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.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Part 1 is here.
Road to Survivor Series 2007 – 2
In part one, the WWF Title: Rey v. Undertaker, was set up.
On the Friday after Summer Slam, Dusty Rhodes begins Fight Night from the ring. He’s hot at Nitro; recall, the NWA Title match at Summer Slam ended in a countout when Nitro quit rather than face the continued onslaught from Fit.
The NWA champs (Orton, Cade and Murdoch) were at ringside for that match, along with Dusty – as they were in full NWA celebration after the previous two matches, so that Nitro quit during a title match was incredibly humiliating for Dusty, his demeanor here clearly evidences that he took it personally.
The tone set in the NWA is one where they are tougher than is the WWF, with Fit and Malenko as emblematic of that. The Fit/Nitro program is based on that difference, Nitro always talking about his hair and his abs while Fit is committed to passing down the gospel of the NWA to the younger wrestlers. Everyone, including Bradshaw, is in full anti-Nitro mode as Dusty cuts a promo on him that effectively ends with “you’re fired.”
That causes Fit and Dean to enter.
Fit says it’s actually his fault and he wants Dusty to reconsider.
Dean looks at Fit quizzically, one notes.
Fit says he has tried to teach the young wrestlers the NWA way – and at Summer Slam, he tried to beat some of that teaching into Nitro. Clips are shown of Fit pulling Nitro up from pinfalls, like, one recalls, Dean used to do. Fit says it’s his fault – and he’ll never do that again. Sharp eyed viewers note a pursing of Malenko’s lips, as if to indicate some degree of disapproval.
Fit proposes to Dusty the following – if Nitro can last ten minutes in a match with him – he keeps his job.
Nitro comes on the screen – he’s at home, bandaged up, blackened eye, surrounded by medical equipment as if he were on his deathbed. Melina is in a nurse’s outfit. Nitro says clearly he is not at the arena and does not know when he’ll be medically cleared to wrestle – but, after his facial injuries heal and his plastic surgeons have restored him to his genetically superior good looks, he’ll be able to come back to Fight Night, last his ten minutes, and keep his job.
Dusty is hot as the feed drops – he wants to fire Nitro right now – but Fit, all the while with Dean remaining silent, Fit says he’s the NWA Champ – and the right thing for the title belt is to beat Nitro clean and in the middle.
Dusty agrees – then, he says there’s one more piece of business – Monday on RAW, Rey Mysterio said this – then he plays Rey saying he was the last real NWA Champ.
Dusty gets hot now at Rey – he says that while Rey was gone for a year rehabbing an injury, the NWA was reborn, reborn under Fit Finlay who isn’t just the real NWA Champion – he’s the real World Champion – and as for the idea that the WWF Championship should be the main event at Survivor Series – a match for the new NWA Title has never been the main event at a PPV – and it’s about damn time that changed.
Each Friday, we get some video from Nitro that shows him still not medically ready to wrestle. The anti-Nitro rhetoric grows stronger
Finally, sometime in September, say with the season premiere of Fight Night, Nitro returns for the ten minute match. It’s not much for workrate – as Nitro runs – runs around the ring – escapes the ring until Malenko finally catches him and throws him back in – but the story of the match is Nitro running away.
Fit catches him, pounds on him – gets nearfalls – but Nitro just survives the ten minutes and keeps his job.
During that month between Summer Slam and that match, the war of words between WWF and NWA continues – who is the real world champion – and what will be the main event at Survivor Series? There’s a Saturday Night Main Event in this stretch, it’s at MSG, so we’ll build to that – Steamboat winds up issuing a challenge, accepted by Dusty – at that SNME, there will be a tag match to determine the main event at Survivor Series.
Rey/Undertaker will team up – and they’ll take on Fit and a partner.
That partner’s unannounced during the build – different wrestlers want the slot, most specifically, the Worldwide Champ Randy Orton, Leviathan, and Strong Style Shelton Benjamin. None of the men is happy when they are turned down – Orton takes it badly.
After Nitro lasts the 10 minutes - barely– Fit takes the mic and says he’s found a partner – he wants Nitro to be his partner on SNME – and if they win – if they beat Rey and the Undertaker – then Nitro will get a second shot for the NWA Title…at the main event of Survivor Series.
They do the match, it’s the main of SNME at MSG, it’s a screwy finish – The Juggernaut (recall the set up for the WWF Title in the previous post) runs in after a ref bump and wipes out Rey – Nitro, who has largely avoided contact the entire match, protecting his face and his hair, tagging Fit whenever possible, takes advantage with an aerial spot and a pinfall.
The Juggernaut hits his catchphrase – Nitro and Melina celebrate – we have our NWA Title match – Fit Finlay defending against Johnny Nitro again – in the main event of Survivor Series 2007.
Two matches set up – next, the GDI Title match – who will CM Punk defend against? It continues.