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 - 4

Friday, December 26, 2008

In Parts 1-3, we've got 7 matches set up.  Two to go.

ECW Title: Punk v. Jeff
NWA Title: Nitro v. Fit
IC: Porter v. Burke
US: Orton v. Noble
TV: Yakuza v. Little Warrior
Undertaker v. Juggernaut

RAW, the night after Survivor Series, ends with an Edge promo.  Edge unexpectedly returned at Survivor Series for the first time since getting stomped out in the Cell after losing the main at XXIII; as GDI took out he, Matt, and then Jeff - Edge threw his body over Matt's the keep him from the onslaught. 

Shawn and Hunter, heels, spent the walkup to Survivor Series punking out the young members of the extended Hart family, finishing up, as planned - winning the tag straps from S&S, then going after young Natty Neidhart. 

The Jericho clock had been ticking for weeks, throughout this entire process - and it hit zero just as Natty was about to get pedigreed.  But it wasn't Jericho who emerged, wearing the number 7 Hart Foundation hockey jersey (that's Jericho's number) it was Edge.  Edge cleaned house, saved the girl, and now cuts promo.

Edge apologizes.  Says it's good to hear the cheers.  He wondered sometimes if he would ever hear them again after all the things he's done.  Says he knows some of things he's done are unforgiveable.  He knows that.  He says somewhere along the line he just got off track.  He's not the person he wanted to be.  And the reason for that is that years ago, he joined the Clique. 

He says it was his decision.  He doesn't blame Trish.  He doesn't blame his brother.  It was his choice to join Hunter, to join Waltman - to a join the legacy of Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.  He joined the Clique and it warped him.  There's a selfishness - a smugness - a sense of entitlement that just smothers you when you are in that group - and even when you leave - even when you escape - that disease just stays in your body - pulsating - becoming a member of the Clique was the first worst thing I ever did.

And when I lost the main event at Wrestlemania, I went home to recover, to recuperate - I figured it out - how I could have gone so far off track. But I didn't figure it out alone.  I made a friend over the summer.  Which, considering I lost all of my friends in the WWF, was a good deal.  I made a friend over the summer - someone who you maybe remember - Number 7, Chris Jericho.

(Jericho, of course, has been gone a couple of years - his last incarnation was as The Lizard King Chris Jericho, bearded, fat, booze guzzling heel Jericho).

That's when Shawn and Hunter enter.  Hunter says there will be plenty of time to talk  later - all the time they want - they're the Clique after all - they are the show - he's just got to correct one small mistake that Edge made - he just said he "escaped" the Clique.  You don't escape the Clique.  You're Clique 4 life.

He throws down the mic and they make their way to attack Edge - they get the two on 1 advantage - and then the clock starts again - counting down (oh, not for nothing, the Titan Tron is like five times its real world size) from 7...6...5...4...3...2..1....

And here's Jericho.  No beard, no booze.  It's Chris Jericho.  He and Edge clean house.  And there you go.

They're gonna meet for the tag straps at the Rumble - Shawn/Hunter v. Jericho/Edge.

There's lots of history here.  As mentioned, Edge was in the Clique with Hunter - they split in half - actually, Shawn's return from the back injury after 4 years gone was at the Toronto Mania when he ran in on the side of Hunter/Hall when they faced Edge/Christian.  Edge went away with his back surgery; Christian feuded with Jericho for nearly a year - they double turned, Jericho becoming a heel, Christian a face - the turn ending in the Cell when Jericho threw Christian off (only 3 Cell matches in WWF history, Jericho won the second - Edge lost the third) and later that same night, after the Michaels/Hunter match (Hunter had turned heel on Shawn) Edge returned to save Michaels and the most recent version of the Clique was formed (w/Christian and London).  Edge then swept into that Christian/Jericho feud and did what his brother couldn't - took Jericho's IC.  Heel Jericho started the very, very beginning of this Michaels turn, by calling Shawn out - saying he wasn't the Heartbreak Kid anymore - he wasn't the showstopper - wasn't the main event - and everyone knew but Shawn.  That thread was then picked up by Edge - he and Michaels feuded after Edge turned heel and the Clique disintegrated, Edge beat Shawn at XXII, Shawn beat Edge in a ladder match at Summer Slam '06.  Edge constantly ripped  Michaels as irrelevant.  Shawn was beginning to feel irrelevant, as if the company had passed him by - the younger workers were less interested in his wisdom - he positioned himself as the moral conscience of the WWF - but his Boy Toy past wouldn't allow him to be taken seriously. 

Edge lost at XXIII in the blow off to an epic feud with Matt; Shawn lost the legends match to the Undertaker, apparently turning in the process.  They both then vanished - Michaels came back before Survivor Series as a heel, he and Hunter too big for the WWF - too big for wrestling - treating everyone as beneath their station.  Edge came back, as you know, at Survivor Series.

There's some comedy in this program - not between the two teams - but inside them - Hunter and Shawn are smugly self satisfied - Edge and Jericho do some "and here's the terrible thing you used to do" stuff.  Between the two teams, nothing but years of dislike - with these guys specifically and with reference to the Hart/Clique legacy.

That gets to the one additional plot point here - the hockey jerseys. 

As mentioned - each member of the Hart Foundation has gotten a hockey jersey -

0 - Stu
1- Dynamite
2. Bret
3. Davey Boy
4. Anvil
5. Owen
(that might be backward)
6. Pillman
7. Jericho
8. Storm
9. Benoit

And now Edge wants one.

There's a little dance, Edge doesn't actually ask - but it's clear that he wants to be part of the family.  As we go to the Rumble, what we understand is that if they can win the tag titles at the Rumble - then Edge is going to get his pink and black jersey. 

One match to go. It continues

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