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 2

Friday, March 01, 2013

Part I is here.

The connective tissue between the two big non title singles matches at 28 is the return of Paul Heyman.

The former WWF manager/color analyst returned at the Rumble and in this build he hosts an in ring promo show called The Heyman Hustle.

He does 3 episodes, one a month, the third is for the Danielson/Jericho match, so isn’t implicated here.

The second is part of the build for this match:

Nick Nemeth v. Jack Swagger

The RAW after the Rumble opens with Swagger tapping Kane and then taking the mic, which is a rarity for him.  He calls out Nemeth.

Nemeth enters, but before he can speak he is stopped by Regal – who then waves onto the ramp about a dozen members of Underground.  Regal says Jack Swagger is not going to take advantage of Nemeth’s emotional state, last night he lost the WWF Championship, and Swagger is looking now to prey upon a fallen champion and he won’t stand for it.  Regal says that he will give ten thousand dollars right now to any member of Underground who will eliminate Swagger permanently.

And that draws the attention of WWF Commissioner Mick Foley.

Foley hasn’t gone all Cactus Jack yet since taking over the job, but now is a good time (anything to keep Swagger from having to cut a serious babyface promo).  Foley’s at the announce (I think he does RAW every third week, Fight Night with the same schedule, and takes the third week away from the desk) and takes off the headset to come at Regal.  Foley says Swagger was gone for months after an attack from Underground and he is not going to have bounties on his wrestlers.  Foley gets in Regal’s face, tells him he maybe had control over the WWF when he had all the title belts – but after last night there’s no question there is a new sheriff in town.

Foley says that he isn’t just going to feed Nemeth to Swagger at Mania though – instead he wants to see something from Swagger – he wants to see him prove himself.  And he wants to give Underground a chance to stop him.

Foley says over the next four weeks, on Fight Night, Swagger will face four members of Underground – and if he beats each of them, he will meet Nick Nemeth at Wrestlemania 28.

Swagger says not only will he beat them, he’ll beat each in under five minutes.

Regal snaps that up – says that’s a deal.

Swagger efficiently moves through 3: Hawkins, Black, Ambrose.

Before his 4th match, he is the guest on the Heyman Hustle.

Paul introduces himself, manager of Triple Crown winners Steve Austin and Mick Foley, intellectual force behind ECW.  He says he’s been impressed by Swagger, he has coolly made his way through 3 members of Underground and is just one away from going to Wrestlemania to face his former partner.

But there’s just something….missing.

Heyman says Swagger has to have heard the whispers by now, he was supposed to be Kurt Angle, and while he’s good – there’s just something…missing.

Heyman says he know what it is – it’s hate.

Swagger knows all the holds, but he wrestles like it’s a chess match – what he doesn’t ever show is hate.
Heyman says when he was running ECW, he made sure that every man in that locker room was fueled  by hate, Heyman points to Foley – why did Cactus Jack, who couldn’t last 90 seconds with Jack Swagger trying to match holds, come to the WWF and win the Triple Crown?

Because he hated every single man he stood across the ring from.  He hated Vader.  He hated Ken Shamrock.  He hated Steve Austin.  Cactus Jack hated Owen Hart.

Heyman said and none of those guys did a fraction to Foley of what Nemeth has done to Swagger.

Nemeth broke up their tag team, Nemeth took over as leader of Underground, Nemeth took you out of action, took the WWF Title that was supposed to be yours – took your sister.

Heyman gets in Swagger’s face – “if you don’t hate Nick Nemeth, you will never, ever beat him.”

Swagger balls his fist – Heyman says that’s good – hating me is a good start – but I’m not the one banging your sister. 

(The “who will Kelly side with” can be a secondary element of the build, like real world Bret v. Davey Boy she’ll come out to the ring with someone at 28, who will it be?)

Swagger doesn’t speak, he leaves the ring – that sets up the 4th match, it’s Swagger v. Barretta – Swagger taps him but then won’t break the hold – the official threatens to DQ him but Swagger doesn’t listen – the official tries to pull him off but Swagger doesn’t listen – a handful of officials run in to pull Swagger off, Barretta’s arm is broken, that’s the last we’ll ever see him.   The official makes clear what will happen and then Howard announces that the decision has been reversed and awarded to Barretta.

Swagger grabs the official by the throat – he’s lost, he’s lost his chance at Nemeth.  Lost his Wrestlemania 

Before the show ends, there’s a tease that Foley, who isn’t there that week, will make his ruling Monday about the Swagger/Nemeth controversy.

On that RAW Foley’s in the ring, he says he’s reviewed the tape, talked to the referee – and Jack Swagger officially did not beat Trent Barretta, and therefore, under the deal he agreed to, he does not get to face Nick Nemeth at Mania.

And that’s when Nemeth enters.

Nemeth says that even though Swagger hasn’t earned it – he wants him anyway.  Nemeth says its time to end Division One once and for all, time to end any sort of debate about which one of them was the engine for the greatest tag team in recent WWF history, and he wants to challenge Swagger to settle it, man on man, at 28.

Swagger enters, there’s a nose to nose, and that’s the match.
Heyman’s first Hustle comes a few weeks after the Rumble; it’s built up a little bit as his return is sort of a thing – sure, he worked the Rumble, but there were lots of returns at the Rumble, when it’s announced that he will be on RAW, in this format – with his special guest…

…CM Punk….

That’s the kind of thing certain fans might anticipate eagerly. 

Heyman introduces himself to Punk the same way he’d later introduce himself to Swagger.

Heyman says he’s a fan and has been a fan since this happened (he shows the famous clip, Punk throwing down the WWF Title).

Punk interrupts, says Heyman should be better than that, it’s awfully hacky to show the same clip that Matt Striker would show if he had his own segment.

Heyman laughs, says Punk’s misunderstanding, every other time they show this clip, it’s someone scolding Punk – it’s an old time wrestler coming out here, beaten down and rickety, to say Punk disrespected the belt.

That’s not how Heyman felt – when Punk threw down the WWF belt and the NWA belt – when the only belt Punk deemed worthy of keeping was the ECW World Championship belt…

….this belt (and that’s when Paul opens up a case to show the decommissioned ECW Title)…

…Heyman felt unbelievable pride. 

It’s one thing, Heyman says, for someone like Steve Austin or Mick Foley or Rob Van Dam (‘cause he’s at TNA and Paul can’t be controlled, see?) to live the revolutionary spirit of ECW, to understand that this title, above all other titles, is only for the true renegades – but for someone from the next generation to adopt it as his own, it was one of his proudest moments in wrestling – and Heyman always wanted to tell Punk that.

Punk says he assumes there’s another shoe to drop.

Paul says he watched Punk at the Rumble – and he wonders what happened to that Renegade.
It wasn’t that he lost to John Cena, everyone loses, it’s that at the end of the night, when Bryan Danielson held that WWF Title belt that you had three times, you shook his hand and stood in the background.

Like a good little soldier.

Do you know what I wanted to see you do – I wanted you to punch Danielson right in the face and then take on everyone in that ring.  The CM Punk I liked – the last ever ECW Champion – that’s what he would have done. 

Punk tells Heyman he doesn’t know anything about him, that he isn’t Sabu, he isn’t Taz, he’s not one of Paul Heyman’s guys – he’s his own man – and he doesn’t have anything to prove.

Paul says that’s not entirely true.  He’s talked to WWF Commissioner Foley – and at Wrestlemania – in a Light Tubes Match, CM Punk will have something to prove – if he can defend that ECW Championhip – against John Cena.

Paul then slips off a shoe and drops it – and Cena’s music hits.

Punk and Cena go nose to nose and we have that match.

(Cena cuts a promo at some point in the build around the phrase ‘I Got Your Number” – “I’ll never be a 3 Time WWF Champion – but I got your number.  I’ll never create my own wrestling company – but I got your number.  I’ll never bang Maria Kanellis – well, either will you again – but I got your number.”  That kind of thing).

The last singles match is a little lower wattage – it’s McIntyre saying that he’ll be the one to send the Miz into the ringpost and finally exterminate the Clique once and for all. 

One more match – the tag title.

Not long after the Rumble, Kingston beats Epico in a singles – postmatch, Primo runs in and they beat 
Kingston down – save by….Killings.

Which is weird. 

On the next RAW, Defiance cuts a promo – Orton and Rhodes, tag champs – they discuss who they will meet at Mania.

Enter Killings.  In his old Young Money gear.

He says that he and Ka$h will take their rematch.  He calls Cody “Ted.”

So – see what’s happening, crazy ass Killings thinks it’s the year before, the year before, Young Money lost their tag titles  to Defiance, then Orton/DiBiase – they never got their rematch because Killings went nuts and spent a year doing the crazy man gimmick fighting Kingston.

Then he lost in the cage at the Rumble, taking the Snuka splash for the finish, and, so the announce will speculate, he may have had something jar in his head.

So imagine the comedic possibilities – Killings thinks it’s 2011, he doesn’t know why they keep introducing him as @TruthKills, doesn’t get the Ikea references, doesn’t know why Kingston might be hot at him – he thinks Rhodes is DiBiase – when he puts up his crazy, rambling youtube videos or his weird little tweets – they’ll all be a year behind, he doesn’t have any idea about any of the cultural happenings of 2012 – because he thinks it’s Wrestlemania 27.

Kingston isn’t buying in – but Foley sells him on the “relaxed rules” for the tag matches, that he can go to Wrestlemania and wrestle for the tag titles, he can use ladders, he can use tables – he can jump off or through whatever he wants and steal the show.  Kingston never trusts Killings, not sure what the angle is – Killings goes full on with the total amnesia guy gimmick – Defiance is still Defiance.

One more.  About a month after the Rumble is a RAW promo from Hunter.

The announce has put over in the crevices since WWF 100 that Hunter was pivotal behind the scenes in getting some of the less inclined legends to return for the show, and that his success in moving to management
might mean that a retirement announcement is coming soon.

In the promo, Hunter says he has reached a point that every athlete gets to - a point where he looks around the locker room and sees youth, talent, the future - and when he looks in the mirror and is honest with himself, he doesn't see those things anymore.

Hunter says the truth is when he sat with all of those legends at WWF 100, he felt more at home than he does with the guys on the road these days.  He's got a wife, he's got kids, there's nothing sadder than a 40 year old guy with long hair saying "suck it."

But - Hunter says - that doesn't mean he can't raise the fingers (makes the Clique sign) one more time.

He says he notices there's an empty spot on the sheet for the Legend's Match at 28 - and it just isn't Wrestlemania without the Legend's Match - and it just isn't the Legend's Match without the man  who has won more than anyone ever has or ever will.

Undertaker's music hits.  He comes to the ring.

Hunter says they are a dying breed - a couple of old men in a young man's game - says that neither of them is ever going to be WWF Champion, and the day is close when they'll both be talking about the old days with a couple of beers watching the big show as opposed to being on it.

But what do you say, Taker - how about a couple of old dogs show these young guns a thing or two in the Legends Match at Wrestlemania?

And after a beat - the Taker kicks him in the stomach, hits him with the Last Ride - stands over him and says "Speak for yourself.  Your career is dead?  I'll prepare your tombstone."

And that's the program - veteran babyface Hunter, ready to move into a full time front office position against a grumpy old Undertaker, not willing to cosign that mutual death certificate.  

And that’s Wrestlemania 28.

WWF Title: Bryan Danielson (w/Steamboat) v. Chris Jericho
IC: Sheamus (w/Regal) v. The Rock
Tags: Defiance (Orton/Rhodes) v. Young Money (Killings/Kingston)
Nick Nemeth (w/Regal) v. Jack Swagger
ECW Title: Light Tubes Match: CM Punk (w/Steamboat) v. John Cena
Legends Match: Undertaker v. HHH-M
The Miz v. McIntyre (w/Regal)
Underground (Kidd/Gabriel) v. Usos
The Colons (Primo/Epico) v. Mark Henry/Santino

I'll be back in a month with Wrestlemania 28


Mike Heine said...

I'm loving it - but there's just one question on my mind. Where's the Legend's Match? It ain't quite Wrestlemania without it!

Jim said...

Yeah. That's a good point. I'm going to edit.

Mike Heine said...

Yay! I can think of a couple of wrestlers who might fit in nicely there ;)

Love how Danielson-Jericho follows nicely on from that confrontation they had when Bret first became Commish. I try not to think about how much more awesome real world WWE would be if they had this level of continuity.

Jim said...

I've got a match coming that I thought needed this match not to happen at Mania, but it didn't take much reconsideration to see how I could get where I wanted to go just as easily by using the legends match. Done.

Walker said...

Great card - you never fail to disappoint in the buildup to these things.

Funny thing, though (POTENTIAL SPOILER/FIGURED-OUT-THE-MATCH-OUTCOME ALERT): I half-expected Defiance to defend against Dead Men Walking, since they're booked for Summerslam and Orton/Rhodes aren't (see, I pay attention to these things!). What I didn't expect this storyline with Killings/Kingston to continue with a 'memory loss' twist. You keep throwing those curveballs and I keep missing them!

Looking forward to Mania!

Booyaka said...

I'll make a few edumicated predictions.

-Jericho d. Danielson: Steamboat turns heel and throws in the towel for him. Foley calls bullshit and declares the title vacant, we have a four-way at Summerslam with Nemeth, Danielson, Jericho, and Punk.

-Sheamus d. Rock: Sheamus'll be there afterwards. Rock won't. Simple enough.

-HHH-M d. Taker: See Sheamus/Rock.

-"Young" Money d. Defiance: Orton punts Cody after the match.

-Cena d. Punk: Ohhh, how they will riot. And it sets up Summerslam for one more time.

-Colons d. Henry/Santino: Why not?

-Miz d. McIntyre: Miz'll be there, McIntyre won't.

-Nemeth d. Swagger

Booyaka said...

Oh, and Usos d. Underground, so Rock's loss won't depress everyone TOO much.

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