going to be done right. The right way to do this is to keep the groups totally separate, let them operate seemingly as separate companies, and build for the next year to XVIII. Sadly, they don't give me the numbers for that, I'm limited by who they actually hired, who they actually used. So, for you fans of the Counterfactual champing at the bit to see it swing at the invasion - you're going to be disappointed.
They're setting up some interpromotional matches for Summer Slam right now. Like Booker/Rock. Booker’s better than Rock, but he got less of a push in this world, no singles belts, just the Harlem Heat tag stuff – so he’s not quite the guy he was in the real world. Foley's color commentator during this stretch, and as much Foley/Rock stuff as can be done is good. Book's gonna attack Mick (no longer Cactus Jack, now our roly-poly author friend) one night to ratchet this up.
And they'll be unifying the belts currently at their disposal, which is all of them but one. All 3 companies are putting their tag belts on the line. Paul E and the Dudleys will be doing lots of stuff together, we learn that Paul masterminded the attack on Stevie, sending Raven to take him out, they sell heat between Dudleys and Paul, Paul says they’re traitors, they’re soft – they sold out the Revolution to come to WWF and make a couple of bucks. Dudleys say they couldn’t stay in a company that didn’t pay them – that they’re still as hardcore as ever – and if Paul doesn’t believe them, he can taste some table. We also have Spike here – they sell Spike as the little brother who finally got some space once Bubba and DVon left ECW, they picked on him growing up – and now he wants some payback. Rhyno is Rhyno, just a pug of a man who grunts a lot. Page, like Book, comes in without the big upper card push, he’s been a solid midcarder in the Counterfactual NWA, with a couple of tag straps. Kanyon's the’s the best worker of the 6 in the match. He’s interesting in the ring, lanky, creative.
Winner gets the straps – the tag straps will now be called the Unified Tags. The winners will always have all 6 belts (unless I decide at some point to split them up, which I haven’t done yet) – the idea is, like in boxing, you look to accumulate the belts from all the organizations. So, from now on, the tag champs will have all 3 company’s belts. None of the belts is going away, dying, getting swallowed up - they'll be held by the Unified Champs
And we’ve got the IC/US/TV match. Austin meets Lance and Tajiri. Tajiri is Tajiri, kicks guys, sprays mist in their face, he kinda rules. He's gonna get the Muta treatment for the entrance, the light gimmicks, hell, he can paint his face or wear a mask to the ring that he takes off. Lance is different – because he's got the Hart thing, he wears the pink and black variation. Jericho, recall, referred to him in the Benoit program. Lance and Jericho also tagged together in Smoky Mountain, for those of you unaware, so they are boys – and in that opening brawl – they do a spot where they wind up facing off – but they don’t throw down. That becomes a strong side storyline, that Storm and Jericho each hate the other side – but they each love each other (awww) They’re Harts, after all. Family. Winner gets all 3 belts, which will then be called the Worldwide Belts - a name that refers to the language of the US/IC strap, and also the missing W in the WWF name.
The main event is also set up in the big brawl….but not yet.
We’ve got other matches to see, outside of the tripartite interpromotional thing.
The opening tag is the Monsters…who they're going to call Dead Men Walking (DMW – initials are fun!) against babyfaces Bradshaw and Test. They have the Monsters destroy whatever jobber/bottom card guys they can on the road to Summer Slam (and Hunter, don't forget) Triple Chokeslam!
We’re gonna get some Hart/Clique stuff. E/C and Waltman confuse the good fans by attacking Lance at one point.
Jericho will save. ‘Cause Hart/Clique transcends all barriers.
That’s gonna buy us Waltman/Jericho. Trish/Stacy in their corners. Mmmmm.
E and C go back to the Hardys – and we’re gonna get an E v. Jeff singles match.
Aw, fuck. I’m a match short. See, this is what happens when you do multiple drafts of a card and then start with the three way matches – I wind up a match short.
Okay…let’s take a look at who I’m allowed to use and put together a match. Okay, this is bad, the only guy left is Ron Simmons (‘cause they did a women’s match on Heat, motherfuckers) who I wrote out, of course, years ago. Okay, so, they won’t promo the extra match, I’ll stick Simmons on the card and have DMW squash him after their tag match. Fuck.
Okay, we do have the title match….go back to the brawl on RAW, notice that no one came out to challenge Angle (the last NWA champ was Little Rey, and he ain't here yet) well, someone’s coming…during the brawl….the ECW crew gains advantage over Angle as the ring empties (guys fight on the outside, the stands, to the back) and Angle winds up at the mercy of Raven, Justin, Taz, Tommy – they have him kicked into a corner, with Paul holding a chair in front of his face.
Enter the ECW Champion…Rob Van Dam.
Van Dam hits the Van Terminator on Angle; Angle will go heavy color, and the ECW guys will hold his face in front of the camera as Van Dam points to himself.
RVD is a cocky heel, he’s an X games athlete, really, with a stoner's sensibility -- even more than the Hardys – he’ll do something crazy – then point to himself with a “It’s just that easy for RVD” sort of demeanor. And he’s stoned. Always stoned. He’s also real popular – and that’s what makes ECW hard – the fans will boo the NWA guys, but the ECW guys will continue to get lots of cheers – I’m fine with that, that's why they aren't aligning together, let the people cheer for whom they want – people will pay to see well defined, interesting characters beat the hell out of each other.
Ideally, they would sell the differences among the three companies, fewer than they actually had, since the Counterfactual changed the WWF culture, but the NWA guys talk about 100 years of tradition, the ECW guys talk about violence, reality, being on the cultural edge, and the WWF guys are at home, of course, their spots, their turf, their house. Many wrestlers have wrestled in multiple companies, and they'll look to fill the crevices of TV shows with guys trying to persuade (or threaten) other guys to come on over. It’s a power struggle for the soul of professional wrestling.
So, it’s the big Interpromotional – all the marbles on the table Summer Slam. We're gonna get Title v. Title: Angle v. RVD, and we have Title v. Title v. Title: Austin v. Storm v. Tajiri, we also have the Unified Tag Title match: Dudleys v. Spike/Rhyno v. DDP/Kanyon, and there's Booker/Rock, Jericho/Waltman, Edge/Jeff and Dead Men Walking! Call your thing! Call your thing! Call your thing! Summer Slam 2001