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 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.

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