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 2009 - Part One

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

SummerSlam is coming in August from Los Angeles. 

Wrestlemania Silver is here; in case you missed it.

Rebooting for our new season - Monday is RAW, the night after Mania Joey Styles is announcing it by himself, which will be the new configuration.  RAW largely looks like real world RAW looks, bigger, if possible, I'd like the video wall to be as large as it could be - New Japan really has the production I'm looking for on Mondays.  I like filmed pre-tapes, as opposed to video, it has a more real feel and that's hugely important for wrestling.  Tuesday is GDI, it's an indie show feel, we get multiple episodes from one indie show to save production expense.  A small crew of contracted guys essentially just drop into an indie show each episode.  If there's a home base it would be Hammerstein Ballroom-like, ECW Arena-like, small, intimate, preferably rabid.  This is all going to change after Survivor Series when GDI will become internationally based and travel around the world.  Todd Grisham is the new host for GDI starting the week after Mania.  Thursday is WWF Legends where we show classic matches that in some way relate to current programs.  So, in the build to Silver, there would have been Hart/Clique matches and Hardys E/C matches in order to get over the decade, two decade long storylines that exist in this world.  Dusty and Lawler are the hosts.  Friday is Fight Night; JR's last night is the show after Silver, he hands over the reigns to Josh Matthews, who does the show with Matt Striker.  Fight Night looks like UFC, no vignettes, no long promos - since there aren't separate crews (there isn't a separate roster for RAW and Fight Night - that's been a devolution since for a few years Fight Night was the NWA show) they need separate purposes - so Friday is where they go just for stiff wrestling, without much attempt at anything else.  Also is the internet program - The Underground - that's developmental (we got out front of NXT by about a year).  It's a reality show more than anything else, sort of like Tough Enough crossed with the Big Brother 24/7 cameras.  The new head trainer is Mike Rotundo.

And the new WWF general manager is Arn Anderson, named at Silver.  And Arn cuts a promo the night after Silver to establish how his run will differ from Ricky Steamboat's (Steamboat will come back in a different role in the fall).

Arn unveils the banner for Wrestlemania 26 (we always start the build for Mania a year out) and it's a silhouette of a tag match.  At Silver - Arn said 26 would be a tag Mania and reiterates that here - he was a 2 time WWF tag team champion, has always felt it was the most underappreciated of all of the combat sports - and so for the first time in history - the main event of a PPV - and not just any PPV - but Wrestlemania 26 from Phoenix - will be a tag team match.

Wrestlers finding partners will be a throughline for the next year - everyone wants to be on the card, everyone wants to be in the main event.  New sheriff in town - he likes tag wrestling - so everyone needs to get on board.

Arn then calls to the ring Johnny Nitro, which will serve as another way he is different from Steamboat.

A number of Legends appeared at Silver, including Ric Flair, in what is, at present, his final WWF appearance.  Nitro laid Flair out after defeating Shelton Benjamin in the blowoff to their feud (so it would appear).  Arn and Flair remain Arn and Flair in this world - and one might expect a bad result to Nitro as he enters the ring.

Arn teases it, says Nitro laid out his best friend, a great man, the greatest man he's ever known, Ric Flair last night - and for that Arn is going to send him home for the summer.

With a raise.

Arn says he isn't Steamboat and Nitro isn't Punk (Steamboat and CM Punk blew off a long, long, long feud at Silver) that as a man, he wants to punch Nitro in the mouth.  But as the general manager of the WWF - a man with the stones to take out Ric Flair at Silver is a man he wants to be in business with.  Arn sees great things for Johnny Nitro.  In fact, Arn says Nitro should spent the summer training, because when he returns he should expect a WWF Title shot at Survivor Series. 

(that won't happen, but there's no reason anyone has to know that yet)

Nitro poses - leaves - and Arn (who really isn't going to do any real feuding, that's a story I don't want to tell for awhile, I got every drop I could out of the Steamboat story, and now it's done) then says what we need though is a contender for the WWF Title for Summer Slam.

And that contender - Montel Vontavious Porter

MVP in the most expensive suit we can afford, comes to the ring.

Arn puts him over, MVP is "the greatest intercontinental champion of all time."

Arn says after over a year and a half as IC Champ - it's time that MVP moves on - he is the number one contender for Chris Jericho and the WWF Title - and at Summer Slam - in Los Angeles - it will be Jericho and MVP as the main event for the strap.

Jericho enters - he and MVP go nose to nose - and that's the title match.

It doesn't get much more complicated than that.  We feed Benjamin to MVP over the summer to rehab him after losing to Rey at Silver.  MVP presses the buttons that he presses; he's essentially doing Floyd Mayweather's gimmick he sells on the 24/7 shows before his PPVs - MVP's rich, young, and Black, and wants you to understand how much better he is than you are.   He's a master of social media, talks about his million twitter followers, his facebook blog - says he'll be going on Dancing With the Stars - says he's legally changing his name to MVP. 

Jericho's the babyface champ.  He's Nick Bockwinkle. 

He beat Punk for the belt at Survivor Series, kept over Hunter at the Rumble and then over Shawn in the main at Silver.  He's the new Hart patriarch - he's Number 7 (hockey jersey reference).  He's above the fray, it's his world now - he's just going to beat you.

Jericho's been built in an old school way; this is his first title run - it's been a long road of character growth, from young, cocky, babyface Jericho to darker, bitter heel Jericho - and now, older, wiser babyface Jericho taking his place at the head of the table.  MVP's the cocky upstart heel here and after over a year and a half with the IC belt, he's got credibility and has settled into this persona - and this becomes a money match.

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. Montel Porter

We're taking Silver and shuffling the matchups - your IC match is Rey defending against Shawn.

That same first RAW after Mania there will have been some speculation by the announce that maybe we won't see Shawn for awhile, last year after his Mania loss he was gone until the Rumble - it must be devastating to Michaels - to have become the Messiah, cut his hair, reformed his entire life around beating Jericho for the title, to give his life purpose - and he loses.  Hard to imagine when Shawn will return.

Rey's going to work the main event - he goes over, let's say Randy Orton.  And postmatch he is wiped out by Michaels and the 3 Hart kids.

Time to discuss why the Hart kids joined Michaels in the go home week to Silver.

The Hart kids had been in developmental all year, you could have seen them on the Underground, they grew increasingly irritated with how they couldn't get the shots at making the roster that instead went to Swagger and DiBiase and then to Nick Nemeth.  When Taz got wiped out by Defiance at the Rumble and Rotundo was moved in as trainer - he said there would be a reset, and all the rankings would be erased.  That was irritating - as Harry and Tyson then lost to another team, Sheamus and McIntyre (Sheamus and McIntyre are a UK hooligan like superfan team; Sheamus worships Finlay, McIntyre worships Regal - and they have a developmental version of that relationship - they drink together, they beat each other half to death, they drink together again).

After that match, the cameras catch them (Harry, Tyson, Natalie) talking about quitting - and the next time we see them, it's the go home RAW and they're all in white joining Michaels. 

Back to present - Michaels and the Hart kids wipe out Rey - and the next week they begin RAW with a promo.

Michaels says he's not going home.  He's not depressed.  He's not even unhappy he lost to Jericho at Silver.  8 days ago, waiting for his WWF title match, watching from the back, he had an epiphany.  He watched the fan reaction to Rey Mysterio - he heard the kind of roar when Mysterio won the IC Title that he hadn't heard in ten years.  He thought about Mysterio - Triple Crown winner...just like Shawn Michaels.  2 time WWF Champion, just like Shawn Michaels.  A Texas hero - a living legend - a man who despite not being a giant became arguably the greatest wrestler of all time.

Just like Shawn Michaels.

And that's when he knew - it wasn't the WWF Title that he needed to win to bring his message to the world.  He needed to get Rey Mysterio to join his cause.

That's why the young Hart kids are with him.  They've rejected their evil legacy - they've realized the sickness that the Harts infected not just upon the WWF but upon the world, Harry Smith, Tyson Kidd, Natalie Neidhart, they have renounced their Hart names and have joined the Messiah Movement. 

Michaels will do stuff with the Harts over the summer, they'll burn any old memorabilia they have, just like Michaels burned his Heartbreak Kid gear.  Natalie burns some Anvil stuff, Harry some Bulldog stuff, Tyson some Hart Dungeon stuff.  Michaels, in their matches, will also refuse to let them do any Hart signature spots.  Sharpshooter, Hart attack, standing vertical suplex, power slam - any of the stuff they try to do (and they should roll out even more, diving headbutts, stiff legged missle drop kicks, crossfaces, boston crabs) Michaels immediately shuts it down.  It's a cleansing - he is cleansing the world of the Hart Foundation - just a step in cleansing the world of evil.

But he can't do it alone.  He is the Messiah - but he can't do it without help.  He wants Mysterio - Rey Mysterio is another legend, Rey Mysterio should join his revolution - not only will we start to reverse the trend of depravity, of degradation, in the United States - but all of North America - maybe the entire Western Hemisphere.  We have the Harts, from Canada.  Michaels, from the United States, and  Mysterio, from Mexico.  Heroes all.  The Revolution will be televised - and it will be televised at Summer Slam 2009.

Rey, of course, refuses to join - and that's the match - it's sold as a special match, as Rey and Shawn have never met before on PPV - there are only 3 triple crown winners still with the WWF - here are two of them, wrestling for the IC strap at Mania.  The LWO is involved a little in the angle.  A couple years ago, the LWO turned babyface backing up Rey in his program with Booker in defending him from Heat attacks (Heat was Porter and Burke, Book's protegees).  They never formally aligned, it was more of a "I owe you guys one" sort of a scenario.  Then, the LWO was Carlito and Chavo - now, with Chavo off training (Jericho promised him a title shot) Primo has joined Carlito - they turned heel at the Rumble (attacking Killings) and when the Flock attacks Rey again in this stretch, the LWO comes to Rey's aid again.  They're heels - and they stay heels - and Rey obviously isn't - so it's a curious alliance - and one wonders what will become of it. 

Mainly, of course, Rey/Shawn is historic in nature - let's put temporary programs aside - there's never been Rey/Shawn at a PPV before - and here it is for the IC - that's why it interests you. 

So, that's Part One of the Road to Summer Slam 2009

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. Montel Porter
IC Title: Rey Mysterio v. Shawn Michaels (w/the Flock)

7 matches left (although one won't happen).

5 of them are related to the Tag Team Tournament which will take us through the summer.  The opening tag match will be the finals of that tournament, the tag title match will see the winners of that match take on Dead Men Walking for the strap - and then 3 of the singles matches will be related to that tournament.

Here are the brackets:

LWO (the Colon Brothers) v. D1 (Division One: Swagger/Nemeth)
The Flock (Smith/Kidd, with Natalie) v. HHH-M/The Miz
Regal/Finlay v. Young Money (Kingston/Killings)
Defiance (Orton/DiBiase with Malenko) v. Rhodes/Rhodes

But we'll talk about that in part 2

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