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 Survivor Series 2017-Part II

Monday, October 01, 2018

Survivor Series is next month.  Last month, we covered half the card:

That’s the first half of the card:

WWF Title: Samoa Joe v. AJ Styles v. Prince Devitt (Guest referee – Bryan Danielson)
No DQ: Dean Ambrose v. Tyler Black (w/Bullet Club)
Shinsuke Nakamura d. Bobby Roode
Womens Title: Becky Lynch (w/Anderson and Gallows) v. Charlotte Flair (w/Strong)
Full Circle (Orton/Cena) v. Sheamus/Mizanin

Here, we’ll cover the other half of the card plus Dark Ride.

IC Title: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. Kurt  Angle (w/ Shelton Benjamin)
Tags Titles: Tornado Match: Usos (Roman/Jimmy/Jey) v.New Day (Langston/Kingston/Woods)
The Tres Bon Mask Challenge: El Generico v. Kalisto
Claudio Castagnoli (w/Gargano) v. Kid Canada
Asuka  v. Bayley  

IC Title: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. Kurt  Angle (w/ Shelton Benjamin)

Before Paul Heyman, the pivotal figure in Brock Lesnar’s life was Kurt Angle – Lesnar (Haas, Benjamin, Batista) were all on Camp Angle (IRL Tough Enough) being put through their paces on the way to a WWF career.  Lesnar became Angle’s protégé at a time when Kurt was a dominant babyface world champion.  Lesnar, however, was a dick, a condition that Angle was the last to notice, so when the other babyface wrestlers/fans began to turn on Kurt – he felt that betrayal. By the time Lesnar (and Haas and Benjamin) all turned on Kurt, the damage had been done in each direction.  Angle beat Lesnar at WM19, Lesnar would leave the promotion, Angle would become the diabolical leader of Team Angle (Regal/Haas/Benjamin) and maintain that persona as he then left the promotion (by the hand of Benjamin, who himself would go on to be WWF Champion)

Cut to today; Lesnar is a babyface IC Champ – the Real World’s Champ, according to Heyman (Brock has been prohibited from challenging for the WWF Title) and as he’s been beating that drum the entire calendar year it has really started to take hold.   A week after Summer Slam (Brock kept against Strowman) the main event segment of RAW is Heyman and Brock in the ring, waiting for the announcement of the main who will be challenging him for the title.

Paul does his “reigning, defending” shtick.

And then Kurt Angle’s music hits.

There is no reason to have anticipated this – Angle hasn’t wrestled in a WWF ring in well over a decade, he returned as a special guest referee at WM, had a special night dedicated to him the night following, and has only been seen since in a couple/three workout vignettes with Lesnar, really two old warhorses catching up.  UFC talk.  TNA talk.  Family talk – just seeing a rebuilding of that relationship so many years later.

But now – Kurt Angle – arguably the greatest WWF Champion of the modern era – is coming to the ring.

Before Angle can speak – Brock takes the mic from Heyman “Hell, no Kurt.  I am not going to be responsible for hurting you.  Hell no.”

Kurt responds – the beats are these:  he thinks Brock is the Real World’s Champion, he thinks he has a couple more matches left in him, the one thing he’s never done, from his great amateur career, to the WWF, to TNA – the one thing he’s never done is win the Triple Crown.  All he needs is the IC Title to do that.  Kurt says he doesn’t have a bucket list – but if he did, it would only have one item – win the Triple Crown.

Heyman now responds – and even as he’s saying no, he’s putting Angle over: Angle’s the greatest WWF Champion of all time, he’s had a legendary wrestling career, but he doesn’t want it to end the way Brock Lesnar would end it at Survivor Series.

Kurt, really for the first time, now talks to Paul.

Two men – like a father and stepfather – now battling over their shared son.

Kurt says nobody knows Brock like Paul does – but maybe Kurt knows a couple of things too.

Kurt says Brock might not know too many of the wrestlers, and might not care about too many things but the numbers of zeroes on his checks – but deep down, in places that Paul Heyman might not know about – Brock Lesnar knows theres one thing missing from his resume.

He’s never beaten Kurt Angle.  Not in an official match, not a sparring session, not in a gym, not in the locker room.  Never.  Once.

And Brock can win all the titles and make all the money and shoot all the deer he wants – but until he beats Kurt Angle, he will always have that hole in his life.

Brock sells that completely– he stops smiling, he gets closer to Kurt, he now stands between Heyman and Angle.

Kurt says that he knows something else  (he taps Lesnar’s elbow) “you got a weakness, Champ.

Strowman was too green to know what to do about it – but I’m not.  Maybe what happens at Survivor Series is I tap you out – I  win the Triple Crown – I become the Real World’s Champion – maybe that’s what happens”

Lesnar grabs the microphone from Heyman and accepts the match, throws down the mic, and walks out before Paul can say anything at all.  Angle smiles broadly next to a shocked Heyman as the segment ends.

Angle spends the build at WWFU – his old running mate Regal gives him access to the facilities – and so we get multiple hard training segments with Angle ---and Shelton Benjamin.  And in a reversal from their decade ago dynamic it is Benjamin who is the taskmaster – really driving Angle hard – Benjamin getting personal with Angle, Benjamin saying whatever he has to say to drive Angle harder and harder and harder in preparation for Lesnar.  This is a nice, nice payoff from stories long ago; we saw Angle in the role of taskmaster with Benjamin really under the thumb - and now, here we are.

We get the build from Heyman/Lesnar that you’d expect – about three in ring promos where Heyman builds of the enormity of the match – hitting all the themes that were established in that first segment.  It’s a match you’d never thought you’d see again and never will see again after Survivor Series – it will be the end of Kurt Angle’s career – Heyman reminds us that Angle once consolidated all the World Titles – Rey Mysterio came over to the WWF with the NWA Title and Kurt took it from him.  RVD came over with the ECW Title and Kurt took it from him.  Heyman remembers that clearly because he was there with RVD, he saw Kurt take control over the ECW Title – saw his life’s work snatched away forever by Kurt Angle.

Well – there’s a title that Angle has – Angle’s the greatest WWF Champion of all time.  And at Survivor Series, Brock Lesnar will be taking that from him (this is a good build, right? You can see it)

That’s the stakes – it’s the IC Title, the “Real” World’s Title, the Triple Crown – is it the end of Kurt Angle’s career – it’s as big as we can build it – Lesnar vs. Angle, for the last time.

Tag Titles: Tornado Match: Usos (Roman/Jimmy/Jey) v.New Day (Langston/Kingston/Woods)

Since the end of the Shield two years ago, the constants in the division have been The Usos and The New Day – it was the Usos, then babyfaces, who took the titles from the New Day at WM a year and a half prior, and it’s the Usos, now heels, who hold the belts again.  They’re challenged by the now babyface New Day – at Summer Slam, Langston and Reigns fought to a time limit draw, Reigns didn’t hear the bell, so when Woods and Kingston jumped into the ring to stop him from going after Langston – he thought it was a 3 on 1 attack and takes that feeling into this build.

Why that matters is the Usos have been doing a IRL Sting/Luger thing with Roman, they’re heels, but they act like babyfaces when Roman is watching.

But thinking that the New Day have acted in an underhanded way sticks in Roman’s mind; and the build for this match furthers that belief (like the Usos do the spot where they pretend the New Day has used a foreign object to knock them out, when in actuality they planted the object – but it’s not the referee whose back is turned, it’s Roman’s, and so he thinks the New Day continues to cheat.  A couple of moments in that vein, and so as we get to Survivor Series the dynamic remains that Jimmy and Jey are heels, but Roman, a face, believes them to be faces – and the New Day are faces, by Roman believes them to be heels (I don't want Roman to come off as an idiot, it's really that IRL Sting/Luger thing with an extra twist; and Sting wasn't an idiot - just an overly trusting babyface)

It’s going to be a Tornado Match, all 6 men legal, they can fight both in and out of the ring, and it’s No DQ – it’s the type of match that really has been the backbone of the division since the formation of The Shield, leveraging the use of these 3 man teams to their maximum benefit.

The Tres Bon Mask Challenge: El Generico v. Kalisto
Claudio Castagnoli (w/Gargano) v. Kid Canada

At Summer Slam, Steen beat his former stablemate Neville in a Loser Leaves Town match, culminating the year long feud between the two former halves of GDI.  It was a blood feud, very intense, featuring a very emotional conclusion with Neville forced to leave the territory.  So – everyone takes the first half of the build off (for Steen, it’s more, we don’t see him at all). We are told in very clear terms that this feud is all over.

We return on a lighter note.  Generico is in the ring with the other masked wrestlers in the promotion – Kalisto/Dorada (IRL Metallik) and Sombra (IRL Cien Almas).

A video plays on the video wall – it’s  filmstrip/newsreel  like footage showing a history of Lucha Libre, focusing on the importance of the mask.  It’s cheesy – and the VO is done by someone identifying as Kid Canada, legendary Canadian luchador.  Kid Canada has a thick Quebecoise accent (like he’s doing a Pat Patterson impression).  It seems more familiar than that though...I can't quite place it...

The upshot is the four men in the ring will compete in the Tres Bon Mask Challenge (the name is supposed to be sort of funny) designed to prove who is the greatest masked wrestler in all of WWF.

In the qualifying matches, Generico beats Mascara Dorada, Kalisto beats Sombra.

There’s another segment then where Generico and Kalisto are in the ring – and there’s a second video from Kid Canada – he congratulates both men, says they will meet at Survivor Series – and also at Survivor Series, the winner of that match will learn what great masked wrestler from outside the WWF will be coming to the Royal Rumble to face him.

The other thing we learn from that segment is that Kid Canada will, himself, be making his WWF debut at Survivor Series – where he will take on – Claudio Castagnoli.

Claudio, for his part, has stopped speaking English.  The gimmick is Renee interviews him, asking him questions in English, obviously – and Claudio answers in any other language.  Never speaking a word of English.  Next to him is Gargano, who slides into the role as the other member of Trash.
Gargano and Ciampa were a babyface tag team – the Dark Ride Wrestling chapter of GDI, when GDI split up, they each chose sides.  Gargano went with Claudio and Neville – you can understand why Gargano might see an affinity with Neville’s basic argument “I was a great babyface wrestler for years and what do I have to show for it”

Gargano sat at Neville’s learning tree for the last year, internalizing all the gripes, and when Neville was then shown the door – losing his job, the way he feeds his family gone – it’s Gargano who feels that most personally.  Gargano now cuts promos saying “Don’t call me Johnny Wrestling.  You call me Johnny Trash.” (note, I'm always a year ahead in my preparation and then real world events cause me to edit/modify, meaning even though we're building to Survivor Series '17, I can switch screens right now and look at my card for Summer Slam 2018 - anywho - I've had this Johnny Trash thing on my board 6 months before the current real world NXT Gargano name thing)

Claudio doesn’t seem thrilled with the matchup against Kid Canada, a wrestler no one seems to know at all – and there’s something about his voice that multiple people seem to maybe….I don’t know…it’s sort of hard to put your finger on. He sort of sounds like - nah.  Can't be.

Asuka  v. Bayley  

Asuka and Bayley are making their PPV debuts together; Asuka is the headliner here – she’s doing an IRL Goldberg unbeaten streak – fans hold up sides with Whatever Number It Is-0 (pick your own number, do you want her to be 30-0, fine.  17-0? Great.  201-0? – honestly I don’t care, it’s an unbeaten streak and its gone on for awhile).  She doesn’t squash most opponents (because Asuka is a better worker than IRL Goldberg) she has great matches – and her best matches are with Bayley – who is IRL Bayley, plucky white meat babyface who hugs the fans and has climbed up from the very bottom of developmental to, against all odds, make the main roster and appear on Survivor Series against the woman she’s (obviously) never beaten, Asuka.  Like IRL Heenan with Goldberg, Corey Graves is a heel announcer on Dark Ride who rides hard for the monster babyface Asuka – he appears on RAW when this match is announced to hype it  - and he will be joining the announce team (making his PPV debut) for this match.

Over on Dark Ride Wrestling – the main rivalry is Kenta(the champ)/Hero/Sombra against the newly arrived next version of GDI – Cole/O’Reilly/Fish.  Near the end of the build, GDI fully stomps out Kenta at the top of the show, let’s say in the parking lot – it’s a night when Kenta has a scheduled title defense against Roderick Strong.  There’s speculation if he’ll be able to make it – but he’s Kenta, by God – and he does – and he loses.

Roderick Strong becomes Dark Ride Wrestling Champion – the rest of the Horsemen (including Joe, who created Dark Ride Wrestling and was its first champion) hit the ring for the celebration.
That means – that for that go home 7 on 7 that we set up in Part 1 of the Build – where Roode pins Nakamura – that’s a full on “Look at the Four Horsemen, on top of the Wrestling World” – moment; Samoa Joe is WWF Champion, Roderick Strong is Dark Ride Champion, Charlotte is about to take on Becky Lynch for the Women’s Championship – Roode has just pinned Nakamura (and, not for nothing, their three teammates, also standing tall in the ring post match are the 3 Usos – who all have tag belts – that’s a ton of title belts in the ring as we head to Survivor Series).

Okay, that’s plenty.  Here’s the show.

WWF Title: Samoa Joe v. AJ Styles v. Prince Devitt (Guest referee – Bryan Danielson)
IC Title: Brock Lesnar (w/Heyman) v. Kurt  Angle (w/ Shelton Benjamin)
Tags Titles: Tornado Match: Usos (Roman/Jimmy/Jey) v.New Day (Langston/Kingston/Woods)
No DQ: Dean Ambrose v. Tyler Black (w/Bullet Club)
Shinsuke Nakamura d. Bobby Roode
Womens Title: Becky Lynch (w/Anderson and Gallows) v. Charlotte Flair (w/Strong)
Tres Bon Mask Challenge: El Generico v. Kalisto
Claudio Castagnoli (w/Gargano) v. Kid Canada
Asuka  v. Bayley  
Full Circle (Orton/Cena) v. Sheamus/Mizanin

It’s fun, right? Some good matchups, some interesting storylines?  You’d buy this – Danielson as a guest ref, Angle vs. Lesnar, the Shield match?  You know that tag title will be good; you know Generico/Kalisto and Asuka/Bayley will both be good.  You’re buying this thing.  Let’s do it.  See you in November

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