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 Wrestlemania XXIV - Part 3

Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Parts 1 and 2, 6 of the 9 matches were set up.

Worldwide Titles Unification Match: Porter v. Noble v. Kendrick
Tag Titles: Guest Referee: Ric Flair: Clique: HHH/HBK v. WMD: Cena/Leviathan (w/AA)
Weapons Match: Dreamer (w/ Taz) v. Bradshaw (w/Henry)
Stevie v. Yakuza
Legends Match: Undertaker v. Morley
Opening Tag: LWO: Chavo/Carlito v. S&S: Cade/Murdoch

3 matches left, the two big singles matches on the card and the TLC match to unify the World Heavyweight Championship.

Jericho v. Edge
Fit v. Juggernaut

If you read the run up to the Rumble and then the match itself, you know the Jericho/Edge story, both men returning from layoffs (Edge out since Mania, Jericho gone a couple of years) in the run up to the Rumble.

What you need to know is that, like all the long run soap operas, Counterfactual WWF has warring families that span the generations; the same family that was the focus of Guiding Light when it was a radio play is still on the show in the 21st century, and that's the device that keeps old fans invested in the program.  For Counterfactual WWF, it's the Harts and the Clique. 

Edge was a ring boy for Owen Hart; he joined the Clique in a heel turn that swerved best friends the Hardys when they were all young men; after that longstanding feud broke the bodies of all who were in it, Edge missed a year and a half with the broken neck - returning as a babyface at XX to reunite the Clique with Michaels/Christian/London.  In that run, Edge took the IC from Jericho, ending Jericho's run with the company. The "you screwed Matt" summer of '06 ended all of that; Edge vacated the IC, beat Christian in a "loser leaves town" that was given away on free TV, Edge feuded with Matt for a year and half, culminating in the main event Hell in a Cell match at XXIII in which he may have turned face postmatch.  Edge returned to stop the Clique, now Michaels/HHH-M from attacking the Anvil's girl Natty (after they had wiped out Teddy Hart, Harry Smith, and TJ Wilson) and joined with the then returning Jericho to challenge the Clique for the tag straps at the Rumble, as they had become friends while both away.  At the top of the card, Jericho welcomed Edge into the Hart Foundation after his long WWF odyssey by presenting him the famed Hart Foundation hockey jersey, which had only been given to ten previous men (Stu who was number zero, Dynamite, Bret, Davey, Owen, Anvil, Pillman, Jericho, Lance, Benoit) Edge was given jersey #10 at the top of the Rumble - and then swerved Jericho in the match, allowing the Clique to punk him out.

On that first RAW after the Rumble, the hype for next week is that Edge will appear and explain his actions.

Jericho was an NWA World Champion, he arrived in the WWF as a cocky babyface, promising to go right after the Clique - and he did, taking the IC from Waltman at Survivor Series '99, then keeping it over HHH at Rumble '00.  As a babyface, Jericho feuded over the IC with Eddy, then over the WWF Title with Benoit, who refused to listen to Jericho's entreaties to come home to the Hart Foundation.  At Rumble '02, Jericho and his Hart Dungeon training partner, Lance Storm, became tag champs, beating Edge/Christian and the Dudleys in a 3 way.  It was an ill-fated pairing; Lance and Jericho's valet/girlfriend Stacey Keibler (so hot, so painfully hot) eventually hooked up - Jericho's finding out led him into the JerichoDark period, in which he became a Raven-like figure and over the course of a 9 month long feud with Christian.  At the pivotal WM XX, Jericho joined Christian's longtime valet Trish (Trish had been with E and C as part of their Clique turn) in throwing Christian off the top of the Hell in a Cell (only 3 Cell matches ever, Jericho was in one, Edge was in one).  That began Jericho's intense downward spiral into drunken depravity as he became The Lizard King Chris Jericho, he came to the ring with a bottle of whiskey and he and a clearly strung out Stratus developed a Sid and Nancy relationship - the now babyface Benoit, who took his rightful place as Hart patriarch, clearly grew more and more frustrated with his inability to pull Jericho from his spriral.

Jericho left the company - returning with the Countdown clock in '07 - he and Edge meet at XXIV in what is promoted in this stretch as the co-main event.

Edge cuts promo on the 2nd RAW in the main event slot - he's full on cocky Edge, the guy you know from real world WWF.  He laughs at the fans, says they're suckers - says the most fun thing he's done in years, besides having all that sex with Lita while she was living with Matt Hardy, was getting the fans to cheer him.

I mean, how dumb are you people?


Edge says but as much fun as that was, making fools out of you people, that was just an unintended consequence.  The reason he did it is because when he was a young wrestler, he made a choice.  He can have followed his Canadian roots, could have gone down the road he was expected to go down and one day earned this beloved pink and black hockey jersey.

But he didn't.  He and his brother joined Triple H.  They joined a brotherhood of men.  They joined the Clique.

And the Clique is for life.

Edge says he doesn't like Shawn Michaels.  Shawn Michaels wanted nothing to do with him 2 years ago, he and Shawn Michaels will never be friends.  And he doesn't like Hunter.  Because nobody likes Hunter.  Hunter, to put it bluntly, is an asshole (he gets bleeped, even in the Counterfactual world I'm stuck with our puritanical censorship of language.)

Edge says when he stood on those turnbuckles making the sign of the Clique - he wasn't saying, I love Shawn Michaels and Triple H.  He was saying - once you are Clique, you can never....never go back. 

Ask Trish Stratus, Edge says, what happens if you try to leave the Clique.  Ask Tammy Sytch.  If you can find them.

Jericho runs to the ring - they brawl - the Clique punks Jericho out.  There's a lot of that during this stretch, Jericho by himself against Edge, Shawn, and Hunter - a lot of fighting from underneath.  Jericho's man fighting machine, you know the babyface drill. 

The Juggernaut Eddie Little is Umaga, but in a different package - he is the WWF Kimbo Slice, but a completely defiant (and undefeated) heel.  He was an internet sensation for streetfighting, signed by Steamboat to face Monte Brown in a Winner Gets a Contract match at XXIII - but he's been throughly incapable of being controlled.  With his catchprhase "I'm the Juggernaut...Bitch!" Little has been a thorn in Steamboat's side all year - he's beaten everyone in his path, including the Undertaker at the Rumble, and multiple times wiped out the then WWF Champ Mysterio, including during a critical WWF v. NWA tag match.  He doesn't attend meetings, doesn't show up for events, doesn't arrive at the arena on time - at the Rumble, the Juggernaut arrived in the loading dock outside the arena in a limo as his match was to be underway - he swaggered out, puffing on a cigar - piefacing Steamboat and walked right to the ring to beat the Dead Man.  He is a force of nature - but his defiance has made him more trouble than he's worth - the last straw being the RAW after the Rumble.

The Main Event is a tag match featuring the guys who were in the ring to open the show (see parts one and two)  Benjamin/Porter/HBK/HHH-M v. Nitro/Noble/Cena/Leviathan.  This was Steamboat's big night, the culmination really of his year and a half long quest to reunite the company torn apart when Punk threw down the WWF belt at Survivor Series '06.  He finally had control over the company, as he was tasked to gain, and celebrated it with the main event featuring most of the competitors for the title matches at XXIV - but that main event was marred when the Juggernaut crashed the party - his attack of Jamie Noble led to a screwjob pinfall by MVP, and the Juggernaut then took the WWF Title belt (he feels he should have gotten a shot, given his undefeated status) and destroying it.

I'm not sure how.  He shatters the belt somehow.  Something that makes it irreparable.

So, after a year and a half trying to make the WWF Title pre-eminant -Steamboat watches one of his wrestlers, a constantly defiant Juggernaut, destroy the WWF Title (this will turn into an excuse for a big new belt.  Fun!)

And that's a bridge too far.

Steamboat will appear on Fight Night, say a couple of weeks later, to do two things - to establish what's going to happen to the NWA (it's gone, the last night for the NWA will be Mania - Fight Night will continue, however - and in fact, will get a face lift when it moves to become the flagship of My Network TV in the fall - Steamboat says Dusty can stay on as long as he likes).

That announcement doesn't go well with Randy Orton, but more on that in Part 4.

The second thing Steamboat does is ask to see Fit Finlay.

After arriving from the NWA (after years as Europe's Toughest Man) Fit moved into a front office position, running the company along with Dean and Arn.  That group was moved out in favor of Steamboat (Steamboat's first run at the top of the office) and Fit decided to go back to active wrestling, calling on Malenko to be his manager.  Dean and Fit became joined at the hip - as the Sunshine Boys - they set out for one more run - taking the IC from Benoit.  When the company blew up and the NWA reformed, it was Fit and Dean who became the poster boys for the slogan: Where We Fight (which will now be the slogan for the entire WWF) Fit won the tournament to crown a NWA Champ at XXIII, beating Flair in the finale that was Flair's retirement match.  Fit's spent the year feuding with Nitro, making a real man out of the pretty boy heel.  Nitro took at Survivor Series and kept at the Rumble in the blow off - months of tension between Fit and Dean escalated at the Rumble when Malenko attacked Nitro's valet Melina (which ends her run) as Fit and Dean come out here, warily, to see the leader of the WWF, a company they have just lost their feud with - they are clearly frosty toward each other.

Steamboat asks Fit to help him.  Says the WWF/NWA feud is over.  Says Fit's the toughest man he ever met.  Says Fit is needed now.  He needs Fit - he needs Fit to teach another man a lesson - needs Fit to teach the Juggernaut a lesson.

Dean is completely opposed, 'cause, you know, they're doing a thing. 

It takes about a month to set it up.  The more Dean says no, the more Fit needs to do it.  The Juggernaut starts appearing on Friday to slap taunt Fit.  There's a Rocky III quality to this - if you think of Dean and Fit originally, back when they were prepping for Benoit, as Apollo and Balboa running on the beach - now, you can think of Dean as Burgess Meredith saying that Fit can't handle the Juggernaut - that he's too young, too strong - too much for an older Finlay - that Dean's tried to protect him - how could Fit not see it - that by the end of the Nitro feud, Nitro won and deserved to win because he's better - young and athletic and better.  And the Juggernaut's a monster - a wrecking machine - Fit can't stop him.

Fit says he has to, of course - and the Juggernaut will do something personal to him, if Fit has a wife, maybe Little will ask her to come to his apartment to be with a real man.  I mean, while we're doing Rocky III.

It's gonna be Falls Count Anywhere.  So, the ECW garbage match will be full of plunder - but this will be a full on brawl that goes all over the building and every damn place.  Know who won't be there?  Malenko - who says he's been with Fit through every step - but he won't go to his execution. 

So, that's 8 matches set up.  Title match (and a dark match will be set up too.  More value for your Counterfactual Dollar!) to come in Part 4.  Also - I've got an idea for an internet show that's going to start at this time to involve developmental - that's gonna happen - plus, what about Randy Orton? 

All of that coming in Part 4, which may well be the conclusion of our Road to WM 24.

Here's the current card:

Worldwide Three Way Dance:  Porter v. Noble v. Kendrick
Unified Tags:  Clique: HBK/HHHM v. WMD: Cena/Leviathan: Very Special Guest Referee, Ric Flair
Jericho v. Edge
Falls Count Anywhere: Fit v. Juggernaut
Stevie v. Yakuza
Weapons Match: Dreamer v. Bradshaw
Legends Match: Undertaker v. Morley
Opening Tag: LWO: Chavo/Carlito v. S&S: Cade/Murdoch

Title match, a booked dark match, the new internet show, and Randy Orton all to come as the road continues.

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