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 Royal Rumble 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Survivor Series was here.

8 years we’ve been doing this?  How the hell did that happen?

Thanks to readers new and less new.  As long as Daniel Bryan’s a B+ player in the real world, I guess we’ll keep this world going.

Royal Rumble 2013 is in January.

Here’s the card.

WWF Title: Bryan Danielson v. Dos Caras, Jr.
-Set up in the prior build and really finalized at the show close of Survivor Series, this match is announced immediately.  There’s not a ton of interaction between the two in this build; Caras is a little broad for a main event program; we’re just going to let him exist in that space here – he and Vickie are preparing for the wedding.  That’s a comedy angle, Vickie as Bridezilla, she torments the bridesmaids to lose weight (they’re all the divas, nonexistent to this date but now introduced here in order to create characters for the E show; AJ is a put upon babyface and Nattie returns as a tormenting heel here) and learn wedding reception choreography, she gives them hideous dresses and makes them cut their hair and run her errands.  Various vignettes looking to build to the wedding and enrich the Dos Caras universe.  It’s too cartoonish for Danielson, really, he doesn’t get intertwined with the drive to the wedding – we’ll see him as leader of an increasingly tight GDI, which not only has he as champ but Claudio in the finals of the IC tournament.  Danielson, WWF Champ for a year, just does his work.  4 stars with Dos Caras?  Fine, let’s go.     

The wedding happens at the go home RAW, the guests are all second/third generation guys, either with the company or whomever can be brought in for the day – and the widows/girlfriends of deceased wrestlers, which won’t be mentioned by the announce, it’s just a black comedy easter egg for the hardcores. All the divas with bad dresses and haircuts, some worker in heavy makeup as the minister, similar to real world Bischoff in the Chuck/Billy wedding (right wedding?).

At the appropriate time the ceremony is interrupted by the Rock’s music.  All 3 Usos enter, followed by the Rock – Rock stays on the ramp while the Usos blow up the wedding; the male guests are all beaten up, the female guests run screaming – Roman Reigns Uso spears the minister through the set.  The segment ends with the Rock holding up his IC belt and saying he hopes Dos Caras wins the WWF Title on Sunday – and when the Rock retains his IC Title Sunday, then the two of them will go Title v. Title, for the first time in Wrestlemania history – at WM 29. 

IC Title: The Rock v.__________
Nick Nemeth v. Claudio Castagnoli
-The IC tournament now is down to 2; Nemeth got a pretty large babyface reaction at Survivor Series, and Claudio is a much liked wrestler for the GDI inclined fanbase – the result is going to be more than a few boos for the Rock as he mixes in the build. 

Nemeth is a day away from the Triple Crown and he is full on hungry for it – it is the ultimate demonstration of wrestling immortality and he’s two wins away.  Claudio remains happy go lucky, ready for the biggest match and maybe matches of his life.  Rock does taped promos on both guys in his jokey Rock manner, he and the IC belt are in fabulous locations; big houses, expensive cars, between Kate Upton’s breasts, that sort of thing.  That will draw Regal and Steamboat together in mutual irritation.  They aren’t at their wrestlers sides much in the build, there’s space between Nemeth and Regal to allow for a greater babyface reaction for Nemeth, and Hero moves closer to being Claudio’s mouthpiece; but they’re still the heads of the competing factions.  They  appear on a Heyman Hustle (one of two he does in the build, we’ll discuss the second) with Mick Foley to voice the opposition one last time to the decision to allow Rock to take the IC with him, to insinuate that Foley let his relationship with the Rock guide his judgment, and for Foley to once again, end the argument with the tournament will be his response to that criticism, making Sunday judgment day.   Heyman ends the segment by reminding Steamboat that in case he’s forgotten, Brock Lesnar is real and he’s here for Danielson. 

Tag Titles: Defiance v. Empire v. Douchebags
-The non finish in the number one contenders match at Survivor Series makes this a three way.  The relaxed rules nature of the tag division under Foley and the numbers of men as part of each team gives us a lot of bodies to deal with for this match.  Orton/Bernard/Rhodes are Defiance – Orton’s won the tag title 4 times with 4 partners, and like every asshole, when he is on top he is insufferable (and when he’s not it’s everyone else’s fault); Douchebags are Sandow/Ryder/Slater/Curtis – Curtis joined the group from developmental at Survivor Series in the beatdown of Empire, which is now Barrett/Gabriel and, as part of the build, Ryback, who comes from developmental to help balance the ranks with the loss of Kidd (presumably taken out by DBags who were responding to Hawkins having presumably been taken out by Empire)  They can all fight pretty much constantly in all possible combinations in the build – the story between the two Underground teams is that Cole will finally, finally pick between the teams at the Rumble. There's a spot in the build when a bunch of guys from both Douchebags and Empire are on the ramp and Pac takes them out with the dive from the video wall.  That's now happened 3-4 times over the course of the year.  
JerichoDeath v. CM Punk
-Chris Jericho, always with the Sabu light cue gimmick, appears soon after Survivor Series to explain.  Essentially – he has nothing left to do.  He’s won all of the belts, from the NWA to the Triple Crown, and he’s been through all of the incarnations, Lionheart, #7, Y2J, JerichoDark, The Lizard King, The Champ – and what should he do now?  Win the IC again?  He could, but why?  Get a tag team partner?  He could, but why?  He’s had catchphrases, finishing moves, been the fans favorite wrestler and booed out of the building.  There’s nothing left – and when there’s nothing left – you’re dead. 

  He’s JerichoDeath.

But that totally frees him – a ghost can do anything it wants.  He can come when he wants, leave when he wants – if he wants to make CM Punk blow him in the middle of the ring – he’s going to do that, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  Being dead is the best time of his life. 
And then the lights go out and he’s gone.

Subtextually, he’s added a lot of Edge to the persona (Edge was the guy Jericho couldn’t beat) and going after Punk (who took Edge’s title, Edge had taken from Jericho) is designed to reinforce that.  That’s also not the type of thing you’d get from the announce.  Jericho isn’t going to spear anyone, for example, he’s not aping Edge at that level.

He and Punk do some dueling promos – Jericho positions Punk as sort of a discount Jericho; Jericho plays sold out rock shows around the world, Punk knows a lot about Rancid; Jericho’s hosted his own network reality show, Punk was on G4 a couple of times; Jericho’s ex is banging George Clooney, Punk’s ex is banging the 11th best wrestler in Ring of Honor.

Punk positions Jericho as Yesterday.  The reason he talks about Fozzy or Dancing with the Stars or Best Week Ever or whatever bullshit he’s doing is he can’t talk about winning wrestling matches because he doesn’t do that anymore.  When Jericho’s talking to Kelly Ripa, Punk’s winning 3 WWF Titles. 

They’ll appear together on that second Heyman Hustle, which allows for Heyman to dig into Punk a little bit, allows for Punk’s medical condition post-Lesnar to be discussed, allows for Jericho to hit Punk with the only thing he says that gets under Punk’s skin, that Jericho isn’t the only one whose best days are behind him, that what Punk’s best at now is carrying Danielson’s bags.

Heyman, at segment’s end, reminds Punk that Brock Lesnar is real, and he’s only here – only here – for Danielson. 

Rey Mysterio v. Mistico
Rey cuts a promo at the beginning of January apologizing to the fans.  He says he got suckered by Dos Caras in a way that wouldn’t have happened five years ago; and he doesn’t want revenge, it’s his own fault.  He says he’s started to slip, he knows it – and he needs to shut it down for awhile.  Rey says he isn’t ready to say it’s his last match, but after the Rumble, he’s going back home for the rest of 2013.  Rey says he hopes to come back at Wrestlemania 30 – but just can’t promise anything right now.  Rey brings Mistico out, says Mistico is a hero in Mexico and if this is Rey’s last match, he wants it to be against him.

And that’s it, it doesn’t get more complicated than that – there are taped pieces from the babyfaces talking about what Rey has meant to them to add to the “maybe Rey is retiring” element of the match.

Taped Fist Match: PAUL v. Sheamus
-Paul knocked Sheamus the fuck out at Survivor Series and it’s now his life, giant babyface with a big right hand, he knocks out some bottom card guys in the build – so does Sheamus, as he gets a rematch centered around Paul’s specialty – they’re gonna tape their fists and fight.

John Cena v. Miz
-Building off their portion of the IC tournament build, Miz is now a heel so can poke at Cena’s true blue WWF forever babyfaceness. 

 That's your show - add in some of those taped Shield vignettes, some drop ins on the next developmental class training Underground, with Ryback (who as mentioned, gets called up during the build) Big E Langston, and Joe Hennig, and Steamboat being said to be close to a major GDI signing that may come to fruition at the Rumble and you have your show.  Heyman will once again be joining JR and Joey for the announce - it's gonna be a happening!

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