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 2010-Part 2

Friday, July 01, 2011

Part 1 is here.

Set up in Part I for Summer Slam:

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. Edge (Special Guest Referee - WWF Commissioner Bret Hart)
IC Title: Matt Sydal v. Johnny Nitro (w/Miz/Natty)
CM Punk v. Bryan Danielson

5 to go.  3 come out of the tag division.

The thrust of the previous season was building the tag division, it was the drive from Manias Silver to 26; establishing the tag ranks that, perhaps, had fallen into disrepair.  The goal was really to brand each tag team; so when you see Sheamus, you know that the Hooligans are the brawling Euros, they like to drink and fight and drink some more.  And when you see Orton, you know Defiance is the team with a sneer and a chip on its shoulder, always pissed at slights real and imagined.  And when you see Nick Nemeth, you know he's half of Division One (D1), the no-nonsense amateur team that held the belts for most of the year.  

And you see all of those men in the ring at the same time with Bret Hart.

Bret's WWF Commissioner, serving until 27, if you missed Part I of the build, you probably want to pick up how that came about.  A couple of weeks after his debut, he calls those 3 men to the ring, without partners or managers or valets.

It isn't a surprise that those 3 men are coming without partners; in the weeks prior to Bret's arrival, an angry Dead Men Walking (Paul and Kane) double chokeslammed McIntyre, DiBiase, and Swagger into injury - Swagger's protected a little bit, perhaps you've noticed, and he goes last (the chokeslams are in successive weeks) and whereas Drew and Ted went down hard, selling the chokeslam, Swagger staggered his way to his feet - taking a second double chokeslam before finishing him.

That sets up DMW taking on Young Money (Kingston and Killings) for the straps at Summer Slam (yeah, I know - DMW sort of serves as the default tag team when we need opponents; its how it goes sometimes, especially at Summer Slam; within the fictional world that exists, the world where you and I don't know why it is certain wrestlers can't work certain shows, I think the way to think about it is they're big guys, making them threats at all times, they've held the straps twice, maybe their motivation is greater some times than others - but you could see them as reasonable challengers; and given that Summer Slam is the beginning of the season, you'd recognize that maybe the new tag champs wouldn't have their stiffest tests right off the bat).  This is set before Bret gets there - as it shouldn't be viewed that Bret is pushing DMW.

The Young Money storyline is a slow cleaving between the two guys; they've essentially been the same person so far - fun loving protegees of Floyd Mayweather who get their dance on; once winning the belts - Killings maybe loses a little focus, stays out a little later, works out a little less - we set up that Kingston wants to buckle down a little bit more, playing off the build to Mania when he showed some amateur bonafides, but Killings wants to party.  Summer Slam is in LA - and maybe hanging out at some LA clubs becomes the part of the show that Killings is most focused on when it gets close.  A couple of motivated monsters, looking to become 3 time tag champs - against maybe a not as focused as they should be  Young Money - that's the story for the tag title match at Summer Slam 2010.

So - Young Money v. DMW for the tag titles at Summer Slam.

Taking us to the in ring scene of the moment - Bret addressing Sheamus, Orton, and Nemeth.  Bret puts over the tag ranks - says its too bad their partners got hurt and will miss Summer Slam.

But it provides an opportunity.  Bret turns to Sheamus - says he's a big, half drunk, brawling SOB, and his partner McIntrye is a big, half drunk, brawling SOB, and its only a matter of time until those two have one of their knock down, drag outs and they can't kiss and make up the next day.  Only a matter of time until Sheamus will be on his own permanently.  Summer Slam will be a good test to see what that might look like.

Bret turns to Orton - calls him a jackass, says he's been a jackass since he was 8 years old - says everytime Defiance finds itself on the losing end, Orton blames someone else.  He blames his partner, Ted, Jr.  He blamed Malenko - he kicked Malenko in the head and now Dean's gone.  But at Summer Slam - if he loses - he'll be losing all by himself.  And then who will he blame.

Bret says at Summer Slam - it's Sheamus vs. Orton.  The winner will earn his team a shot at the tag titles at Survivor Series.  

They go nose to nose - and then a video plays allowing them to leave the ring.  The build will include the Fit/Orton stuff; which is a feud of longstanding.

The video is of D1, and it puts Swagger front and center.  This isn't a surprise, from the moment WWF University started, and the developmental reality show (The Underground) was put online, Jack Swagger has been positioned, essentially, as the next Kurt Angle - Swagger is very quiet - serious, resolute, you know who the model for him is - it's Shute, the heel from the Mathew Modine movie Vision Quest; he's a wrestling machine.  Nemeth's grown over the past year from basically just being Swagger's training partner in developmental (and eventually the guy dating his sister, Kelly) to carrying all of his own weight in Division One, tag champs from Summer Slam '09 to WM 26.  

But he's still clearly behind Swagger - Swagger is still Kurt Angle,. Jr - and this video, spotlighting Swagger while backgrounding Nemeth, is designed to emphasize that.

Once its over - its just Bret and Nemeth in the ring.

Bret pokes at Nemeth a bit.  Says he has a helluva partner.  The next Kurt Angle.  Bret asks Nemeth how it feels to be so close to a man destined to be the next big star in WWF?

Nemeth says something benign and babyface.

Bret calls BS.  Bret says at the Rumble, Bret said something to Nemeth, and asks Nemeth if he remembers what it was.

Nemeth does.

Bret says at the Rumble - Bret told Nemeth he reminded him a little bit of Curt Hennig; Bret puts over Hennig as one of the greatest WWF Champions of all time.  Bret says when he sat at home watching WWF, D1 was one of his favorite tag teams in years, but not just because of Swagger - but because of Nick Nemeth.

Bret says he wants to see what Nemeth's got on his own.  And he's going to throw him in the deep end.  The deepest possible water at Summer Slam.  

Nick Nemeth will meet...

The Immortal Rey Mysterio.

Rey comes out to the ramp - points at Bret and Nemeth, acknowledges the pop, and exits - Nemeth sells it like he's in the ring with an all time legend, Rey has just continued his unbeaten streak at Mania, he's a triple crown winner - and that's who Nemeth will be facing at Summer Slam. 

The build will include Swagger, relentlessly trying to rehab to return to the ring; he's quietly supportive, we don't see between them any repercussions of the talk that surrounds Nemeth a little bit now, that maybe he's been overshadowed by Swagger, that if he beats Mysterio, that might change the dynamic within D1.  Bret encourages that talk.  

Rey Mysterio v. Nick Nemeth
Randy Orton v. Sheamus

That's 6, two matches left.

There are a couple of debuting wrestlers during this stretch who both use only vignettes, never appearing at arenas.

One is Dos Caras, Jr. 

He's actually not debuting; you may recall Caras lost his mask to MVP in the build to Rey putting up his mask against Porter's IC title.  This is a reboot - Caras is unmasked, doing the real world Alberto del Rio gimmick - he's Mexican JBL.  We see vignettes, presumably from Caras's hacienda in Mexico City; the vignettes look to put over the following (1) he's incredibly wealthy (2) he's wealthy because he is the legacy of the finest dynasty in wrestling history, son of Dos Caras, nephew of Mil Mascaras, that (3) Caras employs Mexicans and treats them badly, that (4) Caras is glad he lost the mask, it was a vestige of the old world, Caras is going to take his family tradition places they could never have imagined.

And that's the idea - it's the real world "I'm a rich guy" character, but one that recognizes a wrestling past.  Caras doesn't work Summer Slam, but he does, in a late vignette, announce that he will be attending.  

The other debut also only uses vignettes - it's David Otunga.

Otunga doesn't use WWF style vignettes, instead, he uses what looks like clips from Access Hollywood type shows.

This is not that hard to do.   Otunga is on red carpets, now, no one's talking to him - but they can work that, have a camera crew, have Otunga talk to the camera as if he were talking to E News, and then show the clips on WWF TV like they were clips from unnamed entertainment shows.  There would be atmospheric shots of various celebrities, they don't need to give interviews, just to establish that David Otunga is, in fact, at a movie premiere or product launch or award show.  

And Otunga talks about the WWF, but does so very dismissively, he's found a good stepping stone in WWF, it's a good place to be an entertainer, he doesn't plan on staying there too long, not as long as the Rock, a few months, just long enough to become Champ, really focus on globally building his brand.  Otunga's plan is Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and in starts with being the Sports Entertainment Champion.  

You get the idea.  

Eventually, John Cena responds.

The current version of John Cena is as the hardcore defender of the shield - he's got an old school WWF t-shirt, he's got a glass light tube, his entrance music is Man in a Box.

Okay, it's not - but that's the idea.  Cena's been all style, no substance comedy rapper, been all style, no substance, full of himself heel tag champ, been a musclehead tag champ, but in the Leviathan program that ended at 26, he picked up the glass light tubes and defended the value of what it meant to be a professional against the "I'm going to Hollywood" Leviathan.  The hope is that he had to take a good enough beating from the glass tubes - and that he kept coming back from that beating - to demonstrate some hardcore bonafides.  Cena's not a brawler - 'cause he's not - but he can cut a fiery promo, and if he's willing to get carved up for the company - for the people - for the sport of professional wrestling - then I think we have a deal.

Cena cuts a couple of hot promos offended at Otunga for all the reasons he's supposed to be offended.  Cena says he's in the entertainment business too, he's a musician - and at Summer Slam, he's going to take his instrument - a fluorescent tube, and carve Jennifer Hudson's pussy husband up.

Otunga barely acknowledges Cena - calls him Michael Cena - says he's sure it'll be a great show, does a mock "I'm gonna kill you" over the top wrestling promo then laughs about it.  

Glass Light Tube Match: John Cena v. David Otunga

The opening tag comes from The Underground.

Steve Regal is the new head trainer, he debuts after Mania - and he appears on RAW with Bret, say at the end of July, Bret announces that The Underground will be coming to Pay-Per-View; that at Summer Slam, at the Survivor Series, at the Rumble, at Wrestlemania - Steve Regal will bring some of his best trainees (all of whom you can see at and have matches, to show the WWF fans who the next generation of WWF wrestlers will be.  

So, internet fans, as they have for a couple of years, watching guys like Swagger, Nemeth, DiBiase, the Hart kids, the Hooligans - all go through training, living together, training together, doing the Tough Enough thing, except it streams online - now are watching the newest group, included therein, Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel, called Empire.  Barrett's the mouthpiece, doing the real world Barrett act.  They believe they're deserving of WWF contract immediately.  Also in the Underground, a group of guys who Regal calls "The Douchebags."  It's a big group - Zach Ryder, Heath Slater, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Trent Baretta.  And, they're douchebags - give one or two of them bluetooths, Reks has the white guy dreadlocks, give Baretta frosted tips, make Hawkins fully metro sexual, say with a man scarf and sunglasses, they show off their abs, Ryder fist pumps, doing his Jersey schtick - they talk about getting bottleservice at the club, we get a lot of sidewise baseball caps, popped collars, fanny packs.  They all work individual douchebag behavior hard. If you don't watch developmental online, there's a weekly recap segment during normal WWF programming, "Notes from the Underground", a nod to Stephanie's longstanding fascination with Russian literature.   

Ryder and Slater will represent the squad at Summer Slam.  For announcers who want to avoid using the word Douchebag, D-Bag is a reasonable alternative.

Here's the full card.

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. Edge (Special Guest Referee: Bret Hart. Edge earns his #10 Hart Foundation with a win, must give it up forever with a loss.  Edge going for Triple Crown) 
CM Punk v. Bryan Danielson
IC Title: Matt Sydal v. Johnny Nitro (w/Miz/Natty)
Tag Title: Young Money (Killings/Kingston) v. DMW (PAUL/Kane)
Rey Mysterio v. Nick Nemeth
Randy Orton v. Sheamus (Winner earns tag title shot)
John Cena v. David Otunga (Glass Light Tube Match)
Empire (Barrett/Gabriel) v. Douchebags (Ryder/Slater)

It's Summer Slam 2010 from Los Angeles.  Coming early August.  

In September - the Number One Contender Battle Royal; in October, the rest of the build for Survivor Series.  In November, Survivor Series. 



Jesse Ewiak said...

So, are you going to sue the WWE for royalties if Punk wins the title at MitB and leaves? :)

Jim said...

Maybe if the Kings show up to help him make his exit and they form a renegade indie stable.

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