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 SummerSlam 2008 - 4

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


SummerSlam 2008 is coming in August from Indianapolis; parts 1-3 of the build can be easily found by clicking the label.

7 of the 8 matches are ready to roll:

WWF Title: CM Punk (w/Maria) v. Matt Hardy
-Punk's now a 2 time Champ, he won the Undisputed Title from Flair back at Survivor Series '06, then threw down the WWF and NWA title belts, resulting in the seismic shuffle that has only now returned to normlacy. Matt returned at the close of XXIV to wipe out Punk after a year on the shelf; Punk and GDI beat down Matt, Edge, Jeff in the postmatch of the main event a year before at 23. Punk's tried to move a wedge between Matt and Jeff since the end of '07 framing Matt as selfishly neglecting the needs of his brother to serve his own desire for glory.

IC Title: Montel Porter v. Blood Dragon Jeff Hardy
-MVP (who you can follow on twitter, sometimes, he'll tweet during a match) took the IC from Orton at Survivor Series, kept in the blow off against his former partner Burke at the Rumble, then beat Kendrick/Noble in the 3 way at 24. There's no real angle between he and Jeff, for Porter it's about getting the modern day prima donna athlete character over - for Jeff it's about the Matt/Punk (Matt/Jeff) program - Jeff's been wearing a full Jushin Liger-like costume since Survivor Series in his program with Punk that established a thread that Jeff was looking to shed his identity as a Hardy, that Matt's success and Jeff's personal demons had caused this masked character to emerge. Matt says this is ridiculous and he and Jeff are primed to win their first ever singles titles on the same night. It's the biggest night in the 10+ year WWF career of the Hardy Boys.

WWF Tag Titles: WMD: Cena/Leviathan (with Arn) v. Clique: Edge/HHH-M
-Leviathan is Batista. Cena/Leviathan, doing a Road Warriors like no selling gimmick, went over Michaels/Helmsley (with an assist from guest ref Flair) at 24. It's Cena's second run, he and Orton were young boy tag champs; it's Leviathan's second; he and his mentor Flair were tag champs. Hunter and Shawn took the straps from Cade/Murdoch at Survivor Series, kept over the returning Edge/Jericho when Edge swerved Chris, but then dropped to WMD at 24. Shawn's gone, saying that the WWF fans don't appreciate his 10 title wins and aren't worthy of his talents until they do, there are extensive clip packs of those 10 title wins (2 World, 4 IC, 4 tags) shown on tv. Hunter and Edge dislike each other, but they are both Clique, and in a blood/water pairing they get the shot here. Hunter carries the issue with WMD, Edge spends more time cutting comedy promos on Jericho, who has vanished after losing to Edge at 24. Edge wears the Hart Foundation hockey jersey. Edge uses the sharpshooter.

No Foreign Objects: Undertaker (w/Cody) v. Bradshaw (w/Yakuza)
-Undertaker is babyface symbol of old guard WWF, having won the Legends Match at Mania 7 times; over the summer he came to the rescue of young Rhodes, who took on Bradshaw's stable BIG (Bradshaw Investment Group - Bradshaw calls a fan into the ring, and in a reverse Million Dollar Man bit, has the fan perform a demeaning stunt and then asks the fan to give him bailout money, the stable is Yakuza {Yang}, Mark Henry, and now the Great Khali) after they left Dusty for dead. Bradshaw says he's dreamed of the chance to take down the dead man. Bradshaw's become a garbage wrestler after his feud with the old ECW guys (all gone now, only Taz is still with the company, and he's the head trainer at WWFUniversity, the developmental school in Tampa) utilizing the glass light tubes - but he says this match will be just man on man, like the Taker likes it - because it's important to show he doesn't need to resort to the gimmicks.

-PAUL is the Show; he's been gone since the end of Dead Men Walking in mid '06; Bradshaw just introduced Khali as the biggest wrestler alive (and used him to destroy Cactus Jack) and the Taker is countering with Paul's return. This match has a five minute time limit.

Mark Henry v. Frank Neely
-Henry's Bradshaw's bodyguard; he's the most famous bodyguard in WWF history having been the longtime bodyguard of the Nation of Domination as Big Markie during their two tag title reigns (Rock/DLo). Frank Neely (Bam) was a "fan" who refused to go along with Bradshaw's bailout request. Yes, I recognize I'm working way too hard for a match that I would fast forward. Several matches that I'd fast forward.

Parejas Increibles: Punk/Matt v. MVP/Jeff
-This is a SummerSlam tradition, the mixed partner opening tag. It's the first time Matt and Jeff have ever opposed each other in a match since they were ring boys who would grab time if a show was ever running short to do spots and hope to impress the office into letting them wrestle more.

Finally - Ka$h Kingston v. Santino Marella

This is a comedy program pretty much. Kingston and Ron Killings are Young Money; they were in Floyd Mayweather's posse and he got them signed. Killings was a former X Champ in TNA (trivia - he took from Punk!). They've got a L'il Wayne vibe; not exactly a parody of hip hop but not exactly on the square either (did you see T-Pain's Big Ass Chain at the BET Awards - that's exactly the vibe for these guys) their pants are low, they're covered in tattoos, their theme has lots of autotune. They're on a boat motherfucker don't you ever forget. Santino is tagging with the Miz. Here's who the Miz is - he's Spencer Pratt. That dude can find him some heel heat. The Miz is a douche; he's young and empty; he needs a girl for the act...Tiffany. Young Money's making it rain and the Miz is going to the Roxy or the Viper Room or whatever velvet rope trendy club is in the town they're in that night. Miz calls everyone "brah." Santino is Andy Kauffman. He does the Latka act when cutting promos - meek and foreign, "thank you very much" but when the bell rings (like Festus or Delirious) he turns into the ubercocky "I'm From Hollywood" Kauffman wrestling character. A lot of taunting and hip swiveling.

And that's your card.

As for the other stuff...

Your new RAW announce team is Joey Styles and Matt Striker
Your GDI announcer remains Josh Matthews, now doing the show solo.
Your new Fight Night announce team is Jim Ross and Matt Striker.

As mentioned in the run up to 24, there's an internet reality show, WWFU, which follows the exploits of the developmental group in Tampa. The leads are Jake and Kelly Hager (Jack Swagger and Kelly Kelly) a brother and sister. Jake is an All-american wrestler from Oklahoma, and he's the teacher's pet, the lead dog - the lead pupil - he does every drill perfectly, always studies his tapes, his hand is always first up - he does his sit ups and goes to church on Sunday. It's not an act, he's not a clown - he's genuine, honest, all around square. Most of the other boys dislike him for obvious reasons, and taunt him with the nickname Jack Swagger. Hager's largely quiet (it's the lisp) and just devoted to getting better and learning his craft. The antagonist is Ted DiBiase, Jr. - he's called a natural, and he takes it for granted - he goes out late, gets into fights, sleeps around, doesn't take anything too seriously, but manages to pick everything up without trying. Also there are the Hart kids, Harry Smith, Natty Neidhart, Tyson Kidd - they were last seen in the summer of '07 getting punked out by the Clique. Now they're in WWFU and eventually will have a "too big for this" attitude - "that's now how we learned it in the Dungeon" will be heard a couple times, but we're not there yet. It's all presided over by Taz. He's grumpy.

Finally, the two ongoing programs which don't get aired at SummerSlam.

Benjamin and Nitro walked into 24 with singles belts, but they lost the TLC to Punk - most of the build for 24 was about them, Punk came in late - and most of the match was the two of the in opposition. They have a history, Strong Style (Benjamin/Haas) ended MNM, running Matthews from the company and then torturing Nitro, who proved he wasn't just a pretty boy by taking that beating. They are positoned as similar athletes, taking the WWF to the next level athletically - and which one will grab the top spot?

In Steamboat's only appearance, the night after 24 where he makes Matt the number one contender, he also announced the first ever Best of 7 series, to start whenever Benjamin and Nitro get clearance. Much of the summer will be background stuff - Benjamin is very different than in the real world, he has sweat equity with the WWF fans, like real world Hardys. Benjamin came up through Camp Angle, he's an all time great tag champion with Haas and Angle - we saw him as Angle's protege in Team Angle as SMoney - he retired Kurt from the WWF at Mania - he won the company for the WWF by getting Fit to tap in the War Games match, he beat Rey for the WWF Title at the Rumble. Over the summer in taped pieces we go to his hometown in Orangeburg, South Carolina to see him in the hometown here babyface role - we go to the University of Minnesota to get over his amateur bona fides - Benjamin is white meat babyface, all hero - rock solid. And Nitro's a cocky heel - we see him in the tanning bed, we see him getting oiled up by strippers, we see him effortlessly hitting high spots and posing.

They return for match 1 of the series, say right now, for the main event of RAW right now, end of June/top July. They go 20 minutes+ and Benjamin goes over clean. Postmatch, Nitro attacks Benjamin's knee ( which would have been the chief injury suffered at 24, keeping Benjamin on the shelf until tonight). That knocks Benjamin out another month - match 2 then happens top of August, with Match 3 set for SummerSlam - but match 2 never happens - Nitro takes out Benjamin's leg on the ramp before they can get to the ring. He wants a countout win - but the referee waves it off - saying the match never actually started - Nitro sneers - but he has effectively taken away Benjamin's legs it seems in their battle over who the top athlete in the WWF is. This means their SummerSlam match is off.

Also not wrestling at SummerSlam - Defiance.

Randy Orton joined The Juggernaut (Umaga) and a heel turning Dean Malenko to take out Fit Finlay at 24. They are Defiance, utterly without respect for authority. Orton had been rubbing up against Dusty; Juggeranut against Steamboat - they join together as Defiance under the tuteledge of the dastardly Malenko.

Dean and Fit had been teamed for years - first in the WWF office, then they came out of retirement for one last lap around the teack, Fit became IC champ and then NWA champ. But in the Fit/Nitro feud there developed a split, a slow burning difference of opinion evident in multiple ways - Dean didn't come to the ring with Fit for his 24 match against The Juggernaut, saying Fit shouldn't take the match, that he was in over his head against a monster.

They destroyed Fit at 24 - Orton debuted that punt, kicking Fit's skull as Dean held him in the clover leaf.

Over the summer, Dean (who now demands to be called Professor Malenko) says he tried to warn Fit, tried for months - but Fit wouldn't listen - but Randy Orton listened - and whereas Finlay had reached his pinnacle - Orton is just getting started. Orton gets some credibility from working with Malenko (a former NWA champ) and the Juggernaut gets a mouthpiece.

It was Regal who held the broken skull of his longtime frenemy Finlay at 24 - and when Defiance crushes Charlie Haas's skull (Haas was a Regal protegee in Team Angle) that causes Regal to snap. A crazed, frenzied Regal attacks Defiance in the parking garage during one show, hitting Orton with his car - and then smashing into the side of the car carrying Dean and the Juggernaut. That puts Orton on the shelf - but sets up a TV with Regal and the Juggernaut, no holds barred. After a good brawl (that would be on Fight Night - now that NWA is gone, the difference between Monday and Friday is Friday's largely No DQ or otherwise positioned as "fights" or "brawls" whereas RAW is largely puroresu (Tuesday is an indie feel, tiny venues, cheap production) Regal gets the Juggernaut to submit to the Regal Stretch, breaking his arm in the process.

It's a shocking result - the Juggernaut was unbeaten and had stormed through the WWF (goddamn WWF, I liked Umaga okay but don't really care that he's gone - but the Juggernaut! With the cigars and the catchphrase! Why you gotta do me like this?) but Regal unleashed the full range of his fury - and he ends the summer having tapped the Juggernaut (who then vanishes into the night) and run over Orton with his car.

Regal sees no satisfaction - he cuts angry, vengeful promo on Malenko, saying he will either see Dean in the ring or the parking lot, but he will get his revenge!

And that gets us there.  Wait!

One more reason to buy. 

The Number One Contender's Battle Royal will return this year (in September, on the debut episode of the new Friday Night Fight Night on MyNetwork TV) for the first time ever the draw for spots #1 and #2 will take place LIVE - at SummerSlam!  Find out who will be 1 and 2!  Find out only on PPV!

SummerSlam 2008is on its way. Sometime in August. Check this space. Call your cable company!

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