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 Royal Rumble 2010 - Part 1

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Survivor Series 2009 is here

(Outside of the narrative – this is the five year anniversary of this blog; I started writing the story 7 years ago; I think I did the first ten years longhand on a legal pad in a week, and then, as you can see by looking through the archives, started posting in December of 2005.  It hasn’t brought me fortune or glory, but it’s a fun story to tell, I think about the booking more than I care to admit, and I’m glad there are some of you out there who have enjoyed it as well.  As long as they keep putting out shows, I’ll keep going.)

The RAW the night after Survivor Series 2009 is sort of a big deal.  The WWF Title match for the Rumble is set up in the very first segment – and that’s not the biggest announcement made that night.

Matt Hardy, who cashed in his title shot the night before following Chris Jericho’s successful defense over Chavo Guerrero, only to have the match almost instantly thrown out when Punk and Christian attacked Matt (he ended their match earlier in the night with chairshots), enters to open the show, with that same chair, still stained with blood, prepared to shut down the show unless he gets what he wants.

You know the bit.  He sets up the chair in the ring, crosses his arms – and demand that Chris Jer-

Before he can get it out – Jericho, suit on and belt slung over his shoulder, comes to the ring. 

Matt, furious, indignant that his title shot was aborted at Survivor Series – makes his demand, “Chris Jericho 
– I Demand a Re-“


“I am not leaving this ring until –“


“I will shut down this –“

“Jesus will you shut the hell up?  Yes – you get your title shot back – at the Royal Rumble, you get your title shot back – and I am going to beat you in the middle of the ring and end you, Matt Hardy.  End your complaining, your whining, your crying, end this...husk of a person that you have become, end this version of Matt Hardy who is extinguishing his legacy every single day.  Whatever you were – whatever you meant – is dying in this very ring – and at the Royal Rumble, I am snuffing you out.  At the Royal Rumble, I beat you, Matt Hardy.  At the Royal Rumble, I end you.”

Matt swings the chair.  Misses.  Jericho snatches it from his hand and tosses it the mat. 

They go nose to nose.  Jericho gets the last line.

“At the Royal Rumble.  I end you.”

That’s your title match – Chris Jericho v. Matt Hardy.

In the build, we establish that (1) Matt has his shot back, meaning he can cash it in any time he wants, as long as it is at the Rumble.  It gets no emphasis, but it’s expressed at least once. And (2) Matt admits that although he dropped a cell phone atop Punk and Christian at Survivor Series, seemingly saying he set them up in a text scheme before Survivor Series (Christian was told his wife was in an accident, Punk that Maria wanted to see him – both men believed the other had done it) the truth is that while it was genius – he really can’t claim credit for it.

That admission comes during a dueling promo with Christian, who will be, once again, meeting Punk at the Rumble – this time in a steel cage, in order to prevent interference and ensure a winner.  “There Will Be a Winner” is the tagline for the match.  Matt warns Christian not to interfere in his title match, Christian tells 

Matt the truth is he isn’t good enough to beat Jericho, isn’t good enough to be WWF Champion.  Matt taunts Christian about the text about his wife – said that he didn’t leave it – and if he didn’t leave it – then maybe it was Punk after all. 

Or maybe.  Maybe it was someone else.

We see Punk twice.  Once in a dark room, using that single cam technique that became associated with Punk and Maria in the summer of ’09 – Punk’s watching his Summer Slam match with Christian, looking at the moment when he pulled Maria in front of him and then Christian punched her in the mouth – over and over he watches – zooming in on his pulling Maria in front of him, zooming in to watch the pull – over and over again.
And then again on the go home RAW.  When, for the first time since Summer Slam, he cuts a promo. 

He says he’s always been sort of an asshole.  Threw down the WWF Championship belt.  Started his own TV show.  Tore friends apart.  Got guys fired.  Hijacked a Wrestlemania main event.  Just done whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

And he says he’s not apologizing for any of it.  And if you want to hate him, that’s okay.  He is who he is.  He is true to himself, even the ugly parts. 


“But there was one person who always liked me anyway.  Liked me more than I deserved.  Liked me when I didn’t deserve to be liked. 

And she got hurt.
And it’s my fault.
And I’m sorry, Maria.  I’m sorry.”

Punk drops the mic and exits. 

Punk v. Christian in a cage.  There will be a winner.

But that’s the last RAW before the Rumble.  Lets go back to the first.

Joey Styles announces as they come back from commercial after that first segment that everyone watching needs to call everyone they know, text everyone they know, hop on facebook and twitter and all the blogs – because at the end of tonight’s show, there will be one of the biggest announcements in the history of RAW – an announcement about the Royal Rumble that everyone will be talking about.  It is a moment you cannot miss.

Striker says he knows what it is – Joey says that Matt Striker does not know what it is – but he will later tonight.

They promo that throughout the night, maybe keeping a graphic on the screen all night.  51 minutes to the Royal Rumble announcement.  34 minutes to the Royal Rumble announcement. 

Also throughout the night, Striker tries to talk about the new GDI – but Joey shuts him down at every chance, saying they are in full blackout about other companies.  “Those guys on WGN” Joey calls them.  Striker is excited – Ricky Steamboat, Bryan Danielson, and Low Ki – Joey tells Striker he’d better watch out, or Fight Night will lose its other host.

Josh Matthews and Striker have been the voices of Fight Night.  But not anymore.

Arn Anderson opens the first Fight Night after Survivor Series by saying that Josh Matthews, as many people know, left the company Sunday and we wish him luck in his future endeavors. 

Maybe there’s a GDI chant.  That would be fine.

Sometime around the Rumble, there should be a couple of fans wearing GDI shirts kicked out of RAW.  

They should be in the front row and then, when the camera is on them – they take off their shirts to reveal the GDI shirts – the camera immediately leaves them and security takes them away.

Back to the first Fight Night.

Arn says due to Matt Striker’s constant disobeying of the company rule not to talk about other wrestling promotions – as punishment, he is also being removed from Fight Night.

So – beginning tonight, Arn says – there is a new permanent voice for Fight Night.

Jim Ross.

JR’s music hits – he comes to ringside – puts on his headset – and says this ain’t RAW, this is Fight Night – we don’t talk – we fight – let’s go – and the matches start. 

But back to that first RAW.

After the last commercial break, Joey is in the ring – he says he has had many big moments in his career, Barely Legal, the first ECW PPV – when he first joined the WWF and became the voice of RAW – his first Wrestlemania – but right now, right now might be bigger than all of them.

Joey says Royal Rumble 2010 is going to be a tribute show – a tribute show for one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.  He has not stepped foot in a WWF ring since 1997.  But he will be at ringside in Atlanta.  Royal Rumble 2010 is an Appreciation Night…for a Triple Crown Winner.  A 3 time WWF Champion.  The Best There is – The Best There Was – The Best There Ever Will Be – Number Two Bret Hit Man Hart!

The music plays (the old music, no updated version) A highlight package, the first of several we will see between now and the Rumble, plays – it’s a fast look at the big moments – Bret winning the WWF Title and the Triple Crown at WM 8, Flair submitting to the sharpshooter; Bret regaining the belt from Michaels at WM 11; Bret and Davey Boy holding up title belts – Bret and Anvil holding up title belts – Bret’s final WWF Title, Survivor Series ’96, beating Michaels.  Bret holds up 3 fingers and the WWF Title belt.

The package ends.  The people, one assumes are excited – and that’s when Michaels’s music hits.

This is going to be the pattern during this build.  A handful of these highlight packages will be put together, documentary style, telling a story – one with all the Wrestlemania main events, one about the full Hart Foundation, all of the Harts who own hockey jerseys, one that has brief interviews with current and former wrestlers talking about Bret’s being their role model, and one focusing on the end of Bret’s career in the NWA, on the deaths, on Bret’s stroke.  It’s very clearly understood that the guy coming to the Royal Rumble isn’t the Hit Man anymore – that it was a serious stroke, and really it was only through a heroic effort that he’s still alive and walking.  It’s in that piece that we see Bret for the first time, quiet, contemplative, he has a walking stick, and he talks – he doesn’t know what to expect when he comes back to the WWF.  He doesn’t know if anyone will still remember him all these years later.  He just hopes to see some clean matches, some good, clean finishes, and hopes that at least a few of the fans are happy to see him.

(those two ideas become points of emphasis as we get closer to the show - that to pay tribute to Bret, we want clean matches - no run ins, no interference, clean, hard fought matches with winners and losers; and that Bret's health is a real issue, he is not a wrestler, not the Hit Man - seeing him in that last highlight package, older, moving slowly, with the walking stick, needing help to get around - it's not the guy we remember, he had a stroke, it's a real thing.)

And after all of those highlight packages – Shawn will appear to offer a rebuttal.  When there are clips of Bret beating Shawn – Shawn will show clips of his beating Bret.  When they show the Harts – Shawn will show the Clique.  When they show Bret’s title wins – Shawn will show his own title wins. 

And at the end of all of it – Shawn includes the promise that he first makes at the end of that first RAW – when after the first clip package, he, Nitro, and the Flock come to the ring – and Shawn ends the segment by saying that at the Royal Rumble – at Bret Hart Appreciation Night – the Hit Man will do what he’s been waiting 12 years to have him do – the Hit Man will bow down before Shawn Michaels. 

Two matches down.  7 to go.  Be back soon


bmack said...

Awesome stuff! The build is looking great so far.

Congrats on the anniversary too! I have loved your blog ever since I first stumbled upon it. Keep up the good work!

Jim said...

Hey - nice to say. Thanks for reading. The rest of the build is done, I'll put it up middle of the month.

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