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.

The Road to Survivor Series, Part 2 2005

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Part I is here.

Part II of our set up to the big Survivor Series in Detroit, coming at you in a month’s time.

What do we have so far…

Well, your main is Rey defending against Juvie, the LWO continues their assault on Rey – the set up was Flair as mouthpiece, as even though he’s a babyface, he and Steamboat have a disagreement about the value of Rey as Champ.

That’s a mistake though, too much heel for Flair – so, instead Paul E, who has always been a heel, can be their mouthpiece.

Flair and Steamboat are each part of the Angle/Benoit match for the vacant IC and for the Triple Crown. Given the history of their rivalry, we can draw parallels to the history of the Flair/Steamboat rivalry, and that’s a good program. Add in Angle’s continuing to squelch the career of S$, and you’ve got this.

Orton and Cena, now full heels as the crowd’s turned on them, meet GHB and Book – Bradshaw effectively downplaying the NeoCon gimmick, drawing in the babyface Booker, and they play the “vets who have never won” card.

We’ve got Flair’s retirement match against Leviathan. Flair and Steamboat, concerned that HHH-M is going to use his 2% voting power in a destructive way, concoct a plan to prohibit those inside the office from wrestling – this then is Flair’s last match, and he’s having it against his friend and protégée, Leviathan, who is managed by AA.

We’ve got the debut of Executioner Lashley, who is the hot commodity in the company, with everyone talking about his potential as the next dominant force in wrestling.

We’ve got Carlito against Nova. We’ve got the now babyface Dead Men Walking against MNM.

Match 8 is HHH v. HBK.

HHH-M, playing the role of heir to the McMahon fortune, throwing his 2% voting share around, leverages Flair and Steamboat into agreeing to a match between he and Michaels. Shawn’s fine with it – so that part isn’t complicated.

The rub is the stip – if Hunter wins – the Clique is dead.

Now, if you’re just hopping in, the Clique, from the days of Shawn/Razor/Diesel all the way through its pre Summer Slam incarnation of Shawn/Edge/Christian/London has been one of the poles upon which Counterfactual WWF sits atop.

HHH joined upon his arrival, working with Waltman as the JV and sent Razor/Diesel home in a loser leaves town. After Michaels’s loss to Owen in XIV, a HHH pedigree sent him into his retirement.
HHH/Waltman sent the Outlaws from the Clique – they worked the E/C/Trish swerve of the Hardys – and Hunter broke Spanky’s arm, sending him from the WWF and out of the Clique as well.

Now, Hunter says there is no Clique without him – and since he’s now a McMahon, he’s got a new family. When he beats Michaels at Survivor Series – that’s it for the Clique.

Flair convinces Michaels and Steamboat they need to go for it – first, because Shawn will clearly beat him; second, with the problems with the Clique (Edge’s turn at Summer Slam, which we’ll deal with momentarily) this is needed to gain control of the fracturing group.

So, they do it. Some type of garbage match, ‘cause that’s the only thing you want to see them do. We’ll call it a weapons match, let them hit each other with sticks.

Okay, we recap in a moment – let’s clean the rest of the fall up.

-JR, reminder, is gone. Josh Mathews is play by play until Joey takes over at Survivor Series.
-Taz, by fall’s end, is the only color man. Here’s what happens to Paul E.

At some point during the fall, the ECW music begins to periodically play with images of ECW coming over the TitanTron and the phrase, “Hey, Heyman…he’s coming back…”

Speculation is Van Dam – as, one recalls, RVD broke with Paul after the year long feud with Matt; RVD gaining the tag belts with Rey – but then Van Dam was taken out by Team Angle, who were paid by Heyman.

So, there’s a few weeks with Heyman freaked out at ringside whenever the clips play on the TitanTron – until one week when the message is: “He’s Back.”

And that’s when Stevie Richards superkicks Heyman as he sits at the announce table.

Stevie cuts promo – says that somehow, Paul thought he could get away with screwing him all those years ago – it was he, Stevie, who brought Stevie’s Hardcore Family, the Dudley Boys and Taz, to the WWF – and then Heyman, oily scumbag that he is, stole his life away, and he’s been toiling away in the backwoods of the company since.

But now, Stevie says, he’s back – oh, and if there are any fans disappointed that he’s not RVD, don’t worry – because Stevie’s not coming back to wrestle (unfortunately, Stevie’s excellent) he’s coming back to manage…and by the beginning of the year, the guy who he is managing…RVD…will return to the WWF.

So, by at Survivor Series, the announce becomes Joey and Taz, and going forward, that’s your permanent team.

Van Dam is going to come back for an angle before the Rumble, with Stevie as his manager – and that’s when we’ll start using the ECW guys who are now with the company, as they’ll be with Heyman, all aligned to stop Van Dam. Look for that program in 2006.

2 more.

We get a backstage promo, Fit, working in the office, is met by Dean.

Recall, Fit/Dean/Arn were the TitanTrust, who made the creative decisions prior to the move to the Steamboat/Flair angle. Arn is with Leviathan, Dean’s popped up in the Eddy/Benoit program, but neither man is a regular feature on TV.

Now, they are.

Dean proposes to Fit that they start a project. Fit is curious, like a business, a restaurant kind of thing?

Dean says nah – something involving wrestling.

Fit’s interested – like a school?

No, we’re going to stick to training just one guy, I think.

Fit’s confused – who?

And Dean pulls out a new Fit Finlay t-shirt – “you, Dave, you.”

And that’s how that starts. Dean and Fit, doing a sunshine boys thing, go into training, as Fit prepares to make his return to the ring. You can see the arc of this – he’s not good at the beginning, maybe he’s lost it, he loses a tv match, he thinks he’s going to quit, Dean gives him brutal pep talk – Fit starts picking it up – and by the end of the fall has started to pick things up.

After Survivor Series, Fit and Dean will be joined by Regal. Recall, Regal left Team Angle after being unwilling to support Kurt’s treatment of Benjamin – and is really nowhere now – but after Survivor Series, when Fit and Dean decide that he’s going to try to stalk a title – they decide that, if he’s going to take that step, he needs then highest caliber training partner – and that’s when Regal joins.

So, Dean and Fit are doing that – and Regal soon to join.

Finally, the big angle.

And we’ll talk about that big angle in part 3

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