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 Wrestlemania 28 - Part 1

Friday, February 01, 2013

The Rumble is here.

Wrestlemania 28 is coming from Miami in April.

The RAW after WWF 100 ends with a promo from the new WWF Champion, Bryan Danielson.
Danielson says for years he said the WWF Title wasn’t that important, now he’s worn the belt for 24 hours and he realizes that he was right.

For years, Danielson has said that what matters is having good matches – GDI is a bunch of guys who all want to outdo each other, who all want to have the match of the night.  That’s what matters.  Danielson says his WWF Championship is about being the best wrestler in the world.  Too many guys have made their championships just about keeping the belt – this object, this possession, becomes more important than what it represents.  Danielson says he won’t be that type of champion, who makes keeping the belt more important than being the best wrestler in the world.  If the day comes where someone’s better, then he deserves to be champion.

Danielson says one week from tonight – we’re going to find out who his opponent will be at Wrestlemania – he is challenging any man in the world who thinks they can have the greatest match in Wrestlemania history to show up.

A week later, with Joey casually dropping in throughout the night how many minutes there are until we find out who Danielson’s opponent will be, with Danielson standing in the ring at night’s end, the number 7 blinks on the video wall – and Chris Jericho’s music hits.

Jericho’s still wearing the suit.

Jericho says he was WWF Champion for 630 days (that’s approximate, I don’t have the energy to count) that’s 1100 interviews, 150 matches, 90 visits to children’s hospitals, 6 overseas tours, 3 visits to the troops.  Jericho says the WWF is a giant corporation, and the real CEO isn’t named McMahon, the real CEO is the WWF Champion – it’s the WWF Champion that they want on Conan, and Kimmel, and on Dancing With the Stars.  Jericho says the reason he has to keep leaving the WWF isn’t the 30 minutes in the ring every night – it’s the other 23 and a half hours in the day when he has to be the face of the company – when he has to be the Champ – when he has to keep everyone employed.

Jericho says Danielson doesn’t understand that – and that means he’s not ready.

Jericho says he’s the Champ – and to be the Champ you got to beat the Champ.  Nemeth is a good young wrestler, but everyone in the world knows that for 630 days, the Champ was Jericho.  Jericho says if Danielson can beat him in the middle of the ring at Wrestlemania – then he can call himself the champ – but until then he’s just another internet hero, like a cat who wants a cheeseburger or the guy who sang Chocolate Rain.

They go nose to nose.  That’s the show.

A month and a half later is a Fight Night tag match, Danielson/Punk v. Jericho/Kidd.  I want a little Punk/Jericho groundwork laid here; Jericho can mouth the Hart family view that no one on earth is worse than Punk because he threw down the WWF Title.  Punk’s response that Jericho will always be obsessed with him because he could never beat Edge and Punk took his WWF Title.

Lots of value in that interaction, I want ways to draw Punk and Danielson together; I want to sew some Punk/Jericho seeds; and it helps tell the Jericho’s story – which is the story the Harts have told for 25 years – nothing matters more than the belt; Dynamite nearly killed himself for it; Bret lost everyone in his life, Benoit’s obsession caused him not to help Jericho during his implied heroin addiction in the Lizard King phase, and we just saw how it led Bret to hand the keys over to Regal and Underground.  Both overtly (Bret did’t notice when Owen wound up under the sway of crazy Randy Savage, Benoit didn’t notice when Jericho slipped into addiction, Jericho didn’t notice when Tyson joined Michaels’s religious cult) and sub textually (the Harts have an enormous body count) the Hart success and destruction is all about the WWF Championship.

Jericho pins Danielson in that tag match.

The conflicting worldview by GDI is “have the best match you can” – and in the go home RAW, in the ring with Steamboat and Danielson, Jericho (wearing the #7 Hart Foundation hockey jersey) traces that view back to Steamboat.  Jericho says as a kid he knew that Steamboat was the good guy and Dynamite the bad guy, and when Dynamite cracked that beer bottle over Steamboat’s head, Jericho screamed like every other kid in the world (think of that as the equivalent of Snuka/Piper coconut, except as part of the WWF Title program – it’s an all time iconic image, part of our collective WWF memory). 

But then Jericho grew up – and he recognized that Dynamite wasn’t a bad guy – Dynamite was a Hart, and that means protecting the WWF Ttile by any means necessary, even if sometimes that means cracking a bottle over a Dragon’s head.

And with that, Jericho pulls out a beer bottle from under his jersey and cracks it over Danielson’s head.

Jericho waves the jagged edge to keep Steamboat away and stands over Danielson, grabbing the WWF Title and holding it over his head with one hand while holding the broken bottle in the other.

That’s the go home image.


One more from that program - Steamboat starts carrying a white towel over his shoulder in this stretch – there was a Sydal/Nemeth match on a Fight Night where Nemeth put on a hold that Sydal couldn’t break and Steamboat threw in the towel to end the match. 

 The third RAW after the Rumble features the return of the Rock.

Rock says everywhere he goes since the Rumble, all he’s heard is Why, Rocky, Why?  Why did you show up at WWF100 and Rock Bottom Wade Barrett off the ramp?

Rock says at Survivor Series, he intended to walk away forever, he beat Dos Caras at Madison Square Garden, he said goodbye to his fans, but 3 men couldn’t leave it alone.  3 men had to ruin the Rock’s last moment in the sport he’s loved his entire life.

And the Rock can’t let that slide. 

You come at the Rock with a knife – the Rock comes at you with a gun.

Wade Barrett lost his tag titles. 

One down.  Two left.

At Wrestlemania 28 – in the Rock’s hometown – Sheamus is going to lose his Intercontinental Title.

To the Rock.

Sheamus and Regal enter.

Sheamus says no Hollywood pretty boy will come into his ring and take his title.  If Rock wants to leave his hometown ring in a stretcher, Sheamus will be happy to put him there.

They go nose to nose.

Rock’s gonna be the Rock in this program, easy to make fun of both Sheamus and Regal – Sheamus doesn’t do any of that awful real world jokey stuff – he’s a guy who likes to fight people.  As part of a taped package near the end of the build, Rock gets serious – he’s an athlete, movie star was just a bonus – and now he looks up and he’s 40 with a chance to win a singles belt at Mania in Miami – you think Rock’s agents like this?  If this was a good career move, then Clooney would have wrestled Steve Austin a dozen years ago.  Everyone in his other life thinks he’s gone nuts – one bad shot from Sheamus, and the Rock can’t get work.  He’s doing this because it’s in his blood, because his father and his grandfather never won a singles title in the WWF – and he can’t turn down that chance, it’s the last chance he’s ever going to get.

The match will be a Falls Count Anywhere, 'cause the Rock needs stips to make it through.


One more match comes out of that

There’s a Rock promo when he’s attacked by Kidd and Gabriel; face save by the Usos (the Usos are Rock’s cousins).  That sets up a match between them that ends in a DQ when a third Uso – Roman (Roman Reigns) appears and they beat down the Underground group (Gabriel’s the only Empire member still alive, so he joins Kidd in what will be an unfortunately short lived act).

That sets up a tag for Mania, Usos v. Underground (Kidd/Gabriel). 

That’s not the opening tag – the opener is a rematch from the Rumble, Colons v. Henry/Santino.  There's other tag related news - Mick Foley, recall, is now WWF Commissioner (he does color commentary for both shows whenever he's available - his authority figure work will be limited) he makes an announcement that the rules during tag matches will be "relaxed" in an effort to provide WWF fans maximum excitement - and that will begin at Mania.   

Half the card down, half to come in a month.

WWF Championship: Danielson v. Jericho
IC Championship: Sheamus v. Rock
Underground (Kidd/Gabriel) v. Usos
Henry/Santino v. Colons

3 singles matches and the tag titles still to come

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