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 2007 - 4

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Part 3 is here.

Survivor Series 2007 from Miami is coming in November - in parts 1-3, we set up five matches:

NWA Title: Fit Finlay (w/Dean) v. Johnny Nitro (w/Melina)

ECW Title: CM Punk (w/Maria) v. Jeff Hardy

WWF Title: Rey Mysterio v. Undertaker

The Juggernaut Eddie Little v. ?

The Juggernaut Eddie Little v. ?

That leaves 3 matches left to set up.

While it's in my head, something that I've insufficiently emphasized (meaning, I maybe referenced something like it once but I basically just thought of it for an upcoming angle, but it requires that I set it up a quarter century ago for it to be what I want it to be, but that's the beauty of a blog, I'll just mention it here and at some point I'll go back and work it in, granted it might be years before that happens, but such is life) are the Hart Foundation hockey jerseys.

What I have mentioned is that I wanted a commonality of colors to be passed down from Hart to Hart (RJ Wagner?) but a better idea than that are the hockey jerseys.

Each member of the Hart Foundation gets a hockey jersey, with his own number and nickname. Somewhere, those jerseys hang. Let's say anytime we do a show in Canada, they'll hang from the rafters. The granting of a jersey could be part of the storylines. You may recall part of the Jericho/Benoit dynamic, when the former was a face and the latter a heel, was that Jericho was trying to get Benoit to accept his role in the WWF. Benoit came in leading the Alliance, then joined the Horsemen - but as he neared the face turn, Jericho leaned on him that he was not only a Hart - but he needed to be the leader of the Foundation - that it was his rightful spot - the leader of the Hart Foundation - from Dynamite to Bret to Benoit - he was the backbone of the WWF, and it was time that Benoit took that role.

What would have been a good emotional payoff would have been when Benoit finally wore his own Hart Foundation hockey jersey. That would have been good.

So - we got jerseys - here's who has them:

OO - Stu

1 - Dynamite

2 - Hit Man

3 - Bulldog

4 - Anvil

5 - Owen

6 - Pillman

7 - Y2J

8 - Lance Storm

9 - Benoit

Theoretically, both Keibler and Trish could have them too, as I put them both with Jericho (you're welcome, Chris) but they don't.

Just thought I'd mention that now.

Because - as we set up the final 3 matches - it's time to talk about the Clique.

For about a month, starting the night after Summer Slam and running until the season premiere of RAW - there are video packages trumpeting the return of HHH-M.

They're a little over the top, pushing him as a star far beyond that which he would seemingly merit. Perhaps you could imagine such a thing. The announce raises a bit of an eyebrow eventually, questioning if perhaps Hunter's marrying into the McMahon family might have something to do with the over the top nature of the packages. This is probably less imaginable.

Hunter, recall, has been gone since last year's Survivor Series. He was IC Champ and he and Flair ran the company as the 51% Solution along with their bodyguard, Lashley. Hunter, echoing his previous treatment of London/Kendrick years before decided to big time Lashley, pushing him too far - the Excecutioner snapped - taking Hunter out as HHH lost his strap to Helms. Lashley then walked out, Flair lost his strap to Punk - the Solution was dissolved, GDI was born, Punk threw the belts down and chaos has reigned ever since.

But here, on the season premiere of RAW - HHH-M returns.

Hunter smugly (just assume everything he does is smug until I suggest otherwise, or hell freezes over) says that it might have escaped the attention of some people since his return was insufficiently promoted (and heads will roll) but after almost a year on the sidelines - the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time has returned to his throne.

Hunter says Survivor Series is meaningful to him. Not because a year ago - this happened (clip of Punk beating Flair and then throwing down the belts - that's a clip played a lot in this stretch) but because two years ago - this happened (plays the clip of his beating Michaels which forced the ending of the Clique lineage - recall the full scenario - Edge attacked his former Clique stablemate Michaels, which propelled their feud, a feud that saw Edge beat Shawn at XXII and Shawn go over Edge at Summer Slam '06 in a ladder match - essentially, the real world Jericho/Michaels feud is the one we did here with Michaels/Edge -- also in that match was the return of Kendrick, as a heel, superkicking London to keep him from aiding Michaels, an action that started the ball rolling on what would become GDI - and, we also saw the creation of the 51% Solution, with Flair and Arn joining HHH to take over the company).

HHH says that was an historic night - because it was the night he did what no one else could ever do - it was the night he buried the Clique.

And now - Hunter says - "now I want to resurrect it."

Hunter turns to camera to directly address Michaels.

He says - Shawn - I know you tried - you tried to save the WWF - you tried to pass along your..wisdom to the boys in the back - you tried to show these fans what it means to appreciate a legend in this business - the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels - but they turned away from you

(clips of the fans booing Michaels at WM XXIII)

Shawn - since you came back here after your injury, you've tried to live up to this ideal you set for yourself - live up to the best version of Shawn Michaels you could possibly be. You've been the hero Shawn Michaels, the champion Shawn Michaels. You looked out for people, took care of the young guys, shook hands and signed autographs and where did it get you, Shawn?

Where did it get you?

Come home, Shawn. Not home to the WWF. Home to this (Hunter makes the sign of the Clique). Let's see the old Shawn Michaels one more time. The one who put Marty Jannetty through a plate glass window. The one who put Owen Hart through a table in Wembley Stadium in 1992. The one who spit in Randy Savage's face and took his Intercontinental Title. Let's have some fun and raise some hell and do what we want to do when we want to do it -- hey Shawn - take a look at this

(Hunter rolls one last clip - it's of a very young looking wrestler washing his hands in a public restroom.)

HHH-M: Hey, kid - you're TJ Wilson, right?

Wilson: Yes sir, Mr. Helmsley-McMahon.

HHH-M: Remind me again, where did you grow up?

Wilson: In Calgary, sir. In the H-Hart house.

HHH-M: Know what would be funny - I've always wanted to see one of you Hart kids make the sign of the Clique - would you do that for me? Just put your fingers up like this.

Wilson shakes his head.

HHH-M: I know you inbred Canucks aren't that bright, but it's easy, just put your fingers like this.

Wilson shakes his head.

HHH-M: Now, TJ - I'm starting to get the feeling that it would be fair to say one day, when you're big and strong and all growns up, you'd like to be in the Hart Foundation. Wear one of those hockey jerseys - maybe come after a guy like me?

Wilson: Uh - I - I guess so, yeah.

HHH-M: You're never gonna get that chance.

Hunter then beats the hell out of Wilson - doing the bathroom spots - using the urinal and sinks and mirrors - finally knocking Wilson clean out - then taking his hand and forcing it into the Clique handsign, mocking Wilson's voice with a Canadian accent "You're too sweet, eh. Take off, Wayne Gretzky, backbacon, free health care. I love the Clique!"

HHH-M then dunks Wilson in the toilet and laughs.

And laughs in the ring.

Shawn - he says - come on home and play with me.

The next week, there's a match between Hunter and Teddy Hart.

Hart, recall, and Harry Smith were Matt Hardy's ring boys during the year long build for his XXIII Cell match against Edge. Matt, recall, was a ring boy for the Clique when he and Jeff began their careers in the WWF as kids. I'm stretching Teddy's WWF tenure a bit for this match.

Hunter punks Teddy out, there's a crotch chop - the same "make the sign of the Clique" stuff he did to Wilson he does here. Hunter hits a couple of pedigrees - puts Teddy's hand in the clique handsign. That wraps Teddy up. Harr Smith then hits the ring for the face save - he backs Hunter off - then clotheslines him out of the ring for hopefully a good babyface reaction.

The announce says that at Saturday Night's Main Event (which we've been referring to in multiple angles) it will be HHH-M taking on Harry Smith -- and we will, for the first time since WM, have a visit from Shawn Michaels.

So, on that same SNME where (1) Nitro pins Mysterio, with some help by the Juggernaut, to earn a rematch against Fit and make that match the main event at Survivor Series and (2) the Blood Dragon unmasks to reveal not Ricky Steamboat but instead Jeff Hardy as CM Punk's opponent at Survivor Series - we get this -

HHH-M has the same match with Harry as did he with Teddy - maximum humiliation - all the Clique stuff - except after the Pedigree - he picks Harry to his feet and says "I won't do it for you - you make the sign on your own - you put up the fingers or I'll beat you like we used to beat your old man."

Harry, bloody, refuses - HHH beats him - but Harry, bloody - refuses.

Hit Shawn's music.

Michaels, gone since Mania, gets whatever reaction he gets.

He runs in - pushes Hunter away from Harry. Michaels jaws at Hunter - Michaels and Hunter, former tag champs, have been on opposite sides for years - Michaels jaws at HHH-M

Then he turns and superkicks Harry cold - Michaels grabs Harry's hand - puts it in the sign of the Clique.

The next night on RAW - Hunter and Shawn cut promo - Shawn blisters the fans - says from now on, he's going to be the old HBK - he's going to do what he wants, when he wants. And what he wants at Survivor Series are two things - one - he wants to become tag team champion for the fourth time - and he wants to give her (picture of Natty Neidhart is shown on the titantron) a very special Clique salute.

Hunter and Shawn laugh and their music hits - but it's abruptly cut off by that countdown.

You know the countdown. Hours, Minutes, seconds.

And as the Countdown begins on the screen - the seconds whirring away - the number 7 flashes over and over again.

7 being of course the hockey jersey number for Chris Jericho.

And the Countdown will expire, as the announce tells us, doing the math - at Survivor Series.

Shawn and Hunter will meet S&S for the tag belts at Survivor Series.

6 matches down. 2 to go. It continues.

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