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.

Road to Royal Rumble 2007 - 3

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Part 2 is here.

Road to Royal Rumble 2007 – 3

We’re two legs down in our build for Rumble ’07. Let’s finish it up here.

Smackdown is now NWA Friday Night Fight Night – which can be called just Friday Night or just Fight Night in shorthand (or FN Squared, for that matter) with JR and Bradshaw on the announce and Dusty as the commissioner. It’s stiff, stiff, stiff all Friday long – if RAW looks like NOAH and GDI looks like ROH, I think Fight Night looks like UFC, as I think about it. I see the phrase “blood feud” being used a lot, this is where people turn to for the violence.

Violence~ Motherfuckers. Violence~

So – their tournament is as follows:

Fit d. Haas
-Both came over with Dusty, along with Benjamin they form the core of what the new NWA is. Stiff and relentless.

Insert your own joke.

Fit goes over clean. Like Regal, Charlie’s gonna wind up as enhancement, since I’ll never get to use him.

Orton d. Nitro
-No, Orton doesn’t really fit in the brand, but his cockiness is a good counterpoint, with all the “tradition” talk that we’ll be drenched in on Friday – Orton, who just beat Fit clean at Survivor Series is overt that he doesn’t care at all about tradition, about yesterday – that he is the face of the NWA in the 21st century.

Nitro, who is keeping his name, is also cocky heel, he needs to feed Orton here, but I like him and he’s gonna be important in 2007.

Give Orton another RKO on Fit during this cycle – and let him RKO Dean too - and you’ve got that semi-final match set up for the Rumble.

Benjamin d. Regal
-A call back to Team Angle – recall, that Team Angle blew up when Kurt ordered the Code Red on Haas and then benched Benjamin, forcing him into the valet role – Regal took a stand against Kurt, said he couldn’t be part of what he was doing to Team Angle, and walked away.

Now, Benjamin’s a babyface, part of Strong Style, and he goes over Regal.

Flair d. Leviathan
-Flair’s gotta earn his face turn. He’s been a heel during his whole WWF career, except for what really turned out to be a swerve when he joined Steamboat as co-commissioners. So, as was set up in a previous post – he asks Dusty to come to NWA and be in the tournament, but Dusty is disinclined, given how Flair abused his power with the 51% Solution.

But Flair’s Flair – and he is made an active full time wrestler again when he beats Leviathan in the tournament. Flair’s gotta take a good beating, Leviathan’s his former protégée who he screwed – it’s a good enough beating, Flair fighting from underneath and then getting the fall – that it goes a long way toward winning the fans trust. People want to cheer Flair anyway, he’s Ric Flair.

Flair offers Leviathan a postmatch handshake, but he refuses, which is effectively a heel turn for Batista.

Which sets up the Arn/Flair thing, since AA is Benjamin’s manager. So, we add that.

Getting us to the tags.

RVD and Sabu, taking advantage of the ability of the tag champs to work all 3 shows become the first RAW wrestlers to work GDI. Be good if it were Philly or at least some other Northeastern city. RVD/Sabu coming back to the bingo hall would be kinda perfect.

Anyway, they go over Kendrick/Noble, who are my GDI tag team during this stretch (eventually, we’re gonna put the Jung Dragons back together, with Yang and Noble – Colt Cabana and Matt Sydal, for those of you paying attention, will also be working on Tuesdays.

They go over – and are then attacked by Sandman/Dreamer, recall, who attacked them after their title win at Survivor Series.

That’s gonna allow us to tether the tags to the big angle – Sandman and Dreamer go GDI – they say they know they aren’t young and hungry, like the rest of the guys on Tuesday nights – but they’re old and hungry. When Punk spat on the WWF and NWA belts – when he said the ECW belt was the only one who represented the ECW spirit – Sandman and Dreamer applauded.

They never gave a crap about the WWF – and the WWF never gave a crap about them.

They are from the tribe of extreme – misfits and freaks, the unloved and the unwashed.

And since ECW died – since it was swallowed up by the monster corporation from New York – they’ve been wandering in the wilderness.

But now – they’re home.

Because no one is more God Damn Independent than Sandman and Dreamer.

And just like Punk reclaimed our property – reclaimed our Holy Grail – reclaimed the ECW World Heavyweight Championship from the Evil Empire – the WWF – at the Royal Rumble – they’re gonna show those turncoats – those sellouts – those corporatized bitches, RVD and Sabu – what GDI is all about.

They’ll do a huge garbage match – a Double Hell Death Match – with glass tables on the two sides of the ring that have no ropes. It’s probably gonna be the high point in the amount of blood we’re going to spill in this stretch.

Lots of good things about doing it like this, one of the chief ones is Noble and Kendrick are going to be in the angle, adding some work where the guys who are actually in the match can’t in 2007 – they’ll take lots of bumps.

Dreamer and Sandman are just gonna be babyfaces on Tuesdays – I’m cool with that – it’s a revolution – CM Punk is ECW Champion, representing the ROH faction of 21st century indie guys – Sandman/Dreamer are selling the continuity of ECW with GDI, embracing Punk completely, giving GDI the full stamp of approval with whatever vestige of ECW goodwill remains.

Stevie, as mouthpiece for the champs, has a difficult job – but he’s not going to cede the babyface ground. RVD and Sabu are the Unified Tag Team Champions of the World – Stevie isn’t going to let Sandman/Dreamer say they’re somehow more extreme, more real, more down than his guys – I’m not gonna heel up RVD and Sabu on Tuesdays – I want the fans to do whatever they’re gonna do.

On top, as mentioned, is Punk/Matt.

Punk aggressively challenges Matt’s outsider status – Matt’s been Pillman, or maybe Pillman turned Austin, in this stretch – never having a WWF contract, fighting the system when the system was the Solution, attacking a babyface legend like Michaels.

But now – Matt’s got a contract, he’s the babyface in the main event at XXIII, he has his own segment on all the shows – Steamboat has given him a full contract – and at some point at the end of December – Steamboat finally reveals to Punk, after lots of back and forth, that Matt’s gonna face Punk for the strap at the Rumble main.

Punk works that – how is it that Matt hasn’t sold out to the man – what is it about him that’s not corporate – he’s facing a real outsider – a real revolutionary, CM Punk – Matt’s no different than a guy like Hunter or Flair or Edge.

That promo will lead to Paul London’s coming to RAW to wrestle Matt.

Recall, the deal with London is this – he’s not a true believer like Noble and Kendrick, who now are totally in Punk’s pocket – he just wants to wrestle – and when Punk promised him that he’d get the title shot at XXIII – he stayed GDI.

So, London goes to RAW, say for the go home match before the Rumble – he puts Matt over – Punk, with Maria in tow, attacks Matt postmatch – Punk, heeling it up, does the “shove Maria at Matt” spot – maybe he does it twice – the first time he does it, it works, Punk takes advantage as they do an extended brawling spot – and the second time – Matt lays Maria out with a Twist of Fate

The idea being that Matt’s still an outsider – because he’d lay Maria out.

Insert own joke here. Maria. Mmmmmm. The things I'd....I'm losing my place.

If that’s not hard enough – he can stick a fork between her eyes.

I’m looking for something just strong enough to keep Matt from being white meat, and not so strong that he’s a heel. ‘Cause, you know, Wrestlemania’s comin’.

Okay – we’re goin’ to San Antonio for Royal Rumble 2007.

ECW Title: CM Punk (w/Maria) v. Matt Hardy
WWF Semifinal: Edge v. Booker T
NWA Semifinal: Ric Flair v. Shelton Benjamin (w/AA)
NWA Semifinal: Fit Finlay (w/Dean) v. Randy Orton
WWF Semifinal: Executioner Lashley v. Undertaker (w/HBK)
Worldwide Titles: Sugar Shane Helms v. Chavo Guerrero (w/LWO)
Unified Tag Titles: Double Hell Glass Tables Death Match: RVD/Sabu (w/Stevie) v. Sandman/Dreamer (w/Noble/Kendrick)
Shawn Michaels v. Jeff Hardy
LWO: Carlito/Super Crazy v. Ken Kennedy/John Cena

Yeah, I’m down. Buy that show.

I’ll be back sooner rather than later. Royal Rumble

Road to Royal Rumble '07 - II

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Part 1 is here.

Road to Royal Rumble 07 - 2

I’ve gone back through the first several years of shows and added comments, effectively providing a Counterfactual to the Counterfactual, reconsidering some of the past decisions. The one that strikes me here is I should have gone ahead and made this change, replacing the name Royal Rumble (which I’d use on the battle royal that I do in even years) with Justice Sunday.

Perhaps there will be some angle where Rumble 20, in ’08, will be the last one and then I’ll switch the name.


In Part I of the build – we split WWF, NWA, and GDI – and now WWF and NWA have 8 man tournaments to fill their vacant World title belts. The 4 semis for those tournaments will be at the Rumble. 9 matches to set up – we’ve already given away the main, Punk v. Matt for the ECW belt – we’ll talk about that later.

Here’s the WWF tournament:

Edge d. HBK
-Edge isn’t put in the first bracket by Steamboat – Burke is.

Edge flips out in the back, challenging Steamboat – who explains that neither he or Matt (we don’t know Matt’s in the main yet) in the tournament because the finals are at XXIII – and Matt and Edge are already booked for the main event.

Here’s where we get to see that Edge burns for the WWF title.

Edge says everyone knows he has no respect for anyone. But he does respect that belt – he’s been tag champ and IC champ – but he’s never even had a shot at the WWF title. He is thisclose to the title, to the Triple Crown, to immortality – he reminds Steamboat that’s something he doesn’t even have.

Edge says he’ll wrestle twice – Steamboat himself put Mysterio on a WM in two matches, and it shot Rey up the card. Edge wants it – wants those two matches, needs to be WWF champ.

Steamboat said Rey did wrestle twice, but they weren’t title matches. He appreciates Edge’s passion – but it wouldn’t be fair to the guys in the tournament, and Steamboat doesn’t want to compromise the huge main event for XXIII.

So, during the introductions to Michaels/Burke – Edge attacks Burke on the ramp, Porter and Book come to Burke’s defense, Edge is out of control – Burke takes a good bump off the ramp.

Michaels calls Edge out from the ring post-brawl – tells Steamboat that he’s got to know where he is – that Edge beat him at XXII – and Michaels beat him at Summer Slam – and Michaels wants to give the fans what they want – he’s gotta know who’s the better man.

Steamboat makes the match, it’s the main event the next week.

Edge goes over clean.

Edge advances. Michaels is going to work the Rumble too, we’ll see where in a minute.

Edge will meet the winner of the next match

Booker d. Jeff
-See how it could go either way. Edge just beat Jeff at Survivor Series, and with the Edge/Matt thing, Edge/Jeff is an obvious match. But Book and Edge just brawled over Burke.

Book goes over – he’ll meet Edge at the Rumble.

Jeff will meet Michaels.

Michaels, who will also be involved in another match, will approach Matt close to the Rumble to give him advice. Matt blows him off – says Michaels has nothing left to teach him. Tells him to worry about himself. Shawn says that’s why Matt’s never going to be a legend, never going to be an icon – he thinks he can do it all himself.

Matt tells Shawn the only reason he doesn’t drop him right now is because he’s got a match to get ready for.

Which, as this digression continues, is a reference to something from 24/7, the Matt/Edge segment that runs on each show.

Steamboat goes to both camps, to talk to Edge and to Matt – now that Edge no longer holds Matt’s contract, there’s no rule prohibiting the two of them from physical contact before Mania.

Steamboat says both of them understand the importance of their Rumble matches – goes to Matt to say he needs to focus on Punk – Punk defiled the WWF Championship belt, he’s broken up the whole company – Steamboat personally chose Matt from everyone else in the company to take Punk down, take his belt, so we can start to reunite the company.

In return, Steamboat just asks that he focuses on the match, ignore Edge, ignore everyone else – just focus on beating Punk at the Rumble and getting his belt.

Hardy agrees. Give a man responsibility; he’s likely to step up.

He goes to Edge – he put Edge in the tournament against his better judgment – if Edge means what he said, if all we wants is the WWF title belt – then he needs to focus on the tournament and let Matt prepare for Punk. He knows Edge and Matt is a blood feud – he knows at XXIII they’ll kill each other – but right now, Steamboat needs Edge to let Matt live.

Edge has to understand that what Punk did was wrong.

And that’s the overhanging theme – “What Punk did was wrong” except on Tuesday, where the theme is exactly the opposite.

What Punk did, spitting on the WWF title belt – needs to be such an offense that Edge, who has professed his desire for that belt – that Edge doesn’t want to hurt Matt – such that Matt can beat Punk.

We’ve put up obstacle after obstacle between Edge and Matt to allow them to make it to XXIII – this is the latest. Edge wants the WWF belt and the Triple Crown – he abandons his normal cockiness on 24/7 to allow us to see his raw, naked need for the belt.

And Matt, who once walked out, quit the WWF for exactly the same reason that Punk threw the belt down – a sense that what he did was not sufficiently appreciated – that after years of giving his body to the company he was still at the bottom of the card – now, Ricky Steamboat himself has put the future of the company in his hands.

The stakes are high for both men – and they put their hatred of each other aside for Rumble ’07.

So, backing up a step – when Matt rebuffs Michaels, Michaels cuts promo on him – Michaels says it was a dark day when Punk threw down the belt – but rooting for Matt is like rooting for the devil himself. Shawn can’t believe, at his hometown of San Antonio (that’s where Survivor Series will be held) that two such repulsive…unworthy wrestlers will be at the top – and he won’t be wrestling at all.

Jeff comes out – says if Shawn wants a match – Jeff’s available.

Jeff says he’s waited a long time to face Shawn Michaels, one on one, at a PPV – and Jeff thinks it would be a blast to kick his ass in front of his fans.

Shawn says he hopes Jeff’s serious about putting his demons behind him – his drug use really took a toll on his career and is the number one reason why a guy like Shawn Michaels is going to the Hall of Fame and a guy like Jeff Hardy never got out of the tag ranks.

So – it’s Shawn v. Jeff at the Rumble.

Back to the tournament.

Lashley d. Porter
-Executioner Lashley is a man without a country since the bustup of the Solution – a bustup that he played a role in when he turned on HHHM after his IC loss to Helms at Survivor Series. Now, HHH is on the shelf and Flair has jumped to NWA.

Here’s Lashley, alone – still unbeaten – he rolled over Book at Survivor Series – and he rolls over Porter here.

Burke and Porter aren’t working the Rumble, they’ll sell their injuries, Burke to Edge and Porter to Lashley.

Undertaker d. Crazy
-And finally, Lashley will take on the Dead Man.

Long time coming here – since Lashley’s debut, back in Survivor Series 05, the one man who has never feared him was the Undertaker. Lashley has dominated the WWF, maybe more than any newcomer since the Undertaker, which the announce will point out. The Dead Man was once the unbeatable machine, mowing his way through the opposition. Lashley has ended the careers of Benoit and Hogan and PAUL and maybe even Mysterio, using his customary Dominator through the table to finish them off, he helped the Solution take all the singles belts and control the WWF, control that only ended when Lashley turned his back on his stable.

But the Taker has never stepped back, the two have brawled repeatedly, and with Michaels at his side, the Dead Man finally laid Lashley out at Survivor Series, keeping him from aiding Flair, which led to the Punk win.

Michaels will be part of this match too – the budding relationship between he and the Undertaker was one of the pre S Series stories, the two acting as locker room leaders, going to GDI to talk to Punk, to sell the tradition of the company – the time Michaels and the Taker have spent in WWF giving them tenure, giving them a status that bonds them.

And now – as the Taker will approach this match with Lashley, he accepts Shawn’s help – Shawn trains with the Dead Man – the same ‘I’m Shawn Michaels and I’m important” attitude which turns Matt Hardy off is accepted by the Dead Man, the veteran camaraderie evident – it’s their way of life, the WWF way of life that is being threatened by the GDI insurgency – and now there are 3 companies – and there’s a fracturing of the locker room that they’ve created – you could see how, in a time of such tumult, they’d more deeply cling together.

So, not only will Michaels work against Jeff – but he’ll be in the Dead Man’s corner when he takes on Lashley.

Crazy’s gonna work the Rumble too, as will the other two members of the LWO.

After Crazy loses to the Taker, in a match booked to show his resilience – he’s given an IC shot on RAW against Helms.

The story there is Chavo/Helms.

Recall, please, that Chavo and Helms arrived together in ’01 when NWA was dissolved as the heel tag team SpreeKillers. Chavo turned on Helms, joining the Horsemen, and when Chavo had singles success, with two IC runs, Helms went through multiple permutations of the SpreeKillers, finally settling on Rhyno, with whom he won the straps. With both men as faces, they reunited briefly to get a title shot of their own – and now Chavo is once again a heel, a member of his new family the LWO – while Helms, as underdog white meat babyface, is the Worldwide champ.

In the back, for the first time in their new personas, the two men meet.

Chavo drops the act for a moment, extends his hand.

Says tonight, he’s gotta support his boy Crazy in their title match – but he won’t interfere. Chavo won’t do Helms like that. He’s proud of him.
It’s a nod to their past that the fans appreciate, we’ve built the Chavo/Helms relationship for years, their meeting this way has resonance.

But it’s a swerve, ‘cause Chavo’s a heel now.

So, in the Helms/Crazy match, Chavo does interfere, looking to get Crazy the win – it isn’t enough as Helms overcomes the LWO – but postmatch, they beat Helms down – save by….

…Kennedy and Cena.

Kennedy and Cena, recall, are the talent enhancement putting the LWO over – and why not give them a bit of a rub from Helms here.

So, we spent the rest of the run to the Rumble doing 6 man and singles stuff among the 2 groups, LWO as full heel, Helms/Kennedy/Cena full on babyface – allowing us to set up two matches at the Rumble:

The opening tag – LWO: Carlito/Crazy taking on Kennedy/Cena – and the Worldwide – Helms v. Chavo, partners turned rivals turned friends – once again, rivals – the old SpreeKillers going head up for the Worldwide belts.

So – what do we have so far:

ECW Title: Punk v. Matt
WWF Title Semi – Edge v. Book
WWF Title Semi – Taker v. Lashley
Worldwide Title: Helms v. Chavo
HBK v. Jeff
LWO: Carlito/Crazy v. Kennedy/Cena

3 more matches to set up – the 2 NWA semifinals and the Tag titles.

One more piece to go on the Road to the Rumble.

Road to Royal Rumble '07 - I

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Survivor Series is here.

The RAW following CM Punk’s winning the Undisputed World Title and then throwing the WWF and NWA belts down and spitting on them opens with virtually all of the wrestlers in the company surrounding the ring.

Joey and Taz tell us the building is filled with rumors tonight, this could be a night that defines the future of the sport of professional wrestling.

Here we go.

Ricky Steamboat’s music hits, and the announce sells it hard – Steamboat, in a suit, walks to the ring carrying both the WWF and NWA World Title belts.

Steamboat says that what he saw last night turned his stomach.

He sat at home and watched a man, he can barely stand saying his name, CM Punk, desecrate the two world title belts that he holds most dear, the NWA and the WWF World Championship belts. Steamboat says he’s worn both of these belts, carried them with pride and honor, that when he thinks about all that he, the men who have gone before, and the men who surround this ring right now have sacrificed just to get near these belts…that these belts aren’t just props to him – they’re holy objects, they’re sacred – and as a man, as a man, he’s never been more disgusted by the actions of another man than he was last night at CM Punk.

Steamboat tries to regain his composure.

Steamboat said he was pacing around his house still, hours later, getting text message after text message from retired wrestlers outraged over what they saw.

And that’s when he got a phone call from Vince McMahon.

And now it’s time to fill in the fans…and the wrestlers…about what happened next.

Vince McMahon, who is currently doing missionary work in Indonesia, said he had heard from two important people in the hours since Survivor Series.

One was Ric Flair.

(Flair’s one of the wrestlers surrounding the ring)

Ric Flair, after Survivor Series, sent a fax to Vince McMahon, completely relinquishing all managerial control held by the 51% Solution.

Which is why, Steamboat says, he’s here tonight – as of this morning, he is once again Commissioner of the World Wrestling Federation, and he will be the final authority on all decisions on Monday Night RAW.

(People cheer. He’s Ricky Steamboat after all.)

Steamboat addresses Flair, tells him he’s been disappointed in his longtime friend and rival for awhile now – but he went a long way in earning back his respect and the respect of these fans, by giving up that power.

(Flair’s turning face.)

Steamboat says the second person Vince heard from was a representative of the old National Wrestling Alliance.

When the WWF purchased the NWA in 2001, part of the purchase agreement said that the NWA World Championship belt could not be “degraded or devalued by a WWF employee.”

When CM Punk spat on the NWA Title belt last night – it triggered a series of penalties.

The NWA… officially splitting from the WWF.

Effective immediately, Steamboat says, Smackdown will be renamed NWA Friday Night Fight Night. He says that any of the wrestlers around this ring who want to leave and go join the NWA will be free to do so.

Steamboat says he hopes it’s not forever. He hopes that soon the NWA and WWF titles will be unified again, and that we will once again be one company. But he doesn’t know when that will be.

To hear more about this – it’s time to meet the man in charge -- the NWA will be run by a commissioner appointed this morning – himself a former NWA Champion – The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.

(here comes Dusty)

Dusty cuts Dusty promo.

He uses “darkest before the dawn” “closes a door, cracks a window” types of metaphors. Says the National Wrestling Alliance is tradition that dates back over a hundred years. And now it’s reborn.

He says the new NWA will be hard hitting, stiff action, taking the old style of the NWA and moving it into the 21st century.

He says they will have an 8 man tournament to crown a new NWA Champion. The preliminary matches will be on Fight Night – the semi-final matches, due to the ongoing contractual relationship with WWF – will be at the Royal Rumble – and the finals will be at WM 23 in De-troit.

Steamboat says WWF will be doing the same thing. An 8 man tournament – and going forward, WWF and NWA will share PPV space – not only that – but the NWA tag belts and the US title will remain joined with the WWF and ECW titles.

Dusty continues.

To represent that hard hitting style – he has already signed 3 men – and he’s signed those 3 men both because they are exactly what the new NWA is all about – but also because they have managers who are NWA to the core – former NWA Champion Dean Malenko – and US Champion Arn Anderson.

Dean and Arn come to the ring. Handshakes.

Dusty introduces those wrestlers now represented by these two managers. And they come to the ring. Former Worldwide Champion Fit Finlay – and former WWF Tag Champions Strong Style – Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas.

Dusty says these men represent exactly what the fans will expect to see on NWA Fight Night. Hard hitting. Stiff. Violent action. As we restore the glory that is the NWA.

Dusty takes the NWA Title belt and everyone but Steamboat exits the ring.

Over the next two weeks, Fight Night will play classic matches and have promos from wrestlers as they start to trickle over. Those shows will be hosted by the two men who will be the voices of the NWA.

Jim Ross and Bradshaw (dropping the GHB name).

Over the next few weeks, as it evolves (the key being distinction, having the show look and feel very different than either RAW or GDI) the 8 men who will be in the NWA Title Tournament will be named and all appear to cut promos. Below are the match pairings.

Fit Finlay v. Charlie Haas
Shelton Benjamin v. Steve Regal
Johnny Nitro v. Randy Orton
Ric Flair v. Leviathan

Regal obviously fits in the brand; Arn personally convinces Dusty to hire Nitro, based on his feud with Strong Style in the summer of ’06. Orton, who just beat Fit at Survivor Series, appears during a Finlay promo to lay him out_again_with an RKO and to say that Finlay can’t get away from him that easily.
The last match goes unfilled – Flair comes to Fight Night to cut a promo putting over the NWA, putting over how he wants to finish his career right here – how it’s right to redeem himself for the Solution – he asks…he begs Dusty Rhodes for a job.

Dusty says okay.

But only on the condition that in the NWA Tournament, he wrestles and defeats his protégée – the man he screwed over – Leviathan.

Batista hits the ring – he and Flair do a nose to nose.

And that’s the NWA.

But we’re not there yet.

We’re still in the ring with Steamboat, watching the NWA guys exit.

Ricky calls the newest champions – the Worldwide Champ Shane Helms and the Unified Tag Champs RVD and Sabu.

All the babyfaces climb in the ring.

Steamboat says these men, these belts, are about to become even more valuable.

Because these belts, by agreement among all the parties, will still remain unified, the only unified belts left in North America.

And because of that – the holders of the Worldwide and Tag Titles will be the only men eligible to wrestle on all 3 shows – they will defend their titles on RAW…they will defend their titles on Fight Night – and they will even defend their titles on GDI.

(We’re trying to cut against devaluing the belts – ‘cause with 3 World Champions, it would be easy to view the IC, for example, as a worthless belt – I’m looking for you not to see it that way – the idea is to create more value than we destroy.)

Steamboat says the WWF will be leaning hard on Helms, Van Dam, and Sabu to carry the flag for the company – that whomever it is they wind up wrestling at the Rumble, from whatever company they come – will be looking to strike at the WWF – and he and all the fans of the World Wrestling Federation will be counting on them to uphold the name of the WWF.

Handshakes. Helms, RVD, Sabu exit with all of their belts intact.

Steamboat puts over the vacant WWF Title and the title tournament to whatever extent is necessary here. Obviously, it’s gonna be the focus of RAW going forward.

Over the next few weeks, the 8 men title tournament for the WWF belt will become clear:

HBK v. Edge
Jeff v. Book
Lashley v. Montel Porter
Undertaker v. Super Crazy

But we don’t know that yet.

Steamboat says – and that just leaves one thing.

Hit CM Punk’s music.

Punk and Maria are surrounded by the other GDI wrestlers and the group makes its way to the ring. The workers surrounding the ring look at them with hatred, boiling hatred.

Steamboat says he made a personal promise to Punk that none of the wrestlers would touch him or any GDI member in any way tonight – so they all clear a path – allowing Punk to get in the ring.

Punk, cockily stands and holds the ECW Title in the air – fans react with whatever mixture they will react.

They had a pretty excellent chemistry in their ROH program, for those of you who missed it. I’m looking to replicate that dynamic here.

Steamboat expresses his disgust.

Punk says Steamboat’s just a hater – he’s another old guy who can’t get it done trying to keep hungry young athletes down. Punk says the WWF used to be different, there didn’t used to be a glass ceiling – Punk says what if in 1985 when you came here from the NWA Vince McMahon wouldn’t give you a title shot against Hulk Hogan?

What if you were told you weren’t big enough, didn’t cut a good enough promo, weren’t marketable enough to carry Wrestlemania?

What if you were kept down, pushed to the bottom of the card – what if the WWF 20 years ago told all its best wrestlers that they didn’t know how to work? What if it was a company of restholds and posedowns and muscleheads who couldn’t work? What if all your WWF did was teach a generation of American wrestling fans that wrestling wasn’t a sport – that it was a show – worse – that it was a second rate comedy show?

Could you imagine, Rick? Could you imagine if, in 2007, American wrestling fans were conditioned not to take our sport seriously – to laugh at it – to view us as circus freaks on the margins of society – our craftsmanship and athleticism ignored, our very lives devalued because of the propaganda of our own industry?

Could you imagine, Ricky Steamboat, a world where you didn’t pin Hulk Hogan?

Well I don’t want to think about it, Rick.

So, when I see a 55 year old man who used to be Ric Flair and an overrated musclehead who’d never have gotten past the middle of the card if he hadn’t been screwing Stephanie McMahon carrying WWF gold – that’s not something I wanted to be a part of.

I didn’t desecrate the WWF Title.

Putting it on my shoulder would desecrate me.

(Like that – Punk keeps this line that he’s the real babyface, that GDI is the future of wrestling – that he is leading a revolution. Steamboat’s response, and the WWF response will be that Punk had every chance to work within the system, he’s the one who refused to be on RAW – he’s the one who threw the belts down – he could have been Undisputed Heavyweight Champion but didn’t have it in him.)

Anyway – Steamboat says Punk can go back to Tuesday, he can take the ECW belt with him – and if his GDI pals want to go with him – that’s fine.

But the ECW tags and the TV belt still belong to WWF wrestlers, so Helms, RVD, and Sabu will be showing up on Tuesdays.

And more than that – and Punk knows what’s in the contract –

Ric Flair’s got a rematch clause. And he’s transferred that rematch clause back to the WWF.

“Which means I’m gonna pick your opponent for the Royal Rumble, Punk. I’m gonna pick the man who is gonna beat you for that belt. If I ever do anything the rest of my career, the rest of my life, I am going to reunite the ECW, NWA, and WWF belts – we are going to unify professional wrestling once again – I swear to god we will.”

Punk demands to know right now – who is it – who are you gonna feed me at the Royal Rumble?

(that’s why we don’t know who is in the WWF or NWA tournaments yet, so we don’t know right now who Punk will face.)

Steamboat won’t tell Punk then – he says he’ll know soon enough – that will allow for more Punk/Steamboat face to face interactions, on RAW and on GDI – I like the idea of sending Steamboat to a GDI show in a 1000 seat arena.

But if you’ve read this far, you deserve to be ahead of the game.

The main event at the Rumble, the ECW World Title, will be between CM Punk and…

Matt F’n Hardy.

Two matters left in this segment.

Steamboat addresses the other GDI wrestlers – says he understands why they moved to Tuesdays – but now the battle lines have been drawn – Punk’s taken a step from which there’s no return.

Right now, there is a narrow window where you can come back here or go to the NWA.

You might even find yourself in the title tournament.

Steamboat addresses Paul London directly. Says he watched from the back when Paul London beat Rey Mysterio at the Royal Rumble. Says he doesn’t know what’s happened to his career. Says if he thinks he’s been underappreciated…Steamboat agrees with him.

Steamboat says he wants him to think about it – go home, talk to his family – those other GDI guys – the Nobles and the Kendricks – they’ve clearly been snowed by Punk – but Steamboat knows that all Paul London has ever wanted is to be WWF Champion.

If he decides to stay GDI – he will never get that chance.

But if he comes back – Steamboat promises he will put him in the Tournament.

London’s clearly conflicted.

Steamboat says he can think about it – they can all go home and think about it.

(So, Tuesday, they’ll all be thinking about it – everyone’s gonna stay with GDI, they’ll adopt Punk’s line “I’m CM Punk, and I’m a professional wrestler.” Using their own names obviously – Punk will line them up and ask, and they’ll all fall in line.

London will stay too – after Punk promises him the shot at XXIII.

Punk says that he’ll keep the belt at the Rumble – then they’ll steal the show at XXIII – the biggest match in history, Matt/Edge/Cell will draw a huge audience – the Detroit crowd will be almost 80,000 – they’ll all be there for Matt/Edge, and we’ll show them what wrestling really is – Punk/London for the ECW Title.

London can’t turn it down. He shakes Punk’s hand and stays “I’m Paul London and I’m a professional wrestler.”

But that hasn’t happened yet.

What’s happened now is the last thing for the segment.

Steamboat, as Punk’s about to leave says, “one more thing – I promised you that none of the boys would lay a hand on you – I never said anything about me.”

Steamboat lays in some chops before the GDI guys pull Punk out of the ring.

Punk’s left fuming, pointing at Steamboat – Steamboat’s music plays – and we’re set up for the Road to Royal Rumble 07.

Survivor Series 2006

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The build is here.

Survivor Series – 2006 (Philadelphia)

(Dark – 3 Way Dance: Sandman d. Dreamer d. Scorpio
London d. Kendrick
Benjamin d. Regal)

Joey and Taz are once again your announce

And they’re joined at the very top of the show by HHH-M, representing the Solution, he comes to the announce to do color for the opening match, the winner of which will meet him later on this evening for the Worldwide belts.

1. Sugar Shane Helms d. Charlie Haas (w/Arn and Benjamin)
-Both men former tag champs looking for their first real singles chance in the WWF. Haas and Benjamin are now called Strong Style, the no nonsense tag team under the tutelage of Arn Anderson. They’ve torn through all opposition since Haas returned at XXII to help Benjamin run Kurt Angle out of the WWF. Arn leaned on his longtime friend Flair, Undisputed Champion and the leader of the 51% Solution, to get Helms a shot against fellow Solution member, Worldwide Champ Hunter Hearst Helmsley-McMahon. But HHH-M wasn’t going to make it that easy, and he threw Helms, who eliminated both Benjamin and Haas in the number one contender battle royal, into this mix.

Helms gets the fall though – he and Haas have a 50/50 babyface match, but Helms goes over – as Strong Style exits – Hunter slips into the ring to drop Helms with a Pedigree. Helms will meet HHH-M later tonight – but he’s laid out right now.

2. LWO: Chavo/Carlito (w/Crazy) d. Cena/Kennedy
- Chavo was forced to join the Latino World Order when he lost to Carlito Colon at Summer Slam; he’s done so begrudgingly, but despite the LWO being anti-American heels, they’ve been very welcoming to Chavo; supportive at every turn despite Chavo’s clear disdain for their heelish tactics. The critical moment comes when Crazy distracts the referee and Carlito tosses the knux to Chavo for use on Cena –

--and he uses them. Chavo gives in and becomes a full fledged member of the LWO – embracing Carlito and Crazy as his new family. They wave Puerto Rican and Mexican flags and rile up the Philadelphia crowd.

3. Executioner Lashley d. Booker T
- Lashley is the monster bodyguard for the Solution; and he’s fighting battles on multiple fronts; he’s less a wrestler than a wrecking ball and clips are shown of his ending the WWF careers of Chris Benoit, Kane, and Hulk Hogan and putting Rey Mysterio and even Ricky Steamboat in the hospital. Never backing down from Lashley over the course of the past year has been the Undertaker – and clips of their brawls are part of the package as well. Just this past Monday, Lashley/HHHM/Flair were driven out of the ring in the go home Raw by Taker/Michaels and CM Punk. Lashley has also seemed to bristle under the tight controls of Flair and especially Hunter – Lashley “accidentally” eliminated Hunter from the number one contender’s battle royal – and the announce says speculation as to the stability of the Solution is at its height.

Lashley had altercations with Booker, along with his new protégées, Montel Porter and Elijah Burke, at Summer Slam, then at the number one contender battle royal – and then responded by taking Porter and Burke out a few weeks ago. Porter, as we’ve found, is an ex-convict, like Booker himself, and wrote to Book from, prison telling he was an inspiration and asked for advice. Book sent wrestling tapes from Japan and told him to look him up when he paid his debt.

Porter got out, and along with Burke, a childhood friend (the age difference goes unnoticed) went to Houston to be trained by Book – and now they’re in the WWF – Book is just coming off a tag title run with Bradshaw – and the presence of these two young lions (who will be christened Heat by Book – Book passing along the Harlem Heat colors in a moment we should take as important) has revitalized him.

But Lashley is a monster; Book gets in some shots – but Lashley doesn’t have actual wrestling matches; he just blows through people, and ends the quick bout with a Dominator. Lashley grabs a table post match for his big Dominator Through a Table spot that caused so much damage as earlier discussed – but this brings out Porter and Burke – and among Porter, Burke, and Book – they drive Lashley from the ring.

4. Randy Orton d. Fit Finlay (w/Dean)
This is a big upset. Orton’s a former tag champ, and went over Cena at Summer Slam in the blow off to their feud. But he hasn’t been positioned as a top guy; Fit, on the other hand, is a former Worldwide Champ, having taken those belts from Benoit. He and Dean Malenko, his manager, are the essence of the no-nonsense, hard hitting stiffness that runs throughout counterfactual WWF.

Orton, using the RKO, eliminated Fit at the number one contender battle royal and was talked up by the announce as moving to the next level – Orton has been cutting “it’s my time” promos on the road to Survivor Series – but the match here has him pretty solidly outclassed; Fit is positioned as smarter, more sound, and of a skill level that surpasses the younger Orton.

But, out of nowhere….RKO.

And clean, and in the middle Randy Orton gets the fall on Fit Finlay. The announce is shocked – Orton seems shocked before moving into cocky heel celebration mode.

5. Edge d. Jeff Hardy
Edge is on the road to the main event at XXIII in Detroit; a Hell in a Cell match against Matt Hardy that will blow off their year and a half long feud (really, almost a decade long feud) – the match was made at XXII – and is promoted so heavily that Matt and Edge have their own show, Matt. Edge. 24/7/365 that runs as a segment on every WWF program and as a standalone on the internet.

Whereas Edge has become a maniacal cocky heel and Matt a maniacal babyface – Jeff’s years away from the company have mellowed him, centered him – he is clean (kayfabe) calm, and normal – like a regular guy – except in the ring, where he continues to take ridiculously wild bumps – because that’s what he does for a living. He knows what the fans expect – and he’s happy to give it to them.

Jeff returned at Summer Slam, in the middle of this top card rivalry, to cost Edge his ladder match with Michaels, which cost Edge his possession of Matt’s contract.

Jeff takes whatever level of unconscionable fall he’s willing to take here, it goes wrong and costs him this match, Edge going over cleanly, the announce always, as they always do, talking about XXIII and the Cell match (only the 3rd ever Cell match) that will be on the top of the card.

6. Matt Hardy d. Shawn Michaels
-Edge remains at ringside, hopping on the announce to do color for this match; Edge has no friends in the ring, he and Matt, as mentioned, are in a white hot year and a half long program that is culminating a nearly decade long feud – a feud that kicked off when Edge and Christian turned on Matt and Jeff to join Hunter and Waltman in the Clique. That version of the Clique eventually died – but was reborn in the famous scene at MSG at XX when Edge returned from a year and a half absence when he broke his neck in the same TLC match that was Jeff Hardy’s last in the WWF until this current return. Edge and Christian joined Michaels and London to reform the Clique, a formation that existed – until this program with Matt. All of this is woven together.

As is the Matt/Michaels relationship – because, whereas Edge and Christian began their WWF careers carrying Owen Hart’s bags – Matt and Jeff were the personal ring boys for the Clique: Razor/Diesel/Shawn.

Since Matt’s return, his darkness hasn’t sat well with the heavy evangelical Michaels – Michaels seems, one could say, genuinely concerned about the state of Matt’s inner life; or one could say Michaels is an overbearing hypocrite. The booking accommodates both thoughts.

Shawn has Matt’s contract – and puts Matt over clean here – not a whisper of outside interference, much like the job Michaels did for Edge at XXII.

And postmatch, Edge comes to the ring and he and Matt do a nose to nose, with the giant XXIII poster looming in the background.

7. Unified Tag Titles: Glass Light Tube Tables Match: RVD/Sabu (w/Stevie) d. DMW: Undertaker/PAUL
- And we see the end of Dead Men Walking. DMW: PAUL, Kane, the Taker have been heels and then feuded with each other after various turns – but they all turned babyface for this last run, and Kane and PAUL won the straps at XXII. Kane didn’t make it to Summer Slam, taken out by Lashley as a warning shot to the Taker – and the Taker couldn’t fill in – as he too was taken out by the Executioner. It would be Hogan who filled in the slot – and then he would be sent through a table by Lashley.

Sabu arrived at XXII to aid RVD in his fight against Heyman, Cactus Jack, and the rest of the ECW group that Paul E brought with him, looking for revenge against RVD for turning on him a couple of years before (during a year+ long feud with Matt Hardy…see how it all weaves together?).

Sabu beat Cactus at Summer Slam (Cactus presumably turning face postmatch by ending Heyman’s WWF run) and, with Van Dam’s manager Stevie Richards (who started the ECW exodus back in 2000 by forming Stevie’s Hardcore Family) they take a run here at the tag straps.

It’s a crazy garbage match, ‘cause that’s how we use the ECW guys. Florescent glass light tubes are strapped to tables – and to win, both members of the team have to be put through tables. The Show was 5 bills+ at the end of his WWF run, so putting him through a table, I recognize, is a feat. Put he can be buried in glass tubes, picked up by all 3 guys, put on a table and then Sabu can go through him, leaving the ‘Taker to take a Van Terminator with a table propped behind him for the win. Lot of color everywhere. It’s Philadelphia, after all, and we’re looking for ECW chants.

It’s Sabu’s first WWF belt, obviously – and that’s a big deal – we’d like the fans to feel good for Sabu – Joey and Taz, of course, are on the announce – Taz shakes Sabu’s hand as they leave the ring – it’s a whole ECW thing – Sabu/RVD/Stevie exiting through the crowd – celebrating with the fans in the crowd – passing the title belts around – until they are attacked in the stands by Sandman and Dreamer.

During the Sandman/Dreamer attack – Lashley emerges and destroys PAUL with as much ferocity as we’re permitted.

He then prepares to finish off the Taker – at this point, as he attempts to hit a Dominator on the totally prone Undertaker – Michaels races in from the back.

Michaels and the Undertaker were put together over the past few months to build the Flair/Punk match. Michaels and Undertaker serving as the locker room leaders, the conscious of the WWF, who have impressed upon Punk the importance of the WWF Title and the need to get it away from Flair and the Solution, who they feel have devalued it – disrespected the belt – done the wrong thing for business with their bodyguard and their run ins and Hunter’s use of nepotism. It’s not the WWF they built – again, if one found Michaels overbearing, that’s okay, but he’s still a babyface as positioned.

So, the ECW stands brawl stops, the guys vanishing from view so as not to pull focus from Michaels, who slides the Taker out from the ring and helps him to the back, keeping him from being sent through a table from a career ending Dominator.

That infuriates Lashley – who eventually decides to go after them.
Meaning he doesn’t stay for the next match.

Lot going on, I know. This is how we do it.

8. Worldwide Titles: Helms d. HHH-M
Hunter doesn’t have his bodyguard – so he’s got no one to interfere for him, as the announce notes and the crowd picks up on – he’s still much bigger than Helms, and Helms already wrestled, and he took a pedigree – so Helms is fighting from underneath the whole way – but he’s got that white meat babyface fighting spirit thing going – and he hits Hunter with the vertebreaker and shockingly – Shane Helms captures the IC belt at Survivor Series 2006.

As Helms cradles the belts to his chest – celebrating – disappearing back up the aisle – Lashley slowly makes a walk back to the ring.

Recall, there had been tension in the Solution – and now Lashley wasn’t at ringside and Hunter lost his belts.

You wouldn’t call a man in an Executioner’s hood sheepish – but Lashley approaches Hunter in what the announce considers to be an apologetic way – we’ve never seen Lashley as anything other than alpha male – but he sees that he’s let Hunter down – and he aids Hunter to his feet.

Helmsley goes off on him – screaming at Lashley – until finally he slaps the hood right off his head.

And Lashley snaps on Hunter – beating him down – and then sending HHH-M through a table with a Dominator – breaking Hunter in half.

Flair now runs down the aisle – his title match is up next – and he’s got his head in his hands – Helmsley is gone, laid out – he’ll have to be helped from the ring – who knows when he’ll return?

Flair looks at Lashley – not speaking – too many thoughts, too many calculations filling his head – Flair finally shaking his head and telling Lashley to go – just go.

Hunter’s helped out. Lashley exits. Ric Flair – the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World – the leader of the 51% Solution is all alone in the ring –

And his match is next

9.Undisputed Heavyweight Championship: CM Punk (w/Maria) d. Ric Flair

You get how this goes - Flair's Flair - but it's 2006, and Punk is young and hungry and Flair has no backup and he's trying to cheat and trying to use his veteran wiles and trying all he can do to keep Punk from taking his straps.

But Punk's too much. Nearfalls. Many nearfalls.

Lashley, with Flair in trouble, finally emerges at the top of the ramp – we think he’s gonna run in and save the day for the Solution once again – but he’s stopped cold by a Michaels superkick and an Undertaker tombstone, the Dead Man still bloody from the tag match. – Lashley laid out for the first time in his career.

Punk hits the Pepsi Plunge – and then the Go To Sleep – and gets the fall.

Punks cradles the title belts in the middle of the ring. The Undisputed Champion of the World!!

CM Punk arrived from Ring of Honor at the Rumble; he turned out to be the puppetmaster behind the 3 way feud among London/Kendrick/Noble.

Punk refused to wrestle on WWF TV – saying he wasn’t here to be a superstar or a sports entertainer, contrasting himself with specifically Hunter whose preening was starting to dominate the WWF – his line was “I’m CM Punk. And I’m a professional wrestler.”

He remained a heel, however, using his manipulation to keep the other wrestlers off TV as well, preying on their weaknesses, their insecurities as they remained pitted against each other.

That’s one way to see it. The other way to see it (Counterfactual WWF enjoys the nuance) is that he’s a man of principle, refusing to bow down to the man – Punk started wrestling indies, taking a handheld camera to ship footage back to RAW – but still he refused to wrestle on WWF TV – that’s what led to Sci Fi, on Tuesday nights, starting GDI Wrestling (God damn Independent, or Global Dominant Independent for those adverse to expletives).

But Punk won, from the #1 spot, the battle royal to get the title shot – and he came to Philly – and he won the Undisputed Championship of the World.

CM Punk has beaten Ric Flair to win the WWF Title.

The boys come from the back – standing at the top of the ramp – a bloody Undertaker and Michaels front and center – all the boys at the top of the ramp –

Flair shakes Punk’s hand and exits the ring. The Philly crowd, I’m guessing, enjoys this result – and listens as Punk takes the mic.

Punk holds the WWF belt and the NWA belt in his hands.

He says it’s the greatest night of his life. He wipes a tear from his eye.

And as he stands here in the ring in Philadelphia.

He thinks of the men who have held these title belts.

“The Jack Briscos. And the Terry Funks. And the fat man Dusty Rhodes. And the Ric Flairs. And the Dynamite Kids. And the Rick Steamboats. And the Curt Hennigs. And the Randy Savages. And the Bret Harts. And the Steve Austins. And the Shawn Michaels

And they can all….

kiss my ass.”

Punk throws the WWF and NWA belts down. Throws them down.

I said - he throws them down.

He says he is not the man to carry the banner of dead wrestling companies.

He says the NWA has been dead since 2001 – and the WWF died the second that a 55 year old man started carrying around the world title.

He is not a guy to carry on a legacy. He is not a guy to stand on the shoulders of the men who have gone before – he is not the next chapter in a book already written. He doesn't care about locker room traditions. He doesn't care about Lou Thesz and Whipper Watson and Bruno Sammartino and a bunch of hundred year old fossils with cauliflower ears talking about "in my day, we didn't have to do all this flying around, we could grab a 30 minute headlock and make the crowd love it."

Screw off. Punk says. Screw off with your "these young guys don't know how to wrestle" bullshit.

Screw off with your locker room politics and shaking the right guy's hand and not doing too much in the lower card matches so you don't show up the veterans at the top who draw the money.

Screw off.

The Hart Foundation? - screw off.

The Clique? - screw off.

World Wrestling Federation?

Screw off.

He is CM Punk – he is here to ignite the flame of the next fire spread wild in the sport of professional wrestling.

Maria gives Punk the ECW belt.

Punk says this belt – the ECW Heavyweight Championship belt – is the only belt that represents the Independent spirit the only belt held by iconoclasts, rebels, outlaws, not sports entertainers - not corporate robots – because he is not a corporate puppet – not a businessman, not a superstar, not a sports entertainer –

He is not WWF Champion. He is NOT WWF CHAMPION

He is CM Punk.

He’s a professional wrestler.

He is G…D….I….. G...D...I.....G...D...I.....G....D....I

Punk and Maria spit on the WWF and NWA belts - - and now, the stunned WWF wrestlers at the top of the ramp, who were applauding just minutes before – begin to pound the ring in a fury, Michaels and the Taker and Flair hitting first... Edge and Jeff and Matt Hardy just behind them – Punk and Maria scamper out – escaping with the ECW belt through the crowd – which, one hopes, has some people who definitely support what Punk just did.

The announce is too stunned to speak – the camera focuses on the shocked WWF wrestlers – babyfaces and heels, sworn enemies, standing in the ring together -- and then frames the WWF and NWA title belts, spittle on them both – lying on the blood soaked canvas as the 20th Survivor Series ends.

We'll see you soon on the Road to Royal Rumble 2007.

TNA Slammiversary 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Final Resolution is here.

Slammiversary 2007

Real world Bound for Glory means it's time for counterfactual Slammiversary; Survivor Series 2006 will be up very, very soon.

World Title: Samoa Joe d. Kurt Angle
X Division: Low Ki d. Homicide
Tags: Christian/Rhyno d. Dudleys
AJ Styles draw Chris Daniels
Sting d. Jerry Lynn
Abyss d. Bobby Roode
Jay Lethal d. Ron Killings
Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin d. AMW

Road to Survivor Series '06 - V

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Part 4 is here.

Road to Survivor Series 2006 Part 5

There isn’t a WWF show where you don’t see a reminder that Edge and Matt are meeting in the main event at WM XXIII…in a way never seen before, the main event was announced a full year prior – and it has been building for far longer than that.

Matt. Edge. 24/7/365 is a segment on every WWF show and when we get closer, entire programs will be devoted to the build for their Hell in a Cell blowoff to their feud.

So as we are on the Road to Survivor Series 20 – everpresent is what the two of these men are doing.

Matt v. HBK
Edge v. Jeff

That’s what they’re doing.

Edge/Jeff is less complicated. Jeff has had the same careerlong feud with Edge that Matt has had, except he left the company after being stretchered out at Royal Rumble 2003, almost 4 full years ago, in the same match that Edge was stretchered out of with a broken neck.

We’re gonna see a lot of clips of that during this stretch.

Jeff returned after 3 ½ years at Summer Slam, costing Edge his ladder match with HBK – and then he eliminated Edge from the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal.

We begin to see in this stretch that underneath the veneer of cockiness, Edge burns to be WWF Champion, to have the Triple Crown – that he has that tag wrestler insecurity, that “when will it be my turn, when will I get out of the bottom of the card” insecurity – and as we watch the 24/7/365 show in this stretch – we can see the parallels between Jeff and Edge…and really the ones between Edge and Matt, both abandoned by their brothers who left the company –

Consider the Hardys and E and C – crawling up the ranks from being ring boys to the Clique and the Harts to being in the collision tag title feud, practically giving up their bodies to keep moving up the card…and then hitting the glass ceiling – stuck in the middle, or worse, for years after all the great talent arrived from NWA and ECW – stuck behind Benoit/Eddy/Angle the triangle of terror which took the top of the card away from Austin and Cactus, who took the top of the card from HBK/Bret/Owen…

Hardys and E and C never got their chance – the feud took away the bodies of the men who were a part of it – it broke the Dudleys – and they’re gone – it broke Christian – and he’s gone – Edge was shut down for a year and a half – Jeff gone for 3 ½ years – Matt has turned into Pillman, Matt Hardy a friendless, twisted, dark babyface – a man against the machine ---- and after the Lita twist of fate – they’re headed for the inevitable collision in the 3rd ever Hell in a Cell, the main event of WM XXIII….

Edge and Matt. Opposite sides of the same coin.

But that’s not Survivor Series. Survivor Series is Edge and Jeff.

Jeff Hardy is normal. That’s the Jeff Hardy we re-meet on the Road to Survivor Series – what has he been doing for the past 3 ½ years?

Getting normal. Getting clean. Getting healthy. Feeling good.

The Jeff Hardy we meet away from the ring dresses like a normal man of his age. Has normal hair. He’s not 20 year old wild ass Jeff Hardy anymore. It’s 2006. Whereas Matt is dark and deep and twisted in knots…

Jeff’s fine.

Jeff’s content. Jeff’s smiling. Jeff feels great.

Jeff says he’s not driven anymore – he used to have this awful burning need to nearly kill himself every night. And whether he was in the ring or not – whether he was falling off a ladder or drinking in a club – he had to go to all possible extremes.
And when he couldn’t get that rush anymore – when no matter how far he fell, how many drugs he did, how deep he pushed himself – he couldn’t get that rush – he had to walk away.

He was burned out.

But now – now he feels great.

And he’s not back because he’s in pain, not acting out any trauma – not here for vengeance or destruction.

He’s here to wrestle. To have some fun. To kick Edge’s ass.

Jeff Hardy is clear eyed and happy. Matt Hardy is twisted and gnarled.

That’s the Hardy Boys on the Road to Survivor Series 2006.

Edge, with his ring boys, Teddy Hart and Harry Smith – is supremely confident in this stretch – he appears to be covering a little bit, we can see the cracks that allow his desperation to be WWF Champion to come through – but his face is supercocky – as he is certain he’s better than Jeff Hardy and relishes the chance to gear up for WM XXIII by tuning up another longtime rival. He can’t wrestle Matt until Mania – but beating Jeff’s ass is the next best thing.

Jeff meets Edge in a singles at Survivor Series 2006.

And Matt meets Michaels.

Okay. Matt was a ringboy for the Clique. And of the wrestlers of that generation, who wouldn’t have wanted to be Shawn Michaels? He was the rockstar of his generation.

Over the past year, we’ve seen Michaels’ religious convictions, his puritanical nature, occasionally get heavy handed. Nothing worse than a convert, after all. And now he’s as extreme about being good as he once was about being bad.

It’s subtle, it’s not a turn – but when in part IV, we set up Michaels’ role in the Punk program as a locker room leader – see how, if you dialed that up a notch, it could be viewed as heavy handed. Who is Shawn Michaels, of all people, to take the role of voice of the WWF locker room?

But yet he did so – and does so without humility. He’s Shawn Michaels, and in his mind, as it’s always been, he is right about all things. He has the truth. He has seen the light.

Michaels has not embraced, but rather condemned, Matt upon his return.

Matt’s too dark, too twisted – Matt’s attacked people, used weapons, defied authority – even though Michaels condemned his stablemate Edge for sleeping with Lita and then lying about it – acts that blew up the Clique and led to the Michaels/Edge feud that has lasted all year long – Michaels still steadfastly refused to endorse Matt.

And now Shawn Michaels has Matt Hardy’s contract – having won it from Edge, with Jeff’s help, at Summer Slam.

On a RAW – Shawn calls Matt to the ring.

One assumes it’s to give him his contract – why else would he have won it from Edge?

But Shawn cuts a patronizing promo – running down the list of Matt’s sins – ending with Matt having attacked Lita before Summer Slam, hitting her with a Twist of Fate and sending her from the WWF.

Shawn says that was cowardly – and he isn’t sure the right thing to do is to give Matt his contract.

I desperately don’t want a turn here – particularly as Shawn’s a babyface locker room leader in the Punk program. The key here is Shawn needs to not come off as cocky or smarmy or fake – he believes it. Joey would help if he were to sell that belief. Shawn is sincere. He’s sincerely overbearing. I want a fan to be able to say “fuck Shawn Michaels – he did tons of coke and now he’s judging people – fuck that Jesus freak” and the guy next to him to say “are you nuts – he’s one of the greatest wrestlers ever, everyone kissed his ass and he walked away from it – he changed, he got better – he’s trying to show the younger guys they don’t have to be assholes to be on top”

Although, I’d like both those fans to pop for Matt F’n Hardy.

That’s the idea.

So, Shawn does his messianic locker room leader bit with Matt – trying to bring him back into the fold – and Matt lays him out with the Twist of Fate.

Maybe Shawn’s a little jealous. Matt’s the main event of XXIII.

Maybe Shawn’s hearing the ticking of the clock a little bit.

Regardless, he has Matt Hardy’s contract – and they’ll meet in a singles at Survivor Series.

That’s 6 matches – the other 3 are easier.

Lashley will take on Booker T.

Lashley wipes out Porter and Burke, Booker’s protégée tag team, continuing the feud started at Summer Slam and continuing at the Battle Royal – Booker wants revenge.

Lashley is, of course, the Executioner monster, no one can touch him, he’s an unstoppable beast – and the announce expresses concern for the veteran Booker T.

Fit Finlay will take on Randy Orton.

Orton eliminated Fit at the Battle Royal – and then, let’s say after a singles match when Fit goes over Morley – Orton ran in and RKO’d Fit out of nowhere. Look at that RKO! Look how Orton can hit it from any angle! In a second, in the snap of a finger, this young, cocky, upstart Randy Orton can turn out anyone’s lights. RKO!

And finally the opening tag – the LWO, Carlito and Chavo with Crazy in their corner meets the babyface Cena and Kennedy. Chavo lost to Carlito at Summer Slam, was forced to join the LWO – the dynamic is Carlito and Crazy are supportive of Chavo – they want him to relish being a Latino gangsta heel. They love the bandanas and the colors and want Chavo to want to be a part of the family. notes in subtext (subtext, mind you, subtext, never articulated on the program) is sort of desperate for family these days.

And that’s your card.

Survivor Series 20. From Philadelphia. November.

Undisputed Championship: Ric Flair v. CM Punk
Worldwide Championship: HHH-M v. Charlie Haas or Shane Helms
Unified Tags: Glass Light Tube Tables Match: Dead Men Walking: PAUL/Undertaker v. RVD/Sabu

Matt Hardy v. HBK
Edge v. Jeff Hardy

Executioner Lashley v. Booker T
Fit Finlay v. Randy Orton

LWO: Chavo/Carlito v. Cena/Kennedy
Charlie Haas v. Shane Helms

You know you wanna call your local cable company!!  Survivor Series.

Road to Survivor Series '06 - IV

Part 3 is here.

Road to Survivor Series 2006 Part 4

Survivor Series 20 from the fighting city of Philadelphia is coming in November.

We’ve got the main event (if you missed the battle royal, go to older posts – this is part 4 of the build, so catch up, people): Ric Flair defending the Undisputed Championship against CM Punk.

Punk stays on Tuesdays, other than the final RAW before Survivor Series, when he will be persuaded to wrestle in a tag with Michaels against Flair/HHH.

Punk cuts promos on Tuesdays, we’ll show those promos on Mondays too – Punk’s coming to Philadelphia, a city known for independence – to fight for GDI – to fight for the sport of professional wrestling – to end the tyranny of the oppressive Solution.

The importance of defeating the Solution is seen when, on GDI one Tuesday, Shawn Michaels shows up.

Michaels, in streetclothes, comes to the ring to talk to Punk.

He says he’s not a fan of GDI. He’s not a fan of GDI because he’s a fan of WWF – his blood is in that ring on Monday nights – and he’s not coming to Tuesday to tell these fans or CM Punk he admires them or is on their side.

But he’s here to tell Punk he needs to win the title at Survivor Series.

Because the WWF isn’t about sports entertainment, not about superstars – it’s about wrestlers – wrestlers like London and Kendrick and Noble – and CM Punk.

Back in the day, when he and Owen were coming up – when it was the beginning of Hart v. Clique – when they were working dark matches 20 years ago at PPV – the guys above them were the Steamboats and the Hennigs and the Savages.

Wrestlers. We admired them. We respected their legacies. And we stood on the shoulders of the giants who came before us to create the World Wrestling Federation, the greatest professional wrestling organization the sport has ever seen.

But, Michaels says, you’ve just been here since January, Punk.

And you got here at a time when the WWF was run by the Solution.

And the Solution is about run ins and bodyguards and nepotism – and Ric Flair in 2006 being the Undisputed Champion of the World.

Ric Flair might be the greatest of all time, Shawn says.

But not anymore.

So, Michaels says – to protect my legacy and the legacy of those who have gone before me – we need a professional wrestler – some new blood – to win those belts and restore the WWF to its proper place of dignity and honor that it has held since Ricky Steamboat pinned Hulk Hogan.

Michaels says he will do whatever he can to see that CM Punk becomes the next WWF Champion.

Michaels extends his hand – Punk accepts. Michaels says he knows someone else who wants to talk to Punk. Someone who hasn’t been around since Summer Slam..someone who is returning at Survivor Series to defend the tag team titles…the Undertaker.

Over both the other shows that week, they discuss that the Undertaker will appear like you’ve never seen him before, on GDI on Tuesday – much speculation as to what that means. Heavy promos – Undertaker on GDI.

Undertaker appears in streetclothes. No gimmick. Well, the lifts in the shoes, otherwise, no gimmick.

Says he’s never done anything like this before, won’t ever do it again. But he wanted to personally…to personally tell Punk that the boys were with him. He wanted CM Punk to know that the locker room was embarrassed about the Solution – that the boys hate what’s happening right now with the singles belts – and even though Punk and the rest of the Tuesday night crew have chosen to separate themselves – that the boys will stand with them at Survivor Series.

Punk’s humbled – it’s a big deal – the locker room leaders have come to whatever indie hall we’re in to shake Punk’s hand. They’ve come to him and we need to recognize that’s important.

Near the PPV, Punk’s attacked by the Solution, doing a run in on GDI. Flair and Helmsley (not Lashley).

They beat him down – but Michaels is there for a save – and that sets up a tag match on the final RAW before Survivor Series. Michaels/Punk against Flair and HHH.

No finish, a Lashley run in to drop the faces – and then the Undertaker, making his RAW return – obviously in full Dead Guy gimmick – to enter and help the faces clean house. That’s the image I want just before the PPV – Michaels/Undertaker and Punk running Flair/HHH/Lashley out of the ring.

Flair v. Punk is your Survivor Series 20 main event.

Rewind a couple of months.

After the battle royal – Arn Anderson calls Ric Flair to the ring.

Arn says they’ve been friends for 25 years. They’re ridden the roads together. And when Arn left the Solution after XXII to manage Strong Style, he thought he did so with Flair’s blessing.

Flair doesn’t seem to understand.

Arn says then why was it Strong Style wasn’t on the card at Summer Slam?

Flair says only so many spots – Arn needs to understand.

Arn gets mad.

What Arn understands is that Strong Style destroyed the LWO, MNM, and Bradshaw and Booker. What Arn understands is that Strong Style dominated the Number One Contender’s battle royal. What Arn understands is that HHH-M doesn’t have an opponent yet for Survivor Series.

Flair says okay – Flair’s amenable – Flair wants to keep the peace – Flair says “you got it, Double A, whatever you want.”

That brings out HHH.

Hunter says he’d like to accommodate, he would – but he’s already promised someone a shot at his strap at Survivor Series.


Hunter, clearly lying, just making it up – says, “Shane Helms”

Helms, recall, battled with both Benjamin and then Haas during the full run of the battle royal. Hunter clearly seems Helms as small and doesn’t respect him. Helms has largely been a tag act in WWF.

Hunter, the brain starting to work now, says…well….it’s only fair…since I’m a fighting champion…that both Shane Helms and whichever member of Strong Style you chose, Double A – gets to wrestle at Survivor Series.

3 way? The announce wonders.

Arn says okay – they shake.

Then Hunter explains.

At the beginning of the night – one member of Strong Style (who will turn out to be Haas, I don’t know how Strong Style will decide – they’ll wrestle for it – sure, that’s how – they’re wrestle for it – Charlie goes over Shelton – Charlie gets to go) will wrestle Shane Helms – and the winner of that match, later that same night, will go on to meet me.

We should look at that as Arn’s being duped a little bit – he does – and he stares hard at Flair as he leaves the ring.

So…Sugar Shane Helms, who will get an underdog push – he’s seen only as a tag – he’s been around a long time – but he lasted 45 minutes in the battle royal and he sure seems talented…he will get the biggest chance of his life, wrestling in the opening match at Survivor Series – against Charlie Haas.

And Haas is half of Strong Style, of course, he and Benjamin are former tag champs, he was gone for a year, but returned at XXII – and now he gets the biggest singles shot of his life.

Haas and Helms, two men who fought throughout the battle royal – will meet in the opening match at Survivor Series 20 – the winner will go on, later that same night, to meet HHH-M for the Worldwide Championship.

The tags – PAUL, angered at being blasted with the glass light tube by Sabu at the battle royal, buries both of them into vending machines in the back – PAUL is full on angry giant – no longer the cuddly giant he’s been since the face turn – he brutalizes Sabu/Van Dam and Stevie in the back, crashing them through vending machines and bloodying them up.

RVD and Sabu get revenge, with the glass light tubes, laying PAUL out and attempting, albeit unsuccessfully, to put him through a table.

And that’s your tag match – PAUL and the returning Undertaker, defending in a glass light tube tables match against RVD and Sabu. The tables will be covered with fluorescent glass tubes – both members of one team have to be put through the glass light tube tables to win.

Those are your title matches plus the opening match.

5 matches left. We’ll set them up later this week.

Undisputed Championship: Flair v. Punk
Worldwide Championship: HHHM v. Helms or Haas
Unified Tags: PAUL/Undertaker v. RVD/Sabu

Winner gets the Shot: Helms v. Haas

5 matches left to set up – the opening tag and the four big singles matches. Coming very soon – the Road to Survivor Series 20 Concludes.

Road to Survivor Series '06 - III

Monday, October 01, 2007

Part 2 is here.

Road to Survivor Series Part 3 – Battle Royal 9

(I'm knocking out the Road to SS20 this week, if you've missed parts 1 and 2, go to older posts)

1. CM Punk
-Punk makes his RAW wrestling debut – wearing a brand new GDI Wrestling t-shirt, announce puts it over as a big deal – 8 months since he showed up in the crowd at the Royal Rumble – CM Punk is wrestling on RAW.

2. 2 Cold Scorpio
-Announce puts this over too – 2 Cold appears unannounced, wearing a GDI t-shirt. 2 Cold never got established in WWF, but was a multi-time belt holder in both ECW and NWA – announce says, like battle royals past, wrestlers come from all over the world to get a shot at the WWF Title. And apparently he will be joining GDI on Tuesday nights!

3. Sugar Shane Helms
-Announce notes that Helms has never gotten singles respect here in the WWF, but he is a former tag champ and one of the most underrated wrestlers in the company.

4. Chavo Guerrero
-Again, Chavo lost to Carlito at Summer Slam and was forced to join the LWO, he continues to look uncomfortable in the LWO colors (think LAX) – he’s got a bandana covering his face – and hits the ring; he is attacked by Punk and Scorp – reuniting the original SpreeKillers, Chavo and Helms, who began tagging together back in the NWA in 1999. Chavo and Helms go at it w/ Scorp and Punk.

5. Shelton Benjamin (w/AA)
Arn brings in half of Strong Style – they dominated the tag ranks in the summer of ’06, mowing everyone down, but still could not get spots in Summer Slam – Benjamin spends the full two minutes suplexing everyone in the ring whenever they get up – dominating the ring until the next entrant.

6. Ken Kennedy
-He and Cena are doing a cocky babyface tag act – he’s met by Benjamin who suplexes him halfway across the ring – Benjamin gets in more suplexes until he’s stopped by a low blow by Punk.

7. Booker T
-Now the ring separates into individual battles – Book goes right after Punk, laying into him with kicks and chops. Helms battles Benjamin in another corner. Scorpio and Kennedy wind up working together on Chavo, who is about to be tossed over the top rope.

8. Carlito Colon
-Carlito sprints to the ring and clotheslines Kennedy (30) over the top rope to the outside. Even without thinking, Chavo joins Carlito automatically in a double dropkick that sends Scorpio (29) over the top rope to the outside! Chavo looks surprised and angry – he doesn’t like Carlito – doesn’t like being LWO – but Carlito has just saved him and the two of them have just teamed up – Carlito smiles and nods, tapping his chest.

9. Sandman
-Sandman makes the long entrance. With music and singing and beer and smash, smash, smash. Book and Punk continue, as do Helms and Benjamin. Chavo curses Carlito out.

10. Jamie Noble
-Sandman and Noble hit the ring at the same time – Sandman swings his cane, leveling both LWO members, getting a brief advantage against them before they 2 on 1 him. Noble comes in on Punk’s side against Book. Helms continues w/ Benjamin.

11. PAUL~
-Half of the tag champs, DMW, the Giant Paul enters. He tosses Noble (28). Announce notes that DMW is a mess right now, Kane is gone, having been destroyed by Lashley. Announce takes this chance to mention Rey and Benoit and Steamboat all suffered the same fate. Anyway – Kane’s gone, Paul and Hogan defended the titles at Summer Slam – but then Hogan was taken out by Lashley – but the rumors are the Undertaker, also taken out by Lashley, will return at Survivor Series to defend the tag titles with PAUL.

12. Paul London
-London goes right after Punk and lights him up, chasing him to every corner of the ring. Paul battles Book, the LWO goes after Sandman, Helms and Benjamin continue their fight. 9 men in the ring.

13. Elijah Burke
-Burke, childhood friend of Montel Porter (who wrote to Booker T while in prison, asking for advice, Book sent wrestling tapes and then trained Burke and Porter in Houston after Porter was released) hops in, obviously on the side of Book, they go after Paul. 10 in the ring.

14. Super Crazy
-That’s all 3 LWO members in the ring, and they toss Sandman (27) Burke can’t handle the monster Paul (26).

15. John Cena
-That’s half the entrants, Cena gets the joke spot as he’s tossed right out (25) by the LWO – and then Chavo immediately turns on Carlito (24). Announce expects Carlito to be angry – but he smiles, nodding at Chavo “good job – good job, Chavito.”

Chavo gets frustrated – why won’t these guys get mad at him?

Book takes advantage, tossing Chavo over – but Chavo is saved and brought back in the ring by Crazy!

16. Rob Van Dam (w/Stevie)
-As RVD hits the ring, Helms wins his war with Benjamin (23). RVD goes after the big man, PAUL, the LWO continues to battle Book, and London and Punk turn it up.

17. Charlie Haas
-Immediately after Benjamin’s exit – Haas enters, he, Arn, and Benjamin have a quick confab – and Haas goes after Helms.

Lights out.

Lights on.

18. Sabu
-Sabu is in the ring holding a glass light tube, his new weapon of choice after beating Cactus Jack at Summer Slam in the glass light tube match. Sabu cracks Paul clean over the head – blood flowing from the big man and Sabu/RVD knock him over (22).

19. Tommy Dreamer
20.Brian Kendrick
-Kendrick goes into the Punk/London fight, and it becomes a GDI 3 way.
-the LWO keeps trying to eliminate Book
-Helms and Haas continue to fight
And RVD/Sabu eliminate Tommy (21).

21. Lord Steven Regal
That makes 11 in the ring. Seems like a lot.

22. Shawn Michaels
Superkick to Crazy (20). Superkick to Chavo (19). Superkick to Booker…but Book is able to hang out and Shawn continues to try to toss him over. Haas and Helms continue their fight, the announce notes that Punk and Helms, entrants 1 and 3, are both still in the ring, Regal is wearing out Punk with headbuts – and Van Dam and Sabu find themselves face to face with London and Kendrick – RVD motions to all 3 guys that this should be a tag match – London and Kendrick, former tag partners in a war since Kendrick returned to the WWF at Survivor Series ’05 nod to each other – and it’s on.

23. Hunter Hearst Helmsley McMahon
London and Kendrick take out RVD (18). London then turns on Kendrick (17).

24. Montel Porter
Porter joins Book – the two men taking out Haas (16) and Helms (15)

25. The Executioner Bobby Lashley
-Uh oh.

(14) Regal. (13) Porter. (12) Booker (11) Sabu

This now happens really quickly.

26. Matt Hardy
-Matt is of course on his way to the main event at XXIII where he and Edge will blow off their long feud in the third ever Hell in a Cell.

But right now, he gets to the ring at the exact moment that Booker hits the floor.

Lashley was directly challenged by Book/Porter/Burke at Summer Slam, and we see his angry exuberance now, as he physically overwhelmed Porter and Book – he beats his chest and trashtalks Book and Porter on the outside when HHH slaps him on the back --- it will be a matter of some debate – but as HHH slaps Lashley, the Executioner, still in a frenzied state – doesn’t recognize that he’s being congratulated – and just automatically tosses HHHM over the top.

Huge pop. (10).

Flair now emerges from the back, yelling at Lashley – HHH stands bug eyed on the outside – did he mean to do it – did he not – and as the moment continues…

(9) Lashley is dropkicked over the top rope by Matt Hardy.

And Matt Hardy (8) is superkicked over the top by Shawn Michaels.

27. Edge
And Edge enters, even before the two minutes are up, to spear Michaels.

The Solution has been eliminated – and they remain on the outside, Flair and HHH yelling at Lashley. At Summer Slam, Michaels won Matt Hardy’s contract from Edge in the Ladder Match, but Michaels has just eliminated Matt from the Battle Royal – and now there are only 4 men in the ring. Edge and Michaels, former stablemates who have been feuding all year – and London and Punk, who continue their battle. 4 men in the ring. 3 men left. Who will go on to Survivor Series to meet Ric Flair???

28. Randy Orton
-Orton walks slowly to the ring, taking his time, surveying the landscape, taking the full two minutes. Edge v. Michaels. Punk v. London

29. Fit Finlay (w/Dean)
-Fit is the one who tosses Orton in the ring – Fit putting the boots to Orton –then going over and lighting up both Edge and Michaels – Michaels takes shots from both Fit and Edge, battling back furiously – and then is stunned when he eats a superkick from one of his protégées, Paul London – London eliminates Shawn Michaels (7)!! But there’s no time to celebrate – London is then tossed out of the ring by CM Punk – still in the ring from position number one! (6) Out of nowhere, Orton RKOs Fit – and tosses him over (5)

30. Jeff Hardy
-Jeff doesn’t let Orton enjoy his triumph (4).

And now there are 3 men left – Edge. Punk. Jeff.

We get a long 3 way sequence.

Will it be Edge – former tag and IC champ – will he get his first shot at the WWF Title – a shot at the Triple Crown – as he readies for the main event at XXIII?

Will it be Punk – the man too good for WWF TV – the leader of the Tuesday night revolution, GDI wrestling?

Will it be Jeff Hardy – making his return to the WWF – the former tag champ cost Edge his ladder match at Summer Slam –

And costs Edge here.

Jeff eliminates Edge (3)!!

Jeff Hardy and CM Punk are the last two men in the ring – there has never been a man who has gone from 30 to win the Battle Royal – At the 80 minute mark, Punk having broken the record for the longest survival in the history of the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal – at the 80 minute mark ---

He wins.

Punk tosses Jeff from the ring.

CM Punk…CM Punk…in his first RAW match….CM Punk is going to Survivor Series to wrestle Ric Flair for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World as the road continues.

Road to Survivor Series '06 - II (Battle Royals 1-8)

Part I is here.

Road to Survivor Series 2006 II
The inaugural Number One Contender’s Battle Royal was right after VII in ’91 on the last SNME in 15 years.

-Hawk and Animal were the first two entrants.
-Barbarian was the first elimination (by the Road Warriors)
-The Undertaker has 10 eliminations. Still a record. 10 is a lot.
-Michaels lasted almost an hour, eliminated by Bret and Davey Boy
-Davey won the battle royal, Sid was the last elimination.
-Davey went on to win the WWF Title at Summer Slam, defeating Mr. Perfect.
Two years later, after IX, the battle royal returned.

-Owen and Shawn were the first two entrants.
-The first elimination was Doink (by Owen and HBK)
-Luger eliminated 6 guys
-Owen lasted a little over an hour, breaking the record.
-And Michaels then broke that record, lasting 75 minutes, being the last elimination – by Razor.
-Razor went on to lose to WWF Champion Bret at Summer Slam, a rematch from the main at IX.

Two years later, after XI, the battle royal returned.
-Waltman and Bob Holly were one and two.
-Holly was the first elimination – by Hunter
-Undertaker eliminated 5 guys.
-Hakushi was your winner, eliminating Razor last.
-Hakushi went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ Bret

We moved the Battle Royal to run in the even numbered years next, as it returned after XII.
-Billy and Bart were one and two.
-Jannetty was the first out, eliminated by Snow
-Austin eliminated 7.
-Owen won the battle royal, eliminating Austin last
-Pillman’s surprise debut was in this match.
-Owen went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ HBK

Two years later, the 5th battle royal, after XIV
-Rock and HHH were 1-2.
-Mero was first eliminated, by Rock.
-Dr. Death was a mystery entrant
-Austin had 9 eliminations.
-He was last eliminated, by Cactus. Cactus went on to win the WWF Title, and the Triple Crown, at Summer Slam, beating Owen.

Two years later, after XVI, in 2000, it returned.
-Angle and Alabama Bob were the first two entrants
-Crash was the first eliminated, by Angle.
-Angle eliminated 8 and also lasted an hour.
-Rock won the battle royal, Jericho was the last out.
-Rock went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ Benoit

Two years later, after XVIII – battle royal 7.
-This was the battle royal put together by the Titan Trust, Fit/Arn/Dean
-26 of the 30 entrants had held gold somewhere and 9 were former Heavyweight Champions in the most star studded battle royal ever.
-Jericho and Edge were 1 and 2.
-Regal was the first out, eliminated by Jericho and Book.
-The Clique, Michaels, Razor, Diesel, Hunter and even a running in Waltman eliminated 11.
-They were all (save HBK) eliminated by Brock
-Rey was a surprise entrant, the first ever winner from the 30 position (no one has ever won from #1) He eliminated former world champs Hennig, Flair, and Michaels to win.
-He went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ Angle

Two years later – but now after Summer Slam as opposed to after Mania – was battle royal 8 in 2004.

-Tajiri and Yang were 1 and 2.
-Yang was first out, by Benjamin
-Angle had multiple eliminations from the announce position
-Leviathan had 9 eliminations
-Eddy won, eliminating Christian. Eddy went to Survivor Series and fought WWF Champ Benoit to a time limit draw.

And now – 2 years later – Battle Royal 9 – 30 men, the winner goes to Survivor Series 20 to meet Ric Flair for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World – and it is coming next

Road to Survivor Series '06 - I

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Summer Slam is here.

The Road to Survivor Series ‘06 -I

The Solution opens up in the ring the night after Summer Slam. It’s full on gloating, HHH says the Solution is bulletproof, Flair says they’re the..Woooo…best thing going today.

HHH says he’s still Worldwide Champ, another successful title defense for the greatest sports entertainer alive.

Flair says he’s the greatest wrestler who ever lived, and now it’s he, not Mysterio, not Steamboat, not Lou Thesz, not the fat guy in the front row, who is an 8 time World Heavyweight Champion, and for the first time in his career, he is the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Flair and HHH hold up their 6 belts.

Executioner Lashley stands motionless, with the hood on, in the corner, he hasn’t been addressed.

Flair says the Solution has fighting champions – and that the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal is about to return – and Flair will take on the winner of that Battle Royal in Philadelphia at Survivor Series 20!

Hunter says both he and the Executioner will enter and they will work together, so where the other 28 men will all be pitted against each other, all battling it out for the chance to be the main at Survivor Series 20, Hunter and Lashley will be a finely tuned team – and when one of them wins – then the gold will be kept all in the family.

The LWO music plays – Carlito, Crazy – and a few steps behind, in the LWO colors for the first time – Chavo – enter – staying at the top of the ramp.

Carlito says if Hunter wants to talk about family….he’s talking about the LWO. That two weeks from now (or something like that) on the season premiere of RAW, all 3 (emphasis on 3) members of the LWO family will be in the Battle Royal – and you can bet they’ll all stick together.

We note how uncomfortable Chavo is wearing the colors he is now forced to wear after losing at Summer Slam. Crazy has a bandana over his face and is waving a mash up flag of Puerto Rico and Mexico.

HHH says they aren’t family, it’s a Mexican guy who’s never won a match, a Puerto Rican Sideshow Bob, and Chavo who looks like he’s cutting a hostage tape.

Flair says he doesn’t care if Chavo wants to be LWO or not – he’s known Chavo since their NWA days, knows Chavo from the Four Horsemen – and he knows Chavo can’t get the job done when it counts.

Chavo fumes a little hotter – when a new version of Booker T’s old theme hits, a version fused with real world MVP’s theme, and through the crowd, Booker, Porter and Burke make their way through, remaining amid the people.

Book says he’s known Flair and Chavo since the NWA – and back then, he would have taken them both on. But something happened to him in the WWF, he started to settle, he started to look at wrestling like a job, he started to show up only when he got paid – and even though he just held tag team gold – that he was starting to forget who Booker T was.

But last night, his boys showed up.

He introduces Porter and Burke.

He points at Lashley, says the Executioner met them last night – and the rest of the WWF will meet them all at the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal when they eliminate 27 other guys and win a shot at the Undisputed Championship of the World…now can you dig that….sucka!

HHH says Booker’s washed up. Says he can bring all the ex-cons he wants (we don’t know yet about Porter’s background, that story will be told between now and SSeries, HHH is teasing) but the monster Lashley will eliminate the whole lot of them without breathing hard – we’re gonna have some black on black crime up in this bitch…sucka!

The video wall lights up – it’s at whatever indie arena GDI will emanate from the following night – in the ring are London/Kendrick/Noble/ and CM Punk

Punk says they aren’t family over in GDI. They don’t even like each other.

But he says – they like the Solution even less.

And they are coming to RAW.

Punk says all 4 of them – including himself, Punk making his WWF TV wrestling debut – will be in the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal. And wouldn’t it just be a kick in the head, Nature Boy, if one of the men in this ring took your title back to Tuesday nights.

HHH says he’s still not sure who Punk is. And all he remembers about London and Kendrick is kicking their asses in the Clique. And Jamie Noble’s too small to see.

They’re vanilla midgets, HHH says. They don’t know how to work.

Flair says you guys won’t work together – you all hate each other – that what none of you people (talking to both the other factions too) understand is that the Solution is family, they can trust each other – they’ll stick together to keep the gold in the family – and no one else in the WWF will ever do that.

The lights dim – a spotlight hits the top of the aisle, the LWO is off to the side now, so there’s a clear path from the top of the aisle down to the ring. A disembodied voice says “Ladies and gentlemen. The Hardy Boys.”

The old Hardy theme hits – and for the first time in years, Matt and Jeff are together.

They walk all the way to the ring, absorbing the fan reaction.

They stop. Jeff takes the mic – turns to Matt, “so..what’s new?”

Jeff points to the ring – says he may have been gone a few years and he understands a lot has changed.

But the last time he checked – what made people family wasn’t that they wore the same color tshirt.

What makes people family is when the same blood pumps through their veins.

Jeff says that he didn’t come back last night just to knock Edge off the ladder.

He came back for good.

And he and Matt are the only two men in the battle royal who can be counted on to stick together. And when Matt and Jeff Hardy reunite in two weeks – when the greatest tag team in the history of professional wrestling reunite in two weeks in the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal –

Before he hits the punch line – Edge comes out from under the ring – spills into the ring – and spears Ric Flair.

Before anyone can react – Edge rolls out of the ring – making the motion for the title around his waist to the shocked reaction from the Solution – fans scream – and that ends the segment.

The Number One Contender’s Battle Royal is coming. And it’s Soon.

Place your bets….

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