Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Road to Survivor Series 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.

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