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.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

The build is here.


Wrestlemania 27 comes to you from Atlanta.
Joey and JR are the announce throughout the show, joined by Scott Stanford for the semi-main.

(Dark – Tyler Black d. Harry Smith)

The show opens with the familiar sound of breaking glass – hey, it’s Steve Austin!

This is an unannounced appearance, Austin’s been in some relatively cryptic commercials for a new program to debut 8 days after Mania (it’s Tough Enough).  Austin says he’ll be part of selecting the next great WWF wrestler along with Booker T and Steve Regal.  The show will be called WWF Underground.  He does his Austin shtick and then the opening clip package plays.

The storyline value is that Underground has a half hour of television now and in the midst of this ideological struggle between Underground and GDI, that’s a healthy tug of the rope in Regal’s direction.

The star of the show (and winner, spoiler alert) will be Dean Ambrose, who will use that name.  The rest of the FCW/NXT guys will fill out the roster, save for the ROH guys (well, one will be there, we'll talk about that in the next build) and Steamboat’s kid. The Usos will also be in the show, as they haven't been used yet. 

Real world Superstars on WGN is where the GDI programming has been airing in the Counterfactual, there’s only one more episode, it’ll be the Thursday after Mania, but that decision hasn’t been part of storyline in any way.

Here come the matches.
      Douchebags (Ryder/Hawkins, w/Cole) d. Sydal/Tatsu
-This is really the first GDI v. Underground match; Sydal recruited his longtime rival Tatsu to return to GDI to go after Douchebags, who had been using their superior numbers and the ineptitude of Tatsu’s manager Michael Cole to grind Tatsu down. 

Here – the Douchebags (this time it’s Ryder and Hawkins, Slater/Reks/Barretta are the rest of the group) come to the ring with Cole (now in full smarm) as their new manager – and his interference leads to the pinfall. 

The full Douchebag crew with Cole do a celebratory dance postmatch.

2.       Glass Light Tube Match: John Cena d. Mark Henry
-Cena’s Tommy Dreamer; thought of as a lightweight joke, but through the willingness to take a pretty good beating on behalf of the company and keep getting up, hopefully has a little bit of credibility when he claims to carry the flag for the WWF.  The formula was the same here, Henry squashed him at the Rumble – but Cena comes back and in what has become his trademark, the fluorescent light tube match, he goes over here.  Cena does his WWF pose in midring, the people who are so disposed, cheer.  

3.       Miz (w/Natty) d. HHH-M
-Miz is a chickenshit heel; even in a definitive blow off to a feud, he’s still a chickenshit heel; he stalls, he avoids; he uses Natty to protect him, he cheats, and, eventually, he wins. Miz can’t beat Hunter up, but he can beat him.  That might be his catchphrase.  Miz makes the sign of the Clique as he heads back up the ramp postmatch.

4.       Legends Match: Dos Caras, Jr (w/Ricardo and Vicki) d. Undertaker
-The Dead Man’s an 9 time Legends Match winner, but he submits here to Dos Caras.

He does the full heel act here; Ricardo drives the limo, Vicki and Dos Caras make out; she screeches that she’s finally with a real wrestling legend.  Like Hunter in the previous match, Undertaker’s job is to put the younger guy over.  I'm not saying this is the last match for both of those guys, but I've got a booking sheet through WM 28, and they aren't on it.  That can change a lot depending upon what they give me in real world Summer Slam 2012, but right now, creative has nothing for them.  

Postmatch, Dos Caras cuts a promo – he has defeated the other second generation wrestlers, he has come to Wrestlemania and won the legends match – he stands here with Vicki Guerrero (they kiss again) and has proven to the world that his is the greatest legacy in the history of wrestling.

And that’s when the Rock’s music hits.

The Rock comes to the ring, does his shtick, cuts a promo on Dos Caras and Vicki, hits a Rock Bottom on Ricardo as Dos Caras and Vicki bail out. 

5.       Money In the Bank: Nick Nemeth (w/Kelly) d. Cody/Primo/Kidd/Kingston/Killings
-The creation of the briefcase ladder match, note, was Bret’s (Bret’s sitting in the front row).

Stories to tell (1) Kingston and Killings were planning to work together to wipe everyone else out, but Young Money has totally fallen apart, they fight throughout the match, say precipitated by Killings biting Kingston on the leg when he attempted to climb the ladder.  Killings is a Ron Artest/Dennis Rodman style crazy man, which becomes increasingly evident with each build.  They keep each other from being real factors in winning the match.

Primo’s just a body, he can hopefully take a catastrophic bump.  Ideally, Kidd and Kingston as the high flyers will also take the kinds of bumps you want for this match at this point in Wrestlemania. 

The main story in the match is Cody – its been a slow move from overwhelmed green young boy to legitimate wrestler, and this match attempts to tell that story, he’s beaten up early, but works his way through the carnage, and, in what is supposed to feel like the finish, he slowly swims his way up the ladder for a win. 

He doesn’t get it – Tyson Kidd has to make some type of ridiculous leap designed just to take Cody out, it’s a clear kamikaze strike that kills both of them dead.

And allows clear sailing for Nick Nemeth to make his way up the ladder, grab the briefcase, and secure the title shot for any time over the next year.  He and Kelly hug – the announce notes that somewhere Jack Swagger must be enormously proud, his partner has earned a title shot.

Now’s a good time for a backstage shot of Punk getting ready for the title match; Ricky Steamboat is taping up his hands.  They don’t speak. Steamboat and Punk together is important; this is a long, long, long feud, in 3 different promotions - Steamboat's endorsement of Punk, essentially forgiving his transgressions, is designed to serve as a proxy for the portion of the fanbase, who, like Bret, see Punk's throwing down the WWF Championship as unforgivable.  As we watch Steamboat tape Punk's hands, there are those who even to that point still uneasy about Punk being won over.  

6.       WWF Tag Titles: Empire (Barrett/Gabriel, w/Riley) d. Defiance (Orton/DiBiase) (special guest referee - Road Warrior Animal)
-Underground takes the tag belts; Orton’s in for most of the match, he makes a hot tag to DiBiase, and Ted gets quickly pinned – its an out of nowhere finish.

Empire celebrates up the ramp; it has to be terribly frustrating to Orton, he spent years trying to capture the tag belts as part of Defiance, he finally took them at the Rumble – and here, he loses and loses really out of nowhere. 

But – as opposed to barking at DiBiase, which would have always been his move, he tells Ted it’s okay – and DiBiase responds by punching him right in the face.

DiBiase mounts a fallen Orton and just pounds away, leaving him in the ring when he’s finished.

We saw what appears the end of Young Money earlier, and this is pretty clearly the end of Defiance. 

And now we get a backstage shot of Edge getting ready for the title match; he’s talking seriously, quietly with Christian. Christian's been gone with injury for almost the entire year, and in storyline he and Edge were adversaries at that point, the announce doesn't discuss it - there's no "what, what is this?" talk - but you notice it as you watch.  

7.       IC Title: Sheamus d. Johnny Nitro (w/Natty)
-          And the IC switches also.
Nitro is high flying and cocky; Sheamus hard hitting, brawling – they have an even match, until Sheamus is able to take control – that leads Miz to appear at the top of the ramp, he soaks up whatever audience reaction there is – Miz is clearly going to head to the ring to aid Nitro in some type of nefarious way that will keep the match from being “pure” (I’ll have forgotten that reference two years from now)

And Miz is superkicked cold by Shawn Michaels.

               Shawn’s hair can be grown back now, as long as he’d like it – he makes the sign of the Clique over Miz’s body, he exits quickly, so as not to overshadow the finish, which comes pretty quickly, Sheamus hitting the Edge and getting the fall.  McIntyre hits the ring postmatch for the celebration.

8  Bryan Danielson d. Rey Mysterio
Rey was unbeaten at Mania, but not anymore. 

This is all babyface, those disposed to root against Danielson given the GDI program will root against Danielson.  And Rey obviously is an all time legend whose unbeaten “he’s magical at Mania” streak will have some degree of protection by some fans. 

But it’s also Danielson’s first Mania match – and he goes over, clean and in the middle in the best match they can have. 

That’s really the only goal – the best match they can have with Danielson going over – they shake hands, they leave the ring.  And its main event time.

9.       WWF Title: CM Punk d. Edge
Two guys with long hair and beards, one of them skinnyfat, both looking like Waffle House cooks.  That’s the main event of Wrestlemania 27.  They have the best blow off to a blood feud match they can, whereas Danielson/Rey was all babyface about in ring ability– this should be a pretty violent match.  It’s been a year and a half in the making and it ends the program. 

For Punk, it’s as much redemption as you’re willing to allow him; the man who once threw down the WWF title belt now embraces it postmatch – after he hits the GTS on Edge and gets the fall a backstage shot shows a jubilant Steamboat clapping for him.  He’s only the third man in history to win the WWF Championship three times. 

One of the other two, WWF Commissioner Bret Hart, who vowed not to ever let CM Punk be WWF Champion again, has come over the retaining barrier and now stands at ringside as Punk celebrates – you can almost see the emotional lift, the darkness that covered Punk since the loss of Maria disappears, if the monkey on Punk’s back were literal, it would be bounding up the ramp.

So, stop reading for a second.

Do you know what’s about to happen?

Just trying to see how much I’ve telegraphed this next thing, ‘cause it’s been coming for awhile.

Punk celebrates, Edge is still in the ring, in a corner, trying to recuperate – when coming to the ring are the other champions, all together, Sheamus and Empire.

 The 3 tag champs stand behind Sheamus – Sheamus goes nose to nose with Punk.  The announce notes something that’s been unspoken on WWF TV that Punk is why Fit is no longer here, and Sheamus really hasn’t responded to that yet.                                                                                                                                            

Hard not to note that Sheamus and Empire are all smiling as they now encircle Punk.

Do you know what’s about to happen?

Punk does. 

Punk looks quickly at Bret, on the floor at ringside, and then to the top of the ramp – where Black, Sydal, and Tatsu all appear.

‘Cause why wouldn’t they – Punk’s in trouble and we’ve established that’s what the GDI guys, led by Black, will do when Punk’s in trouble.

Punk starts to yell and wave his arms for them to get back “Go back – Go back”

But it’s too late.  Douchebags, all 5 guys with Cole, appear on the ramp – half of them grab Sydal – half of them grab Tatsu – and they throw them off opposite sides of the ramp.  It should be devastating – both guys flying off the ramp into nothingness.

That moment settles – and then 2 things happen simultaneously, Black is attacked by the full Douchebag crew and we cut to the back to see DiBiase put Steamboat in the Million Dollar Dream while McIntyre slaps him across the face.  DiBiase and McIntyre?  Why would that be?

Punk knows.

Punk lurches to the ropes – points at Bret  on the floor – swearing at Bret on the floor – pointing up at the video wall that shows McIntyre slapping a helpless Steamboat – and then Punk spits in Bret Hart’s face.

(Yes, the phrase "Punk screwed Punk" will be coming out of Bret's mouth at some point over the summer)

Sheamus and Empire then attack Punk; Douchebags leave Black laying on the ramp and start making their way to the ring; Bret, still on the floor, wipes Punk’s spit from his face.

So, now do you know what’s going to happen?

Do you recall how Matt/Edge ended?  Matt went over in the Cell, then Punk led the GDI beatdown of both guys, and Edge, maybe instinctively, covered Matt up as he was getting destroyed.  It’s a wrinkle in the Edge character (everyone wound up leaving Edge when he banged Lita, or rather, everyone but Christian, he left when Edge lied to him about doing it, and as tonight demonstrates, he still never really left, but Edge's Rated R bravado masks a little "everyone ganged up on me" pain, and I think when we see the physical manifestation of a group of people ganging up on someone, that emerges) that resurfaces here – as he wades into the beating being given to Punk – and pretty quickly he gets his lights turned out by Sheamus.

I think the spot is this – Sheamus throws Edge into the ringpost, he flings him through the ropes shoulder first into the ringpost. 

Edge crumples, falling outside the ring, off the apron, to the floor, where now Douchebags have reached, just outside the ring (not on the same side as Bret, they are all near the ramp, Bret’s near the announce).
Edge’s falling leads to Christian sprinting from the back, he tries to get to his brother but can’t, as he’s blocked by Douchebags – Christian’s yelling at them – and then that comes to blows – Christian battling all 5 Douchebags – and he’s then joined by Nitro and Miz, both of whom are in streetclothes,  - the Clique gets the advantage, Sheamus and Empire bail out of the ring to aid Douchebags – and now its 8 on 3; but Christian won’t be denied – Cole is directing traffic on the ramp, and he starts frantically waving – down the ramp come DiBiase and McIntyre…followed by Kidd and Smith, and those 12 men (Douchebags, Empire, the Harts, Hooligans, and DiBiase) stomp the Clique out (Nitro, Miz, and Edge and Christian).  They stomp them clean out.

Punk recovers enough in the ring to be standing alone, staggering his way to his feet.  Punk barely able to stand, but now standing. 

When Nick Nemeth’s music hits.

Behind him, holding the MITB briefcase…is Steve Regal.

Nemeth’s all business walking briskly to the ring – Regal behind him – Nemeth hits the ring – Regal hands Bret the briefcase – Bret points to the timekeeper – “Ring the bell.”

10.   WWF Title: Nick Nemeth d. CM Punk
It’s not a long match, but it’s a match – Nemeth dominates quickly, gets nearfalls, Punk kicks out and gets his own spot where it looks like he’s going to keep, but he’s just been through a war with Edge, just been beaten down by the IC and tag champs – and he doesn’t have enough.

Nick Nemeth wins the WWF Title – the announce has explained for anyone who doesn’t get it, that this is Underground – that Hooligans and Nemeth and the Harts are all graduates, that except for Jack Swagger, every single significant graduate from Underground is right here along with Empire and Douchebags – and as they all pour into the ring they surround Regal and Nemeth, they throw Punk out of the ring near Bret Hart, Nick Nemeth handing the WWF Championship belt to Steve Regal – Regal holds it aloft and screams the scream of a man who has spent his life chasing one goal.  Underground begins to pound the canvas – each man in the ring encircling Nemeth and Regal pounding the canvas – when Nick Nemeth leads the Underground chant.


It is in that scene – the Clique dead at ringside, Black dead on the ramp, Sydal and Tatsu dead, thrown off the ramp –Punk dead at Bret’s feet, Steamboat, presumably, dead in the back, with 15 men (13 wrestlers, Regal and Cole) chanting in the ring – that Bryan Danielson’s music hits.
Danielson stands momentarily at the top of the ramp – shaking his head as he recognizes he’s about to go into the ring and try to fight 15 people.

But he does it anyway.

Bryan Danielson walks right into the ring – gets in a few good shots and then gets buried.

They beat him down right up until the end of the satellite time; Wrestlemania 27 ends with Danielson dead in the middle of the ring and that Underground chant beginning again, led by new WWF World Heavyweight Champion Nick Nemeth.


I’ll be back in a month with the next TNA show.  Over the summer I’ve got some historical recap posts ready to go – then in July the build for Summer Slam 2011 and Nick Nemeth defending his WWF Championship.

Thanks for reading. 


crimsonjoe said...

Damn- impressive card, with a significant shift. Some thoughts:

1) So now its the Cliq+GDI as faces, with the rest of the WWE (with the remnants of the Hart Foundation) as heels?

2) The two men on the roster who didn't appear at the end: Swagger (who is injured) and HHH-M (who lost, but is still part of the Cliq).

3) Nice subtle bit- Kidd taking out Rhodes to help give Nemeth the MITB win.

4) And I'm guessing Shaemus gets 'credit' for ending Edge's career?

Nice work.

Anonymous said...

You know Jim, sometimes when I read this I think "What is he doing? That's not the way I'd do it! Is he losing his touch?" Then you come up with something that shows that you really have this all planned out. Great work once again.

Jim said...

Nice of everyone to say.

1. Other babyfaces = Rey, Kingston. Reasonable to wonder, watching the show, about Swagger Reasonable to consider what happens to Orton, given what DiBiase did.
2. We may get some Sheamus killed Edge talk, yes.

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