Blogger’s e-mail posting system is currently f-----, so if multiple posts start popping up randomly tonight, blame that.
A few random questions for you…
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.
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.
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 b------- 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.