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 Silver, Part 3

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Part II in the Road to Silver is here; that would link you to Part I, which contains links to the 24 previous Counterfactual Wrestlemanias.

So - we're six matches in:

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. The Messiah Shawn Michaels (w/Harry Smith & Tyson Kidd)

Montreal Match: Edge v. Christian v. Matt Hardy v. Jeff Hardy

IC: Mask v. Title: MVP v. Rey Mysterio

Tag Titles: DMW v. LWO v. HHH-M/Miz

Legends Match: Fluorescent Light Tube Death Match: Undertaker (w/ Cody and Dustin Rhodes) v. Bradshaw (w/Yakuza/Henry/Khali)

John Cena (w/AA) v. Ka$h Kingston

3 to go.
There Must Be a Winner: Strong Style Shelton Benjamin v. Johnny Nitro
Fit Finlay v. Randy Orton (w/Malenko and DiBiase)
Ricky the Dragon Steamboat v. CM Punk (w/Maria)
Easy one first - Nitro and Benjamin are in a Best of 7 Series; they've been feuding since the build to XXIV when they met as part of the 3 way title unification TLC Main Event (they lost their belts to Punk).  They've been wrestling ever since, in what is simply just a wrestling feud - Benjamin's a babyface, Nitro a cocky heel - they both think they're better than the other guy.  The series was to end at the Rumble, as that was Match 7 (considering no contests and draws and double disqualifications, they've probably wrestled a dozen times).  Benjamin is now over his knee injury inflicted by Nitro in the series - let's do a TV spot as part of this really simple build where Benjamin is really selling the knee, but it turns out he's lulling Nitro into a false sense of security - as when Nitro taunts him - Benjamin suddenly is at full strength and does some type of super high spot against whomever it is he is working against.  Nitro gets the bug eyes - and here we are - Match 7, two guys trying to prove who the better man is at Wrestlemania Silver. 
Then there's Defiance.  Randy Orton, a couple of years ago, was viewed, despite a previous run as tag champ, as largely a pretty boy without much heart - then he beat Fit Finlay.  That propelled him higher up the card - he became IC Champ and last year, at 24, Orton united with the Juggernaut (RIP) and a heel turning Professor Malenko to destroy Finlay in a falls count anywhere match.  Fit's been gone since - but Defiance spent the year feuding with Regal, a feud that saw the Juggernaut leave the WWF, Orton take out Regal in a parking garage brawl with the help of a mystery man, and then - at the Rumble, the revelation that Ted DiBiase, Jr., from the online developmental reality show WWFU (the Underground) was the new member of Defiance.  Defiance took out Taz (your new trainer in developmental - Mike Rotundo) RVD and Jack Swagger at the Rumble, finishing them off with Orton's punt to the temple (the Golden Goal) from which no one had yet to return - until the reappearance of Fit in the build.
It starts with Defiance proclaiming the death of RVD, Taz - and Swagger - Orton says he promised Defiance would recruit a new man - and they got the right man in the son of the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase, Jr.  DiBiase, who had been sort of a charming heel in developmental, playing off of Swagger's square jawed, straight edged babyface, is now, obviously, full on heel - and they mock the destruction of Taz and Swagger.
Steamboat interrupts - says the problem with DiBiase joining Defiance is he lost his Contract Match at the Rumble to Swagger - so he isn't on the roster.  Defiance is indignant - Steamboat has a compromise - says there's another man from developmental who is ready for the same kind of shot that DiBiase wants - and DiBiase will have a contract match - next week - against that man - Nick Nemeth.
Nemeth was Swagger's friend in developmental, really the only person other than Swagger's sister, Kelly (who began a romance with DiBiase) who could stand him (Swagger's a bit of a teacher's pet, too good to be true sort of a guy).  And Nemeth (that's Dolph Ziggler) will look to find his way into a WWF contract by beating DiBiase.
Which he will.  Kelly, returning for the first time since DiBiase locked her in a dressing room at the Rumble, appears during the match, DiBiase gets distracted - and that leads to the surprise victory for Nemeth.
Nemeth will then spend a few weeks feuding with Defiance - wrestling each of them - when finally he needs a tag partner for a TV match.  That tag partner - Fit Finlay.
There's surprise - Fit has been gone since taking the Golden Goal at 24 - but he does return - all Northern Irish fury - not only looking for revenge against Orton, but revenge against his longtime, I mean, longtime manager now adversary Malenko - the tag match breaks down when Fit's rage against Malenko explodes - Fit going after Dean - Fit busting his best friend Malenko wide open on TV in a torrent of color - Fit merciless in his attack on Malenko until pulled away by front office personnel (of which, Fit and Dean used to be). 
That sets up the match - Fit v. Orton - Fit Finlay, the old veteran, the man who retired Ric Flair at 23 - he lost a year of his career to Defiance - lost his friend Regal who came to his aid - against the upstart Orton - Orton, riding high after the Rumble, but now with his own reason for hatred -as Finlay took out a year of frustration on the man who betrayed him, Malenko. 
Finlay v. Orton at Silver.
Which leaves just one match.
Ricky Steamboat and CM Punk have been feuding for years.  Not just in the WWF, with Steamboat as legendary GM, for very first Wrestlemania main event winner - and Punk as his chief antagonist - Punk, the man who threw down the WWF belt and spat upon it in the defining moment of recent wrestling history. 
But this has spanned three companies - Ring of Honor, TNA - and WWF - the same dynamic, Steamboat as babyface legend - Punk as a man who refuses to tow the line.  They have been each other's chief opponent for years and years and years.
And now they will meet.  For the very first time.  One on one at Wrestlemania Silver.
How do we get there - recall Punk got suspended, so he missed the Rumble - at the Rumble was the debut of Low Ki, who Steamboat has dubbed the most important WWF acquisition in years - Ki didn't wrestle - but he did beat the hell out of Punk's best friend Cabana, in Cabana's last night with the company.
For maybe 3 weeks after the Rumble - Low Ki appears on every WWF program beating whomever is in front of him.  Hunter.  Cena.  Bradshaw.  The Undertaker.  The announce plays up that Low Ki is going to Wrestlemania Silver - that they have never seen Ricky Steamboat get behind a wrestler with this much enthusiasm since he said that Rey Mysterio was the company Ace - Rey went on to be 2 time WWF Champion and hold the Triple Crown.
The assumption is it will be Low Ki vs. CM Punk at Mania, and the announcement is to come the day Punk's suspension is up - Steamboat is said to be as excited as anyone can recall him - giddy, almost. 
The night comes - Low Ki and Steamboat are in the ring for the official announcement - Steamboat talks about how for years, Punk has done whatever he wanted virtually with no consequence (and then gives the list) but that ends at Silver.  As everyone has seen since the Rumble - Low Ki is a wrecking machine - he is a man that CM Punk is afraid of - and at Silver will be Punk's day of reckoning.  Steamboat says - Punk's suspension is now up - and calls him to the ring.
He doesn't come.  Maria comes instead.
Maria is hot (I mean angry, but, well, you know). She says Steamboat's a monster.
Punk is not here tonight.  Punk won't be at Silver.  Punk can't get out of bed.  Steamboat's taken everything from him - took away his WWF title - took away his guaranteed rematch - took away his best friend Colt - Punk's been home for 60 days, not able to wrestle - not able to even attend the Rumble - Wrestlemania Silver - the biggest wrestling show of all time - is just a few weeks away and Punk hasn't been a part of it.  And all these people want is to see Low Ki, who is more machine than man - destroy Punk - Punk is a lamb to the slaughter - that's all Steamboat wants - he doesn't want real competition - he wants a massacre.  Well, Maria says - Punk's not going to be fed to the lions - Punk will not wrestle Low Ki at Silver - if Steamboat and these people want a massacre so badly - then Low Ki can wrestle her at Silver.
An intriguing proposition to be sure.
And with that distracting offer in the air - that's Punk's cue to come out from under the ring and chairshot Low Ki - Maria grabs at Steamboat, swinging wildly at him, enough such that he's distracted for a few seconds as Punk hits the Go to Sleep on Ki - Maria hops on Steamboat's back - clawing at the Dragon's eyes - Punk then takes the chair and Pillmans Ki's ankle - dropping elbows on the chair - Steamboat breaks free from Maria - Punk rolls out of the ring - Steamboat has the fire in his eyes as Punk and Maria back their way up the ramp.
The next show - Steamboat cuts promo. 
Says 24 years ago the WWF rolled the dice on an idea called Wrestlemania - that one night a year the entire wrestling world - hell, the entire world - would stop and watch the very greatest in the sport compete at the highest possible level.
24 years ago - the highest possible level, Steamboat says, was Ricky Steamboat.
They show clip of Steamboat beating Windham in the main at I. 
Now it's Wrestlemania Silver.  "I'm not the man I was a quarter century ago.  I was never one to brag - but I knew, when I held up the WWF Championship belt, in Madison Square Garden, at Wrestlemania, that I was, at least on that day, the very best wrestler in the world."
"I'm not that man anymore."
"But maybe - for one night - at Wrestlemania Silver - I could be that man again."
Steamboat very matter of factly says.  "It has been my great honor to be the general manager of the World Wrestling Federation.  My last official act is to make one more match for Wrestlemania Silver.  CM Punk...against Ricky The Dragon Steamboat.  I quit."
That will lead to a very rare appearance on the next show by Vince McMahon - billed as the CEO of the World Wildlife Fund - Vince, via satellite, will say that Ricky Steamboat has been a valued employee - and he was well aware that as a member of the front office he was ineligible to compete with active wrestlers - but he has accepted Steamboat's resignation - and the match for Silver is official.  At Mania, a replacement for Steamboat will be named. 
The build is Punk acting as if he's found a four leaf clover.  Punk says it's all he's ever wanted - literally, his whole life - all he's ever wanted since the first time he saw wrestling when it was Ric Flair kicking Ricky Steamboat's ass in the NWA and he thought "that's what I want to do - I want to beat the hell out of Ricky the Dragon Steamboat."

Punk says he's gonna get in trouble for not saying the first time he saw wrestling was WWF - say Wrestlemania I - but the thing is he was 2 years old.  And obviously that becomes part of the build too - Punk talking about how the only thing he and Steamboat have in common is neither one of them remember the last time Steamboat wrestled at Wrestlemania, back in WM 4 - 21 years ago - Punk doesn't remember it because he was a toddler - and Steamboat because it was so long ago he forgot.  He maybe used to be Ricky The Dragon  - the main who won the main event at the very first Wrestlemania - but now he's another guy in a suit.  He's Ricky the Suit Steamboat. 

That tag line will be referenced by Steamboat during a "I'm taking off my suit" promo that will serve to metaphorically transform him into the Dragon - or at least, enough that we can buy it. 

There's some concern by the announce - JR has a sitdown interview where they show some clips of Steamboat's career, emphasizing his historic role in the creation of Wrestlemania and now in putting the WWF back together after Punk tore the company apart - but the truth is that Steamboat is 30 years older than Punk and hasn't been a full time wrestler in nearly two decades - this seems like a suicide mission.

Steamboat says maybe it is. 

Maybe he is going to Wrestlemania Silver to die. 

But it'll be dying for a good cause.  Punk's a cancer - he eats away at a company - Steamboat's seen it over and over and over again.  And he's done all he can do wearing a suit to stop him.  Suspended him, taken away title shots - even fired his best friend - but Punk still keeps coming, corrosive, vile.  He's a cancer.

So Ricky the Suit Steamboat can't stop him.

But maybe Ricky the Dragon can.  Steamboat says he's spilled plenty of Wrestlemania blood - and he's willing to spill the rest at Silver. 

Steamboat, as you know if you've looked at the title for the blog - is a Hogan-like figure in this world - once this match is made - it essentially becomes the main event - it's the primary focus of all of programming - Ricky Steamboat returns to Wrestlemania - CM Punk won the main event at 24 - he's been the top heel in the company really for the past two years - his feud with Steamboat really has driven much of the storyline - it's sort of like if Austin wrestled Vince at Mania at the height of their real world feud - but Vince wasn't Vince, instead Vince was Hogan. 

So, that's our show.  Hopefully, I put it up Mania weekend, but it's more likely to be the following week. 

Wrestlemania Silver
1. WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels
-It's Harts v. Clique; will the Messiah, with the aid of the young Hart kids, regain the WWF title for the first time in over a decade - or will Jericho solidify his hold at the top of the sport?  It's got to be Harts/Clique in the main event at WM25.

2. Montreal Match: Matt v. Jeff v. Edge v. Christian
-One man will submit and leave the WWF; one man will get that submission and win a title shot to be granted anytime in the next year; it's brother vs. brother, 4 men feuding literally their whole adult lives - and now, one will be leaving the WWF.

3. Mask v. ICTitle: Montel Porter v. Rey Mysterio
MVP has held the IC Title for a year and a half - Rey, for the first time ever - puts up his very identity in an attempt to take it from him.

4. CM Punk v. Ricky Steamboat
One of the greatest legends in WWF history - he wrestled in the first 4 Wrestlemania main events - returns to the ring - his first Wrestlemania in 21 years - against his longtime rival, his chief antagonist - the man who spat on the WWF Title belt - CM Punk.  This match is the effective main event - but all 4 of these matches have a real significance historically - and I also think they're all good workrate matches.  Wrestlemania Silver!

5. There Must Be a Winner: Shelton Benjamin v. Johnny Nitro
6. Fit Finlay v. Randy Orton
7. John Cena v. Ka$h Kingston
8. Legend's Match: Glass Light Tube Death Match: The Undertaker v. Bradshaw
9. Tag Titles: LWO v. DMW v. HHH-M/Miz

Plus - the announcement of the new WWF General Manager and surprise WWF legendary guests!

It's Wrestlemania Silver.  Call your local cable company.  Don't just download the torrent.  Come on!


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