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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 2016

Thursday, December 01, 2016

(Two notes – it’s the 11th anniversary of the Counterfactual, thanks for reading.  Two, the real world Trump election has consequences here; when we get to the build for Survivor Series 2016 and my election storyline plays out, I’ll discuss how I changed the finish because of Trump.)

Survivor Series was here.

(Stay to the end.  There’s a twist.)

The Road to the Rumble starts the following night – RAW again opens in Edge’s “office” as his Dario Cueto gimmick continues.  With him is Christian.  Here’s what we learn.

-Christian, who is on a job action, essentially walking out on WWF after Brock killed Joey at Summer Slam, says he is not returning yet. 
-Brock is returning as scheduled, his suspension lifts at the Rumble.
-Joey is not returning at all.  He has recovered from his injuries but is choosing to step away from the promotion.  Renallo is now the permanent lead announcer. 
-Christian refusing to go back to work costs him his job.  Edge fires him. Edge looks like he's aged five years on this job. 

Here’s the card for the Rumble.  It’s a good show. 

WWF Title: Lumberjack Three Way Dance: Kevin Steen (w/Pac and Generico) v. Brock Lesnar (w/Devitt and Sombra) v. Nick Nemeth (w/ Sheamus and Barrett)

IC: Dean Ambrose v. Mystery Opponent

Mask vs. Mask: Pac v. Kalisto

Tags: New Day (Kingston/Langston w/Woods) v. Rusev/Dos Caras (w/GHB and Lana)

Chris Jericho v. El Generico

Women’s Title: Charlotte Flair v. Becky Lynch

Roman Reigns-Uso v. HHH-M

Loser Loses Identity Parking Lot Brawl: Luke Harper v. Harper (w/Bray)

Number One Contender Tables Match: Usos (Jimmy/Jey) v. Rhodes (Cody/Dustin) v. Dudley Boys


WWF Title: Lumberjack Three Way Dance: Kevin Steen (w/Pac and Generico) v. Brock Lesnar (w/Devitt and Sombra) v. Nick Nemeth (w/ Sheamus and Barrett)

Mask vs. Mask: Pac v. Kalisto

Chris Jericho v. El Generico

 -We learn about the parameters of the title match, the mask match, and Generico’s PPV debut during one in ring segment on the opening RAW.  Renee calls to the ring Steen, who is seconded by Pac, and then Nemeth, who comes to the ring with Regal/Barrett/Sheamus, and then Heyman, who arrives with Devitt and Sombra.

Steen kept his title with some aid from Claudio at Survivor Series, we learn that no one has heard from Claudio since he walked up the ramp the night before.  As a result we get this stip, a rematch between Steen and Nemeth in which each will be allowed two lumberjacks, who can get involved in any action on the floor.  Brock, you may recall, has a contractual rematch that necessitates his being placed in this match – his last shot at the WWF Title given his attack on Joey at Summer Slam.
Nemeth will have Sheamus/Barrett as his lumberjacks.  They lost the tag titles at Summer Slam and, demonstrating their commitment to Nemeth’s winning the WWF Title for Underground, don’t have a match at the Rumble to complicate their evening.

Steen will have Pac and Generico – Generico’s still on the shelf from the War Games injury suffered over the summer, but he’ll be cleared for the Rumble.  He’s cleared of all other commitments and now makes his PPV debut against #7, the Triple Crown Winner, Chris Jericho who returns to the WWF in this match.  Pac really heeled on Kalisto at Survivor Series, attempting to rip off his mask in response to repeated taunts from Steen, calling he and Claudio soft, calling them trash – as a result, the rubber match between the two will be a mask vs mask. Regal digs at Steen here – he’s broken Claudio, Claudio should have taken the deal to join Underground, when he left ringside last night he looked like a shell of himself.  Regal says Steen did that – and he did that with Pac as well, he’s broken them down to a state of unrecognizability.   Steen says Regal is scared – scared of what a vicious Pac will do to Kalisto, scared of what a tougher, harder, crueler GDI will do to Underground and the rest of the WWF.    

Brock will have Devitt and Sombra, both of whom have grown closer to Heyman in Brock’s absence.  Heyman dismisses both Nemeth and Steen, Underground and GDI – Heyman says when the unbreakable beast Lesnar returns, the Paul Heyman Guys will again be in control of the WWF Title.

Not a bad deal, right?  Generico's WWF PPV debut - Brock's return - and the blow off match to a hot Pac/Kalisto feud ends in a mask match.

We’ve got 3 other title matches.
 IC: Dean Ambrose v. Mystery Opponent
Tags: New Day (Kingston/Langston w/Woods) v. Rusev/Dos Caras (w/GHB and Lana)
Women’s Title: Charlotte Flair v. Becky Lynch

Ambrose took the IC from Bray at Survivor Series; he’s feeling himself and challenges anyone in the world to try to take it from him.  During the build, we get the debuts of both Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander, both of who lose to Ambrose.  Ambrose will take on another newcomer at the Rumble.

New Day took the tag titles at Survivor Series; their face turn continues against the heel group led by GHB.  GHB blames Obama for New Day holding the tag belts, New Day takes GHBs limo and calls it reparations.  It’s more comedic than not, with New Day presented as more knowing than the broadly ridiculous GHB.  Note, Lana seconded Dos Caras at Survivor Series, and in this build, when they wrestle as singles, she continues to do so – there’s one match where GHB can’t be there with Dos Caras and Lana still goes out there with him, she holds the ropes open for him, does the full valet thing.

Charlotte took the Women’s title from Paige at Survivor Series with Ric heeling on Paige and therefore busting up 4-Ground.  As mentioned in the Survivor Series write up, Charlotte then fires Ric the following night and is now a solo act.  Becky beats Paige definitively in this build as she takes on her former stablemate for the strap.

The mystery opponent options are the highlight in that block - probably lots of speculation about who that might be, particularly given what's coming at the end of the build (told you there was a twist).

And the remaining 3 matches:
Roman Reigns-Uso v. HHH-M
Loser Loses Identity Parking Lot Brawl: Luke Harper v. Harper (w/Bray)
Number One Contender Tables Match: Usos (Jimmy/Jey) v. Rhodes (Cody/Dustin) v. Dudley Boys

Reigns pledged to destroy all of Direct to Video; Orton went down Summer Slam, The Miz at Survivor Series and that just leaves Hunter.  He comes out of the executive suite to take on an asskicking babyface in Reigns. 

Sandow’s turning into Luke Harper’s doppelgänger finally comes to a head; their parking lot brawl prior to Survivor Series impacted both men and leads to this – a parking lot brawl at the Rumble in which the loser can no longer be Harper. It’s unclear the parameters of that, but the announce promises us a full identity tear down, one of these men will look very, very different the next time we see him following this match. 

The Dudley Boys returned to the WWF at Survivor Series to attack both the Usos and the Rhodes Brothers – the three teams will have a tables match at the Rumble – winners to go onto Mania to wrestle for the tag titles.  The veteran Dudleys - multi-time ECW, IWGP, TNA, and WWF tag champs want one last ride - both the Usos and the Rhodes Brothers have some desperation, will they get another shot if this one goes by?

That parking lot brawl is almost certainly a good match, it's another blow off to a long term angle and Luke Harper is a tremendous brawler.

Over on Dark Ride, we've got a multi-tag team feud:

American Alpha - managed by Swagger
The Revival - managed by Arn
Ciampa/Gargano - managed by Noble
Nicholls/Haste - managed by Dean Malenko

And we've got video promos by a man who says he's arriving after the Rumble - Austin Aries.

Aries cuts promos on Joe - says there's another former ROH and TNA champ, Joe's not a snowflake, Joe's not a unicorn - there's another - it's him, Austin Aries, and he's coming to Dark Ride right after the Rumble.

Finally, the twist.

In the last show before the Rumble, the go-home Fight Night, right in the middle of the show, there's an unremarkable match, say Killings v. Epico.

Out of the crowd, wearing streetclothes, without any build or fanfare - he just climbs right out of the crowd and into the ring -

---

Is Shinsuke Nakamura.

He tells Killings and Epico to beat it.  They do.

He takes a mic out of his back pocket and in broken English says...

"You...know who I am.  But you don't...know why....I'm here."

Nakamura smiles - and exits out through the crowd.

That's the buzz the rest of the night and the rest of the week on the programming on WWF Network (WWF Network has daily programming, think ESPN - there's pretty much always a couple of guys arguing about something).  Why did Shinsuke Nakamura - one of the great wrestlers in the world - show up in the WWF three days before the Royal Rumble?

With that extra kick - this sure feels like a show you do not want to miss.

WWF Title: Lumberjack Three Way Dance: Kevin Steen (w/Pac and Generico) v. Brock Lesnar (w/Devitt and Sombra) v. Nick Nemeth (w/ Sheamus and Barrett)

IC: Dean Ambrose v. Mystery Opponent

Mask vs. Mask: Pac v. Kalisto

Tags: New Day (Kingston/Langston w/Woods) v. Rusev/Dos Caras (w/GHB and Lana)

Chris Jericho v. El Generico

Women’s Title: Charlotte Flair v. Becky Lynch

Roman Reigns-Uso v. HHH-M

Loser Loses Identity Parking Lot Brawl: Luke Harper v. Harper (w/Bray)

Number One Contender Tables Match: Usos (Jimmy/Jey) v. Rhodes (Cody/Dustin) v. Dudley Boys

Call your cable company.  It's Royal Rumble 2016!


1 comment

James Jones said...

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