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 Wrestlemania Part 2 2006

Saturday, February 10, 2007

In Part I of the Road to Wrestlemania XXII, we saw the set up for the following:

Dark Match: Punk v. London v. Kendrick v. Noble
Winners get Shot: HHH-M/Lashley v. DMW v. MNM v. Orton/Cena
Hardcore Legends Match: Cactus Jack v. RVD
Undisputed Tag Title: Bradshaw/Booker (w/Conway) v. LWO (w/Carlito) v. ?

There will be 6 more matches on the show, but one will be unannounced, so five matches left to set up here.

Coming out of the Rumble, the organizing feud is between the 51% Solution and the Sunshine Boys.

With Rey, Benoit, and Steamboat all off TV after the Rumble beating they took from the Solution, particularly Lashley, and the Solution doing a lot of bragging – it’s Dean Malenko who calls them out, specifically Arn.

Dean’s protecting Benoit here, of course, Dean/Benoit came into the company together, and were Horsemen back in their NWA days. Dean is now managing Fit, and we just did Dean/Benoit stuff during the Fit/Benoit IC program.

But they made up with handshakes all around after Fit took the strap at the Rumble, and now Dean is looking to call Anderson on the carpet, which makes sense as Arn and Dean were 2/3 of the Titan Trust for years (w/Fit) so obviously would have a strong relationship.

And that’s what Dean plays on now, he calls Arn out to the ring and cuts a promo on him – how it’s time to check the scoreboard. Fit’s the Worldwide Champ – trained by Dean – and where’s Arn?

Where he’s always been, walking behind Ric Flair.

And that’s gonna lead to this TV program, where it’ll largely be Fit/Regal against Flair/Hunter – with Dean and Arn on the outside as the focal points. Lashley is used only occasionally – always protected – if we see him, he’s squashing dudes.

The build is to a War Games match, which we’ve rarely had in the Counterfactual – that’s a 5 on 5 cage match, where each man enters one at a time, and it’s submission only.

The stakes: control.

If the babyfaces win – then Ricky Steamboat will have 100% managerial control of the WWF.

If the heels win – Steamboat gives his power to the Solution.

In the most famous War Games match in Counterfactual history – the Alliance (Benoit, Eddy, Dean, Perry) put up their careers against the belts held by all the WWF title holders (Angle, Austin, Dudleys). It was Malenko who tapped out – ending his career.

So, as this heats up – Arn challenges Dean to a War Games match – and Dean accepts.

They decide it will be 5 on 5.

So, Arn and Dean stand in the ring and announce their members:

For the Solution…

Arn, Flair, Hunter, Lashley are the obvious four – they come to the ring one by one – Lashley drawing the big pop as he is the unstoppable monster.

Arn says they needed a fifth guy – and since they are in control of the WWF – they handpicked a guy – a guy who needed a favor from the Solution – they picked…

Kurt Angle.

For those of you who missed the Rumble, Angle lost to Michaels, his first ever loss to Michaels, when Benjamin turned on him. Angle had been keeping Benjamin down, refusing to let him wrestle on PPV, for months.

Angle’s frothing at the mouth, the fully roided up maniacal Kurt Angle.

Angle comes to the ring, just screaming about Benjamin – yelling that he wants Benjamin at XXII – and it becomes apparent that’s the deal that was cut, Angle joins the Solution for the War Games, and they give him S Money at Mania.

So, there’s the next match.

That’s a long time coming, Benjamin debuted on Camp Angle, Angle’s “tough enough” reality show. Benjamin became 3 time tag champ, twice with Haas and once with Kurt. Haas and Benjamin turned heel with Brock – and remained heels to rejoin Kurt upon his turn. Those 3 added Regal to form Team Angle, which feuded for over 2 years with the Clique (Michaels, Edge, Christian, London).

At XXI, Angle ordered a code red on Haas, one in which Benjamin joined, even though he and Charlie were longtime partners. Charlie got fired. The Clique busted up, Edge fucking Lita – leading to Christian’s leaving the company – Regal went off on his own, joining Fit and Dean in Fit’s effort to return to active wrestling and win the IC. London became embroiled in the return of Kendrick and Noble – the Clique was forever disbanded when Hunter beat Michaels, and Benjamin became Angle’s valet, effectively, stewing as Kurt kept him from the big matches.

Benjamin turned at the Rumble – Michaels beat Angle (and then got speared again by Edge) and now Kurt will take on Benjamin at XXII.

Dean then introduces his team.

Dean, Fit, Regal, obviously…and then to the ring comes Steamboat.

Steamboat still has the other 49% of managerial power in the company, the announce screaming that the Dragon will be returning to the ring – but he won’t – instead, he announces the final two members of the team –

Rey and Benoit.

Neither one is there, but they’ll be returning for the first time since the Rumble – at the War Games match.

And that’s your Saturday Night’s Main Event – the big War Games matchup.

First two men to the ring, Hunter and Regal.

Next – Arn.

Next – Fit

Next – Dean, the babyfaces have the 3-2 advantage.

Angle’s music plays next – but no Angle.

Camera goes to the parking lot – where Angle and Benjamin are smashing each other into cars.

Then cuts to the back – where a panicked Flair looks into the locker room and says “You – get your ass out there. You’re replacing Angle”

We can’t hear the other half of the conversation, or see who it is Flair’s talking to.

We see Flair though, “Anything you want – Anything you want – just get out there now.”

Then cut back to the ring for the music of the replacement:


Edge, still wearing the eyepatch, lost the Empty Arena match to Matt at the Rumble, when Matt stuck an icepick in his eye. This followed Matt crucifying Edge to the canvas with a nailgun after Edge’s Unsanctioned win over Matt at Summer Slam.

Since Edge’s affair with Lita and betrayal of Christian, he has no allies in the locker room, as his sleeping with Matt’s girl is thought “too far.” That led to the breakup of the Clique, the slow burning hatred between Edge and Michaels – and the feud with Matt, who still doesn’t have a contract.

Edge beats Matt at Summer Slam – gets crucified on RAW – appears at Survivor Series to spear Michaels, allowing for Hunter’s win and the death of the Clique – Matt and Edge’s fights on RAW pre-Rumble went into the stands, injuring a fan – so their Rumble match was Empty Arena – Matt evened it up with the pick to the eye – Edge ran in after Shawn beat Angle – spearing him.

And here he is, securing some promise from Flair, and now making it 3-3.

Flair’s next. And it’s 4-3 heels.

Next comes Benoit, the current holder of the Triple Crown (means he’s won all 3 WWF belts, only 9 guys have done it in the Counterfactual, there’s a trophy – it’s called the Hart-Guerrero Memorial Triple Crown). Benoit dropped the IC to Fit at the Rumble, but ran in to save Rey (Rey’s was Eddy’s “little brother” and Eddy was Benoit’s “little brother” so, by the transitive property – Benoit stepped into protect Rey pre-Rumble, and ran in for the save when the Solution attacked Rey at the Rumble’s close) then got wiped out by Lashley.

Next comes Rey. The Undisputed Champion of the World.

Rey took from Eddy in Eddy’s last match at Summer Slam, then kept over Juvie at Survivor Series, kept over both Crazy and Psycho at the Rumble – all with Flair trying to get the belt off him.

Rey makes it 5-4 faces. Meaning we’re just building for Lashley.

Lashley last – and he destroys all of the faces – tears at everyone – cleaning house with nothing but power moves and primal screams.

How can the faces stop Lashley?

Coming to the ring….Dead Men Walking.

Recall, from part one of the set up – Lashley wiped out all the other 3 teams set to meet in the opening Mania tag – including Kane and PAUL – and now, with the Undertaker – they come to the ring – Lashley – uncontrollable – leaves the cage to battle them.

The announce notes that Lashley’s making a terrible mistake – screwing the Solution – they had the Sunshine Boys wiped out – and now Lashley’s in the aisle batting the 3 giants.

Security swarms from every corner to control that – and with the numerical advantage, the babyfaces take control –

Benoit has Hunter in the crossface….Malenko has Arn in the cloverleaf…one of them will tap…one of them will tap – Steamboat, standing on the outside – is about to get control over the company –

When suddenly, almost from nowhere, Flair quickly gets Regal in the figure four –

And Regal submits.

Steve Regal submits to Ric Flair – the 51% Solution, even though undermanned – has won the War Games match and taken complete, 100% control of the WWF.

Everyone’s bleeding, of course, ‘cause of the cage.

Edge, Hunter, Flair, Arn celebrating – the babyfaces stunned – Regal is inconsolable – his head buried in his hands – Regal apparently crying – Regal has submitted – Fit, Regal’s training partner, longtime friend and rival goes to try to console him – try to give him some words…

Fit lowers Regal’s hands from his face…

And Regal is laughing.

Regal gets some quick shots in at Fit – then runs from the ring – the heels exiting the ring and laughing – Regal swerved them! Regal set the Sunshine Boys up! Regal has been working with the the 100% Solution!

And that sets up the rest of the card.

The IC will be Fit defending against Regal. Regal was jealous, Regal sold out, Regal made a deal to get the title shot at Mania – you see the set up. Fit and Dean bring the full on hate for Regal – and they hook it up at XXII.

What did Edge demand for his participation?

We find out in an in ring promo – when Edge comes to collect from Flair.

Flair: Anything you want, big man. Anything you want. Wooooo!

Edge says he wants a Wrestlemania match.

Flair says of course – anyone you want – who do you want.

Edge says, “Matt Hardy.”

Flair says no. Flair has a desperate hatred for all things Matt Hardy – Matt’s doing the Pillman thing, Flair’s the bookerman – Flair’s sworn on his mother’s grave that Matt will never get a WWF contract.

Flair says no – he can’t do it, Edge can’t wrestle Matt Hardy at XXII.

Edge laughs – says there’s been a misunderstanding. Edge says he doesn’t want to wrestle Matt at XXII.

He wants to wrestle Matt at XXIII. One year from now, in Detroit. He wants to make crazy, off the chain, high strung Matt Hardy wait a full year.

Edge says what he wants from Flair is Matt’s contract. He wants to hold Matt Hardy’s WWF contract for a full year – he wants Matt Hardy to work for him – he wants to own Matt Hardy until WM XXIII, one year away – until then Matt Hardy can’t touch him – not even once – if Matt Hardy touches him, in or out of the ring – over the next year – then Matt is gone from the WWF forever.

I know, it’s a little forced. Just go with it. There’s more.

And, Edge says, at WM XXIII – when Edge takes on Matt Hardy one more time – one year from now – it won’t just be an ordinary match…

It’ll be a Hell in a Cell Match.

We’ve only had 2 in the Counterfactual – both very famous. Ken Shamrock threw Cactus Jack off the top of the cage through the table. Foley’s famous bump. And then, years later at XX, Jericho and Trish tossed Christian from the top – coincidentally, that was the night that Edge returned after a year and a half away with the neck surgery recovery following the last ever TLC match – the night the new Clique was formed.

So, there’s a full year to build to Edge/Matt. Hell in a Cell. WM XXIII.

Flair says it can’t be that easy for Matt Hardy.

Matt quit the company, he swore – he whined on the internet – he has attacked HHH-M. He comes out of the crowd and he has no respect. In all Flair’s years in this business, he’s never seen anyone as disrespectful as Matt Hardy.

He hates Matt Hardy. Hates him. Hates him.. Punk. Awful little punk.

Flair drops an elbow on the canvas.

Edge says okay, Ric. Okay.

Let’s make him work for it.

If Matt Hardy wants to wrestle me in a Cell at XXIII….then he’s got to win a match at XXII….

Against Ric Flair.

And Flair goes for that.

So, we’ve got Matt and Flair at XXII – if Matt wins, he’ll meet Edge next year in the Cell.

And that’s a long build.

If Matt loses – he’ll never step foot in the WWF again.

So, add that match.

Flair says to Edge – who do you want – who do you want to meet at WMXXII – anyone you want ---

When from the crowd comes Michaels – who superkicks Edge cold, “He’ll be wrestling me.”

So, there’s that.

And except for the title match – that’s your show.

What’s the title match?

Well, the Solution is concerned about the Rey/Benoit alliance. Say Flair and Hunter lose a tag to Rey and Benoit.

So, they need a way to break them up – to force some dissension.

They bring them to the ring in a promo – and come up with a genius plan.

At WM XXII- - Rey Mysterio will defend the Undisputed Championship – against the 2 time Champion, his buddy, Chris Benoit.

So, they start off, of course, as friends, recognizing they’re being played – but it’s wrestling, so while it’s still face/face – with the current Triple Crown holder and the previous Triple Crown holder wrestling for the big strap – they have enough tension to carry the program.

Arguably the two best wrestlers in the WWF – 2 of the best wrestlers who ever lived – Rey Mysterio and Chris Benoit – meeting each other for the first time in a PPV – at the main event at WM XXII.

So, here’s your card:

Undisputed Championship: Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit
Worldwide Titles: Fit Finlay (w/Dean) v. Steve Regal
Unified Tags: Bradshaw/Booker (w/Conway) v. LWO (w/Carlito) v. ?
HBK v. Edge
Kurt Angle v. S Money Shelton Benjamin
Ric Flair v. Matt Hardy
Hardcore Legends: Cactus Jack (w/Heyman) v. RVD (w/Stevie)
Winners get Shot: HHH/Lashley v. MNM v. DMW (w/Taker) v. Orton/Cena
Dark Match: Punk v. London v. Kendrick v. Noble.

It’s coming in March from Chicago! The Road Continues.

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