WARNING: The links to the last three parts are down below. Be sure to check them out first before reading part four to get a better understanding of the storyline.
Last time in the series, we reached Summerslam. Summerslam proved to be a big PPV for the nWo 2002 storyline. We saw nWo member Shawn Michaels return to the ring for the first time in four years to wrestle The Rock, who he had taken out of competition before. We saw Vince McMahon regain control of the WWE thanks to help from the nWo and its newest member, Eric Bischoff. Lastly we saw Brock Lesnar defeat Triple H to win the Undisputed Championship, taking it to SmackDown! in the process.
For the nWo, things are going great. Vince McMahon just regained 100% control of the company, meaning they don’t have to answer to Ric Flair on RAW anymore. Vince solidifies the group’s control of RAW by appointing Eric Bischoff as RAW General Manager. Bischoff is the nWo’s authority figure that will be able to book matches that benefits the group. So the nWo’s takeover of RAW is basically complete. Bischoff gets right down to business as there are two issues that the brand has to worry about. Firstly, it’s Brock Lesnar taking the re-branded WWE Championship to SmackDown!…
This leaves RAW WITHOUT a World Champion of their own. They need their own title as they can’t have RAW superstars challenging Brock Lesnar, as the title is exclusive to that show. So that’s exactly what Eric Bischoff does. On the night after Summerslam, he brings out the “big gold belt”. Formerly known as the WCW World Championship, Bischoff brings it to RAW as the World Heavyweight Championship. The primary belt for his brand. Rather than doing a championship tournament or something like that, he simply awards the title to somebody. And who else is he going to award it to… than Hollywood Hogan.
Remember, Bischoff is a member of the nWo now. His best interests is keeping the power in the stable. With Hogan now as the World Champion, the rest of the RAW roster knows where the power lies. And to be honest, the top stable in the company really should be led by a World Champion. Hogan accepts the title and announces a nWo party for later that night.
Later that night, all the members of the group arrive. New Intercontinental Champion X-Pac, Big Show, the Outsiders, Bischoff, Hogan and Shawn Michaels are all there. Michaels would probably get the largest reaction out of the group coming off his big comeback match with The Rock. Hogan raises a toast to all the members of the group, but singles out Michaels. He tells Michaels that he owes it all to him for putting The Rock in his place at Wrestlemania (in part 1, Michaels cost The Rock his match with Hogan at Mania X8). Hogan tells Michaels that he respects him more than anyone and praises him for his performance against The Rock. After a hug between the legends, Michaels hugs the rest of the group. While Michaels hugs Bischoff last, Hogan opens up a present that was in the ring along with confetti and stuff. He opens it up and it’s revealed that there’s a lead pipe in the present. With it, Hogan clobbers Michaels in the back in the head. The nWo proceed to swarm Michaels and beat him down before Hogan delivers the Leg Drop. Michaels has officially been kicked out of the group.
Yes, Shawn Michaels is the first man to be kicked out of the nWo. Firstly, this writes Michaels off of television up until his return just before Survivor Series (which happened in real-life and we’ll get to later on in the post). Secondly, Bischoff can now take over in the “hand of the king” role which Michaels played initially for the group. After all, Bischoff did it with Hogan during the nWo’s ORIGINAL run in WCW. So it makes all the sense in the world that he’d come back in a very similar way. Finally, it’s hard to say how well Michaels would fit in the group now that Bischoff’s in the fold. Everyone in the group has to have a purpose.
Hogan’s the leader. Bischoff is his deputy. The Outsiders are the tag team. Big Show is the big bodyguard. X-Pac is the Intercontinental Champion and the “cruiserweight” of the group. Since Michaels doesn’t really have any authority and is just another top star, he would be a bit left out. Everyone in the group should have a REASON for being in it. Michaels doesn’t have as strong a reason than anyone else to be in it. Plus, him being the only one of the group to be beaten at Summerslam gives Hogan all the more reason to get rid of him. However, Michaels will be set to comeback to RAW in a big way….
Also, what this beat down does is provide motivation for another prominent wrestler in the storyline… Triple H. If you’ll recall, Triple H has just lost the Undisputed Championship to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. And if you’ll also recall, Triple H was NOT drafted in April as he was the Undisputed Champion defending the title that night against Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon. Triple H has pretty much been a free agent ever since that night, appearing on both RAW and SmackDown! So now he’s no longer the champion and without a brand, he must decide whether to go to SmackDown! or RAW. With Triple H hoping to get another crack at Lesnar, it seems set in stone that Triple H will sign up with Stephanie on SmackDown!…
However, learning what happened to his friend Shawn Michaels, Hunter is upset. While Shawn Michaels was with the nWo during Triple H’s title run, little interaction has actually taken place between the two. Shawn might have had an exchange or two with Triple H before Hogan challenged HHH for the title at Vengeance, but there’s been no real heat between the two. So HHH would no doubt still value Shawn as a good friend. Seeing what the nWo did to his friend might motivate HHH to go to RAW and invoke his rematch clause there. Invoke his rematch clause against the newly-crowned World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan… who just so happens to be the leader of the nWo! The stage is set for the two of them to do battle at Unforgiven. The match ends with Hogan getting himself disqualified and retaining the title. This sets things up easily for our next PPV No Mercy. But before we head into No Mercy, let’s discuss the other members of the group and their roles at Unforgiven….
Eric Bischoff would be hoping to further assert the group’s dominance on RAW. The nWo already have X-Pac as the Intercontinental Champion, so that title is firmly in their grasps. You could have Eddie cash in his rematch clause against X-Pac for Unforgiven, despite the fact that the two of them are on separate shows. If you want to keep the two shows as separate as possible, then you could have someone on RAW like Booker T challenge X-Pac for the belt instead. We’ll go with X-Pac vs Eddie for this particular storyline, as I’d like to make sure that things like rematch clauses can be exercised as much as possible. Either case… X-Pac wins.
As much as I’d hate to leave any members of the group off the PPVs, the Outsiders aren’t featured in a match. I was going to have them challenge the Hardy Brothers for the tag titles at Unforgiven, but I’d rather have them challenge them to a tag title match the night AFTERWARDS to help tie-in another feud within the group.
Undertaker, after him and Ric Flair lost to Vince and Hogan at Summerslam, isn’t the happiest of campers. Bischoff books Undertaker vs Big Show for Unforgiven, which results in the Outsiders interfering on the behalf of Big Show. Show wins the match via count out and further annoys the Deadman. The Outsiders get their award for helping the Big Show with a tag team title shot the next night on RAW. The match is made No DQ so several other nWo members can get involved. Undertaker tries to aid the Hardyz but is overwhelmed. Eventually, someone else comes to the rescue of the faces…. the Undertaker’s brother, the returning Kane. The road to No Mercy begins for the nWo.
The Outsiders are already dealt with for the PPV, with a tag team match against the “Brothers of Destruction” Undertaker and Kane. This would actually be a pretty decent in-ring match, with these four big guys tearing each other apart. It’d be another fantasy match-up which we’d be able to fulfill! X-Pac can defend the Intercontinental title against somebody else on RAW, probably Rob Van Dam. I’d put Big Show in a match with somebody like Booker T, to give Booker a high-profile match with somebody that just beat the Undertaker. For the World Heavyweight Championship match, we’d see Triple H get his rematch against Hogan… in a Last Man Standing match.
For No Mercy, X-Pac would retain his championship against RVD or whoever. The Big Show vs Booker T match result probably wouldn’t matter significantly for this match. For me, I’d see Booker T win via disqualification and have Big Show destroy Booker post-match. However, it doesn’t really matter to a degree what happens. As long as you can keep both men from suffering too badly, you’re in business. Shockingly for the Outsiders vs Brothers of Destruction match… the Outsiders win clean.
I feel for a match this big between two top legendary tag teams that there should be a clean finish. You could argue that Kane and Undertaker need it more, but keep this in mind… Undertaker is off from TV after No Mercy. After his match with Brock Lesnar in real-life, Undertaker was written off TV and didn’t come back until the Royal Rumble. If the Outsiders are still going to be there, then they really should secure a big win like this to truly establish themselves as probably the TOP team in the WWE. Kane losing his first big match back in WWE clean might seem a bit of a momentum killer for Kane. However, if Undertaker is the one that gets pinned, then that should keep Kane looking strong going into Survivor Series. By the way, to write off Undertaker in this storyline, simply have Big Show throw Undertaker off the stage like he did in real-life. It’s easy enough and Big Show still looks dominant.
Lastly, to wrap up No Mercy, Hogan wins after copious amounts of interference from the nWo. It’s a strong PPV for the nWo leading into Survivor Series, where business really starts to pick up.
Following No Mercy, Eric Bischoff excitedly announces his newest creation for the World Heavyweight Championship to be contested in… the Elimination Chamber match. The chamber debuts and Eric announces that Hogan will be in it as the #6 entrant. Big Show is also awarded a spot in the match after taking out the Undertaker. Bischoff decides to have at least one of the Outsiders in the match and decides to leave it to them to decide. The Outsiders jokingly have a rock, paper, scissors match to decide who gets automatic entry into the match, which Kevin Nash wins. Bischoff tells Scott Hall that all he has to do to get into the match is simply beat somebody like Rob Van Dam or Booker T in an Elimination Chamber qualifier. However, botched interference from X-Pac sees RVD/Booker qualify for the chamber. Triple H is then told he can win entry spots for him and another man of his choice for the chamber match. All he has to do is win a one-on-three handicap match against Hogan, Nash and Big Show on RAW! Triple H pulls off the miracle thanks to the distraction from the return of the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels! Triple H gets on the mic and gives Shawn Michaels the last entry spot and says if you’re not down with that, they’ve got two words for you…
There’s heat between Hall and X-Pac but Bischoff decides to have the two of them take their anger out on another threat to the nWo, Kane. It’s decided that X-Pac, Hall and Kane will have a triple threat for the Intercontinental title at Survivor Series. X-Pac and Hall would be prohibited from pinning one another, making it essentially a handicap match. I decided to re-introduce the stipulation from the Austin-Kane-Taker match from Unforgiven 1998, as it does add a lot to the finish of this particular match… Kane beats them both and wins the Intercontinental Title. It also introduces a bit of dissension between the group…
Now let’s get down to the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship. A few notes to make. Firstly, whoever beat Scott Hall would be able to score a pin on the Big Show during the match. This gives them a little something to take away from the match before they are eliminated by Kevin Nash. Triple H, who would have entered the match at #1, would be eliminated next by Hogan. It’s two on one for a while until Triple H returns to the chamber to nail Nash with a sledgehammer. HBK would super kick Hogan, who’d fall on Nash and accidentally cover him for the elimination. After a little back-and-forth between Hogan and Michaels, Michaels would get the pin and win the World Title. The big comeback story is complete with Michaels beating his old nWo leader. And we end Survivor Series like that….
And that’s pretty much it for this part… well at least for the RAW brand. If you want to know how SmackDown! would be booked, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar would beat Chris Benoit at Unforgiven, Kurt Angle at No Mercy and Chris Jericho at Survivor Series. At least with this format, you can still have the famous “SmackDown! Six” storyline which the genius Paul Heyman was able to cook up! Since Angle would be fighting Lesnar at No Mercy, Edge and Rey Mysterio would win the WWE Tag Team title tournament by beating Los Guerreros in the finals. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle would team up to win the titles from Mysterio and Edge on SmackDown! which would lead to Survivor Series, where the Guerreros would win the belts.
And with that little added detail, it’s time to finish. There’s a lot of developments that have happened in this part, I must admit. It’s a bit hard to keep up with it, but now it’s all coming together nicely! Shawn Michaels has returned in a big way at Survivor Series and the rest of the nWo have looked strong with a number of big wins over the likes of the Undertaker. Granted, Survivor Series was not a successful night. However, this will now play into the events of part five. Please check out part five to be uploaded some time before next week…