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 2008 - 3

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Part III.

In Parts 1 and 2 - the following was set up:

IC Title: Porter v. Burke
US Title: Orton v. Noble
TV Title: Yakuza v. Little Warrior
Undertaker v. Juggernaut

4 matches to go.

Once again, the NWA Title will be Nitro, now the champ after taking the strap at the main event of Survivor Series meeting Fit for the title.  Since the launch of Fight Night, Fit and his manager Dean Malenko have been the faces of the new NWA (Where We Fight!) Dean's a former NWA Champ; Fit and Dean were 2/3 (w/ Arn) of the Titan Trust, who served in the decision making role a few years ago - when Fit came out of retirement, it was with Dean, as the sunshine boys, taking one more lap around the track with the goal of winning the IC title.  They did - and upon the split into 3 promotions after Survivor Series '07, Fit won the tournament for the NWA title, retiring Flair at XXIII.  He then set his sights on the younger group of NWA wrestlers - specifically Nitro, who he targeted as too soft, too pretty, too worried about his hair and spray tan to carry the NWA banner into the next decade. 

Fit beat Nitro at Summer Slam, when Nitro quit rather than absorb more of a beating - but Nitro got a rematch by pinning Rey in the big interpromotional match at SNME - and then Nitro took the strap at Survivor Series when, after Dean had been knocked out by an inadvertant Fit elbow, Melina's interference aided Nitro in getting a pinfall.

They play a role in the main event angle, but essentially this is the rubber match - the twist is that there's increased Dean/Fit tension (recall that Dean didn't want Nitro to get the rematch) - Dean is angry, maybe a little embarrassed, that Melina successfully interfered while he was knocked out - and in a nontitle match between Nitro and Orton, when Nitro had the advantage - Dean entered when the referee was distracted to level Nitro and get Orton the pinfall victory.

That leads to the stip for the Rumble - Dean and Melina would be handcuffed together at ringside.

Fit and Nitro, the rubber match for the strap - Rumble '08.

The ECW Title is also a rematch from Survivor Series; CM Punk once again defending against The Blood Dragon Jeff Hardy.  Punk's now been ECW Champ for over a year - he cuts a promo the night after his 30 minute Survivor Series draw with Jeff saying it was a celebration - that he had been world champion for a full year (actually, Punk slips up, he says he's been WWF Champion for a full year) like Angle, like Bret, like Hennig, like Steamboat, like Hogan, like Bruno - he's now an all time great just like he always wanted to be.

Cabana and Maria, recognizing the slip - that Punk is ECW Champion, not WWF champion, give each other sideways glances. 

There will be, later, a backstage moment with the three where Punk will ask how he did.  Colt will say great champ - great - that's why you're the champ.  Maria will look away - Punk makes her tell him - it was great, except for the part where you said you were WWF Champion.

Punk immediately looks to cover - I threw that belt down - I threw that belt down - I could be, is what I was saying, i could be WWF champion if I wanted to, I beat Ric Flair - I'm WWF Champion.  Right?  Right? 

Colt and Maria both say of course - but again give each other sideways glances. 

It's the first mental crack in Punk's armor.

Before we get there though - we have Jeff come out during Punk's promo.  Jeff is now the Blood Dragon, he dresses like Jushin Liger, with mask and all - taking it off to wrestle, at least, for now.  When he enters it's the full Tokyo Dome laser show.  Jeff crashes the promo - says he remembers when those guys held their titles for a full year - Bret and Angle and Hennig - he doesn't recall though any of them keeping their belt with a draw.  Truth is - Punk may have beat everyone who came up against him for a year - but he didn't beat Jeff Hardy.

That will be Jeff's angle.  We'll talk about how Steamboat figures into this in a moment.

Punk has his own angle with Jeff - it's that Jeff isn't as good as Matt (Matt's gone since XXIII, you should really know why; he's a cultlike icon in this world - he's got a Pillman thing going) that really is what's driving Jeff - these fans see you and they chant for Matt -- Jeff's right - Punk didn't beat him at Survivor Series - but a year ago, at Rumble '07, Punk beat Matt - but still - these fans are just hoping, every day they see me come into this ring - that today will be the day that Matt Hardy gets his revenge for Wrestlemania.  I beat Matt Hardy half to death inside that Cell - and every day, these fans chant for him.  And every day, he lets them down. 

But you're the one who is here - Jeff - you're the one who is fighting for the title - and they cheer for Matt.  Isn't the truth that the reason for this new get up - the reason why you became the Blood Dragon - is because you can't stand being Matt hardy's baby brother.

Which is, actually, why he did it. 

So, they each try to get into the other's head.

Leading to Steamboat - Steamboat makes an appearance on GDI.

He's picked up on the Punk/WWF Title dissonance, and unsolicited, he comes to GDI to wish Punk well as ECW Champion.  Says he's beein fighting him for a year, since he threw down the WWF Title belt, and he's giving up.  Punk wins - congratulations.

See - Steamboat's realized that Punk's only the ECW Champion - and he just doesn't need him anymore.

(as to why he doesn't need him, we need to wait a little bit - but something happens in the WWF title match angle)

Steamboat shakes his hand - Punk looks shocked.  He shakes Colt's hand - Colt marks out 'cause it's Ricky Steamboat.  He kisses Maria's hand, checks her out a little bit.  And then he's gone.

That is part of Steamboat's denigrating of the ECW belt - which is in turn part of the larger angle that we'll get to later.  But in this stretch, which we foreshadowed in setting up the TV Title match - Steamboat puts down ECW as essentially a secondary league, a nice enough indie - not really for him or for real wrestlers - but nice enough.  And the ECW title represents a lot of hard work - but come on, they don't really need it anymore, do they?

That will be picked up by Bradshaw on Fridays and Dreamer on Tuesdays, as earlier mentioned.

It'll also be enough to draw Punk over to RAW, where he will make a fateful deal with the Dragon.

But that will have to wait.  For now - we've got Punk v. Jeff for the ECW belt at the Rumble in New York City.  It continues

1 comment

Butch Rosser said...

+10 for Ravenclaw if you rewrite this so Steamboat calls ECW a B+ indie and says that's a good little spot for them.

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