Triple H, October 2011:

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

Road to Summer Slam, Part 2 2005

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Part I is here.

Okay, a reminder of where we are. Half of the card for Summer Slam 05 is set up. Eddy defends the Undisputed titles against Rey, in a 2 of 3 falls lucha match, Rey looking not only for his first WWF Title (he was the last NWA Champ before it folded) but is also going for the Triple Crown.

The tag title is Orton and Cena, now starting to get booed, defending against the NeoCons, Bradshaw and Dinsmore.

The two undercard singles – Leviathan, now managed by Arn – against SpreeKiller Shane Helms, looking to avenge Rhyno.

And finally, the Undertaker meets up with Hulk Hogan, in his last ever match.

Here’s the other half.

You know what happened in the summer of 05. Edge did Lita, Matt got fired, the chants in the arenas led to Matt getting rehired. Matt got buried.

Okay, I can’t change things like Edge doing Lita, but in the Counterfactual, Matt doesn’t get fired (‘cause Counterfactual Vince doesn’t roll that way) he quit, you’ll recall, in “shoot like” way a year before, after losing to Booker at Summer Slam 04.

And Lita hasn’t been in the Counterfactual in years, we’ll assume she’s on a secondary show someplace in the ether with the other women who aren’t Trish.

And really, are there any other women besides Trish?

So, Edge, total babyface, the IC Champ (Unified Titles) coming off his defense at XXI against Regal, Edge - a member of the babyface Clique, which is nearing the end of its long feud with the heels Team Angle – Edge, starts to get booed.

And the “You screwed Matt” chants start.

They ignore it for awhile. Edge is still pure babyface. But it starts to fray the Clique. They have less teamwork in the tags, less camaraderie, the fans, as they did, get louder and louder, thinking they’re taking over the show.

Finally, Edge and Michaels, say, lose a tag title match against Orton and Cena, as Edge is yelling at a heckling fan and isn’t there for a tag and Michaels, shockingly, takes the diamond cutter.

Michaels storms off.

Edge has to cut a promo. Edge says he’s heard the chants, he’s heard the rumors, but he wants everyone to know…it’s not true.

Edge has to come off as sincere and heartfelt as he can, he says that he and Christian and Matt and Jeff all came up together, and in a business where sometimes there’s no one to watch your back, they all looked out for each other. And when he was out a year and a half with the neck surgery after their last TLC match (clip would be good) it was Matt who came to see him, pumped him up, told him he’d be back.

And now, when he’s finally got what all 4 of them always talked about – singles gold in the WWF – finally when he has his dream, the undisputed titles – suddenly his friends aren’t there. Jeff’s gone, Christian won’t talk to him, and Matt thinks he slept with his girl.

Edge looks dead in the camera.

“Matt – I swear to god – I didn’t do it.”

Edge has to address the Clique in a second promo the following week. Now the reaction to him should be hot, those who know that they’re turning this into a work (with Matt still nowhere to be seen, posting on his website, working indies, but not on the TV) will be louder, ideally, some people would believe Edge – but it’s hot.

Edge has to promo for the Clique. What does he have to do to prove to them he didn’t do it?

He shows a clip of Shawn talking about the Clique as family. He says that families stick together, and he wants to know what he has to do to convince his family that this is a misunderstanding.

He says he’ll do anything, anything at all.

Christian enters. They go nose to nose. We see London and Michaels watching from the back. It’s tense.

Christian calls Edge Adam. Says he can’t look at him right now. Says he’s known him all his life, and even if they don’t have the same last name, they really are brothers.

‘Cause, we’re working this shoot, see.

Says you have to trust someone in this life. Even if the facts don’t look good – sometimes, sometimes you just have to believe in someone.

“And I believe my brother.”

Christian and Edge shake hands. That brings out London. The three shake hands. Michaels stays in the back.

The locker room still doesn’t trust Edge – and there’s an 8 man, with obvious heels the NeoCons (Bradshaw, Dinsmore, Morley (before the injury angle), Conway) against the Clique. Michaels won’t interact with Edge. Morley (Edge’s former brother in law) starts striking Edge hard – they clearly aren’t “co-operating” and the match totally breaks down – no one in the ring knows what to do – Christian and London are stopped by Michaels from interfering – Michaels yells “let them go” and the other 6 men just watch. It’s as much of a shoot brawl as they can do, scratching and kicking and rolling. Potato shots, hardway color, Michaels, as veteran, keeps everyone back and Edge gets the advantage, mounts Morley and takes it to him – and then Michaels allows everyone else to break it up.

Christian and London yell at Michaels – Christian gets into Shawn’s face – and he and London walk out with Edge while Shawn stands alone, gritting his teeth.

Recall, the Jericho/Michaels program was about the new no fun puritanical, judgmental Shawn, so all of that is still in the air. The announce makes clear that Christian and London swallowed their pride, deferring to Michaels as the veteran leader, but you have to wonder how long that’s gonna last.

We do Flair and Steamboat, the co-directors of the WWF, in their offices, talking about the problem. The Clique is coming apart, Summer Slam’s coming up, what are we gonna do?

Steamboat says he put a call out to Matt Hardy. Which should draw a big pop.

Flair’s hostile to this, Matt quit this company, he swore on the PPV, he cursed everyone out and left, he doesn’t belong here. He’s a baby and, I think he’s the one who’s lying. I think, says Flair, that he saw his career dying while Edge is taking off, and decided to conjure up this whole thing. I think Edge is getting a bad rap with the fans, and the locker room, and Michaels, and you, Rick.

Which will lead, later on that night, to another Edge promo, this time he brings out Flair and Steamboat.

He asks Steamboat if it’s true he called Matt. Yup.

He asks Steamboat if he thinks that Matt Hardy would be willing to come to Summer Slam, for a one on one, face to face discussion.

Steamboat says if Matt Hardy is coming to Summer Slam, it won’t be to talk.

Edge says look – I’m getting busted open out here, Shawn clearly doesn’t support me, the fans don’t support me – I’ve been here for years – I carried guys bags (actually, Owen’s bags, but that makes me squeamish, so I’d rather not drop that name) and if I have to fight Matt Hardy at Summer Slam – if that’s the only way to get him to see me, to talk to me, tell me what the hell is going on – then let’s do it.

Flair takes the lead now. Hell, no. He says. You’re the Unified Champion – we’ve had 21 years of PPV in the WWF – and at every single one of those shows – the IC belt has been defended.

You can’t defend that belt against Matt Hardy – he doesn’t work here anymore – he quit – and I tell you both right now, there is NO WAY I will ever support bringing that guy back. No Way.

There’s silence…Edge says he’ll give up the belts.

That brings out Michaels.

Michaels tells Edge to be quiet for a second. Don’t say another word. Just leave the ring.

Edge says no – Edge says he can’t go another day without Shawn’s trust. Edge says he is willing, right here and now in this ring, to surrender his 3 belts, if that means he can fight Matt Hardy at Summer Slam.

They look at each other dead in the eye, Shawn tells Edge that Matt carried his bags – that even before Edge and Christian joined the ring boys, Matt and Jeff were with the Clique. He’s known Matt since he was 19. And I know you’re disappointed – and I know Christian and Paul are disappointed – but Adam – I just can’t believe you.

Edge says I will give up those belts Shawn. You know how hard I worked, I was gone a year and a half, I rehabbed every day – all I wanted was some recognition as a singles wrestler – you know what that’s like Shawn – you threw your best friend Marty through a plate glass window – and you didn’t do it because you hated him – you did it because you had a chance to make a name for yourself as a singles wrestler. It’s damn hard, Shawn – have you looked around this place, the same guys, Benoit, Eddy, Angle, have had all the belts here for five years – and before that it was you, and Bret and Owen. This is not a place where it’s easy to climb the ladder – I had to literally break my neck in those TLC matches to make my name – Christian had to fall off a 20 foot cell to make his name – we’ve broken our bodies to hold these belts – and I am about to give them up right now, hand them to Ric Flair, and that’s gotta mean something to you Shawn – it just does.

Michaels swallows hard and nods.

Edge hands over the belts. They shake hands.

So, the match they make is an unsanctioned match. No WWF official, they’ll have to provide their own. No WWF announcers. WWF won’t insure it, as far as we’re concerned, it isn’t really happening.

But it will happen, at Summer Slam. And until then – Matt Hardy doesn’t appear on WWF TV. Not one time.

And after this angle, Edge doesn’t wrestle. He talks. He’s in non-wrestler mode, the mode of a guy prepping for a fight.

There’s some angle where the Clique is getting attacked by Team Angle (more on them next week) and Edge comes out for a save – and the Clique stands together, all four men on the same side, as Christian and London chose to believe Edge (and we’ll establish that London doesn’t really care who Edge slept with, he thinks Lita’s kinda hot) and Michaels was won over by the sacrifice Edge made. Like that, see?

So, it’s Matt/Edge in an unsanctioned match. The announce plays all of it up as if it’s a cataclysm. 1. It’s the first unsanctioned match in PPV history. 2. Edge is the first guy in PPV history to give up titles. 3. For the first time ever – the IC won’t be defended on PPV, there is no IC champion, there is no Unified Champion. 4. Matt Hardy, who is not employed by the WWF will return to a WWF ring for the first time in a year, since he quit at last year’s Summer Slam. 5. And Matt Hardy and Edge, in what might be the most personal fight, it’s not gonna be a match, it’s gonna be a fight, in WWF history, will hook it up in DC at Summer Slam.

You’re buyin’ this show, right? Right?

Okay, that leaves us with 3 matches left, two high profile, big ticket singles in the middle, and a big ticket opening tag.

And you’ll learn about them next week.

Hey, we’re not writing this thing until August, gotta make the buildup last.

So, one more week of hype – then we take all of July off to percolate – the first weekend in August, you’ll get Summer Slam.

The Road Continues

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