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 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.

1 comment

bmack said...

Would love to see you write a Raw or FNFN sometime in between posts, just to see how different you would do things and handle TV better than the current writers... maybe the go home edition before Survivor Series?

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