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 Summer Slam 2016 - Part 1

Saturday, July 01, 2017

RAW after Wrestlemania begins with Howard Finkel, in the ring, introducing what had been promised the night before – a new WWF Commissioner – “The American Dragon, Bryan Danielson”
The Final Countdown plays – and for the first time since his retirement ceremony one year prior, Bryan Danielson returns to a WWF ring.

Danielson says he hates to begin his new job with a correction, but he’s not the American Dragon - the American Dragon was the best wrestler in the world and he left his boots in this ring a year ago.  

He’s just Bryan Danielson, a guy in a flannel shirt who now puts matches together.  And while he’s making first day on the job mistakes, he also has a confession – for most of the past year, he didn’t watch a single wrestling match.  Danielson says wrestling was the most important part of his life since he was 17, and when he was told he couldn’t wrestle anymore it was just too hard to watch.  

But the night of the Royal Rumble he got a text from a friend that said – guess who just won the IC – AJ Styles. 

And that got me, last time I heard he was the champion in New Japan, how did he get here, did he come alone – and then I saw the Bullet Club was here and they brought Nakamura with them and I’ve been hooked. 

Danielson says about 3 weeks ago he saw a name on his phone he didn’t expect – it was from Senator McMahon.  And when the next President of the United States calls you out of the blue, you take the call.

Danielson explains that she offered him the job, offered him a 2 year deal, and here we are.

Danielson says he has a few announcements.

-He loved the main event of Wrestlemania, when Lesnar and Steen went through that glass, no one marked out bigger than he did.  But what he wants to see at Mania is a one on one match for the title in the main event – and next year, at Wrestlemania 33 – that’s what you’ll get.

-He says he and Steve Regal have had their differences, but Danielson is the first to recognize that what Regal has done in developing Underground is remarkable – and Danielson also thinks he’s a terrific broadcaster, but it’s obvious that some type of balance is needed in the broadcast booth.  

That’s why, right now, I’d like you to welcome the new analyst for RAW, he’s a former ROH champion, he’s a former TNA champion, he’s about to step into a WWF for the very first time – he is Nigel McGuinness. (Low, Ki, Daniels, Joe, Nigel, Aries - only men to hold both ROH and TNA World Titles, none of those men obviously have been WWF Champ)

(Nigel enters, hugs Danielson, the two have am unspoken "we finally made it here together" moment that a section of fans will appreciate and then he goes to the announce desk and shakes Ranallo’s hand and puts on the headset)

-Danielson says Summer Slam will have 10 matches, he’s already been out here long enough though, so he’s just going to announce 4 of them.

WWF Title: AJ Styles (w/Bullet Club) vs. Kevin Steen
IC Title: El Generico vs. Rusev (w/GHB and Lana)
Brock Lesnar vs. Prince Devitt (w/Bullet Club)
Weapons Match: Dudley Boys v. Anderson/Gallows

-Danielson says he talked to Kevin Steen today, he and Generico are resting comfortably, they will return at Summer Slam, Steen for a rematch against the WWF Champion AJ Styles, and El Generico will be defending his Intercontinental Title against Rusev.

-Danielson says the other two matches he’s announcing tonight involve the Bullet Club. Due to their actions at Mania, Anderson and Gallows will be wrestling the 10 time tag team champion Dudley Boys.  And they’ll be doing it in a Weapons Match.

-And Prince Devitt has completed all of his contractual obligations and will be making his WWF PPV debut at Summer Slam – and the man he’ll face…well, it’s funny, when he and Senator McMahon finalized the deal that he became WWF Commissioner, it was done in secret, virtually nobody knew – but the first person to call to congratulate him was Paul Heyman.  Danielson reminds us that Heyman is the man most responsible for ending his career, so this is sort of weird – but Heyman’s a pretty persuasive guy, and after some negotiation he was able to make his case that the man to oppose Prince Devitt should be…Brock Lesnar. (Danielson as flexible, not an ideologue, is the story we're looking to tell as his tenure starts)

-That’s the cue for the Bullet Club to enter, Devitt first, then AJ with the belt, the Anderson and Gallows, and a beat behind is Nakamura.  Devitt and AJ always share the bulk of the mic time, sort of co-lead singers in this band – Anderson and Gallows crack the occasional joke – Nakamura doesn’t speak, he always stands a little off the side, and rarely appears at all in the promotion. You see Nakamura as often as you see Lesnar.  

Devitt welcomes Danielson to the Bullet Club’s ring, says he should have asked permission before coming out, but he’ll let it slide.  Devitt says if the fans or Danielson think he’s shook by facing Brock Lesnar they don’t understand who he is or what the Bullet Club is. If Devitt didn’t want to fight Brock Lesnar he wouldn’t have kicked Paul Heyman in the head.  The fact is the last time Prince Devitt was in a ring with Brock Lesnar he stood right on his chest and he’s going to do it again at Summer Slam.

-AJ takes the mic, shakes Danielson’s hand, says he’s glad to see him – AJ says it’s the cherry on the sundae, for most of the last 15 years he and Danielson have been part of a very small tier of wrestlers who fans around the world thought were the very best – but AJ always knew and if he forgot Danielson was always sure to remind everyone that Danielson was always a little bit ahead in that tier.  Danielson was always just a notch above AJ.  But how do you like me now, Dragon?  IWGP Champion.  WWF Champion – I’m holding your belt and you’re here to watch me do it.  I didn’t think life could get any better than winning the WWF Title last night at Wrestlemania.  And tonight.  It just got better. 

-Devitt says something threatening, the entire Bullet Club surrounds Danielson in a menacing fashion and makes the finger guns hand motion.  

-Steen and Generico do stay away all summer, at least until the go home show.  They do babyface vignettes, designed to get across their long friendship and success as a tag act.  Steen is humanized, his being Canadian is emphasized, his protectiveness over Generico as the animating force of their relationship is centered and it aids in viewing all the general dickishness Steen’s displayed prior in a more positive light.  Steen and Generico have been together for years, it helps us like Steen and re-positions our thinking about them as a duo as opposed to part of a broader stable.    

-It’s going to be the summer of the Bullet Club, Anderson/Gallows/AJ/Devitt work a lot, they do a lot of beatings, they cut snarky promos, they bury guys in the flag (a good candidate is Kalisto, he's a workrate guy who doesn't have a Summer Slam slot, he can work good matches against both Devitt and Styles, he can also tag with fellow Underground member Sheamus who also does not have a Summer Slam slot) they take over the announce desk, they sell a ton, just a ton of merchandise.   Nakamura isn’t seen any more than Lesnar is, when he’s on TV it’s an event.  Bullet Club runs wild in the WWF in the summer of 2016.  Buy the shirt! 

-What’s happening in the real world in the summer of 2016?  The US presidential election, Trump gets the Republican nomination, Linda McMahon gets the Democratic nomination, and that plays out in the IC program.  GHB cuts regular pro-Trump promos in the context of Rusev’s IC shot, soon we can finally take your health insurance away, soon we can finally stop worrying about the planet being on fire, soon we can finally embrace Vladimir Putin…I mean, Donald Trump…as the leader we all need.  Rusev’s going to beat Generico and become IC Champ – Putin…I mean, Trump….will beat Linda McMahon and become President…2016 shapes up as the greatest year ever for great Americans like GHB and even greater Americans like Rusev.  Rusev being identified as Russian and the representative of the American right wing, GHB, embracing that Russian-ness has been the defining aspect of their relationship since its formation and (as it turns out) that really helps give us a way in to the campaign. 

-At the Democratic Convention, Linda names her running mate.  It was a closely guarded secret and a pretty good political surprise when she named....her husband.  Linda/Vince 2016.  2 McMahons for the price of 1.  

-So, those are the two top matches.  Steen and Generico are gone, we get babyface vignettes designed to have us think of them as a longstanding team based on a deep friendship.  The Bullet Club runs roughshod over the entire promotion.  Rusev serves as the vehicle for Trump v. McMahon talk as the election heats up.  Steen and Generico, as teased above, do return prior to Summer Slam, in the go home, which gets a few weeks of build, they’re going to wrestle AJ/Devitt in a tag match.  We’ve tried to protect Steen/Generico as a team; as singles obviously they’ve had to get bruised up and they’ve worked as part of multi-man matches, but for the years they’ve been in the promotion the Steen/Generico tag act has really been protected, and given they’ve been gone all summer and it’s been their tag act that’s gotten most of their end of the build for Summer Slam this TV match has a lot of juice.  Steen/Generico go over – and again, as was the case at the Rumble, Generico gets the fall on AJ. It's the first loss for the Bullet Club all summer - AJ goes into Summer Slam suffering a pinfall loss, and again, as he did at Mania, AJ has been pinned by Generico.  

-We know what Devitt’s doing all summer, from Brock’s end we get two Heyman Hustles.  The first Heyman Hustle comes not long after this introductory RAW, his guest is Danielson, the two longtime rivals one on one.  They establish the reason they don’t like each other (Heyman spent years cultivating Lesnar as a Danielson killing asset that eventually resulted in injuries leading to the end of his career) they establish how they came to this agreement that Lesnar will fight Devitt at Summer Slam, that Lesnar won’t attack anyone from the Bullet Club in the interim, and that Heyman (Heyman looks Danielson in the eye) owes Bryan a favor.  Heyman says someone else wants to thank Danielson – and unexpectedly, Brock appears.  He rarely is on TV, even more rarely is on TV without a build, and since right after Mania it was announced that he was returning to the UFC for a July fight, no one expected to see him at all until Summer Slam.  Lesnar enters, goes nose to nose with Danielson – what’s going to happen – Lesnar takes the mic – tells Danielson he’s a true champion, that he’s never fought anyone anywhere on the planet with as much heart as he has – that it was an honor to fight him, and that if he ever wants to go one more round,  he’s got an opponent anytime he wants.  The two men shake hands to fully complete Lesnar’s face turn. 

-The second Heyman Hustle comes later, the guest is Prince Devitt.  Heyman expresses admiration – he got played, he took Devitt in, showed him the intricacies of every angle of the wrestling business, and created a path for Devitt to bring in the Bullet Club under everybody’s nose.  He doesn’t hate Devitt, doesn’t take it personally.  Devitt says he should take it personally because it was personal – Heyman was always on the cutting edge, the smartest guy in the room, the Dangerous Alliance, ECW, when you brought Brock Lesnar back to the WWF there was nothing like it.  But those days are over, Paul, you aren’t the sharpest kid in class anymore – that’s me, and that’s my Bullet Club.  Heyman becomes the first person to ask how AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura feel whenever Devitt says the Bullet Club is his (that's a thread that both Nigel and Regal will periodically pull at, but Ranallo will dismiss those thoughts as conspiratorial) Heyman says, that’s not really any of my business – my business is Summer Slam, my business is Brock Lesnar, and you know how I said I didn’t take it personally – Brock Lesnar takes it personally, you didn’t just turn on me, you didn’t just leave me laying at the Royal Rumble – you turned on Brock Lesnar, you attacked Brock Lesnar, stood on his prone body – humiliated Brock Lesnar.  Brock Lesnar just destroyed Mark Hunt (this is after the UFC fight, probably right after, like mid July) and he likes Mark Hunt, I mean, as much as Brock Lesnar can like anyone – you’re stepping in a ring with a man like Brock Lesnar, who you humiliated – who has the taste of blood still in his mouth.  You’re about to get hurt, Devitt.  You’re about to get badly, badly hurt.  Anderson and Gallows then enter – the three men surround Heyman, Devitt says Heyman still doesn’t get it – but he will, everyone will, after Summer Slam, they point the finger guns at Heyman as the segment ends. 

-Last match from this first group of 4, we know what Anderson and Gallows are doing, the Dudleys build is historical, they’re 10 time tag champs (Bubba’s got two more than that) and they go to a handful of the venues (or the spots where the venues used to be) where they won those titles for a series of vignettes all summer.  There they are at the ECW Arena, at the first ECW PPV, Barely Legal ’97, they won their first tag belts over the Eliminators.  Clips are shown, they reminisce.  There they are at the Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, two years later, in spring of ’99, they took the titles from Lance Storm and Justin Credible, clips are shown, they discuss that.  There they are in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, where later that same year they won the WWF tag titles in a tables match against the Hardys, clips are shown, there’s reminiscing.  Here they are at the Astrodome - Two years later, Wrestlemania 17 in 2001, where they won an elimination match against the Hardys/ Edge and Christian/ and Raven and Taz – clips/reminiscing.  Now, Orlando – outside of the Impact Zone – there’s a lot of TNA talk peppered throughout this year and it includes plugs for whatever is going on in TNA at that time (similar to the way there were plugs for NJPW prior to the arrival of the Bullet Club, which turned out to be in exchange for intellectual property considerations)  one vignette covers all 4 TNA wins, Final Resolution in 2007 when they beat Austin Aries/Alex Shelley and Petey Wiliams/Chris Sabin – Lockdown 5 years later in 2012 when they beat RVD and Jeff Hardy – Final Resolution at the end of 2012 when they beat James Storm and Hernandez – and then finally Bound for Glory in 2014 when they beat Sanada and Muta.  They don’t have clips, obviously, but tell stories about those matches.  Finally, a vignette from inside the Tokyo Dome – and this is the first one that addresses Anderson and Gallows, saying they come in talking about being IWGP tag champs- guess what, the Dudleys did that too, they beat Makabe and Yano in Wrestle Kingdom in 2009 and then Magnus and Doug Williams later that year.  20 years, they say, covering both hemispheres and 4 different promotions – the 10 time world tag team champions the Dudley Boys.  And at Summer Slam, they’re bringing all of it – two decades of titles, all the blood, sweat, tears will be in every single glass light tube and Singapore cane they swing against the heads of Anderson and Gallows. 

WWF Title: AJ Styles (w/Bullet Club) vs. Kevin Steen
IC Title: El Generico vs. Rusev (w/GHB and Lana)
Brock Lesnar vs. Prince Devitt (w/Bullet Club)
Weapons Match: Dudley Boys v. Anderson/Gallows

4 matches down.  6 to go.  See you in a couple weeks for Part 2


Anonymous said...

Having your spouse as your running mate? Is that legal? What state is Vince representing (assuming Linda's Connecticut?)

Jim said...

1. I don't see why not.
2. Probably Florida, they had a residence forever, of theu don't have it anymore easy to get one.

Blogger Template created by Just Blog It