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.

Survivor Series 2014

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The build is here.

Survivor Series 2014, the 28th Survivor Series, is coming to you from St. Louis.
(Dark – Kalisto d. Kidd
              Devitt d. Kenta)

Note that Devitt continues to not be referenced on any WWF platform and his dark match is not shown on the network.

Quick highlight package of the first 27 Survivor Series, the matches for which have been counting down on the Network in the build, one per day, as part of a full 30 minute documentary about each.

From 87 – the Harts losing the tag titles, ending the longest tag reign in WWF history
From 88 – the Heenan Family forming, Rude/Hennig/Arn/Tully
From 89 – Hennig taking the WWF Title from Savage
From 90 -  Undertaker debuting, destroying Jimmy Snuka
From 91 – Piper beating Bret to take the IC title
From 92 – HBK wrestling twice, beating Savage to take the IC but then dropping it to Owen
From 93 – Razor turned on Shawn and Diesel after they beat up Waltman
From 94 – Shawn wins the triple crown, beating Owen for the strap
From 95 – Bret keeps the title over his old partner Davey Boy
From 96 – Rock’s debut, he goes over the Taker.
From 97 – Bret fastening the title belt around Owen’s waist after the Montreal match
From 98 – Austin beats Regal to keep the IC.
From 99 – Dudleys win the title in a tables match to take the title from the Hardys
From 00 – the only Eddy v. Dean PPV match in WWF history
From 01 – DDP hits the diamond cutter to beat Austin
From 02 – Brock destroys HHH outside the ring
From 03-Matt Hardy attacks RVD with a fork
From 04-Angle/Benjamin take the tag titles from  Rey/RVD
From 05-The creation of the 51% Solution, Hunter beats Michaels in a weapons match, Flair and Steamboat exchange chops on the ramp.
From 06-Punk beats Flair for the title, then throws down the belt, the key moment in late period WWF.
From 07-Rey keeps the WWF Title over the Taker.
From 08-Orton beats Regal in a parking garage brawl.
From 09-Steamboat introduces the future of the WWF, Danielson and Low Ki
From 10-Danielson beats Low Ki in their only WWF match
From 11-Foley brings GDI, including the Kings of Wrestling, back to WWF to go after Underground
From 12-Danielson keeps the title over Rey
From last year – the creation of the Paul Heyman Guys, Brock and Swagger attack Danielson and Punk after their draw

Joey is calling his 37th PPV.  Alongside is a surprise, Paul Heyman, calling his first PPV since Rumble ‘93

Heyman’s been gone during the build, he’ll re-establish Brock’s relevance throughout the night.

1.       Fandango Curtis/Heath Slater d. Damien Sandow/Justin Gabriel
-The stip, recall, is someone’s getting let go from Underground.  Heyman puts Regal over, discusses how well he handles developmental – says a guy like Kalisto, who we saw here in the pre-show match, is ready to come up, so someone’s got to make room for him.  There is a machine building at WWFU, and Heyman knows that he’s fighting the inevitable – that Regal is right, there will be a day when every match is Underground vs. Underground.

The story here is Sandow, again he seems listless and that leads to a finish where Gabriel gets pinned.

Fortunately for Sandow, Gabriel gets hurt – so as part of the build for the Rumble, we see a Hard Knocks like scene where Regal releases him. 

2.       Rusev (w/GHB and Lana) d. Colons
-A squash, GHB and Lana do their act outside, Rusev does his power man stuff, both Colons get pinned simultaneously – Heyman puts over GHB as a guy who knows how to mine for talent and has really found someone in Rusev.  Says he’s wary of Lana and wonders how long this partnership can stay strong.

3.       John Cena NC Jack Swagger
-          This is a shmozz, ref bump, Virgil enters, Cody enters, the match gets thrown out.  Cena and Swagger fight back up the ramp and the Rhodes brothers brawl can’t be contained – they won’t get in the ring – so on the fly the match is changed to a Falls Count Anywhere.

4.       Falls Count Anywhere: Virgil d. Cody Rhodes
-          Dustin was part of the Wyatt attack on Dusty and Piper, laying both old men out – that’s ratcheted up this feud, Cody moves from trying to help his older brother escape this cult to wanting to kick his ass.  They brawl all over the arena and it’s Dustin, still called Virgil officially although Joey forgets sometimes, who goes over.  Heyman puts Dustin over, says he’s known him for almost 30 years, and he’s on fire.  He puts over Bray, says he understands he’s unpopular among guys like Joey Styles, but Bray has turned on the fountain of youth for Virgil.

We get a pretape.  Regal and Steamboat announce a partnership.  What has been GDI’s weekly wrestling show will now be GDI v. Underground (or GVU).  GDI has had a weekly show for 8 years, sometimes on television, now on the Network – sometimes it’s been a live wrestling show at the Manhattan Center, branded The Dragon’s Lair – sometimes on the road, working with any indie or international promotion that they can work with.

But now – with Underground growing, the show becomes GVU and is primarily based at Full Sail, it probably starts off 50/50 but slowly becomes more like 75/25.  In addition, WWF main roster guys will sprinkle their way onto the shows, the gimmick is that the main event is always GDI vs. Underground, but other matches can be any configuration, given how many more bodies Underground has than GDI.


5.       Women’s Title: Natty Neidhart d. Paige d. AJ
-          Before the match, the Harts, in their hockey jerseys, come down to ringside to sit in the front row.  Bret, Anvil, then Jericho – not in the JerichoDeath persona but wearing his #7 jersey, then Storm, then Edge.  All in the pink and black Hart Foundation hockey jerseys that have existed the full three decade run of the WWF WM era. 

Heyman helps set the stakes – given who AJ’s husband is, there is no doubt that since her deal is up tomorrow, she will take this belt and go home.  Paige is representing Underground, and as much as Regal is preparing to dominate the men – Underground is training a squadron of the best women’s wrestlers in WWF history, and once they get the belt they might never lose it.  And for Natty, she has a chance to get a jersey, to become #11, and you have to know it would be the biggest moment in her life.

It’s Three Way Dance rules, Natty pins AJ first, AJ attacks Paige after (Paige was outside) in a way that aids Natty, as Natty will work the body part injured by Paige and eventually get that fall, winning the relaunched women’s belt.

The next night is the last night of AJs deal, she’ll lose to Paige, after which Charlotte, Sasha and Becky will attack, along with Paige beating AJ down and then holding up 4 fingers each.

Their stable name is Four Ground. 

There are four of them, it’s a play off foreground, as in women are no longer in the background – and it’s a play off Underground, as they’re all from developmental.  There’s the Horsemen overtone for Charlotte, there’s the idea of working on the ground for technical wrestling or MMA.  Four Ground. 
But that’s tomorrow – right now, the Harts all come to the ring to celebrate with Natty; Tyson Kidd enters – he and Natty have been storyline broken up for years and Kidd’s been a heel for a year, but Kidd hugs her – and then the Anvil hands Natty the #11 Hart Foundation hockey jersey as Bret fastens the title belt around her waist.  It’s a moment. 

6.       IC: Luke Harper d. Nick Nemeth
-          The 63rd IC Champion in WWF history is Luke Harper.  He does it alone, no Wyatt interference; Joey loves Nick Nemeth, puts him over in the way JR would have put Shawn Michaels over, to Joey, this is the man – so it’s a stunner – when the powerman from the Wyatts wins clean.

But he does – and afterward Cena and Virgil hit the ring to celebrate with him.  Big night for the Wyatts and the title match is still to come. 

7.       Tags: TLC 2 of 3 belts: The Shield (Rollins/Ambrose/Langston) d. Usos (Reigns/Jimmy/Jey)
-Prior to the match, a highlight package with the 94 previous WWF tag tram champions, from Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler all the way to Wade Barrett and Ryback.  A win here by the Shield and they will have a longer title reign than all of them.

The last TLC tag match was the 2003 Rumble, so almost 12 years have gone by – the reason is five of the 6 men that night were stretchered out, so that’s what the expectation is – like the Cell gimmick, if its used, the promise is carnage.  Add in the 2 of 3 stip, that all 3 title belts are raised above the ring and the winner is the first to pull down 2 and you have a hurdle worthy of the goal the Shield is looking to achieve.

They get it of course, Reigns gets the first belt – but Ambrose and then Rollins get the second and third.  Jey winds up taking the worst bump, getting stretchered away and its unclear when he’ll return. 

Postmatch Bret and the Anvil return to the ring – they shake hands with the Shield – they’ve been largely cool heels/babyfaces when it made sense; but the length of the run, the desire that fans have to see history – and now this type of body killing match followed up by and endorsement by the surviving members of the team they passed up – the Shield is now pretty clearly a babyface team.  Heyman calls them the greatest tag team in wrestling history.

8.       WWF Title No DQ: Claudio Castagnoli d. Bray Wyatt
-Bray’s got everything going for him; Claudio’s makeshift crew is unlikely to show up to aid him, given the way the evening has gone for Cody and Nemeth.  Conversely Virgil and Harper have both won.  With the No DQ stip – is it all over for Claudio?  Is the Hey Movement dead?


We’re told during the match by Heyman that he’s gotten final word (he can be on his cell pre match for a Dangerous Alliance callback) that negotiations are complete and that Brock Lesnar will be taking on the winner of the match at the Rumble.

It’s mainly a brawl, a lot of ringside stuff – to contrast with the first match.  No interference as it turns out.  Cena and Virgil hit the ramp – but are wiped out by the dive of the video wall, in a callback spot, from a returning Pac and Generico.

Harper then walks by the four bodies, he’s coming down the ramp with his new IC belt – but he’s stopped by some unfamiliar music to a WWF arena, Unsettling Differences by Blue Smock Nancy.

And the emergence of the man for whom that music is playing.

Kevin Steen.

Harper drops the belt – charges at Steen – and they have a wild brawl on the ramp.

Claudio’s gonna get the fall.  And the rest of GDI, with their newest member, will hit the ring – all 4 men ending the show by hitting the turnbuckles.  Kevin Steen is in the WWF.  Kevin Steen is in GDI!

Back in December, the 10th anniversary, if you can believe it, of the Counterfactual, with the build for Rumble 2015 – your main event, Claudio Castagnoli defending the title against Brock Lesnar.  

The Road to Survivor Series 2014

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Summer Slam is here.

The 28th Survivor Series is coming in November from St Louis.

The night following Summer Slam includes a Wyatt promo.  Bray, backed by Luke Harper (we start getting his first name now as a method of individuation) Virgil and Cena, says what you’d expect, he’s the real winner at Summer Slam because of the postmatch beatdown, and since GDI is clearly dead, the beatings will continue all the way until Survivor Series in which he will batter Claudio in the no DQ match.  And while Bray has all the Wyatts – Claudio is by himself.

Claudio enters – and will be followed by Cody and then Swagger and then Nemeth.  That’s half the Survivor Series card, and we’ll mix and match them during the build. 

Deeper dive.

WWF Title (No DQ) Claudio Castagnoli v. Bray Wyatt
-Bray’s argument through the build is Claudio should just hand over the belt and join the Wyatts to save the humiliation and the beatings.  Claudio no sells all of it, says he appreciates the offer to join  the Wyatts and really respects all of them – but he’s good with GDI and maybe they’ll talk again about it sometime.  As for the title, he thinks maybe Bray’s analysis isn’t perfect, as he believes he actually defeated Bray at Summer Slam and therefore, based on past performance, is likely to do so again at Survivor Series.  May the best man win!  Hey!

(the key is there’s no wink to the camera, Claudio’s totally earnest, he’s just happy and it gets under everyone else’s skin.)

The other babyfaces stay with Claudio throughout the build, no other GDI members anywhere, but in an 8 man at the go home show, the other 3 babyfaces wind up, for various reasons, leaving ringside, and Claudio’s doubleteamed by Harper and Bray, Harper getting the fall (only time Claudio is pinned in the build) and so going into Survivor Series the story is that Claudio is, in fact, on his own up against all 4 Wyatts potentially in a No DQ match.

IC Title: Nick Nemeth v. Luke Harper
-Harper, recall, gave up the IC shot he earned in the last build at the demand of Bray, but Nemeth revives it here and says he wants to fight Harper because he earned it (it’s a babyface move and it possibly serves to put a schism in the Wyatts).  Bray accepts for Harper, and in the build, when Bray talks about Harper winning the IC title and bringing it home to the Wyatts, where it will sit right below Bray’s WWF title, Harper is noticeably silent.  Harper has been kept distinct and strong  since the creation of the Wyatt Family, and each time he didn’t work a show it was because Bray demanded it, because his bodyguard skills were more valuable to the Family.  As an example of a stock wrestling storyline, I think it’s really hit all of the needed notes. Nemeth and Claudio, put together for the opener at Summer Slam, do some two man comedy stuff, consider that as adding to your understanding of Nemeth as a guy who likes a buddy.  Swagger.  Then he really looked to embrace Sheamus and Barrett as his equals, even when they clearly weren’t.  Then Sandow, plucked from the bottom of the card to be his pal.  And now the champ, Claudio. Nemeth likes that running buddy, even though he’s a prima donna showboat. 

Virgil v. Cody Rhodes
-In the build, Cody never beats his brother.

Okay, in the build we get what turns out to be the last ever episode of Piper’s Pit.  The guest is Dusty Rhodes. 

Piper looks to hit the “we were on the road 400 days a year so family got screwed” notes before turning it up a couple notches on Dusty – he was NWA champion in the early 80s and then spend the rest of his career trying to get back what he never could get back.  Dusty hits back that Piper wouldn’t know what it was like to be world champion.  Piper hits back that he wouldn’t know what it was like to leave his family.  Dusty says he brought Dustin with him – we see the clip from way back in 1990 when Dustin debuted in WWF as part of Dusty turning on Hogan (if you’re new, that’s counterfactual history).  Dusty says he tried, tried and failed, but tried.  And maybe he’s lost his kids, maybe he’s lost Dustin – but he doesn’t think so, that’s why Dustin took the name Virgil, it’s his roots, it’s his family, it’s his dad, he wants to come home.

Dustin enters with Bray and Cena – Dustin says the Wyatts are the only real family he ever had – Dusty cuts his “the view never changes” promo, talking about Dustin walking behind Bray – and that’s it, the Wyatts leave Dusty and Piper laying.  Cody runs in just going berserk, the Wyatts bail. 

And that’s it for Dusty and Piper – they leave the territory on their backs. 

John Cena v. Jack Swagger
-The numbers got Swagger at Summer Slam, he’s looking for some payback here.

The focus of the build, if there’s one match that is the real draw for Survivor Series, is the tag title match.

WWF Tag Titles: 2 of 3 Belt TLC: The Shield vs. The Usos
-If the Shield wins again, they will pass the Hart Foundation to become, by the time they defend at 
the Rumble, the longest running tag champs in WWF history.  That’s the focus of the build.  The Shield cuts some promos on every other tag champ in promotion history, the network has some fantasy programming pitting the Hart Foundation from almost 30 years ago against the Shield, there’s analysis, predictions, and then a simulation (the Shield goes over). 

The Shield’s beaten everyone.  Done everything.  What could be left?

Christian comes out of the RAW announce to provide an answer.

Christian says the main reason why he and Edge, or the Hardys, or the Dudleys, didn’t have a 21 month title run is that they were killing each other in TLC matches.  Christian says the reason they stopped doing these matches, over a decade ago, is the body count got too high. 

But if The Shield wants to show they’re the greatest tag team of all time, they’ll do it in not just a TLC match, but a 6 man TLC match where the winning team has to grab 2 of the 3 tag team title belts hanging above the rim. 

It’s all 3 members of the Shield against all 3 Usos. The build is clear – dudes are going to fall off ladders through tables.  It is a TLC match where the Shield is trying to prove it’s the best tag team who ever lived.

There’s another match where the Harts come into play.

Women’s Title: AJ v. Natty v. Paige
-After 3 decades we’re recommissioning the WWF Women’s Title.

AJ’s beaten both Natty and Paige as women’s wrestling made its WWF PPV debut.  And now the decision has been made to reintroduce the women’s title belt.  Through the sheets, we find out that AJs deal is up and she’s not returning – she cuts a pipe bomb promo saying the Women’s title will last one day, because she’s going to win it and take it with her back to Chicago.  AJ tweets out a spot at her house where the belt will go – and in the shot is Punk’s NWA Title belt (Punk’s the last ever NWA Champion).

That draws the attention of Charlotte Flair.

Charlotte, from Underground, along with fellow trainees Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch make their RAW debuts  to cut off an AJ promo.  Charlotte says it is disgusting that the NWA belt, the belt that belonged to her dad, is now at AJ Lees house.  Sasha says that even if she does win at Survivor Series, she’s not leaving St Louis with that title belt – because Underground will be in the house.

That draws Paige, Paige is pissed at the trainees for being here and intimating that she might not win – she tells them to go back and keep training, and that if she needs help they’ll be the first to know.  

Becky says they’ll be at Survivor Series whether Paige wants them or not – and if she wins, maybe they’ll take the belt from her too. 

Natty’s babyface turns is complete in this build – because she isn’t just fighting for the title, she’s a Hart – so the title means, as with all other Hart titleholders, that she’d earn a Hart Foundation hockey jersey, which we’re reminded of when Bret appears unannounced on RAW to pump her up and remind everyone of the hockey jersey tradition.  Bret doesn’t come alone – he then brings out the Anvil, and he and Natty hug (again, she’s a babyface now).  Bret says he and the Anvil will be in attendance at Survivor Series and they might bring some friends.  The Shield then hits the ring and we get the “if we were 30 years younger..hell, we could take them if we were ten years younger”…stuff from the Harts.  The Shield says they can paint all of St Louis in pink and black; the Shield is walking out of Survivor Series with all 3 tag title belts and with the title Undisputed Greatest Tag Team of All Time.

Two more.

GHB says we need to start deporting some of the foreigners in the locker room, and why not begin with the Colons.

The Colons say they’re Puerto Rican and Puerto Rico is part of the United States. 

That distinction isn’t of interest to GHB.  And we’ve got a handicap match.

Rusev v. Colons

Finally, someone from Underground is going to lose his job; Fit runs the day to day in Underground since Regal, who remains the big boss, has the Fight Night job.  The main roster guys come back to WWFU to get in some training work where Fit reveals that given the pressure from below with new guys ready to move up, someone has to lose his spot.  Leaving us this highly pressurized tag match.

Sandow/Gabriel v. Curtis/Slater.

Add in the promoted return of Kenta for a dark match and we have the card for Survivor Series 2014

WWF Title (No DQ) Claudio Castagnoli v. Bray Wyatt
WWF Tag Titles: 2 of 3 Belt TLC: The Shield (Black/Ambrose/Langston) vs. The Usos (Reigns/Jimmy/Jey)
IC Title: Nick Nemeth v. Luke Harper
Virgil v. Cody Rhodes
John Cena v. Jack Swagger
Women’s Title: AJ Lee v. Natty Neidhart v. Paige
Rusev (w/Lana and GHB) v. Colons
Someone's Getting Fired: Damien Sandow/Justin Gabriel v. Fandango Curtis/Heath Slater

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