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 Summer Slam 2009 - Part 3

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Part 2 is here.

Two matches left. Only one will actually happen.

CM Punk v. Christian

Matt Hardy v. Shane Helms

Both programs involve Matt Hardy and his completion of the heel turn at Silver, when he submitted his brother , forcing Jeff to leave the company. Matt’s largely been more silent than not during his babyface explosion, he’s more like Crow Sting than anyone else, given his verbal limitations. That doesn’t change here, it’s unclear that Matt can pull off anything more than mildly funny as a heel, so he’ll still largely be silent.

He needs really just one bullet point – his reward for winning at Silver was enormous (1) he can claim his WWF Title shot whenever he wants over the next calendar year – that means right now – or it could mean at Summer Slam, or it could mean at WM 26, or it could mean that right at the end of Jericho’s title defense with MVP, Matt Hardy could walk out to the ring – point to whomever just, right then, had won that match – and right then – take him on.

Matt says it’s the biggest opportunity of his career. And he’s not sorry he took it.

The other reason he’s not sorry is his brother Jeff had been holding him back. The drugs. The arrests. The craziness. It’s a win/win as far as he’s concerned.

That’s gonna draw responses from both Christian and Helms.

Christian isn’t in a program for most of the summer – I just want him cutting funny babyface promos and winning matches.

He’s gonna cut some promos on Matt. Matt does not respond.

No one knows better than he does about having a weird relationship with a brother. Christian’s brother once beat him in a Loser Leaves Town match. Christian repaid him with a torn Achilles tendon at Silver. But at the crucial moment, Christian had a decision to make – just like Matt Hardy, he’s never been WWF Champion. Unlike Matt Hardy – he’s never had like a million title shots. But at that crucial moment, when either Christian held onto that ankle lock and sent his own brother out of the WWF – or showed just an ounce of compassion – Christian chose being a human being over being number one contender. Maybe Matt Hardy is so twisted, so mangled, so warped, that he can’t understand that.

Helms hasn’t wrestled in a couple of years, breaking his neck in a Mania IC title loss to Orton. He appeared on WWF TV for the first time subsequent to that on satellite at the beginning of ’09 – there’s no real chance, they said, that he’d wrestle again – but he was able to walk and it looked like he’d live a normal life. Updates on his condition were periodically kept through the various WWF platforms – and Helms promised a visit sometime after Silver.

He makes that visit. He’s announced the week before as a guest analyst for RAW – it’s a thing as he comes down the ramp – Helms got a good babyface push for a few years – he was both tag team and IC Champ – so this isn’t an enhancement guy returning from a broken neck. There’s a few weeks of video leading up to his return – so as he, walking normally, dressed in street clothes, looking like a civilian, returns for the first time since his injury – there are a few moist eyes in the crowd.

Helms puts over whatever is going on RAW that night – but finds time to really lay into Matt – Joey prods him – has he been in contact with Jeff, Helms and the Hardys were teenage friends – it’s the Hardys that got him into the sport – Helms says Jeff’s doing okay – but who hasn’t tried to call Jeff is Matt – Helms says he’s tried to stay out of it – watched as Matt just got mean, bitter – bitter about not getting what he thought was his due, about seeing the fans always flock to Jeff no matter the circumstance – that Matt not only beat Jeff at Silver – but celebrated, that’s the thing – Helms knows he’s never going to be WWF Champ, and he knows it’s the most important thing in Matt’s life – he can even forgive Matt for that – but that after the match he celebrated – wouldn’t even shake his brother’s hand – didn’t even acknowledge any sort of remorse, even for a second – Helms says Matt Hardy makes him sick. There’s no shred of who he used to be anymore.

A couple weeks later, as the Summer Slam card comes into focus, Matt cuts a promo about how he doesn’t have a Summer Slam match on purpose – because he is thinking about sitting at ringside for the main event. Being fresh and rested and ready to challenge the Jericho/MVP winner.

That brings out Jericho and MVP and they can have a 3 man promo that turns into a Jericho/MVP pull apart with Matt avoiding confrontation.

Unannounced – Helms returns on Raw the following week.

He waves papers. Says he just got medical clearance. Says he’s been cleared to return to the WWF at Summer Slam – after 3 years – after 3 years he is returning to the ring. And he wants Matt Hardy. Matt Hardy is not going to sit around and pick the bones of whomever survives that Jericho/Porter match – Matt Hardys gotta get through him first.

Arn makes the match – Matt v. Helms, provided that the Friday before the card, on Fight Night, Helms has a tuneup match – he can’t step into the ring with Matt Hardy with 3 years of rust.

So the build for that match then becomes Helms’s return to the ring against his boyhood friend (Matt never acknowledges Helms in any way, doesn’t refer to the criticism at all; he never talks about Helms or Christian, he just focuses on how he has this incredible power, anytime he wants - instant title shot. 

It’s that go home Fight Night – Helms, for the first time in 3 years, is announced – he starts his walk to the ring. And Matt Hardy runs up from behind and throws him – head first – into the retaining barrier. Hardy puts the boots to him until pulled away by security. Helms is stretchered away - the announce strongly indicating he would not be able to compete at Summer Slam – and as they open the PPV, it’s announced that Helms not only isn’t competing – he will have to return to retirement immediately.

And that’s it for Shane Helms.

Bringing us to Punk.

The Tuesday after Silver is GDI – after Noble/Tatsu beat someone, they are both beaten up by Punk (this will be the last straw in the fragile Noble/Tatsu relationship – Tatsu turns heel on Noble – they feud all Summer long, their last match will be a loser leaves town the GDI after Summer Slam which Tatsu wins).

Punk, to whatever heat there’s gonna be – cuts the following promo:

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

He says most people watching won’t get the reference, because the phrase “smart fan” is an oxymoron, but what it boils down to is this “I’ve got nothing else to win.”

Punk says he wanted to split up London and Kendrick – why – because you smart fans loved London and Kendrick, thought they were the next Rockers, the next Hardys – Punk turned them against each other and they got fired.

Punk says he wanted his own TV show – ‘cause what wrestler was ever able to start his own tv show – and so he got it. GDI Wrestling. Maybe the fans start chanting GDI – Punk laughs at them, says his royalty check from the office just went up. Every time one of you smart fans chants for one of your indie gods on Tuesday, Punk puts another addition on his house.

That’s when we need one of the non contract guys who works the indie matches that we run on GDI when we aren’t running the GDI guys – like Chris Hero – Chris Hero would be perfect – I’m making it up, ‘cause Hero didn’t work dark for the WWF in 2009 (the Briscoes did though – so within the spirit of the endeavor, they could come out – but the result is the same). Whomever it is cuts a very quick – “the indie guys appreciate your generosity Punk – but now we’re gonna kick your ass” – and then an impromptu squash match – Punk doesn’t give them anything, not a second – it’s bad, the kind of thing I’d boo. It’s bad. Punk goes right back into the promo.

Punk says he wanted to be WWF champion. And he was. Twice. Same number of times as Shawn Michaels. Punk says he wanted to main event WM. And he did. Punk says he won Mania ladder matches against Van Dam, Sabu, Benjamin, and Nitro.

Punk says he spit on the WWF belt and the NWA belt. Only man in the history of the sport to walk away from either – and he walked away from both on the same night.

Punk puts his hand on Maria’s ass. He says he wants to grab a slice of that – he can – and has – over and over again.

Punk says and finally – after half a dozen years and 3 separate companies of trying – Punk was able to talk Ricky Steamboat, the ultimate wrestling legend, back in the ring. Not just any ring. Wrestlemania Silver.

And Punk beat him. 1-2-3. And now he is gone.

And so, Punk says, he has no more worlds to conquer. Nothing left to do. Nothing left to prove.

So – he’s leaving.

Not retiring – just leaving GDI – leaving Tuesdays – leaving SyFy – there’s no one in this building worth his time – no one in the building I ever care if I ever see again. So – thanks, GDI – but this is the last time you’ll ever see CM Punk.

Enter Matt Sydal.

Sydal’s been gone almost a year since being taken out by Matt in retaliation for the GDI attack att he end of WM 24. Sydal’s all adrenaline – he was a heel back a year ago, brought in by Punk to GDI to replace London – but now – he takes the mic and says “You know – I always thought I could beat you, Punk – and before you leave – I gotta find out.”

And they wrestle – and Sydal goes over – and that’s how the show ends – Sydal celebrating, newly minted high flying GDI babyface – and Punk shakes his head – almost with bemusement.

Over the summer, Sydal’s the top face on Tuesday nights – Tatsu the top heel, Tatsu will be feuding with and going over Noble, as mentioned – Sydal’s gonna be feuding with, and going over, the returning Yakuza – the other time we’ll see Yakuza is every 3 months, out of nowhere, he will totally wipe out Cody Rhodes, to continue their program from last year.

So – how does Punk spend his summer?


Punk legitimately doesn’t have a direction – we see him away from the arena talking to Maria – it’s the summer where, as much as we’ve ever seen it pushed before, the idea of Punk/Maria as a package is sold and sold and sold again. She gives ideas for the next step – he pokes holes in them. One day, he says maybe they should get married and have babies. Maybe that’s what is next. She tells him he’s not serious – and that becomes the thread for the remainder of their vignettes, he gets more amped about marriage – she puts him off a little.

Finally – what they come to is this – after Summer Slam, they’ll sit down, away from the cameras, away from the ring, and talk about it.

Punk says deal – but only if she picks his Summer Slam opponent – ‘cause he can’t figure it out – she just needs to point – that guy – and that’s the guy he’ll wrestle. He doesn’t want to think about it anymore – she can just do it.

So, occasionally, Maria will just pop up (one could, if one were disposed, offer a double entendre about the phrase pop up, ‘cause, seriously, there’s nothing wrong with Maria) and then disappear. We’ll do a pointing tease thing – it’ll look like she’s going to point – but then she won’t. It’s all Maria all the time in the summer of 2009,

And near the end of the summer, with the PPV not more than a few weeks away – Maria pops up during a Christian match – she readies the finger – and from behind Punk waffles him in the back (the back, I said, the back) with a steel chair. Then she points.

Christian goes down, Punk lifts him up for the Pepsi Plunge on the chair – and that’s the match.

Why – he’s asked later? He shrugs his shoulders – says it was Maria’s decision, “come on Joey Styles, don’t you get cable? Don’t be afraid to watch the programming.” So Maria is asked, she says she’s just never liked Christian’s face. Sorta creepy.

And there you have it. The very last thing is this – Misawa dies in June, they do ten bell salutes on all of the various programs – and at Summer Slam, the canvas will be green.

WWF Title: Jericho v. Porter

IC Title: Mysterio v. Michaels

Tag Titles: DMW v. Defiance/D1 Winners

Punk v. Christian

Regal v. Orton or Swagger

Cody v. DiBiase or Nemeth

HHH-M v. Cena

Defiance v. D1

It’s Summer Slam 2009 from LA. Coming in August.


Epitome of Masculinity said...

Damn, I can't believe I already read the whole thing.

I've got to say, I'm really surprised by the Matt Hardy push. I know you had to use the real world Lita/Edge stuff and that was all great (though the fork in the eye was a bit over the top) but he's been at the top of the company for almost 2 years? Matt Hardy? Maybe his recent run of being boring and out of shape is tainting my memories, but was he ever really that good of a worker?

Jim said...

1. The fork was a callback to Savage, when he went nuts over losing Elizabeth and generally being Randy Savage he took a fork to Hennig's head - I wanted to reference it and top it. I stopped referencing it as part of Edge's character, in my head during one of his long absences the eye healed.

2. Matt was pretty good in that style; you'd never call him an elite worker - but at the time the push started, I would have said he was as good as Edge, better than Jeff.

3. But to your main point I plead guilty. This is a largely storyline driven push, I like the throughline of those four guys, and the way that it's fallen Matt's been the biggest beneficiary. Just judging Matt by his current level of work, he's being overly pushed in the Counterfactual. I've got this booked through Mania; you're stuck with him.

Epitome of Masculinity said...

I get the use of the fork, but doing it to the eye seemed a bit much. Other than the recent Jericho/HBK angle and maybe Martel spraying Jake the Snake with the cologne, I can't remember anyone doing such eye-related offense.

I'll deal with Matt as long as you just get back to posting! What am I supposed to do at work all day now that I'm caught up?

Epitome of Masculinity said...

And the Matt storyline's been great. But I just keep thinking "Matt Hardy?"

Jim said...

August, Summer Slam coming in August.

I think I was doing a Funk/Lawler thing with Matt going for Edge's eye, since I also did the empty arena match.

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