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.
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….
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. WWF 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.