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 Survivor Series 2010-Part 3

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The battle royal was here.

Survivor Series is coming from Miami (hey, I could go!) in November.  This is part 3 of the build; here's the card:

WWF Title: Edge v. Jack Swagger
Bryan Danielson v. Low Ki
IC Title: Johnny Nitro (w/Miz and Natty Neidhart) v. MVP
Tag Titles: Young Money (Killings/Kingston) v. Hooligans (Sheamus/McIntyre w/Finlay)
Rey Mysterio v. Nick Nemeth(w/Kelly)
Cody Rhodes v. Dos Caras, Jr.
Defiance (Orton/DiBiase) v. DMW (PAUL/Kane)
Empire (Gabriel/Barrett) v. Douchebags (Ryder/Slater)

1. Swagger won the battle royal; disengage yourself from real world Swagger; here, he does less.  Some might find him boring as the WWE charisma that's injected into him is gone.  He's quiet, a little solemn, resolute.  The model is Shute from Visionquest; there's some equity built into Swagger - a year as the first star of the Underground reality show, then a long run as tag champs with D1.  Swagger's positioned as the future of the company.  The question here is does that future begin now - some say he's not ready yet; the primary voice articulating the opposite view is JR.  The combination of Swagger's real athletic bonafides and Oklahoma background make JR the perfect mouthpiece for Swagger's chances to win the title here.  There's a lot of Kurt Angle comparison - but as JR makes clear, Swagger's bigger, faster, stronger than Kurt at a comparable stage in his career.

As Swagger is amateur wrestling guy, no frills, all work - Edge is professional wrestling guy, and he full embraces the debauched Rated R champion persona.  His approach in the build is to talk about Swagger's sister Kelly (Edge's primary character trait is he's completely untrustworthy, as an element of that is he's the guy who will bang your girlfriend).  It pushes the Edge character, gives a possible story element to the match, and provides a "will Swagger get distracted, fall into Edge's mindgames" narrative.  Further, it allows Edge to talk about Punk - and that's important here.

Edge says it's not that he's going to spear Swagger's hot sister Kelly after the match at Survivor Series.

I mean, he is going to spear her.  Spear the shit out of her.

Since her speared Maria last year it's really all he can think about, it's the only thing that really gets him off.

He knows Maria feels the same way, because she calls him everytime they're in the same town "Sorry, Punk."

But it's a given he's going to spear Kelly - he's WWF Champion, he's a Triple Crown winner, he ran Chris Jericho out of the WWF - of course the only way for Survivor Series to end is him on top of Swagger's hot sister.  We all know that's going to happen.

But - Edge really wants Swagger to think about something else.  There was a man named Jeff Hardy - and Jeff Hardy had a girl named Trish.  Edge took that girl from him, and now Jeff is all gone and probably in prison somewhere.

And there was a man named Matt Hardy - and Matt Hardy had a girl named Lita, Edge took that girl from him, and now Matt's all gone and probably living at some North Carolina YMCA tweeting about me right now.

And there was a man named CM Punk - and CM Punk had a girl named Maria, and Edge speared her into an orgasmic coma and Punk stopped shaving and is now in ICU ("hey, Danielson - the check's in the mail, nice work in the battle royal by the way - super impressive") and no one will ever see him again.

So - Jack - don't think about how I'm going to spear your sister - think about what's going to happen to your career after I spear your sister.  

And that's the build - there's a pivotal element in early November on Fight Night that comes out of a big Rey/Low Ki match, but we'll get to that later.

2. You're buying the show just for Danielson/Low Ki; everything else is cream cheese.  Ideally we wouldn't have to do this now, there's precedent - Eddy and Dean had to fight really quickly in their alliance, as there was just one opportunity to do that match.  And, as you know (breaking Counterfactual kayfabe) to this date, this seems like the only chance to do this match.

Low Ki eliminated Danielson at the battle royal - and there's your conflict.

Danielson's irritated - it was Low Ki's idea for them to team together, eliminate everyone else, and then go at it.  Here Danielson is, by himself, running through the entire WWF locker room, and here Low Ki is - taking advantage of Danielson getting speared to throw him over.

Low Ki says Danielson's just hot because he got eliminated.  That's it.  Danielson's just bought into all this "best wrestler in the world" stuff and when Low Ki threw his ass over the top rope, now it's harder for him to sell his t-shirt.

They back away before it breaks - they're GDI, they're going to stay GDI.  What's important for Low Ki is using their 8th Match Wish to challenge Rey Mysterio on Fight Night.

Part of the build for Survivor Series was Bret coming to GDI and revealing that there had been a settlement in a suit over Steamboat's getting attacked by Punk; it included 10 matches for GDI, any matches they wanted - through Mania.  GDI is a low rent, indie feeling production - I see something like giant sheets of paper being torn away to reveal the new number.  10 and 9 were the two entrants in the battle royal - and Ki claims 8. When a guy claims a match maybe he literally tears the giant sheet of paper off.

What does that do - most important, it's a good match.  Low Ki/Rey is the highlight of a Fight Night in late October/early November that can be built for a month.  The work highlight of the battle royal would have been the Rey/Ki spots, and the announce would talk about how great a singles match between them would be as those spots are happening.  Additionally, it helps serve the Rey character.  He's a legend, the analogue is how they used real world HBK.   Low Ki wants the match because he wants the match - he just wants to wrestle Rey Mysterio (furthering the "best wrestler in the world" gimmick) in the way that young Nick Nemeth just wanted to prove himself against Mysterio (a program furthered in the battle royal, and a program that isn't over yet)

Now, Danielson makes clear that he and Sydal (nearly recuperated from Mania and now back with GDI as part of the Steamboat settlement) will be in attendance (also enhancement guy Alex Riley, who, sort of out of nowhere, cuts a fired up promo that gets his request to go with them acceded to).  They're going to keep an eye on Regal's crew from Underground.  Post Rumble, Regal has continued his antiGDI talk - pointing out to the trainees that it was a graduate from Underground that won - pointing out that GDI already looks to be falling apart - that's proof, Regal says, that indie wrestling is a shortcut, that if you want real, longterm success, you get trained at WWFU, you go Underground.

When the Rey/Ki match is made, Regal takes umbrage - the idea that some independent wrestler can get a main event television match against a triple crown winner is ridiculous.  And Regal's going to bring his crew to Fight Night to watch the match.

That's what Danielson is looking to counterbalance.  Both crews are in the crowd near ringside when we get to that Ki/Mysterio match.  I'll still wait a second before talking about that - but that show will end with a Danielson/Ki pull apart that will make the Survivor Series match - both of them simultaneously pulling the number 7 off the Match Sheet.

In the three weeks or so between Fight Night and Survivor Series, the build is heavily centered around that "best wrestler in the world" language - and Bret's suggestion to them pre-battle royal that there really can't be two guys saying it.  There are some strong hints that not only is this your first opportunity to see Danielson v. Low Ki on PPV, but who knows if its a match which will ever happen again.

3. The IC match should feel bigger here than in real WWF; it's a Mania main event rematch, as Nitro and especially Porter had to carry the ball in the match where both Bret and Shawn ended careers.  Porter's returning here; he's a healthy sized babyface- as occasionally happens, counterfactual WWF was first into the pool on an idea, a couple of years ago MVP starting tweeting during matches as part of a long IC run.  He turned face as part of the Michaels/Nitro/Flock angle, and now - with Nitro as the IC Champ and MVP still billed as the "greatest IC Champ of all time" - it's a pretty natural program.

Porter, for reasons you're aware, takes the lesser of the build - he really serves to let the Clique accrue some juvenile points at his expense.  Nitro, Miz and Natty hit that real world DX button hard - the one sophomoric element that specifically I want to mention is a blowjob joke - Miz starts referring to Nitro as having a "9 inch python" - and uses a laser pointer/telestrator to circle the area as they freeze frame shots of Nitro on the TitanTron.

What that leads to is a running joke - Miz takes shots of girls on the Titan Tron and theoretically measures their mouths with the Telestrator/laser pointer to see if they can handle the python.  They can include shots of famous women - and then shots of women in the arenas.  So - like a Kiss Cam, the Clique gets in the ring, and women, preferably with boyfriends, will be picked - they'll put them on the Titan Tron, freeze the shot - and Miz will theoretically "measure' their mouths to demonstrate they can accommodate the python.  If they can, say a picture of Nitro will be slapped into the shot of the girl.

Where that builds is to the same Fight Night where Rey meets Ki - the last Fight Night before the election for US Senate from Connecticut.

Linda is a special guest, she hasn't appeared on WWF TV for election law related reasons - but she's there, in the crowd, sitting next to Vince - and since her campaign has a populist message (note, her economic message, as previously referenced, involved a tax to be placed on millionaires - so the Counterfactual doesn't just prefigure wrestling angles, its suggestive of political proposals.)

And, of course, when the Clique does their Kiss Cam spot - who they pick is Linda - so there's a shot of Linda in the crowd, and Miz measuring her mouth on the TitanTron to see if it can accommodate the python.  They slap up two pictures of Nitro over the shot of Linda.

They're the Clique after all.  That's how they get down.  MVP can save the day with a run in, the Clique bails out - and wouldn't you know it -

On election day, "Bernie Sanders style independent" Linda McMahon is elected to the United States Senate.

4. The dissension between the tag champs continues here.  Killings has been moving heel post Mania, and in this stretch, he adds a new development - the victory cigarette.  When Young Money wins, in the ring, Killings lights up a cigarette, puts it out on the canvas.

Which is more unlikely?

Linda McMahon = Bernie Sanders
Truth Killings = Red Auerbach?

It irritates Kingston, which might be why Killings does it - their point of contention since winning the title is Kingston wants to be more serious - Killings wants to party more.

Hooligans are Hooligans, they're ready to brawl their way to the tag straps.

5. Nemeth is now pretty clearly obsessed with beating Mysterio.

You understand him psychologically - he was the lesser half of D1, both Underground and on the main roster, he's the guy who feels he has to overcome, to prove himself.  And he's been spurred by Bret's comparing him to Hennig - by Bret suggesting that maybe he's better than Swagger and getting a unfairly overshadowed.

We watch Nemeth slowly differentiate himself from his partner - his hair gets longer and more blond, he gets a little more demonstrative in the ring.  Rey beats him at Summer Slam, but Nemeth just grows increasingly determined; at the battle royal - Nemeth just went right at Mysterio; he wasn't looking to win the battle royal, he just wanted Rey.  He got him, helping Dos Caras eliminate Mysterio; and is now fully locked onto this rematch.  With Swagger occupied with Edge - Nemeth is fully engaged in preparing for a rematch with Rey; he says he knows he can beat him - knows what mistakes he made at Summer Slam and how to fix them.

Nemeth's not quite maniacal, but clearly single minded focus is clear on that final Fight Night before the 2010 midterm election - when he sits in the stands and scouts the match between Rey and Low Ki.

And now it's time to discuss it.

Rey v. Low Ki.  Rey goes over.  Regal, Empire, and the Douchebags sit just behind the retaining barrier at ringside.  They've been jerering at Ki during the match, leading to a spot where Ki is on the outside, and he leaps into the crowd to take a shot at one of the developmental guys.  They all attack - the GDI guys make their way over from their seats, it's more pushing and shoving than a full on brawl, it's pretty quickly broken up by Regal and Danielson - but Sydal winds up on the bottom of the group, and he'll suffer an aggravation of his injury which will return him to the shelf.  Danielson and Regal have words.

Rey takes over after that interlude and rides the momentum to the eventual pinfall.

Postmatch, GDI comes to the ring to console Ki - he seems to blame them for getting involved, that blame escalates into a pull apart.

Nemeth's been engrossed in his scouting, cutaways during the match had him intensely watching Rey, taking notes, perhaps electronically.  He doesn't appear to notice when Kelly leaves postmatch to go to ringside, perhaps to talk to one of the other girls.  Edge appears on the ramp - and before Kelly notices it's too late, she's frozen between Edge and the ring apron; Edge might spear Kelly on the outside now - Edge stalks her, the gleam evident in Edge's eye.  Nemeth is writing, fully occupied by thoughts of Mysterio and doesn't appear to notice.  Who notices is Swagger - he runs in to protect his sister, leading to a grin from Edge, who backs away as that show ends.  Following this, Swagger makes clear that Kelly will not be at ringside with him at Survivor Series.  Swagger and Nemeth have some words, quiet words, in an upcoming show - Swagger clearly saying "look, I know you're locked in - but you've got to protect my sister" - and Nemeth taking umbrage, he's told Kelly a hundred times to keep her head on a swivel.  Nemeth doesn't tell Swagger how to prepare for his title match, Swagger shouldn't tell him how to get ready for his match with a legend.

6. Dos Caras makes his PPV debut - he's got the car and the walkaround guy; he debuted cutting a promo at Summer Slam on Cody and Chavo - comparing his wrestling family to theirs.  And that continues here, Dos Caras nearly won the battle royal - Cody was eliminated quickly by Low Ki.  It's positioned as a battle between their two families - a wrestling legacy match.

7. DiBiase's back and Defiance takes on Dead Men Walking.  Orton lost to Sheamus at Summer Slam; it was positioned as a match after which he'd have no one else to blame.  And he doesn't - but who is very understanding is DiBiase; as opposed to "serves you right" - DiBiase looks to build his partners confidence as they approach the match against the giants.

8. Another Underground match.  Douchebags beat Empire at Summer Slam but were left laying postmatch.  Regal doesn't mind the "creative tension" Underground - and here we see them meet again.

And that's the show.

The next TNA chapter comes in October.  And Survivor Series is in November.

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