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 2005

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Survivor Series is here.

Royal Rumble – 2005 (Fresno)
(Dark – Regal/Haas d. Tajiri/Yang)

JR/Taz/Paul E on the announce.

Show opens with the Clique hitting the ring; Michaels, London, E and C. Michaels takes the stick says that “tonight is one of the biggest nights in the history of this family. The Clique was born in 1989 at the Royal Rumble, when me and Marty..does anyone remember the Rockers (people cheer, presumably) when me and Marty won the WWF tag team championship (clip of Shawn pinning Tully). And it was at Royal Rumble ’93, in the Match of the Year, when I pinned Owen Hart to win the Intercontinental Title (clip).”

“Beginning at that Royal Rumble, right here in California, for more than 4 straight years – for 17 consecutive Pay-Per-Views – someone from this family – either me, or Razor, or Diesel, or the Kid, were wrestling for a singles championship. And sometimes more than one. (clips throughout)

Since 1989, through thick and thin, it has been this family that has been THE dominant force in all of professional wrestling. And tonight – this group that you see in this ring – this family – takes its rightful place where we belong – where we’ve always been – on top.

This man – the future of this sport – Paul London (fans hopefully chant Please Don’t Die) tonight takes his place as a super elite wrestler, when he beats Rey Mysterio, Jr.

This man – a future World Champion – Christian – tonight this man is going to beat maybe the greatest wrestler in the history of this sport – the Nature Boy Ric Flair. And why?”

Christian takes the mic for the catchphrase.

“Because that’s how I roll.”

Michaels again.

“Tonight you are going to see this man – Edge – win his first ever singles title when he beats that dried up reprobate, the Lizard King Chris Jericho, and takes his Worldwide Titles (Edge hits a buckle, hopefully leading to his pop)

And tonight…tonight…I am going to regain what I lost almost ten years ago – at Survivor Series ’96 (clip of Bret beating Shawn) tonight, I am going to stand across the ring from the leader of the Hart Foundation, Chris Benoit, and I am going to beat him – I am going to win back my WWF Championship – and I am going to be the first man in history to win the Triple Crown for the second time! Tonight, the Clique returns to the top of the World Wrestling Federation!”

Michaels makes the sign of the Clique – and here comes Team Angle.

Kurt’s still in his streetclothes, the jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket, and mirrored sunglasses. Kurt says for a group that’s supposed to be at the top of the WWF – they’re sure missing some gold.

“You know who has gold, Michaels? Team Angle.”

Angle points out that not only are he and S Money the tag team champs – but unlike the Clique – all four of us have been champions. And all four of us will be again.

Regal stalks Edge, Haas shadows London, S Money stands in the corner looking bored, Angle goes face to face with Michaels – but it’s Christian who takes the mic.”

“Kurt, Lex Luthor, Daddy Warbucks, Mr Clean, whatever it is you are this week, you can talk all you want about gold – but the fact of the matter is, tonight it’s the Clique on the top of the card – and Kurt Angle wrestling the Spree Killers. But you enjoy those tag team belts, Kurt – and understand that the only reason Edge and Captain Charisma, the greatest tag team of all time, isn’t wearing them right now….is because we don’t want them.”

Benoit music. Benoit to the top of the ramp.

Benoit says all he sees in the ring is a lot of hot air – he’s heard a lot of words among all 8 of you guys – but the words he hasn’t heard are “I’m the Undisputed Champion of the World. And that’s because, the Undisputed Champion of the from the Hart Foundation.”

Benoit takes his 3 belts and raises them in the air.

Jericho music. Jericho stands next to Benoit at the top of the ramp. Whiskey bottle in one hand, IC title belt in the other. Trish staggers behind.

“And when the Lizard King hits the town tonight – he’ll be doing so with his bottle in one hand – his Worldwide Titles in the other – and his bitch between his legs, baby.”

Trish begins to rub her hands over Jericho as he takes a swig and holds his belt in the air – Benoit shakes his head as they cut to the announce.

Time for the show.

1. Winners Go to Mania: Orton/Cena d. Bradshaw/Bob (w/Conway) d. Booker/Jordan
-The comedy tag team, inexplicably getting wins, are going to wrestle for the tag straps at Mania. The NeoCon, who came out to the match waving a giant Karl Rove flag, takes out Booker and Jordan, clotheslining Jordan for the fall. Bradshaw dominates the match, recall he’s in a personal feud with Orton and Cena, who he thinks of as disrespectful toward the country, as they have no interest in fighting in Iraq.

Oh, Conway, recall, was Bradshaw’s partner at Survivor Series, he clotheslined him after they lost – as we go to Mania, a minor angle is that Conway’s unit gets called up – but Bradshaw convinces him to avoid service the way another great NeoCon, Rush Limbaugh, did in Vietnam – to get a medical deferment because of his anal cysts (true story, kids.)

So, since Conway’s disappearing into the miasma after this, assume he’s somewhere wearing a pad on his ass as the fans chant “anal cysts” at him.

But Bradshaw can’t get over here, Orton hits the diamond cutter on Bob for the fall – and the clueless team is going to Mania. Bradshaw frustratedly clotheslines Bob after the match.

2. PAUL~ d. Undertaker
-PAUL, who spends the entire match setting up the chokeslam (like Taue, who PAUL now worships, whenever we see PAUL, he’s wearing a Taue t-shirt, he’s watching NOAH tapes. PAUL loves him some chokeslam) hits another chokeslam off the apron, then drags the ‘Taker back in the ring for the fall. PAUL yells out that he’s the legend – he’s the mighty PAUL. And the announce speculates that we might be seeing this again in the legends’s match in Los Angeles.

3. London d. Rey
-London gets the biggest win of his life, getting the clean fall on Mysterio in the high flying spotfest, maybe the best match of the night. The Clique watches from their locker room, we cut to them throughout the match. Following the win, they spill out to the ring – celebrating with London, who the announce puts over as a future champion.

4. Christian d. Flair
-Christian didn’t come out for the London celebration, we see him just behind the curtain as the Clique returns, give the handsign with his stablemates, congratulating London as they all wish him luck.

Christian wins with the figure four, getting Flair to submit to his own maneuver and celebrating with the Coalition postmatch – Christian wading out in the crowd, slapping hands as they chant his name. A dejected Flair exits the ring – later, we cut to the back as he leaves the building, being met by Arn, who we haven’t seen since the breakup of the TitanTrust.

On a subsequent RAW, they’ll do an in ring promo, Flair will put somebody over, submitting again, and Arn and Leviathan will come out. Arn will remind Flair of a talk they had when Flair decided to come to the WWF this time – that Flair made AA promise, as his best friend, as a guy who would always shoot straight with him, that he’d tell him when it was time to hang up the boots.

“Champ,” Arn says. “It’s time.”

“When my time came, you looked me in the eye and said I had nothing left to prove. Well, Naitch, you’ve kissed all the girls and you’ve won the all gold. But it’s 2005 – it’s time to leave the game to big monsters like this kid. It’s time to leave the Horsemen behind and go onto the next part of our lives. You’re not the dirtiest player in the game anymore, Ric. It’s time to retire.”

Flair gets hot, but then looks at Arn and Batista, hugs both men – and with tears in his eyes watches the highlight package of his career. Flair’s never been a babyface in the WWF – and with the fans chanting his name – he, too choked up to speak, waves goodbye and the 3 men leave.”

5. Eddy d. Leviathan
-But before any of that happens on an upcoming RAW – the monster Leviathan, who destroyed Chavo, recall, gets beat clean here by Eddy. This is, maybe, the first match that Leviathan wrestles without any second, since Flair is gone – and Eddy takes it right at the big man, getting the frogsplash pinfall.

After the match – Eddy goes to a top buckle – and looking right in the camera – makes the sign for the belt around his waist. The announce enjoys that – speculating that the current triple crown champion, who wrestled Benoit to a 30 minute draw at Survivor Series – certainly should be in line to face whomever wins later tonight.

6. Tags: Spree Killers d. Team Angle (w/Regal/Haas)
Helms and Rhyno are your new tag champs. Three stories here, attempted interference by Haas backfired – Helms and Rhyno both do color, and there’s a spot where Regal slips knucks to Haas, who is supposed to administer them on the outside to Helms, who is already busted up. Haas, who recall is maybe a little too sensitive for this boy’s club, hesitates for just a moment, allowing Rhyno to gore Charlie through the retaining barrier. Second, London and C interfere – London takes out Regal and Christian hits the Crusader on Angle on the apron, taking him out of the game and leaving Benjamin in the ring to take the vertabreaker from Helms. London and C taunt Team Angle as they exit. Third is a very nice celebration from the SpreeKillers – particularly there’s a warm response for Helms, who wins his first ever WWF title, cradling his belts to his chest as the fans chant for him.

7. Worldwide: Edge d. Jericho (w/Trish)
-Edge takes the IC. Things to do – Christian gets his revenge on Trish for the turn, he runs in after she gives Edge the CliqueKick, and lays Trish out with the Crusader. Recall Christian laid Angle out with the Crusader earlier in the night, and that brings him back out and they wildly brawl back up the ramp. Edge with the spear and the Edge-ecution. London hits the ring afterward – and they do the full on celebration – the camera watches Michaels prepare in the back – he’s focusing on his match, but clearly excited at the evening’s outcomes – and the announce puts over that the Clique is 3-3, London beat Rey, Christian beat Flair, and now Edge has won the Worldwide belts.

Prior to the title match – we go to the TitanTron.

Coming….tomorrow night on RAW….

….the new leader of the WWF….

….it all begins again….

And then quick flashing images of Ricky The Dragon Steamboat. The WWF Champion from Wrestlemania, the main event of the first 4 Wrestlemanias…the legendary Ricky Steamboat…

The Dragon Returns Home….

Announce puts it over accordingly – Ricky Steamboat is going to be made the President of the World Wrestling Federation tomorrow night on RAW!

8. Undisputed Title: Benoit d. Michaels
-Sharpshooter submission. Benoit keeps. Clique and Team Angle barred from ringside, so it’s clean. Jericho enters postmatch to taunt Michaels, taking shots at the fallen HBK – Benoit considers stopping him – but doesn’t, instead slowly exiting the ring as the Clique rushes down to defend Michaels – which brings out Team Angle to attack the Clique, pandemonium as the show ends in a full scale brawl in the ring – and when Benoit reaches the top of the ramp – he’s met – by Eddy Guerrero.

They go nose to nose while behind them is a 9 man brawl as the show ends.

Steamboat opens RAW the next night. If you haven’t been with me since the beginning, Ricky Steamboat took the WWF title from Hogan on MTV at the War to Settle the Score (hence, you know, the title for the blog) kept over Barry Windham at Mania, and then his feud with the Dynamite Kid was at the top of the card for every PPV until he left the company.

And now – Ricky Steamboat, older, grayer, but still Ricky Steamboat, returns.

Steamboat accepts the crowd cheer – said that it’s his job to make each WWF event the best event he can – that he knows WWF fans want to see the best wrestling matches in the world – he knows WWF fans deserve to see the greatest wrestlers in the world face off – and since we’re on our way to Wrestlemania XXI – in Los Angeles – we’re going to see those face offs – beginning tonight!

Steamboat calls out the Clique and Team Angle.

He makes the main event for RAW, the second ever WWF War Games Match – Clique v. Team Angle – the winning team will get to name their opponents for Wrestlemania (pop) they can wrestle in any match, except the Undisputed Title Match, throughout the night.

At that main event, it’s Regal who gets the submission from London.

Stories to tell – backstage Team Angle promo where Kurt, in as scary a way as he can, tells the group that if any of them submit, he’ll hurt them far worse than they could imagine. In the match, Charlie is again the weak link, and attempts to submit – but is saved by Benjamin. We get more Christian/Angle stuff, playing off all the Rumble happenings – we get Michaels/Angle stuff, as they’re the big stars – London takes whatever crazy, ridiculous bump there is to take – enough that it cuts against whatever he loses having to submit to the Stretch.

But it’s Team Angle that wins – and over the next few weeks, they pick their opponents.

Regal gets the Worldwide shot against Edge. Regal’s a former IC champ beating Austin at Rumble ’01, and now gets another shot at the gold. He’ll do his tough, British guy thing – Edge is cocky babyface. It’s not a complicated program. Regal’s tough and portrayed as tough in this Enforcer role – so, he’ll look to get Edge some tough guy credibility in this program.

Charlie begs Benjamin to help him out – says he blew it at the Rumble, he almost quit in the War Games match – he sees the way Kurt’s looking at him – he needs some help – come on Money – we’ve been together since Camp Angle – you and me – Money – our third tag title – your fourth tag title – no one’s ever got 4 – 4 tag titles, Money, please, please.

S Money is all gangsta – but with the soft spot for Charlie – so he agrees. And that turns the tag title match that was set up at the Rumble: Spree Killers v. Orton/Cena into a 3 way. A workrate helping 3 way. Rhyno and Helms are now pure babyface, they’re the guys who finally won the straps. Orton and Cena are the little team that could, largely a comedy act – but now they’ve gotten hot – winning some matches, almost despite themselves, and they somehow are going to the biggest show of the year wrestling for the titles. And Team Angle: Haas and Benjamin – total heels, Benjamin is the cocky contemporary athlete, Haas a little too soft for Team Angle. Kurt rides them hard throughout the program – needling Charlie, tells him he has to win, has to come through, tells Money that if he can’t carry his partner, that his ass is on the line too. Regal goes after Edge – and Haas and Benjamin go after the tag straps.

People assume Angle will challenge Michaels for the dream Mania match – but nah, he wants Christian. All this Christian Coalition stuff – all this “That’s How I Roll” crap – “I’m Kurt Angle” two time Undisputed Champion – 4 years undefeated – and it’s time you learn your place.

So, Kurt’s the veteran, established guy, in the WWF pantheon – and Christian is up and coming, a 2 time tag champ, trying to establish himself as a World Title contender – forget that they trained together with Dory Funk, that’s unimportant, this is rasslin’ boy – Angle’s the vet, Christian’s the kid. And they meet at Wrestlemania XXI.

4 more matches.

The opening tag is Bradshaw again, trying to work his way back into title contention – he is the NeoCon GHB and this time his partner comes to him – Ulysses Morley. Morley says GHB has been making a mistake, going to guys who don’t share his view of the world, don’t understand the importance of American hegemony and the White Man’s burden. Morley understands. Morley came into the WWF years ago and pledged to stop aggression – and American does the same thing, we’re the good guys, Morley says, the policemen of the world – we stop dictators and convert their people to Christianity – and just like even a good cop takes a little off the side – if we have to liberate some Middle Eastern oil in the process, well, all the better. They continue the carrying of the novelty flags. A Haliburton flag. A Dick Cheney flag. A Valerie Plame flag with an X over her face and what purports to be her phone number.

They’ll meet Tajiri and Yang in the opening tag.

3 more.

Steamboat brings out Rey Mysterio. Says that at the Royal Rumble, he was in a show stealing match with Paul London – that match didn’t come out his way – but Steamboat is all about the wrestling – and that’s a match he wants to see again at Mania.

So, we’ve got that.

But then Steamboat won’t let Rey leave – he says Rey’s a special talent, an NWA champion, an IC Champion, a WWF tag champion, and at Mania he’s going to ask him to become….

…a legend.

That brings out the Undertaker.

Dead Man says he’s the 5 time legend’s champion, the only 5 time legend’s champion in WWF history. And he’d be honored to face Rey at Mania.

That brings out PAUL, in his Taue t-shirt. PAUL says he beat the Undertaker at the Rumble – and he deserves the title of WWF legend.

Steamboat says that’s fine – and makes it a 3 way. So, not only will Mysterio be wrestling twice at Wrestlemania XXI, but he’ll be facing the man who beat him at the Rumble, Paul London, and be facing two giants in the legend’s match. Steamboat says he wants the fans to see Rey Mysterio – he wants to push Rey Mysterio – he wants Wrestlemania XXI to get every drop of wrestling in Rey Mysterio’s body.

Taz, throughout the program, will talk about the difficulty in training – Mysterio’s got one type of match against London – and an entirely different type against the Undertaker and PAUL in the three way legend’s match.

Let’s see…how about another Clique/Harts match? How about Michaels/Jericho?

Still playing off the emotions from the Rumble, the Lizard King Jericho goes full out on Michaels – Shawn can even turn Trish down at some point in the program, getting over that family guy thing. Jericho is as self destructive as he can be, drunk, stoned – we find him passed out periodically – Michaels is disgusted by him – it’s Shawn the Reformed against Jericho the Fallen. Jericho says he used to kind of dig Shawn, even though he was up in Calgary, he kind of liked Shawn’s rap – but now Shawn’s a pussy – and Jericho’s gonna eat him up at Mania.

It’s Clique/Harts, it’s generations colliding – it’s the criss/cross of the new puritanical Michaels against Lizard King Jericho. Good times.

One match left. Wonder who’s in it.

On RAW, Steamboat says that a couple of years ago he watched Wrestlemania XX where it all began again – and for him, that means WWF is going back to the early days of PPV – when they took their two best wrestlers – himself and the Dynamite Kid, and put them in the ring over and over again. Because that’s what the fans want – the fans want to see the best wrestlers go at it – because they want to know who the best man is.

And he makes the main for that night on RAW – Benoit/Eddy straps.

They’re gonna do that match 3 times in this program – all without a winner.

They do two time limit draws, designed to increase the personal animosity between the two – recall, that although they had finally rebuilt their friendship by the close of XX – that once Eddy won the battle royal in ’05, the Harts v. Guerreros feud boiled over, straining the two men as they got to Survivor Series, which culminated in a draw.

Two time limit draws – and then the third match totally breaks down into a non-finish, as their brawl gets out of control – chairs, pulled up mats outside the ring – a full on brawl.

Steamboat says they’ll meet in the main event at Mania – in a 60 minute iron man match. And there must be a winner.

To ensure that – if the match finishes at a tie after 60 minutes – it will go to a panel of 3 judges.

And not just any judges – but 3 WWF Champions.

One, will be Steamboat himself. Another (they cut to the video wall) will be Hulk Hogan, WWF Champion, four time legend’s winner. And the third – a Triple Crown Champion (glass breaks) Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Steamboat. Hogan. Austin. Guest judges for the main event at Mania.

Also, Steamboat announces – since the normal WWF officials have had no luck in keeping order in this feud – he’s going to appoint a special guest referee – a man he knows both Benoit and Guerrero respect – a former NWA Champion, a former member of the Titan Trust – The Shooter Dean Malenko.

So, they do Malenko stuff with both Benoit and Guerrero before Mania – he puts them both in clover leafs at some point, they both tap – demonstrating that he can keep order in the big show. As much Eddy/Chris/Dean stuff that needs to be done (a one hour special would be nice, on the history of their friendship) to get the thing over, that’s what they do.

So, with Steamboat firmly in charge, we’ve got a show.

It’s Benoit/Guerrero in the main event at Wrestlemania in a 60 Minute Iron Man for the Undisputed Title, with Dean as the referee and the 3 WWF Champs as the guest judges. It’s Edge/Regal for the Worldwide belts. It’s SpreeKillers v. Haas/S Money v. Orton/Cena for the tags. It’s Angle and Christian. It’s Michaels and Jericho. It’s the two Mysterio matches – Rey meeting London, and Rey in the 3 way legend’s with the Taker and PAUL. It’s the NeoCons: GHB and Morley against Tajiri/Yang.

Wrestlemania 21. Call your cable company.

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