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 2017- Part 2

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Part I was here.

Here’s what we’ve got already:

WWF Title: AJ Styles v. Samoa Joe 
The Shield (Ambrose/Black) v. Shinsuke Nakamura/Prince Devitt
Loser Leaves Town: Kevin Steen (w/Generico) v. Neville (w/Claudio)
Claudio Castagnoli v. Akira Tozawa

And here’s what’s left:

No DQ: IC: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. Braun Strowman
Tags: Broken Hardys v. Usos (Jimmy/Jey)
Langston (w/New Day) v. Roman Reigns-Uso
Rusev (w/Lana) v. Mike Mizanin
No DQ: Full Circle (Orton/Cena) v. Bray Wyatt/Taylor Rotunda

Strowman’s been mashing dudes the entire calendar year; it started with Mizanin, Strowman was one of the men who gave up a pinfall during the Miz’s time as The Cuck, that seemed to shake the monster out of him.  After destroying Mizanin he was confronted by Sheamus (The Cuck’s main antagonist, Mizanin earned Sheamus’s respect at the conclusion of their program) Strowman was angered at the temerity of a guy who was once called the Clique Killer dressing him down for excessive violence against the Miz.  That anger led Strowman to go on a jihad against the entire previous generation of Underground (Strowman came up, like Sheamus, through developmental).  Curtis/Slater/Ryder all got squashed in the build to Mania – and at Mania, Strowman squashed the former IC Champ Sheamus.

The first half of the summer is a build to Strowman/Nemeth – Nemeths the Triple Crown winning Underground golden boy; he remains Underground’s only WWF Champion and once Strowman even draws Curt Hawkins back to the WWF to get manhandled and threatens Regal that he shouldn’t get in his way – Nemeth has to stand up for his Underground cohort.

Strowman squashes him too – a devastating destruction of a legitimate star. Postmatch, barely sweating, he’s interviewed on the ramp by Renee, Strowman says he’s the man and he wants the belt.  Renee asks if that means he is challenging the winner of AJ/Joe?  Strowman says no –he wants the Real Worlds Champion – he wants Lesnar.

Brock won the IC at the Rumble, Heyman immediately began pumping up Lesnar as the Real World’s Champion (Lesnar is prohibited from earning another WWF Title shot due to a career ending attack on longtime WWF announcer Joey Styles) and that drumbeat has continued throughout the year.  A week later, Strowman is a guest on Heyman’s Hustle – Heyman tells him he’s impressed with the violence, but that he’s too green and not in Lesnar’s league.  Strowman tells Heyman Lesnar’s scared - Heyman says Braun misunderstands – Lesnar accepts the challenge – at Summer Slam it is Strowman taking on Lesnar for the Real World’s Championship – but the fact is Strowman’s too green and not in Lesnar’s league and you don’t need to believe Heyman – you can hear it right from the horse’s mouth.

Surprise appearance by Lesnar, his music plays, he appears on the ramp.

Strowman doesn’t wait – he exits the ring – he walks right up to Lesnar, they go nose to nose – they start jawing at each other – security swarms and separates them.

Strowman keeps working in the build, squashing whomever they put in front of him – making the sign for the belt postmatch.  Strowman’s an unstoppable machine and he wants Lesnar.  Heyman appears regularly to cut promos establishing that Lesnar is the Real World’s Champ, he’ll roll over Strowman, he’ll roll over his Survivor Series opponent, he’ll roll over his Royal Rumble opponent, he’ll roll until the moment he decides to stop rolling and not a moment before.

We also see Lesnar a few times in the back half of the build; he does a couple of vignettes where he’s working out with Kurt Angle.

Lesnar was Angle’s protégé, he turned on him as one does, and they met for the WWF Title almost 15 years ago at WM19.  Life took them in different directions, and the two men had not spoken (they wrestled in Japan a decade ago) until the main event segment the night after RAW, which was a celebration for Angle (who returned to the WWF for the first time in a decade as a special guest referee at Mania).

The host for that segment is Regal, who was Angle’s best friend, the Enforcer in Team Angle, and he and Kurt had not spoken since Angle left the promotion.  Regal introduces Angle as the greatest WWF Champion of the modern era, and Kurt appears on RAW for the first time in over a decade.
He comes out in the mirrored sunglasses, which was the heel Angle trademark look, but as the crowd cheers (the IRL comp is Hogan’s first return from WCW) it breaks him down, the glasses come off, he and Regal hug.  Angle talks to the crowd, says he’s glad to be home.

Regal says there are some people who want to say hello to him.

The first wave are the guys who are still with the promotion from Kurt’s time – PAUL, Kane, Mark Henry and with them a special appearance by the Undertaker. 

Regal says that like Angle, he has had some terrible enemies in the ring over the years, but the years soften even the hardest hearts.  And with that – Regal introduces Angle’s longtime rivals, the Clique. 
Edge – Christian – Shawn Michaels – HHH-M – Brian Kendrick – and, if we can get him, Paul London come down the ramp.  Team Angle had a long, vicious feud against the Clique, but now all the men shake hands and hug – Angle clearly moved by the sentiment.

Regal says and finally, your friends – and then we see Shelton Benjamin and (if we can get him) Charlie Haas.  Benjamin and Haas, like Lesnar, were Angle protégés, Benajmin was really Angle’s last remaining friend in the WWF, as his behavior drove away everyone who once was close to him.  Benjamin defeated Angle in his final WWF match and then went on himself to become WWF Champion and this is his first appearance in the WWF after several years away.

Regal gives some concluding comments – which are interrupted by a surprise appearance from Lesnar.

And this becomes the big moment of the night – it is the first meeting of Lesnar and Angle in over a decade.  The look warily at each other – and then Brock extends his hand. Angle accepts – the two men shake hands as the crowd cheers and RAW ends.

So – as we return to the build to Summer Slam, in the back half of the summer we have 2-3 vignettes of Brock and Angle at a gym, sort of lightly working out, really just talking, Angle gets excited talking about watching Brock in UFC, Brock says he might have seen Angle fight in TNA a couple of times too.  Just really them reconnecting.  One thing that’s established is Angle asking about Brock’s arm – Jericho clearly worked an injured Lesnar elbow during their Mania match, Brock says he’s fine. 

Brock appears on live WWF TV one more time – he has a match just a couple of weeks out of Summer Slam, squashes someone, it doesn’t matter.  Strowman appears on the ramp – this time it’s Lesnar who exits the ring to meet him – security again comes, but the two men stare the entire squad down – neither says a word – eventually Strowman moves aside and Lesnar exits. 

The Broken Hardys will spend even less time in the WWF arenas over the summer than Lesnar; they’ll do, I’d guess you’d call them short films, to establish the Broken Universe for the WWF audience.  There’s not really any limit – if Matt wants to do one a week all summer, that’s fine.  The only thing we’re holding back is any appearance by old wrestlers like the Rock N Roll Express.  The Hardys do their rap about gold that they did IRL in the stretch prior to coming back to the promotion; they are collecting all the gold and now they hold the most precious gold of all, the WWF Tag Titles.

They’re challenged by the Usos, who turned heel in the build to Mania, they spend the summer establishing the same cocky heel voice they found IRL.  Not turning heel is Roman; Jimmy and Jey do a Luger/Sting thing here, they’re heels on their own, but pretend to be faces when Roman is looking. They spend the summer in a 6 man feud with The New Day, now pure babyfaces.  They work in all the various combinations, leading to the Roman/Langston Summer Slam match. 

The Hardys make their first live appearance in a RAW arena about 2/3 of the way through the summer, it’s a heavily promoted episode of Heyman’s Hustle.  That interview will be interrupted by the Usos – who say they don’t care about Senor Benjamin or King Maxel or Super Tampax for Active Lifestyles or whatever Matt calls his kid – at Summer Slam, they’re whipping some old Hardy ass and taking their belts back.  Broken Matt appreciates the wordplay and says the Usos will be deleted at Summer Fest .

The previously mentioned Mizanin is working Summer Slam against the former IC Champ Rusev.  GHB is now gone, there’s no more talk about contemporary American politics, the Russian flag is gone, Lana and Rusev are still Russian heels, but we’ve moved on from their antagonistic relationship to Vince and Linda. 

Finally – Cena and Orton were tag champs over a decade ago, they’ve made their way back to each other and are called Full Circle; their program against Bray and Harper didn’t end at Mania, it continues throughout the first half of the summer, both in singles and in tags, building to a blowoff match where Full Circle injures Harper and really lays into Bray – like maybe he’s handcuffed to some structure and they’re beating him with sticks – it’s a “someone needs to stop this” angle. 

Who stops it is Taylor Rotunda; Rotunda is enhancement talent, for years the only role in which we’ve seen him is putting guys over – here he sacrifices his body to save Bray.  Rotunda then becomes Bray’s latest acolyte, he’s watched the Wyatt Family and now that Harper is out indefinitely he sees that Bray is all alone – and, for some reason he can’t really explain, he’s drawn to Bray.  He wants to walk in Bray’s light. 

Bray and Rotunda will team up and look for some revenge against Full Circle at Summer Slam.

What’s left is Dark Ride.  So – the rules of the Dark Ride Title is only wrestlers who haven’t worked WWF PPV in a year are eligible; and if they sign for a PPV, they must relinquish the belt. 
That’s Joe – and so, he comes to the house he built, Dark Ride Wrestling, to give up the Title.

The summer is then the build for Dark Ride Warfare, a 20 man Battle Royal that includes both pinfalls and over the top eliminations, the winner gets the belt.

There are some matches to qualify for the big match, there are a lot of promos to build to the big match – I won’t go through the actual order/eliminations (I save that for main roster battle royals). 

Here’s who is in the match:

Aleister Black – I’d rather call him Tommy End, it’s a way, way better name and I already have Tyler Black.  But – he’s coming up through Underground and those guys change their names. 

Cedric Alexander – babyface, he’s going to come out of this feuding with Black, he’s unaffiliated

Johnny Gargano – Gargano is Trash-adjacent, devotee of the philosophy of Neville, which is a home for disaffected babyfaces.  We put in so many years for you people and this is what you give us?  We see than continued disenchantment for Gargano.

Roderick Strong – Strong and Gargano are going to come out of this feuding, Strong’s spending most of the summer on the main roster with the Horsemen. 

Mascara Dorada – unaffiliated  babyface who will be feuding with…

Lio Rush – Rush, like Black, is with Underground.

Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate - the two British guys will be feuding

Brian Kendrick – he and Mizanin are the last two surviving members of the Clique

Rich Swann– he puts Kendrick over until he leaves 

Eric Young – he debuts in this run and will be feuding with..

Jack Gallagher.

Drew Gulak/Mustafa Ali – they feud against each other

Dustin Rhodes/Primo Colon – two main roster guys who haven’t been in a PPV in a year

Velveteen Dream – a young boy, he’s putting everyone over

3 left – and they will be the final 3 guys in the match.

Sombra/Kenta/Chris Hero

-Zelina Vega joins Sombra’s act during this stretch, Sombra has been held down, he was turned on by Devitt when they were both Paul Heyman Guys and subsequently has largely been lost.  Now Vega becomes his mouthpiece vowing that he will become the next Dark Ride Champion.

-Kenta was also once a Paul Heyman Guy and defeated Bryan Danielson in the main event at Wrestlemania in Dragon’s last match.  But injuries derailed him and now he returns, vowing that he will become the next Dark Ride Champion.

-Hero only appears via vignettes, his first appearance on Dark Ride will be in this match; we establish that he’s returning to the WWF, he’s not coming back to join Claudio in Trash, he and Claudio haven’t spoken in awhile, both of them have had a change of heart.  Hero, who was a heel in his first WWF run, is now an older, wiser babyface, knowing that this is probably his last opportunity to reach a big stage.  He says he isn’t coming back to be in GDI – “GDI is dead” Hero says. 

The three men have an extended sequence at the end of the match, Hero eliminates Sombra and Kenta wins the Dark Ride Wrestling Championship by eliminating Hero.  Sombra and Hero both stay in the ring, shaking Kenta’s hand postmatch.

Then there’s a never before brand new variation of the GDI theme music.

And coming from the back, all making their WWF debuts – Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish.  

They’re all wearing new GDI shirts.  They slowly make their way to the ring – ignoring the three men at mid ring – they climb the buckles – they are going to get cheered – they point to their shirts – they are GDI – GDI is not dead – GDI lives – and it’s O’Reilly, Cole, and Fish.

That kicks off a program with those 6 guys, Kenta/Sombra/Hero against GDI.

The other Dark Ride note is Asuka's unbeaten streak continues - she's getting the IRL Goldberg treatment, she has a full cheerleader in Graves who otherwise is considered a heel announcer, Graves suggests she should be in that Dark Ride Warfare match, for example.  Signs go up in the arena giving her current win total, there's a social media campaign...maybe at every 25 wins people get a burrito or whatever the tie in might be.  Asuka is essentially a co-headliner with whatever the top men's match is at that moment.  

And that’s it. 

Here’s your card for Summer Slam 30.

WWF Title: AJ Styles v. Samoa Joe
The Shield (Ambrose/Black) v. Shinsuke Nakamura/Prince Devitt
No DQ: IC: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. Braun Strowman
Tags: Broken Hardys v. Usos (Jimmy/Jey)
Loser Leaves Town: Kevin Steen v. Prince Devitt
Claudio Castagnoli v. Akira Tozawa
Langston v. Roman Reigns-Uso
Rusev v. Mike Mizanin
No DQ: Full Circle (Orton/Cena) v. Bray Wyatt/Taylor Rotunda

Add in the Women’s Title contract signing and we’ve got the hottest card of 2017

1 comment

Butch Rosser said...

Doesn't currently link to SummerSlam at the end of the post.

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