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 - 5

Thursday, August 10, 2006

'97-2000 is here.

Oh, look at what we have here – one final look at the Counterfactual History of Summer Slam to go – and then it is so on – Summer Slam 2005!

Summer Slam 2001 emanated from San Jose – and the main event unified the WWF and the ECW World Titles: Kurt Angle v. Rob Van Dam

Recall, as we left off, Benoit was WWF Champ, keeping over Rock at Summer Slam ’01 – Angle, at the time beat Undertaker to keep his undefeated run going. Meanwhile…in the dying days of ECW, Van Dam had just lost his World Title, to Jerry Lynn at Heatwave – a title Lynn would successfully defend over Steve Corino to end 2000 at November to Remember. Benoit also ended 2000 successfully, keeping over the returning Austin at Survivor Series – and the Angle run continued as now he went after the Alliance, defeating Saturn at Survivor Series and calling Benoit out.

To get that shot against Benoit, Angle had to beat Rock in the number one contender’s match at the Rumble – he did. And Benoit kept the belt that night, going over Jericho – two men who will meet one more time at Summer Slam ’05 in what sort of seems like a definitive matchup between the sole surviving remnants of the Hart legacy.

Lynn lost his title – to Van Dam, at Guilty as Charged in Queens – that was the PPV that wrapped ECW up – making Van Dam that company’s final champion.

And Angle, in the all time classic at XVII, took the strap from Benoit. The night after Mania, in the biggest RAW of all time – Team WWF beat the Alliance in a War Games Match, with Dean submitting to Angle, forcing the Alliance to leave town. Immediately thereafter, with the WWF united, finally running off the invading Alliance – both ECW and the NWA stormed the arena – leading to a full on 3 way brawl which culminated with the ECW Champ, RVD, hitting the Van Terminator on the WWF Champ Angle – setting up a Double Titles main event for Summer Slam ’01.

The other two title matches did a little better than that – unifying all three companies’ belts, the IC/NWA US/ECW TV contested by Austin/ Tajiri/ Lance Storm – and to be named the Worldwide Titles (currently vacant as a result of Edge’s relinquishment of them to meet Matt in the Unsanctioned Main Event at Summer Slam ’05)

When we left off – it was Jericho who held the IC – but that run ended at Survivor Series ’00 when he dropped to Regal. Regal kept over Austin at the Rumble, but then lost to Stone Cold at XVII.

Your US Champ as of Slamboree ’00 was Kidman, who defended successfully that night over Mortis (Kanyon should have kept the mask) but he would lose at Fall Brawl ’00 to Storm, who would end ’00 with the US, going over Jamie Noble at Starrcade – at the last NWA show, Superbrawl ’01, Storm once again kept over Noble.

Tajiri, meanwhile, had been ECW TV Champ since Hardcore Heaven ‘00, when he beat that same Storm for the strap – he kept at Heatwave over Psychosys, and then finished up with wins over his rival Super Crazy at November to Remember and Guilty as Charged. When ECW and NWA hit the ring on RAW after XVII – all the champs find each other in a face off – so, Storm and Tajiri square off with Austin. The 3 companies were all in opposition to each other – except for Storm and Jericho, and their backstory, not just as Thrillseekers, but as fellow Stampeders, was quickly integrated into the story – in fact, Storm had been referenced previously by Jericho, when trying to convince Benoit that the 3 of them should all band together as the Hart Foundation.

Your tag champs – the Dudley Boys. And they go into Summer Slam looking to unify the tag titles (literally, the Unified Titles, I’m crazy clever that way – the titles now held by Orton and Cena, with Bradshaw/Dinsmore as the NeoCons taking them on at Summer Slam ’05) against the NWA Champs – DDP and Mortis – and the ECW champs – Spike and Rhyno.

Edge and Christian, recall, walked out of TLC 2 at Summer Slam ’00 with the straps – straps they kept in the big Clique splitup match over HHH and Waltman at Survivor Series. They lost their straps, however, to Taz and Raven at Rumble ’01, and at XVII, in the elimination tag, the now babyface Dudleys retook over Raven/Taz, E and C, and the Hardys.

The Dudleys, in total opposition to Heyman and his ECW crew (they masterminded the wipeout of Stevie Richards, the Dudleys manager) are all WWF in this program – the ECW tag belts bounced around over the past year, CW Anderson and the Sandman were champs at Heatwave ’00 – but lost to Guido and Mikey at N2R – who in turn dropped to Rhyno and Spike at Guilty as Charged. So, they carry the colors of ECW into Summer Slam.

Back at Slamboree ’00 – it was Mike Awesome and Scott Steiner who were your NWA tag champs – they fell to the young babyface tag team of Shane Helms and Shannon Moore at Fall Brawl – Moore and Helms keeping as ’00 ended, over Yang and Kidman at Starrcade.

Doesn’t Jimmy Yang work for Titan? Where the fuck is he?

At Super Brawl, however, DDP (who had already been tag champ twice with Saturn) and Mortis took the straps – and carry them here into the big interpromotional Summer Slam ’01.

Anything else?

Well, Undertaker, Kane and PAUL formed the giant heel team Dead Men Walking – and they were set for the opening tag. Jeff and Edge, with their brothers in their corners, met in a singles as the Ring Boys feud continued. Jericho met Waltman, as the Harts and Clique continued their war into the new millennium. And Booker T, carrying the NWA banner, took on the Rock.


Angle taps Van Dam, the match is a No DQ, as has every RVD match been since he entered as Paul E negotiated a deal where RVD can always take it to the extreme, which is how WWF gets the ECW title belts in the Counterfactual. Currently, of course, RVD is out, having turned face during his year long feud with Matt Hardy, leaving Heyman, who then paid off Team Angle to take RVD out.

Tajiri got the Worldwide titles for ECW, getting the fall on Storm, who was distracted when the NWA attacked his buddy Jericho on the outside – that set up both the Austin/Page feud (Austin was taken out with a diamond cutter) and the Storm/Justin/Jericho thing, as Lance had to choose between his two former tag partners.

The Dudleys took the tags for WWF, with Mortis taking 3D and postmatch, as the WWF hit the ring, the Hardys and Dudleys shook hands, ending their long feud.

The NWA got a win too – Booker going over Rock when Regal turned on the WWF, aiding Book to join the NWA and start the Regal/Rock program.

Jericho beat Waltman in his last match with the company and Jeff beat Edge.

So, now, with only one company standing, Counterfactual WWF, Summer Slam ’02 rolled around from Long Island.

And just as Summer Slam ’01 had meant the uniting of the WWF and ECW World Titles – Summer Slam 2002 meant that the final major American belt would come into the WWF fold – as the last ever NWA Champ – Rey Mysterio, debuted over the summer, winning the number one contender’s battle royal, to earn the title shot against Angle.

Angle kept over Booker at Survivor Series – then began a gimmick where he challenged anyone in the world for his double titles. First up was Flair – in the blow off to Team NWA, angle tapped him out at rumble ’02 to end that program. Next was the dramatic return of longtime WWF Champ Mr. Perfect – he tapped to Kurt at XVIII.

Little Rey then is the mystery entrant for the battle royal – he wins – and all 3 belts will be unified at Summer Slam ’02 – creating the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World – which, coincidentally, will be challenged again by Mysterio at Summer Slam 05, against the champion Eddy Guerrero.

Your Worldwide Champ headed to SSlam 02 is RVD.

Tajiri dropped the Worldwide belts at Survivor Series to Taz – who decided that he didn’t like those ECW guys back when there was an ECW – so screw them. Taz then dropped to Van Dam at the Rumble in the final battle for the ECW name – winner carried the torch as Team ECW was dissolved – loser retired, and Taz joined the announce team thereafter.

At XVIII, Van Dam kept over Austin, leading he and Paul E to say that just as was the case back in Philly – even though RVD wasn’t heavyweight champion – his was the real world title. His claim as best wrestler in the world was disputed by the returning Shawn Michaels – gone 3 years – Michaels returned at that same number one contender’s battle royal, and was the last man eliminated by Mysterio. HBK and RVD did a veteran/upstart program rolling into Summer Slam.

The tag champs – the 4th version of the Hart Foundation to hold the straps – as Summer Slam, which was built on the Harts – returns to its roots.

The Dudleys kept the belts at Survivor Series ’01, over Raven and Tommy, in the ECW battle – but then lost at the Rumble in TLC 3, with the newly formed Hart Foundation of Jericho and Storm going over the Duds and E and C.

Jericho/Storm kept in TLC 4 at XVIII over the Hardys and the new Dudley configuration of Bubba and Spike – but at the same battle royal, they were attacked by two masked men – two masked men who then ran over the WWF tag ranks all summer long to earn a shot at Summer Slam.

What else…Edge and Christian in the opening tag against Spike and Stevie, the newly babface Booker T, a legend’s feud between Undertaker and Flair, with Flair seconded by his protégée, Leviathan (Batista) who had been kicked off the reality series Camp Angle (Tough Enough). A return to PPV for Dustin Rhodes, once again against his longtime rival HHH. Kurt’s brutal, monster protégée from Camp Angle, Brock Lesnar, was set to meet the Rock.


Kurt Angle stakes his claim as the greatest wrestler of all time, becoming Undisputed Champion of the world by getting Mysterio to tap – Angle having to resort to brawling when he couldn’t outwrestle little Rey.

Michaels won his 4th IC title, a record, taking the Worldwide straps from Van Dam – when the cocky RVD went for a five star splash from the top of a ladder and missed.

The masked men won the tag titles – unmasking to reveal themselves as Benoit and Guerrero, gone for over a year since losing the loser leaves town war games match. Since they now had the titles – they got contracts – but more than that – postmatch, they were joined in the ring by Flair and Leviathan (Flair beat the ‘Taker earlier in the evening) who had spent several weeks teasing a new formation of the 4 Horsemen – the Horsemen were then reformed – with Benoit and Guerrero holding up the four fingers postmatch.

Brock not only beat the Rock,, he destroyed him with multiple F5s and a one finger cover. Brock was clearly a heel, an obnoxious bully of a heel, but Angle, the monster babyface champion, apparently was oblivious to his protégées techniques and the negative fan reaction that was beginning to build – so obsessed was Kurt with his role as teacher, trainer, so proud was he of another amateur wrestler’s success.

Hunter, Book, E and C all won.

Summer Slam 2003, from Phoenix, was the culmination of not only the largest tournament in wrestling history, 64 men to crown a new Undisputed Champion of the World, but also concluded one of the Counterfactual’s best angles.

Angle’s unabated support of Lesnar continued to result in the crowd – and the locker room – turning on him. Angle believed they were all jealous of the success of amateur wrestlers in their business. This increasing animosity, encouraged by Lesnar, who reveled in the negative attention, resulted in Kurt’s going over Jericho at Survivor Series – and then Michaels at Rumble ’03.

But finally, at that Rumble – Angle realized his error as Brock destroyed Jericho – and tried to discipline his protégée – that attempt would lead, at night’s end, to a failed reconciliation, when Brock – along with Team Angle, the newly crowned tag champs, Haas and Benjamin, all turning on Kurt.

Getting us to XIX – when Kurt, with neck surgery looming, beat Brock after the botched shooting star press.

Kurt had to relinquish the belt the next night – and then the Titan Trust (Arn, Dean, Fit, serving as the figurehead commissioners) set up a 64 man tourney for the belt.

It’s all on the right side. Go find it. It’s fun to read.

Eddy and Brock came through the tourney – Eddy following Benoit in breaking free of the Horsemen and turning babyface over the course of the tournament – Brock still being Brock – as they went nose to nose – with a rare apperarance by Vince McMahon announcing that one of them would be crowned champ in the finals at Summer Slam – a wheelchair bound, drooling, halo wearing Kurt Angle was helped into the ring – appearing for the first time since giving up his belt – you could see the tears in the fans eyes as Vince lifted the mic to Angle’s lips –

And Angle turned heel. He leapt up – Olympic slammed Vince on the chair – he and Brock battled Eddy and Benoit, shock in the eyes of all 3 men – and maniacal, devious Kurt Angle, SuperHeel, was born.

At Summer Slam ’03, he took on Benoit in a singles. Eddy was not only looking for his first WWF Title – but to win the Triple Crown, held for five years by Cactus Jack.

Hard for the rest of the card to compete.

The Worldwide belt had become home for the juniors.

Van Dam regained the Worldwide at Survivor Series, taking out Michaels in a ladder match at MSG – but then lost to Mysterio at Rumble ’03; Little Rey kept over Chavo, who had gone from half of the SpreeKillers with Shane Helms to a member of the Horsemen after Benoit turned – to an enemy of his Uncle Eddy’s when Eddy turned. That led to XIX – where he lost his Worldwide bid to Mysterio – and at Summer Slam, Rey would be contested by the former Worldwide champ Tajiri – no longer with Heyman, now aligned with Ultimo Dragon, who debuted in the tournament.

Your tag champs – the Clique. Specifically Michaels and Hunter.

Benoit and Eddy, as heel champs, kept over the oil and water tag team of Noble and Kidman at Survivor Series – but then lost to the upstart Team Angle, Haas and Benjamin, at the Rumble. Michaels and HHH, who had never won WWF gold, formed a tag as part of their feud with Kurt and Brock, and took the straps at XIX – at Summer Slam, they were set to take on Dead Men Walking (‘Taker/Kane) – as Hunter had missed a year with a torn quad at the hands of a Triple Chokeslam by DMW (see, like that.)

Hunter was, at this point, already behaving in a shady fashion – Michaels had protégées of his own who had now arrived – London and Spanky – and in the tournament, Hunter’s jealousy of them became apparent after he was defeated by Paul.

What else…well, we had a new Jericho – JerichoDark, Chris was betrayed by his best friend, Lance, hooking up with his girl, Stacy Keibler – Jericho took a loser leaves town over Storm, but began to slip into a shell, growing a beard, becoming morose – seeming to enjoy being punished – he attacked the Horsemen in the tournament – and he would take on Flair at Summer Slam. The culmination of JerichoDark is in his ’05 persona as the Lizard King Chris Jericho, a boozy, strung out heel – who meets Benoit as part of the mini tournament to crown a new Worldwide Champ.

What else…what will be a year long Van Dam/Hardy feud is underway – with Matt managed by Bischoff and RVD by Heyman – the men make a long double turn, with the managers pushing each to more and more violent levels. Nash returned in the tournament, losing to Michaels – and then was turned on by his former NWA tag partner – Bill Goldberg – making his WWF debut. Goldberg/Nash is also set for Summer Slam ’03 – a big, big show.


Eddy won the straps, going over Brock, winning the triple crown. Postmatch, the babyfaces, Eddy’s family, the other Hispanics in the company, hit the ring to celebrate – while Chavo, who had a good night himself, stood stewing in the aisle as a callback to Counterfactual X with Bret/Owen (as we’ve been making Hart/Guerrero parallels strong at this point) which of course was a callback to actual X.

Tajiri took the Worldwide from Rey with Ultimo’s aid – and then all of them were battered down by Chavo – who held up the 3 belts, hence was I meant by his good night.

Lot of Hispanics in Phoenix – I’m just saying – and it’s 2003 – this is good heat.

Michaels and HHH keep – with Hunter apparently inadvertently leveling Spanky with the sledgehammer.

Angle and Benoit go time limit draw in their first singles match since XVII. Benoit wanted five more minutes – Angle wasn’t interested.

Jericho got the win over Flair – but was beaten down postmatch by Leviathan.

RVD got a cage match win over Matt, avenging his loss at XIX and in the 64 man tournament.

Goldberg went over Big Daddy Cool, then called out Lesnar postmatch.

Finally – just last year – Summer Slam 2004.

Although it was an even numbered year – there was no number one contender’s battle royal after Mania (it happened after Summer Slam) as Angle, after losing his belt at XX to Benoit – refused to allow it to happen, attacking (and ending the reign of) the Titan Trust – which led to the formation of a Strike Team (The Shield) like version of Team Angle – Kurt, Regal, Haas, and Benjamin.

Benoit/Kurt rematch is set for Summer Slam 04 in Toronto, with the final fall being submission only.

Eddy kept the belt in a four way at Survivor Series – but lost to Kurt at Rumble ’04 – leading to Kurt dropping to Benoit at XX.

Speaking of Eddy – he is your Worldwide champion coming into Summer Slam – Chavo took from Tajiri at Survivor Series – then kept in a 3 way over Rey and Tajiri at the Rumble – but lost a ladder match at XX to his Uncle Eddy – Guerrero and Benoit left standing in the MSG ring together at night’s end, holding up all 6 title belts as they embraced, replicating my all time favorite actual wrestling moment.

Good times.

Eddy faced his longtime rival, Jericho, now the Lizard King, with his junkie girlfriend Trish in tow at Summer Slam. Jericho completed a double turn with Christian after their year long feud at XX in the second Hell in the Cell Match, when Trish turned on Christian to join the Lizard King.

But also in that IC match at Summer Slam – young Paul London, a daredevil, earning the chant of “Please Don’t Die” from the fans. London was now full fledged Clique, along with Michaels, Edge, and Christian, as they reformed the group at XX.

Your tag champs coming into Summer Slam ’04 – Flair and Leviathan of the Horsemen.

Michaels and Hunter kept their straps over the now heel Dudleys, with Heyman, at Survivor Series – but then lost to Haas and Benjamin at the Rumble, which led to Hunter’s taking out Spanky, Hunter’s heel turn, and Michaels meeting Hunter at XX.

At XX – Haas and Benjamin lost their belts to Flair/Leviathan – and now, the Horsemen meet the brand new high flying team of Mysterio and the now babyface Van Dam at Summer Slam.

What else…Hunter takes on Edge, who returned from a long neck surgery absence XX to save the Clique…Matt Hardy, now without Bischoff who was taken out by RVD in the XX blowoff to that feud, meets Booker T, to whom Bischoff owed money. Billy Kidman meets Nick Dinsmore, again a babyface, the Undertaker meets Kane – and a babyface comedy tag team, Orton and Cena (who are now the tag champs facing Dinsmore a year later) meet the Dudleys.


Benoit takes Angle in the world title match, Angle submitting for the first time in his life in the third fall. Jericho wins his 3rd IC, and saving Eddy postmatch is Chavo, who then continues his face turn in the number one contender’s battle royal after the event when he eliminates his Horsemen mate Leviathan, aiding Eddy’s battle royal victory. Chavo would eventually be taken apart by Leviathan and leave in an injury angle.

RVD got the frog splash on Flair – giving the babyfaces the tag titles. Edge, in Toronto, goes over HHH in the No DQ to establish himself as a babyface. A year later, that status is in question. And it’s in question because Matt Hardy, who has not been seen in the year since this event, lost to Booker – told the WWF to fuck off and quit on live PPV.

A year later, in the “You screwed Matt” Lita angle – Edge and Matt meet in the unsanctioned main event at SSlam ’05.

Undertaker went over Kane, Kidman over Dinsmore, Orton/Cena ended the Dudleys WWF run.

Which brings up trippingly to this year’s Summer Slam.

Your main event for the first time ever won’t be for the WWF title – it’s Edge and the returning Matt in the Unsanctioned match. Did Edge sleep with Lita? Or – is he telling the truth? Edge gave us the Worldwide belts he won at Rumble ’05 in order to get this match and win back the trust of the Clique. Edge swore to Christian that he was telling the truth – the locker room is divided – this match is completely unsanctioned – Matt has not appeared on WWF TV since Summer Slam ’04 – it’s your main event.

Your Worldwide Title match is Eddy v. Rey. Benoit kept over Eddy, who won the battle royal, at Survivor Series ’04, then kept over Michaels in the revival of Clique/Harts at Rumble ’05 – but lost the rematch to Eddy, an iron man made by the new WWF figurehead, Ricky Steamboat, at XXI.

Rey won 2 matches, including a legend’s match, at XXI – was named the Ace of the promotion by Steamboat –and spurred on by a challenge from the LWO (Crazy, Psychosys, Juvie) Rey is named number one contender to Guerrero in a 2 of 3 Lucha rules match. Not only does Rey challenge to become undisputed champ – but also win the Triple Crown, currently held, of course, by Guerrero.

The tags – Orton and Cena continue their improbable run, defending against Bradshaw and Dinsmore. Angle and Benjamin won the straps over RVD/Rey at Survivor Series ’04 and then lost to the current version of the SpreeKillers, Helms and Rhyno. The SpreeKillers lost at XXI to Orton and Cena – and here we are, with Bradshaw, the NeoCon, who hates those punk kids Orton and Cena who should be serving their country in Iraq – tries with his 3rd partner to get over on them.

With Edge giving up the IC – 4 men meet in a tournament (made by the new babyface figurehead Flair – he and Steamboat each control 49% of WWF creative, with the McMahon family retaining 2% control) winners go to Survivor Series to face off for the vacant titles.

In that tournament – Benoit takes on Jericho – Trish is now gone, Jericho is drunk constantly, he’s fat, he’s bearded, he’s nothing like the Lionheart who revived the Hart Legacy in ’99 – and it’s another Hart, a man who has now embraced his Hart legacy, Benoit, who he meets.

In the other match – Angle meets Michaels. Team Angle has been locked in battle with the Clique all year – Angle beat Christian at XXI – and their leaders meet in a singles here at Summer Slam. Flair also uses this to make the opening tag match – Angle and Michaels teaming together against Benoit and Jericho.

Leviathan – beginning to get a babyface reaction, now managed by Arn – destroyed Rhyno over the summer, ending his run, and now meets the other half of the SpreeKillers, Helms, at Summer Slam. Hogan turned heel at XXI, attacking the Undertaker, and they meet in Hulk Hogan’s last match at Summer Slam.

Toss in that Jim Ross has announced that he is stepping down after Summer Slam – 13 years into his run as lead WWF announcer – and you have a big, big show – coming up next week – Summer Slam 2005!

In the meantime, feel free to go to to read my vituperative production blog – my play gets produced this weekend – show some love, good people – and I’ll see you next week!

Summer Slam 2005 is here.

Summer Slam 2006 is here.

Summer Slam 2007 is here.

Summer Slam 2008 is here.

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