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 Summer Slam 2007, Part 3

Monday, June 30, 2008

Part 2 is here.

We’re a month away from Summer Slam 2007 from East Rutherford; three matches already set up – the main event:


The Worldwide Titles:


And the Summer Slam tradition, perejas increibles PUNK/LONDON V. ORTON/KENDRICK.

5 more to go.

The tag title program most of the summer is the new tag champs coming out of XXIII, the now babyfaced LWO (Carlito, Chavo, w/ Crazy as the 3rd man) against Heat (Montel Porter, Elijah Burke). It begins when Steamboat announces that the legendary Rey Mysterio, a Triple Crown Champion, will be returning after a year on the shelf (he was taken out by Lashley with the Dominator through the table at Summer Slam 06, that was the match where Flair won the Unified Title, which he then dropped to Punk at Survivor Series 06, Punk threw down the WWF and NWA belts, which is what ended the 51% Solution and broke up the company into three pieces) to challenge Booker T for the WWF Championship.

There will be subtle (by the announce and Steamboat) and then not subtle suggestions that Rey is coming to reclaim his belt, that while it was an incredible story that Booker, a career midcarder really, was able to beat Edge at the Rumble and then the previously unbeaten Lashley at XXIII top become the first ever African-American World Heavyweight Champion – that he just isn’t in the class of Rey Mysterio, an all time elite wrestler, a WWF legend.

This will be prodded then by the LWO – who will do some promos cheerleading for Rey – saying that after Summer Slam, the Lation Nation will have totally taken control of the WWF, they will still be tag champs – and obviously Mysterio will be WWF champ.

That draws the ire of Heat as Booker’s protégées – add in some partisan minority fanbases and you get your summer. Tag matches and singles matches among all 5 guys.

Two matters of note in that program: Heat begins to act heelish, taking shortcuts – both because the feud presents them as not as seasoned as the LWO, still young, still a little green – and because they think they’re taking Book’s advice. Recall, Porter loved him some Harlem Heat, and Book would take some shortcuts. And part of this year that we’ve watched Book give advice to Porter and Burke (and, in the storyline, the years that Book’s been training them in Houston, not to mention the years in prison where Book sent tapes and wrote letters to Porter) has involved Book telling them that you gotta press the advantage, take the openings, feel weakness – even when (you may recall) it was time for Book to leave his own brother behind to come to New York to wrestle for the WWF Title against Kurt Angle, he had to do what was best for him.

So – Book, now the veteran babyface symbol of his people WWF Champ takes umbrage at the heel tactics used by Porter and Burke – they’re a little surprised – and Porter eventually responds with video proof that Book’s occasionally gone heel himself. Book is clear, clear that he learned from his mistakes – that he wouldn’t be where he is today wrestling like that – but maybe there’s a little pride as his guys begin to grow up – maybe.

All of that builds the program – getting us to the climax – whenever it is that Lashley walks, his goodbye job has to be to Rey. Lashley disappears after Mania – then returns unannounced, say to bury Crazy when he’s separate from the LWO (maybe they’re already gone, say they were in a parking lot brawl with Heat) Lashley’s as furious as he can be, cutting his own promo – saying that if Mysterio is healthy enough to come back at Summer Slam – he’s healthy enough to come back next week on RAW. He’s still the Executioner, he’s ended careers – and he will end Mysterio’s if he has the guts to face him one on one.

So – Rey comes back early – beats Lashley on RAW – Lashley attacks postmatch – cheapshotting Rey – the LWO comes out for the face save – but they never make it to the ring, attacked by…

Well, we haven’t met that team yet – that’s next –

Lashley’s all over Rey – setting up the table for the Dominator – the announce losing their minds – when Book does the run in.

Book with the face save – he battles Lashley back – Rey recovers for the doubleteam, doing all the finishing moves they can do to definitively bury Lashley – the two opponents for the WWF Title working together to end the Executioner. They do a long Hogan like postmatch thing for the fans, in my head, there’s a good, hot battle between the Hispanic and African-American WWF fans that builds over the summer of ’07, the LWO obviously is doing an explicitly Latino pride gimmick, and with Book’s title push from Rumble on being about the quest to be the first Black champion, there is race consciousness abounding. A summer of LWO and Heat – building to the return of an icon like Mysterio – could get hot, and that would be excellent.

Because Heat’s gonna enter the ring now – Book introduces them to Rey – it’s a thing, Rey’s a legend after all, he’s won the Triple Crown – Burke will shake Rey’s hand as the segment is clearly over and it’s just time for a commercial- until Porter gonna takes out Mysterio’s knee.

Porter stomps Rey out – Book and Burke are shocked – they pull Porter away – Porter is excited – Porter’s all amped up – eventually, we’ll hear from Porter the explanation that he was seizing the advantage – now, Book will be going up against an injured, weakened Mysterio at Summer Slam, giving him a better chance to keep his strap – but Book isn’t hearing it at all – and right now, in the ring – with Porter not stopping his attack on Rey – with the LWO gone, attacked by –

Well, we haven’t met them yet –

Book has to get physical to stop Porter – Book takes one shot at Porter – a slap to draw him back – and that’s the second shock in the ring – the slap stops Porter cold – Porter and Burke staring wide eyed at Book – Book really verbally ripping into Porter right in the middle of the ring. Book yells at Burke to get Porter out of there – he does, ending the segment.

That gets to the blowoff to Heat/LWO, a No DQ tag title match on RAW – with Crazy still out, it will be Book and Mysterio in the corners of the other teams. Burke and Porter are all tension – Burke’s caught in the middle between Book and Porter, Book obviously objects to Porter’s heelishness, particularly the unprovoked attack on the legendary Mysterio – Porter is clearly seething, he was slapped by Book in the ring – and really, all he was trying to do was help.

Carlito and Chavo of course are looking for some payback for Porter’s attack on Rey.

So, it’s full on out of control, with the LWO, who had always been heels, always been aggressive, on the wrong side of too many asskickings recently – and they spill Heat’s blood all over the ring, at one point, they’ve got Porter isolated and are full on assaulting with some sharp, awful object – barbed wire or glass or something bad – when Book saves – Book’s save of Porter leads to Rey’s save of LWO – and that means Book and Rey are full on brawling in the middle of the ring.

Chavo gets the fall on Burke, ending the match – LWO will then be attacked by…

Well, we haven’t gotten to them yet.

But – that will set up the WWF Title match – Booker T v. Rey Mysterio – giving us 4 matches.

And it sets up the tag title, LWO defending against…well, not Heat – that feud’s blown off and they have injuries to sell – but LWO defending against the team that’s attacked them twice – a team from the NWA – we’ll get to that team along with the NWA Title match and the two other singles matches on the card (spoiler alert – one man’s wrestling in each of those two matches) in the next installment on the Road to Summer Slam 2007.

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