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.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
XV is here.
Summer Slam 1999 Minneapolis
(Dark: Morley d. Aguila)
JR. Jesse for the 50th WWF PPV.
10 bell salute. All the wrestlers wear the black OH armband.
The clock, recall, has continued to run, counting down the time until the end of tomorrow night's RAW (you know who's coming) and even during Summer Slam, it continues.
1. The Fightin’ Hollys d. Test/Albert
Crash takes the mic before the match, “You two are a couple of good looking kids, you remind me a little bit of Dick the Bruiser and the Destroyer, back when they were running St. Louis with Sam Muschnick. Those were good times; I remember once, me and Mr. Wrestling II were doing a double shot in Albequerque…”
That kinda thing.
Hollys go over.
2. Billy Gunn (w/Dogg) d. Big Stevie Cool (w/Meanie)
I'm a Stevie Richards mark. Just sayin'.
The BWO makes their only appearance on WWF PPV, Billy goes over with the rocker dropper, after the double team, Stevie takes off his gear after the match, yelling that it's time for a change - Meanie seems confused - starts to take off his fear too - prompting screams of concern from the fans. StevieKick to Meanie (and that's gonna end Meanie's run) as he's getting undressed, "These people don't want to see that, Meanie - and they'll never see the Blue World Order...again."
3. PAUL the GIANT~ (w/Skip) d. Undertaker.
It’s only a couple minutes longer than the other Giant stuff – the staredown – PAUL sells the Undertaker’s early volley of offense – maybe the Undertaker even knocks him out of the ring for the big pop – but when PAUL takes control – that’s the game.
Chokeslam. Chokeslam. Table. Chokeslam. PAUL has chokeslammed the Undertaker through a table. Good God! Good God! Kane and Markie and Vince....and the Undertaker!
With Skip McMahon’s money and the monstrous PAUL~, who could possibly stop them? Who? Who? Who?
Sellin’ tickets, baby.
4. HHH (w/Trish) d. Ken Shamrock
Hunter wins clean in what, I guess, is an upset over the former IC champ – a couple of pedigrees finishes Shamrock off – ends Shamrock’s run – and places Hunter in position to get a world title shot. Hunter beats his chest, makes the sign for the belt, and raises the Clique hand signal high above his head. The Clique is rolling again! With Waltman and E and C still to come – will Summer Slam be all about the Clique??
HHH goes to the announce to help call the Rock/Jarrett match. He'll face the winner on RAW to see who will go to Survivor Series to wrestle for the WWF Title.
5. Rock d. Jarrett
Jarrett brings his Confederate Flag, allowing the Rock to cut a promo that uses the word cracker. “What makes you think you are a better man than a fine, chocolate, brother like the People’s Champion…” “I am the….” “It doesn’t matter what you think!”
That kinda thing.
Rock breaks the figure four, the first person to do that to Jarrett in this run, Rock goes over clean with the Rock Bottom – breaks the flag in two – throws it into the crowd – and that will end Jarrett’s run. Southern Men – gone. They were like an angel on my shoulder.
Rock stands on the buckle, makes the sign for the belt – HHH gets in the ring – HHH and Rock do the nose to nose – Rock and Hunter, Hunter and Rock, who will go to Survivor Series to meet the WWF Champion? Who? Who? Who?
6. Tags: Hardys d. E and C (w/Trish) (DQ)
Hardys are just able to hang on to their belts, getting a DQ win. Interference by Trish and then Hunter threaten to get the fall for E and C – but Matt and Jeff, we love those boys!, they just keep kicking out. Finally, after Matt and Jeff get a couple of nearfalls of their own, only failing to win due to Trish/HHH saves – and with it seeming as if the Hardys will keep – Trish calls an audible, pulling the plug and has everyone going for the chairs. Trish and HHH attack the Hardys – E and C join in – and it’s another vicious beatdown. Non-finish, which the crowd dislikes (but all anyone’s waiting for is Foley/Austin anyway) and the Clique beats the Hardys down once again. Pose. Pose. Pose. Pose. Boo. Boo. Boo. Boo.
And now it’s Angle time. Kurt hits the ring with JR, who says it’s the moment of truth, you will make your PPV debut at Survivor Series – who will you face?
Recall, part of Angle's unprecedented contract is that he gets to pick his opponents for a year, except for title shots.
Angle says what he’d really like to do is wrestle for one of the titles – but as he can’t do that – he remembers a lesson he learned back when he first started amateurs back in 6 th grade. They didn’t have enough guys for weight classes, so on Angle’s first day he didn’t know much about wrestling – but there was this voice inside him that told him he had to prove himself. And so he picked the biggest, fattest, nastiest kid there – and he called him out – and he put that kid flat on his back in less than five minutes.
Because he wanted all those kids – all those coaches – he wanted to make sure they knew one thing --- I’m Kurt Angle.
So, it’s obvious to me that at Survivor Series, Kurt Angle is going to make his PPV debut –
JR: Against whom? Who? Who?
....against PAUL the GIANT~
And not only will I beat PAUL the Giant – but I’ll beat him in 5 minutes.
Big pop, that’s the craziest thing JR ever heard – hasn’t he been paying attention? Didn’t he see PAUL destroy Mark Henry? Kane? The Legendary Undertaker? Who in the world does he think he is?
"JR, I’m Kurt Angle." Buy the shirt.
7. IC: Sean Waltman (w/Clique) d. Al Snow d. DLo Brown (w/Rock)
Waltman goes home, gets his IC win. This is Waltman's big moment, he's not turning, but there are enough Waltman/Minneapolis/ packages as we go to the PPV that the fans are popping for him. So, they're gonna turn DLo heel in this program – his cocky promos will cut against Al as much as Waltman – and since Al will get cheered – and being in Minnesota, the crowd will have some the Waltman sentiment – someone’s gotta get booed. So, we go full heel on DLo, although he and the Rock haven’t broken up yet.
Lots of outside stuff – Rock questions DLo’s cheating – but still looks to aid him on the outside – that allows us to get Rock/HHH stuff on the outside – and since E and C are there too, Rock has to battle lots of folks – eventually, they all get barred from the ring. We get some Rock/Al stuff too, as that helps for the next show.
DLo costs Al a pin over Waltman – and then after Waltman pins Al to get the win, DLo, upset with Al, attacks – and they fight to the back. HHH, E, C, and Trish return to celebrate with Waltman, a big night for the Clique with Hunter winning and E and C beating down the Hardys, the announce credits Trish for putting it all together (and she's so hot, people, she's worked hard to be a good wrestler and she's so hot, she seems pretty bright too - am I making that up? She gives me the feelings, I'm just saying) – and then Waltman cuts a promo on Minnesota, just to stop the cheers. “Best thing about this town was getting the hell out of it” that kinda thing. Big Clique celebration in mid-ring. HHH has a match tomorrow with Rock, winner gets a shot, Waltman’s got gold, and E and C beat the hell out of the Hardys – Trish has a big…well, Trish is just big in many, many valuable places
8. WWF Title – Career v. Career: Cactus Jack d. Steve Austin (HBK, referee)
Austin gets shut down with his neck surgery after this, so that’s the reason for the stip. And the next big storyline works better with him not in the mix, so that’s fine too.
They play up the enormity of it all, my thought is that, since we’ve been building to the match for a year, really, since these are the two biggest stars in the company, since they haven’t wrestled a singles match yet, since the stips are what they are – and throwing Shawn (gone for a year) in the mix – you’re looking at one of the biggest matches of all time.
Austin’s not 100%, but these guys can brawl it up enough, and sell the drama enough, to make this a pretty terrific match.
Again, understand the stips - this means Cactus gets physical possession of the Triple Crown and that he is now in control of Austin's career - if he ever wants to wrestle again anywhere in the world, he needs Cactus's approval - and given their years of enmity, something pretty cataclysmic would have to occur for that to happen...
Cactus goes over clean – HBK tries to give him the Triple Crown – Austin snatches it away – then gives it to Cactus himself.
Cactus raises the belt and the trophy high – then points Austin toward the video wall which plays the goodbye highlight package of Austin’s career.
After it ends, with the Austin chants in the arena, Austin exits the ring – but remains at ringside – the locker room empties to surround the ring as Cactus takes the mic.
Cactus says the Triple Crown is the most prestigious honor in all of wrestling – and he may never have a bigger night in his life than right now – and as the WWF Champion – and as the holder of the Triple Crown – Cactus announces that he wants to say something, not as Cactus Jack, but as Mick Foley, he wants to say that Owen Hart was one of the finest men he ever met – that Owen Hart was not only a member of the Hart Family, which has been the backbone of the WWF for the last 15 years – but a member of the WWF Family. And the WWF Family will never forget him.
In Owen Hart’s honor, the Triple Crown, recognized as the crowning achievement for anyone in this business, an honor held by Owen Hart, will be renamed the Hart Memorial Triple Crown. Foley says he’ll carry it with pride until it is won by the next man, whomever it may be, and that man will carry it with pride, and the next, and the next after that – and if there would ever be anyone who wouldn’t carry that trophy with the pride that it deserves – that person would have to answer to Cactus Jack, and Steve Austin, and Triple H, and the Rock, and PAUL, and the Undertaker, and Ken Shamrock, and every man in that locker room – and all of you fans of the WWF. Each wrestler comes to the ring to touch the trophy.
The show ends on the Owen tribute video, a five minute package which ends with the shot at the end of X, Owen being lifted high by the locker room after beating Bret to win win his first WWF Championship. The Owen chants fill the building as the show ends.
I really liked Owen is all.
In the NWA, Rick Steiner and Barry Windham team up. Hogan wins a singles over Hacksaw…
Yeah, I know I’m doing Hogan/Hacksaw on PPV in 1999 – WCW didn’t give me much to work with at the end.
Sting beats Goldberg, Kaz Hayashi goes over Eddy, Perry and Page keep the tags over Harlem Heat, Dean takes the US over Rey, and Benoit drops the NWA Title to The Franchise Shane Douglas. Seriously? Yup.
Fall Brawl – 1999 Winston Salem
NWA Title: Shane Douglas d. Chris Benoit
US Title: Dean Malenko d. Rey Mysterio
Tags: Perry/Page d. Harlem Heat
Kaz d. Eddy
Sting d. Goldberg
Vampyro d. Alex Wright
Hulk Hogan d. Jim Duggan
Rick Steiner/Barry Windham d. Brian Knobbs/Hugh Morrus
In ECW…Mike Awesome goes over Rhyno, Super Crazy beats Justin, Jerry Lynn beats Sabu, Raven returns to go over Dreamer, Nova and Guido keep the tags, Lance Storm ends RVDs monster TV title reign, and Masato Tanaka takes the ECW Title from Tajiri.
November to Remember – 1999 Buffalo
ECW Title: Masato Tanaka d. Tajiri
TV Title: Lance Storm d. RVD
Tags: Nova/Guido d. New Jack/Sandman
Raven d. Dreamer
Jerry Lynn d. Sabu
Super Crazy d. Justin
Mike Awesome d. Rhyno
Simon/Spike d. Balls/Axl
The Survivor Series is coming from Detroit. The last PPV of the 20th century (I know when the 20th century ended, I'm not stupid, get over it.)
Smackdown begins, I’m not gonna refer to it, at least until 2001. Largely, it's gonna be the dumping ground. Whenever you find yourself wondering "where the hell is the APA?" They're on Smackdown. There's only so much universe I can handle.
Gorilla dies in October. 10 bell salute on RAW.
Foley’s book comes out in October. Foley's even more popular in this universe than in the real one, so the impact is the same. Foley begins to transcend Cactus Jack - and begins to think about shutting it down.
Okay, JR and Jerry are your tv announce team - I don't hate Lawler, I think serious Jerry, away from the Burger King, "PUPPIES" crap is pretty interesting. But I just can't take that stuff, so he's never going to settle in. But at PPV, there will be a series of guests as the 3rd man on the announce until I can get something more permanent.
One RAW, we meet the new Stevie Richards, shed of the Big Stevie Cool gimmick. He enters wearing a suit with a camouflage tie, calling himself Stevie Richards, Esquire – the Esquire said with a lilt as if he just thought of the word. Stevie’s the new Heenan, he’s gonna play the chickenshit heel manager, says he is in the WWF to start the Hardcore Family, says he doesn’t have a family of his own – "well, except for mom and dad and my sister – but except for them, NO ONE"– and beause of that – he deserves to start the Hardcore Family right here in the WWF. He hopes that one day, one day, all of the WWF fans will be worthy of joining his Family, but for right now – he’s got two men – two brothers.
Stevie’s good on the mic, and increasingly good in the ring – by 2003, let’s say, he’s better, really, than any of the guys – save Matt, maybe – that are in the tag program. ‘Cause that’s the program he’s gonna be in – Stevie introduces the first two members of the Hardcore Family – the Dudley Boys.
Bubba Ray and DVon enter – they insult the crowd as much as they can. They’re the Dudleys, they like to beat people up, send them through tables. They brawl and bleed and hate the fans and the fans hate them and that’s the gig. Ideally, they'd just be heels, 'cause the best version of the Dudleys was the one when they'd challenge anyone in the crowd to come fight them. I've been at ECW shows with the heel Dudleys when I thought I'd wind up planted in the guard rail.
So, that's how they're gonna come in now - a full on "Shut up or D-Von's gonna follow you home and fuck your mother" kinda thing. But sooner than later, when it becomes a 3 way thing, the Hardys will be the faces, and E and C the heels - and that will make the Dudleys badass, brawling tweeners - they'll still insult the crowds, but if the ECW fans want to cheer them, go ahead.
No Wazzup, though. Ever. It's the 21st century version of Butch and Luke licking each other.
Okay, anyway, the Duds spend the fall destroying all the tags in the company, save the obvious top two - with Stevie at their side doing his Heenan schtick. There will be a RAW title rematch with the Hardys and E/C that will include some spot where the Hardys are able to overcome the Clique interference and get a pinfall on – only to have the Dudleys run in and put them through tables.
We’ll do Survivor Series as a Tables Match – first team to put the other team through tables wins.
The Clique stomps somebody out – say Taka, Funaki, and the Mexicans. That’s enough to draw out…Ulysses Morley. Morley with the face save – drawing face heat as he cleans house. Morley grabbing the stick and saying that it wasn’t just the Southern Men who bullied people around here – the biggest bullies in the history of wrestling are easy to see – they’re always making that stupid ass hand sign. And Morley doesn’t know if anyone will stand with him – but he’s not gonna take it anymore.
We’ll do Morley and Edge at Survivor Series. At the time, Morley and Edge (both from Toronto, like Trish) were boys, and this is when Edge started dating Morley’s sister. So this matchup works, and Edge can play obnoxious Cliquester to Morley’s avenging babyface. The Clique does their jackass schtick - and without a Hart Foundation to counterbalance them, they couldn't be more obnoxious - which allows Morley to fill in the babyface spot.
Coming off the IC, we’ll get Al and DLo. DLo’s an increasingly cocky heel, Al’s the crazy man who lost his IC belt. A little more on that later.
As has been set up, Angle makes his debut against PAUL~ They sell this is hard as any match on the show, even though it won’t be much of a match. Angle doesn’t wrestle on TV, continuing to work dark and work house shows to get ready. Giant can’t wrestle, so short’s better – and Angle is just getting started, so it’s okay if we keep him short. That's why this is a good idea - Angle's not the kind of worker in 1999 to challenge, but I want to protect him, so, ta-da, Paul.
We keep selling PAUL as a monster, an absolute beast, Skip carries this program on the mic., he’s smugly certain PAUL will destroy the gold medal winner. Maybe Skip brings a half dozen gold medals that he bought – they could easily bring in some gold medal winners and do an angle where Skip buys their medals from them, track stars, figure skaters - how about Mary Lou Retton? “See, Angle, you had to break your neck to win a gold medal – all I had to do was take out my wallet.”
And they play up the size disparity – we sell PAUL as a monster, monster favorite to win this match.
How will Angle survive – much less, beat PAUL, much less, beat PAUL in five minutes???
On the end of the first RAW after SSlam (with the clock ticking down) Waltman cuts a promo with his boys backing him up, saying looky here – at the end of the century, the end of the freaking millennium (last ppv of the 90s – no need to argue that it’s not really the end of the millennium, it’s wrestling) here is the Clique – Waltman holding the IC – E and C kicking the Hardys ass – their manager Trish, the hottest thing walking – and Hunter wrestling for the WWF Title (more on that later) and as he looks around….there isn’t a single Hart around at all. Imagine that. The Clique at the top of the World – and not even one Hart to piss on.
He’s not cutting an Owen promo, no, I don’t need that kinda heat, I just want the Hart/Clique thing to never end – I figure if Owen doesn’t die in the ring, than doing this isn’t horribly inappropriate. I need that Hart/Clique thing – it’s like Lakers/Celtics, in the 50s, it was Wilt and Russell, and 25 years later, it was Magic and Larry. It’s a throughline, it’s Red Sox/Yankees (insert your rivalry here) – it allows for the kind of historical continuity that drives actual sports and that the WWF generally discards. Assuming Owen died at home, I think this is okay – it’s been 4-5 months now, I think I can dive back into this feud. In fact, it might be better to push back this beyond the night after Summer Slam - I can wait another month, do it top of October, that's fine. Maybe first week November for sweeps.
Nah, I'm wrong. Even then, he can't specifically refer to the Harts. It's too close to using Owen's death in the angle - when I conceived of this I wasn't as sensitive that as am I since the godawful exploitation of Eddy.
So, while, I'm absolutely married to Harts/Clique, and am going forward, Waltman really can't talk about the Harts not being around. There's probably some artful way to do it, but I don't know what it is.
Anyway, that clock that has been running constantly for months (‘member, the clock?) – expires right now.
3-2-1….Break the Walls down….It’s Chris Jericho, of course.
And he’s arriving as a former NWA Champ who got pushed forever in the Counterfactual– so he’s a bigger deal.
Jericho’s largely Jericho – he’s the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah, he’s a bad mamma jamma – he’s Y2J. He comes in as a face. The only difference is – he comes in as a Hart. A Hart for a new millennium – Y2J for an H2K. And he talks about being part of the last ever training class at Stampede – talks about Stu and Stampede and the Dungeon and a 15 year WWF tradition – says if Sean Waltman thinks the Clique has won the war against the Harts – he’s dumber than he is ugly – and he is plenty ugly. And at Survivor Series – Y2J is gonna carry the Hart Legacy on into the new millennium. So, we’ll get Waltman/Jericho at Survivor Series. Jericho and Angle both debuting, there’s definitely another page turning as the 90s end.
There’s another undercard match – during another Waltman/Jericho in ring promo in a later RAW, Christian will enter – and he and Waltman will beat Jericho down.
So, Christian and Waltman beat Jericho down – leave him laying – tell him that next week – they’ll take him on in a tag match – that is – if he can find someone who will tag with him.
So, next week – Christian and Waltman and Trish enter – then Jericho, and he doesn’t have a partner – but then he says, you know, I figured if I was going to take the Hart legacy into a new millennium, I may as well get some help from someone who started it all –
--and then the Bulldog comes down the aisle.
It’s Davey Boy’s last run, he can’t do anything at all – but they'll squeeze some juice out of him to give legitimacy to Jericho’s character. If you're unfamiliar - in this world, it was Davey and Bret who were the original Hart Foundation - and later, Davey and Owen had a run as the Hart Foundation. They do the tag – Jericho pins Christian – and that allows us to get a Davey Boy/Christian singles match at Survivor Series. Every time they get the chance, Davey Boy puts Jericho over – says he remembers hearing about Jericho coming up through the ranks – says he is proud to pass the Hart legacy to him – says Dynamite, Bret, Owen, and the Bulldog were the cornerstone of the WWF for 15 years – and now it’s time to pass the torch. Davey Boy’s a bigger deal in this world, having won the big strap, and with no other Harts available, having him back to pass the torch is a real help. He’s a mess, of course, and completely shot, so he can’t help at all in the ring, but any time I can have the symbolism of Davey Boy and Jericho, that works to the good; Davey isn't surrogate for Owen, he doesn't need to cut a single "do it for Owen" promo, he's a WWF Champ and that makes him strong enough to speak for himself.
Finally…the title match.
Rock and HHH, recall, earned the right to meet for the number one contender spot – and they wrestle 3 times – each without a winner. We’ll get a time limit draw, a double pin, a double countout – whatever we have to do – we’ll just get it three times – and then Foley says, screw it – I can’t watch you guys wrestle another time – you both want the title shot so badly….you got it. I’ll wrestle both of you at Survivor Series in a three way dance for the WWF Title.
Cactus shows some vulnerability now, ‘cause he’s aging a little bit – and this is when the first book comes out and just blows up. So, he’s got interviews to do, he starts thinking about retirement – and they need to elevate HHH and Rock a bit for this program. It’s a pendulum thing – he beat Owen, he beat Austin – there’s nowhere to go but down.
They have him pinned by each guy in tags. HHH/Waltman v. Jack and, say, Al, as they start to play off their real life friendship (‘cause Al’s all over the book – so, time to do that) HHH pins Foley. Then we do a Rock/DLo (with tension between the two, ‘cause DLo is a full heel now – all the Rock/DLo interaction is DLo’s cockiness being too much for the Rock – but they stay boys – in fact, when Foley talks to the Rock about DLo, Rock defends him – and that works too) v. Al/Cactus, and Rock pins Cactus in that. So, Cactus gets pinned by each guy.
So – Rock – HHH --- Cactus – one fall to the finish – Cactus doesn’t even need to be pinned to lose the title. Rock’s all babyface, doing his Rock schtick, saying it’s the 3 year anniversary of his debut – he’s held the tag title twice – and he is ready to take that next step – take that next step – and become the WWF Champion. HHH says he’s been here 4 1/2 years – he is the leader of the Clique, the most dominant force in WWF history – and he has never gotten a singles title shot. Ever. He says it’s his time – time for Triple H to become WWF Champion. They've been on a collision course for over a year - and now they're wrestling for the WWF Championship.
Foley says, you know, he’s Cactus Jack. Author. Champion. Legend. Bang, Bang.
It’s Survivor Series ’99 – the last show of the Millennium. A three way for the World TitleL Jack, Rock, HHH; the PPV debut for Jericho, wrestling Waltman for the IC as we hop back in the Harts/Clique business, the ECW tag kings - the Dudleys wrestle in the Tables match for the tag titles against Matt and Jeff – Angle’s TV debut against the monster PAUL~, can Angle survive? Can he beat PAUL~ in five minutes? – good strong feuds and matches: DLo v Al, Morley v. Edge, the return of the Bulldog, a former WWF Champ meets Christian of the Clique -- top to bottom, bottom to top – how can you not call your local thing for Survivor Series '99!!!