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.

Wrestlemania XXI 2005

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rumble is here.

Wrestlemania XXI – Los Angeles

Okay, group. Here’s how it’s gonna go now; I’m going to try to stay a full year behind the actual WWF. A couple of reasons for that: one, since I have the requirement that a titleholder in PPV X needs to defend at the following show, I need to stay at least one behind; and two, because it’s easier for everyone to keep straight where we are if I’m following the calendar.

So, that means Summer Slam ’05 will be posted this August.

As a consequence of this, this post will end at the close of Mania, without building to the next show – the build for the next show will now occur in the interim. So, between now and August, as opposed to one large post, that sets everything up, there will be smaller posts, maybe weekly, maybe every other week. I’m not stopping, honest, I enjoy this kinda thing. Just pop in periodically to see the build for the next show.

And of course, come to Lima, Ohio in August for the world premiere of Spoon Millionaires.

Onto the show…

(Dark – Nova/Guido v. Spike/Stevie)

JR/Taz/Paul E on the announce.

1. The NeoCons: GHB/Morley d. Tajiri/Yang
Bradshaw comes to the ring with a Sean Hannity flag (and maybe Hannity on his trunks, what the hell) and Morley’s got a flag with a bar graph (they’ll cut a pre match promo explaining it) that charts the profits of Haliburton and Mobil over the course of the war.

GHB hits the lariat (let’s call it the “Come to Jesus” lariat) Morley hits Liberation Falls, and gets the fall on Yang.

That’s gonna finish up both Tajiri and Yang – Yang’s gone quick, and Tajiri can feud with the entering Super Crazy until his deal expires.

2. Legend’s Match: Rey d. Taker d. PAUL~
Taker’s going for his sixth win – but PAUL just beat his former stablemate at the Rumble, chokeslamming him off the apron in a way emblematic of his new hero, Akira Taue from the NOAH promotion in Japan (for those of you less literate in puroresu than others).

Steamboat, now as the GM figurehead, tossed Rey in the match (and in another coming up later) ostensibly to challenge Rey, but really for the workrate (and really as part of the coming push)

They do big man/little man stuff with Rey and both guys – Taker and PAUL even wind up teaming at one point, looking to take out Mysterio – but Rey’s too good, he gets pinfalls on both guys – nabbing his first legend’s win and hopefully winning over whatever cadre of people exist who hold his size against him.

Postmatch – the five time legend’s champ, Undertaker, is left in the ring, the announce puts him over and speculates that his Wrestlemania run may be at an end – when here comes…Hulk Hogan.

Hogan, here as a judge, recall for the title match, comes out, perhaps as a four time legend to shake the hand of the five time legend, but he doesn’t. For the first time in his WWF tenure, Hogan turns heel – blasting the ‘Taker, beating him down, spitting on him, telling him he’s the true WWF legend.

Hogan’s led from the building – and now the speculation becomes what will happen to the main event? Steamboat said 3 WWF Heavyweight Champs would be the judges, and now, they’re down to two, he and Austin. What will happen? What will happen? What will happen?

3. Michaels d. Jericho (w/Trish)
Loaded show. The burned out Lizard King and HBK do the Harts/Clique thing at XXI. Jericho spits the whiskey in Michaels’s face, Trish rubs him in as X rated a way as they’ll do. But the new, mature, puritanical Shawn is resolute, morally offended at the degraded Jericho (that sounds like the face/heel thing is reversed, it’s not, but if Shawn began to rub some people as overly moralistic at this point that would be okay – and Jericho’s fun, but such a burn out, that he’s hard to root for).

Michaels inadvertently superkicks Trish at one point – which writes her out of the Counterfactual, perhaps for good (I’ll miss you Trish. One tear.) And gets the fall after the superkick to Jericho. Lizard King ignores the fallen Trish – maybe he goes to her, licks her face one more time, then crawls back up the ramp.

4. Rey d. London
Little Rey gets revenge for his Rumble loss – and gets his third pinfall of the night, going over London in the high flying match. Rey and London shake hands postmatch. The following night on RAW – Steamboat will bring out Mysterio (announce really puts Rey over) and says that in the main event last night (which we’re gonna sell as the greatest match in wrestling history, by the way) we saw two titans, two legends, two wrestlers as good as anyone who ever lived..

…But earlier in the evening, the man who stole the show was Rey Mysterio, Jr.

And, Steamboat says, shaking Rey’s hand – that in 2005 – no matter who has the belts, what he wants the fans to know is that Rey Mysterio is the Ace of the WWF.

Rey’s touched, ‘cause it’s Ricky Steamboat saying that he is now the workrate backbone of the company.

5. Angle d. Christian
Really the high water mark of the long Clique v. Team Angle feud. Christian’s the guy on the come, the fans are superhot for him, they’re the Christian Coalition, they hit the catchphrase, they’re rolling with the new.

But it’s Kurt Angle, the devious Kurt Angle – he pulls out all the stops, cheating to win, and gets the submission. Angle does the hyperintense, roid rage 2005 Angle thing, screaming at the fans, screaming at Christian – and then he begins slapping him postmatch. Slapping Christian over and over until Michaels makes the save.

Michaels pulls Christian out of the ring – and finally it’s just the two men, Angle and Michaels, leaders of their respective factions, going nose to nose in the middle of the ring.

6. Tags: Orton/Cena d. SpreeKillers d. Team Angle
I almost feel the need to apologize for this one, as, I think, Cena might be the worst beltholder in WWF Counterfactual history.

The comedy tag of Orton and Cena shock the world. Largely, the match is SpreeKillers (Helms and Rhyno) against Team Angle (Haas and Benjamin) as they toss the young Orton and Cena aside. Haas and Benjamin with the doubleteam finish, pinning Rhyno to eliminate the champs.

They dominate Orton and Cena next, clearly dominant, but out of nowhere, Cowboy Bob leaps over the barrier to level S Money with the cast (yeah, Bob’s still wearing the cast) that distracts Haas who is in the ring – and Randy hits the diamond cutter for the fall.

Orton and Cena, comedy tag team, your new Unified Tag Champs.

Charlie, recall, had been in trouble with Team Angle – and now takes the pinfall. Kurt enters, gets in Charlie’s face – screaming at him – as S Money watches from the corner. Haas is chastened, apologetic – Kurt yells, yells, yells, - then starts slapping him in the face. Kurt slaps Charlie and then yells at him. Slaps him some more. Slaps him some more.

S Money, the crowd urging him on, S Money comes to mid-ring – and pulls Kurt away…..

…only so he can blast Charlie. Benjamin takes Charlie apart, piece by piece, decimating his long time friend and partner and sending Haas out of the WWF. Crowd boos as Kurt and S Money leave the ring.

7. Worldwide Titles: Edge d. Regal
Edge gets the Clique revenge against Team Angle, keeping against Regal. Ideally, Regal’s stiffness helps further get Edge over as a guy at this level. Edge gets the fall, people cheer.

8. Undisputed Championship: 60 Minute Iron Man Match: Eddy d. Benoit (Dean, guest ref)
Okay, dig if you will the picture. The long white ramp – the fans throwing the ribbons to the ring – Dean as the guest referee, the only man who can handle this matchup – and at ringside, in tuxedos, Ricky Steamboat, and then Steve Austin, and we wait for the third judge….

….Ric Flair….

Flair, gone since the RAW following the Rumble when Arn told him it was time to hang it up, returns in Hogan’s spot – Flair shaking hands with Steamboat and Austin, the announce discussing the firepower here – all six men former world champions.

There’s no reason why it’s not all the match you’d want it to be – Benoit/Eddy at the main event of Mania for all the straps. Give them an hour and let them do whatever they wanted. Lot of finishes, fine. No finishes, fine. They do each other’s stuff, they each get a submission (Eddy with the clover leaf) they do stuff that establishes Dean won’t take any guff. They do aerial stuff, full on brawling, mat stuff, they strike, they do a suplex battle, they nearfall to death, they bleed – the whole panoply.

And after 60 minutes – it’s tied – which is why, of course, we have the judges contingency.

Steamboat goes Eddy. Benoit goes Austin.

Ric Flair decides who will be the next Undisputed Champ.

And here’s where he turns face.

Flair says, “nope.” “This is the greatest match I’ve ever seen, for the Undisputed Championship of the World – and I’m not, Wooo, I’m not going to be the one who decides a winner – instead – what I’ll decide is that Benoit – Guerrero – 5 more minutes – ring the bell.”

They do – they restart – Eddy gets the frogsplash pinfall.

Eddy and Benoit make up, the handshake, the hug – Dean holds up Eddy’s hand in victory, then holds up Benoit’s hand as well – the three men in mid-ring – the three judges at ringside applauding – the confetti rains down as Wrestlemania ends.

Summer Slam ’05 is coming in August. We’ll set up the card in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for reading. The Road

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