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.
Royal Rumble 2009
Friday, January 01, 2010
Royal Rumble 2009 – Detroit
(Dark – LWO d. Noble/Tatsu
Low Ki d. Steve Regal)
Part 2 of the build for the Royal Rumble is here.
Joey/JR/Striker is the announce. Josh does backstage interviews.
1. Number One Contenders Match: Miz/Santino d. Young Money/BIG/Rhodes
-WMD lost the straps to Edge/Blood Dragon at Survivor Series, and the rematch for the Rumble was set until HHH-M put Leviathan out of action with the sledgehammer after beating both he and Cena in separate singles matches, getting HHH-M tuned up for his title shot at tonight’s main event. That turned this match into a number one contenders’ match – the winner to go on and face the champs later tonight.
Stories to tell – BIG (Bradshaw and Yakuza) continues to go after Cody Rhodes – that program’s gone on since summer – Cody’s been teaming with the Undertaker, but BIG laid the Dead Man out at Survivor Series, and Cody is now teaming with his returning brother, Dustin. Young Money (Kingston and Killings) have been in a one sided feud with comedy heels Miz and Santino since summer, so that domination continues here. Beginning at Survivor Series, we began to separate Miz from Santino qualitatively, putting Miz is the light of “really sneakily improving” while Santino was obviously still a clown.
The finish comes after the run ins (runs in?) by the LWO and then by DMW. Chavo turned over his spot in the LWO to Primo in the build to the Rumble, and now it’s time to re-establish the LWO as heels, so they go after the babyface Killings while he’s on the apron, pulling him off and really putting a beating on him. That distraction will be matched by, from the opposite side of the ring, the entrance of DMW (PAUL~ and Kane), and they start chokelamming guys – first Yakuza and Santino (and when this is happening, Bradshaw skips town – he backs his way up the aisle and runs smack into the Undertaker – who is carrying a fluorescent tube – which he smashes over Bradshaw’s head). Now, Undertaker was a member of DMW during the previous DMW run – but both PAUL and Kane left the company after that run, and while both men came back as part of this UT v. BIG angle on the Dead Man’s side – their relationship hasn’t been clarified – so, when DMW then chokeslams both Dustin and Undertaker’s little buddy Cody – it’s not a heel turn per se – but the Undertaker does stop his assault on the bloody Bradshaw and he and DMW do a big staring thing as Bradshaw scrambles to safety.
That full on breakdown allows Miz, in the chaos, to roll up Kingston for the shocking pinfall.
The Miz and Santino, of all teams, will be wrestling later tonight for the straps.
2. Contract Match: Jack Swagger (with Kelly) d. Ted DiBiase
-Taz comes out first and joins the announce – Taz is the longest running color commentator in WWF history, until his program which began a year ago with the ECW originals against BIG forced him from the announce and then eventually down to Tampa, where he became head trainer for developmental – WWFU – or “The Underground”. The stars of the internet reality show set in the housing complex where the trainees live, and the stars of the training, have been Swagger (babyface, straight arrow, amateur star, not very well liked by his peers) and DiBiase (heelish, bit of a jackass, very popular with the boys). Kelly (Kelly Kelly) is Swagger’s sister, flirting with Ted all year, that flirtation has seemingly moved past that in this build, as they looked to avoid the cameras.
Taz puts them both over on the announce, and also the other notable wrestlers from the Underground (Nick Nemeth, who looks up to Swagger – the Hart kids – weird silent Knox) and also sets forth the match coming later tonight between a returning RVD (in his hometown) and Randy Orton, a program in which Taz is in the middle.
Swagger wins a 50/50 match, he celebrates – he has won a WWF contract and will be heading to the main roster. The announce tells us he’ll be signing that contract this week on Fight Night. DiBiase and Swagger do not like each other – but with Kelly looking on, Swagger extends a hand postmatch – and Ted accepts. As they all (including Taz) exit, Kelly and Ted hold hands, coming out as a couple for the first time. Aw. Later in the evening, in what seems like a random “let’s tell the soapy story” backstage shot, we’ll see Ted and Kelly alone together in a dressing room, Kelly consoling DiBiase – Ted leaving the room, just needing to step out for a moment – they kiss before he goes – Kelly clearly smitten – and the last shot is her noticing something sticking out of DiBiase’s bag and walking over to take a look.
But that comes later.
3. Cage match: Matt Hardy d. Brian Kendrick
-This wraps up Kendrick’s second WWF run. Kendrick, as chickenshit heel aligned with Punk, aided Punk in beating Matt at Summer Slam, then beat Matt (distracted with the possibility of his brother joining his sworn enemy Edge) at Survivor Series. Now, as the announce hits hard, Kendrick is alone (the build on GDI is Kendrick trying to find someone to help him, but he turned on London, turned on Noble – Colt’s got the Low Ki thing later in the evening and Punk’s suspended). Kendrick is all alone in a steel cage with a pissed off Matt Hardy – who brings back the WWF fork (which he once stuck in Edge’s eye, leading to Edge wearing an eyepatch for a year) and buries it in Kendrick’s head. This is a full on “dude’s leaving the territory” whipping. Kendrick’s left for dead in mid-ring. Matt gets a pinfall, but draws no joy from it – the announce selling that his mental state is a real issue – Jeff and Edge are tag champs and there’s a fury building inside Matt that even this destruction of Brian Kendrick could not dampen. Kendrick bleeds. Matt exits the ring, scowling. Angry.
4. Match 7 of 7: Shelton Benjamin draw Johnny Nitro
-I know. You do a best of 7 series and then you go to match 8. I know. Get over it.
This program started on the road to 24 when each man held singles belts and they main evented in a TLC match against Punk. That led to the best of 7, Nitro took a 3-1 lead at Survivor Series, Benjamin won two in the build here – and they do a 20 minute draw. 20 minute draw and they are standing in mid-ring throwing blows as the bell rings. The series does not end. See you at Silver.
5. Randy Orton (w/Professor Malenko) d. RVD (w/Taz)
That DiBiase/Kelly vignette goes here.
RVD wasn’t on TV for the build, just clips, so this is his first appearance since 23. Taz and Orton had some back and forth in this build, Taz recruits RVD to fight this match. Orton, with the Golden Goal, took out Fit at 24 (still gone) and then Regal at Survivor Series. Regal had taken out the other member of Defiance, the Juggernaut (Umaga, RIP) previously, but Orton had hinted that a new member of Defiance would soon come to light. The only clue were the brown leather driving gloves worn by the masked mystery driver who aided Orton at his parking garage brawl win over Regal.
Orton gets the clean win over Van Dam with the RKO – Malenko comes into the ring to put Van Dam in the clover leaf which is the set up for the Golden Goal – Taz enters to stop him – Taz and Malenko get into a shoving match – Orton gets in Taz’s face – Swagger and DiBiase run to the ring. Swagger and DiBiase stand between Orton and Taz (they stood together in the Underground as part of the build when Orton invaded).
And then DiBiase turns on Swagger. Million Dollar Slam (Dream Street). We cut back to Kelly locked in that dressing room holding the brown leather driving gloves which she clearly pulled from DiBiase's bags.
The gloves! DiBiase was the driver! Oh my god!
It was DiBiase in the parking garage – DiBiase has joined Defiance – Golden Goals for everyone. RVD. Punt to the Head. Taz. Punt to the Head. Swagger. Punt to the Head. It’s full on Golden Goal Carnage. Million Dollar Slam. Clover Leaf. Golden Goal. Bodies everywhere.
That’s it for RVD to date and that also wraps up Taz. Defiance runs wild on the Royal Rumble.
It’s now time for the Cabana spot.
Ricky Steamboat comes to the ring; he resets the angle and brings Colt to the ring. All Colt Cabana has to do to get a spot on the card for Wrestlemania Silver is to last five minutes in the ring with Low Ki. Not wrestle Low Ki, not “don’t get pinned in 5 minutes” – just literally don’t leave the ring for five minutes. If Colt can stay in the ring for five minutes against Low Ki (the first ROH Champ, the first TNA Champ, he just lost the IWGP Jr title) then he gets the spot.
But if he leaves the ring – he loses his job.
So, Colt enters – then Low Ki. Ki looks ferocious, the dark match with Regal is totally outside of any storyline, but I’d like to get him over with the live crowd and a stiff match with Regal can do that. Colt clowns early, then starts running – that’s all he has to do, just last five minutes without bailing.
Ki catches him though – and Colt has to eat the offense – Colt has to eat the offense and then get pinned a couple of times – but there’s no referee, no 3 count – it’s not a match – Ki, the announce notes, isn’t trying to knock Colt out of the ring – it’s not a battle royal – he is looking to inflict punishment on Colt Cabana, seemingly at the behest of Ricky Steamboat.
Colt, of course, eventually, in the midst of the beating can’t take it anymore and quits. It’s not a chickenshit quitting, he doesn’t run away – he just can’t stand up to Low Ki, the legit full welts on his head rising already from the stiff shots – Colt hangs his head outside, near tears, and he dejectedly leaves ringside. That wraps up Cabana. The replay shows Low Ki having caught Colt flush in the head with kicks.
Steamboat is snarling, angry as he’s ever been in a high intensity promo – he addresses the camera – talking directly to Punk – says it’s over – “you and me – it’s over – you are all alone in this place – and at Wrestlemania Silver you’ll be all alone when you meet Low Ki one on one.”
Ki poses, his music hits, and he and Steamboat exit.
6. IC Title: 2 of 3 Falls: Montel Porter d. Rey Mysterio, 2 falls to 1.
-Yes, it’s unusual that we’ve switched the format. No, the announce will not note that.
So, Porter’s a year+ with the IC belt, the longest run in 15 years, it’s a titanic run, and re-establishes the value of the IC Title after it being subordinate to the 3 big singles belts with the brand split. Porter’s turn on Booker and Burke was precipitated by an attack on Rey back in the summer of ’07; Rey came back to the WWF after a year out only to be eliminated in the number one contender’s battle royal by MVP – then to lose to MVP at Survivor Series.
But that’s not enough – MVP wants more – he wants to beat Rey in a 2 of 3 match. And he does.
Rey wins the first fall. But in the second fall – his mask is dislodged, and when Rey struggles to keep it on his face – he gets pinned to make it 1-1. And MVP rides that momentum to yet another win over Mysterio, getting him once again to keep the strap. MVP beats his chest, yelling out "I run this! I run this!"
7. Tag Titles: No Contest: Edge/Blood Dragon v. Miz/Santino
-No match here. Sorry.
After Miz and Santino (still selling the DMW chokeslam) are announced and come to the ring – they are followed by Matt.
Matt says don’t introduce the champs yet – and then tells Miz and Santino to get out of the ring.
Santino does. Running away as fast as he can. Just squealing in terror.
But not Miz – maybe emboldened with getting the fall on Kingston – Miz stands up to Matt, points at him, makes the motion for the belt – and then takes a Twist of Fate.
The official rolls him outside and quickly helps him away so we can get to the angle.
Matt cuts a promo on Jeff. Says his whole life he’s looked out for him, Jeff would screw up, stay out too late, cut class, break something – Matt would cover for him – Matt would take the blame – say it wasn’t Jeff’s fault, that the booze and the smoke belonged to Matt – that it wasn’t Jeff who wrecked the car – it was Matt. Time after time. And in the last ten years – whether it was Trish Stratus or Eric Bischoff, Jeff would screw up, get us in trouble, get us involved with the wrong people – and it would be Matt who was left to deal with the fallout, to clean everything up.
“You get suspended, I clean it up. You go to rehab, I clean it up. You ruin every relationship in your life, I clean it up. You lose your goddamn house in a fire, I clean it up. You get fired, I clean it up. Every time.”
Edge and the Blood Dragon now come to the ring. Edge stands in the corner watching while the Blood Dragon stands nose to nose with Matt.
“I have carried you, Jeff. It is not my fault that you can’t cut it. It is not my fault that you can’t win a title on your own. It is not my fault that I was in a main event at Wrestlemania and you weren’t. It is not my fault that I’m a superstar and you’re barely hanging on. Remember how Punk used to say, over and over, that it was my fault that you went all schizo and became the Blood Dragon – that I was ignoring your problems, not listening to your cries – you know what – maybe he’s right and I don’t care. You’re a grown man, Jeff. We haven’t been tag partners in years. We haven’t been friends in months. And as of right now, we’re not brothers anymore. You made a choice to team with Edge. And now I’m making a choice. You’re out of my life.”
And then Matt pops the Blood Dragon right in the face. The Blood Dragon goes down – Matt mounts him for another shot – when from the top of the ramp comes a voice that yells “Matt!”
It’s Jeff Hardy.
Jeff Hardy appears at the top of the ramp. He looks as hurt and betrayed as he could be. Matt stands, mouth agape as Jeff cuts promo.
“Jesus you’re a jackass. I told you after the battle royal I was leaving for awhile. I had to clear my head. I didn’t go to Survivor Series. I would never – I would never team with that piece of garbage Edge. You should have trusted me. We’re not brothers anymore? After hearing how you really feel about me, Matt – you’re goddamn right we’re not brothers anymore.”
Jeff drops the mic and exits.
Matt’s mouth is still wide open.
Edge, smirking, still in the corner, grabs a mic.
“Hey, Matt. Guess what. You don’t have a brother anymore….
…but I got mine back.”
The Blood Dragon takes off his mask.
And it’s Christian.
Matt’s mouth has yet to close.
Christian and Edge back out of the ring and up the ramp as Matt stands frozen and the fans respond however it is they will.
8. WWF Championship: Chris Jericho d. Hunter Hearst Helmsley-McMahon
-And your main event.
It’s Number 7 Chris Jericho, a Hart – against HHH-M, from the Clique.
Jericho wins clean, cause that’s how this works.
And after he does – the building goes totally white – a burst of white light – and when it’s back to normal – in the ring – Shawn Michaels.
Superkick to Jericho.
Michaels, gone since a Mania tag title loss, except for a series of taped packages celebrating his 10 WWF title reigns (a record, 4 tags, 4 IC, 2 heavy) poses over Jericho.
Michaels is entirely in white, and has cut his hair short. Yes, Shawn Michaels cut off his hair.
A new theme song plays, related to his new nickname “The Messiah.”
“The Messiah” Shawn Michaels stands above Jericho making the sign of the cross as the show ends.
That’s the Royal Rumble. I’ll be back in February, I’d guess, with the beginning of the build to Wrestlemania Silver.