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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.

Summer Slam 2002

Friday, March 31, 2006



XVIII is here.

Summer Slam 2002 Long Island
(Dark – Haas/Benjamin d. Chavo/Helms d. Noble/Kidman)

JR/Paul E/Taz on the announce.

1. E and C (w/Trish) d. Spike/Stevie
E and C leak awesomeemnity all over the ring in the opening tag. Opening tag!

There's a Hardys storyline that started on TV prior to the event; concerned about their lack of upward movement, Jeff tells Matt they need some guidance, and they begin cryptically discussing "a guy" who offered his services. They both start the arc as if it's ridiculous, but Jeff begins to come around. Matt resists hard, he thinks Jeff's lost his mind, that it's going to cost them their fans, that everyone in the company will hate them - that it would be cataclysmic if they brought in "that guy." Jeff says exactly - that's exactly the point - and here, during this match, we watch the Hardys watching on a monitor. They're not booked on the show, which has them both seething, and as they watch E and C get a win, the vignette ends with the apparent conclusion that, dispite Matt's discomfort, their situation is so dire that they have to make the desparate move of bringing in "that guy."

2. Booker d. Test
-Unnanounced, for the obvious Test related reason. I guess they turned Test from face jobber to heel jobber – and he puts over Booker – the face who only wrestles when he needs the money. In fact, they start to use Booker less in the ring – ‘cause the Summer Slam payday is so sweet. Book’s new catchphrase, “I GOT TO GET PAID!” runs wild with the disaffected youth. Don’t get between Book and his money, playa. When Book is winning, like now, he shows up in expensive suits, he throws money around backstage, maybe gives the fans some cash - when he hasn't worked in awhile, or when he loses, he wears stained sweats and pawns his stuff. Book's in ring ability really starts to slide here, and given the talent in the company, he just doesn't have a solid role. But he's funny and I think he adds to the show doing this gimmick.

3. Flair (w/Leviathan) d. Undertaker (w/PAUL and Kane)
A note, Batista isn't doing the Leviathan gimmick - he's doing the Batista gimmick, he's guy in suit learning the business from Flair, I just like the name Leviathan. Here, he gets over on the big men outside, Leviathan Demon Bombs Kane, Leviathan Demon Bombs PAUL, look at the raw animal power of the freaky monster Leviathan! And when Flair distracts the official, as Ric Flair will do, Batista hits the ring for the huge Demon Bomb on the Dead Man – Flair gets the pinfall. Flair and Leviathan roll over DMW -- Flair holds up one finger after the match…Leviathan holds up two. One finger….two fingers… One finger...two fingers...

4.HHH d. Dustin
And that does it for the Southern Man, Part II. I didn’t say it would be a glorious run. Pedigree. Hunter’s face push continues.

5.Brock (w/Angle) d. Rock
It's Brock time. They send the Rock on to Hollywood after this one, he’s gone until Mania. Okay, the kid is raw – and Rock’s a six year vet now, and that’s part of the story – Lesnar makes dumb mistakes, with Angle, as trainer, pointing them out at rignside – but overcomes them by the sheer force of his athleticism. Rock gets him in the sharpshooter – and Brock easily powers him away – and as the match goes on, Brock wears Rock down – and Brock grown in confidence, taunting the Rock – slapping him on the break, mocking him, “Come on Scorpion Queen – is that all you got?” Angle on the outside tries to keep Brock focused – but doesn’t notice as the crowd turns against Brock (hopefully) for his heelish tactics. Brock goes over hard – 3 consecutive F5s – and then he pins Rock by putting his boot on his chest.

The crowd boos, but Angle is very proud – hits the ring and hugs Lesnar – encouraging him, pumping him up – starting to replay the match in Lesnar’s ear as they walk back up the aisle. The people are unhappy, Lesnar has a cocky sneer, Angle doesn’t notice, reveling in the accomplishment of his protégée.

6. Unified Tags: Masked Men d. Jericho/Storm (w/Stacy)
The Masked Men, JR notes, have just become the 100th WWF tag team champions. Shocking – two men in red, white, and blue masks (Taz starts to call them crazy Americans) have become the 100th WWF tag team champions.

Do you know who they are?

They get the fall on Lance, the fans are stunned - they've seen Hart Foundation 2K lose the belts to two guys in masks.

Do you know who they are?

Lance is bleeding after the match – and an eagle eyed viewer might note, although it’s not mentioned by the announce at the time, that Stacy is quite concerned with Lance’s well being. Quite concerned. I say…quite concerned.

After the match - as they stand alone in the ring, celebrating with the six belts - Flair and Leviathan make their way down the aisle.

Huh.

What the hell is going on here, the announce is baffled - maybe it's gonna go down, maybe Flair and Leviathan are gonna challenge the new tag champs right now - what's gonna....

Flair holds up one finger.

Leviathan holds up 2.

One of the masked men holds up 3.

The second holds up 4.

All four men now hold up the sign for the four horsemen - and the new tag champs unmask...

Do you know who they are?

JR: GOOD GOD, IT'S BENOIT AND GUERRERO! CHRIS BENOIT AND EDDY GUERRERO ARE BACK IN THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION!

Benoit and Guerrero. GOOD GOD GOOD GOD GOOD GOD GOOD GOD!!!!

On RAW the following night, the TitanTrust will rule that since Benoit and Guerrero are tag champs, and since they cleanly won those belts, they are readmitted into the WWF. One notes that both Arn and Dean ruled in favor of Storm/Jericho wrestling the masked men for the title. One wonders if it was a plot, but Arn and Dean aren't turning heel, it just slips some intrigue into the TitanTrust gimmick. At some point, they're gonna do the good figurehead/evil figurehead thing - but that's not this.


7. Worldwide: ECW Rules: HBK d. RVD (w/Paul E.)
Michaels, the only man in history to win 3 IC titles – wins his 4th. Michaels sells the back the whole match, when he first came back, he really sold every bump as if it were about to kill him. It’s Michaels’s first singles back, so there’s the drama of that, there’s the story of the young Van Dam looking to stake his claim on the old HBK territory as top, young cocky heel – since all Van Dam’s matches are No DQ – they garbage it up -- Van Dam leg drops Michaels through the announce table – match ends after Van Dam hits the Van Daminator (Paul E holds the chair in front of Michaels head, Van Dam comes off the buckle with the sidekick)

But as opposed to covering – Van Dam takes a ladder from Paul E – you know, ‘cause it’s a ladder and it’s Shawn Michaels, they set it up and Van Dam misses the frog splash from the top as Michaels rolls away at the last second. Michaels, bloody, crawls to the top of the ladder – takes the deep breath and hits the elbow drop for the win and the switch. Big pop for the returning HBK. Your new holder of all 3 Worldwide Titles.

8. Undisputed Heavyweight Championship: Angle d. Mysterio
A great match, they use Rey’s speed against Angle’s mat based offense, Angle’s frustrated by his inability to keep Rey in one place – they get Rey over by showing how, despite his size, he can use his quickness to hurt Angle. Rey has most of the crowd by mid match, both because his style is crowd pleasing, and because of Lesnar earlier in the night – Angle doesn’t seem to notice the reaction at all. By the 12 minute mark, Angle would clearly be behind on points, which Taz notes, and says that given Angle’s amateur head, he probably notes too –

Angle turns it around by brawling, as Taz notes, Angle leaves the mat and brawls, going to the closed fists, the boots – Angle takes Rey outside – pulls the mat up outside the ring and piledrives Rey, drawing blood from underneath the mask. More boos for the longtime champion. Angle, completely focused, locked in, still doesn’t notice. Angle wins with the ankle lock submission and holds all three belts in the air Angle screaming in exhaltation as he has vanquished another champion– Kurt Angle is the Undisuputed Heavyweight Champion of the World after an all time great match - and Brock, Haas, and Benjamin hit the ring to lift him in the air - the sneer remaining on Lesnar's face, as the show ends.

Survivor Series is coming from….Madison Square Garden.

I love me some MSG.

They take the tag teams from the summer and put them in a number one contenders tournament – as everyone in the company wants a piece of Benoit and Guerrero, recall they were last seen as anti-WWF heels, they tried to destroy the company, and now here they are holding the tag belts. The Horsemen attack all the tag teams (except the SpreeKillers) throughout the fall, attack them before and after matches, attack them in the back - each tag team has to put the Horsemen over somehow, every single week.


Opening the tournament: Team Angle: Benjamin and Haas, against Raven and Dreamer. With Angle in their corner, the pure babyface technical duo goes over. Their opponents are to be the winners of the returning Dudleys against the Hardys, but the Hardys no-show the match. The TitanTrust is obviously furious, the Dudleys get the walkover into the semifinals, and Matt and Jeff are called out on the carpet the next week. They appear, Jeff heeling up as Matt is clearly agitated by the whole thing - Jeff tells the Trust that they are under new management, that they've signed a deal with the most important wrestling figure of the 90s, and he tells them they're too good for some rinky dink tag tournament.

Matt takes the mic - he's still a face - he tells Jeff not to speak for him, that yeah, they've hired this guy and while he thinks it might kill their career, it's something his brother really feels strongly about - but he's never missed a date in his lifer and he hates that things have gotten to this point.

Dudleys enter - they say that the Hardys are pussies, they've always been pussies - and now they have some mysterious "man" telling them what to do - well, the Dudley Boys say that they don't want a walkover into the second round - they want their match - and they want it right now -

The match begins, Matt's the face in peril when Lita (hi, Lita!) makes her return to the Counterfactual, running down the aisle with a cell phone. She gets Jeff's attention - the call is apparently from "the man" who is their new manager - and Jeff yells at Matt to get out of the ring - that they're walking out.

Matt refuses - Jeff is torn - but decides to leave his brother to fend for himself. Matt fights valiantly, but eats the 3D.

The Dudleys will go onto lose to Team Angle in their semi - and postmatch, the Hardys will run in with chairs, Jeff encouraging Matt to do heelish things to the prone Dudleys - "dammit, hit him - hit him" with the chair as they lie unconscious. Matt can't bring himself to do it - pulling the full heel Jeff away. We'll see Hardys v. Dudleys at Survivor Series, and the build up is that "the man" will finally appear.

In the other half of the draw – the SpreeKillers take on Spike and Stevie – and after a superkick by Richards on Chavo – it looks like we have an upset – but Flair enters to distract the official – and Leviathan Demon Bombs Stevie and rolls Chavo atop.

The announce speculates, what does this mean – do the Horsemen want the Spree Killers to win so that Chavo will meet his Uncle Eddy? This is also a question that Helms wants answered from Chavo – and they do a spot where there’s dissension between the two, Helms wants to go wilding, go carve up some hoboes or take X and buy some freaks – but Chavo says he’s gotta go meet with Flair. “Ric Flair?” Helms says, “He ain’t down, he’s 100 years old.” Chavo shrugs, gotta do what you gotta do.

The interference in that match isn't isolated, it's Spike and Stevie who become the tag team that tries to stand up to the Horsemen, and that starts a Flair/Leviathan v. Spike/Stevie program that runs until the Rumble.

The Spree Killers meet the winners of Noble/Kidman, doing their babyface oil and water gimmick (Kidman’s going to the club after RAW, he's got Torrie Wilson at his side, they're doing a young, good looking, fast paced lifestyle thing. Noble’s going to shoot rats in the alley. 'Cause he's doing a Larry the Cable Guy thing.) against the PAUL~ and Kane version of DMW. The kids go over, we don’t care about size in the Counterfactual WWF! We job the monsters out!

So, Team Angle is on one side. SpreeKillers and Kidman/Noble on the other. We'll get back to the tournament in a moment.

Speaking of not caring about size – how about a Rey/Regal singles match? Regal does his Regal thing – Rey is little and Mexican – how much more insignificant could he be? The sun never sets on the British Empire, but when it came time to colonize Mexico, Queen Victoria said, no, thank you, we’ll never be able to bring this country up to code. So, two great wrestlers, Regal plays both the size and ethnic cards against the tiny babyface Mysterio.

With Angle, Benjamin, and Haas looking on – Noble and Kidman go over the Spree Killers – Flair and Leviathan entered to interfere, but were stopped by Spike and Stevie. Benoit and Guerrero then attempted to interfere – but they were stopped by Angle, Haas, and Benjamin – so, we had multiple brawls on the outside when Noble got the fall on Helms.

It’s the first time we see Angle/Benoit stuff in a year – so that’s sort of a hot thing. Security comes out of every crevice in the building when they start throwing hands at each other.

Also hot – the Hart Foundation – they’re going singles at MSG, which is why they didn’t enter the tournament. On the RAW after Summer Slam they did tag though – and lost, to E and C, in the continuation of our Clique/Hart thing. When Trish gives the Clique Kick (don't know why I didn't think of that name before) to Lance from the apron – that draws a very angry Stacy – and Trish kicking Stacy’s ass led Jericho to leave the apron, leaving Lance alone for the E and C doubleteam.

We’re gonna get Lance and Edge at Survivor Series. Jericho, who has a match of his own we’ll talk about later, insists, against their legit. protests, that Stacy second Lance and not he at Survivor Series. Jericho is obviously too worred about Stacy when she’s on the outside – and given the importance of his match, a big match, which we’ll talk about later, he would rather she was with Lance. And since E will have both C and Trish with him – Lance needs someone in his corner, as Jericho won’t be able to be there. You guys stay together, Jericho says, I know Storm ain’t much to look at Stace – but it’s just a couple of months of training, you’ll make it. I’ll miss you, Stacy says. I’ll miss you too, says Chris.

Awwwwww.

We’ll note, as we see Jericho spending more time by himself, training for his big match – that Stacy and Lance, spending more time together before Survivor Series, seem to be growing closer. Friendly. Playful. Concerned for each other.

Hmmmm.

Noble and Kidman go over Haas and Benjamin in the finals, to earn the right to go on and meet Benoit/Guerrero at Survivor Series. Both teams are wiped out postmatch by the Horsemen. Angle was not there to make the save for Haas and Benjamin, because, of course, he was cleaning up after another mess made by Brock.

I know it's getting complicated. Hang in there.

See, Brock’s in the back when he’s met by HHH. Helmsley, in his role as veteran, locker room leader, tells Brock that he "understands what it’s like to be a young guy, full of yourself, big and strong, wrestling on your first PPV – and it’s not like he has any love for the Rock himself – but what he did to the Rock, a guy respected by the boys, that went a little far – you didn’t need all 3 F5s, didn’t need to pin him with your boot on his chest – and I don’t know why Angle won’t tell you this – but I will…"

Brock says "thanks Hunter, I really appreciate that. Because instead of listening to my trainer, the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World – I can listen to you – a guy who’s never won anything. Ever. You aren’t even good enough to be a has been, Hunter. You’re a never was and you’re just jealous, because in one night, I did what you couldn’t do in 7 years – I made a name for myself in the WWF."

HHH gets in Brock’s face – Brock laughs at him – tells him what could he possibly do? Brock’s bigger, younger, and more important. Take a shot, Hunter. Come on, take a shot, you juiced up bitch...

Hearing the end of this conversation….Michaels.

When Hunter hesitates, perhaps out of that babyface generosity, or maybe out of fear, or out of a thought that Brock might be right – Michaels doesn’t – and Michaels spins Brock around and fires a right hand – Michaels and Hunter doubleteam Brock in the back – and that’s when Angle enters. Angle sees Michaels and Hunter doubleteaming Brock – so Angle is there – and it’s a full on brawl.

We do some tag stuff between these guys before Survivor Series – allowing for a tease of Angle/Michaels. The match we’re getting at MSG is Brock/HHH.

Michaels will be busy, as he rematches against RVD. And since it’s at MSG, 8 ½ years after WM X – we’re gonna get a ladder match. RVD says he’s the showstopper, the icon, the main event – and at MSG, at Survivor Series, he will regain the Worldwide Titles and show that Michaels’s day has ended. Paul E says one night almost ten years ago Shawn Michaels became a wrestling immortal at MSG in a ladder match – and RVD will do the same at Survivor Series. Michaels plays the sore, exhausted veteran, he gave all he had at Summer Slam, and when he climbed that ladder, he thought "it was the dumbest thing I've ever done – and believe me, no one has done more dumb things than the Heart Break Kid – but I didn’t come back to the WWF to be some fossil, some shell of my old self – and if I'm the Intercontinental Champion of the World – if I'm the Worldwide champion – then I'll be a fighting champion – and I'll go back to MSG at Survivor Series and show, one more time, why I am still the Showstopper."

Angle’s busy too – and that’s where Jericho comes in. Jericho promos on Angle’s change in attitude – they’ve been friends, not close friends, because Angle doesn’t have any close friends in the WWF – but they’ve had each other’s backs since Angle entered the WWF. But since Brock has started with the company – Angle’s got this blind spot – everyone can see it – the fans can see it – and maybe a year and a half as WWF Champion, maybe becoming Undisputed Champion, maybe being undefeated has gone to Angle’s head a little bit. Kurt Angle’s protecting that overgrown bully Lesnar, and Jericho wants to know why that is.

Angle gets hot – "if you want to take me on, Jericho, that’s fine. I’ve got 3 World Title Belts, I’ve beaten Davey Boy, Benoit, Van Dam, Hennig, Flair, Mysterio – I understand if you want to take your shot – but Brock’s just a kid trying to make his way around here – I know he’s an amateur wrestler, and I know there’s a lot of jealousy around here about amateur wrestlers, we didn’t start like you did, we weren’t trained in some basement in Calgary, we didn’t work for ten bucks in front of a bunch of drunks, and I know you’ve all got a complex about that – I know that when you see Kurt Angle – undefeated, Undisputed Champion of the World that drives you crazy. But Jericho, don’t load up all your crap on a good kid like Brock. Be a man. Come at me head up."

"Be a man? Be a man? I’m The Lionheart Chris Jericho. I was NWA Champion. I was trained by Stu Hart in the Dungeon. You might have won a gold medal with a broken neck, but every day of my life, I thought that old son of a bitch was gonna yank my head clean off my neck. And you’re right – I do want to be WWF Champion, I do want to be Undispupted Champion – and I want something else, Angle – I want the Triple Crown. No one has won the Triple Crown since Cactus Jack, no one has won the Triple Crown since it was renamed after my hero, my friend, Owen Hart – and there is nothing in my entire life that could be bigger than going to Madison Square Garden, going to where my dad played hockey for the New York Rangers – and taking that Triple Crown after I get undefeated Kurt Angle to tap out to the Liontamer. You know what – I am sick of seeing you with that belt – you know what – I am sick of hearing about how great amateur wrestling is. And you know what Kurt – even though this started because I wanted you to know that your boy Brock Lesnar is an asshole – this is going to end with me calling you an asshole, Champ."

Angle and Jericho go nose to nose.

So, that’s your title match.

One more match. Seriously? Another match? Isn’t this enough to buy the show? Haven't I given you enough?

We get lots of Horsemen promos on the run to Survivor Series, and a side angle after the Spree Killers lose is that Chavo, was in fact, going to throw the title match if they had won the tournament. Chavo confesses one week to a furious Helms. Another week, Chavo, in the ring, wearing a suit, says it was fun being a kid, screwing around, but now it’s time to put away childish things. It’s time for Chavo to be a Horseman.

Helms enters, the graffiti scrawled all over his body, SpreeKiller style, says Chavo’s sold out to the man – says he thought Chavo was down – but Chavo’s just a sell out bitch.

Horsemen enter, leave Helms for dead. But Eddy stops Chavo from putting up the four fingers. Eddy says if you want to be a Horsemen, you’ve got to prove yourself first sort of like a gang initiation, and at Survivor Series, Chavo will have to beat his old partner. The SpreeKillers explode!

So, at the big, big Survivor Series from the Mecca of Professional Wrestling, we’ve got Angle defending against Jericho, HBK and RVD in the ladder match for the Worldwide belts, Benoit/Guerrero defending against Noble and Kidman, Brock v. HHH, Rey v. Regal, Storm v. Edge, Chavo v. Helms, and a Dudleys/Hardy match where we will finally meet the Hardys mysterious manager who has gotten Jeff to turn heel. Top to bottom, bottom to top – the greatest Survivor Series in WWF history. And it’s at MSG. Call…your..cable...company!!! Survivor Series 2002

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