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.

Royal Rumble 2004

Friday, May 05, 2006

Survivor Series is here.

Royal Rumble 2004 Philadelphia
(Dark: London/Spanky d. Spike/Stevie)
(Dark: Ultimo d. Yang)

JR/Taz once again is your announce team.

1. Winners go to Mania: Flair/Leviathan d. Dudleys (w/Paul E) d. SpreeKillers
Horsemen go on to XX. The three ways are ECW style, so we do them as elimination matches. Dudleys, working as the face team in Philly, get 3D on Rhyno to eliminate the Spree Killers. With the crowd now heavily behind the Duds, they appear as if they will get to Mania, as they dominate Flair…but he’s able to go low, and crawl for the hot tag to Leviathan, who cleans house, and finishes up with the DemonBomb fall on D-Von. Flair hops into Leviathan’s arms, the legendary Flair will go to XX to wrestle for the tag team straps.

2. Christian (w/Trish) d. Matt (w/Bischoff)
With Bischoff in tow, Matt’s goes further heel, he wears a t-shirt promoting the ECW PPV scheduled but which didn’t air as the company didn’t survive. Matt points to his temples, looks for the Matt Har-dy chant.

Hopefully, we can get a sign in the building saying Christian Coalition, as he moves Christian further face with another big PPV win with the Crusader. Years ago, recall, this all started with Trish turning on Matt and Jeff, so we get some Matt/Trish stuff here for fun. Christian hits the catchphrase after the match. THAT’S HOW I ROLL…

Finish comes after the Van Dam interference – Heyman attacks Bischoff with the Singapore cane, distracting the referee – Christian holds the chair in front of Hardys face for the Van Daminator. Christian then hits that Crusader for the fall.

Five star frog splash on Matt postmatch. Rob...Van...Dam...

3. Jericho d. RVD (w/Paul E)
It’s a rare PPV battle between two time former IC champs. Jericho’s introduced first, and gets the heel reaction when he acts bored with RVDs long, loud face pop. RVD high fives some fans in the front row, the fans chant his name, Jericho yawns, sits down on the canvas and rests his head in the corner.

They’re screwjobbing the finish, but it’s still a hot match even then, RVD goes full on athletic, Jericho works heel, joyless, bashing Van Dam and Paul E with chairs (no DQ, after all, like all RVD matches) Jericho swears at the crowd, maybe takes a shot at a planted fan in the front row.

Finish is the run in, Matt attacks Van Dam, Jericho hits the Lionsault for the pinfall. Matt and Jericho beat Van Dam down, save by Christian. All four men battle, winding up in the every man for himself position, Trish gets in the mix, and, as he promised, Jericho finds her, and, in the middle of the ring, piledrives her.

They’ll understand that spot in Philly. And they'll understand what will come as a result of it.

That breaks up the brawl as Trish has to be neckbraced and stretchered out and loaded into an ambulance. Christian goes with her.

4. Benoit d. Noble
Terrific match, Benoit wins on the sharpshooter tap out, then refuses to break the hold and breaks Noble’s ankle.

Which, you’ll recall, was a Bret spot we did multiple times. Bye to Noble, unfortunately.

5. Barbed Wire Match: Brock d. Foley
Barbed wire match doesn’t take much athletic ability from Mick, which is good, as he wasn’t in shape in January. Brock could toss him around, bloody him up in the barbed wire, use his strength and age to dominate. Mick comes back, the crowd crazy for him, using guile and the barbed wire baseball bat.

At a crucial juncture, Goldberg comes to the ring and, in a swerve, spears Mick and jackhammers him onto the barbed wire. Brock gets the pinfall. He and Goldberg laugh and laugh and laugh. And then, in the, “only if Mick’s cool with it spot” Goldberg and Brock urinate all over him.

‘Cause it’s a callback to Mick’s promo, see. It’s a good heel move, pissing on Mick Foley in Philadelphia. They’ll need extra security to avoid a riot after jobbing out the Dudleys and RVD and now this.

Brock and Goldberg will run wild for the next month as heels, making fun of the WWF, laughing about XX, laughing about killing the legend, Mick Foley, laughing about the whole idea that wrestling has legends – now, football, they have legends, Goldberg knows, he played for the Falcons, and Brock’s about to know, he’s gonna go play for the Vikings. So just like the NFL killed the XFL – Goldberg and Brock have killed the WWF. They’ll even use Brock’s girlfriend, Sable, what the hell. They can all run down the WWF.

6. Tags: Haas and Benjamin d. HHH/HBK
Just as JR warms us up to the possibility of a Michaels/Flair tag title match at XX, it’s the young heels who go over, pinning HHH with their double team.

Michaels and HHH exit in frustration as the Horsemen enter for a nose to nose with the now 2 time tag champs. It’s a good time to recall that we met Leviathan as part of Angle’s reality show, along with Haas and Benjamin, but the big guy got kicked out for being unruly and for lying about his amateur wrestling credentials.

The following night on RAW, Michaels and Hunter promo for a rematch. Instead, London and Spanky enter and say that if anyone should get a shot at Haas and Benjamin, it should be them, as they’ve been taking them on night in and night out for the past several months.

Michaels agrees to wrestle for it. Hunter’s pissed. That shot’s ours Shawn, don’t go soft on me for these punk kids, they don’t deserve it. London reminds Hunter that in the 64 man tournament, when they went one on one, it was London who got his hand raised.

This sets Hunter off, he’s indignant, after all he’s done for those two kids. Treated them like brothers. Ungrateful bastards.

They go that night in the main. London and Spanky go over, London getting the fall on Hunter. While the disappointed Michaels congratulates London postmatch, HHH rolls out of the ring unnoticed, finds Spanky, who was down, and shatters his arm with the sledgehammer. That wraps this run for Spanky. Good run for a guy who never worked a PPV.

Michaels and London hear Spanky scream, but didn’t see what happened, so the show ends with Hunter carrying Spanky off as if to aid him.

Obviously, by the following week, it won’t be much of a mystery.

7. Worldwide: Chavo (w/Flair and Leviathan) d. Rey d. Tajiri
A great junior match. Tajiri gets cheered both because we’re in Philadelphia, and because he just turned. Rey is Rey. Chavo is all heel. He goes over when Ultimo enters, kicks down both Tajiri and then Rey on the outside, Chavo is able to pin both in sequence. Ultimo, recall he’s been feuding with Flair on TV, bows to Ric as he exits. We might do a vignette with Ultimo, still wearing the mask, partying with the Horsemen. The girls, the clubs, the booze. Woooooo. Ultimo’s not joining the Horsemen, ‘cause he’s leaving, but we can get some comedy out of that.

Again, think real world Owen when seeing Chavo, the runt of a wrestling dynasty, always in the shadow – except Chavo’s borderline psychotic. And he’s going to XX.

8. Undisputed Championship: Angle d. Eddy
Match is really good, but not the epic one would hope for, as Angle starts to deteriorate physically. Nonetheless, he regains the strap. Angle uses every heel trick he can think of, uses them with glee, as if just realizing it’s fun to take shortcuts for the first time in his life.

Angle wins on a roll up, holding the tights and putting his leg on the ropes for leverage. He giggles as he gets his three belts back, caressing them as he skips up the aisle. Angle now requires that he be called “Undefeated in his Lifetime” in his prematch introduction. Eddy, distraught, remains in the ring, Chavo enters, and for the third consecutive PPV, they are the focus of the end of the show – here, Chavo gloats, shoves his three belts in Eddy’s face, dances around Eddy, mocking him. Eddy snaps, leaps atop Chavo, pounds at his nephew, taking one of the belts and laying hard into Chavo with it, leaving the Worldwide Champion bloodied in the ring as the show violently ends.

Wrestlemania is coming, in case you were unaware, from MSG.

Show really sells itself. It’s Wrestlemania XX.

And it’s loaded.

Opening tag is your legends match. Foley returns during a Goldberg/Brock gloating session, says if they don’t think there are legends in the WWF – then he’d like to prove them wrong – he’d like to introduce a WWF legend – he’d like to introduce his partner for WM XX – a two time WWF legends match winner, the Rock.

You may recall that we laid the groundwork for this four years ago, when Foley retired, he only came back one time before the Eddy thing, that was to save the Rock from a postmatch beating (DMW at 17). They were rivals in the tag ranks, when Rock/DLo feuded with Jack/Funk, but grew in respect over the years, as rivals will, until Foley’s last appearance in the company until 2003 was saving Rock.

Rock was a heel the last time we saw him, losing to Ultimo in the tournament, but that was then, and he’s the Rock, so when he enters, he gets his pop, and we’re gonna do Rock/Foley v. Goldberg/Lesnar in the legends match. What’s important is that, as opposed to Foley doing comedy to accommodate Rock’s style – Rock is going to go hardcore and serious to accommodate Foley’s. Rock’s got plenty of light comedy, this isn’t really happening – what he could use is some badass credibility. When Rock tries to get Mick to lighten up - Foley snaps on him, calls him out, tells him he's either a WWF legend or he's a Hollywood bitch - but he can't be both - not at WM XX, not against Lesnar and Goldberg - that those two bastards took my dignity, I've worked my whole life just to gain a little shred of dignity - just to fight against the view of wrestlers as dumb, as white crash, as pathetic - and what happened - what happened in Philadelphia - crossed the line.

They're gonna get hurt. Goldberg and Lesnar are gonna get hurt. And I don't need Hollywood Rock at XX -- I need a legend.

And in case that’s not enough, they have Brock and Goldberg take out a couple of referees as we get closer to Mania, and so the Titan Trust decides to appoint a legendary special guest referee, another WWF legend, one not seen since XIX, Stone Cold Steve Austin. More intrigue. 2 Triple Crown winners, longtime rivals, Austin and Foley –and Austin/Rock was just last year.

It’s a legend’s match and an opening tag.

They juiced up our two long running singled feuds by threatening to turn everyone. And now we’re gonna end those feuds at Mania in gimmick matches befitting the occasion.

Matt/RVD is going to be a tables match. They’ve been feuding for a full year now, Matt beat RVD at XIX. So, they announce that this is their last match, the table stip is the ring will be surrounded with tables – the first guy to put his opponent through a table – and --- to put his opponent’s manager through a table as well – is the winner. They do tables on TV in the run up to RAW – both Matt and RVD crashing through tables as they build to their last match - recall the undeprinning idea is that both Bischoff and Heyman push them more and more heelish - that builds to a crescendo as we get to XX. Wherever the line is, they should cross it - families, parents, all fair game. The uglier the better.

Christian, without Trish, who is still in the hospital, constantly attacks Jericho, the two men fight violently a couple of times. The only way to decide their feud is at a steel cage…and not just any steel cage…..

But in a Hell in a Cell. Please note, this is only the second one in Counterfactual WWF history.

No way to follow the first match after all, Shamrock tossing Jack off the top through the announce table, then suplexing Jack through the cage to the canvas. Turned out to be the match that made Cactus Jack a legend. We haven’t done a Hell in the Cell since.

But this is Wrestlemania XX. Where it all begins again. And with DarkJericho having piledriven Trish at the Rumble, this demonstrates the important, personal nature of the program.

So, both Jericho and Christian sell the gimmick. Christian vows revenge. Jericho, for the first time since Stacy, is enjoying himself. Enjoying the violence. We get Harts/Clique video work, as that’s what we got here, Harts/Clique, XX style. ‘Cause it’s all beginning again. With the only ever match like this being Foley’s fall – the expectations are high when we pull it out for WM XX. Lots of clips to remind people of the first Cell - which will also serve to push Foley.

I want the expectations high.

One more gimmick match.

Recall, the RAW after the Rumble, Hunter shatters Spanky’s arm.

The following week, London, by himself, decides to take on Haas and Benjamin (he earned the shot when he and Spanky beat HHH/HBK) London, whose basic gimmick is he takes a tremendous beating, takes, oddly enough, a tremendous beating, before falling to the tag champs.

Bloody, he promos from the ring, calling out Michaels. He says it’s time for Shawn to make a choice.

HHH enters. Tells London that was a nice match, a real inspiring loss.

Tells London there’s no choice to make. He and Shawn have been running buddies for a decade, that no matter what that ja-brone Christian says, the Clique is Shawn, Razor, Diesel, and Triple H, and even when we’re not on the same page…we’re always on the same page.

Shawn enters, stands in between them. London tells Shawn he knows he’s seen the tape, he knows Shawn saw HHH break Spanky’s arm. He knows HHH has been sabotaging them for months. That HHH is jealous, that he’s desperate, you were my trainer, Shawn, you got me into the WWF, and I’m grateful, but right now, right now, you gotta choose – that man is my enemy – and if you decide to stand with him, than Shawn Michaels, you’re my enemy too.

Shawn looks at young London hard. Looks at HHH. Shawn makes the sign of the Clique to Hunter, Hunter leans in to meet it – and Shawn superkicks him cold.

London crotch chops at HHH and he and Michaels exit.

We’ll have HHH get revenge the following week, he’ll take London out by throwing him through a car windshield in the parking lot.

Michaels meets HHH at XX. Falls Count Anywhere.

We bring the workrate with a threeway. Ultimo Dragon. Rey Mysterio. Tajiri. Ultimo wiped both Rey and Tajiri out at the Rumble, costing them the IC match. Ultimo’s been wiping Rey out since the tournament, aiding Tajiri in his two wins over Rey. But Tajiri turned face on Ultimo in the Jimmy Yang angle. And here we are. Metastory is both men owe some of their career to Ultimo, the Japanese who trained in Mexico and brought lucha to Japan. It’s a workrate match spanning the globe – and it could only be held at WM XX.

Three title matches.

The tags, Haas/Benjamin v. Flair/Leviathan. We have the Batista stuff from Camp Angle, and we have Flair, looking to be WWF tag champ at the age of 55 years old, for the first time ever.

IC….Chavo v. Eddy. We’ve been building to this all year, their uneasy tenure in the Horsemen, Chavo turning on Eddy when the Horsemen booted him, Eddy responding by winning the Undisputed Championship and the Triple Crown. Chavo winning the Worldwide Titles. And here we are, Guerrero v. Guerrero at XX for the IC.

I wonder if there’s a stip they could use…

Chavo brings a ladder to the ring for a promo. Shows the obvious clip from X. Says the Clique exploded X years ago and changed the world – says it’s all beginning again at XX – and he’s going to defend his Worldwide Titles, by beating his Uncle Eddy…in a ladder match. So, that kinda combines Bret/Owen (which is the angle they're doing) and the ladder (since, it's a ladder) in one match.

And, in your main event, a match three years in the making. Angle/Benoit, straps.

It was Angle who stood up to the Alliance, Angle who took Benoit’s WWF title at XVII, ending Benoit’s unbeaten streak in the WWF. Angle ran the Alliance out of town in the War Games match. When Benoit returned, he and Eddy feuded with Angle protégées Haas and Benjamin, then with Angle and Brock after Angle turned heel on Eddy. Angle threw Noble in Benoit’s way, as Benoit stalked the title and Angle regained it.

And now here we are. Benoit, a wrestling lifer, trained in the Hart dungeon, a man who not only wrestles like, but physically resembles the Dynamite Kid, who won the WWF Title at WM II, 19 years ago. He lived with the Harts, wrestled Owen in Japan, wrestled Bret in the NWA, and now, after 3 NWA World Titles, a WWF tag title and a year as WWF Champion, he takes his place at the table with the greatest wrestlers of all time. He’s a Hart, he eats, breathes, and sleeps wrestling – and this is Wrestlemania XX, from MSG.

Kurt Angle used to eat, breathe, and sleep wrestling, he’s a wrestling lifer too – when Benoit was in the dungeon as a teenager, Angle was in the high school gym, Angle won gold medals while Benoit was winning titles. Recall, the Counterfactual strapped Benoit up in the NWA back in ’96 – the same year of the Atlanta games. Each man has broken his neck – but Benoit’s fire continues to burn, and Angle has taken a different path. Angle talks about this match the same way he did about the Rumble, it’s an easy win. He apologizes to the fans in advance, they all want to see a wrestling classic – but he’ll make Benoit tap quickly. Benoit’s just not in his league, at XX, it’ll be a Team Angle sweep – Brock winning the legends match, Haas and Benjamin keeping the tags, and Kurt Angle doing what Kurt Angle does, winning – again.

It’s Wrestlemania XX, and we’re loaded. Angle meets Benoit for the straps. Guerrero v. Guerrero in a ladder match. Haas and Benjamin meet the Horsemen as Flair tries to win his first WWF tag title. Ultimo/Tajiri/Rey in a crazy workrate junior match. The high profile personal feud matches: Michaels meets HHH in the falls count anywhere. Jericho and Christian enter the Cell, only the second cell in WWF history. And Matt and RVD break some tables. Your legends match is a doozy, Mick Foley and the Rock teaming against Lesnar and Goldberg with Austin as the referee.

We’ve got workrate, legends, emotional storylines, big returns, and crazy, hardcore spots.

Wrestlemania XX. Where is All Begins…Again.

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