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.
Survivor Series 2001
Friday, March 24, 2006
Summer Slam is here.
Survivor Series 2001 Greensboro
(Dark – Spike/Stevie d. Al/Morley d. Taka/Aguila d. Kidman/Kanyon)
JR and Foley are your broadcast team.
1. Number One Contender's Match: E/C (w/Trish) d. Hardys
Okay, this program has gone stale. True. It's gonna stay that way. There are, as I see it, two other options. One, have them go singles. The problem there is WWFs got a talent glut for the next few years such that these guys are stuck, if they were to all get spun off into singles programs, they wouldn't work. Two, they could switch sides. This was my working premise, that right about now there'd be some type of mix and match - that still might be the best idea, but it would still be a bottom card turn. When we get to more modern day, there are singles stories to tell with 3 of these guys, and switching around now hurts those stories a little bit - and since those stories are more integral to tell than this bottom card story - the choice is to look at the big picture and let this stay stale.
The work is good though, you can just roll them out to the ring, give them the ten minute opening match, and it's gonna be better than virtually anything else we could put together.
So, Edge and Christian get the fall with Trish's aid - and maybe we see the Hardys start to fray at the edges a little bit. Matt and Jeff can have words, that's fine, we can do that.
2. Handicap Match: ECW Rules: RVD (w/Paul E) d. Chavo/Helms
Good, good, good, RVD has to lose to Angle in his opening PPV, but here they get him over by feeding a good tag, Chavo and Helms, to him. Another good spotfest, and we’re entertaining the people in North Carolina. This also moves Van Dam to the middle a bit, ‘cause he’s wrestling heels, and Van Dam is really less face/heel and more just an entertainer. He’s on the heel side, and will be there for the foreseeable future, ‘cause the cocky stoner Van Dam is better than the earnest stoner Van Dam. It's a short term hit for Chavo/Helms, they're gonna be fine, don't be concerned.
3. Jericho (w/Stacy) d. Justin (w/Paul E) (Lance, special guest referee)
The battle over Lance’s heart. Lance, as special guest referee, calls it right down the middle – and when Justin has a fall – he correctly breaks it up seeing Jericho’s foot on the ropes. Jericho gets the pinfall, Justin attacks Jericho after the match, Lance with the face save – slapping Justin around – then putting Justin in his half crab finish (see, and Jericho’s finish is the boston crab, it’s sweet) Justin is left to crawl away – Jericho and Storm embrace. The honesty’s too much. Stacy then stands in between them holding each man's arm in the air.
4. NWA -DDP d. WWF -Austin
Here, they sell the interpromotional aspect again, with the multiple announcers and the change in the look of the broadcast. We get back to back NWA v. WWF matches here, and with the lumberjack title match also being NWA/WWF – and, and, and, don’t forget – this is in the south – we’re in North Carolina, which is NWA country – meaning the NWA guys will get cheered – but, since the WWF guys in these matches, Austin and Rock, are so popular, they’ll get cheered too. Making for a divided crowd, which will be fun.
They put Page over clean, in a surprise. Diamond Cutter. Bang. Gives Page something, gives the fans something, Austin didn’t get pinned in his IC loss, so he can handle the beat, and propels the feud forward. Diamond Cutter. Bang.
5. WWF -Rock d. NWA -Regal
Rock goes over to start this feud, give the WWF one, Regal though, attacks Rock post-match, puts him in the Regal Stretch. Again, it's Foley who breaks it up - this time leaving the announce to eject Regal from the ring. This feud continues. They'll put these last two feuds together now (and should have done it all summer, really) meaning they can mix and match, and do Rock/Austin tags, which is a nifty tag team, you know, from multiple perspectives.
Rock doesn't go to the back - he and Foley both go to the announce, getting in one more Rock and Sock evening.
6. Unified Tags: Dudleys d. Raven/Tommy (w/ Paul E.)
Every match on the show solid, incidentally. Nothing to skip. They obviously go No DQ for this one, this is the garbage cans and the chairs and the tables and the blood and the stop signs. It’s Raven’s last PPV shot, so he takes the 3D fall. All these ECW matches work for me, and since there’s a limited run the WWF gives the Counterfatual with most of them, I think this is the best use of the talent.
7. Worldwide Titles: Taz d. Tajiri (w/ Paul E)
Taz didn't join the WWF or NWA, which he made clear on RAW to JR after the ECW fallout - he's Taz, he hates everyone. The most miserable son of a bitch on the planet. This is your best match of the night. They bury Tajiri after this, so we won’t get to see him for awhile, and Taz is nearing the end of his career, as a matter of fact. But they strap Taz up here, he adds the three secondary belts to his brief tag run. He gets the Tazmission on Tajiri and takes the belts. I like this.
8. WWF/ECW World Heavyweight Titles: WWF - Angle d. NWA - Booker
Another NWA/WWF match, crowd should be hot as the lumberjacks, wearing WWF and NWA t-shirts, surround the ring. 10 lumberjacks a side:
WWF: DVon, Rock, Jericho, Austin, Stevie, Edge, Christian, Al, Morley, Bubba
NWA: Page, Storm, Regal, Chavo, Helms, Kidman, Mortis, Awesome, Palumbo, Hugh Morrus
Crowd likes Angle, everyone likes Angle in the Counterfactual, he's unbeaten, he's Bruno freaking Sammartino – but it’s a pro Booker crowd, they are hot for the NWA guy with the lumberjack stip thrown in.
Lumberjack stuff to do: Austin/Page/Rock/Regal, obviously, as they're replaying both those matches at the Rumble (which, just as a tip, will be in Atlanta, home base of the NWA, which considering what the main event will be is excellent – just a little foreshadowing.) Foley leaves the company here - he takes a severe beating from Regal and does a stretcher job to end this run.
We’re also gonna get Morley/Helms at the Rumble, so they start that here too, over the winter, there will be Al/Morley v. Chavo/Helms stuff – and that’s a pretty good feud that we’re gonna see on TV all the way to Mania.
JR notes that the Hardys and not the Dudleys were supposed to be lumberjacks, since the Duds just had a title match not half an hour ago – where are the Hardys…well, footage from before the match shows, that as they were readying to leave their locker room – Dead Men Walking attacked them – giving them the Triple Chokeslam. Triple Chokeslam~
So, we’ll get that at the Rumble.
They also have E/C go after Storm (they’re on opposite sides, and hey, it’s Clique and Harts, imagine that…our neverending saga...) Lance gets the advantage on E and C…and since Lance is NWA and E and C are WWF..that draws the Dudleys on the side of E and C, of all things. And since now it’s 4 guys against one…that draws Jericho on behalf of his boy (‘cause they’re Harts, after all, with the love and the whatnot) and now, Jericho is standing with Storm, fighting the Dudleys and E and C…and, while, we’ll cover that a bit more later, that’s gonna be your tag title match at the Rumble.
Oh yeah, the match – Angle. Ankle lock submission. Match is good, but Booker isn’t at the top, top level, so the sell is the lumberjacks and all the outside stuff. Good. Angle’s unbeaten streak now is 2 years – and his title reign rolls on. Angle stands alone in the ring holding up his two belts while all the brawling goes on the outside as the show ends.
The Royal Rumble is coming from Atlanta. Which is super great, just perfect great.
And, oddly enough, for the new year, we're getting into the reality show business.
We’re gonna get Tough Enough, ‘cause Tough Enough was a good show. ‘Cept they're gonna work it. The premise is Angle wants to do something both for amateur wrestlers, and for the WWF, as its champion. Once amateurs stop wrestling, they have nowhere to go, and they’ve never turned to pro wrestling, because they think it’s just guys in tights.
Angle used to be like that – but now that he’s been here for 2 ½ years, 2 ½ unbeaten years, and almost a full year as WWF Champion – he knows there’s no sport in the world as demanding and professional wrestling.
And he also knows, there are no athletes in the world as committed, as dedicated, as amateur wrestlers.
So, he’s gotten a commitment to give contracts to 3 amateur wrestlers – and over the next 6 months, he will create Camp Angle, and he will invite a select group of the finest amateur wrestlers in the company to step into his dojo – and from that group – he’ll pick the top 3 to join him in the WWF – as Team Angle.
So, Kurt Angle gets his own show. And for half hour a week, we get Tough Enough, ‘cept, it’s not real. I mean, it’s kinda real, ‘cause it’s Kurt Angle stretching guys, but it’s set up. Why is this good? Well, it’s good ‘cause reality tv is way over at the top of 2002, and Tough Enough was popular, and this will make Angle more popular because it gives him a half hour of TV time every week – and it gets the guys who are coming in over even before they start.
We could pretty easily get, I’d figure, some amateur wrestlers who’d be willing to get some TV time to round out the field. I’d need like a dozen guys. But the top guys I already have, ‘cause they were already signed to go work at Ohio Valley. It all works out.
Your winners – Brock Lesnar, his Minnesota roommate, Shelton Benjamin; the two brothers from Seton Hall, Charlie and Russ Haas. The drama will be if it’ll be Charlie or Russ who gets picked for that final spot, as it’ll be impossible to believe Brock, especially, doesn’t get one, even though he’s basically an asshole.
Russ dies, as probably you know. And that will be the impetus for Benjamin, who will be Brock’s tag partner, ‘cause they’re boys – to shift to be Charlie’s tag partner. It won't be something that has to be said a lot, really, but it gives us a reason to believe that Haas and Benjamin are bound together, and in storyline form going forward, they're brothers as much as partners - at every opportunity, Haas and Benjamin are shown working well together, sacrificing for each other.
See how this works?
They start working dark at the Rumble, we never see any of them on live TV, only the taped stuff – ‘cause they ain’t ready yet.
The other guy we watch at the very, very, very beginning of the angle is Batista. They have Batista, on the first show, get hot for some reason, stretch a guy, get so out of control that Angle has to slap him around.
Later in the show, the big conclusion to the first episode, Angle finds out that Batista lied about his amateur credentials, that he didn’t wrestle in college at all. So, he’s booted. And he’s pissed.
Anyway, onto the Rumble, which again, is from Atlanta, home of the NWA, which rules for who? Rules for me. ‘Cause I want me some NWA guys talking about going home, about the reception they’ll get when they go home – about how you dumbass WWF fans who don’t appreciate us will look foolish at the Rumble when we go to Atlanta.
We have the interpromotional matches that were set up at Survivor Series. We’ve got Rock/Regal and Austin/Page. And we’ll, as mentioned, mix and match and do some tags on the road to the Rumble. We’ve got Morley/Helms, with Al and Chavo in that mix for TV. It’s the evil NWA juniors against the WWF veterans. Now, we can start talking about Chavo a little more, he’s Eddy’s nephew, and their dynamic going forward is the Bret/Owen dynamic. It’s very much big brother, little brother – in this case, while Eddy is the crafty heel who has his shit together – Chavo’s just fucking nuts. Eddy’s always gotta be dealing with Chavo’s messes, Chavo's the guy who challenges the whole bar to fight , for example – and Eddy's gotta be the one to back his play. Sometimes, people go to Eddy and say, dude, seriously, your boy’s killing us, but Eddy doesn’t listen. They’re blood after all.
And we’re making Helms the same guy, really just ‘cause that’s the guy I want Chavo to be and it makes sense to put them together. So, they are just these half crazy heels – and we’ll have them do as many half crazy things as we can think of. And right now, they’re doing them to Al and Morley. Al, by the way, is close to the end here. And, I think, that this is Morley’s last PPV. They're gonna call Chavo and Helms the SpreeKillers. Picture it like they’re on crystal meth. These are not your comfortable heels, I want them wild, out of control, a glint in their eyes, giggling as they slice up their opponents and then head quickly to the back – they sprint – they sprint – ‘cause they need their next fix. Speedfreaks. The SpreeKillers. Chavo and Helms. The kids will buy the gear. The heels who are on crystal meth. No bulk on these guys, they should be lean, wiry, absolutely flyin'.
Two WWF on WWF matches, both with DMW. They set up DMW/Hardys at the Rumble, recall. And at the Rumble it’ll be PAUL/Kane against the Hardys. One RAW, just before the Rumble, all three members of DMW are doing a beatdown on the Hardys – when running in for the face save, is….HHH.
Recall, the way they wrote Triple H out after Mania was an attack by the newly formed DMW.
So, Hunter, now a babyface (‘member he turned face when the Clique booted him, then he beat Waltman at Mania – but it’s reasonable if no one buys him as face yet) does the face save for the Hardys. The three of them clean house. Shake hands. And Hunter’s a face. He's made up with the old Clique Ring Boys. For longtime Counterfactual fans - it's a nice moment. We like that Hunter - he's not at all going to absolutely ruin the company with his ridiculously outsized ego. Not at all. Nope. King of Kings. Doesn't it make you sick, seriously?
We do a 6 man on RAW before the Rumble – Hunter with the pedigree on Kane. We’re gonna get Hunter/Undertaker at the Rumble.
The problem with this Hunter push is, when he came back, he couldn’t work anymore, he came back all juiced up and only with one leg, so the best version of HHH is gone forever. But I’m stuck with him forever, and there’s story coming up that works for him, and as a worker, I can still maximize his skills in that story – so, we need to do this push now.
That leaves the title matches.
We talked about the tags, Dudleys are the champs, E and C won the right to challenge. E and C cut some promo about how even though there’s the NWA and ECW…still, still, it’s the Clique who will be taking the gold at the Rumble.
Hit Jericho’s music. Jericho says he knows the fans love the interpromotional matches. They’re dream matches, NWA v. WWF. He mentions the title match (which I haven’t yet – but it’s going to sell some tickets, let me suggest) and says that match is one he’ll be watching just as a fan.
But, Jericho says, growing up, he was a WWF fan – and for a WWF fan – when you talk feud, you talk one thing – Harts….and the Clique.
And since he’s been in the WWF – he's never lost to the Clique with gold on the line, having taken Waltman's intercontinental title, but to be fair, his record could be just because neither Edge or Christian was good enough to get a shot at either of Jericho’s two, count ‘em two Intercontinental Titles…
But now, with E and C wrestling the Dudleys for the straps at the Rumble…Jericho thinks it’s time we change all that.
So, at the Royal Rumble, the Unified tag team titles will be the Dudleys v. The Clique v. ….The Hart Foundation!
Hit the Hart Foundation music – enter Lance – he’s wearing pink and black – Lance and Jericho high five – then start walking to the ring – fans should enjoy that moment, and they brawl with E and C. So, there’s that match.
The Worldwide Titles: Taz spends the run up to the Rumble running through ECW, just like when he was there. Every week on RAW, he dispatches someone, Tommy, Raven, Justin, Spike, Rhyno, Tajiri in the rematch – maybe even Stevie and Bubba too – ECW is basically shot, I don’t get to use guys, so it’s Taz who ends the Revolution. Taz says ECW is his bitch, just like back in Philly – and there’s no one who can take him out…
That’ll bring out Paul E – and RVD.
ECW is dead, says Paul E., requiescat in pace.
ECW is dead, but the Revolution lives on. The Revolution, the spirit of Hardcore – the spirit of Independent wrestling – the spirit of men like Sabu and Terry Funk and the Franchise and Cactus Jack – the spirit of men who were too fat or too small or too slow or too foreign or too downright ugly to make it in the WWF – there spirit will always live on. And at the Royal Rumble – in the match for the Worldwide Titles,
we’re putting all our chips in the middle of the table – the loser retires from wrestling – and the winner will forever carry the banner of the Hardcore Revolution….the People’s Revolution….the Revolution of the E….C…W…. Taz v. RVD - one man will carry the legacy - and one man will leave the ring forever!
So, there’s that.
Well, it’s a WWF/NWA show. It’s in Atlanta. Who do you suppose would pop a buyrate?
Angle again, calls out anyone in the world who wants his titles….
Hit the Strauss.
Ric Flair returns to the WWF. Flair says, so here’s the kid who never loses. I’ve lost a thousand times and a thousand times more, Flair says. Flair calls Angle gold medal boy. Says he’s been NWA Champion five times, says he was WWF Champion ten years ago – says the only way to be a champion in this business is to sweat, to bleed, to kiss the girls and make them cry, and sometimes, to lose. Even the best, the Lou Thesz’s, the Harley Race’s, the Jack Brisco’s, the Ric Flair’s – we all lost, over and over again – we all lost – who the hell do you think you are gold medal boy, to think you don’t have to lose a wrestling match…
"I’m Kurt Angle...Who the hell are you?"
That sets Flair off. I don’t care you you are, gold medal boy, I don’t care who you are, you don’t respect this business, which means you don’t respect me, and if you don’t respect the Nature Boy, the Nature Boy will beat some respect out of you gold medal boy. Wooooooo. The Nature Boy is going to the Royal Rumble in Atlanta, Georgia – the Nature Boy is going to walk that aisle in the home of the NWA, in the place where great men – great men, gold medal boy, gave their bodies – gave their lives – for this business. Atlanta, Georgia, where you gotta earn respect, where your spot isn’t handed to you just because you won a couple of medals.
Angle says it’ll be nice to go back to Atlanta. He hasn’t been there since 1996...
When he won two gold medals with a broken neck. How’s your neck, Nature Boy? It’s been what, 25 years since you broke your back in a plane crash – how would it feel, if say, you found yourself locked up on the mat…unable to move…unable to breathe…unable even to tap out. How would the people in Atlanta feel about you then, Ric?
Flair and Angle, nose to nose.
We got one more wrinkle.
Flair’s gonna make an offer. If he beats Kurt Angle in Atlanta for the WWF Title, then the NWA will get to take control of Mania. After 18 years, the crown jewel of wrestling will finally be run by the greatest wrestling organization ever.
Wrestlemania XVIII will be...NWA Wrestlemania.
Are you feelin’ me? NWA Wrestlemania.
And if Angle wins – then the following night on RAW – every member of the NWA will turn in his colors – hand over his NWA shirt, sign a WWF contract, and after a hundred years, the NWA will belong to the WWF.
Those are the stakes (this also ties Flair with Bret for most PPV main events, which they work into the build somehow) and Atlanta will provide a helluva backdrop for them.
Okay, one more wrinkle. The very last thing before the Rumble, they put Angle over someone NWA, like Page (or preferably, like Arn, if he was up to it) Flair enters afterward, Flair and Angle brawl – Angle gets the advantage, when he is attacked by an entering….Dave Batista.
Batista, who they'll now call Leviathan (his Ohio Valley nickname, and any time we can get a Thomas Hobbes reference in professional graps, I’m keeping it) Demon Bombs Angle twice – Flair gives a Wooooooo as he takes Angle’s belt and holds it over him as the show ends. They're gonna make Batista Flair’s bodyguard now.
How about some Royal Rumble 2002 from the Dirty, Dirty? Angle v. Flair, for the straps and the huge stips. Taz defends against RVD, winner gets to carry on the ECW name. The Dudleys defend against the Clique and..and...and.. Hart Foundation 2K.
The interpromotional matches: Rock v.Regal, Austin v. Page, Morley v. Helms. Add in the return of HHH and the DMW matches…and it’s a helluva night to be a wrestling fan. Call your cable company - Royal Rumble 2002!!!