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.

A Counterfactual History of Summer Slam - 4

Thursday, August 03, 2006

'94-96 is here

Two more Counterfactual Summer Slam recaps to go – Part IV here will get us through 2000 – and then Part V, next week, will get us all the way up to Summer Slam 2005. ETA for that big, big show is August 18. Matt v. Edge, Eddy v. Rey, Benoit v. Jericho, Angle v. Michaels – Hulk Hogan’s last match, Jim Ross’s last show – Summer Slam ’05, just two weeks away!

Part III of this recap left off in 1997 with Summer Slam 10. After his first year ever not wrestling for a title at a Summer Slam, the Hit Man returned at East Rutherford in ’97, this time, challenging Austin for the WWF Title he dropped to him at XIII.

It was Shawn, recall, who left Summer Slam ’96 with the belt – but he dropped to Bret, winning his 3rd WWF Heavyweight Title, a record, at Survivor Series ’96 in a match that saw a full on Harts v. Clique v. Austin brawl.

Bret kept at Rumble ’97, in what I think is my favorite angle in the Counterfactual, he beat Shawn one last time in a lumberjack match (Clique on one side, Harts on the other) that culminated a bloody evening long (months long) battle between the two factions. Pillman, as guest ref., turned on the Harts postmatch, appearing to join the Clique – but then turned on them too – joining Austin, who had been at war with both sides – in demolishing the full group.

That led to the title switch at XIII – and at Summer Slam ’97, Bret, re-turning face in this program with the heel Stone Cold, got his rematch against Austin.

Cactus, who, recall lost an IC shot a year previous in his WWF PPV debut – Vader powerbombing him off the ramp – went into Summer Slam ’97 with that strap. He beat big Leon at Survivor Series ’96, in MSG, in a steel cage to take the title – kept the title at Rumble ’97 in a Death Match over Terry Funk – then beat Vader in the blowoff at XIII with Ken Shamrock as the special guest referee.

And that’s your Summer Slam ’97 match – Shamrock is the shooter, the UFC legend, a no nonsense babyface whose push insults the wrestler Foley. Mick says he can beat Shamrock at his own game, in a UFC style match – in an Octagon (or as close as we could come, depending on the deal Counterfactual Vince cut with Counterfactual UFC).

Your tag champs – the 3rd version of the Hart Foundation to hold the straps – Owen and Davey Boy.

Mero and Bart, recall, left Summer Slam ’96 with the belts – belts they kept, going over Furnas and LaFon (I’m sorry) at Survivor Series ’96. But they fell to Owen and Davey boy at Rumble ’97, a historic win as it made Davey a 3 time tag champ with 3 different partners – and gave Owen the Triple Crown.

The Harts kept at XIII, going over Furnas and Lafon in the tape traders match, following which the champs went nose to nose with the returning legends, the Road Warriors --- and that feud, a big star babyface feud, carries us through the summer –and into Summer Slam ’97, where they met for the titles.

What else is on the big card?

Well, more Owen – he’s gotta wrestle twice, as he’s been locked in mortal battle with the totally insane Pillman all summer – Pillman stalking Owen’s family, attacking Owen in public – restaurants, airports, hotels and so Owen meets him at Summer Slam.

Hunter and Goldust have been feuding all year – Hunter as heel Clique, Goldust now as babyface, with a series of gold painted wrestlers with him (Ron and Don, Sid) as the Golden Girls. They meet in a falls count anywhere at ’97. And there were, presumably, some other matches too.

Results: This is infamously known amongst WWF Counterfactual fans as Screwjob Summer Slam, as we took a lot of shortcuts for the sake of storyline.

Austin and Bret fought to a draw when Michaels, as special guest ref, turned heel and took both of them out. Bret actually temporarily paralyzed Austin with a piledriver (see, like that) and when he went to cover – Michaels superkicked him, then covered both guys for a ten count and a draw. This will lead to the belt getting held up and put on the line in a big four way at Survivor Series ’97.

Foley kept the belt against Shamrock, but lost via DQ when, in the Octagon, he pulled out a corkscrew and then thumbtacks to go all garbage on the shootfighter, turning himself heel.

The Road Warriors took the tags, their second WWF straps, when Pillman attacked Owen, leaving the Bulldog to take the Device. That segued into the Pillman/Owen singles – which Owen won – leading to Pillman’s being attacked by Austin, who couldn’t put up with the loss to a Hart – Pillman was saved by Owen, who carried him from the ring.

RIP, Brian.

Elsewhere, Hunter beat Dustin – and the Nation of Domination (which was now the Rock, DLo, and Mark Henry) which had been doing the heel Rock gimmick, turned face so he could do his face Rock schtick.

Summer Slam returned where it all began, MSG, in 1998, for a whizbang show.

Your WWF Champion…Owen Hart.

In the most emotional moment in Counterfactual history – Survivor Series Montreal was a four way for the vacant belt – one fall to a finish – winner got the belt – the guy who loses left the WWF forever.

It was Bret of course, in the sharpshooter, losing to his little brother – and postmatch, finally, once and for all, putting the bad blood behind them by placing the WWF Title around the teary eyed Owen’s waist.

Owen kept over Austin at Rumble ’98, Steve beat Michaels in a 3 match series on TV to get the shot – and then Shawn got his own shot in the blowoff to their ten year feud – losing to Owen at XIV.

With Bret and Shawn both gone from the company – we needed a new challenger for Owen’s belt at Summer Slam – that challenger was Cactus Jack, who won the every-other-year battle royal, previously won by the Bulldog, Razor, Hakushi, and Owen to be named number one contender.

The previous year, Jack lost his IC to Shamrock in their rematch at Survivor Series Montreal – then hooked up with his friend/rival Terry Funk to win the tag straps at the Rumble over the Nation – they dropped those straps at XIV to the Outlaws – and Cactus then set his sights on Owen, who he called the Canadian golden boy, a boy of privilege, everything handed to him by his harder working relatives while Foley slept in his car.

They’d meet in a No DQ at MSG at Summer Slam – a win for Cactus wouldn’t just give him his first WWF Title – it would also give him the Triple Crown.

Also going for the Triple Crown on that same night – Steve Austin.

Shamrock, as just mentioned, won the IC in Montreal. He kept over Vader at the Rumble – then kept over Austin at XIV, however, he lost in a DQ. Shamrock and Austin had begun to double turn since the Rumble – and in what might have been the most high profile Mania match (in the Octagon with Tyson as guest referee) Shamrock grew frustrated as he couldn’t get Austin to submit – eventually taking a shot at Iron Mike.

The turn completed over the summer – Shamrock insulted that a guy like Austin is in the ring, decides he won’t wrestle against him again in the Octagon – they do Summer Slam MSG as a submission match in a four sided ring.

The tags are a 3 way. Rock and DLo took the straps in Montreal – taking out the Warriors and the Outlaws in a 3 way – then, as mentioned, dropped to Jack and Funk at the Rumble – who, in turn, as mentioned, lost to the Outlaws at XIV.

The long Nation v. Outlaws feud rolled into Summer Slam – but also joining that feud was the other half of the Clique, HHH and Waltman. Tension between those two groups had built all summer, boiling to the point where the Clique lost an 8 man to the Ring Boys (more on them in a moment) and the fracture led to the inclusion of the veterans in this match.

K-DX came over from Japan this year, really helping me out for this show. Funaki and Teioh worked the opening tag. Taka was turned on by his boys this summer – and he and Togo met in a singles. Dustin was no longer Goldust – now, he was one of the Confederate flag waving Southern Men, along with Jeff Jarrett, and in singles matches, they were taking on Mero and the Abolitionist Ulysses Morley (Val Venis).

That left a singles match, the first appearance on PPV for a member of the Ring Boys.

The original ring boys were the Hardys, serving as such for the Clique over the past couple of years – occasionally, they’d get to do a squash job – and sometimes they’d work dark in a spot match to entertain the crowds. The idea, as with the ring boys in Japan, is that they’d do all the grunt work while training to be workers. And with the Clique, there was a lot of grunt work to do, as one could imagine.
In ’98, they were joined by Adam and Christian, who were assigned to the Harts (well, just Owen) and the four became friends, although with a Clique/Hart tension as undercurrent. That Adam and Christian were Canadian helped matters there.

In the big battle royal over the summer – the four men got to work – and in a significant upset – they eliminated Vader. They followed that up with the 8 man win over the Clique – so, finally, with the crowds chanting “Let Them Play” at WWF officials – it was Adam (trying to get his buddies to call him Edge) who got a singles shot at Summer Slam against Vader.

Results: Cactus won the WWF Title – doing so by setting Owen on fire, which hopefully is enough to make him a heel even in New York.

Austin won the IC, choking Shamrock out with the million dollar dream. He and Foley, who were doing a longstanding cold war thing, both winning the Triple Crown.

Rock and DLo regained the tags, Rock getting the Rock Bottom on HHH (those two also in a slow burning feud) when the Clique finally exploded for good – the Outlaws turning on Waltman/HHH.

Taka beat Togo, Jarrett, as did he with Savio, ended Mero’s run in a figure four he refused to break. Morley went over Dustin – and Adam/Edge beat Vader, ending Vader’s run and catapulting the Ring Boys.

A year later we were in Minneapolis for Summer Slam '99.

And the match at the top was years in the making – Cactus v. Austin for the big belt, the Wrestlemania main event that never was comes to Summer Slam 12.

Foley and Austin, recall, left Summer Slam ’98 as Triple Crown winners and singles. belt holders. They both kept at Survivor Series, Cactus beating Shamrock in the first ever Hell in the Cell (Shamrock tossed him off the cell, Foley took that bump, you know, that bump – in what would be the cornerstone of his eventual face turn) while Austin beat Regal in his debut.

Owen came back for Rumble ’99 – vowing revenge for Summer Slam – and beat Foley in the most extreme WWF match of the era – hooking Foley in the sharpshooter while both men were on fire – Cactus submitting – a match so violent it led to a mutual respect between the men, and furthered the Foley turn. Austin kept at the Rumble, over Crazy Al Snow, back from ECW and on a crazy rampage to win the IC.

Cactus retook the big belt at XV in Philly, Owen’s last match in the Counterfactual (RIP, Owen) while Austin lost the IC to Snow in the falls count anywhere. Cactus and Austin feuding without wrestling in a singles match, really since they joined the WWF, boil all summer long – both men wanting the Triple Crown that they have shared for a year – their feud getting to a point where not only was Governor Jesse Ventura to be brought in a special guest referee for their Summer Slam title match – not only would that title match be for undisputed possession of the Triple Crown – but the match would be career for career – the loser’s wrestling career would be owned, would be in possession of his biggest rival – the winner.

You know what happened to the IC, I just told you – so it was Al Snow who went into Minnesota with the belt – a belt he’d put up in a 3 way against Sean Waltman and D Lo Brown.

Crazy Al came back from ECW crazier than ever – immediately challenging the Undertaker who apparently did not pay him the proper respect in the locker room upon his return. Al got the win over the dead man at Survivor Series, at the same show, Waltman got one over 2 Cold, who had joined the Nation – the HHH/Rock feud spilling over to include Waltman and the rest of the NOD. Waltman and DLo hooked up at the Rumble in a tag title match, the Nation keeping over the Clique. At XV, while Waltman was teaming with Hunter to beat the Outlaws, D Lo and Rock were losing the tag titles to the Hardys (where, in the postmatch, Edge and Christian turned on their friends, joining HHH and Waltman as the New Clique, with a turning Trish as their manager).

The IC is set up in a summertime twist – the Nation feuds with HHH and Waltman all summer – but then, the teams are split for one match HHH tagging with the Rock and Waltman with DLo – winning team gets to go to Summer Slam for a 3 way for the IC.

Waltman and D Lo went over – and now, in Waltman’s hometown, they both meet Al.

I’ve just mentioned the tag lineage. Rock and DLo kept the belts they regained at last year’s Summer Slam at Survivor Series over the Outlaws – then kept at the Rumble over HHH/Waltman, but lost to the Hardys at XV. With that shocking, devious turn by E and C at XV, we had our tag title set up for Summer Slam, Hardys against Edge and Christian.

What else…well, Kurt Angle, who debuted at XV, Angle Slamming Jarrett to keep him from burning the American flag – was going to appear to name who would be his first PPV opponent at Survivor Series. A number one contender’s mini tournament would be held (not unlike the one set for Summer Slam ’05, just two weeks away, that one’s for the vacant IC, this one was for a Survivor Series shot at the big belt) Shamrock meeting HHH and Rock taking on Jarrett. PAUL~ the Giant (Big Show) with Skip McMahon as his mouthpiece (Shane) was dominating the undercard and was set to take on the Undertaker.

Cactus goes over Austin, following which the boys fill the ring as the Triple Crown is renamed the Owen Hart Memorial Triple Crown. Waltman wins the IC, capping a big night for the Clique that also saw HHH beat Shamrock and E and C – well, they still lost the Hardys via DQ – but they beat them down with multiple Con-chair-toes.

Angle made his announcement – saying he would make his PPV debut against the unbeaten PAUL, who went over the ‘Taker in a destructive fashion earlier that night. And the Rock matched HHH, by going over Jarrett.

How about one more Summer Slam in this recap – Summer Slam 2000, from By God North Carolina.

And by the time this show rolled around, the uppercard revolution was in full swing. Your WWF Champion – Chris Benoit. Your IC Champ – Eddy Guerrero.

Cactus kept at Survivor Series ’99, beating HHH and Rock in a 3 way, then held on in the interpromotional match against Taz at the Rumble in MSG. Waltman’s run ended at Survivor Series against Jericho, who promised to return the Hart name to glory. Jericho then disposed of another Cliquester, HHH at the Rumble. But just a few short weeks before XVI, the best PPV in Counterfactual history, the WWF was invaded by 3 NWA World Heavyweight Champions, Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko – along with Saturn – and that shook up the face of the company. Benoit took the WWF Title from Cactus at XVI, while Eddy, continuing their NWA feud, took the IC from Jericho.

Eddy and Jericho rematch at Summer Slam in a 2 of 3 falls – Benoit faces the winner of the battle royal, of course - and in 2000 – that was the Rock.

The Hardys were tag champs coming into Summer Slam, as they had been leaving the previous year. This was their second run, they dropped to the debuting Dudleys, managed by Stevie Richards, at Survivor Series in a tables match. The Dudleys kept at the Rumble over the Fightin’ Holly Brothers, putting them through double flaming
Tables – while the Hardys, now with Lita as their valet, were going over the Outlaws in the opener. XVI was the debut of the TLC collision matchup – it was the Hardys going over the Dudleys and E and C, Matt climbing to gather the belts to regain the straps. The Duds have moved center, maybe even babyface by the end of the summer, as part of an ECW ex-pat feud with the Clique – and that’s where they’re positioned for TLC 2, where they and E and C will challenge the Hardys for the straps at Summer Slam 2000.

What else…Stevie makes his PPV wrestling debut against Waltman…Hunter meets Taz (lots of Clique/ECW, see?) the unbeaten Angle takes on the newly turned Undertaker.

Results: Benoit gets the Rock to tap to the sharpshooter, as the unease he has with his Hart heritage begins to color his character. Jericho regained his title, taking out Eddy when Dean, who had problems with Eddy during the later part of the summer, chose not to intervene to same his stablemate. It was E and C grabbing their first ever tag straps, with some aid from their stablemates, Hunter and Waltman, seeming to quell any unease that had recently popped up between those two factions. Waltman was a winner earlier that night over Richards – not so Hunter, who lost to the Tazmission. And Kurt Angle stayed unbeaten, defeating the Undertaker.

That was Summer Slam 2000 – and that’s part IV of our Counterfactual recap – to read more about these, or any other cards, just go to the right side and scroll through – we’ve got every PPV…ever….one continuous WWF storyline from 1985 all the way through Summer Slam 2005 – which is only two weeks out – Matt Hardy in the Unsanctioned “You Screwed Matt” match against Edge – Eddy Guerrero defending his Undisputed Championship against Rey Mysterio in a 2 of 3 falls match, Rey trying to win the Hart Memorial Triple Crown. Check out all the excitement – Summer Slam 2005, coming in 2 weeks!

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