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 2003

Monday, April 24, 2006

Summer Slam is here.

Survivor Series 2003 Dallas
(Dark: London/Spanky d. Haas/Benjamin)
(Dark: Ultimo Dragon d. Shane Helms)

JR/Taz again on the announce.

1. Dead Men Walking d. Bashams
-I got nothing here. I did the, “it’s not really a match” opening tag last show, I don’t have a DMW angle coming up until it’s time to turn the dead guy face again. Now is not that time. So, they smash up the Bashams, Triple Chokeslam. Dead guys get to eat.

2. Goldberg d. Scott Steiner
-As quick as can be. Scotty’s here to pose and feed Goldberg. Bill beats his chest after the match, starts yelling for Lesnar. “I want Lesnar! Are you scared, Lesnar? Come on down and face a real man, Lesnar.” That kinda thing. That’s it for Scotty, he’s only here for that job.

3. Jamie Noble d. Chris Benoit
And now the workrate starts. Noble is your Redneck Messiah, he’s got the chaw going, they should give him a valet/cousin who he makes out with. And he has some of Benoit’s moveset, leading to comparisons between the two, leading to Angle using him to distract Benoit from preparing for the title match. Benoit went over Noble in the tournament as Noble was moving heel, away from his club-hopping “don’t hit my hair” partner, Billy Kidman. Benoit can give Noble a lot of offense here, selling Noble as a quality worker.

Angle comes to ringside, bringing a chair on which he sits to read something…maybe a prop book: I Tapped Out: The Chris Benoit Story. Angle’s the finish, he distracts the official during a Benoit pinfall attempt, and slips the chair to Noble, who clocks Benoit and gets the shocking fall. Jamie Noble pins Chris Benoit at the Survivor Series. Benoit fumes at Angle as Noble runs the hell out of the ring. Angle shrugs his shoulders.

4. RVD (w/ Paul E) d. Booker (w/Bischoff)
Van Dam goes over with the frogsplash, Booker’s deteriorating now, and can really only be used in this type of role, given the depth of talent on the roster. Matt attacks postmatch, Matt pulling out the Counterfactual WWF standbye – the fork. Passed down from generation to generation, each wrestling company only has one fork – but some wrestling companies hoard all the forks, effectively becoming fork millionaires. Matt takes the fork to Van Dam and then to Paul E – both of them now spurting blood as Bischoff encourages greater and greater violence. Matt leaves Van Dam laid out, then points to his head with his thumbs. “Matt Har-Dy”

5. Christian (w/Trish) d. Jericho
As of this original writing, Christian had used to term Christian Coalition only once, either as a throw off line that they never went back to, or as a plan that got aborted when someone decided there would be heat. I like heat, so that’s cool with me. Incidentally, as of this original writing he had just, like that week, started using “that’s how I roll” as a catchphrase and I instantly knew it was money. So he starts hitting it right here

So, Christian’s full on cocky, Jericho’s full on DarkJericho. It’s Christian’s return and he goes over clean. Wins with the Crusader, another upset tonight. Trish, who spent the match mocking Jericho (we’ll have Trish dress like Stacy for the match, straight hair, short skirt, she’ll do Stacy’s ring entrance, she’ll use Stacy’s music, she’ll do the Beulah back arch as she climbs into the ring) and Trish even gets a kick in at Jericho during mid match – postmatch, Trish taunts Jericho, taking the mic as Jericho lies in the ring holding his head. Trish says there’s only one thing that still confuses her, is Jericho all broken hearted because he lost Stacy…or because he lost Lance.

6. Tags: HBK/HHH d. Dudleys
Duds can’t get over the veteran tag champs. It’s a superkick pinfall finish. We got a lot of booking to do here, and in fact, the next three matches are too heavily booked. You have my apologies. During the match, we get a RVD/Matt spot (as part of the prematch build, we ran a couple six mans for TV say, Dudleys/RVD, now reunited under Paul E, against Michaels/London/Spanky. I’d like some London/RVD noise to percolate a little bit, we also have HHH perhaps fuming a little that he isn’t in that six man – why does Michaels need to team with the kids, what’s he trying to say?

So, we toss in something here – we cut back to the infirmiry in the back, Van Dam and Heyman are getting stitched up, silently watching the Dudleys, offering some type of support even though they are too angry and injured to go to the ring or to actually cheer (Heyman would know what I mean) Hardy and Bischoff burst in – Hardy toppling the beds, Hardy putting the boots to both of them, ripping out the stitches, bashing in the monitor – Bischoff pushing him to go further and further, Hardy laying both guys out one more time. Hardy covered in Heyman's and Van Dam's blood.

Michaels gets fall on DVon. Postmatch, HHH/HBK are attacked by Haas and Benjamin. As the dark matches have indicated, they’ve been feuding with Spanky/London since losing their tag titles to HHH/HBK – and now they hop back into the title mix with the attack on the veteran champs. Save by Spanky and London. Now – HHH, say, has the crimson mask, he’s gotta bleed to cover up for the lack of work – and they sell that he can’t see anything, you know, wild swinging, that kinda thing.

So, when Spanky and London enter, face save – but are stopped when HHH, obviously unable to see, Pedigrees London. I mean, it has to be an unfortunate accident, right? ‘Cause Hunter wouldn’t have done that kinda thing on purpose. Right?

Spanky starts swinging at HHH, Michaels gets in between to straighten everything out. Spanky won’t hear it and he aids London in leaving the ring, leaving Michaels and HHH.

7. Worldwide Titles: Chavo d. Tajiri
The veterans, Flair and Ultimo brawl on the outside and are ejected from ringside, meaning, of course, we can get a clean finish. Chavo, by himself, goes over Tajiri and wins his first ever WWF belt. Flair/Leviathan enter postmatch – celebrating hard with Chavo as they stomp out Tajiri and throw the four fingers in the air. Wooooooo!

8. Undisputed Championship: Eddy d. Brock d. Benoit d. Angle
Lots of fun spots to do, we start with Eddy/Brock, since that’s been the main feud. Brock gets an advantage, Eddy tags in Benoit. Brock since we need to re-establish him, gets an advantage, Benoit tags in Angle. So now they can do some Angle/Brock stuff again, which is good and they have Brock tag in Benoit. It’s Benoit/Angle now, but Angle wants no part of it – recognizing he can frustrate the hot tempered Benoit – he refuses to lock up and instead tags in Eddy. That allows for some Eddy/Benoit before the match breaks down into some two on twos, some two on the inside, two on the outside, and then every man for himself.

It’s one fall to a finish and not an elimination, so we have the unusual saves. It looks like Eddy has Angle pinned after a frogsplash, but Benoit saves, and they sell that’s how much Chris Benoit needs to regain the title, that he’d stop his biggest enemy from getting pinned by his best friend.

Benoit winds up being taken out of the match though, by Jamie Noble, who beat Benoit earlier in the night, he attacks Benoit on the outside, and has him in the Crippler Crossface during the finish.

Angle’s not involved in the finish either, he’s on the apron, exhausted, it’s about a 40 minute match, and it certainly appears that he has the ability to save Brock after Eddy hits the frog splash…but Angle doesn’t and Eddy gets the fall and keeps the strap.

Much speculation about this between now and the Rumble. Did Angle have the opportunity to save Brock? Did he willingly give up on this title match? JRs theory is that Angle chose his unbeaten streak over the WWF Title, a terrible offense. Even though Angle’s on the losing side of this match, he continues to say that he is unbeaten, he’s never been beaten, he’ll never be beaten in the WWF.

The other theory, and the one offered by Angle when we get close to the Rumble (after weeks of saying he couldn’t have made the save, that the fall was too far away, or he didn’t see the fall, or he was chipping golf balls on his lawn during the fall) was that he thought if he saved Eddy, that Brock, the youngest man in the match, the healthiest man, the man in the best shape – he thought Brock was sure to win.

And, Angle will confess just before the Rumble, maybe he’s not sure he can beat Brock at this point in his career.

But…he knows he can beat Eddy. Which tips where we’re going for Royal Rumble 2004, from Barbed Wire City – Philadelphia.

Anyway, it’s Eddy with the frog splash over Brock. Eddy comes to his home state of Texas and keeps the Undisputed Championship, going over the highest competition in the world in the process. Chavo now comes back to the ring with his 3 belts, the two Guerreros go nose to nose, six title belts between them, as the show ends. Guerreros~

As stated, the 2004 Rumble is coming from Philly.

The buildup to the Rumble starts with the opening tag. The TitanTrust (all wearing XX – Where it all Beings…Again) t-shirts announce that since Philadelphia is where the three way dance was born, there will be two of them at the Royal Rumble.

Okay, the opening tag will be a three way elimination match, the winning team getting to go to Wrestlemania XX to challenge for the straps.

And you gotsta know, a spot at WM XX – it’s all anyone cares about in the entire sport.

3 RAW matches are set up, winners go to the Rumble for that 3 way opening tag dance.

First, it’s Cena and Orton getting a shot against Shane Helms and a partner of his choice. This is how we sell the importance of finding a way to Mania…Helms walks into the back where Rhyno and Moore and getting ready. They assume it’s an attack, as the three men have been in the Spree Killers war for a year. Instead, Helms tells them he has a chance to go to the Rumble (for the chance to go to XX). And he wants one of them to be his partner.

Rhyno and Moore look at each other – and then they start fighting, right there in the locker room, Moore and Rhyno, partners, without a shred of turmoil between them, start brawling right in the back. Rhyno gores Moore into the lockers, knocking him cold, then turns to Helms, “are we cool?”

Rhyno/Helms, as the SpreeKillers, go over Cena/Orton – and gain a spot at the Rumble.

The Brain Trust then tabs Ultimo – and says he needs to find a partner to wrestle Flair/Leviathan for the Rumble spot. Ultimo, in Japanese, calls Jimmy Yang to the ring.

Periodically, Ultimo’s continued throughout his TV run to beat on Yang, every time Yang makes a goofy ass “dude, my mom’s like Korean and stuff” comment, Ultimo kicks him in the head. But now he calls him out and asks to be partners. Yang is scared to death, a Japanese legend like the Ultimo Dragon chooses him. And he, of course, accepts. We get a couple of spots with them training with Tajiri, Yang being brought into the fold.

But they lose to Flair/Leviathan. Leviathan hitting the DemonBomb on Yang for the fall. Ultimo, of course, attacks Yang postmatch…but there’s a save by Tajiri. Tajiri kicks his mentor down, turning face. Flair/Leviathan go to the Rumble.

One more, as runoff from the Dudleys/Clique feud, we do Dudleys v. Spanky/London. Paul E, in an unbelievably foul mood since Survivor Series, obviously, hits the ECW thing hard, as the Rumble is in Philly. Spanky and London have had no interaction with Michaels and Helmsley until the two of them come to the back to wish them luck prematch.

Van Dam runs in on the match to aid the Dudleys. HHH/HBK run in for the save – a save that results, of course, in HHH “inadvertently” hitting London, on whom the Dudleys get the 3D.

Dudleys go to the Rumble, they’ll meet Flair/Leviathan and the SpreeKillers, winners go to XX to wrestle for the straps.

Two return singles matches converge in the buildup. It’s time for another Matt/RVD – we add the return to Philly as the new character in the match. Matt cuts an anti-ECW promo, he comes out to Van Dam’s music before a match against, say, Kidman. Matt’s particularly cocky now since laying Van Dam out at Survivor Series. He works the whole Van Dam moveset in going over Kidman, and finishes with a Van Daminator. Points to his head with his thumbs, “Matt Har-Dy” He says it’s really not that hard to be RVD. Who it’s hard to be is Matt Hardy. He’s held his tongue a long time, but it’s time Matt Hardy got some respect around here. Matt Hardy came up as a Clique ring boy, when RVD came to the WWF – in his first ever match he got a World Title shot. Matt Hardy’s been here ten years – how many singles world title shots has he gotten? Zero.

Zero. Matt gets hot. Zero! But RVD’s “extreme” RVD jumps off chairs and crashes through tables?

Are you kidding me? Does anyone remember the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches? In the history of this sport – no matches ever had more punishment. And who was the one guy to survive? Matt Hardy. The Dudleys – well, we know they ain’t got anything left. Edge? He’s been gone a year now. My brother Jeff? He left the business completely. The only guy left is me, Matt Har-dy.

Hit Christian’s music. Christian and Trish enter. Christian tells Matt that maybe he’s been too busy not wrestling to notice, but at Survivor Series, he came back to the ring and pinned the 2 time intercontinental champion Chris Jericho right in the middle of the ring. And if you listen to the Christian Coalition…

…fans react as they will…

…if you listen to the Christian Coalition, they’ll tell you that at the Royal Rumble, the most extreme athlete in the world today will Rock the Boulevard. And that won’t be Matt Har-Dy. And it won’t be R-V-D….it’s gonna be M-E, and that spells Me, My name is Christian – and That’s How I Roll.

Hit RVDs music. Van Dam enters. Van Dam angry – hostile – shoves Christian out of the way – Van Dam and Hardy do a nose to nose – Van Dam quietly tells Hardy that if he thinks he’s going to go to his house, going to go to Philly, and get out alive – that he’s made a miscalculation. The two are about to throw down…

…when DarkJericho, without music, enters in his streetclothes. Jericho pauses, looks at all three men, shakes his head and says, “You’re not worth my time” and starts to leave.

Trish makes some type of gay Jericho insinuation again, something that stops him cold as he starts to exit the ring. Jericho walks right up to Trish, who stands her ground, Jericho, very matter of factly looks her in the eye and says in as much of a non-wrestling promo way as possible “Trish, at the Royal Rumble…I’m going to hurt you. I am going to hurt you unbelievably badly.”

Jericho drops the mic and exits.

We’re gonna get some tags as we build to the rematches, with Jericho/Matt teaming against Christian and Van Dam – but, at some point we’re gonna switch it up, there will be a match where Matt and Christian rekindle their old ring boys feud and just go after each other, leaving Jericho and Van Dam to do the same.

The TitanTrust says that the feuds between all these men are so personal – threatening to get so far out of hand – that they can’t in all conscience run rematches in a place like Philadelphia. So, instead, they’re switching them up.

So, at the Rumble, it’s Matt against Christian and Jericho vs. RVD. The thought being that Matt’s now made a heel turn, while Christian’s act is supposed to be drawing a number of fans...meanwhile, RVD is a total face in Philly, obviously, and Dark Jericho has been acting awfully heelish.

We’ve got the Benoit/Noble rematch.

Benoit’s hot. He lost to Noble, then Noble put him in his own hold and cost him the chance to regain the WWF title. Unlike the cool heat of Jericho – Benoit runs hot – so, the night after RAW, say, Noble is in the back with Holly, talking Nascar or Jessica Simpson or some other white trash topic – Benoit doesn’t even take a pause, he barges in and drives at Noble, they brawl on the hard concrete floor of the locker room, Benoit drags Noble through the back by his hair – suplexing him into the wall, battering him into a soda machine. Holly, a face, but a southerner and a veteran, pulls Benoit off – tells him to calm down, to do it in the ring – and Benoit goes off on Holly, ramming his head into a table. Holly’s friend Morley intercedes (hey, Morley!) and Benoit just lays into him as well.

On the road to the Rumble, we can get face/face stuff with Benoit and both Holly and Morley. They keep Noble away from Benoit – he runs everytime he sees him. Benoit is all fury, all the time. We can throw Eddy in as a partner for Benoit against Holly/Morley. We get a thing where Angle makes fun of Benoit for losing.

One more singles before the title matches.

We do a nose to nose between Goldberg and Lesnar. Building for awhile, Goldberg says the only reason he came out of retirement, came to the WWF, was to headline XX – and beat Brock Lesnar for the Undisputed Championship. Goldberg/Lesnar for the Undisputed Straps at XX – it would have been the biggest match of all time.

But Brock can’t get the job done. At XIX, he couldn’t beat Kurt Angle. At,Summer Slam, he couldn’t beat Eddy Guerrero. And at Survivor Series, he got beat again – 3 shots at the gold – Brock Lesnar, “The Next Big Failure” blows it three times.

Brock enters, tells Goldberg to “jerk himself off, you jerk, jerkoff” If he had really wanted to win the title, he woulda won the title. He’s the greatest athlete in the world, he doesn’t care about these jerkoffs in the WWF, everyone who has ever won the WWF Title is a bunch of jerkoffs. You want a real sport – football is a real sport. A sport for real men, not a bunch of jerkoff sport like pro wrestling.

And that’s when, from the crowd, leaps Mick Foley with a barbed wire 2x4, that he plants in the middle of Brock Lesnar’s head.

Recall, Lesnar laid Foley out during the Triple Crown ceremony after Summer Slam.

Blood everywhere. Foley pounds away at Lesnar. Goldberg backs away as if to say, “hey, I don’t got nothing to do with this.”

The following week, Foley promos. “Four years ago Cactus Jack retired, four years ago, I knew his body couldn’t take it anymore. Cactus Jack gave all he had to give, spilled all the blood he had to spill, left his guts in this ring.

But Mick Foley’s got one more match left.

There’s nothing Mick Foley hates more than a guy who doesn’t respect my sport. Brock Lesnar won a contest, got title shots, has put in less time than 99% of the locker room, and still stands in this ring and pisses all over it. WELL, I’M NOT GOING TO PISS ON YOU AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE, LESNAR!! I’M GOING TO SLICE YOU OPEN

The Royal Rumble is in Philadelphia, Barbed Wire City. And at the Royal Rumble, I’m going to take you downtown to Chinatown, Brock Lesnar. You want to leave this company? You want to leave this sport? I’ll give you something to remember it by. At the Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar will meet Mick Foley…

In a barbed wire match.”

So, we do that. It’s Mick’s return, which is a thing after four years, a WWF legend, Triple Crown winning Mick Foley, returns. And the barbed wire aspect adds the hardcore element to the card. People who dislike Brock will look forward to seeing him get cut up, and one wonders if Foley can possibly compete with an athlete like Lesnar, even in the gimmick match in crazy Philadelphia.

Tag titles, Haas and Benjamin, after the Survivor Series postmatch, challenge HBK and HHH. We can get singles matches in the run up. We can even do a four man one week, with Angle and Lesnar with the heels and Spanky and London with the faces. That will break down, Brock gets attacked by Goldberg (who they keep in the mix with Brock, even with the Foley program) Angle doesn’t want to take the loss, so he walks out, so it’s Haas and Benjamin, screwed, down 4-2, when London “inadvertently” takes out HHH. And Haas and Benjamin get the fall.

HHH says it was intentional, London and Spanky say the three times he keeps taking them out is intentional, Michaels has to pull them apart as the show ends.

So, we’ve got that.

I mentioned we’d have two three ways, the IC is a three way also. It’s Chavo, the new IC champ, against newly turned face Tajiri, and Rey, the megaface. It’s a great workrate match, plus we have the Chavo/Eddy thing, and the Tajiri turn going on.

And, as mentioned at Survivor Series’ end, it’s Eddy defending against Angle.

Eddy’s had the big year. Beat Benoit at XIX. Won the 64 man tournament and became Undisputed Champion and the Triple Crown holder. Then won the 4 way at Survivor Series. But he’s yet to beat Angle. No one’s ever beaten Kurt Angle.

Angle talks about the match as if it’s easy. “I didn’t try to stop Eddy from pinning Brock because I know I can beat Eddy Guerrero. No offense to Eddy, but lets be honest people, he’s not in my league. You know it, I know it, even Vince McMahon, still drooling in his hospital bed since I hit him with the angle slam knows it. Oh, it’s true. It’s true. If Eddy Guerrero has the best day of his life, if every one of those mutants in Philadelphia is on his side, if the referee is his mother and the timekeeper is his grandmother and they all bring piñatas on sticks to beat me with – the only thing that will happen is that I’m walking out of that ring with a load of candy, two gold medals, and my Undisputed Championship of the World.

And why?

Because I’m Kurt Angle.”

And that’s your show. Top to bottom, bottom to top, it’s a lot of card.

Eddy defends against Angle for the three big belts. Chavo defends in the workrate three way for the Worldwide against Rey and Tajiri. HBK/HHH defending the straps against Haas and Benjamin. The legendary Mick Foley returns after four years – and he’s in a barbed wire match against Brock Lesnar. Benoit gets Jamie Noble in a rematch. With our matchup shakeup, it’s Jericho against RVD, and it’s Christian against Matt, we also have the three way tag to open it up, Dudleys v. Spree Killers v. Flair and Leviathan.

All in Philadelphia as we march to XX.

Fuck that’s a good show. Buy it. Royal Rumble 2004

Summer Slam 2003

Saturday, April 22, 2006

XIX is here.

SummerSlam 2003 (Phoenix)
(Dark: Haas/Benjamin d. London/Spanky)
(Dark: Ultimo Dragon d. Shane Helms)

JR/Taz on the announce.

(Open with a video package spotlighting the four guys around which the company is revolving: Eddy, one of the great wrestlers who ever lived, looking to win the Undisputed Title and the Triple Crown….Brock, the destructive, egotistical bully, a former NCAA Champion, looking like an unstoppable force…Benoit, fighting to be considered the greatest wrestler of all time, a multi-time champion finally away from the Alliance and the Horsemen, gets his long awaited rematch against Angle…and Angle, beloved champion shockingly turned antagonist, he’s making his first return to the ring since neck surgery, still without a professional wrestling defeat…)

1. SpreeKillers draw La Resistance (no contest)
Moore and Rhyno attack the French kids in the back, punking them out, SpreeKiller style, Helms then attacks Moore and Rhyno, furthering the feud over the Spree Killer gimmick – Helms, Moore, and Rhyno – all shirtless with the scrawlings all over them brawl in the back – whenever La Resistance shows signs of recovering, the Spree Killers unite to destroy them quickly, then they go back to the brawl.

We see the TitanTrust (Dean, Arn, Fit) in the back huddling as to what to do without the first match, and then we see Kurt Angle make his way to the ring.

Angle, bald, has the American flag singlet, but now it’s black. He’s Bizarro Angle. Here’s where his turn deviates from Bret’s, the wrestler to whom he is most similar. The weight of being on top, with Owen and Shawn always at his heels, grew too much, Bret grew bitter at his perceived lack of respect from the fans. We got an underlying tease of that with Angle, but we also laid the groundwork, when Angle was beating the NWA guys, that Angle kinda dug being a heel. And that’s what they sell, Angle liked getting booed, he saw that guys like Brock were having a helluva time. He’s always lived his life according to the rules, imagine the life of the amateur wrestler, toiling away in obscurity, sweating out twelve pounds in 7 hours to make weight, turning your body into a machine just for your own community while those football players make all the money – but still, you keep going, because “I’m Kurt Angle” and that’s what you do –you won a gold medal, but where was your parade, why didn’t you become Bruce Jenner or Mary Lou Retton - you won the WWF title, you’re still unbeaten, and you realize you weren’t having half the fun of Brock, taping guys buttcheeks together, snearing himself with Jericho’s blood, mocking the Rock, dropping Helmsley on his head on the white ramp – he just does whatever he feels like, whenever he feels like it.

“And what Kurt Angle felt like doing on Monday, was Angle slamming Vinnie Mac into next week. What Kurt Angle felt like doing on Monday was strapping on a halo, getting into a wheelchair and pretending to be some lame ass cripple, with the drool coming out of my mouth and the girls in the front row crying – it was hiliarous – you should have seen the look on your faces – priceless – and what Kurt Angle felt like doing on Monday was showing Eddy Guerrero that he could win a hundred tournaments and he’ll still never be a champion. And what Kurt Angle feels like doing tonight is beating Chris Benoit – again – to prove once again, that there is no one in this world, who will ever beat Kurt Angle. “

Brock enters. Note that Brock wasn’t in on the plan – he looks at Angle in a little bit of awe, like he’s risen from the dead. Brock says he doesn’t know what happened, but Kurt Angle is the craziest son of a bitch he’s ever met. And tonight, after Angle takes care of Benoit, Brock Lesnar will win the Undisputed Championship by destroying that illegal alien Eddy Guerrero – and the two of them will go out and tear up the town as the two greatest wrestlers of all time. And maybe on RAW, tomorrow night, Brock Lesnar will defend his Undisputed Championship…

“…or maybe instead, I won’t show up at all. Maybe instead, Brock Lesnar is going to win the Undisputed Championship and take the belts back home to Minnesota, maybe I’ll sell them on Ebay, maybe I’ll go play in the NFL, maybe I’ll go off to Hollywood and take jobs away from that punkass Rock, maybe I won’t do any of those things at all – but the only thing you can count on is Brock Lesnar will do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it.”

Benoit enters. Says “the two of you idiots mock my passion, this is the WWF, it’s not about you Lesnar, it’s not about you, Angle, it’s about the sacrifice of every man who has ever stepped foot in that locker room to build this ring. It’s about the Dynamite Kid, who wrestled until he was in a wheelchair for real – and when you come out to this ring, Angle, when you come out in a wheelchair – you mock his legend, you mock his sacrifice, you mock the blood that has been spilled in this ring – and you mock me, Angle – when you mock my ring – you mock me – and I will show you what I think about people who mock me, Angle – I’ll show both of you, right now.”

Angle does a Benoit impression, fake seething “I’ll show both of you right now”, he says, “this is exactly what I was talking about, Benoit, your face is all tense, you’re probably close to stroking out here in Phoenix, where they probably don’t even have any doctors, and you just challenged two real athletes to a match.

You are exactly who I don’t want to wind up like, Benoit.

But, I’ll tell you what – we’re a match short, so Brock and I are gonna take you up on this, Chris – we’re gonna make Summer Slam history – because we’re gonna take you apart right now…

Heels beat on Benoit. Benoit comes back. Heels beat on Benoit. Benoit can’t come back, he struggles, he struggles – and then Eddy enters.

Fans should be chanting for Eddy to make the superman save. We’re in Phoenix (and Dallas for Survivor Series) which will mean a large Hispanic fan base. The tournament reads as just one big block of matches, but it’s actually months around which the company is built, and the guy getting the big push is Eddy. He beat Benoit at Mania – then beat Benoit in the tournament – and now has the title shot after the face turn and here we are.

So, Eddy gets the chants, he and Benoit get an advantage – but Angle cheats in some major way to further the heel turn, say he splits Eddy open with one of the title belts which are prominently displayed at ringside. Angle Slams and F5s on both faces.

2. Goldberg d. Diesel
They keep it short. It’s Nash’s first PPV match since he left for the NWA. So, they sell that as a big deal – and we show the Goldberg/Nash partnership from the NWA to familiarize WWF fans with their history.

Goldberg goes over powerfully, clean with the spear and the jackknife, as this finishes Nash up. No Clique presence, Goldberg stands on the buckle yelling out, ‘I’m the Next Big Thing!” Then goes back and F5s Nash. “That’s how you do it!”

3. Cage Match: RVD (w/Heyman) d. Matt (w/Bischoff)
Paul E yells at Van Dam, looking to fire him up, the whole way down the ramp, “this guy beat you twice, he thinks he’s extreme, you’re the legacy of ECW and this guy keeps beating you.” Van Dam keeps the intensity shown after the tournament, this is a classic midcard feud, Matt establishing himself as a singles daredevil against the ECW icon Van Dam. It’s a pinfall match – ending with a frogsplash from the top of the cage. The win’s not enough for Heyman though, ‘cause this is a blood feud between he and Eric – he rams Bischoff’s head into the cage – and then drags him in – Heyman’s got handcuffs – he cuffs Hardy and Bischoff to the cage – bringing in a chair – and he tells RVD to lay them both out with the chair – Van Dam mixed – that’s lots of heel, hitting defenseless men with a chair – but like Bischoff’s sway on Matt – the angle is Heyman’s sway on Van Dam – and he plants the chair into each man’s head. Blood everywhere in the cage, blood spattering onto both Heyman and Van Dam – RVD flips them both off before pointing his thumbs to his head.

4. Y2J d. Flair (w/Leviathan)
Jericho, with the beard growing, with the pyro gone, the costume changed, the music sparse, wins with the Liontamer. The story is Jericho’s aggressiveness toward Leviathan, he doesn’t wait to be attacked from the outside, he attacks Leviathan (still with Cowboy Bob cast) Jericho gets the worst of the exchange, ‘cause it’s Leviathan with a cast, but he keeps going back. The announce at some point, wonders if Jericho has a death wish…

…also, there’s no Chavo, and since he’s not on the card, we speculate about that.

Jericho goes over, won’t release the Liontamer, even when Leviathan hits the ring to beat him down, Jericho just waves Leviathan on over with a free hand.

Flair and Leviathan beat the hell out of Jericho postmatch, leaving him bloody once again and when they exit, he sits in the ring with a sick smile.

They repeat the spot tomorrow on RAW with Dead Men Walking, but I can’t really describe it without tipping the tag finish, so I’ll wait.

5. 30 Minute Iron Man: Kurt Angle draw Chris Benoit (time limit)
And now we get to it. Angle’s full heel, pulls up the mat on the outside, pulls up the turnbuckle pad, holds the tights, goes low, thumb to the eye – does every clichéd heel trick, as if saying to the fans, “I’ll give you something to boo about.”

Benoit, after 15 or so minutes of this, finally does something himself, say, piledriving Angle onto the steel steps after pausing a moment to allow the fans to tell him it was okay.

It’s a 30 minute time limit draw. Benoit asks for five more minutes, fans chant for five more minutes, Angle says nope. He signed for 30, now he’s going home.

Crowd boos. Announce is revolted, Kurt Angle, the Kurt Angle, just walking away from competition? Yup. Angle waves to Benoit who stands in the ring shocked as Angle walks back up the ramp and leaves. Boo. Boo. Boo.

So, Angle doesn’t win, but as he reminds us the following night – he’s still unbeaten.

See what he did there?

6. Tags: No DQ: HBK/HHH d. DMW
Undertaker, of course, has never won a title, so they sell that (I think this is probably his last shot) and it’s a real veteran matchup, with Michaels/Undertaker being a battle of WWF legends.

They book it heavy, PAUL~, the member of DMW not in the match enters at one point, causing London and Spanky to run in and doubleteam him. Say, Michaels was down from a double chokeslam, and then HHH used the sledgehammer to take out Taker and Kane. PAUL entered to chokeslam HHH, and then London and Spanky entered to doubleteam PAUL and send him out of the ring HHH comes to, he’s groggy and grabs the sledgehammer and levels… Spanky.

It’s an accident, of course, ‘cause why would HHH do that? I mean, it couldn’t be that he was pissed that these kids would help him out. Right? He’s not that kinda guy. Right? He couldn’t have been jealous that the young guys were better than he was. Hey – know what’s a good spot – at some point, Hunter’s watching a London/Spanky tag on RAW and says those kids don’t know how to work.

Michaels gets the fall on Kane, Michaels goes over for the keep. He and HHH tend to Spanky, London noticeably is wary of HHH.

7. Worldwide Titles: Tajiri d. Rey
Tajiri wins his second IC, which ties him for second all time with lots of folks. Great match, Ultimo comes down the ringside at one point for some interference, he does his rapid fire kicks at little Rey, helping Tajiri gain control.

Tajiri goes over, beating Rey again, Hispanic crowd unhappy with that. Chavo enters postmatch and beats them both down. Chavo stands alone, holding the three belts in the air triumphantly as he holds up the four fingers for the Horsemen. Announce puts him over hard. Chavo takes out both Rey and Tajiri and holds up the 3 belts.

8. Undisputed Championship: Eddy Guerrero d. Brock Lesnar
Eddy wins the WWF Title and for the first time in like five years, we have a Triple Crown winner.

Same match as they actually had when Eddy won the strap. Brock uses his size advantage to dominate. We’ll get a spot where Angle, who didn’t go home at all, attempts to run in, Benoit stops him from getting to the ring, they fight back up the ramp.

Brock hits the F5, Eddy kicks out. Brock goes for it again, Eddy counters with a DDT and then hits the frog splash for the win.

Emotional moment. Eddy’s family, who we know now from the Guerrero/Hart pieces before the Eddy/Benoit tournament match, is at ringside and they enter, including Mondo, Hector, and Chavo, Sr. Little Rey enters, Paul London enters, he’s Hispanic after all – and the announce notes what an enormous deal it is that here, in Phoenix, a Hispanic man has become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Benoit enters, there’s a bit of a pause, but Benoit raises Eddy’s hand in triumph for the big pop.

And then we Bret/Owen the finish. Chavo hits the ramp. Chavo had the big night, wiping out the two IC competitors, but he’s once again been trumped by Uncle Eddy. He’s always behind Uncle Eddy. Chavo hatefully stares into the ring as his family, even his father, celebrates as Eddy becomes the toast of the wrestling world.

Survivor Series is coming from Dallas, home state of Eddy and Chavo Guerrero.

RAW the night after the PPV opens, for the first time in years, with a shot of the Owen Hart Memorial Triple Crown Trophy in the ring.


Hit Foley’s music. Hey, it’s Mick Foley!

Foley returns for the ceremonial passing of the trophy. Foley thanks the fans for remembering, says the Trophy’s been on his shelf for five years and he’s just glad to get rid of the damn thing, he has to clear off some room for the Pulitzer Prizes he’s sure to win for his many books – all available in local bookstores, ask for them by name.

He calls out Eddy. Eddy enters, big pop. Foley says only 6 men in wrestling history have ever won the sport’s highest honor – and he’s proud to award it to the 7 th. Eddy thanks Mick, thanks the fans, says he’s honored to have a trophy which was won by a Hispanic, Pedro Morales (hopefully we can get Pedro for the show) and honored to be the first winner since it was named after Owen Hart.

Eddy and Mick shake. Fans cheer. And here comes Angle.

Angle says he’s sorry to bust up the party, but he’s Kurt Angle, undefeated, and if there’s a man who should be celebrated, it’s Kurt Angle. Eddy Guerrero knows, Mick Foley knows, everyone knows that the real Undisputed Champion is the man who never lost the belt – the real Undisputed Champion is Kurt Angle, the man who always wins. Last night, Eddy might have beaten Brock – but Eddy Guerrero’s never beaten – no man has ever beaten – Kurt Angle.

Here comes Benoit.

Benoit shakes Eddy’s hand. Benoit shakes Foley’s hand. Benoit says that Kurt Angle’s forgetting something – that last night, at Summer Slam, Angle didn’t win. Angle didn’t beat Chris Benoit – and if Angle had any guts, he would have accepted Benoit’s offer to go five more minutes, and then no one would ever have to hear about undefeated Kurt Angle ever again.

Foley interjects. He says he doesn’t mean to be presumptuous, but as a former Triple Crown winner, and a bonafide WWF legend, he has a suggestion. For the Main Event at Survivor Series, how about Eddy Guerrero….vs….Kurt Angle…..vs. Chris Benoit…..

The fans pop.

Here comes Brock.

Lesnar says that idea sucks.

All Eddy and Benoit will do is double team Kurt. And last night, everyone knows that it was a fluke that Eddy Guerrero beat him. If there’s gonna be a title match at Survivor Series, it’s gonna be a four way.

Which, incidentally, is what we’re gonna do.

But Foley tweaks Brock, saying that he’s been watching at his palatial Long Island estate, and it looks to him like Brock’s had two chances to win the Undisputed Championship – and he’s lost both times – what makes him think he deserves a third chance? What’s Brock Lesnar ever done?

Brock says, old man, I’ll show you what I’ve done.

And Brock attacks Foley.

Benoit and Guerrero try to react – but now they’re fighting Angle.

Brock F5s Foley, leaving him laid out in the ring.

So, that’s our four way for the title.

Benoit, as it turns out, will wind up wrestling twice. As we get closer to the PPV, Angle will pay off Noble to attack him. He’ll give him, I don’t know, like a gift certificate to WalMart or a Brooks and Dunn autographed CD. All the while telling Noble that if he wants something in this business, he has to take it.

That leads to the completion of Noble’s heel turn as he wipes out Kidman, and then leads to Noble’s jumping Benoit during a Benoit/Eddy v. Angle/Brock tag on RAW. So, we also have Benoit/Noble at the PPV. Benoit’s working twice, including for the big strap, so, that’s rare, you know.

Undertaker and PAUL~ will be wrestling the young Bashams. We get the DMW spot alluded to earlier, Jericho goes to the locker room where the three of them are sitting – and just rips on them for failing to win the tag straps. Again, the announce notes that Jericho seems to have a death wish. And the three monsters destroy him. Jericho, once again, winds up bloody but still smiles sickly.

The next week, Trish, not seen for awhile, cuts a promo on Jericho. She says he’s giving people from Toronto a bad name, that first, he couldn’t hold onto his woman, and now he keeps getting his ass kicked, she says if Jericho wants to get beaten up this week, why doesn’t he come out to the ring and let her do it.

Dark Jericho enters, says he doesn’t have time for a turncoat like Trish. For a Canadian slut to join the Clique makes him sick, and he doesn’t have any interest in being in the same ring with her.

Trish does a psychosexual thing now, bringing up Stacy, coming onto Jericho, saying that maybe if her legs were longer or her hair were straighter, that Chris wouldn’t be so quick to kick her out of the ring. Trish coos, tells Jericho to just close his eyes and pretend she’s Stacy, pretend she’s come back to him, pretend she still loves him…Jericho resists, but the sadness overcomes him and he closes his eyes – and as Trish moves in for a kiss – Christian enters and lays Jericho out.

Heel pop for the returning Christian. As we’ll see, this is the current Christian, short hair, a little more mature and a little less goofy than Christian of E and C fame. He calls his nonexistent fans the Christian Coalition. He calls his facebuster finisher the Crusader. We’re gonna get Jericho/Christian, some Harts/Clique comin’ at ya, at Survivor Series.

RVD and Paul E gloat about taking Matt out. Bitc-off pushed and pushed – he insulted who we were – he tried to pass himself off as the carrying the banner for the NWA – he tried to pass himself off as being the savior for Matt Hardy – and what happened was he got Matt Hardy killed.

Bischoff enters slowly. Says Matt’s home recuperating – but this war isn’t over – it’s just getting started – and it will continue at Survivor Series. Matt’s not here – but Eric’s hired a replacement – Eric’s laid out some cash to hire a man to take out RVD – a man who is more than willing to go to his home state of Texas to do it…

Hit the music…I GOT TO GET PAID!!

Booker enters. If ATM Eric’s got the cash – Book’s got the time. Book tells Van Dam it ain’t personal – but he’s got mouths to feed, suits to buy, and Escalade payments to make. Dolla bill y’all. Big pimpin, spendin’ cheese.

So we’ll get that at the PPV.

Paul E gets another one at the PPV. He’ll promo on HHH/HBK, saying it’s embarrassing that the combined age of the Unified tag champs is 467 years old, saying that’s the kind of thing that never would have happened at ECW.

Michaels and Hunter enter, they promo on Paul E, threaten him, run down ECW…when they are attacked by the Dudley Boys. 3D to Michaels. 3D to Hunter. The two time WWF tag champs have returned – and they’ve turned heel – after being apart during their full run - they finally hug Paul E and the three men pose.

So, we’ll get that at Survivor Series.

Goldberg promos. Says he’s the most dominant man alive. The most dominant man in all of wrestling – he’s the next big thing.

Brock enters, tells Goldberg that he’s going to be too busy at Survivor Series winning the Undisputed Championship to deal with him – but afterward – if Goldberg wants to go, then the two of them – the two most physically imposing men in all the world – will go.

Enter…Scott Steiner.

Steiner, 12 years removed from when he was WWF tag champion (and when he could actually wrestle) returns to the WWF. Steiner, crazy jacked up, says maybe he didn’t hear right, but if we’re going to talk physically imposing, let’s start with Big Poppa Pump. Steiner kisses a bicep.

The three men brawl in the ring. We’re gonna get Goldberg/Steiner at Survivor Series.

Finally, we’re gonna get Chavo and Tajiri for the IC. Tajiri won it at the PPV but was then attacked by Chavo. They’re both heels, they’ll keep Ultimo in the mix, cause he can’t get on the card, but he’s the Ultimo Dragon and he oughta be in the mix. They position him as Flair’s equivalent, as Flair’s gonna be in Chavo’s corner – Ultimo’s in Tajiri’s. We’ll get a tag match on RAW, we’ll get a singles between Ultimo/Flair, as part of the buildup to the PPV.

And of course – the four way in the main event. They tell more Eddy/Benoit story, developing the similarity between Harts and Guerreros – as now Eddy is finally at the top of the sport. They tell more Angle/Brock – as Kurt’s off the rails and Brock’s always Brock. It’s one fall to a finish – Eddy can lose the belt without getting pinned. Will he retain – will the newest Triple Crown Winner retain the belt? Will it be Benoit? Arguably the greatest wrestler who ever lived – will he regain the WWF Championship? And what about the unbeaten Angle? Will Kurt Angle, who had to give up the belt to have neck surgery after Mania, regain the title? Or will it be the kid, Lesnar, as obnoxious as he is talented.

So, it’s Survivor Series ’03 from Dallas. We’ve got the Fatal Four Way for thr big straps: Eddy v. Benoit v. Angle v. Brock, we’ve got Tajiri and Chavo for the Worldwide Titles, with Flair and Ultimo in their corners, we’ve got HBK/HHH defending against the returning Dudleys in a Falls Count Anywhere. We’ve got DarkJericho against the returning Christian. We’ve got RVD against Booker, as always in the ECW Rules match, We’ve got Benoit’s first match of the evening, don’t forget against the Redneck Messiah, Jamie Mothertruckin Noble, we’ve got Goldberg against Scott Steiner, and we’ve got DMW in the opening tag. It’s Survivor Series 2003. Call your thing! Call it today!

Wrestlemania XIX 2003

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rumble is here.

Wrestlemania XIX 2003 Seattle
(Dark – Noble d. Spanky d. Helms)

JR/Taz on the announce.

We open with the TitanTrust, Arn welcomes the people, says next year, WM XX will return to the home of Wrestlemania, the home of the WWF – Madison Square Garden. Wrestlemania XX, Where It All Begins Again.

Brock enters, takes the mic. Brock says he “couldn’t care less about the history of the WWF, the tradition of the WWF, he couldn’t give two shits about Ricky Steamboat or the Dynamite Kid or Andre the Giant. They couldn’t carry my jock, and everyone in this stadium knows it. As far as I’m concerned, all that matters is the future of the WWF, and that’s Brock Lesnar, and the future of the WWF starts tonight when Brock Lesnar beats Kurt Angle in the middle of the ring.

Oh, and Kurt – watch your neck” – Lesnar smirks, “it would just be tragic if tonight wasn’t the end of your career – but the end of your life too.”

Which is awfully melodramatic, but not entirely untrue.

1.Legend's Match: Dead Men Walking d. Hogan (w/Piper)

Piper didn’t actually work this show, so I’m not really using him, it’s a bait and switch, I know it hurts to be deceived.

Hogan’s in the whole match, can’t make the hot tag, Piper pounds on the buckle, reaches out as Hogan struggles to make it…

But Piper doublecrosses him. Piper drops off the apron, removes his hand, Hogan’s left hanging. DMW does the tripleteam and Undertaker gets the fall.


Dead Men Walking and Piper stomp out Hogan – Undertaker holds up 5 fingers signifying his number of legend’s wins. A 5 Time legends Winner! Undertaker has passed both Hogan and Andre.

Hogan, lying in the ring, shakes his head in anger as Piper taunts him from the aisle.

2. Legend's Match: Rock d. Austin
With Angle’s looming retirement, they couldn’t also sell that Austin’s body had quit on him too, would draw focus away from the top – but Austin also went into this match knowing he was going to have to hang it up. Rock couldn’t work anymore as of this comeback, too much time away. Austin was physically shot. They did this match at Mania, put Rock over, and that’s what we’re doing here. Rock clean, his second legend’s win. Austin’s not gonna get the big retirement show, so like when Steamboat, Dynamite, and Hennig left, we do a video tribute immediately. Austin waves to the crowd and departs.

Heel Rock goes over. It’s our first Rock/Austin ever, I think, they did program as faces where they feuded with Regal/Page – but they didn’t do a single, I don’t believe. So, this makes sense here as both guys see their careers waning. Rock’s second legends win.

3. Matt (w/Bischoff) d. RVD (w/Paul E.)
And the workrate begins. Like all the Van Dam matches, it’s a No DQ, so they garbage it up for the big spots. Matt kicks out of the frog splash when Bischoff puts his foot on the ropes and then eventually gets the fall. Bischoff encourages Matt to take any shortcut he can – and so, eventually, he does, and winds up shaking Eric’s hand postmatch. Matt establishes himself as a legit. singles force as he beats the 2 time IC Champ. Paul E’s furious, yelling at Bischoff that this isn’t over – Eric smirks, Matt smirks right along with him.

4. Loser Leaves Town: Y2J d. Lance
Jericho is totally without humor. No big entrance for Jericho, in fact, he attacks Lance in the aisle during his entrance. Jericho is not wearing his gear, he’s wearing jeans and a Hart Foundation t-shirt. It’s a brawl early, they fight in the aisle, in the stands, around the ring, Jericho taking it all out on Lance.

Lance gains an advantage in the ring in the wrestling portion of the match. But Jericho obviously survives this one.

Jericho goes over, battering Storm until getting a submission. This is Lance’s last match, he offers Jericho the goodbye handshake. Lance and Jericho should both be bloody, best friends for years and years, through different companies, through the invasion, nothing could break them up – and now that they’ve fought, and Jericho has ended Lance’s wrestling career – the two longtime friends stand nose to nose, Lance offering the handshake.

…and Jericho just walks away.

And now Jericho enters the serious phase of his Hart career. Carefree Jericho is gone, like most of the Harts who have gone before him Chris now goes dark. They’re gonna change the music, the ring attire, the grin becomes a sneer. Eventually, they cut his hair. It’s a brand new Jericho. JerichoDark.

5. Eddy (w/Horsemen) d. Benoit
I didn’t establish this as well as I would have liked, but it’s obviously not the blow off to the feud. This Wrestlemania is Brother Against Brother, I think the Counterfactual established Lance/Jericho well, going back to the invasion. This was a little rushed, although we established when the Alliance entered that Benoit was in charge and Eddy was number two. We’d need to re-explain a lot of that, plus, as I did indicate, sell their long journey together – and through all that journey, Eddy Guerrero could legitimately call himself the best wrestler alive – except for the guy who was right next to him.

Then there’s the Hart/Guerrero thing, but they’ll hit that later.

We add the layers with Flair and Chavo. What we didn’t hit hard enough was Flair, probably because he’s not working now. But as the leader of the Horsemen, and as someone who can claim to be the greatest wrestler ever, Flair casts a big shadow. So, as Eddy is in Benoit’s shadow – Benoit is in Flair’s. This needs to hit that relationship much harder, demonstrating that Benoit, although he respects Flair, chafes at Flair’s taking the top spot in the Horsemen, and thinks that he has legit. claim as the greatest wrestler who ever lived. Flair’s legit heat with Bret, at some point, could be exploited…say, Benoit gives a backstage interview, a sit down thing, where JR asks him who the greatest wrestler is – and Benoit says Bret.

Well, that pissed Flair off, and further increases the tension. Maybe Benoit tries to get Eddy admit they made a mistake casting their lot with Flair, that they went from being champs to being the back half of Flair’s group – Benoit tells Eddy it’s only a matter of time, only a matter of time before the old man pushes me too far.

And so, when Benoit turns, the turn we already did, it’s a little more motivated, a little better set up.

We discussed the Chavo thing, how Chavo now is in Eddy’s ear about Benoit, Chavo sells Eddy on needing to get out of Benoit’s shadow – and with every word we recognize, although Eddy doesn’t, that Chavo is really talking about his need to get out of Eddy’s shadow.

That’s the layering to this I want. There’s lots of time spent on Angle/Brock and lots on Jericho/Lance, this got lost a little bit, but I really want all three of them to be similarly considered. Intricate.

We see Eddy in the back with the Horsemen pre match telling them not to interfere – not to interfere under any circumstances. Eddy has to beat Benoit by himself. So, we have spots where Flair and Leviathan have opportunities – but Eddy sees them and makes them back away – Benoit takes advantage of one of those opportunities, heel commentator Taz will criticize Eddy, say that Eddy’s letting his pride get in the way of the win, that you need the win at all costs.

Turning point comes when they ref bump and with Eddy knocked out, Chavo hits Benoit with the swinging DDT. Eddy recovers, frog splash, win. Eddy’s thrilled and joins in the postmatch beating of Benoit. Chavo brings in a chair – Flair and Leviathan hold Benoit up, Eddy chairshots Benoit. Eddy’s giddy, after all, he’s finally beaten Benoit without any help. But then on the big screen they show the Chavo DDT spot – and Eddy’s joy is completely taken away – Eddy grabs Chavo – Flair and Leviathan try to intercede – but Eddy turns on them angrily with a “don’t mess with family business” type of thing.

Eddy walks out now, shaking his head and cursing, as Flair tells Chavo that he did the right thing. Chavo wants to hold up the four fingers – Flair says not yet.

6. Unified Tags: HBK/HHH (w/Diesel) d. Team Lesnar
Newly minted heels Haas and Benjamin come to the ring alone, they’re still the workrate team. Once we get through this stretch, Shelton’s gonna get a new gimmick, I’ve got it picked out. But this is Mania, and the Clique is united again. Nash, Michaels, HHH all pose on three buckles, the fourth buckle, of course, is Scott’s, but he’s gone for good one assumes.

It’s the high point of Hunter’s arc, he finally wins a belt, give him the fall on Haas after the pedigree. It’s Michaels’s third tag title, he’s happy – but more for Hunter than himself, as Hunter cradles the tag belts in the ring. Michaels and Nash both put Hunter over – clapping for him, letting him get the veteran pop. Since there are six separate straps here, three different titles, Michaels tosses a couple over to Nash, and the three longtime friends are draped with gold as they pose following the match.

7. Worldwide Titles: Rey d. Chavo (w/Horsemen)
Notably, Eddy doesn’t enter with the Horsemen, but comes in by himself as the Horsemen are in the ring. Eddy hugs his nephew, blood, after all, thicker than pride. They’re the Guerreros.

Chavo doesn’t share Eddy’s disdain for interference. Little Rey fights off both Flair and Leviathan, Leviathan taking a bad bump that will lead him to be wearing a cast the next time we see him. Eddy stays out of the match at the first couple of opportunities, refusing to cheat for Chavo, but eventually puts Chavo’s foot on the ropes during a nearfall.

But they get Little Rey over here, he’s tiny and fights off 3 guys to get the fall on Chavo – Rey keeps his IC. So, Eddy beats Benoit, although he takes no pleasure in it – and Chavo loses his shot at singles gold. Chavo is distraught after the match, Eddy consoles him as they walk up the aisle.

8. Undisputed Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle d. Brock Lesnar (apecial guest referee-Bill Goldberg)

It’s the same match they did at Mania, ‘cept the face/heel thing is reversed. It was great, but not the all time classic you’d want, as Angle had the neck. It’s still real good though – Angle goes pure babyface, as even though they’ve been turning him heel, once they reveal that Angle’s broken his neck, he becomes a pure babyface.

Now, this happens a lot in Japan, they’ll take a legit injury and then the angle becomes that injury – so, what they’re building to are spots with Angle’s back – so, if Lesnar does a bearhug, it’s a big spot – a backbreaker is a big spot – and when Lesnar F5s Angle, as he did, it’s a crushing spot, ‘cause that’s just wrenching the neck – and that’s it for Angle.

They do the finish they actually did – Lesnar goes up for his shooting star press – a crazy, crazy move for someone that big --- and just like at Mania – he misses it and goes headfirst into the mat. Which almost kills him.

They put Brock over, ‘cause Angle had to drop with the injury, so Lesnar had to regroup and do another F5 – the Counterfactual won’t do that – instead – say we get to 9 of a referee 10 count as both guys are dead in the ring – and Angle somehow then rolls over atop Brock for the fall. Angle keeps the straps. He’s the all time WWF titleholder – he’s passed Bret for longest run in the PPV era and both he and Brock are stretchered out of the ring.

The final shot is of Angle, weakened, grabbing his 3 belts – cradling them against his chest as he’s being carried from the ring as the show ends.

Open post Mania with The TitanTrust – Dean, Arn, Fit. Virtually the entire WWF roster stands around the ring.

Hit Angle’s music. Very gingerly, wearing a suit, carrying his 3 belts, comes Angle to the appreciative pop. Arn thanks Angle for last night, says that in 19 years of PPV, no man has ever held the WWF title for more than 2 years, until tonight. Dean says Kurt Angle remains, as he once promised, undefeated. But the doctors, Fit says, the doctors after last night have made it clear that you cannot wrestle again. So, Kurt Angle, as difficult as it it, please relinquish your championship belts.

Angle pauses, tear in his eye. Never saying a word.

And then he hands the belts over the Vince and walks away. Angle shakes hands with the wrestlers around the ring. Angle walks slowly up the ramp, where he’s met by an entering, gingerly moving Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar and Angle go nose to nose on the ramp, both men nearly dying the night before, Angle looking destroyed as he has just given up his belts.

Lesnar offers his hand.

Angle reaches to accept – and Lesnar pulls it away, running it through his hair, yelling, “psyche!” in that incredibly juvenile, moment ruining way. Lesnar points at Angle and laughs, singing “Hey, Hey Goodbye” at Kurt as they go to commercial.

When we come back from commercial – the entire WWF roster remains around the ring. Arn, speaking for the TitanTrust, announces that something unprecedented in wrestling history is about to happen. Wrestling has been filled with tournaments, some big, some small – the WWF has had many great tournaments over the years.

Without question – nothing in wrestling history even approaches what he is about to announce.

On the big screen, the TitanTrust then unveils a 64 wrestler bracket. Just like the basketball. And of course, it’s the day after Mania, so the basketball tournament will be ongoing, and people will have brackets on the brain. It’s just good marketing is all. They’re gonna pass ‘em out at the shows, they’re take out ads in sports magazines, two page ads, they’re gonna spend money, and the ads will be detachable bracket sheets. I want the brackets everywhere. Everyfuckingwhere.

Arn says all summer long, the WWF will have a 64 man single elimination tournament. The finals will be held at Summer Slam in Phoenix. One of the men listed in the brackets – one of the men standing right now around this ring is going to be the next Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World.

And so, we tournament. Before each match, we get little promos with the workers, say sitting beside all 3 belts in the way that Super Bowl coaches now pose with the Lombardi trophy before the game. They’re seated, taped promos, with everyone talking about how it’s a chance of a lifetime – or their last shot at glory – or something like that. Allows us to humanize everyone, meet everyone on the roster for 30 seconds or so. Good times.

And here’s your tournament: It’s long.

The Dynamite Kid Region: Round One:
1. Chris Benoit d. 16. Chuck Palumbo
-Palumbo’s a big, young heel. Not a bad worker. Face Benoit goes over with the crossface.

8. Rhyno d. 9. Orlando Jordan
-Rhyno comes to the ring with tag partner Shannon Moore, as they’ve stolen the SpreeKillers gimmick. They’re scrawled with graffiti, they taunt the fans. Jordan is a young babyface. Rhyno with the spear, he and Moore work Jordan over – save by Helms, from whom they stole the gimmick. Helms, also shirtless with the scrawlings, fights off Rhyno and Moore. Jordan rises to thank him – and then Helms brutally attacks Jordan himself. SpreeKilers~

5. Jamie Noble d. 12. Little Guido
-A good mat based match. Noble’s moving heel, still with the trailer park gimmick, and is now calling himself “The Redneck Messiah.” He has a tin of Skoal in the back of his jean shorts, he takes a dip before the match starts, spits it at his opponent before the match. Guido’s just arrived from the ashes of ECW and puts Noble over clean.

4. Billy Kidman (w/Torrie) d. 13. Nick Dinsmore
-Noble’s partner wins with the shooting star press. Dinsmore is Eugene, so we’ll see him again – here, he’s just the veteran who never got a shot, he sat in Ohio Valley and watched guy after guy get pushed ahead. He’s bitter, bitter than lesser talented pretty boys like Kidman, who is more concerned about his hair than his wristlocks, have gotten pushed.

2. Eddy Guerrero d. Danny Basham
-Eddy, still hot about Mania, wears his IV Horsemen shirt – but comes to the ring alone. He makes quick work of one half of our newest tag team – they’re gonna make the Bashams the Killer Bees, they wear leather hoods to make the switches. They’re on the face side now, but only marginally so. Frog splash. The Horsemen enter after the match, they all put up the four fingers, it takes Eddy a moment, but he does as well.

6. Shelton Benjamin d. 11. Crash Holly
“It’s nice to see an Afro-American in the WWF, I remember when Bobo Brazil was breaking in – oh, the fans were brutal, one day, back when Sam Muschnick was still running out of St. Louis…” This wraps up Crash. Benjamin, with Charlie in his corner, both wearing the Team Lesnar gear, with the exploder.

3. Chavo Guerrero d. 14. Doug Basham
-One of the Bashams is better than the other, you can guess which one. Chavo is with Flair and Leviathan, who isn’t in the tournament as his arm is in a cast. Chavo clean, they whip on Doug and Danny after. Eddy arrives after. Same delayed four finger spot. Chavo still can’t put up the four fingers.

7. Charlie Haas d. 10. Bob Holly
-Alabama Bob, cranky face veteran, has to put over the kid in Rnd one. Charlie and Benjamin then put the beating to Bob – save by Crash – Lesnar enters and F5s Crash into next week. Crash is stretchered out – as he’s being stretchered, Lesnar takes the stretcher, with Crash still strapped on – and F5s the whole apparatus to the ramp.

Lesnar’s bad, you see. He smokes and he taught a dog to smoke.

Ricky Steamboat Region: Rnd One

2. Ultimo Dragon d. 15. Billy Gunn
-Billy’s making his return and quickly leaving again. We use his name to get Ultimo over. It’s Ultimo’s debut, he has to get pushed through promos, interviews, clip packages; they sell him as a Japanese legend, one of the great juniors of all time. We push the tournament here, it’s the only thing that would cause Ultimo to return to the United States.

He’s in the mask, he kicks the people. They have all the other juniors talk about him when they are able. Truthfully, he was diminished due to injury during his WWF run – think post injury Michaels as opposed to pre injury Michaels for an analogue.

7. The Rock d. 10. Mark Jindrak
-The Rock’s from Hollywood. He’s the Beautiful People’s Champion. Jindrak, young, not particularly talented babyface. Rock squashes him without even taking off his suit.

3. Shane Helms d. 14. Fatu
-Headshrinker Fatu returns! Helms dispatches him – he’s attacked by Moore and Rhyno and they all brawl again, SpreeKillers~

6. Jimmy Yang d. 11. Sean O’Haire
-Yang, a whippersnapper of a junior, debuts. Yang’s gimmick is he’s the Japanese guy not really from Japan. He’ll talk in a lot of American idiom – irritate guys like Tajiri and Ultimo with his lack of interest in things Japanese, “yeah, sushi’s rad, dude, but the only fish I like is Mrs. Paul’s, I don’t know what she batters that stuff with, but it takes the fishy taste right out.” He’ll be a face to Tajiri’s heel.

4. Tajiri d. 13. Kanyon
-Still a heel, Tajiri does with the kicking. Good match, end of the run for Mortis.

12. Ulysses S. Morley d. 5. Dustin Rhodes
-Once more, with feeling – this kills off this feud, a Tito/Martel for the 21st century, some have called it. Morley goes to the second round, Dustin leaves the company again.

1. Rey Mysterio d. 16. Rico Constantino
-Rico and Dinsmore have the same gimmick – they’re 40 year old guys who never got a shot ‘cause they didn’t have the right look – they both job out – but they make them our bitter rookie/veteran heel tag team. Guys treat them like newcomers, it pisses them off – no one’s paid their dues, all these Mexicans and amateurs and screw them.

8. Booker T d. 9. Shannon Moore
- Booker pays a kid from the crowd to fill out his brackets for him. “Who you like in that Hogan match, kid? How far you got the Rock going? Hey, I get paid more for more wins, you stick Booker in the Sweet Sixteen. I GOTS TO GET PAID” Book’s funny.

Postmatch, it’s Helms and Moore and Rhyno again. SpreeKillers~ Booker pays one of the security guards to get him out of the building.

And that completes the first half of the draw. Here are your Rnd 2 matchups.

Dynamite Region:
Benoit v. Rhyno
Noble v. Kidman
Eddy v. Benjamin
Chavo v. Haas

Tiger Mask Region:
Ultimo v. Rock
Helms v. Yang
Tajiri v. Morley
Rey v. Booker

Lou Thesz Region: Rnd 1:

1. Shawn Michaels d. 16. Kane
-Superkick. Undertaker and PAUL come in to attack Shawn postmatch, save by HHH and Diesel. We get a six man brawl.

9. Diesel d. 8. Test
-“It’s like looking into a mirror, kid. A mirror that subtracts age, talent, charisma, and bank account – but a mirror, oh yeah.” Jacknife. Michaels comes to the ring following the match – he and Diesel know what the next round will bring, and as the TitanTron flashes Rnd 2: HBK v. Diesel – the two men make the sign of the Clique and start jawing at each other – but it’s all in good fun.

4. Chris Jericho d. 13. Rene Dupree
-They can do the La Resistance gimmick. They just aren’t very good wrestlers – but it’s a solid professional wrestling gimmick. We’re French – boo us. Fine. Jericho is growing a beard. He’s brutal and short with the match, pummeling Dupree with closed fists time after time until the official threatens to DQ him – Jericho sneers as he puts Dupree in the Liontamer. Totally unsmiling, he spits on the canvas as he exits.

5. Ric Flair d. 12. Sylvan Grenier
-Wooooooooooo. Leviathan, Chavo, Eddy all hit the ring postmatch for the four finger spot that we keep seeing.

2. HHH d. 15. Rob Conway
-Conway’s not a bad worker, I won’t put him in the French gimmick, right now he’s a generic young southern heel, if he starts to work regularly, I’ll give him a real gimmick – he’s a better wrestler than Orton or Cena, so I’ll use him if I can.

7. Undertaker d. 10. Garrison Cade
-Cade’s a generic young southern heel. I like the name Garrison better than Lance for him. He and Conway are tagging, say, in matches you’ll never see in a universe that doesn’t exist. Dead Guy rolls. I’m gonna have to start using Orton and Cena, so they will be my young babyface team and Cade/Conway my young heel team. Add in La Resitance as a young team, and we’re chalk full of young, mediocre wrestlers who really don’t make PPVs yet. But if you go to a house show, you might see them.

6. Spanky d. 11. Albert
-Michaels protégée #1 goes over the hairy guy. And that’s Albert’s gimmick, I’ve got nothing else for him and won’t use him again. Look at the hair on that guy! People say when they see him. Which won’t happen again.

3. Paul London d. 14. Sho Funaki
-We meet Michaels protégée number 2 – him you need to know a little bit. He’s a daredevil like Spanky – the fans chant “please don’t die” as he dives from the buckles into the crowd. They are funloving babyfaces – we’ll tag them up, they clearly idolize Shawn – and it kinda ticks Hunter off. London’s also Hispanic, so he’s got that going for him also.

Curt Hennig Region: Rnd One

5. Hulk Hogan d. 12. Roddy Piper
-Just to do. Big tournament. Legdrop pinfall. I’d assume this is Piper’s last match. But life is long.

4. PAUL~ d. 13. Rodney Mack
-In OVW, Mack did the JYD gimmick. We’ll have him do it here. He has Thump written on his ass. Squash.

1. Brock Lesnar d. 16. Zach Gowen
-Gowen was the one legged kid. I’m a little sadistic with Brock.

We’ll play up his human interest story, he’s pure, total, feel good babyface – all he ever wanted to do his whole life was to get one chance in the WWF. One chance. One chance. This is his first (and last) match.

Brock squashes him – then breaks the kid’s prosthetic leg over his head. Bits of leg, all over the ring. Brock is bad, get it – bad. Brock laughs at the one legged kid bleeding in the middle of the ring. BROCK~

8. Randy Orton d. 9. John Cena
-Another oil and water tag team. They’re both sort of clueless, which we’ll decide is charming since they’re bottom carders. Orton’s gimmick is he’s Cowboy Bob’s son and thinks that’s important. He walks around as if he’s the next Rock – people don’t take him seriously. He puffs his chest out as if being Cowboy Bob’s son matters in someway.

Cena’s the rapping white guy – clothes too big, he talks too black – he’s the little white suburban kid who thinks he’s gangsta. Wears big sweatsuits, if we can get away with it, he’ll call Orton his “nizza” Cena’s pretty fly for a white guy. They’re harmless, we laugh at them, like Too Cool. They’re a face tag – ‘cause they lose a lot and the fans find them funny.

7. Tommy Dreamer d. 10. John Bradshaw
-Tommy’s body is breaking down – I’ll change Bradshaw to the Honky Tonk Man meets JR Ewing gimmick when we hit 2004 – he still won’t get on TV unless I’m stuck, but it’s a good gimmick. I’ll call him the NeoCon, have him be George Bush, he’ll support the war, support taking social security, support the tax cut for the rich – we’ll turn the Republicans heel. It’ll be fun.

2. Matt Hardy (/Bischoff) d. 15. Scott Taylor
-Matt continues to show his singles push is warranted, he runs over Taylor. Is Matt the next big star???

3. Rob Van Dam (w/Heyman) d. 14. Al Snow
-The Snowman comes back for one more hardcore loss. RVD takes him out in one of the better round one matches. I think that is Al’s last WWF match for us. He does his moonsault one more time. RVD points to himself with his thumbs.

6. Stevie Richards d. 11. Spike Dudley
-They’re still tag partners – but they have to meet here and Stevie goes over. I see them feuding with Moore and Rhyno on TV.

That’s the second half of the bracket. Your Rnd Two matchups:

Thesz Region:
Michaels v. Diesel
Jericho v. Flair
HHH v. Undertaker
Spanky v. London

Hennig Region:
Hogan v. PAUL
Brock v. Orton
Dreamer v. Matt
RVD v. Stevie

Rnd Two: Dynamite Region
1. Benoit d. 8. Rhyno
-Face Benoit rolls into the sweet sixteen. We get one more SpreeKillers spot, one that ends with Benoit german suplexing all three guys (‘cause we got a face turn to sell) and then dropping head butts on all three as well. Benoit lays out both ends of the SpreeKillers feud. We’re gonna get Moore and Rhyno as the opening tag against La Resistance at Summer Slam.

5.Noble d. 4.Kidman (w/Torrie)
-They remain partners, but Kidman’s understandably pissed when Noble spits the tobacco in his face. Noble will face Benoit in a great Sweet Sixteen matchup.

2.Eddy (w/Chavo) d. 7.Benjamin (w/Charlie)
-Eddy makes the sweet sixteen and half of Team Lesnar is gone. No Flair and Leviathan, as they are prepping for Flair’s big Rnd 2 against Jericho. Chavo is in Eddy’s corner, and we do a Guerrero/Team Lesnar thing postmatch.

3.Chavo d. 6.Haas
-Eddy stays at ringside – rooting Chavo on – Chavo goes over – and he and Eddy clear the ring of Haas and Benjamin. But as the brackets on the TitanTron demonstrate, The Guerreros will meet in the sweet 16. Chavo hugs Eddy, and as they pull each other close, we can see the fire, the envy, the need in Chavo’s eyes.

Rnd Two: Steamboat Region
2.Ultimo Dragon d. 7.The Rock
-Ultimo gets over with the WWF crowd, pinning the heel legend Rock and sending him back to Hollywood. Ultimo goes over clean with the Dragon Sleeper, Rock tapping out. Ultimo draws the face pop, but heels Tajiri and Funaki hit the ring to pay homage to the legend.

6.Yang d. 3.Helms
-Jimmy Yang, the newcomer, shockingly makes the Sweet Sixteen in the biggest wrestling tournament ever. He’s aided here as Rhyno and Moore lay Helms out, Jimmy hits YangTime for the fall. He’s excited until they show his Sweet Sixteen matchup – against the Dragon – on the video wall – and when Ultimo appears at the top of the ramp bowing in Yang’s direction, young Jimmy noticeably gulps in trepidation.

4.Tajiri d. 12.Morley
-The former IC Champ spews the mist and goes over The Abolitionist.

1. Rey d. 8.Booker T.
-And Rey goes to the sweet 16. Booker, disappointed, shakes Rey’s hand after the match, gets on the mic, says it looks like he’s gonna have some time off, he says he’s going on a road trip – he’s gonna hit every club in North America – who wants to be my driver?? A fan comes down, Book pays him, gives him a little cap, and they’re off.

Thesz Region:
1. HBK d. 8. Diesel
-Okay, a little angle. Michaels and Diesel started off approaching this good naturedly until the emergence of Diesel’s former NWA tag team champion partner (no, not Scott, the other one in this universe…)


Goldberg appears to be a face, but he works Diesel against Michaels – saying Shawn just expects to beat you – expects you’re gonna be his bitch – he’s Mr. Triple Crown – how many titles did you win here? How many shots did you get? You’re a step away from the sweet sixteen – you go rip his head off, Kev.

So, while we don’t totally split Diesel from Michaels, they are hot with each other in the run up to this. Michaels wins clean. Goldberg is at ringside, he rushes to console Diesel, who ignores Michaels’s attempt at a handshake – ‘cause he has his friend Bill – and then Goldberg goes all heel – laying Diesel out with a spear and Jacknife. Michaels and HHH run back to the ring – but Goldberg escapes. We’ll get Goldberg/Nash at Summer Slam. He cuts anti-WWF heel promos thanking his friend Eric Bischoff for helping him get into the company.

4.Y2J d.5. Flair (w/Leviathan)
-Despite the Leviathan interference, Jericho, with beard goes over the Nature Boy. He is changed, not happy go lucky Jericho, but more driven, more, dare I say, Hart-like. He’s wounded, see, wounded by the betrayal of a devilish woman. It’ll be classic Clique/Harts as he meets Michaels in the Sweet Sixteen. They’ll have Jericho cheapshot Michaels once on the way to the Sweet Sixteen, Michaels will be promoing, Jericho will take him out, draw some boos. Jericho cheapshots Flair here postmatch, daring the Horsemen to enter – they do – Leviathan, then Eddy and Chavo – all beating Jericho bloody. And when they exit – he smiles, as if pleased by the beating. Jericho is beaten down by the Horsemen, beaten bloody – and he seems to like it.

2. HHH d. 7.Undertaker
-Everyone’s in the pool on this one – PAUL and Kane enter postmatch, Michaels attempts the save but it’s not enough – and with Diesel occupied, Spanky and London, with their Texas Wrestling Academy t-shirts, save. Spanky and London, the Michaels trainees, aid their elders and celebrate, Shawn very proud – Hunter a little pissed that the kids have shown him up.

3. London d. 6. Spanky
-We see them with Michaels in the back before the match telling them just to compete as hard as they can – he’s wrestled everyone in the Clique a thousand times – it’s just like back in San Antonio, just compete hard, we’ll all go have a beer afterward. Proud of you guys, just do your thing.

When Michaels leaves, Hunter, holding the sledgehammer adds – you know, the one who wins goes to the sweet sixteen…and faces me. Something to think about when you boys are out there tonight. He taps, taps, taps the sledgehammer.

They tear the building down – London goes over – Michaels and Hunter hit the ring after – Michaels very proud of both guys – Paul London has debuted in the WWF and reached the sweet sixteen of the tournament to crown an Undisputed Champion. He’s thrilled, but looks warily as Hunter taps the sledgehammer.

Hennig Region:
4.PAUL d. 5.Hogan.
- PAUL~ goes to the sweet sixteen.

1. Brock d. 8. Orton
-Another squash. Cena runs in to save postmatch – Brock F5s Cena on top of Orton. BROCK~ and PAUL~ go nose to nose postmatch.

2. Matt (w/Bischoff) d. 7. Dreamer
-Dreamer’s last match, Taz is on the announce now, Raven’s gone, and Tommy goes after this match as ECW fades away.

3. RVD (w/Heyman) d. 6. Stevie
-Except for Van Dam. RVD and Paul E move right into the Sweet Sixteen and will get a rematch for the upset Mania loss to Hardy, Matt and Bischoff come to the ring postmatch for the nose to nose. Bischoff and Heyman jawing heavily.

So, your Sweet Sixteen Brackets:

Benoit v. Noble
Eddy v. Chavo

Steamboat Region:
Ultimo v. Yang
Rey v. Tajiri

Thesz Region:
Michaels v. Jericho
HHH v. London

Hennig Region:
Brock v. PAUL~
Matt v. RVD

As the summer rolls on – we’ve reached the Sweet Sixteen in the greatest wrestling tournament of all time. Who will go to the elite 8? Who? Who? Who? Who?

Benoit d. Noble
Benoit promos, wrestling is his life, when he was living in the Hart house when he was 16, watching the Dynamite Kid, he knew how he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Now, watching Jamie Noble, seeing a kid like that come up and emulate him, he sees how far he’s come. Noble says he likes Benoit okay, but who he really liked is Dale Jr. Little E! That sumbitch can drive. Fords Rule!

Noble spits the tobacco, Benoit chops the hell out of him. Terrific match, Benoit advances.

1. Eddy d. Chavo
Eddy and Chavo agree that this is a Guerrero matter – and they don’t want Leviathan and Flair interfering for any reason. Eddy gets in Flair’s face, tells Ric that if he knows what’s good for him, if he knows what’s good for the Horsemen, he won’t interfere in a family matter, esse. So, there are some chances to interfere for Eddy, they back away, Eddy nods his head. But..

In a quiet manner, say, Flair grabs Chavo’s hand for some leverage, and Chavo accepts the help willingly. Leviathan puts Chavo’s leg on the ropes to break a pin – Eddy thinks maybe he notices, but doesn’t really notice.

Match starts off as brotherly competition – but Chavo goes dirty, even pulling off a buckle pad. Eddy refuses to go dirty – but does get tough with Chavo – and we do the whole brothers getting violent thing. Frogsplash win for Eddy. Eddy offers the handshake, Chavo refuses, Eddy slaps Chavo – says “Shake my hand, Chavito, Shake my hand. You were raised better than that.” Chavo does. Flair and Leviathan now act excited after the win – as a Horseman is in the Elite Eight. There’s tension though among the four, and we wonder if Eddy trusts Flair or not, we wonder if Eddy trusts Chavo or not, as the four men slowly put up the four fingers after the match. Well, Chavo attempts to – but Flair still says no…not yet.

We’ve got Benoit/Eddy in the Elite Eight. They’ll start now comparing the Guerrero family, legendary in Mexico, to the Hart Family, legendary, obviously in the WWF.

Ultimo d. Yang (stoppage)
In the back, say Yang’s playing some first person shooter video game with the other young guys, he starts yelling, “Dude, you Pearl Harbored me, that’s so wrong.”

Ultimo hears this, and silently grabs Yang, speaking to him in Japanese – scaring Jimmy to death.

Ultimo works him over here, trying to inflict punishment, teaching Yang a lesson, refusing to pin him and drawing the boos from the crowd, Ultimo viciously takes Yang apart until the official stops the match.

Tajiri d. Rey
-The Worldwide Titles holder is surprisingly upset by the former IC Champ Tajiri. Nontitle, obviously. Clean finish – Ultimo comes down to ringside – and the two men bow in respect to each other in the postmatch nose to nose. Ultimo/Tajiri – a terrific matchup in the Elite 8.

HBK d. Y2J
Lots of Hart/Clique stuff to build the animosity between these two. And Jericho’s dark now. They screwjob the finish, Flair and Leviathan attack Jericho during a ref bump, recall how Jericho eliminated Flair in Rnd 2. This allows Michaels the pinfall win. We tease a Clique/Horsemen thing – but then Hunter stops the kids, and motions for Flair to do whatever he wants to Jericho. The Horsemen then savage him – allowing us some more Eddy/Jericho stuff, reprising the longtime feud – Jericho, again, bloody – seems to enjoy getting his ass beat.

We’re gonna get a Flair/Jericho rematch at Summer Slam.

1. London d. HHH
HHH is the favorite – and works tough on London, taking every veteran advantage – Michaels doesn’t mind – you do what you have to do – and he tries to get London to fight back – and he does – so it’s a full on brawl – and it’s London who comes out on top, holding the tights for the win. Spanky and Michaels are excited – Paul London’s going to the Elite Eight! An enormous celebration between Spanky and London in the ring.

Paul London/Shawn Michaels meet in the Elite Eight. HHH is crushed, he has to know it’s as close as he’ll ever get again to the WWF Title – and here’s his boy Shawn celebrating. Shawn consoles HHH and finally HHH shakes London’s hand, the four men hit the buckles, although it’s obvious that this result infuritates HHH.


1. Brock d. PAUL
-And when Brock F5s the 500 pound Giant – it’s an earthquake.

2. Matt d. RVD
-RVD and Paul E promise to get revenge for Mania – but they don’t, Matt Hardy pins RVD again – and it’s he who goes to the Elite Eight. Bischoff again aids Matt, maybe even a little more this time – and Matt appreciates it a little more. This time he and Eric high five after the match – Matt joining in on some taunting of Van Dam
and Heyman.

Eight Left. Eight Men left to go to Summer Slam for the Undisputed Heavweight Championship of the World. Eight Men left in the greatest wrestling tournament of all time.

Elite Eight:

Eddy Guerrero d. Chris Benoit
-Again, Eddy says don’t interfere. Flair attempts to, hopping on the apron – Eddy, not even pausing, knocks him down himself. Flair is shocked as Eddy has taken him out – and that gets the big man hot. Leviathan hops on the apron and levels Eddy with his cast. Benoit knocks Leviathan from the apron, then attempts a pinfall – but Eddy kicks out. Eddy gets the fall – and it’s by himself – so he’s joyous – and then Eddy is attacked by Flair, Leviathan, and, most exuberantly, by Chavo. Chavo just rips into Eddy, SpreeKiller style, shocking the announce with his ferocity, his lack of conflict.

Benoit with the save. Benoit and Eddy fight off the Horsemen. And that draws the pop. Benoit and Guerrero stand in the ring together and the Horsemen slowly back up the ramp, smiling – at the top, Flair, Leviathan – and finally, Chavo, throw up the four fingers. Flair pats Chavo on the back as he snarls at his uncle Eddy.

But Guerrero has beaten Benoit again – and he’s in the final four.

Ultimo Dragon d. Tajiri
-There’s much, much kicking. Dragon wins, he and Tajiri bow after the match. Based on his upset of Rey, Tajiri will get a shot at the Worldwide Titles at Summer Slam.

Eddy/Ultimo is a dream semi, they met in Japan and in NWA – and in Mexico. Ultimo, as we learn, was rejected by the New Japan dojo as a rookie, went to Mexico and learned the lucha style – took that style to Japan where it influences a whole generation of Japanese juniors.

HBK d. Paul London
-Michaels goes over his protégée, with Spanky and HHH both at ringside. London’s young and hungry, and we see much of young HBK in him – but the veteran goes over. HHH and Spanky hit the ring for the celebration, consolation – when all four men are attacked on multiple sides by Dead Men Walking. Taker, PAUL, Kane assault the Clique – and lay them all out.

4. Brock Lesnar d. Matt Hardy
-Lesnar’s just too much for Matt, beats him and leaves him laying. RVD, more aggressive than normal, as he’s now lost two in a row to Matt, attacks postmatch, RVD violently beating Hardy down. We’re gonna get Matt/RVD again at SSlam, this time in a steel cage to prevent the managers from interfering.

So, continuing the feud that’s lasted all year, it’s Lesnar and Michaels in their half of the final four.

Both final four matches are on the final RAW before Summer Slam. And also, for the first time since the night after Mania, on RAW…Kurt Angle.

Angle is now in a wheelchair, with a halo supporting his now bald head. He’s wheeled out to ringside to watch the semifinal matches. We haven’t heard anything about Angle in months, rumors, speculation, but seeing him now is a shock, he is a shell of himself, clearly, his eyed glazed over. He’s infirmed, he draws a standing ovation from the fans, many weeping – as they see what has become of the longtime Undisputed Champion of the World.

Kurt Angle is now a man to be pitied. He sits silently by the timekeeper.

Final Four:
Eddy Guerrero d. Ultimo Dragon
-Eddy, clean. Eddy Guerrero will go to Summer Slam in Phoenix to wrestle for the WWF Championship – and for the Triple Crown.

Brock Lesnar d. Shawn Michaels
One more DMW v. HBK/HHH brawl backstage before the match. Lesnar takes advantage of the weakened Michaels and goes over.

Lesnar, who had been taunting Angle throughout his match, now calls out Eddy, “Come on Guerrero, you sawed off beaneater, we don’t need to wait to Summer Slam, you know, I know, everyone in this crowd knows, that I am the next Undisputed Champion of the World. There’s not gonna be a Summer Slam – it’s gonna happen right now!”

Vince, returning, after however many years its been, comes to the ring, says there most certainly will be a Summer Slam, and asks Eddy to come out. Eddy does. Eddy and Brock go nose to nose, Vince says that Kurt Angle has requested that he be allowed to come to the ring and wish both men luck.

So, Angle, with much assistance, is picked up, wheelchair and all, and placed in the ring, Vince himself wheels Angle over between the two men. Guerrero looks incredibly sad – Brock giggles. Vince puts his hand on Angle’s shoulder, says that Summer Slam will be the culmination of the greatest tournament in wrestling history, 64 men who have done their sport proud, every man in the WWF had a shot at this spot – and Brock and Eddy, you are the two survivors. Every man in the company could have been WWF Champion – and at Summer Slam, one man will.

Angle then slowly raises his arm, as if to request the mic from Vince. It’s a dramatic gesture.

Vince hands Kurt the mic, Kurt, barely audible in his chair, says, “Mr. McMahon…you forgot about someone…”

Vince confused, says, “who, who did we forget..”

Kurt slowly now changes, the dead eyes become bright, the mouth sharpens, a smirk comes over his face as he says…”Kurt Angle.”

Angle leaps up attacking Guerrero. The crowd goes bananas. Angle pummels Guerrero – and then for good measure Angle Slams Vince atop the wheelchair.

Lesnar stands open mouthed as Angle rips off his halo and then motions to Brock to join him in kicking Guerrero’s ass.

Brock and Angle then take Eddy apart.

Save by Benoit.

Big pop as Benoit and Eddy fight side by side against Brock and Angle – Benoit and Angle tumble together out of the ring, each throwing right hands until security, of course, comes to separate them – Brock finishing the show with an F5 of Guerrero.

You can almost hear JR yelling.

So, here’s your Summer Slam card. We’ve got Brock and Eddy in the tournament finals for the vacant Undisputed Championship. We’ve got Rey defending the Worldwide against Tajiri. After all the brawls, we’re gonna do the tag match, HHH/HBK v. Undertaker/Kane, Kurt Angle returns with the dastardly swerve – and he will return against Chris Benoit, a match made right now in this last RAW before the show, it’s their first match since Angle won the title from Benoit 2 1/2 years ago. We’ve got Jericho meeting Flair, Matt and RVD in the cage, and don’t forget Diesel, Big Daddy Cool returns to WWF PPV, and he meets the debuting Bill Goldberg. Add in the SpreeKiller opening tag, and it is a Summer Slam you cannot miss! Call your thing!

Royal Rumble 2003

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Survivor Series is here

Royal Rumble 2003 (Boston)
(Dark – Noble d. Spanky)
-Spanky hasn’t worked TV yet, he and Paul London are going to come in as Michaels’s protégées. They’ll debut after Mania. We’ll talk about them then.

Paul’s busy tonight – so it’s just JR and Taz.

1. TLC 4: Hardys (w/Bischoff) d. Dudleys (w/Paul E) d. E and C (w/Trish)
Our best ever opening tag match. This is a big stretcher-fest, the ambulances are in the back, paramedics everywhere – stretchers at ringside – as the clear promise was that everyone was going on on their backs. I want the ring surrounded by stretchers.

Jeff is the most badly hurt, this is gonna wrap him up in the Counterfactual, so they sell the severity of his injury. This is Edge’s last show before his neck surgery, he’s gonna be out over a year, so he gets carted away. The Counterfactual takes the Dudleys off the canvas, just because they don’t fit right now, they can go work Smackdown, but they’re off PPV. I’m gonna use the opportunity to bench Christian, he doesn’t work PPV until Survivor Series, so they’re taking him off the canvas too, he’s gonna sell injuries from this match. So everyone can get brutally hurt, lots of blood and broken things. 5 stretcher jobs. Everyone but Matt Hardy.

Bischoff gets involved, tipping over a ladder as a Dudley was about to win, Heyman and Bischoff then throw punches on the outside.

Matt’s the only survivor of the feud and we sell that as he’s going to get a high profile singles feud coming out of this (before he goes down with injury.) So, we clap for Matt and for the totality of the violent feud. Matt stands alone in the ring as the other five guys do a stretcher job, we put over that it is really over now – the greatest tag team feud ever, years of 2 and 3 way battles – comes to an end with only one survivor – Matt Hardy.

Matt and Bischoff wind up as the last two in the ring – Bischoff excited – Matt holding whatever thing he had to grab to win – hopefully, the dynamic of Matt’s unease with Bischoff is clear.

2. Leviathan (w/Flair) d. Stevie/Spike
Just an insight into the thought process, I don’t know if I’m ever gonna really push Batista, it’ll be a matter of numbers, but the guy can work a little bit (although not in 2003) and since he’s getting the real world push, he’s gonna be around awhile. So, he’s been protected in the counterfactual. Contrast that with Orton and Cena, for example, who haven’t been used yet. They will be, but as of right now they won’t get pushed. Stevie’s a better worker, and probably always will be – but Stevie doesn’t get used, whereas, I know I have Leviathan, who is really just a generic monster, like Sid, but a better wrestler. Contrast that with Brock, who was a really good wrestler – hence his big push.

So, Flair steps off the apron before the match starts – which surprises Leviathan and everyone else. Flair waves the big man on – for a second, we wonder if Flair is turning on him, but no – this is Flair playing trainer. Angle got to play trainer. Michaels is about to play trainer. Just is Flair’s turn. All about passing the torch to a new generation. He smiles broadly, cheering for the big man as Leviathan makes quick work in the handicap match. Demon Bombs all around. The announce is impressed by the big man. He’s a freaky monster!

3. Chavo (w/Leviathan and Flair) d. Tajiri
And now Chavo. Chavo comes to the ring where Leviathan and Flair remain after their match – he tells them to watch, watch, watch – he’ll prove himself again. It’s a terrific match, Chavo goes over, the three men stomp Tajiri out. Chavo holds up the four fingers – but Flair and Leviathan shake their heads no – Flair says not yet – almost, almost Horseman material – but not yet Chavo. More to do. More to prove yourself. Chavo, hotheaded, young, classic little brother syndrome behind Eddy think real world Owen’s character in relation to Bret, the brattiness, the jealousy. Except Chavo isn’t a brat, he doesn’t pout, he proves himself by being extra dangerous, taking more bump than he needs to take, dishing out more dirty punishment, he’s a SpreeKiller at heart, he just wants to take a lot of speed and beat on someone. But now he uses that same underlying dissatisfaction to try to prove to Eddy…to prove to Flair, who is everyone’s daddy after all, that he belongs with them – I’m an elite wrestler too his actions are crying out. Love me. Love me! That’s who Chavo is.

4. Lance (w/Stacy) d. Regal
Yeah, I screwed Regal, had to use him as enhancement after they gave him the IC early on, but I just never got to use him consistently enough. In 2005, I’ll get him a little bit. Regal leaves PPV for awhile after here. Lance with the half crab tap out, we get all the Lance/Stacy stuff – they’re very excited – we follow them to the back where, caught up in the moment and thinking they’re alone, they have their first kiss.

They just couldn’t hold back the passion anymore. It just spills out. Soapy.

The kiss, of course, is seen by Jericho, who is up next, and went to congratulate Lance and see if Stacy would go to the ring with him.

Instead, he sees the kiss, and his heart breaks.

Jericho’s too stunned to speak – Lance and Stacy see him and feel terribly and try to apologize, but there’s no time, Jericho’s music hits – and he has to go. He’s open mouthed, shocked, and just backs away.

5. Jericho d. Brock (w/Angle) (DQ)
Bad guy for Jericho to meet now. He enters in a daze, he doesn’t do his Jericho “break the walls down” pose, no emotion, no fire, and he’s going to meet Brock Lesnar.

And Brock takes him apart. Eventually, we get the angry babyface comeback where Jericho takes it out on Brock, you know, Jericho snaps into place, his wrestling instinct takes over, he’s a motherfucking Hart, for Chrissakes – and for the first time in Brock’s career, he’s bloodied up.

But that just sets Brock off – Brock gets frustrated and goes chairshot crazy on Jericho – blasting him into tomorrow and then F5ing him on the chair. Then doing it again. Then doing it again. That’s your DQ. Jericho’s busted wide open, lying motionless on the chair as Brock draws the DQ.

Brock laughs, grabs some of Jericho’s blood and smears the letters Y2J on his chest. Brock paints himself with Jericho’s own blood.

That’s enough for Angle. He’s largely been watching passively, seeing more of what Brock does, really taking in the crowd reaction, but he hasn’t interfered at all in any direction – he’s just watched. But as Brock paints himself with Jericho’s blood to the shocked boos of the crowd, Angle gets in the ring and finally pulls Brock away – Angle yells at Brock, telling him this just isn’t right and Brock shoves him away.

You don’t just shove Kurt Angle – he pauses for a second – and then he shoves right back at Brock. Brock fires back, takes shots at Angle. Angle moves Brock into a hammerlock, yelling that he won’t hit Brock. Brock escapes the hold, takes more shots, Angle again moves Brock into a hold, telling him to stop it, telling him they’ll work it out, telling him it’s not too late, it’s not too late – Brock escapes the hold, clotheslines Angle, then F5s him.

Brock spits on Angle, tells him that it is too late. And leaves.

Lance and Stacy come to the ring. Both trying to see how Jericho is – Jericho is a bloody mess, and as Lance and Stacy revive him, he remembers what has happened and lunges at Lance, but the blood loss causes him to slip and fall. Jericho continues to try to stand, to get at Lance, who has the guiltiest look he can muster, but each time he rises he falls again in his own blood. Lance and Stacy are both clearly upset, there’s no heel turn, the heart wants what it wants (although they get booed, obviously) and Jericho is left in the ring, bloody, broken, battered. Jericho and Angle in the ring together, both bloodied, betrayed, broken hearted. Storytelling~

6. Unified Tags: Haas/Benjamin d. Benoit/Guerrero (w/Horsemen)
Angle doesn’t come with them, obviously, breaking his promise. ‘Member, the promise to come to the ring no matter what? They are more pissed than disappointed. Haas and Benjamin not helping as Angle is being helped to the back while they wait to be introduced – they watch him go by, and they shake their heads as come out alone.

The other team…Eddy and Chris ask Flair/Leviathan/Chavo to leave before the match starts, ‘cause they want the wrestling challenge clean. As part of the buildup, they show how Benoit and Eddy are impressed with the amateur credentials of the kids, and so they can’t wait for chance to face them straight up.

Shockingly, Team Angle goes over clean, in the big upset, Benjamin pins Benoit with the exploder suplex. It’s a shocker, as the two world champions lose to the two rookies. Great match, crowd goes bananas. There’s a four man nose to nose after the match – and Benoit and Eddy extend their hands to the kids…

…the Horsemen, and Chavo, run in – they beat Haas and Benjamin down. Beat, beat, beat, beat --- Eddy and Chris try to pull them off – nope, beat, beat, beat beat….Eddy is torn…but joins in…beat, beat, beat, beat…..

And Benoit turns face. German to Leviathan. German to Flair. German to Chavo. Pause….Pause….German to Eddy. Big pop!

The Horsemen exit up the aisle, jawing at Benoit, as they disappear – Benoit and Eddy have a lingering stare, what’s in Eddy’s mind, doubt? Betrayal? Does he wish he had the ability to stand up to his heelish nature – or does he think Benoit sold out? He and Benoit have a lingering stare (note, Lance/Jericho, Angle/Brock, Benoit/Eddy, three different types of betrayal. I enjoy the levels) and Benoit remains in the ring, helping up Haas and Benjamin and getting the face pop.

7. Worldwide Titles: Mysterio d. RVD (w/Paul E)
 Little Rey wins his first ever WWF belt, grabbing the IC from Van Dam. It’s a lights out high flying match. Rey slips the Van Daminator, Paul E and RVD collide with the chair – Rey with the hurricanarana roll up for the fall. Little Rey! We pop for the diminutive Mexican after the terrific workrate match.

8. Undisputed World Championship: Angle d. HBK
He’s Kurt Angle after all.

It’s all drama, the Triple Crown winner, Shawn Michaels trying one more time – maybe one last time – to win the WWF Title – Kurt Angle, besieged on all sides, still unbeaten, WWF Champion nearly two years. Angle is still injured from the Lesnar attack, he moves slowly, uncertainly, his back seems to be a problem, perhaps his neck, he’s clearly not right. Michaels, of course, wrestles with his own bad back, but his confidence grows as he sees that Angle is not 100%, and Michaels, the veteran, the champion, begins to take advantage, he seizes opportunities, he takes advantage – who knows if Shawn Michaels will ever – ever have this spot again – and he wrestles like it’s his last ever show.

Every second is dramatic, Angle kicks out of the top rope elbow, Michaels kicks out of the Angle Slam. Angle kicks out after a superkick. Michales gets to the ropes when placed in the ankle lock.

Angle eventually gets the submission win, Michaels hangs in the ankle lock as long as he could but then taps. Incidentally, I wrote that before their Mania match. Just saying.

No boos for Angle as he tries to make his way to the buckle with his belts, both because he finally did something to stop Brock and because of the quality of the match – but Angle can’t accept the cheers or boos anyway, he’s too tired to make his way up the buckles in his traditional postmatch celebration, he can’t even lift the belts over his head in triumph. An exhausted Angle slumps over.

…and he’s attacked by Brock. Brock pounds away, Angle totally defenseless. Angle exhausted, and still won’t throw a punch at his protégée. Michaels now has recovered, and yanks Brock off Angle and sets up for a superkick.

But Brock slips it – and Michaels catches Angle flush as he was just getting to his feet.

Brock then gets the advantage on Michaels, Brock pounding away at Michaels.

Save by a returning HHH.

Hunter returns, good pop. Hunter and Michaels battle Brock, getting the advantage. Hunter and Michaels doubleteaming Lesnar down.

Angle awakes. Angle, perhaps drawn by instinct, or perhaps realizing only that it was Michaels who superkicked him – comes in on Brock’s side.

Angle goes in on his protégées side, he and Brock fight Michaels and HHH – run in by Haas and Benjamin – the new tag champs – they go in with the full Team Angle and it’s a four on two that drives Hunter and HBK from the ring. Team Angle reunites!

Angle takes the mic….Angle exhausted, bloody, but trying to be the trainer, trying to fix it, trying to be the wrestling coach until the end. Angle talking to his boys…he says they’ve been through a lot together…the TV show, the training, ups and downs – and tonight, he and Brock even fought each other, which he can’t believe ever happened. He’s sorry. He takes full responsibility. He’s been hung up on his own stuff, on his belts, on his unbeaten streak, and wasn’t taking care of his students. He’s very sorry. A little tear would be good.

“But look where we are at the end of the night – Charlie and Shelton – you beat two of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived. I couldn’t be more proud. And Brock – you might be the most dominant athlete in all the WWF. And when we needed to – when we had to come together – we did. And why? Because we’re Team Angle. We are Team Angle.”

The people boo. Kurt says don’t listen. Don’t listen.

Brock takes the mic. “Kurt, thanks for all the training, thanks for helping us get into the WWF, it’s meant a lot to all of us. And I’m sorry for how I acted. Really, really I am. And I could change. Really, really, I could, Kurt.

But I ain’t gonna. And the thing of it is, Kurt. The only thing I’m sorry for, is not kicking you to the curb six months earlier. And when you say don’t listen to these fans….I never have. And I stopped listening to you a long time ago, Kurt.

Make that…we stopped listening to you a long time ago, Kurt.

Because we aren’t Team Angle anymore.

We’re Team Lesnar.”

Brock, Haas, and Benjamin all turn on Angle – totally taking him apart. Triple teams, F5s – they leave him completely battered in the middle of the ring. Haas and Benjamin are less evil than very disappointed – they clearly needed Kurt, he let them down, so they took the next best offer. They are hurt as they attack Angle – whereas, Lesnar’s just enjoying the hell out of himself. Lesnar almost giggling as he busts Angle open. Lesnar starts waving up the aisle, as if waving for someone to come save Kurt.

But who would do that?

Nobody comes, which is Lesnar’s point, he’s mocking Kurt, mocking the fans, mocking the Undisputed Champion as he takes the WWF title and drops it atop Angle’s body as the show ends.

Wrestlemania XIX is coming from Seattle.

We’re gonna have a legend’s match. Hogan returns, calls out the Dead Man and says they’re gonna have the tiebreaking match. It’s 4-4 – and one of them is about to be called the All Time Wrestlemania Legend.

Undertaker enters.

Undertaker and Hogan go nose to nose – fans pop for the old men. Kane and PAUL~ come to the ring. Undertaker says – or, maybe we don’t have to wait for XIX – maybe we kick your ass right now.

So they do.

At some later point, Hogan comes back and calls DMW out. They say didn’t he get enough the last time? Hogan says he wanted to do a singles Legend’s Match at XIX – but there’s nothing that says it can’t be a tag. So if the Dead Man and his Dead Friends want some at XIX – he can do that, brother.

Undertaker says it looks like you’ve lost it in your old age, Hogan. There’s three of us, but only one of you.

Hogan says at Mania, brother, at Mania, whatchu gonna do when Hulk Hogan and his partner…..

….Rowdy Roddy Piper….

Run wild on you.

Piper didn’t do any TV here, so we’re stuck with clips – ideally, he’d do a promo, but we don’t have that.

And that’s how you use these guys. Bottom of the card, bring in that segment of the buying public.

Also doing the high profile return at XIX – the Rock.

We’re gonna get “I’m From Hollywood” with the Rock. They turn him during ordinary puff pieces showing him on Conan or at an awards show or a premiere – and he big times some wrestling fans. “I loved the Nation of Domination, Rock!” – Rock says, “Wrestling – aw, that was a hundred years ago – now, what you should love is the Scorpion King – go to Blockbuster, it’s 22.95.” He charges for autographs, says he’s too busy for wrestling questions, ‘cause he wants to talk about his acting “process.” He’s pretentious, forgot his roots, acting guy.

That kinda thing.

So, finally the Rock returns – and he does his Andy Kauffman schtick he did for awhile. Sunglasses, expensive suits, Rock’s got no time for the little people, Rock says this – if you want to see the Rock – you got to pay the Rock. “Rock – please come to Wrestlemania. Rock – we want to see you in a Legend’s Match again.”

“The Rock says this, the Rock says there isn’t anyone in the locker room worth bruising the Rock’s knuckles on. The Rock’s fought Brendan Fraser – you think now the Rock should go one…on one…with Tommy Dreamer?”

“The Rock says this, In Hollywood, the way you get parts is to audition – so over the next 6 weeks, the Rock will go one on one with whatever jabroni comes through that curtain – if any of them can last ten minutes with the Rock – then he will have the privilege of losing to me in the Legends Match at Wrestlemania.”

Yeah, we’re doing two Legends Matches. Wanna make something of it?

So, 6 weeks….week one….Spanky.

As mentioned, Spanky’s one of the Michaels trainees (Angle has trainees, Flair, etc..) this is his TV debut. He’s a pretty boy junior, a high flyer, really good – babyface type. He’s wearing a Texas Wrestling Academy t-shirt. We learn he’s a Shawn Michaels trainee. He’s Spanky. Rock makes fun of him. Rock wins in 8 minutes. Spanky will work dark again at Mania.

Week two…DLo Brown. Hi, DLo! DLo, gone for a couple of years, returns for the chance to kick the Rock’s ass. We do the back and forth with the old Nation members, some good nostalgia – and then the Rock wins in 8:30.

Week three…Dreamer. Tommy’s got a cane, says can Brendan Fraser do this – and he levels the Rock with the cane – the Rock recovers though and gets the fall in 7 minutes.

Week four…Morley. Morley says he’s never liked bullies and the Rock comes here with his two thousand dollar suits thinking he can order everyone around, well Ulysses S. Morley says that he’s gonna kick the Rock’s candy ass.

Rock in nine minutes.

Week five – Helms. Helms attacks the Rock as he goes out to the ring – Helms works the Rock over – but is pinned in 9:30. Helms is attacked after the match by Rhyno and Shannon Moore, his old NWA partner, debuting in the WWF. Rhyno and Moore are shirtless, with the grafitti scrawled over their bodies, in classic SpreeKiller fashion. The idea would be that they’re taking the gimmick away from Helms. It’s a fight over the SpreeKiller name. Moore says the SpreeKillers were his idea, they’re his life – and Helms got hired by the WWF and ripped him off. Well, now he and Rhyno are the real SpreeKillers.

Week six. Booker. Booker says he only wrestles when he gots to get paid – and there ain’t no payday like beating the Rock at Wrestlemania payday – if you smell what the Book is bakin’. Whenever Book’s on TV, he gives a fan money to do a chore, carry something, shine something, take Book to the club after the match. Book pays fans money! See, ‘cause normally, a fan would pay to carry a wrestler’s robe, Book says, nah, Brothers gots to Gets Paid! So he’ll peel off a 20, and the fan brings him a soda.

Rock pins him in 9:59. So, so, so close.

Rock says no one could cut it – no one passed the audition – there’s no one in this company who can hang with the Scorpion King.

So, ciao, baby dolls.

Glass breaks. Austin.

Austin to the ring. Doesn’t speak, doesn’t break stride. Stunner. Pinfall. Referee counts. 1-2-3. Austin says “See you in Seattle, Scorpion King.” Then throws the mic down and leaves. Just that simple.

So, we’re gonna get Rock/Austin – two legends matches at Mania!

How about 3 hot workrate based matches?

Matt won the right to go to Mania when the Hardys won the last TLC – but Jeff is in no condition to wrestle (carny for, he’s really high all of the time) but that doesn’t mean Matt Hardy isn’t going to Wrestlemania! Bischoff gets him a singles match. Bischoff explains that Matt’s been here nearly a decade, since he was a kid carrying Shawn Michaels’s bags, and somehow, in all that time, he’s never had a singles match on PPV. But there’s a guy who walked in off the street – out of a bingo hall, and got a shot at the WWF Title. Somehow, he’s already had 2 singles belts. 2? Matt Hardy has been here nearly a decade, he’s never gotten one.

How long is the WWF gonna screw Matt Hardy, Bischoff says.

Edge. Gone. Christian. Gone. Those crappy Dudley Boys. Gone.

Matt Hardy’s going to Wrestlemania – and he’s calling out Rob…Van….Dam…

RVD and Paul E enter. Paul says that’s sweet – and he’s never wanted to discourage a young man from pursuing his dreams, but Matt’s always been, you know, the other guy in the Hardy Boys. It would be like Marty Jannetty challenging RVD and that’s not a very appealing matchup – so, thanks for the offer, but, we’ll pass.

This riles Matt up, and eventually they make their way to the match.

What we have here is babyface with heel manager. But Bischoff’s wearing Matt down.

And Paul E’s still a heel, although he hates Bischoff, so there is certainly a babyface pop for him on occasion.

One RAW, as Paul continues to denigrate Matt’s ability, Bischoff’s worked him to a point that Matt attacks Van Dam. Can Matt prove himself as a single? Big stage, big opponent. Can Matt step up, handle the pressure – or should he go find himself another tag partner. Like that.

We’re gonna get Jericho/Lance, obviously.

Loser Leaves Town. Jericho doesn’t clown at all – he’s heartbroken and edgy. He doesn’t give them an inch – says Stacy’s just a slut, even if she does have 42 inch legs, but Lance, you and I were supposed to be brothers. We were carrying on the legacy of the Hart Foundation – and you gave all that up, Lance, you gave all that up for a piece of ass.

Lance only gets hot at Jericho when he insults Stacy – he says nothing happened – I fell in love with her, but we didn’t act on it – and now she’s gone – isn’t that enough for you, Chris?

Jericho says nope – I want you gone too. This is my house. I am the Hart Foundation now.

Lance says he can’t do that – this is the only place he ever wanted to be – he knows he screwed up and he’s sorry – but he’s not leaving.

Jericho says then he’s gonna make him.

So – they do the full on war up to Mania – and at Mania, it’s a Loser leaves town.

Neither man has turned – it’s not a Lance/Stacy turn – it was just a mistake – but Jericho won’t here it and cuts vicious, withering promos on both. Stacy’s a no talent piece of ass – Lance would still be pumping gas in Calgary if not for him. Jericho’s mean, angry, hurt. Betrayed.

And we also have…Benoit/Guerrero. Whew. Wrestlemania, daddy.

We now get the up close and personal face treatment for Benoit now. Calgary, Dynamite Kid, Stu, Japan, ECW, NWA, the Alliance, we reveal for the first time that he had spinal surgery when he was out a year, we show the footage, talk to doctors, we talk about the Horsemen – when Flair called him personally and said he had a way for him to get back in the WWF – he jumped. He respects Flair, he was a Horseman in NWA – and he would have done anything to get back in. But it wasn’t what he wanted – he had changed somewhere – he remembered something Chris Jericho said to him when they were feuding over the WWF Title – that he was a Hart – that by coming back to the WWF – he was coming home.

So, here comes the Benoit face run. He embraces the Hart legacy and takes his rightful spot as that guy.

They promo Eddy and Benoit. Eddy telling Benoit he betrayed him, he betrayed Ric, he betrayed my nephew Chavo. Benoit telling Eddy he didn’t come back after a year with a broken neck to walk behind Ric Flair. Chris Benoit wasn’t the WWF Champion because of the Alliance, Chris Benoit was WWF Champion because of Chris Benoit – and if Eddy had any cajones, he’d tell the Horsemen where they could go and fight him one on one like a man.

Eddy will have Flair and Leviathan and Chavo in his corner. Eddy has an ambivalence, but he doesn’t play it – instead they are full on heel, Benoit’s a traitor, that’s all Eddy sees, and in their first ever WWF match – Eddy’s gonna take Benoit out. We’ll do a spot where Eddy goes over someone and the Horsemen interfere to aid – Eddy cuts a promo saying all his career, he’s had to walk behind Chris Benoit – he’s had to hear that he was a great wrestler – but not as great as Benoit – at Wrestlemania – Eddy has to prove that he’s every bit the wrestler than Chris Benoit is – and he has to do it by himself.

So, Eddy is a Horseman – and if the Horsemen want to come to the ring, that’s fine, but Eddy has to beat Benoit by himself. After the match, we will cut him to pieces – but during the match, it’s just got to me. The rest agree, continually selling how Benoit sold them out, how Benoit always has to be the man, how Benoit couldn’t stand that Eddy was showing him up. And if we’re paying attention, we see that Chavo’s manipulation of his Uncle is canny, that when Chavo says, “you know, Uncle Eddy, what it’s like to be the better man, but always have to be seen as second best” that he’s not really talking about Chris and Eddy, he’s talking about Eddy and himself. Eddy doesn’t see that Chavo is playing jealous little brother, as he’s locked in on playing angry little brother to Benoit, while Benoit is really playing coming into his own little brother to Flair by leaving the Horsemen.

Levels. Many, many levels.

Seriously, wouldn’t that be enough? Eddy v Benoit, Y2J v Lance in the loser leaves town, RVD v. Matt with Heyman and Bischoff, Rock v. freaking Steve Austin and Hogan/Piper taking on DMW, the all time legend;s record on the line? You’d buy just that freaking card, wouldn’t you, Chico? I know you would. That’s your Wrestlemania money right there.

But we got title matches too. 3 of them.

The tags….the kids, Team Lesnar: Haas and Benjamin defend against the two guys they attacked at the end of the Rumble, HBK and HHH. Michaels and Hunter do the veteran thing – Michaels won the tag title with Marty 14 years ago – and it all comes full circle here. Now he’s the veteran – and with his best friend HHH (who has never won a belt, so he plays that angle) they’re up against these hotshot kids – who won everyone over and then went heel. Haas and Benjamin now run with Brock – sure, they turned because Kurt liked Brock more than them – but who they turned to was Brock, which only makes sense if you squint.

The three of them attack the Clique during one RAW – and returning to make the face save….Nash. Nash? Fuck you, Big Daddy Cool is back.

Gone a year – Nash cleans house with the big boot – he’ll be in the Clique corner for the title match.

Rey’s got the IC…and he’s defending against the Evil Horseman Chavo. Chavo attacks Rey at every chance, as do Flair and Leviathan. It’s a high flying match, and the long Chavo push pays off as he’s in the secondary title match on the biggest show of the year. Chavo’s gonna prove himself at Wrestlemania by winning the Worldwide belts from Little Rey.

And there’s the big, big main event.

Angle disappears for a couple/three weeks after the Rumble – where is he – where’s the WWF Champion – Wrestlemania is coming, what will we do?

He comes back unannounced, wearing a suit.

Angle is subdued when he says he has some video to show us.

It’s Angle, hospital, doctor shows X-rays, says Angle’s rebroken his neck, says Angle must retire – if Angle steps foot in the ring again, he risks paralysis.

Which, of course, is all true. It’s a shoot, daddy. It’s a damn shoot.

Crowd is stunned. Announce is stunned. Angle, tear in his eye, says he’s looking around for another opinion, for some type of treatment, but right now, it sort of looks like he has to retire.

…but not before Wrestlemania.

Angle says Bret Hart was WWF Champion 2 straight years, no one’s ever done it more in the modern era – “when I was wrestling amateurs, there weren’t a lot of wrestlers who I watched – but the one guy I watched was Bret Hart. He went two years. So, I’m going two years and one day. I’m going two years and one day. I won a gold medal with a broken neck. I’m going two years and one day if it kills me.

I’m going to go to Wrestlemania – I met with the TitanTrust this morning, I signed away all claims against the WWF if I get hurt – I’m going to Wrestlemania – and I’m going to win – and then the next night, I will walk to this ring…

..Angle gets choked up…

…and I will give up my Undisputed Championship and retire undefeated.”

Hit Brock’s music.

Brock comes to the ring – smirking, shaking his head – Brock says, “no, no no – you think you’re gonna get out of here without standing across the ring from me? For years I’ve waited for this, Kurt. When I was a kid wrestling – I heard all about the great Kurt Angle, won gold medals with a broken neck, when you were training me at Camp Angle – I couldn’t wait for the day when I could snap you in half – to take all that crap – all that training – all that advice without just laying you out. It was all I could do not to laugh right in your face, little man.

And now you think you’re gonna quit without getting on the mat with me? Not gonna happen Kurt – no way I’m gonna let that happen.”

Angle says “you’re right, it’s not going to happen.

When I said I was going to Wrestlemania so I could hold the WWF title two straight years, I left something out.

I’m going to Wrestlemania to do something I should have done a long time ago, Brock.

I’m going to Wrestlemania to kick your ass.”

And we do the nose to nose.

So, that’s the show. Angle, with the broken neck, defending against Lesnar (I think the first Mania where we duplicated the main event) Rey v. Chavo for the Worldwide, Team Lesnar against the Clique for the tags, Eddy meets Benoit at Wrestlemania, Lance v. Y2J in the soapy loser leaves town , RVD v. Matt, Austin v. Rock, Hogan/Piper v. DMW.

You love me a little bit, don’t you? Just a little?

Yup. Buy it.

Hennig’s died in this stretch, so they devote a show to him in this stretch – clips, interviews, and they show his Survivor Series WWF Title win over Savage.

Wrestlemania 19!

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