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 3 2006

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Part 2 was here.

A month from tomorrow, April 1, 2007, is real world WM XXIII – so, on that day, it just makes sense to post Counterfactual WM XXII – and once again, here is your card:

Undisputed Championship of the World: Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit
-Friends pitted against each other by the 51% Solution, the last two Triple Crown winners meet for the first ever time on PPV. Rey has been World Champ since taking from Eddy at Summer Slam ’05; he held off the LWO at both Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble, despite the efforts of Ric Flair to get the belts off him. Benoit is a two time WWF Champ, he took from Cactus Jack 6 years ago at XVI in Anaheim, holding the belt for a year before dropping to Kurt Angle at XVII. 3 years later, at XX in MSG, it was Benoit/Angle again, this time with Benoit winning the strap. One year ago, at XXI in LA, Benoit lost the titles to Eddy; Benoit regrouped, beating Chris Jericho in the Lizard King’s last WWF match at Summer Slam ’05, then at Survivor Series, winning the vacant Worldwide Titles over Angle. Benoit then dropped those titles at the Rumble, losing to the Sunshine Boys, Fit Finlay, managed by Benoit’s longtime stablemate, Dean Malenko. Benoit and Rey had begun to tag together in the run up to the Rumble; Benoit looking to protect Rey from the Solution; Rey looking to keep Malenko off Chris. So, when Rey was attacked by the Solution at the Rumble’s close – Benoit came in for the save – leading to both men getting squashed by Executioner Lashley, as he joined the Solution. Benoit and Rey returned for the big Saturday Night’s Main Event War Games match, but their tag partnership was ended when the Solution made Benoit the number one contender for XXII.

Two of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived in the main event at Wrestlemania. That’s always the goal – it’s the biggest match ever year – this year, no exception – Rey Mysterio takes on Chris Benoit for the Undisputed Championship of the World!

Worldwide Titles: Fit Finlay (w/Dean) v. Steve Regal
-Such a personal feud here, again, between two of the best wrestlers in the world. From their days in Europe, to the NWA, and now in the WWF, Fit and Regal continue their war. After several years working behind the scenes as a member of the Titan Trust (w/Arn and Dean) Fit was convinced, by Malenko, to return to the ring at the end of 2005; although he struggled at first, with the help of Regal, who signed on as Finlay’s training partner, following the bustup of Team Angle, Fit was able to capture the Worldwide belts at the Rumble, defeating Benoit. Regal has held WWF gold before, although not in several years; he defeated Chris Jericho for the IC title at Survivor Series 2000, keeping over Steve Austin at Rumble ’01 – but then dropping to Austin the Falls Count Anywhere match at XVII, five years ago. A year ago, at XXI, during the Clique/Team Angle feud, Regal got a shot at these Worldwide belts, but lost to then champion Edge. In the big swerve on Saturday Night’s Main Event, it was Regal who submitted in the figure four to Flair – costing Ricky Steamboat his 49% of control over the WWF, and giving full power to the 51% Solution. But as it turned out, Regal had been working with the Solution and had thrown the bout to Flair. In payment for services rendered – Regal gets the shot against the men he sold out in that War Games match, Finlay and Malenko. Fit Finlay takes on Steve Regal for the Worldwide Belts!

Unified Tag Titles: Bradshaw/Booker (w/Conway) v. LWO (w/Carlito) v. ?
-Bradshaw and Booker have been tag champs since their Survivor Series win over Orton/Cena. Bradshaw is George Herbert Bradshaw, taken from the former President Bush’s name – or GHB, a drug reference, for short. His gimmick is he is the NeoCon, espousing whatever the current line of propaganda is being offered by conservatives for the policy of the Bush Administration. Along with his lackey, Rob Conway (nicknamed Anal Cysts for the medical deferment Rush Limbaugh received during Vietnam) Bradshaw ran through a series of veteran partners (Holly, Morley, and at Summer Slam ’05, Nick Dinsmore) in a fruitless attempt to win the tag belts from Orton and Cena, who he viewed as talentless punk slacker hippy kids. Finally, Bradshaw reached out to Book. As with Bradshaw, Booker had yet to win gold in his WWF career – he had one high profile shot, that being a Survivor Series ’01 loss to Angle for the WWF Championship; Booker has taken a laid back approach to his career, as the main who only wrestles when he needs a paycheck. But the two veterans came together, sensing the time was right to make a run at gold. Their title reign has been one of constant comedic bickering, given their political and cultural differences; Book/Bradshaw is probably the highest profile comedy act in Counterfactual history. They kept at the Rumble, going over the reunited SpreeKillers, Shane Helms and Chavo Guerrero and now step into the 3 way dance. One of their opposing teams is Super Crazy and Psychosis, managed by Carlito Colon, the Latino World Order. The LWO arrived in the summer of ’05, taking aim at Eddy. They browbeat him into putting his Undisputed Title up against Mysterio at Summer Slam – and when Rey won – they turned on him, with the support of Ric Flair. Juventud got the first shot at Rey, losing a 2 out of 3 falls Lucha Libre world title match at Survivor Series; Flair, now with the 51% Solution, stacked the deck at the Rumble, as both Psycho and Crazy, in a 3 way dance, got the title shot at the Rumble – Carlito was now the group’s mouthpiece, having punted Juvie, but again, the LWO failed to take the straps from Rey. However, their joining the Solution in the postmatch beatdown that took Rey out of action temporarily curried favor with the Solution and got them in this title match.

The third team will come from the winner of the opening match of WM XXII, which, by tradition for each of our shows, is a tag team match.

At XXII, it’s a 4 way, the former tag champs: Orton/Cena, MNM, DMW, and the new 51% Solution team of HHH and Executioner Lashley.

Orton and Cena were a comedy act, a team that got a babyface reaction because their heel shtick – Cena as wannabe rapper and Orton bragging about being Cowboy Bob’s kid, was so silly they couldn’t be taken seriously – they got a shocking win a year ago, at XXI over the then version of the SpreeKillers, Helms/Rhyno. The fans then began to turn on them, as they recognized that, particularly Cena, wasn’t worthy of holding the tag straps but yet acted as if he were, making heels Bradshaw and Dinsmore de facto faces at Summer Slam – and leading to a big babyface reaction for Bradshaw/Booker (which continued for Booker, less so for Bradshaw) when they beat Orton/Cena at Survivor Series. Since then, Orton/Cena have continued to lose, a rift developing between them as Orton clearly blames the lesser Cena for the defeats. Orton’s taken to showing off the RKO (which we’ve just called a diamond cutter – but will now give him his finisher name) demonstrating that he can take guys out whenever he wants. MNM and DMW have been feuding since Survivor Series, trading wins through the Rumble. MNM is the same act as in real world WWF, it’s Nitro and Mercury with Melina as the valet. They’re cocky heels. DMW is Dead Men Walking – Kane, still in the mask, and PAUL (The Big Show) with the Undertaker as the third man, sometimes working in the tag team, or in a trio, generally on the outside as an enforcer. Neither MNM nor any of the monsters have ever won a title, MNM has yet to get a shot – Undertaker had a shot at the WWF Title way back in Rumble ’94, when he was still unbeaten, he submitted to Bret Hart. He then had an IC shot at Vader 10 years ago at WM XII, losing that bout. The first version of DMW, Undertaker and Kane, had a tag title shot at SummerSlam ’03, but lost to the Clique, Michaels and HHH. They’ve been heels, faces, and feuded – but PAUL began to worship the Japanese wrestler Akira Taue, master of the chokeslam – even wearing Taue gear to the ring, the big men became lovable veterans, with Kane and eventually the ‘Taker following suit. The Dead Man has been a WM staple, holding the record as the 5 time winner of another WM tradition – the legend’s match – which at XXII is contested between Cactus and RVD. HHH and Lashley are a new team, representing the dominant stable in the WWF, the 51% Solution. Hunter, a former tag champ with Michaels, as mentioned, but long seen as the Clique water carrier, re-emerged at Summer Slam as the new husband of Stephanie McMahon, heir to the family business. Hunter said he had two percent creative control now over the WWF (Flair and Steamboat, both babyfaces, seemingly, had 49% apiece) making him the swing vote. He promised that come XXII, he’d be leaving Chicago with gold.

While HHH-M was beating Michaels at Survivor Series, ending the Clique forever – Lashley was debuting as the Executioner – he doesn’t speak, outside of a primal scream – he shakes the ropes – he punishes people – he has a black X, like Bernard Hopkins, over both his chest and back and wears a hood to the ring – although not when he wrestles. Flair joined Hunter (along with Arn) at Survivor Series, forming the 51% Solution and promised a 4th man would emerge at the Rumble. At that Rumble, HHH beat S Money (Benjamin) while Lashley, who had earlier mowed down the opposing teams in the tag title match – joined the Solution following the World Title match, taking Rey and Benoit both out. At the in ring announcement of the opening tag and subsequent tag title match – Lashley decimated the ring, taking apart all of the opposing teams, save the Undertaker, the only man he has yet to put down.

So, those are the title matches on the line at WM XXII – plus the 4 way opening tag.

It’s only a month away, The road concludes.

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