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.

Mistakes, I've Made a Few - Summer Slam Edition

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

I did this last summer with Wrestlemania.  Seemed like a good exercise.  Let's talk Summer Slam mistakes, reconsiderations.

1988 - As mentioned in the Mania mistakes, I pushed Dynamite a year too far and would not have had him be champ in '88.  The substitute I suggested then was DiBiase, and I think that would have been a better route. 

1989 - I really hate that these events aren't all in their own posts, I wasn't doing separate posts to build the events yet, so I used a few paragraphs at the end of one event to set up the other, but I dislike the end product.  As mentioned in the Wrestlemania mistakes piece, the Ultimate Warrior Christopher St Connection gimmick entertained me at the time as a shot at IRL Warrior's homophobia, but it doesnt hold up very well.   My initial plan with the 2017 Anderson/Gallows v. American Alpha program was to recreate this blow off cage match that the Rockers had with the Brainbusters, but I'm not able to use Alpha again until the Rumble (and after that, who knows?) so I put them under.  

1990 - I've talked enough about the Warrior and the problematic nature of his heel character.  Hey, it's the WWF fork.  I enjoyed that as a simple prop and liked that Savage always lost to Hennig. The Marty/Rude tag act was a weird deal, I just wanted to squeeze in another run for Rude before he left but there's no real way it fits into the broad narrative.

1991 - One of the choices I could have made is try to build some work equity in some of the undercard guys I had access to.  Power & Glory is a team I could have decided was better than I positioned them, so when they work for the tag belts here they could have had a little more steam.

1992 - The Triple Crown was a good idea, it's a good value add, gives me a storyline I can always go to if needed.  Summer Slam is historically the show where I've had the smallest talent pool, so you keep seeing that play out in these shows.

1993 - I like all the Harts/Clique stuff; having two warring families as the bedrock for this ongoing story was good soap opera structure

1994 - I mentioned in the Mania mistakes piece that I should have had a women's match at X, that could have continued here.

1995 - Same deal in '95, even if I only did women's matches at Summer Slam and Mania in this era it would stretch these thin cards.

1996 - I thought I really nailed these Cactus Jack promos I wrote in this stretch. 

1997 - I'd like to put together a list of guys I got to use once, like Pillman and Low Ki.  I knew at the time having non finishes for the top two matches is a really bad result for paying customers to one of the four biggest shows of the year, but I decided the storytelling sacrifice was worth it.  

1998 - I never did a great job of capitalizing on the relationship E/C had with Owen.  Setting him on fire, while fictionally fun, really puts a lot of weight on flash paper to do IRL, and since I'm going to turn Cactus face like a second later, I maybe don't do this again.

1999 - I didn't do a great job in building the Cactus/Austin career match; that's more of a function of how much less build I was doing back then, today there would have been a lot more ink spilled.

2000-Fatu was a better worker than Kane, I didn't use him much as I was not a Too Cool guy, but I should have used him more as a brawler.  

2001-This is pretty good, my invasion stuff wasn't great, a lot of moving parts and not enough time to manage them all, but it served to really solidify Angle as the undisputed champion of the world, since he unified all of the belts - and a few years later when I do the brand split, this laid some groundwork for that.  

2002-I liked the Angle/Brock relationship; Lesnar as young heel, Angle as babyface mentor who couldn't see what a jerk his protegee was, and that disconnect between Angle and the audience over Brock precipitates Angle's heel turn.  I like that disenchanted babyface champion turns heel gimmick.  Lot of talent here - I still had Angle/Eddy/Benoit, and now I had Rey, HBK, Brock.

2003-Yeah, this is good stuff.  This was a good stretch.

2004-I had forgotten that Orton and Cena were part of that Nick Dinsmore "old guys/young guys" divide.  The Hardys are interesting characters, if wrestling was a sport, their journey from teenagers on trampolines to IRL today would be a narrative that WWF fans would constantly hear about.  WWF has done such a poor job of building sympathy for those guys.  I invested in Paul London in a way that didn't pay off as much as I'd wanted.

2005-man, I did a ton of build for this one, I'm never going to get tired of calling him HHH-M; Parejas Increibles was a good idea to extend the short Summer Slam roster of wrestlers and that's a sort of thing that I should have considered with the earlier shows. I sold this as Hogan's last match and then used him the following year.

2006 - this is the first event I wrote after Benoit died, I placed a bet on Teddy Hart here, sticking him with Edge in a way that didnt pay off at all.  Jeff's return was cool.

2007 - another thing I could have done in those early years is have guys work twice, like the Juggernaut did here, to extend the roster. I liked S&S as a gimmick.  Fit/Nitro was a fun program.

2008 - I had forgotten how many 4-5 part builds I was doing for these shows.  Jeff doing the Blood Dragon gimmick was good as a way to get the spot where Christian eventually returned.  Investing that long IC run into MVP didn't pay any long term dividends.

2009 - Even today, when I'm using the figurehead GM gimmick, I wonder if I should be.  I dislike it IRL and have since the earliest Mr McMahon days (I am not on the Austin/McMahon was the greatest feud ever train).  I've almost always done babyface GMs in a way to differentiate this from the "babyface fights the authority" IRL trope, and I think (particularly with Steamboat) I've done some good storytelling with it (and it gives me a place to put guys I wouldn't otherwise be able to use) but if you see Danielson now and think that the gimmick just wore thin years ago, I'd get that.  IRL I just don't like any of the GM stuff and I don't recall the last time a McMahon did something I thought was good TV.

2010 - first show I wrote after my dad died, which was a challenging time, I got to do Danielson/Punk, the bet I made that GDI was going to be a useful mechanism paid off enormously.

2011 - Underground was fun; I wanted to find a new Harts/Clique and a good way to express the IRL divide between the indie guys and the home grown workers, it worked out.

2012 - I really liked the Steamboat's towel angle, it was good storytelling, but it does keep us from the pinfall finish of Lesnar/Punk

2013 - hey, there's Senator Linda McMahon.  Wonder how that will turn out.

2014 - Vince's non profit being called Stand Back is a funny joke.

2015 - I think I've said The Shield lost their titles at Mania, they didn't, it was here.

I'll stop here, 2016 was just last year.  This wasn't as useful an exercise as the Mania exercise was, I hit the broad themes of the booking problems in that post a year ago. I'll do another filler post next month, then in July I'm back with the build to the biggest show of 2017 - Summer Slam

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