Blogger’s e-mail posting system is currently fucked, so if multiple posts start popping up randomly tonight, blame that.
A few random questions for you...
He was not. He was a popular heel Intercontinental champion, but pushing him to the World title almost killed him off for good as a main eventer. It was WAY too soon. It wasn't until his second run at the top in 2006 that he was legitimately a guy who could carry the belt. Basically it was only done to spite Brock Lesnar and make Orton the youngest champion.
1. Was SummerSlam 2004 the right time for a Randy Orton title run? When they rushed Brock Lesnar to the top a couple years earlier, it made some sense because the guy just seemed so dominant that having him wait to go after the title would not have made sense. Orton seemed like a guy they really wanted to rush to the belt as well, but I was on hiatus at that point and have no idea if the guy was over to that point.
2. Were there earlier plans for Edge to get his first world title? The briefcase cash-in after Elimination Chamber was a perfect way for an unpredictable opportunist character to win, but it seemed like a long wait, seeing as dudes like Orton, Batista, Cena, Bradshaw all got reigns before him. King of the Ring in 2001, multiple runs with other titles, a homegrown guy, but waited a good seven years for that first reign (of millions).There was no plans for him earlier, and he had to fight through a lot of bullshit to get his early reigns in the first place, in fact.
3. Was Hogan vs. Austin originally slated for SummerSlam 2002? That year SummerSlam took place in Toronto just like Wrestlemania, so a return to the "Icon vs. Icon" thing made sense for that venue (and white-hot crowd). A double main of Rock-Lesnar and Hogan-Austin could have been something special. Maybe do HBK's return as a DX tag team match vs. Undertaker & Kane and have a breakup lead to HBK vs. HHH at "Unforgiven" the next month (so it's not overshadowed). If Austin had not had the personal issues at that time, it seemed sensible to have him beat Hogan in a "passing the torch" icon main event, then have Austin put Lesnar over. Brock could claim wins over Hogan, Rock, and Austin and head into the stratosphere.@SethMates could probably give a better idea than me of that time period, but no, I've never heard of Hogan v. Austin being scheduled for Summerslam or any other time. The closest was Wrestlemania but Austin didn't want to work with Hogan because the match would suck, so we got Rock-Hogan instead. And Summerslam was in Long Island in 2002, not Toronto. You're thinking of 2004.
4. When Chris Benoit came back from the neck injury in summer 2002, should they have pulled the trigger on a "comeback title win" soon after, instead of waiting until Wrestlemania XX? Having Benoit do the "fight the power" sort of thing against HHH over the newly-established World Title sounds more appealing than HHH vs. Kane. However, Hunter was pretty actively burying people around that time, so maybe I should delete this one. . .Benoit was on Smackdown in 2002 anyway. Plus the best time would have been 2001, in the Austin matches in Canada. By 2002 he was having great matches with Brock on house shows, but didn't really have enough momentum to justify getting the belt.
Giving Benoit the title during the Austin series in 2001 would have been a waste due to his upcoming neck surgury right after King of the Ring. I mean unless you really wanted to see him have the title for only a month.ReplyDelete
Revisionism not withstanding, I believe the internet would have spontaneously combusted if Austin put over Benoit for the title in May of 2001, then ran an angle injuring him at King of the Ring to take the title off of him. Benoit's big return the next year would have been HUGE, and might've kept Austin from walking out when he did.ReplyDelete
Thinking back to 2001-2002 it REALLY seemed like they were building Edge as a future main-eventer the old fashioned way (breakout singles win at KotR, dominating the IC/US title scene in the upper-midcard for 8 months), but then his neck surgery kinda derailed him, and Cena/Batista/Orton took his spot.ReplyDelete
I think Orton with the belt in '04 might've worked if Orton would've been allowed to take the Evotlution reigns from HHH in '03. You could've had HHH turn face and feud with Champion Randy Orton. I always remember how backwards it felt to have Orton become the face in that spot simply because HHH refused to be a good guy. Luckily he made up for it later on with Batista.ReplyDelete
And it took him FOREVER to regain that momentum. Remember his return in 2004 where he was roided to the max? It was so bad that it culminated in the crowd booing his ass off at Summerslam 04. He didn't become "legit" again until he got Lita as a managerReplyDelete
HIs Shawn fued in late 04/early 05 helped as well, if only because they used Michaels as a litmus test to see if you deserved your push.ReplyDelete
If Edge doesn't injure his neck in early 2003, I believe their end-game for him was finally winning his first WWE title at Wrestlemania 20, either over Angle or Lesnar (probably Lesnar, as that was a fresher matchup and you have the story of Edge finally being the one that overcomes the monster).ReplyDelete
The reasons behind it are valid, but it still seems odd that we never did see Hogan vs. Austin. Realistically, THAT should've been the headliner for WM18 as the two biggest icons of the two eras squared off.
Wasn't there a big rumor that Edge was going to be a last minute replacement at the Elimination Chamber in 2002 and get the surprise title win and jump to Raw? Supposedly they got cold feet and went with HBK. I don't know if there was any truth to that, but I could have sworn I read that somewhere.ReplyDelete
That was indeed the prevailing rumor. I'll ask Seth.ReplyDelete
In 2002 Benoit probably should have stopped taking chairshots and doing diving headbutts, but hindsight...ReplyDelete
I don't think we can read anything into who was booed/cheered at Summerslam04. That was the bizarro crowd to end all bizarro crowds.ReplyDelete
Yeah, Edge had a ton of momentum, esp. considering how great he looked in those classic SmackDown Six matches during that time. Fans loved the shit out of him and Rey as a team.ReplyDelete
I think Benoit won at the right time. Even when he came back, he didn't have a whole lot of fan momentum, he got pretty tepid responses as a heel and he needed some time to build up his face status. I remember him and Eddie putting on a darn good match at Armageddon 2002 and the fans basically took a piss break. But once the Rumble match with Angle, where the fans gave him a standing ovation even after tapping out, I think that was the start of the fans really getting behind him for the rest of 2003 and really making it culminate as the one to end the HHH Reign of Terror at WM.ReplyDelete
I hated everything about the first Randy Orton title reign. Literally every aspect of it was botched. After a pretty hot beginning to 2004 this and the JBL shit on SmackDown almost turned me away from WWE. Luckilly they picked up a bit in 2005.ReplyDelete
No way would they have ever done Hogan/Austin anywhere but at Wrestlemania. Even after WM18, they've tried to get it going a few times. At WM22, WM25, etc. But Austin does not want to work with Hogan period. Plus, if Austin hadn't of walked out, it's almost certain that he would have faced Benoit at Summerslam in 2002. That was the feud that they were building towards from the Austin/Eddie feud in June. Shame we never got it.ReplyDelete
I loved how instantly he went from awesome, lady-killing asshole to your prototypical smiling, happy, John Cena babyface within a matter of weeks. And he lost his title to wHHHo else the very next PPV.ReplyDelete
I read that, too... In one of Scott Keith's books lol. Wrestling's One-Ringed Circus, I think it was.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't have minded that at all, actually.ReplyDelete
I hated when they switched Benoit to RAW, as I was digging his feud with Paul Heyman and Lesnar. That was really the last time I dug him as a worker. Eddie using the 'cheat to win' philosophy to win the belt v HHH would've been great, too, as the storyline of someone outsmarting the 'Cerebral Assassin' would've rocked.ReplyDelete
What kind of "bullshit" did Edge have to fight through? It always seemed like he was a guy destined for a big push (even as a nobody in The Ministry/Brood, he seemed to be a bit more protected, especially compared to Christian) with his superstar look and natural charisma. Once he got decent at promos, he was SET, but then The Invasion kinda put his push on hold for a while, and then he got super-injury prone.ReplyDelete
I can only imagine that he had to fight through accusations of being in poor shape injury-wise, and maybe some comments about being too skinny.
LOVE Summer Fest references. Stupid Piven.ReplyDelete
I thought Orton was usually a few steps behind whatever they thought he was at the time. I thought he was pretty terrible until the Cactus Jack feud. I just didn't take him seriously and he was just a young guy who wasn't ready for the push he was getting. Then that feud happens and I accept him as the #2 guy in Evolution. Serious midcard heel....and then he's the top face and I'm supposed to be tuning in every week to watch his trials and tribulations. Aside from that, the guys I am tuning in to watch (Benoit, Jericho) become his sidekick buddies. Between Orton being the face of the show and JBL being WWE Champion I'm amazed I got through 2004 at all.ReplyDelete
They seemed to be pushing Edge strong after the brand split, although they jobbed him to Albert and then gave him shit for the match not being very good so he must not have been completely in their good graces yet. All I remember reading about him backstage in later years was that Triple H thought his look was outdated and he needed a change. What was the bullshit he had to go through before his first title run?
But who would have he replaced? No one was injured in the match until the match itself started(Triple H).ReplyDelete
I still think the fans being so bored during JBL/Undertaker that they started doing the WAVE like it was a damn baseball game.ReplyDelete
And seriously, that feud was the reason I hated JBL's reign so much. Half of the year was JBL talking to Undertaker and Undertaker just staring at him not saying anything. One of the most boring feuds off all time.
Side note: I REALLY wish TNA or ROH would copyright "Summerfest" and have do a PPV with that name.ReplyDelete
That Benoit would have been better off going to TNA with the lighter schedule and being closer to home.ReplyDelete
Summerfest ruled. I loved the Jeff Harvey vs. Kofi Johnson title match.ReplyDelete
Awesome, didn't HHH once say "Don't you mean Summerfest?" in a promo after that Raw?ReplyDelete
That's the kind of snarky thing ECW would have done, nowadays I could see PWG or CHIKARA doing it, but it wouldn't have the same effect.ReplyDelete
I never watched Orton's initial run but it seemed to me even in 2006 he was just a midcarder who they'd try to shove to the main event. He lost the title to Rey at Mania, and then diddled around in a nothing feud with Hogan before become second banana to Edge in Rated RKO. And by Mania 23 he was just a warm body in MitB, nothing more. Not having seen his initial push, I really just thought Orton was an upper-mid carder at best and would slink back down the card. If only.ReplyDelete
Actually, he wasn't champion in the match with Rey, Kurt Angle was. And even then, Orton felt like a third wheel that would just make disparaging remarks about Eddie being dead just to get heat for himself. More people were interested in just seeing Rey and Angle put on a great match.ReplyDelete
Ah yeah I forgot about that. I remembered he had won it when it was maybe supposed to have gone to Eddie, I thought he had it straight through.ReplyDelete
They went through it all in his DVD that just came out... I just don't ever think they saw him as a top guy. He was planned to win the title with the briefcase, but the thing that pushed him over the top was the fact that ratings skyrocketed for the few weeks that he was champ. That's what led them to putting it back on him that summer and have the long feud with Cena, and perpetually kept him in the main event for the rest of his career.ReplyDelete
On a side note, I thought it was funny in the DVD that he said he was most certainly NOT "excited" during the live sex celebration segment with Lita.
Don't be so sure... these are the geniuses that gave Brock vs. Hogan away on Smackdown and wanted to job out Brock to Austin on Raw in an unadvertised KOTR qualifier.ReplyDelete
Actually, I think him being as far away from home as possible would be the best scenario for all involved.ReplyDelete
Brock and Hogan didn't deserve a PPV spot. Brock and Austin sure as hell did though.ReplyDelete
What is Scott and everyone else talking about regarding Orton's "run at the top" in 2006? After HHH squashed him in 2004, he didn't hold either the WWE belt or the WHC belt until Cena vacated the WWE title in the Fall of 2007. Even his match vs. Hogan at Summerslam 2006 was third from the bottom.ReplyDelete
Yeah, it actually did deserve one. Maybe it was Hogan politics, because I would have kept the title on Hogan - had him beat Taker, Angle, Jericho, and Triple H again and had Lesner bury him at SummerSlam.ReplyDelete