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The Rise and Fall of WWE

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"We...thought we were invincible."


"Ratings were up, buyrates were through the roof...nobody cared what was going on behind the scenes."


"For me, that was the turning point. That was when the company was doomed."


"They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. And WWE was huge."


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This will be a joint production from myself and Gabbo, to whom credit goes for the header.

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<p><strong>Disk Two [The Fall] Chapter Two: Another Scandal</strong></p><p> </p><p> <em>The issues regarding drug use within the company would take a backstage for over two years, until in September 2009, the arrest of recently departed WWE star Jeff Hardy caused shockwaves in the locker room and media alike. Numerous members of their roster were quick to send out their best wishes and praise Jeff as a person, but none could have anticipated just how heavily the situation would blow up.</em></p><p> </p><p> <strong><span style="color:#FFA500;">Chris Jericho:</span></strong> The whole Jeff Hardy thing...that’s what many people cite as the turning point, the catalyst.</p><p> </p><p> <em>Hardy’s trial would take place in January 2010, with the implications taking WWE by storm as numerous allegations were made against the company – none directly by Hardy himself.</em></p><p> </p><p> <strong><span style="color:#FFA500;">Chris Jericho:</span></strong> And so...there we are approaching the Royal Rumble, the road to WrestleMania 26...but the whole thing is somewhat overshadowed by these government investigators showing up backstage, and well...we all know what happened.</p><p> </p><p> </p><blockquote data-ipsquote="" class="ipsQuote" data-ipsquote-contentapp="forums" data-ipsquote-contenttype="forums" data-ipsquote-contentid="24475" data-ipsquote-contentclass="forums_Topic"><div><strong>January 31st, 2010 – The Royal Rumble Match</strong><p> </p><p> With 29 men having entered already and eight of them remaining in the ring: John Cena, Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison, MVP, Big Show and Chris Jericho. The countdown begins once again as the arrival of the fateful number 30 approaches.</p><p> </p><p> 5...4...3...2...1...*buzz*. And then silence.</p><p> </p><p> <em>"You think you know me.</em>"</p><p> </p><p> It's Edge! Edge is back! Looking like a man possessed he heads out onto the ramp to a huge ovation! But what the?! He's struck from behind with a steel chair! It's Randy Orton, the man who lost his WWE Championship to Batista earlier in the night! He continues to assault Edge with the chair, leaving the returning Rated R Superstar a sorry mess, before making his way down the ramp and entering the ring himself! The other superstars have no idea what to make of it all, but the match continues...</p><p> </p><p> Those in the ring carefully size Orton up and he returns their gazes with a deranged look of his own, before ducking carefully out of the ring. The brawl continues as he looks on with Undertaker being eliminated by the JeriShow tandem, only for the World's Largest Athlete to turn on his long-standing ally and throw him right out of the ring! Jericho looks furious and argues with Show, creating an opening for Rey Mysterio and Cena to knock him over the top rope! The two fan favourites remain remain, along with Morrison, MVP, DiBiase and the looming presence of Randy Orton outside the ring.</p><p> </p><p> MVP is the next casualty as Orton lowers the ropes sending him straight to the outside, with the furious superstar's wrath forcing Orton briefly into the ring, but he quickly escapes again as MVP is usheredbackstage. An acrobatic exchange between Mysterio and Morrison leaves both men on the apron, but it's Rey who meets his demise as DiBiase evades Cena's attack to send him flying into the two men. DiBiase then nails the Dream Streak on Cena before being backed into a corner by Morrison, who fails to notice the figure looming behind him - RKO! Morrison is promptly tossed out of the ring and the three Raw superstars remain!</p><p> </p><p> Orton's attempt to convince his former protege to join his side proves futile and the two begin to brawl, with Cena eventually hoisting both men up for a double FU. Orton manages to slide off of Cena's shoulders leaving DiBiase alone but he puts up a fight and lands on the apron, eventually forcing Cena onto it along with him. The two men exchange blows back and forth until finally the second generation star gives way! But before Cena can get back into the ring, he's met with a vicious RKO, jarring his neck across the top rope and sending him rebounding to the floor! For the second year in a row and in extremely controversial fashion, Randy Orton is going to be headlining WrestleMania!</p></div></blockquote><p> </p><p> <strong><span style="color:#FF0000;">Edge:</span></strong> I thought the angle was great. Orton was far and away the hottest heel in the company...it allowed me another few weeks to get ready before an even more heavily hyped return, and it set things in motion for WrestleMania. But then...</p><p> </p><p> <strong><span style="color:#008000;">Batista:</span></strong> We had no idea what to think...all seemed well, the show had gone down a blast, and yet the next night on Raw just as we're about to go on air these guys have shown up and cuffed Orton, taken him out of the building...and that was end of his road to WrestleMania.</p><p> </p><p> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</p><p> </p><p> <strong><em>Randy Orton, Speaking on CNN in early February</em></strong> "I am absolutely innocent of all charges. Quite where this information I have come from I have no idea, but frankly I'm sick of people like you acting like it's a case of guilty until proven innocent."</p><p> </p><p> <strong><em>Interviewer:</em></strong> But surely you can see why people are so skeptical towards you given incidents over the past couple of years in your industry? First there was Chris Benoit, and then -</p><p> </p><p> <em>[Orton gets to his feet and begins to storm off the interview set]</em></p><p> </p><p> <strong><em>Interviewer:</em></strong> Randy, if you'd just -</p><p> </p><p> <strong><em>Orton:</em></strong> DON'T YOU DARE bring up that man's name! It bears no relation to this...this governmental farce, and the poison you and your superiors are trying to become. WWE will never die, and the sooner you accept that the better...</p><p> </p><p> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</p><p> </p><p> <em>Orton's reckless behaviour in front of the media only served to further tarnish his reputation and more importantly that of the company as a whole.</em></p><p> </p><p> <span style="color:#800080;"><strong>A Notably Smug Sting:</strong></span> "WWE will never die...." what a line! What an absolutely classic line! Of course we ripped the holy hell out of them for that later on, but it was quite...quite unnerving for the industry as a whole.</p><p> </p><p> <strong><span style="color:#008000;">Batista:</span></strong> The night after that interview when Orton showed up backstage...it was not a pretty sight. Vince absolutely destroyed him. Or at least...well, it'd have destroyed anyone else. But Randy's different. He acts like he's untouchable because mentally...he pretty much is.</p><p> </p><p> <strong><span style="color:#FFA500;">Chris Jericho:</span></strong> In all honesty I think that when the whole Jeff thing first happened, Vince had dollar signs in his eyes. Sure they had to scrap the DVD they had planned and so on, but...he was certain Jeff would get off scot-free and come back an even bigger star. To this day, in spite of everything, I think he maintains that no publicity is bad publicity. He'll just claim we didn't capitalise on it right.</p><p> </p><p> <em>And in the case of Orton, they couldn't, as if the steroid allegations didn't neutralise his Rumble victory, his public outrage did. For the first time in WWE history, the winner of the prestigious January match would not be competing at WrestleMania...but the repercussions of the Jeff Hardy trial wouldn't end there. First of all, WWE needed a new main event attraction for their biggest pay per view...</em></p>
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Disk Two [The Fall] Chapter Three: The Road To WrestleMania


Chris Jericho: ...I guess I was the best option left. I'd formed a team with Adam in mid 2009, which was cut short when he torn his Achilles. So... there was something to work with.


With the WWE scrambling to find a new main event for WrestleMania 26, they looked to Chris Jericho. The feud built upon the tension within their former tag team and the fact Edge never lost the tag belts he won with Jericho, that Jericho still held only with a new partner.


Edge: I was happy to work with Chris, although at this point I was just itching to get back in the ring and work with anyone.


Meanwhile as Randy Orton found himself suspended for 60 days as a second offence, it was soon clear it wouldn't end there. The trial of Jeff Hardy lead to a series of independant drug tests against the roster. The United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform again looked into the wellness policy and on February the 19th 2010, WWE.com announced:

Based on independent information received from investigators from the Stamford, Connecticut, U.S., D.A.’s office, WWE has today, under the penalty provisions of its wellness policy, issued suspension notices to 8 of its performers for violations. It has long been WWE’s practice to release the names of those who have been suspended, and under strict request from the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will announce the names very shortly.


Mick Foley: God, I remember this like it was yesterday. Ya'know, I remember the panic this created within the industry. The WWE had only recently been cleared of wrong-doing in the 'he who shall not be named' - Benoit case. Public opinion of wrestling was at an all time low. The business was disgraced again and since the majority of casual fans saw the WWE as wrestling and wrestling as WWE. This was the last thing anyone in the industry needed.


Scott Steiner: Hah! I loved this, man. F*cking Awesome. When I was there every bastard and his mother was juicing. Yet I get singled out? Are they joking? That big nosed bitch had been doing it for years and no punishment. They got what they all deserved.


The WWE scrambled to rewrite shows, Pay-Per-Views and feuds. With WrestleMania fast approaching, this major set back and government investigation couldn't have come at a worse time. Immediately after the story broke, the rumour mill went into over drive and speculation was rife.


Dean Malenko: I remember Vince just going mad backstage, at every show. He was sick of it all. Shouting and blaming everyone. It was everyone's fault bar his own.


On February the 22nd 2010, the news broke...




8 superstars, most of whom had a crucial part to play at the upcoming WrestleMania, including Morrison who was scheduled to win the annual Money In the Bank Ladder match. Not forgetting Chavo Guerrero who was released from his contract in accordance with his third strike all felt the punishment. The WWE had held off the suspensions until the Monday in order to allow the appropriate titles changes at No Way Out on the 21st. Fans reacted badly to the rushed new angles and champions and buy rates for WrestleMania looked ominous.


Batista: I was furious as you can guess. We had a huge match planed at Mania, Cena/Batista II. Was gonna be massive. A real WrestleMania classic. Unfortunately they claimed I failed a drugs test. I have never and will never take steroids. How I failed is beyond me...


Not only did the scandal ravage the roster, it also began to lead to several guest hosts backing out afraid of the public reaction of supporting a law-breaking company in disarray. Seth Rogan was the first to back out, prompting several others to follow. The WWE hastily signed up new hosts, among them Verne Troyer of 'Mini Me' fame with a plan...


Dolph Ziggler: Sickening.


Sting: One word? Embarrassing.


CM Punk: They were given far too much time, on the card and the build-up. I dunno who thought the idea up (since accredited to Vince McMahon), but it was totally hated backstage. Good workers were marginalised to allow these two to hog up airtime. It was like watching a car crash... over the course of 6 weeks... and then paying $50 at the end of it, to see who died.


Cena: I loved it. Thought it was great.


Johnny Ace: The angle was seen as perfect for the kids, very fun and light hearted. Just what the company needed in such serious and testing times. Buy rates suffered due to it, because as we know, children don't buy PPV's.


The fans did turn away in droves as a developing feud between 'Mini Me' Verne Troyer and Hornswoggle became a major feature of Monday Night Raw in the run-up to WrestleMania. The WWE were struggling to sell the PPV and things looked bleak as the weeks ticked away...

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Cena: I loved it. Thought it was great.


Classic............Loved that one most of all. I enjoyed the who out of gimmick stuff you are doing. It is exactuly like watching a rise and fall dvd. Jericho refering to edge as adam......and the classic steiner response. Lol i am totally going to be reading this one.

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I'm going to go ahead and say I like it so far as well. I wasn't even going to read it because of the title, and had figured it was going to be about steriods killing them with their biggest stars (One's that have never failed a drug test).


However, the way this is being played out, even the people themselves sound real in their reactions. Especially Steiner's ("Ric Flair cried like a baby because he thought they were getting a push") reaction. Sometimes I think him and Warrior are on the same page.... Which as I read it, I was expecting a Warrior quote as well, lol.


I'm interested so far. As long as I can see it being believable, I'll be reading it.

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