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

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