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 2009 - Part 2

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Part 1 is here.

In Part 1, we set up half the card:

IC: 2 of 3 Falls: MVP v. Rey
Best of 7: Match 7: Nitro
Orton v. RVD
Winner Gets a Contract: Swagger v. DiBiase

And we left off with a cliffhanger, the return of Ricky Steamboat.

Steamboat was attacked by Punk/Colt/Kendrick during the Triple Crown ceremony the night after Survivor Series.  Now it's mid December - during the intervening weeks Punk has cut promos where he "examines the tape" of his title loss to Jericho to show Steamboat's purpotedly siding with Jericho as he was special guest referee during the bout. 

During one of these rants - Steamboat unexpectedly returns. 

He isn't messing around.  He yells "cut the tape" - and I'd like as much fire in his eyes as he can muster. 

They try to speak - he says shut up - he's not there for a conversation - he's there to talk about the jobs of the people in the ring.

Steamboat looks at Kendrick - says, don't worry Brian - your job is safe.  Not only is your job safe - but you will be wrestling at the Royal Rumble in Detroit. 

The heels react as they do.

Steamboat continues -- "against Matt a steel cage!"

Heels sell that as a thing - Kendrick's outside interference cost Matt his title shot against Punk at Summer Slam, then Colt's outside interference aided Brian in beating Matt at Survivor Series - both Colt and Kendrick were part of the GDI wipeout of Matt way back at the close of WM 23 - and Matt Hardy is obviously in a dark and twisted place with his brother Jeff having joined Edge.The last guy Brian Kendrick wants to be locked in a cage with is Matt Hardy.

Steamboat then turns to Colt.  He says he has a proposition for Colt.  Colt Cabana - Colt Cabana is not on the card at the Rumble - but he will be at the Rumble - he will be at the Rumble in the middle of the ring with a chance....Colt Cabana has a chance to be on the card at the biggest wrestling show of all time...Wrestlemania Silver.

The heels sell that hard - Wrestlemania Silver is a career making opportunity, particularly as Colt has never been on a PPV. 

Colt gets on his knees and begs - a big oversized beg "what do I have to do - what do I have to do..."

Steamboat says it's simple really.  "As you know, I've spent most of the past several months on a talent hunt in Asia.  All you have to do is last five minutes in the ring with my newest aquisition.  I don't mean you have to keep him from pinning you, it's not a wrestling match - I mean you have to just stay in the ring for five minutes without running away."

Colt now is beginning to take this seriously - he's almost always a clown - and here's Steamboat, who he just beat down and now has returned without taking any sort of retribution - sure, he stuck Kendrick in a cage with Hardy (Kendrick by the way, has retreated into a corner and is nervously looking around) but screw that guy, he never liked him anyway.  Colt Cabana recognizes he's five minutes away from Wrestlemania Silver.

Steamboat says there's a catch, of course. 

"If you can't last five minutes in the ring with my newest acquisition - you'll be fired."

Punk has been silent the entire time, staying uncharacteristically in the background - he's a little pissed as he grabs the mic "who is it, Steamboat, stop jerking us around - who is this guy coming to the Rumble?"

Steamboat smiles.  "I was hoping you'd be the one to ask."

Then a highlight tape runs. 

It's Low Ki.

(Low Ki in this world is not only the first ever ROH Champ, but also the first ever TNA Champ; in this world and the real world he's still in his run as IWGP Jr Champ, but won't be by Rumble time.  The heels sell this hard, Punk's mouth hangs open.)

Steamboat says he didn't comeback to end Kendrick's career - Matt Hardy's going to do that for him.  And he didn't come back to end Cabana's career - Low Ki is going to do that for him. 

And then he turns to Punk.

"But you won't be there to see it.  You aren't getting a rematch for the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble.  You aren't wrestling Chris Jericho at the Royal Rumble.  You aren't going to the Royal Rumble at all.  You're going home."

Security then comes to the ring - and they drag CM Punk away.

We'll learn the details - it's a 60 day suspension and CM Punk has lost his right to a rematch. 

So - we've added a fifth match, and we have a special attraction.

But tthis means we don't have a title match. 

In part one, I alluded to a Jericho promo that was coming that got us the RVD/Orton match.  That promo is coming in the next show, since Jericho needs an opponent.

Jericho says the thing that defined his career, defined his life before Survivor Series was having been an IC and a tag champ but never having won the WWF Title - it eats away at a man, he says - makes him desperate and a little crazy.  And there are men with this company right now who know what I mean.

The LWO enters. 

Chavo and Jericho go nose to nose.  Jericho says his most legendary opponent, from the NWA and the WWF, was Chavo's uncle Eddy.  And he wants to see Chavo get his first ever shot at the WWF Title - he says no one deserves it more.

But then Jericho says - but not at the Rumble.  Jericho says not at the Rumble, because there's something else he has to do first.  Someone he needs to see standing across from him. 

He also tells Chavo that he's not ready.

This pisses Chavo off, and it looks like they're gonna go.

Jericho says Chavo's been in a tag for a long time, he knows it - if he really wants a shot at the WWF Title - he needs to get ready.  "You know it's true, Chavito." 

Chavo backs away, looks knowingly - then turns to Carlito and young Primo, the Baby Faced Assassin.  Chavo takes off his LWO bandana and gives it to Primo - Chavo says Jericho's right - if I want a real shot to be WWF Champ - I need to get ready.  Chavo says "The New LWO - Carlito and Primo Colon!" - the LWO music hits and then is cut off by Randy Orton's music.

Orton and Malenko enter. This is where we get the Orton/Taz confrontation.  Orton starts off with a "forget Chavo - forget anyone else in this whole company - the only man worthy of a title shot is me" - and that's when we see Taz via satellite from the Underground.  In Part One we set this up and then gave the result - this is the back and forth between Taz and Orton (both of whom, like Chavo, have IC and tag titles) that sprung from Taz cutting a promo about Orton while setting up the Swagger/DiBiase match down at WWFU, and then Orton responding with promos of his own.  And then the follow to this is Orton coming to the Underground, slapping the Hart kids around, having Swagger/DiBiase join together to back him down - then having Taz show up in the arena during an Orton promo to say that RVD would be meeting him at the Rumble. 

(We don't get this here, but there's another guy with an IC and tag run - a guy gone since WM 23 - and he starts being integrated back into the story during this run - Shane Helms.  Helms was IC Champ going into 23, injured in that match, a loss to Orton, and has been out since.  Video vignettes with Helms will begin to be shown now as he tries to walk again.  Helms is full on crippled now, trying to get use of his legs, it's sad and cautionary and inspirational.  We'll re-establish the backstory of Helms being teenage friends with the Hardys, the clips from Omega will be shown - as we through video vignettes sell that angle.)

The Orton/Taz back and forth is interrupted by the entrance of Edge.

Jericho/Christian was one of the great programs ever, they wrestled for a year straight, leading to a double turn at 20 in the second ever Cell match.  But it was Edge who took Jericho's IC title before Jericho left the company.  Jericho's return to the company was with Edge - he even awarded Edge the coveted Hart Foundation hockey jersey - but Edge swerved Jericho, revealing himself to still be affiliated with the Clique - Edge then beat Jericho at 24 - Jericho and Edge were the last 2 men standing at the Battle Royal to name the number one contender for Survivor Series - Jericho won, and here we are.

The set up for this bit - that "nothign eats away at you like being a WWF title short of the Triple Crown" has long been explicitly the basis of Edge's character - he's duplicitous and he will sleep with your girl and you can't ever, ever trust him - but the bones of Edge are infected with a need to be WWF Champ. 

Edge and Jericho are both wearing their hockey jerseys as they face off.

Edge says as it happens, he's a WWF Title short of the Triple Crown - and it's obvious that he's who Jericho's talking about - he's who Jericho thinks he has to beat at the Rumble to be a legitimate champion.  And there's nothing Edge would like more than to accomodate him...

...but he and Jeff Hardy are tag champions - he and Jeff Hardy will be defending against WMD at the Rumble (they won't) and Jericho knows Edge isn't allowed to wrestle for two separate titles on the same night.  Typical Jericho.

Jericho says there will be a night when the two of them will be in a ring - not in a battle royal - but in one on one - but Edge is wrong - it's not Chavo, not Orton, not Taz, not even Edge - who Jericho has to beat at the Rumble in his first title defense....

...It's Hunter Hearst Helmsley McMahon.

HHH-M, who also meets the criteria, enters.

Jericho says ten years ago, he didn't make the decision to leave the NWA to bring back the Hart Foundation to the WWF because of Edge - or because of Waltman - or Razor - or Diesel - or even Michaels.

It was Hunter.

And ten years ago he stood in this ring and looked Hunter dead in the eye and said the the Clique was a disease and Chris Jericho was the cure. 

And ten years later - Chris Jericho has a Triple Crown - but the Clique still lives. 

Jericho says the Clique will always live as long as HHH-M is still standing.  Still breathing.  Still infecting the WWF. 

At the Rumble - he cuts out the cancer.  At the Rumble - he beats HHH-M.

That brings out WMD.

Cena and Leviathan say they own Hunter.  Hunter couldn't beat them.  Edge had to get Jeff Hardy to beat them and that was a fluke.  Cena and Leviathan say Hunter shouldn't get a title shot at the Rumble ---

Hunter mans up.

Hunter says he has been in the WWF almost 15 years, he even married a McMahon - and he has never had a one on one shot at the WWF Title (he and the Rock lost a 3 way to Foley for Mick's strap once).  And there's nothing getting in his way of taking the strap from a Hart - Jericho's right - he is the Clique, he has always been the Clique - and by God - he'll be taking what's his at the Rumble.

And before that - Hunter says - he'll be kicking both Cena's and Leviathan's ass.

Then they all brawl - Hunter attacks Cena - Leviathan and Cena double team Hunter - Edge comes to Hunter's defense - Orton takes a shot at Jericho - Chavo jumps Orton, the Colons start taking shots at everyone they can - even Arn and Dean begin to throw some hands to the delight of many.

And that's that scene.

Hunter goes over Cena in a single.  And then goes over Leviathan - and postmatch goes to work on Leviathan with the sledgehammer - Hunter busting Leviathan up - Leviathan doing a stretcher job.

That's gonna knock Leviathan out.  Which takes away the WMD rematch at the Rumble.

It's now like a week, maybe two before the Rumble - too late for a new team - so the opening tag at the Rumble will be a four way (Young Money, Santino/Miz, BIG (Bradshaw/Yang), and Rhodes (Dustin and Cody) winner goes later in the night to wrestle Edge and the Blood Dragon for the straps.

Young Money and Santino/Miz have been feuding since summer.  BIG has been feuding with Undertaker and Cody since summer - but the Taker got wiped out at Survivor Series - so Dustin steps in to team with his little brother.  Winners get the title shot later in the night.

And that's your show.

WWF Title: Jericho v. HHH-M
IC: 2 of 3: MVP v. Rey
Tags: Edge/Blood Dragon v. ?
Orton v. RVD
Match 7: Nitro v. Benjamin
Cage: Matt v. Kendrick
Winner Gets a Contract: Swagger v. DiBiase
Number One Contender: Young Money v. Santino/Miz v. BIG v. Rhodes
Plus - the WWF Debut of Low Ki

It's the Royal Rumble.  Buy it.

TNA Bound for Glory 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You can click the label if you really want the full TNA Counterfactual rundown.  I do 4 TNA shows a year and stay a PPV behind.  I'll be back before year's end with part two of the Road to Rumble '09.  Real world Lockdown comes in April - and that will mean Counterfactual Final Resolution. Slammiversary was here.

Bound for Glory

TNA Championship: Samoa Joe d. AJ Styles/Chris Daniels
X Championship: Bobby Lashley d. Jay Lethal
Tag Championship: Tex Mex: Hernandez/Storm d. Angle/Sting
Alex Shelley d. Chris Sabin
Homicide d. Red
Elijah Burke d. Booker T
Doug Williams d. Bobby Roode/Frankie Kazarian
Cactus Jack/Abyss (w/Stevie Richards) d. Dudleys

Road to Royal Rumble 2009 - Part One

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When last we left off, the traditional Triple Crown ceremony the night after Survivor Series (Jericho won the strap, making him a Triple Crown Winner, he was presented the trophy by Rey) ended in chaos when Punk/Colt/Kendrick attacked Steamboat on the floor as the boys surrounded the ring.  I like it when shows end in chaos.  Gotta keep tuning in to see how it all resolves itself. 

It doesn't resolve itself for the rest of December; Steamboat takes two weeks off to sell the injuries - over that time the Punk/Colt/Kendrick/Maria quartet appears on every show in some capacity - Kendrick's celebrating his win over Matt Hardy (although constantly looking over his shoulder for Matt to appear) and the group, assuming that Punk will be getting his rematch against Jericho shows clips of the match, alleging numerous rules violations that an unbiased referee would have caught (bullshit stuff: closed fists, slow counts, intentional clotheslines) but Punk sells how it's a series of smoking guns, he really should demand that the decision be reversed and he be awarded his title back - but he's magnanimous, he'll beat Jericho at the Rumble fair and square.

So, over these two weeks, we assume (wrongly) that we'll be getting all 3 title matches replayed from SSeries.  Not just Punk/Jericho (not going to happen) but a tag rematch.  Edge and the Blood Dragon took the straps from WMD - and we assume we'll see it again (we won't, Batista's gonna get hurt, but not yet).  Edge cuts his super smarmy top of the world promos - he and Jeff Hardy are tag champs - it's the very best thing that could ever happen.  An interviewer will say he's taking Jericho's winning the WWF title well - and that will set Edge off in that way he has - the interviewer's a hater, that's how people are always trying to tear him down.  But, the smarminess returns, Edge says he doesn't mind...Jericho...with the WWF title, because Jericho can't beat him, as he proved at WM 24.  For right now - he and Jeff are tag champs, and all is right with the world.

Jeff doesn't appear outside of the mask, as he hasn't appeared without the mask now since the end of the number one contender's battle royal in August (no one mentions this).  The Blood Dragon appears a couple of times in these two weeks with Edge - Edge trying to get the Blood Dragon to hug him - but the Blood Dragon is standoffish - the announce speculates that Jeff has to be conflicted - it's almost too baffling to comprehend - you wouldn't believe it if it wasn't right in front of your face - Edge and Jeff Hardy, tag team champions.  Matt does not appear. 

Neither of those matches is going to happen.  What will happen is the IC rematch.

MVP's run, now over a year - now the longest IC title reign since Michaels 15 years previous, continued at SSeries.  Porter beat Mysterio clean - but it's Porter who calls Rey out, Porter who wants the rematch.

MVP is pissed about the Triple Crown ceremony - the night after Rey loses clean as a sheet there he is on RAW called a legend by Joey Styles, there he is with the Triple Crown trophy - there he is with a full clip package and a standing ovation.  Porter says it doesn't work like that - it ain't Rey who is the greatest IC Champion of all time - not Rey who had his hand raised - not Rey who runs this piece - it's MVP.

Porter says it wasn't enough just to beat the man - he wants to beat him in his own match - 2 of 3 falls.  They're gonna do it lucha style - 2 of 3 falls for the IC strap at the Rumble.

They do a tag just before Steamboat returns, Punk/MVP against Jericho/Rey - Porter gets a screwjob fall when Colt hits Rey with the cast.  The babyface announce begins to build the story that maybe we all overestimated how much of the old Rey was left - that maybe against someone as young and talented as Porter, arguably the greatest IC champ of all time - Rey's overmatched.  We'll find out in the 2 of 3 falls match at Royal Rumble 2009.

We'll also get Benjamin and Nitro again - Match 7 in the Best of 7.

Nitro beat Benjamin at Survivor Series - going up 3-1 in the series - but over December Benjamin guts out 2 wins to even the series.  So by year's end the match is set - Shelton Benjamin and Johnny Nitro, 3-3.

We'll also get a Contract Match.

2 years ago, at WM 23, the Juggernaut (RIP) won a contract.  A year ago, in a dark match at 24, Young Money got a contract.  This year, since the Wrestlemania Silver card spots will be highly coveted - the contract match will be at the Rumble - and it will be a battle from the Underground.

We started developmental in Tampa at the top of the year - its WWFUniversity (or WWFU, or WWF Underground, it's all online, so we call it the Underground).  Taz joined as head trainer after 24.  So, after a year watching these crazy kids online - Taz says one of them is getting called up to the show. 

The Rumble match will be between the two top prospects - Swagger and DiBiase.  Swagger is overachieving babyface, hardworking, the epitome of the diligent amateur wrestler.  Up early to do his running, stays late to work on drills.  Kelly is his sister.  He's not well liked among the rest of the boys in the Underground, they snickered behind his back when he was given the pejorative nickname of Jack Swagger by DiBiase (a nickname liked by the company, so it became his ring name) there's no reason for it really beyond jealousy, but he's a square peg in a round hole world.  He has one friend, Nick Nemeth, a fellow amateur wrestler - they train together - and after Taz announces the matchup for the Rumble, Swagger and Nemeth will spend most of the run up alone training.  Nemeth looks up to Swagger.

DiBiase's a rogue, drinks too much, stays out late - quick with a comeback - he challenges Taz's authority sometimes - but he's very popular with the boys in Tampa and is more of a natural than Swagger - he'll come in late, leave early - but get everything right.  He and Kelly have had a flirtmance thing during the year.  As we get closer to the Rumble, DiBiase and Kelly get closer - they evade the cameras, Kelly's in DiBiase's room late at night, that sort of thing. 

DiBiase/Swagger meet at the Rumble - Winner Gets a Contract.

The other thing that happens in the Underground as part of this angle is Taz cuts a promo on Randy Orton.

At Survivor Series, Orton beat Regal in a Parking Lot Brawl, giving him the Golden Goal as did he with Finlay back at 24 (Fit's been gone since).  Orton had aid from a mystery driver - one of the cars encircled in the parking lot was not empty, as it was supposed to be - but had a masked driver who popped up to clip Regal, allowing for Dean and Orton to gain advantage.  On TV post Survivor Series - Orton cuts his gloating promos - but also, TV shows that the driver of the car can be identified by distinctive leather gloves (there's zooming on the tape - look at the gloves!).  Find the gloves, find the driver.

Anyway - Taz as part of the "this is the biggest thing that could ever happen, one of us, someone from the Underground, is going to the show" rap - says "when you get there, don't be Randy Orton" - and cuts promos about what a crappy guy Orton is for cheating at Survivor Series, for kicking Regal in the head - you know the drill.

This is how what has only been online will get on TV.  Because Orton, on TV, will play the internet clip of Taz and then respond.  So, for the fans who aren't online, who don't know about the Underground - Orton is bringing it to them - and that will allow for the announce to also get over the Swagger/DiBiase match.  Orton's hot at Taz - calling Taz out - saying he and his trainees don't belong in the ring with a real man.

We need to fast forward here in time to the end of December - there's a big Jericho promo that will get us our main event - I don't want to talk about that yet, I'll wait until part two of the build (next week I think, it'll just be a two part build).

But as part of that - Orton and Taz do a back and forth - Orton on the ramp - Taz via satellite.  They jaw - Orton winds up issuing a challenge as he puts down the entire Underground - Orton says he'll beat anyone Taz can throw at him.

Taz agrees - says he'll have an opponent for Orton at the Rumble.

Orton shows up a couple of weeks later in Tampa, on the Underground - he slaps a couple of the trainees around - he acts like Randy Orton - he draws a united front from the boys - DiBiase and Swagger standing together to defend the honor of the Underground - they back Orton down.

Those clips are shown on TV - Orton cuts promo - demanding to know who it is that Taz has for him - who it is that he'll be kicking in the skull at the Rumble -

We're now like two weeks out from the Rumble, in mid-Jan.

 -- Taz appears, Taz and Orton go face to face - Orton demands to know who it is he'll be wrestling in Detroit at the Royal Rumble - which one of Taz's children gets his skull caved in -

Taz says Randy misunderstood.  It won't be a trainee.  It won't be a future champion.  It will be a past champion.  A WWF tag team champion.  A IC Champion.  An ECW Champion.

The video plays - Rob Van Dam.

RVD will be returning to the WWF at the Royal Rumble - in his hometown of Detroit - to take on Randy Orton.

That's half the card.

IC: 2 of 3 Falls: MVP v. Mysterio
Best of 7: Match 7: Nitro v. Benjamin
Orton v. RVD
Winner Gets a Contract: Swagger v. DiBiase

Still half the card left.  We'll find out the title match, the tag title match, the opening tag, and the remaining singles match.  All of those matches hinge upon what happens when Ricky Steamboat returns --- in the middle of a Punk Quartet promo --- and announces that CM Punk will not be wrestling Chris Jericho at the Rumble.

That's where we'll pick up in Part 2

Survivor Series - 2008

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Survivor Series 2008 is from Boston.

Part 3 of the build is here; or you could click the Road to Survivor Series 2008 label to read the full three part build.  Or just go to the it begins post to read the whole story.  I've been doing this blog for four years now; I think it was 6 years ago that I started writing the story, but 4 since I decided to share it with you. 

(Dark – LWO (w/Primo) d. Tatsu/Noble
             Kingston d. Yakuza)

Your announce – Joey/JR/Striker – in the back, Josh. It's JR's 50th PPV, which gets some notice.

Big night tonight – we’ll get the return of the WWF GM, Ricky Steamboat as the special guest referee in Punk’s title defense against Jericho; MVP has held the IC for a full year and defends against the legendary Rey Mysterio – and in a shocking, shocking turn of events – Edge and the Blood Dragon are teaming up to challenge WMD for the tag straps. In the back, we see Matt enter – Josh asks for a word and Matt blows him off – we see Edge – by himself – Josh asks where the Blood Dragon is – where is Jeff Hardy? Edge says everything’s under control – and tonight he and the Blood Dragon will become tag team champions.

1. Fluorescent Box Match: Bradshaw/Henry d. Undertaker/Rhodes

-Two boxes in opposite corners (the corners where the tag partners aren’t) filled with fluorescent tubes – if a wrestler gets to the box, he can use the tubes. Bradshaw and Undertaker are in a program since summer: Taker got a DQ win at Summer Slam but then had to take a light tube beat down. Taker’s taken Cody under his wing in this program, Cody’s job is to take the beating. He takes it here – the other half of BIG (Khali and Yakuza) enters, trying to get to the light tube boxes – the Undertaker fights them off, but that leaves Cody alone to take a good beating from Bradshaw and Henry – the box gets opened – Cody is about to get smashed with light tubes – when he is saved by a fan who runs into the ring to pull him out.

Dustin Rhodes.

Dustin’s been gone awhile. He’s a former tag champ, he and Austin debuted together – taking the tag titles from Razor and Diesel at Rumble ’96. Dustin had been a two time NWA tag champ (w/Eaton and then with Windham). Austin would turn on him when he became Stone Cold, which would spin Rhodes curiously into the Goldust persona – he’d align with a group of large men also in the Goldust costume (Sid and the Harris brothers) as the Golden Girls. A disgusted Jeff Jarrett convinced him to embrace his southern heritage and he cast off the gimmick. Dustin feuded with Hunter for a year – and notably failed with Jarrett in an attempt to burn the American flag at XV (was it XV?)

Anyway, Dustin pulls his little brother out of the ring and carries him up the ramp – the full force of BIG then teams to take out the Taker – they take him out with light tubes – Bradshaw gets his pinfall - they set upon the prone Taker with light tubes – from the back comes PAUL, Taker’s longtime friend (he and Khali had a draw at Summer Slam) and also Kane (gone for awhile, he and PAUL, and occasionally the Undertaker – and once even Hulk Hogan) were Dead Men Walking, former tag champs – PAUL and Kane clean house – knocking all of BIG out of the ring – and they hit Yakuza with a double chokeslam onto some light tubes to get a pop.

2. Truth Killings (w/Kingston) d. Miz (w/Santino)

-Killings and Kingston are Young Money, protégées of Floyd Mayweather ; Miz and Santino are an enhancement comedy act; they’ve been feuding since summer; Kingston beat Santino at Summer Slam and now Killings beats Miz here. It’s not much more complicated than that. Hit the Auto Tune! Shaw-ty!

3. Match 4 of 7: Johnny Nitro d. Strong Style Shelton Benjamin

-This feud started on the road to WM 24; cocky heel Nitro and white meat babyface Benjamin are oil and water, with only their athleticism and desire to demonstrate that athleticism uniting them. They both lost in the TLC title unification main event at 24 (to Punk), after they left their respective hospitals, they continued their feud over the summer, starting this best of 7 series – that was stalled at 1-0 Benjamin when Nitro attacked Shelton’s knee, and that knee has been the story subsequent. Nitro beat Benjamin twice in the build to Survivor Series – and beats him again here – Nitro goes up 3-1, a seemingly insurmountable advantage, and the announce suggests that Benjamin’s knee may just not be able to hold up to Nitro’s offensive onslaught.

4. Brian Kendrick (w/Colt) d. Matt Hardy

-Big picture – Matt’s been a top guy since Edge slept with Lita. Matt beat Flair at XXII and he and Edge spent a year building to their main event blow off, Hell in a Cell main event for XXIII. Matt won that match – but got the hell kicked out of him by GDI (Punk, Colt, Kendrick, et al.) postmatch. Matt was gone a year – he returned at the close of XXIV, hitting the Twist of Fate on Punk from the top of the ladder. Matt got his shot at Punk and the WWF title at Summer Slam, but fell short (as did Jeff in his IC shot earlier that night) in part because of a Sliced Bread #2 hit by Kendrick. That would be enough for this match – except for the crazy twist over this past week when Edge tabbed the Blood Dragon as his partner tonight (the Matt/Edge storyline has been good, I think – Hardys and E/C came up together as young boys ten years ago, E/C saw an opportunity to get ahead, on the night the Hardys won the tag straps – E/C joined the Clique – kicking off a multi-year long collision feud, where, with the Dudleys, the men nearly killed each other. Edge nailing Lita led to the collapse of the then babyface Clique, and led to Edge beating Christian {he told Christian that “as his brother” he would never lie to him – and he never slept with Lita} in a Loser Leaves Town. Jeff returned after years away to aid his brother in the program {but Jeff couldn’t beat Edge – or CM Punk, and during a several month program with Punk, Jeff adopted the alternate persona of the Blood Dragon, which looks sort of like Jushin Liger}. Punk preyed a little upon the unstable Jeff – and his analysis, oft repeated – was that Jeff’s need no longer to be a Hardy, no longer to be Matt’s brother, led to this schizophrenic breakdown. Jeff’s IC loss at Summer Slam was another crack to his ego – Jeff eliminated Matt from the number one contender’s battle royal – which was another crack in the Hardys relationship. They hadn’t spoken in a couple of months, as Matt had told us, Jeff disappearing after the battle royal – until this past week Edge’s search for a partner ended – when he unveiled the Blood Dragon)

It’s still unfolding here – Matt’s noticeably distracted – shaking his head throughout the match – Kendrick is in his “the Brian Kendrick” chickenshit heel persona (Colt has a cast, Matt broke his arm over the summer). Josh has continued throughout the show his search for the Blood Dragon – and during this match – on the video wall – Josh finds him (there was announce speculation that Jeff would reconsider, that despite whatever’s going on with he and Matt – he just wouldn’t be Edge’s partner) but there he is – in the back – Josh asks him “Why – Jeff – why are you doing this” – and the Blood Dragon (in the costume) just shakes his head and continues walking.

That distraction, distracting both the official and Matt – allows Colt to slip in the ring and club Matt with the cast – which allows Kendrick to take control – soon thereafter is Sliced Bread – and that’s the pinfall for the biggest win of Kendrick’s career.

Kendrick does the big celebration – Matt sits in the ring and stares at the video wall – his brother, his baby brother – is going to team with his mortal enemy – right here, in this very ring!

5. Parking Garage Brawl:  Randy Orton (w/Dean) d. Steve Regal
Surrounded by cars in the parking garage, Orton gets a win in as rough and tumble a brawl as decency will allow and Orton can maintain.  Orton's really looking for gravity here - that's why the alliance with Malenko, in whom we've invested a great deal of time establishing as legitimate.  Orton formed Defiance, a stable with Malenko and the Juggernaut (Umaga) at 24 by aiding the Juggernaut in defeating Fit (Orton debuted his punt to the head, called the Golden Goal - Fit's been out since).

Regal came to the aid of his frenemy Finlay - he took the Juggernaut out, he hit Orton with his car (that's why we're in a parking garage) but tonight he takes a Golden Goal himself.

There's a plot development here that leads to the finish - with Regal in control one of the encircled cars suddenly rams into him - the chaos as the car (with an unseen driver) strikes Regal and then screeches away allows Malenko to put on the clover leaf - and Orton to nail the Golden Goal.

A bloody Orton stands astride the broken body of Regal - Orton/Malenko...and who....who was driving the car....Defiance has taken out another man.

6. Tag Team Titles:  Edge/Blood Dragon d. WMD (w/Arn)
Edge comes out alone to take on Cena/Leviathan, the announce speculating that maybe Jeff thought better of it - maybe whatever demons are currently possessing Jeff's mind that caused him to agree to partner with Edge have taken the evening off.  Edge has to take a bit of a beating early - he deserves it and the muscleheads are happy to oblige.

Then the Blood Dragon (in the full costume/mask) comes to the ring and awaits the the tag.

Now, the announce doesn't refer to this, but there's been enough video in the build so the fans are well aware - but please recall what happened at the Rumble.

At the Rumble - Edge/Jericho took on Michaels/Helmsley for the straps - Edge/Jericho was a surprise alliance, and it appeared that Edge had turned in the aftermath of 23.  He had not - he swerved Jericho in that match and the heels pounced.

So here we are, Edge about the tag in the Blood Dragon - important that the announce never says "wait - remember the Rumble?" as that would tip the hand - I'd like it if the fans thought that was the direction we were going here, that Jeff would turn his back on Edge for the comeuppance.

That doesn't happen - instead what happens is the Blood Dragon goes full house afire and eventually he hits the Swanton and gets the fall on Leviathan. 

Edge and Jeff Hardy, shockingly, are tag team champions. 

Edge is thrilled, raising the belt high - the Blood Dragon (still masked, which isn't weird, as we've been planting that as normal forever) seems conflicted - looking at the belt - staring at Edge -- and Matt Hardy, in absolute disbelief, comes to the top of the ramp.

I like a shot of Edge, sneering, smirking Edge - standing with the Blood Dragon in mid ring - Edge mocking Matt - Matt's mouth agape, Matt frozen - Matt underneath the TitanTron as it all goes down.  The Blood Dragon doesn't celebrate with Edge - Edge extends a hand - but the Blood Dragon blows him off - exiting the ring - the Blood Dragon goes up the ramp with the title belt - and he just walks right by Matt - brushing past him as Matt is frozen in what clearly has to be as traumatic a happening as could ever occur to him in a wrestling ring.  His brother - and his mortal enemy - tag team champions of the world.

7. IC Title: MVP d. Rey Mysterio
-This is just a wrestling match, they go hard, Porter gets him with a roll up.

The build was (1) Porter's hit a year as IC Champ (he's got some type of celebration here, a special fireworks thing or girls, some type of "champ for a year" thing- he's longest running IC champ in over a decade (Cactus Jack) - and that's designed to rebuild this belt since it has to be subordinated while we did that belt split.  Porter's the modern athlete (he's Ochocinco) he tweets during matches, he wears expensive suits, he hits his catchphrase (I Run This) and he wants to build his brand.  Rey's on the short list for greatest wrester ever, he's a triple crown legend, but injuries have taken him away for good parts of the past couple of years.  Is MVP going to ascend further up the ranks - can Rey return to form?

Not complicated - they have the best match they can have, it's 50/50 and Porter gets him with the roll up at the end.  Done.  MVPs run continues. 

8. WWF Title: Chris Jericho d. CM Punk (w/Maria and Colt): Guest referee, Ricky Steamboat.
-Well, look what happened here.

-In 1999, Chris Jericho arrived in the WWF to revive the Hart Foundation - he wore the #7 Foundation hockey jersey (only given to champions - and Jericho was an NWA Champ), he beat Waltman for the IC in his first match at Survivor Series.

A decade later, here we are. 

-In 2006, CM Punk, who had built his WWF name as the man whose refusal to wrestle on TV led to the creation of GDI Wrestling - the Tuesday night Sci Fi program - won the number one contender's battle royal (only man ever to do it from position 1) and beat Ric Flair at Survivor Series to take the Undisputed World Title and end the reign of the 51% Solution.  In a shocking - shocking - turn of events, Punk threw down the WWF (and NWA) title belt, proclaiming himself the GDI World Champion (as represented by the ECW belt) and shattering the company in pieces.

Two years later, here we are.

Ricky Steamboat defended the WWF Title at the first Wrestlemania - and has been in general manager type positions throughout the decade in TNA (where his chief nemesis was Punk) ROH (where his chief nemesis was Punk) and in the WWF in a couple of stints - this most recent starting after Survivor Series 2006 which his task being to put right what CM Punk made wrong.

There have been twists and turns. 

But here we are.

Steamboat, gone on his Asian talent search, returns to accept Punk's demand that he be guest referee.

Jericho, gone over the summer after his loss at 24 to Edge (who swerved him at the Rumble) was a surprise entrant (at #30) at the battle royale - he eliminated Edge and with all the years of history behind him - as a Hart - as the man left to carry on the most important WWF legacy - and as a man who has failed carrying that legacy, who has let the emotional pressure of that legacy break him multiple times - Jericho is here.

And Punk, with his boy Colt and girl Maria - the hated, cocksure Punk - master of mind games, Punk who has withstood every challenge - who has always come out on top in his WWF career - Punk is here.

Steamboat, early in the match, sends Colt and Maria to the back after an attempted distraction.  There are, throughout the match, a few Punk/Steamboat confrontations, in the way you'd expect to see them. 

They go head up - Jericho locks on the Walls - Punk breaks the hold.  Punk hits the Pepsi Plunge, Jericho kicks out.  Eventually Punk's attempt to hit the GTS is turned into another Walls - and Punk submits. 

Jericho wins the WWF Championship.  Jericho wins the Triple Crown. 

He gets the celebration alone - after Steamboat puts the belt around his waist - Jericho gets the moment in the ring by himself - no longer "the cocky Hart" - no longer JerichoDark or the Lizard King - he's #7 - and just like Dynamite, Bret, Davey Boy, Owen, and Benoit - Jericho takes his place as WWF Champion.

It's a big emotional celebration - Punk looks on mournfully, alone in the aisle.

The following night at the close of RAW is another tradition - the passing of the Triple Crown trophy.

All the boys surround the ring, as we've done with every previous winner, and the previous holder of the cup, as we've done every time, hands the Triple Crown to the new holder.  There's a highlight package.  It's what we do.

The last triple crown winner was Benoit.  You may recall that he returned to WWF (his career ended at the hands of Lashley) the week after 23 for Flair's retirement ceremony.  And he gave the trophy to the man who held it before Benoit, Rey Mysterio.

So it's Rey who comes to the ring - he hands Jericho the Hart-Guerrero Memorial Triple Crown - the highlight reel from Jericho's career plays - after which, in the middle of all of the boys out around the ring and up the ramp - Punk/Colt/Kendrick attack Ricky Steamboat.

It's a complete sucker attack, they jump him and pound the WWF GM down until pulled off.  It's full on chaos - Punk/Colt/Kendrick have attacked Ricky Steamboat, leaving the GM bloody and laying in the middle of the triple crown ceremony.

One assumes there will be consequences.

That's Survivor Series 2008 (and the next night).  Steve Regal hit by a Golden Goal, Johnny Nitro up 3-1 on Shelton Benjamin, Edge and The Blood Dragon are, in an unbelievable twist, the new tag champs, and your new WWF Champion and Triple Crown winner -- Chris Jericho.

I'll be back in December for the The road. to the Rumble. 

Road to Survivor Series 2008 - Part 3

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Part II of the 3 part build can be found here.  You can also click the label for the full 3 part build.  Or you can start with the "it begins" post and read the 25 year history straight through, which is my suggestion if you're new and obsessive.

Survivor Series 2008 is coming next month from Boston.

WWF Championship: CM Punk v. Chris Jericho: Special Guest Referee: Ricky Steamboat

-In Part II of the build, Jericho (from position 30) won the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal (eliminating Edge, who was alone in the ring when Jericho entered) to get this shot.

Chris Jericho is the most psychologically fragile wrestler in this world; and Punk the greatest manipulator maybe who we’ve ever seen. That’s the storyline as we head to Survivor Series.

Jericho arrived in 1999 to revive the Hart Foundation after Owen’s departure (not a euphemism; he didn’t die in the ring in this world; yes, Owen’s still dead, that’s not how this works). Jericho was temperamentally different from the Harts, more “Clique” like in demeanor than the stoic, serious minded Foundation. Maybe that’s why he, despite a willingness, was never able to grab full leadership reigns of the family. His unease..perhaps the stress caused by having to wear that crown, manifested itself in his trying to grab onto help – in the form of Lance Storm, whose betrayal of him caused a downward spiral (Jericho becoming JerichoDark, a Raven like figure) and then in the form of Trish (their alliance took both of them into depraved, Sid and Nancy like places, Jericho turning heel for the first time in the WWF, becoming the Lizard King, and eventually causing him to leave the company after drunkenly bottoming out). Jericho returned, in shape and clear eyed, a year ago, with a new ally – Edge – much as Jericho debuted after Owen’s death – his return came after Benoit’s death. We read that as Jericho again saying subtextually “I’m ready – I’m your guy – you can trust me” – but also he (perhaps too easily) trusted Edge (needed Edge?) to aid him in filling that void.

Edge of course screwed Jericho at Rumble ’08, re-aligning with the Clique – then Edge beat Jericho clean at XXIV – much speculation if that again pushed Jericho over the edge as he went missing all summer – but he returned at the Battle Royal unexpectedly and now is headed to Survivor Series.

Jericho is serious, older, more Hart-like – he seems focused and ready.

But he’s facing Punk – and Punk looks to split his mind open the way he has done throughout his entire career. From day one, Punk’s dominant characteristic has been as the puppetmaster – pitting the other indie guys against each other – swaying the locker room leaders to line up in his corner as he challenged Flair for the title two years ago – getting his own show after throwing down the WWF Title belt (GDI, on Tuesday nights) torturing the Hardys – Jeff becoming the Blood Dragon and, as shown in recent months, becoming severed from Matt (Jeff eliminated Matt at the battle royal – the tension increasingly thick between the two men from Summer Slam all the way to today) and most prevalently, tormenting Steamboat – not just in his role as the general manager of the WWF – but, as noted, in similar positions in both ROH and TNA – Punk v. Steamboat has been a theme of American Counterfactual wrestling for the bulk of this decade.

And that continues in this build – in addition to Punk trying to manipulate Jericho (a Trish appearance, the way she’s done sometimes, would be good – some sort of attempted sexual come on to Jericho, perhaps that ends with she and Maria making out…excuse me…I need a moment of private time…) Punk keeps cutting promos on the absent Steamboat (he’s in Japan recruiting more talent, that’s from where he got Yoshii Tatsu, now wrestling on GDI – first in an alliance with, then in opposition to, Jamie Noble). Punk (along with Colt and Maria, always in the angle, don’t forget) has a fox and the grapes moment regarding Summer Slam – having Steamboat count the fall when he beat Matt to retain the title was good – but not as good as if Steamboat had to officially referee the whole match – had to fasten the title belt around his waist following the match – had to raise his hand in the air and proclaim for the world that CM Punk was the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion.

Punk is greedy, the way heels are – and his constant begging for Steamboat to be the referee pays off.

Steamboat still doesn’t appear on camera (you don’t see him until the PPV – you gotsa pay for that shit!) but we hear via the announce that he accepts – he will return from the Pacific Rim to be the special guest referee for the main event at Survivor Series 2008! CM Punk v. Chris Jericho for the WWF Title!

IC Title: Montel Porter v. Rey Mysterio

-Porter, with his three thousand dollar suits, his top of the line smartphones, his tweeting during matches (anytime someone wants to steal that idea from me, you’re welcome) has been IC Champ for a full year since winning from Orton at Survivor Series 2007.

That’s one of the storylines headed to this match – maybe the main storyline – Porter’s going to be champion for a full year – no one has had the IC for a full year since Cactus Jack a dozen years ago. The IC was intentionally devalued for a couple of years when there were 3 separate heavyweight titles, or rather, it was an unintended consequence but one that was done consciously – so as now the company is once again unified and there are only two singles belts – the IC is being rebuilt – and Porter’s run is doing that.

For MVP it’s about securing his empire, putting himself into the company of – well, of legends, like Cactus Jack – and like Rey Mysterio.

MVP wants this match – wants it badly - he says it’s part of the plan – the plan he designed from a jailcell – get trained by a great wrestler like Booker T – form a tag team with his friend Elijah Burke – make his bones early by punking out a legend – and that was Rey Mysterio. Nothing personal, Rey, Porter says – but when I took you out a year and a half ago – that was just an old prison trick – go up to the biggest guy on your first day and smack him around. You ain’t the biggest guy – but you got a triple crown.

(Recall, in the summer of ’07, Heat was feuding with LWO – Book and Rey were on the periphery of that – and as part of the build for Rey/Book at Summer Slam, Porter punked a still recovering from injury Mysterio out. That led to his being upbraided by Book – which led to Porter’s turning on both Book and Burke)

And that’s where MVP picks up his story again – it was all part of the plan – take out Rey to get noticed – then drop his partner – and turn on his mentor.

Check. Check. Check.

That left Porter free to whip Orton and take his belt a year ago.


Then do something no one’s done in over a decade – hold the IC belt for a full year.


So now it’s time for the next thing – to beat a legend – an immortal – clean in the middle of the ring.

It’s time to pick the bones of Rey Mysterio.

That’s what he needs to do.

So that’s the MVP part of it – the Mysterio part is there’s an open question (asked by Striker) of how much he has left. Two long absences in recent years, causing him to miss multiple Wrestlemanias, has taken the steam out of his career – Rey was the top wrestler in the company – a 2 time WWF champion – a triple crown winner – but now the question is he still the top guy – or is he a guy who used to be the top guy. Rey was quickly eliminated (by Porter) in the battle royal – which was his much hyped return to the company, his first match since losing the WWF title to Benjamin at Rumble ’08. So – as Porter builds his name – Rey attempts to salvage his.

Tags: WMD: Leviathan/John Cena (w/Arn Anderson) v. Edge/Mystery Partner

-WMD is a full on no-selling muscle tag team – they’re the Road Warriors. I think by this point at least Dave paints his face and wears spikes to the ring. They have no inner lives, it’s the opposite of what I like – they are full on cartoon characters – they give screaming promos and shake the ropes and have catchphrases and hit power moves and the grown ups (like me) either boo or fast forward and the kids buy their merch. Arn never tells anyone they don’t know how to work.

It’s the second tag run for both men, Leviathan was a Horseman, Flair’s last protégé – Flair and Arn turned on him at one point, but they’ve all made up now, as evidenced by Flair, as guest ref at 24, hitting Michaels with the ball shot allowing WMD to take the straps from the Clique. Cena and Orton were upstart boy tag champs.

WMD beat Michaels and Hunter at Mania – then kept over Hunter and Edge at Summer Slam – Michaels has been gone since Mania, seen only in extensive and numerous highlight packages that pop in out of nowhere displaying his record ten title wins (2 WWF, 2IC, 4 tags) with the end tag: He is Risen and blinding white light. Hunter vanishes after the battle royal – leaving only a very frustrated Edge.

Edge says he deserves to wrestle Punk – he eliminated everyone from the battle royal – but Jericho came in at the end to screw him. He says he deserves to wrestle Porter – but all he wants to do is take on Mysterio so he’s frozen out. So he wants a rematch against WMD – and he says he will find a partner.

Everyone knows Edge doesn’t have a single friend, so there’s speculation on who that might be. And that speculation drives the program.

We find out, by the way, on the go home RAW before the PPV – Edge reveals his mystery partner.

After much build up. After much “Edge has a shocking announcement at the end of RAW – tune in – tune in”

Edge reveals his announcement.  His partner will be............

The Blood Dragon.

The Blood Dragon doesn’t appear during this announcement – just clips play of Jeff hitting highspots.

It’s a shocking “oh my god” (Joey says in his quiet voice like he did) ending to RAW – the smirking Edge announcing, impossibly, that the Blood Dragon would be his partner.

Which sends Matt into an unhinged frenzy – he appears on both GDI and then Fight Night demanding Edge (they can’t wrestle in a singles match ever again, said their contract for the main event at 23). Jeff’s been totally absent, Matt has said multiple times in passing, since their near confrontation after the battle royal (Matt hasn’t wanted to talk about it, the announcers keep asking “where’s Jeff”). Matt’s said “I don’t have any fucking idea” – having to get bleeped out, in the hopes of no longer being asked about his brother, it clearly being a sore spot.

Oh, this is a good time for this:

Matt Hardy v. Brian Kendrick

-Kendrick aided his longtime GDI ally Punk at Summer Slam, hitting sliced bread #2 during the title match . Not the first confrontation between the two – Kendrick was one of the lead jackals who, along with Punk, carved Matt and Edge up in the Cell following the main at 23. Matt eliminated Kendrick from the battle royal – and Matt is full on “I’m going to kill Brian Kendrick at Survivor Series” throughout the build. Kendrick does his super “the Brian Kendrick” chickenshit heel gimmick.

Kendrick avoids Matt during the build – running at every opportunity – begging off – until the aforementioned GDI after the go home RAW (which is why I’m bringing this up now) when Matt cuts a “Edge is a goddamn liar – my brother would never be his partner – he is a liar, this is a bait and switch – do not buy this PPV if you think you’re going to see the Blood Dragon” promo – which is interrupted by Kendrick, who sneak attacks Matt with a chairshot – and lays him out.

-Matt returns though at the end of Fight Night – he cuts the same promo on Edge – but is interrupted in the last image shown before Survivor Series – it’s on the TitanTron – it’s Edge talking to Matt – saying Edge is a lot of things, “but no one has ever called me a liar….oh, wait…everyone’s always called me a liar, that’s because I lie all the time, I lied to Jericho, I lied to the fans, I lied to you, Matt Hardy, when I said I was your friend while I was inside your girl…

(can we say that on MyNetwork TV? )

But – Edge says – as it so happens….

And then into the shot comes the Blood Dragon. The Blood Dragon standing right next to Edge.

“this time – I’m telling the truth. See you Sunday.”

So, that’s half the card:

Punk v. Jericho

Porter v. Rey

WMD v. Edge/Blood Dragon

Matt v. Kendrick

Two high profile gimmick singles matches in the middle of a very good Survivor Series card:

Parking Garage Brawl: Steve Regal v. Randy Orton (w/Dean Malenko)

Best of 7: Johnny Nitro (up 2-1) v. Shelton Benjamin

The Regal/Orton program grew out of the separate fights with authority figures that Orton and the Juggernaut (Umaga) had over protracted periods.  Orton fought with Dusty Rhodes in the NWA on Fridays - The Juggernaut with Steamboat on Mondays.  When Fit Finlay finally lost the NWA belt to Johnny Nitro - Steamboat reached out to him to use some of his noted tough guy enforcement on the then unbeaten Juggernaut at 23 (anytime you want to rehire Umaga, Vince, and blow out his hair, give him clothes, have him swigging a bottle of something, smoking enormous cigars that he lights with twenty dollar bills and driving up the arena just as his matches are about to begin, shoving people out of his way backstage, yelling out "I'm the Juggernaut, Bitch!" it would get over, I'm just sayin').  That fight was one that Finlay's longtime manager, Dean Malenko, did not want him to take - that dispute was the last one they'd have - as at Mania, the Juggernaut, Orton, and Malenko took Fit out - forming Defiance - Orton debuting the Golden Goal - his kick to the head that had put Finlay out of action.  Fit's longtime frenemy, Regal, too up Finlay's cause over the summer - stalking Defiance - eventually breaking the Juggernaut, submitting him in a Regal Stretch (the last we've seen of him - bring Umaga back!) and running over Orton with his car in a parking garage on the road.  Regal eliminated Orton from the battle royal - and Regal has set his sights on destroying Orton at Survivor Series.

The match is a Parking Garage Brawl - recall that match inside a circle of cars that Eddy/Cena had on real world Smackdown?  This is that - I like the idea of Orton and Regal working on the road - good for Orton to work with someone like that - and in terms of on screen, rubbing with Malenko and Regal will establish credibility with people like me.  Regal stalks Defiance - Defiance plays defense - there's a promo at some point where Orton responds to some announcer's "without the Juggernaut it's really just one guy" - comment by saying "Defiance is a movement - it's a way of life - do you really think I'm here by myself..."

Regal and Orton surrounded by cars - nowhere to run, nowhere to hide - at Survivor Series 2008.

Nitro and Benjamin is easy to explain - they had singles belts going into 24, but lost them to Punk in the TLC main event unification match.

Their feud started in the build to 24 - and has continued - with a Best of 7 Series underway - Benjamin won the first, before Summer Slam, but then Nitro targeted Shelton's knee in a sneak attack - and has continued to target his knee for months.  After the Battle Royal (they were both eliminated after a long stint by The Underground entrants, Swagger and DiBiase) they wrestle twice on TV - once on RAW, once on Fight Night.  Nitro wins both - and goes into Survivor Series up 2 matches to 1. 

At the bottom of the card:

Truth Killings v. Miz
Glass Light Tube Box Match: Undertaker/Cody Rhodes v. Bradshaw/Mark Henry

Killings and Kingston are Young Money - their pants hang extra low, they like to make it rain, there's a ton of autotune in their theme music - they were given the rub from Floyd Mayweather and that tie in is used anytime there's a chance.  They're in a feud with Miz and Santino, hapless comedy heels.  Bradshaw has a stable: BIG (Bradshaw Investment Group: The Wrestling Group to Big to Fail) and does a reverse Million Dollar Man bit - he has fans perform embarassing stunts and then demands money from them (like a bailout). Yakuza (Yang) and Khali are also in BIG, as it's multinational.  BIG destroyed old man Dusty Rhodes after the death of the NWA - young Cody came to his dad's defense - he was painfully outmanned - but to his defense eventually came the Undertaker - thrilling Bradshaw - who said this was a great opportunity for him to take down the WWF veteran.  PAUL returned at Summer Slam to help his longtime friend the Taker, and that's the essence of the program.

Bradshaw became a garbage wrestler in his program with the ECW veterans, picking up a love for glass light tubes - and now they get utilized to open the card - in all four corners of the ring - giant boxes filled with fluorescent tubes.  If you're able to get to the box and open it up - then you can use the tubes.

And that's the show. 

WWF Title: Punk v. Jericho
IC Title: Porter v. Mysterio
Tag Titles: WMD v. Edge/Blood Dragon
Parking Garage Brawl: Regal v. Orton
Matt v. Kendrick
Match 4 of Best of 7: Nitro v. Benjamin
Killings v. Miz
Glass Light Tube Box Match: Undertaker/Cody v. Bradshaw/Henry

Survivor Series 2008.  Probably coming around Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the show.

TNA Slammiversary - 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lockdown is here.

Slammiversary - 2009

I don't do any commentary for the TNA posts as they really are here to provide context for the WWF narrative, but I do have loose storylines - Slammiversary is the big show in Counterfactual TNA - last year, it was where AJ ended Joe's 2 1/2 year title run - and the rematch is this show, so it's sort of a big deal.

TNA Title:  Samoa Joe d. AJ Styles
X Title: Jay Lethal (w/Booker) d. Doug Williams
Tags: Kurt Angle/Sting d. Motor City Machine Guns
James Storm d. Bobby Roode
Frankie Kazarian d. Creed
Chris Daniels d. Rhyno
Cactus Jack d. Shane Douglas
Dudleys d. Abyss/Raven

Bound for Glory will be posted at the top of the year when we get to real world Final Resolution.  I have until the end of October to find time to finish the build to Survivor Series 2008.

Road to Survivor Series 2008 Part 2, Battle Royal 10

Friday, September 25, 2009

Part 1 is here.

Who doesn’t love them some Number One Contenders Battle Royal? Who? Who? What man dare show his face?

It’s Fight Night, that means JR and Striker on the announce. As is custom, the champ joins them. Punk and Maria both get headsets; this serves to push them as a package; I don’t emphasize that as much as I’d like, that would require even more writing that doesn’t propel the narrative. I just really like Punk/Colt/Maria grouping, Punk, as now those of you WWE fans are finding out, is a nifty actor, he can hit notes that other wrestlers can’t; heel Punk has a gleam in his eye not dissimilar from the best version of Roddy Piper. He and Colt have a super two man comedy thing they do, that (like Piper and Orton, to continue the metaphor) doesn’t need to detract from Punk’s real heat. And Maria, besides being superhot, is a smart girl, by that I mean she portrays smart – shes a girl who seems to be making moves. They’re a combustible team; they can fight, they can do comedy, they can be on top – and this is an act completely on top coming off Summer Slam. Punk/Maria entertains me in my head. There’s a lot of Steamboat talk – Punk takes as many opportunities as he can to talk about how Steamboat had to count the fall. Maria needles Punk at one point, interjecting after Punk says the night couldn’t have been better that Steamboat could have fastened the belt around his waist. This clearly gets in Punk’s head.

Let’s play the game.
1. Johnny Nitro
2. Santino Marella

-We knew these numbers from the live draw at Summer Slam – Nitro gets on the mic after his introduction and hits his new catchphrase, which he’s been trying out for a few weeks, “I’m Johnny Nitro – The Greatest Man Alive.”

Shelton Benjamin comes to ringside, still with kneebrace, after Nitro’s introduction – if you recall, after he didn’t get #2 in the Summer Slam draw he promised he’d be coming to the ring second – but the officials at ringside stop him – Benjamin is fuming – constantly fuming at Nitro – they are in a Best of 7 Series that was announced after Mania (they came into 24 with singles belts, but lost them in the TLC main to Punk – Punk clowns them both right now – they spent most of the summer recovering, Benjamin won the first match of the series – but then Nitro has attacked Benjamin’s knee multiple times, and that’s where we stand. Benjamin is champing at the bit to get to Nitro.) Santino’s gimmick is he’s timid and meek and weird until the bell rings – then he’s crazy full of swagger. He’s still not very good, but he’s confident. And that’s how it happens here, Benjamin is held back by officials – Nitro laughs at him – that distraction allows Santino (who tags with Miz, they’re feuding with Young Money) to get the opening flurry of offense – but that is soon ended – and Nitro tosses him (30).

3. Mark Henry (w/Khali)
-The BIG (Bradshaw Investment Group) music plays and the two monsters, Henry and Khali, come to the ring – everyone puts over the size – the mass of these two men – Henry gets some power spots in on Nitro.

4. Chavo Guerrero
-Chavo’s in the LWO, which, as of this moment, is just he and Carlito. The three men trade blows.

5. Colt Cabana
-Punk stands at the announce – getting his cheer on. Punk says here’s the man who will win tonight, the man who he will face at Survivor Series in Boston. Colt’s in his cast – Matt Hardy broke his arm over the summer – but here Colt bravely is, soldiering on, he’s a credit to the Jewish people. Happy Rosh Hashanah read Colt’s tights. Colt joins a Nitro/Chavo double team on Henry – using the cast as a weapon (noted by the announce) – and with the aid of that cast the three men are able to get Henry over (29). Henry and Khali are furious and attempt to get back in the ring – who could possibly stop these monsters from getting into the ring?

PAUL makes his way to ringside – he and Khali “fought” to a no contest at Summer Slam, he, Henry, and Khali full on brawl to the back – but while they are at ringside – the distraction allows Benjamin to momentarily slip into the ring to get some shots in at Nitro! Benjamin gets some shots in at Nitro, then slips out before the referees can adjust.

6. MVP
-The IC Champ comes to the ring – he gets some shots in at Chavo and Colt – and then goes after Nitro – Porter wearing Johnny Nitro out as Chavo and Colt now square off. Announce puts Porter over; Striker selling hard that he is the longest reigning IC Champ in over a decade – that when he defends the belt at Survivor Series, he will be the first IC champ to hold the belt for a full year since Cactus Jack from ’96-’97. JR grumbles about Twitter.

7. Yakuza
-Yang makes another heel in the ring; he joins Colt in trying to eliminate the only babyface, Chavo.

8. Bradshaw
-Bradshaw comes to the ring in the limo, he’s got the wireless mic and a glass light tube. Bradshaw swerved the Undertaker at Summer Slam, promising, demanding a “clean” match – and then bringing out the glass tube for the intentional DQ. The officials stop Bradshaw from bringing his glass tube in the ring – but he’s got a second one in his suit jacket, which he smashes over Chavo’s head while still on the outside (Chavo is leaning over the ropes, being pushed over by Yang and Colt) the officials miss the light tube striking Guerrero, it happened too quickly – they see the blood – but assume it came from Colt’s cast – which, of course, is legal ‘cause it’s wrestling). Yang and Colt push Chavo – but Bradshaw takes the opportunity to grab Colt and sling him to the outside (28).

9. Benjamin
-Benjamin’s music finally plays and he goes right after Nitro – pushing MVP aside in an attempt to attack – but Porter won’t abide that – and he and Benjamin start throwing hands while Nitro scurries under the ropes, to the outside, over the guardrail – and into the crowd, finding a seat.

10. Rey Mysterio
-As promised, the return of the Legendary Rey Mysterio. Rey is a triple crown winner, he and Michaels the only ones still active (and Shawn’s only presence are the clip packages that pop on out of nowhere spotlighting his 10 titles held in the WWF, 2 World titles, 4 IC, 4 tags). Rey’s been gone since losing the WWF title to Benjamin at the Rumble – and that was only a six month stay, he had missed a full year prior to that. Rey appeared to be breaking down – but here he is, and the drumbeat has been beating during every show since Summer Slam – Rey Mysterio to return at the Battle Royal!

-It’s a thing – Rey first saves Chavo, still in the ring, bleeding – getting worked over by Bradshaw and Yakuza, Rey getting in some spots and then eliminating Yang (27).

11. Randy Orton (w/Dean Malenko)
-Orton’s done nothing but cut promos for a couple of months after being hit by Regal’s car in the parking lot. Orton and the Juggernaut (Umaga) formed Defiance with a heel turning Malenko at 24, burying Fit Finlay in the process. Regal’s declared war on them, he ran the Juggernaut out of the company and has Orton squarely in his sites. Orton slowly, warily, gets to the apron – and then sees Nitro fly over the guardrail to attack Malenko (when Dean was Fit’s manager, and Fit was in a long NWA Title program with Nitro, Dean attacked Melina, Nitro’s valet/girlfriend, putting her out of the company). Orton doesn’t get in the ring, hops from the apron and begins brawling with Nitro on the outside. In the ring – Porter v. Benjamin, Rey/Chavo v. Bradshaw.

12. Primo Colon
-It’s the debut of Carlito’s little brother, who we will come to know as The Baby-Faced Assassin. Striker puts him over as a man too out of control for Puerto Rico – how wrong does a man have to be to be the black sheep of the Colon family? Primo joins Chavo in trying to eliminate Bradshaw – that frees up Rey to spin over to the Porter/Benjamin fight, making that a 3 way brawl.

13. Undertaker
-The Dead Man has Bradshaw on the brain – but he’s also the locker room conscience of the WWF – and seeing Nitro and Orton outside the ring pisses him off – he grabs both of them, throwing them to the apron, Undertaker shoving them each inside when our attention is diverted to the other side of the ring as out of nowhere….MVP eliminates Rey Mysterio (26)!

-The announce is shocked – JR had just said Rey was his pick to take this battle royal – and now he is on the floor. MVP pulls his phone out of his trunks to tweet: The gr8tst IC Champ of all time just got Rey!

14. Cody Rhodes
-The Dead Man’s little buddy Cody is in the ring – he and the Undertaker go to work on Bradshaw – that swings Chavo and Primo to go to work on the post-twitter Porter – and Benjamin, after Mysterio’s elimination – went right after Johnny Nitro – and with Orton they’re in a 3 way.

15. Yoshi Tatsu
-Tatsu has just made his debut on GDI – he’s a babyface, he’s going over guys, Jamie Noble will be headed back to GDI before Survivor Series, starting as a returning veteran babyface who will look to help show Tatsu the ropes, but eventually turning heel on him. Tatsu gets some stuff in on everyone to establish that he’s a worker – Primo takes advantage of Tatsu getting in a shot on Chavo to throw Guerrero over (25). Chavo’s bleeding and hot – he and Carlito are partners and here’s Carlito’s brother, in his WWF debut, eliminating him from the battle royal.

16. Kash Kingston
-Bradshaw, despite the 2 on 1 disadvantage, eliminates Cody (24) but doesn’t get time to celebrate, as he’s dumped by the dead man (23).

17. Ron Killings
-Young Money is in effect – the team formed by Floyd Mayweather in the run up to 24, eliminates Tatsu (22). Nitro/Orton/Benjamin continue their fight, Primo and Porter are now joined by the ‘Taker.

18. Brian Kendrick (w/Colt)
-Cabana’s recovered enough to make his way to the ring with Kendrick; Punk again stands and applauds and says two winners are coming down the ramp – two winners! At Summer Slam, recall, Kendrick hit sliced bread #2 on Matt Hardy to aid Punk’s title defense. Colt grabs a headset and now Punk’s full crew is on the announce – Kendrick and Young Money work with Primo and Porter in an attempt to eliminate the Undertaker.

19. Carlito
-Primo’s big brother enters – and he joins the eventually successful effort to take out the Dead Man (21).

20. Miz
-Santino’s partner, the Spencer Pratt of the WWF, the Miz – hits the ring – and is immediately eliminated by Young Money (20). Nitro/Benjamin/Orton have continued their 3 way war; Carlito and Primo are teaming up against MVP; Kendrick is trying to avoid everyone.

21. Jack Swagger (w/Taz and Kelly)
-The first of two entrants from WWFU (The Underground). It’s Jake’s TV debut – and his sister and head trainer make their way to the ring. Punk gets a little more serious – staring intently at the highly touted prospect – Swagger goes right into the lions den – directed by Taz – Swagger goes right after Nitro/Benjamin/Orton, who had their own corner of the ring for the past several entrances/eliminations. He lights them all up – the announce noting that this was clearly a plan – Taz has brought the first of the two Underground trainees to Fight Night to make an impact.

22. John Cena (w/Arn)
-Half of the tag champs, WMD. As Cena hits the ring we get four eliminations (19) Carlito is dumped over by MVP and Young Money, Killings (18) is dumped over by MVP and Primo, Kingston (17) is dumped by MVP and Primo and (16) Primo is dumped by MVP.

23. HHH-M
-Hunter enters and goes right after Cena – as they’ve been feuding over the tag titles, Hunter and Cena brawl – Swagger is still all over Nitro, Benjamin, and Orton – Porter and Kendrick now go at it.

24. Ted DiBiase, Jr.
-Taz intensely directs DiBiase to join Swagger – they’re rivals, but if you recall from Part I, Taz made clear the need to work together, given this was their big shot to make an impression for the Underground. And they make an impression – DiBiase and Swagger take out Nitro (15) and then Benjamin (14) – and then DiBiase turns and takes out Swagger (13)

Taz is furious – yelling at DiBiase. DiBiase smirks, points at himself – and walks right into an Orton RKO (12).

25. Steve Regal
-And then Orton’s eyes bug out – Regal charges the ring and eliminates him immediately (11) and Regal follows him over the top and out to the floor (10) – Regal chasing Orton all the way to the back. Only 5 men remain and only 4 men (Hunter, Cena, Porter, Kendrick) are in the ring.

26. Edge
-Edge, tauntingly still wearing the #10 Hart Foundation hockey jersey enters – he and Hunter begin working Cena over. Kendrick still fights Porter. The tension builds – someone is going to Survivor Series. Someone will meet CM Punk for the WWF Title at Survivor Series!

27. Matt Hardy
-Cena (9) can’t withstand Edge and Hunter, he goes over right as Matt hits the ring, think of Edge as leaning over to dump Cena right as Hardy enters such that they don’t notice each other’s presence – Hardy is totally preoccupied with Kendrick, who he eliminates (8) – and then simultaneously Matt takes out Porter (7) while Edge takes out Hunter (6).

Leaving just two men in the ring. Two men who haven’t stood in a wrestling ring together in a year and a half since main eventing 23 in a Cell – Matt Hardy and Edge.
They’re on opposite sides of the ring after those eliminations – and slowly turn around and lock eyes. Matt Hardy and Edge! Matt Hardy and Edge!

28. Leviathan
-Here’s big Dave, the other half of the tag champs – before Matt and Edge can make their way to physical contact – Leviathan is full on house afire – he levels both guys, Leviathan does the big man spots on both guys – then shakes the ropes! Leviathan! Leviathan grabs Matt and tries to push him over – Edge is still down in the ring -

29. The Blood Dragon
-This happens quick . As The Blood Dragon sprints to the ring the announce puts over real surprise that Jeff is there – no one has heard a word from Jeff since he lost his latest IC attempt at Summer Slam – the heels count up his losses, Punk says he had two shots at my ECW Title, Colt says he had 3 or four shots at the IC title – Jeff’s a loser and he’ll always be a loser. Batista has Matt ready to go, Matt is ready to be eliminated – the Blood Dragon goes to the top rope immediately – he’s going to do a high spot on Leviathan – he’s going to attempt a high risk maneuver to try to save his brother!

But he misses – Leviathan backs away and the Blood Dragon crashes into Matt, sending him over the top rope to the outside (5). Leviathan’s backing away allows Edge, taking advantage of the moment, to send a mighty toss and fling Leviathan to the outside (4). The Blood Dragon has his head in his hands as Matt looks up at him from the floor incredulously – Matt’s mouth wide open as he stares at the Blood Dragon – the Blood Dragon frozen as he’s shoved in the back by Edge – over the top rope to the floor (3).

Edge falls to his knees in the center of the ring – perhaps forgetting momentarily that there is still one entrant remaining – Matt now gets in the Blood Dragon’s face – but the Blood Dragon, as he did at Summer Slam, just brushes past him as if he doesn’t even notice – Matt grabs the Blood Dragon’s arm – spinning him around – the Blood Dragon takes off his mask for the first time in this match.

It’s Jeff, of course. I mean, it’s always Jeff. Who else could it possibly be?

Jeff and Matt have a brief, wordless staredown, before Matt shakes his head at his little brother and exits. Jeff puts his head in his hands , sitting down behind the timekeepers table.

30. Chris Jericho
-The Countdown clock begins – the number 7 (Jericho’s Hart Foundation jersey number) flashes – Jericho has been gone since his 24 loss to Edge – a match set up when Edge turned on Jericho diabolically at the Rumble. All summer, the Clique cut “where’s Jericho” promos – suggesting that the occasionally emotionally fragile Lionheart may have returned to his previous ways (Jericho’s previous incarnation before his 3 year absence was as The Lizard King Chris Jericho – fat and bearded with a whiskey bottle, he and a strung out Trish Stratus barely able to stand, he returned at full powers a year previous, seemingly aligned with former rival Edge – but Edge was swerving him).

Jericho charges the ring – Jericho wearing the number 7 jersey – Jericho is fine – angry – motivated – Jericho and Edge throw full blows right in the middle of the ring – Punk stands now – Punk takes off his headset and stands – Jericho and Edge are throwing full on blows in mid-ring, one of them is going to Survivor Series – one of them is going to wrestle for the WWF Title – wrestle for the Triple Crown! – at Survivor Series!.

They go full tilt as long as TV Time will permit – and then Jericho throws him over the top (2).

Chris Jericho is going to Survivor Series to wrestle CM Punk for the WWF Title.

And that’s the battle royal.

The rest of the set up will come in October. Survivor Series in November.  The build continues.

Road to Survivor Series 2008 - I

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Summer Slam is here.

We are headed for Survivor Series 2008 in Boston.

And it’s time for the 10th Number One Contender’s Battle Royal, the history of which is here:

The inaugural Number One Contender’s Battle Royal was right after VII in ’91 on the last SNME in 15 years.

-Hawk and Animal were the first two entrants.
-Barbarian was the first elimination (by the Road Warriors)
-The Undertaker has 10 eliminations. Still a record. 10 is a lot.
-Michaels lasted almost an hour, eliminated by Bret and Davey Boy
-Davey won the battle royal, Sid was the last elimination.
-Davey went on to win the WWF Title at Summer Slam, defeating Mr. Perfect.
Two years later, after IX, the battle royal returned.

-Owen and Shawn were the first two entrants.
-The first elimination was Doink (by Owen and HBK)
-Luger eliminated 6 guys
-Owen lasted a little over an hour, breaking the record.
-And Michaels then broke that record, lasting 75 minutes, being the last elimination – by Razor.
-Razor went on to lose to WWF Champion Bret at Summer Slam, a rematch from the main at IX.

Two years later, after XI, the battle royal returned.
-Waltman and Bob Holly were one and two.
-Holly was the first elimination – by Hunter
-Undertaker eliminated 5 guys.
-Hakushi was your winner, eliminating Razor last.
-Hakushi went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ Bret

We moved the Battle Royal to run in the even numbered years next, as it returned after XII.
-Billy and Bart were one and two.
-Jannetty was the first out, eliminated by Snow
-Austin eliminated 7.
-Owen won the battle royal, eliminating Austin last
-Pillman’s surprise debut was in this match.
-Owen went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ HBK

Two years later, the 5th battle royal, after XIV
-Rock and HHH were 1-2.
-Mero was first eliminated, by Rock.
-Dr. Death was a mystery entrant
-Austin had 9 eliminations.
-He was last eliminated, by Cactus. Cactus went on to win the WWF Title, and the Triple Crown, at Summer Slam, beating Owen.

Two years later, after XVI, in 2000, it returned.
-Angle and Alabama Bob were the first two entrants
-Crash was the first eliminated, by Angle.
-Angle eliminated 8 and also lasted an hour.
-Rock won the battle royal, Jericho was the last out.
-Rock went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ Benoit

Two years later, after XVIII – battle royal 7.
-This was the battle royal put together by the Titan Trust, Fit/Arn/Dean
-26 of the 30 entrants had held gold somewhere and 9 were former Heavyweight Champions in the most star studded battle royal ever.
-Jericho and Edge were 1 and 2.
-Regal was the first out, eliminated by Jericho and Book.
-The Clique, Michaels, Razor, Diesel, Hunter and even a running in Waltman eliminated 11.
-They were all (save HBK) eliminated by Brock
-Rey was a surprise entrant, the first ever winner from the 30 position (no one has ever won from #1) He eliminated former world champs Hennig, Flair, and Michaels to win.
-He went to Summer Slam and lost to WWF Champ Angle

Two years later – but now after Summer Slam as opposed to after Mania – was battle royal 8 in 2004.

-Tajiri and Yang were 1 and 2.
-Yang was first out, by Benjamin
-Angle had multiple eliminations from the announce position
-Leviathan had 9 eliminations
-Eddy won, eliminating Christian. Eddy went to Survivor Series and fought WWF Champ Benoit to a time limit draw.

Our most recent battle royal was in 2006 – and it was the beginning of a long and winding road.

-Punk and 2 Cold Scorpio were 1 and 2.
-Ken Kennedy was the first elimination, by Carlito Colon.
-Fewer than half of the entrants from only 2 years ago are entered in this year’s event.
- London and Kendrick, in a feud they’d never resolve – briefly teamed up in a spot against RVD and Sabu.
-The unraveling of the 51% Solution, which would be complete at Survivor Series, began here when Lashley eliminated Hunter.
-Edge, Punk, and Jeff were the final 3, in an extended sequence. Jeff got Edge, but then Punk got Jeff to be the first man ever to go from number one to win the battle royal.
-He won the title and then vacated it, at Survivor Series.

Yes, it’s not a good name for this event. As mentioned, I would call this the Royal Rumble and call the Rumble Justice Sunday if this weren’t a literary exercise, that struck me as too confusing, for whatever reason.

The big Battle Royal will be on Fight Night’s move from CW to MyNetwork, in an attempt to juice those numbers.

A little reset on how I see the 4 shows (there is no Superstars yet, and when there is, it will just be clip packages).

1. RAW is big. It should feel extraordinary. I’d like the video wall to extend through the entire arena. A full backdrop, literally as big as it can be. There’s a long white ramp that goes to the ring – I’m now going to move Howard away from RAW – I’d like a female disembodied voice to be the ring announcer. If you ever thought “this is what an intergalactic battle for eternal supremacy should look like” that’s what I’m going for with RAW.

2. Tuesday is GDI. GDI is handheld independent wrestling matches. Folding chairs. Maybe a couple hundred fans. It should be packed, it should feel like a club where the best area band ever is playing and people should be packed into see it. Sort of like the idea behind Wrestle Society X (or Shotgun Saturday Night).

3. Friday is Fight Night. It should feel like UFC. It’s where it’s personal. You settle scores, you bleed. It’s for garbage matches and super stiff “shoot like” matches.

4. WWFU. This is the internet reality show for WWF University. WWFU has multiple meanings, my favorite is WWF Underground. And that’s how I’ll refer to it most of the time. Underground is a good word. That’s developmental. They all live in a condo complex (or one giant house, that’s a real estate issue). Either it’s the Real World or it’s Melrose Place. Either way, it’s online. Taz is the wacky head trainer down in Tampa. Crazy kids with their antics.

Eventually, Superstars starts and it’s clips – it’s hype clips for programs ongoing, its recap packages like they did for Mania on NBC that I watched and no one else did, it’s to introduce characters with longer video pieces, to get into their lives, see how they are. Longer versions of the new character vignettes we get occasionally. The other shows are wrestling shows, almost all matches, the occasional important promo – some taped pieces but no sketches. The vignettes are on Thursday.

Between Summer Slam and the Battle Royal we have a couple of weeks of promos, including some green screen backstage old school stuff – where everyone tells us why he’s going to win the battle royal and go onto Survivor Series to take the title from Punk. It’s a good way to get guys over as we march to 25 – to get 25 (Wrestlemania Silver) over, as guys bring up how they want to be in the main event – and to remind people why it is we hate Punk – because 2 years ago at Survivor Series 2006, Punk won the Undisputed Title from Flair, and then threw the WWF belt down, he and Maria (mmmm, Maria) spitting on it. It’s an unpardonable offense, and his holding the belt now as if it never happened is an affront to many.

Some things to set up before the big match:

1. Punk is in full on gloat. Not only did he beat Matt Hardy at Summer Slam, but Steamboat had to count the fall. Best day ever for CM Punk. He cuts more Steamboat promos – Steamboat once again has left for Asia, on his mysterious talent acquisition journey.

2. The legendary Rey Mysterio returns at the Battle Royal. Gone since losing the WWF title at the Rumble to Shelton Benjamin, Rey becomes an instant favorite. He’s been injury prone in recent years, his body showing the wear, the mileage, but remember, the last time he came back after an even longer layoff, he won the WWF Title from Booker T at Summer Slam ’07.

3. WWFU gets two entries into the battle royal. This is a big deal in the underground (there’s going to be a column, written say weekly online, called “Notes From the Underground”) and much jockeying for position occurs. When Taz picks the expected guys, Jake Hager and Ted DiBiase, Jr., it creates some issues. One, the Hart kids, Harry and Tyson, are pissed – they’ve worked hard since being squashed by the Clique the year before on TV, and they thought they should have gotten the call. Two, Hager and DiBiase don’t like each other. Hager’s an All-american from Oklahoma, and does everything full on, all out, he’s a model student. DiBiase’s a bit of an asshole, likeable and gifted but doesn’t take much too seriously. They’re oil and water. DiBiase may also have a thing for Hager’s sister Kelly. Or maybe Kelly for him. Hard to say. Taz stresses that they need to work together. That this is a chance to make a mark not just for each of them, but for the whole Underground. For the Harts. For Nick Nemeth, the winningest wrestler in Kent St. history. For Knox – the creepy bearded guy in the corner always reading books – lots of rumors about him, maybe he’s a cannibal, maybe he’s AWOL from Iraq, maybe he’s a Jonas Brother. He never talks to anyone and everyone is scared to talk to him. It’s the first shot for the Underground on a big stage, it’s Taz’s return to TV after being the lead analyst for nearly a decade. It’s a big spot. Third, Hager will be changing his name – using the nickname derisively hung on him by DiBiase that got traction with the other boys – Jack Swagger. It’s really the opposite of who he is, or thinks he is – he just works hard and follows the rules and they all resent him for it.

The other thoughts can be offered during the Battle Royal or after – when we set up the card for Survivor Series.

Here we go. Place your bets….

SummerSlam 2008

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The build is here.

SummerSlam 2008 – Indianapolis

(I will almost certainly forget, but next year in the run up to Summer Slam 2009, I want a spot where an announcer yells "There's not gonna be a SummerFest, it's gonna happen right now!"
(Dark – Yakuza d. Cody
Kendrick d. Noble)

Joey/JR/Striker is your announce team. Josh does the backstage stand ups.

The show opens with a Hardys taped package, the full kit and/or kaboodle, from their being children on the trampolines, to OMEGA, to the “let them play” chants by the WWF fans when they were ring boys, to the collision matches, to Matt’s feud with RVD, to Matt and Edge main eventing XXIII to Jeff’s emergence as the Blood Dragon.

It’s SummerSlam 2008. The Hardys. Matt and Jeff, both trying to win their first ever singles titles a decade after they started with the company.

After the package – we go to the ring, where Howard Finkel, who has been the ring announcer for every PPV in WWF history, introduces Defiance.

Orton and Dean come to the ring – it’s the first time we’ve seen Orton since Regal hit him with his car in the parking lot and the first time we’ve seen Malenko since Regal ran the Juggernaut (such a good gimmick!) out of the company.

Orton and Malenko re-establish Defiance – they aren’t scared of Steve Regal – Randy Orton will crush his skull with the Golden Goal (what I think I’m calling Orton’s kick to the head) just like he did Finlay and Haas. They aren’t running from Regal – they are Defiance.

Then Regal enters – with the angry look – he stomps his way to the ring and Defiance scatters – all bug eyed and whatnot on the ramp as Regal yells at them from the ring. The announce pumps up that Randy Orton will return to action at the Number One Contender’s Battle Royal – held on the season premiere of Fight Night on MyNetwork TV. And don’t forget – for the first time ever, later on tonight – in this ring will be the draw for entrants 1 and 2 in that Battle Royal!

1. Parejas Increibles: CM Punk (w/Maria)/Matt Hardy d. MVP/Jeff Hardy
Jeff is in the Blood Dragon gimmick even during the match, something that has been happening more frequently over the summer (it’s full body with mask, like Jushin Liger, it started in 2007). We do Punk/Jeff stuff – as it was during their feud that Jeff started becoming the Blood Dragon – there’s MVP/Matt stuff, as they’ve had really no relationship at all in the Counterfactual so that’s fresh. A little Punk/MVP – but eventually we get to the money – Hardy v. Hardy.

Matt is a little playful – rare for Matt Hardy, who does a Pillman type Loose Cannon gimmick. He isn’t taking a confrontation with his brother seriously – he certainly isn’t going to fight him because Punk and Porter have dropped off the apron.
But then Jeff takes a go at him – quickly getting in some fast armdrags – hitting a highspot – Jeff rips off the Blood Dragon mask to yell “come on! Come on!” – Jeff all fired up as he goes nose to nose with his befuddled brother – the announce equally befuddled – no one paying attention as Punk slaps Matt’s back – making himself the legal man – and quickly hitting the Go to Sleep on Jeff for the fall. Jeff fails again.

2. Ka$h Kingston (w/Killings) d. Santino (w/Miz)
-Kingston and Killings are Young Money, members of Floyd Mayweather’s posse doing a L’il Wayne gimmick. Santino is doing Andy Kauffman, meek and mild (like Latka) outside the ring, but cocky/arrogant once the bell rings. Miz is a douche. This is short, largely to establish the characters and for Kingston to get in his spots. Young Money goes over strong.

3. Mark Henry (w/Yakuza) d. Frank Neely
-Here come the BIG (Bradshaw Investment Group, the wrestling stable to BIG to fail) matches. One of my main goals is not to have you good people fast forward through them. ‘Cause man I would. Jesus.
Okay – recall how we got here, Bradshaw’s stable is Henry/Yang/Khali. Bradshaw’s shtick is doing the DiBiase gimmick of having fans do degrading things for money – but instead of giving them money – he takes money from them (it’s a corporate bailout). Neely (you remember Bam Neely) was a fan, but he stood up for himself!

Squash. Fast as it can be. Then Yakuza hits Yangtime (let’s call it…Section 8, which is real wonkish detail from the bailout) – and Henry goes to set up a table.

That’s gonna bring out Cody. Rhodes is doing the Colin Delaney gimmick – he hopped into this when Dusty (who was running Fight Night) stepped in to defend the fans from the BIG onslaught – BIG ended Dusty – and then BIG whipped up on Cody.

But he’s plucky – kept coming back – and the announce puts him over here since it’s 2 on 1 – he gets in some shots – but then Henry subdues him – and Great Khali comes down the ramp.

They put Neely on a table. And Khali chokeslams Cody right through him.

And then PAUL comes to the ring.

4. 5 Minute Match: PAUL~ draw Khali
-PAUL (That’s the Show) has been gone a couple of years since Lashley busted up Dead Men Walking (Taker/Kane/PAUL) but he’s returning in this angle after Undertaker saved Cody (and then got punked out). PAUL hasn’t been seen yet (so, see, don’t fast forward – you got a table bump and now the Show is back).

Yakuza meets PAUL on the ramp first – and the Show chokeslams him.

Then Henry meets him – but PAUL swats him away as if he wasn’t 400 pounds.

But Khali stands impassively in the ring.

It’s a 5 minute time limit – they do what you think – they punch and kick slowly – they do the knuckle lock spot – they try to hit the chokeslam.

Time runs out – and they fight to the back as Bradshaw pulls up with his limo. Bradshaw’s got a body mic – he puts over the stip for his match – that even though, after that ECW program – Bradshaw has become a garbage wrestler – this match has no foreign objects allowed – he wants to prove, needs to prove, that he is the better man.

5. No Foreign Objects: Undertaker d. Bradshaw (DQ)
-Well, you see the finish coming. Once Bradshaw realizes he can’t win the match, he finds (maybe in his suit or under the ring or from the limo) a fluorescent tube (Bradshaw’s weapon on choice) and he bashes the dead man over the head. Blood and broken things. Bradshaw loses…but see how he really wins? That dastardly BIG! Will they ever get their comeuppance?

That provides a nice break before the upper card – and that break comes in the form of a surprise return by WWF GM Ricky Steamboat.

Steamboat has been gone since the night after Mania – despite much goading from his longtime nemesis Punk. Steamboat’s been scouting talent and he says he’s been to New Japan Pro Wrestling where he has found a young junior named Yoshi Tatsu (note, I’d rather call him Yamamoto, I’m always in a weird place with the names and my general rule is if I’ve used a name I stick with it – like Matt Sydal, but it’s just as easy to call Yamamoto by his WWF name. Now, if it’s someone who has existed in a real way in the Counterfactual universe – if Samoa Joe comes to WWF – then he’s Samoa Joe no matter what they call him. I have used TJ Wilson already – but I’m gonna change it to Tyson Kidd when those guys pop back in the story at top of ’09. Spoiler Alert!).

Steamboat says Tatsu will be debuting this Tuesday night on GDI.

He says he’s also in negotiations with another big international star – someone who has won major titles all around the world – but hasn’t finalized that deal yet.

He has a bit of a twinkle in his eye when he says it.

Now to the matter at hand.

In the ring with Steamboat is a giant glass ball with envelopes – like the NBA Draft lottery.

Steamboat puts over the Battle Royale – says its one of our great traditions – every other year there is a battle royal to determine the number one contender (note for those of you who are new – I would call it the Royal Rumble and call the Royal Rumble PPV Justice Sunday if this were actually happening. I make concessions to the real world and the sanity of whatever readers I may have. Hello Readers! I’m Jim! Would you like a complimentary beverage?)

Steamboat says just a couple of weeks from now (September in our time) Fight Night will move to its new home on MyNetwork TV (I still watch Smackdown on the CW, I watch it on Saturdays). And 30 men will compete to become the number one contender and challenge either CM Punk (boo) or Matt Hardy (yay) for the WWF Heavyweight Championship!

Steamboat says – and here’s who will be entrant 1!

He spins the ball round and round (I could get a fan to do this in future years – a contest type thing) and draws the first name….

Johnny Nitro!

Nitro comes to the ring – he was NWA Champ – he and Benjamin killed each other in the TLC main at 24 that Punk won – then Nitro and Benjamin started a Best of 7 series after they healed – Benjamin won the first match – but Nitro attacked his knee (injured in the TLC) postmatch.

Their attempt at a second match never even got into the ring – as Nitro assaulted Benjamin’s knee again, that match was ruled never to have happened.

And now – here comes Johnny Nitro – entrant number one in the Battle Royal.

Who do you suppose is number two?

Well it’s Santino Marella.

Santino is petrified, of course, as he meekly comes slowly onto the ramp – ‘cause Nitro is number one and that means Santino will be stuck in the ring with him.

Santino quivers – and then emerging onto the ramp is Shelton Benjamin.

Benjamin (now he has to talk, which is not ideal) says he doesn’t care what number he draws – he’s number two – because he won’t wait any longer than he has to kick Johnny Nitro’s ass – and then he’s going to go on and win that battle royal – and become a 2 time WWF Champion at Survivor Series.

Santino hugs Benjamin, squeezes him tight in relief “thank you veddy much.”

Steamboat stays at ringside after the segment, sitting with the timekeeper to watch the remainder of the card.

6. WWF Tag Team Championship: WMD (w/Arn) d. Edge/HHH-M

Before the match there is another video tribute to Michaels and his 10 title wins – ending with a blast of white light and the phrase “he is risen.”

Edge wears the number 10 Hart Foundation hockey jersey – which is a terrible desecration of all things good and decent.

Announce talks about Jericho – putting over the “no one knows where he is” angle – and Striker selling the Clique joke over the summer that he’s gained a hundred pounds and grown out a beard and living in a survivalist camp in New Mexico preaching about the evils of Hispanization and the perils of the dwindling white race. Youtube Jericho+skinhead rant and see what happens.

Cena pins HHH clean – WMD gets their crazy pumped up no sell thing on. Edge looks frustrated.

7. IC Championship: Montel Porter d.The Blood Dragon Jeff Hardy
MVP won the IC at Survivor Series ’07, this win means that he’ll go into Survivor Series ’08 as champ for a full year. The last IC Champ to hold the belt for a year was Cactus Jack in ’96-’97 – so the historic nature of this title run is part of the story here, and should frame how you see MVP.

But for tonight – largely the story is about Jeff, near the end of ’07, with Jeff’s drug issues obviously well known, he began to wrestle as the Blood Dragon (he wears the mask during this match too – taking it off at some point just as did he in the opening tag). Punk, presumably just talking out of his ass in a way to manipulate the situation – said that Jeff’s Blood Dragon persona was really a way to distance himself from Matt, from being a Hardy – Matt was the successful Hardy – winning the main event at 23 – while Jeff was the screw up who Matt had to protect from getting fired.

That theme has expanded since – resurfacing hard in this stretch given the linkage between the two main event matches.

Tonight’s really a chance for Jeff – a chance to win his first singles belt – and what happens is he gets pinned in the opening tag.

And then loses clean as a sheet to MVP. Right in the middle of the ring.

Porter tweets “MVP has just become the greatest IC Champ of all time”

Jeff is despondent. House burned down. Dog died. And he’s lost another chance at a singles title. With his brother about to work the main event.

Steamboat, at ringside, recall – stands to try to console Jeff as he exits the ring – but Jeff blows by him – not in an angry fashion – but almost as if he is unaware of his surroundings.

The announce notes the fragile mental state of Jeff Hardy – what will this mean, how will this impact him. What a devastating night.

8. WWF Championship: CM Punk (w/Maria) d. Matt Hardy
-Bad night to be a Hardy.

This match is a longtime in the making. Punk and GDI wiped out Matt/Edge in the Cell after the WM23 main ended, knocking Matt out for a year. Matt’s never had a singles belt either, and this is his first ever shot, after ten years, at the WWF title.

Punk had feuded and gone over Jeff – Punk had attempted to split Matt from Jeff psychologically – saying that Matt’s selfishness, only concerned with what he deserved, what he had been deprived of – by the Clique – by Bischoff – by Edge – by the WWF – had caused him not to notice his brother was crying out for help.

The manipulative Punk (which has been his character since literally his very first second in the WWF) prying the Hardys apart.

This was Matt’s chance.

And he can’t take advantage.

We’ve got to sports entertainment the finish. And I’m sorry about that, but sometimes it’s gotta be done.

So, Steamboat’s at ringside, as mentioned – and the announce notes that Steamboat never takes his eyes from Punk during the entire match – the dislike between these two men has been part of the story for years now – predating even WWF – they ran into each other at both TNA and then ROH – and that history is acknowledged here – the announce noting as they cut to Steamboat’s eyes that perhaps the WWF GM, and the first ever main event winner at WM – has never hated any man more than he hates CM Punk.

Back to the finish.

Ref bump. Caused after a Maria distraction.

I was distracted by Maria once.

Best weekend of my life.

Anyway – Maria distraction causes ref bump – ref bump causes a run in by Brian Kendrick (Kendrick is a Punk lackey, a member of GDI, Matt spent the summer killing all of those guys, all the guys who helped Punk wipe him out after WM 23). Kendrick hits Sliced Bread Number 2 on Matt.

Punk goes for the cover – but of course there’s no ref.

Simultaneously – Steamboat is in Kendrick’s face – ordering him away from the ring – it looks like there might be a physical confrontation – and that allows the announce to remind us that under Steamboat’s own rules – that type of confrontation would cost Steamboat his job –

Kendrick backs down, cause that’s who he is.

But there’s still no ref – and Punk now yells at Steamboat – “get in here and count my fall.”

And so Steamboat takes off his jacket and he becomes the referee.

Matt kicks out of that fall – but it’s not long after that there’s a Pepsi Plunge – and then there’s a Go To Sleep –

And Ricky Steamboat, you can see him seethe as he has to do it but he does – Ricky Steamboat has to count to 3.

CM Punk’s run continues – it was Survivor Series ’06 when he won his first WWF title and then immediately spat on it and threw it to the mat.

And now Ricky Steamboat is forced to raise his hand in victory – Punk saying “raise my hand” – Punk and Maria gloating in the face of Ricky Steamboat as the night of Hardy triumph is completely destroyed.

And that’s Summer Slam 2008.

I’ll be back in September with the Road to Survivor Series 2008, kicking off with the big Number One Contender’s Battle Royal. Who will win? Who will face CM Punk in the Main Event at Survivor Series??

The road begins.

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