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 - 2

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wrestlemania XXIV is coming soon from Orlando.

In Part 1, the tag team matchup:  The Clique: Shawn Michaels/Hunter Hearst Helmsley-McMahon v. WMD: Leviathan/John Cena was set up, Ric Flair is the Very Special Guest Referee.

We return to the night after the Rumble; Steamboat's in the ring with the four aforementioned tag wrestlers and Arn as he prepares to announce the Worldwide Match.

Steamboat says the Worldwide Title will be reunified at Mania in a Three Way Dance.  He introduces the IC Champ, who defended his title the night before against Elijah Burke - Montel Vontavious Porter, M-V-P!

Porter, full on modern young black athlete swagger, in a ridiculously expensive suit, looking like he's in an NBA locker room, comes to the ring.  Porter won the IC from Orton at Survivor Series, kept in the blow off against his childhood friend Burke at the Rumble - and now goes to Wrestlemania XXIV.  The Clique clowns him a little, he ignores them completely.  WMD continues to flex.  Lot of heels in the ring.

Steamboat says he will be facing, from Fight Night, the US Champion - The Redneck Messiah, Jamie Noble!

Noble is now pure scrappy babyface.  His GDI heel tag with Kendrick busted up; Punk ran him out of GDI in what was designed to be a humiliating trade for Sean Morley - Steamboat then turned around and shipped him in the big trade to NWA.  Noble, who back in the old NWA was the number one contender for the US Title before the company was bought by WWF, convinced Dusty to give him the shot - and now he's US Champ.  Noble shakes Steamboat's hand - he and Porter go nose to nose.

Steamboat says that Porter and Noble will be meeting the third man in the Three Way Dance - the TV Champion -

-And that's where he's cut off from the video wall.  Live, via satellite, is the GDI locker room, from whatever arena they'll be in the following night.  One may note that all the GDI faces are there, except for the Champ, Punk.  The announce doesn't mention it.  Kendrick, who began to emerge as the GDI spokesman on the road to the Rumble, cuts the promo. 

He says unlike everyone else in the ring - at GDI Wrestling - on Tuesday Nights - you compete for your spot.  So tomorrow night - in this ring - the TV Champ, the Yakuza (Jimmy Yang) will be putting up his title and his slot at Wrestlemania XXIV against...

Brian Kendrick.

Yakuza fixes Kendrick with a hard stare.  Kendrick smirks and the feed cuts out.

That next night, at GDI, Kendrick takes the TV title from Yakuza.  Kendrick becomes TV Champ and he will go to Wrestlemania.

Porter was TV Champ, having won it with the IC at SSeries over Orton.  Foley cashed in a favor to get Steamboat to order Porter to put up the TV on GDI against Stevie Richards, who had never won a title belt of any type and after multiple throat surgeries announced he would be retiring after Mania.  He was supported by Dreamer - kicking off an ECW revival - Stevie took from Porter on Burke's run in - but his celebration was immediately ended when Yakuza took the title from him.  Yakuza defended at Rumble against Little Warrior (Shannon Moore, in his last match) and now has just lost the strap to Kendrick.

Kendrick is essentially his real world heel character, but his absolute craven, scavenger-like amorality is part of his character more played up here.  His willingness to tow the GDI line even when his former tag partners had to be sacrificed, first London and then Noble, is his enduring essence.  In '07, Kendrick won a Worldwide shot against Orton - begged London not to attack him - and when London showed him mercy, Kendrick turned on him.  London was driven completely out of WWF; Noble refused finally to participate in a GDI hanging of London, London strung up from a wire upside down, blood pouring from his head - Noble walked out - but Kendrick stayed to taunt his long time partner. 

Now, Kendrick is TV Champ - and Noble is US Champ.  Former partners in ROH - former partners in GDI - they are 2/3 of the Three Way Dance (elimination match) against the IC Champ Porter - who is full on swagger, hitting his catchphrase "I Run This" as often as needed to get it over.

That's your IC match.

The 2 undercard ECW matches come out of that angle as well.

ECW became the flashpoint in the war of words between Dreamer, GDI analyst, and Bradshaw, NWA analyst - that boiled over at the Rumble when, after a full on ECW/GDI brawl - Bradshaw and Dreamer finally had full on blows, joined by Taz and Bradshaw's bodyguard, Mark Henry.  That cost the three announcers their broadcast contracts.  That brawl from earlier in the evening was ended when Stevie returned for the first time since winning/losing the TV belt - he superkicked the ring clear. 

So - Kendrick wins the TV belt and leaves in triumph - Yakuza's alone in the ring and he is attacked by cane swinging Dreamer and Richards - both in ECW t shirts. 

They leave him laying and bloody.

The following Tuesday, after a full on "we're ECW and we're still fighting the revolution" promo from Dreamer and Stevie, Bradshaw and Henry enter with Yakuza. 

Bradshaw notes that they attacked Yakuza 2 on 1, with canes, after a hard fought title match.  And that really symbolizes what ECW was all about.  At WM - he's going to remove the stain of ECW from professional wrestling forever.  Bradshaw does the full on "bingo hall...not real athletes...300 retarded fans" rap - they brawl - the heels go over when Colt and Sydal enter with glass light tubes to lay them out.

Bradshaw gets a couple of Tuesdays to crow while Dreamer and Stevie sell the injuries, Bradshaw does some back and forth with Foley, who is now the analyst for all 3 shows.  They set up an 8 man tag for GDI, Bradshaw/Yakuza/Colt/Sydal, along with the bodyguard Henry in the corner - against Dreamer/Richards/Crazy/Guido. 

They do a full garbage match, as much as they can get away with on Sci Fi, finish comes when Henry gets in the ring, does the very simple power stuff to go 5 on 4 for the heels - Foley has spent the build up to the match teasing that if Henry got in the ring - he would to have to ensure the sides were even. 

Josh Matthews begs him not to, says Foley will get fired, and they are out of analysts - Foley throws down the headset to tease it - the heels motion for him to come - when Taz's music hits.

Taz does his very best impression of ECW era Taz - he suplexes whomever he can - it looks like ECW has the victory, but Bradshaw unleashes the clothesline that turns Dreamer inside out to get the fall.

That sets up two matches. 

Weapons Match: Bradshaw (w/Henry) v. Dreamer (w/Taz)
Yakuza v. Stevie

Bradshaw will have Henry in his corner, Dreamer will have Taz in his.  The ECW guys, along with Foley and Joey and anyone else we can get for this run, will talk as much ECW lore as they can.  Plenty of clips and whatnot.  Ideally, along with Guido/Crazy - there would be as many ECW alums as possible to come in a pack for this section of 24.  On the other side, Bradshaw does all the derogatory, run ECW down, condescending stuff he can do.  With Henry and Yakuza, Bradshaw says he's like the Secretary General of the UN, only with more power.  Colt and Sydal are there to take bumps for the heels and tag up against Crazy and Guido for this run.

While we're talking undercard:

There's another GDI match - Ulysses Morley will be taking on the Undertaker in the Legends Match.

For those of you who are new, the Legends Match is an annual Mania tradition, the Undertaker has won 6 Legends Matches and it's considered his spot on the Mania card.  He'll be attacked one RAW by Morley.

A recap of the Morley storyline.  Morley has been enhancement talent for years, just plodding away putting guys over.  It was pushed as humiliating that Noble was traded for him.  Upon coming to GDI, he entered a re-education program, where Colt was tasked with trying to convert him to hate the WWF corporate machine.

That was largely an excuse for Cabana comedy - but eventually evolved so that Morley starts to believe, we saw the largest step in that direction at the Rumble when he fought on the side on GDI in the ECW brawl.

Morley shows up on RAW during a Legends Match video retrospective (lots of Mania clips, love me some Mania clips) and cuts loose.  The real legends aren't the big names like the Undertaker, the real legends are the guys like Ulysses Morley who toil in anonymity.  But there's no room at Wrestlemania for Ulysses Morley - they'll bring in Ric Flair, they'll bring in Floyd Mayweather (which we haven't set up yet, but will in Part 3) and Ulysses Morley, who has worked here for a decade, will sit in the back.

Undertaker comes out, says no one handed him anything - says he has to fight every day to barely keep his spot - he's earned his job and the truth is Morley's not good enough.

And that's the set up.  Morley says he's fighting for the little guy - he wants to win the Legends Match for all the guys who have been forgotten.  The Bob Hollys.  The Brooklyn Brawlers.  The Iron Mike Sharpes.  They are the Legends.  They will be avenged!

On the road to Mania, as many of those types of guys who we can get will come on - they'll come on, Morley will cheer for them wildly - and they'll get squashed by the Taker.  Morley's original gimmick was he stood up for the little guy - so even though he's essentially on the heel side standing up against the WWF, against the idea of Wrestlemania, against the Undertaker - he still casts it (and maybe reasonably so) as he's fighting the machine.  Undertaker squashes guy after guy on RAW each week - but Morley never stops.  Finally, at the go home RAW - Morley finally snaps - goes full on heel after, say the Taker squashes Hacksaw, bashing the Dead Man with a chair.  Then a handful of enhancement type guys enter the ring to stomp the Taker out - Jobbers of the World Unite!  You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Chains!

Let's say in this angle they use: Alabama Bob, Snitsky, Hacksaw, Mabel, Chuck Palumbo, Jesse/Festus, Deuce/Domino.  They come out each week, get squashed - then all join Morley in the go home show to stomp out the Dead Guy.

The opening tag has no storyline.  It's classic Mania opening workrate tag - two former tag championship teams, the LWO: Chavo and Carlito meet S&S: Cade and Murdoch.  LWO is a babyface team from RAW, S&S is a heel team from NWA - it's just for match quality and nothing else.

So, where do we stand after 2 parts.

Worldwide Titles: Three Way Dance: MVP v. Noble v. Kendrick
Tag Titles: Cliq v. WMD

Yakuza v. Stevie
Weapons Match: Bradshaw v. Dreamer
Legends Match: Undertaker v. Morley
Opening Tag: LWO v. S&S

6 matches set up.  3 to go.

In Part 3 we'll set up the two big singles matches coming at XXIV, and the TLC match to unify the world heavyweight championship. The road continues

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