The Way We Was: 1996 Week 10

The Way We Was

Jamie Lithgow

It’s 1996 again! This week 20 years ago it was announced that Metallica would headline Lollapalooza. I wonder how that news will go down? At the cinema, the Coen brother’s awesome film; Fargo was released. In wrestling, and just as in the future, WWE was the only game in town. Nitro was pre-empted so that TNT could show Andersonville; a TV movie about a prisoner of war camp during the American Civil War. Sounds like a hoot! So, let’s see what happened on Raw in Week 10 of ‘The Way We Was‘ …

As some kind of cruel joke aimed at blog writers from the future, this week’s Nitro was pre-empted and Raw was largely uneventful. To make matters worse, as there was no Nitro, there shall be no fashion tips from Pepe! Don’t panic though, a natural replacement was found on Raw. Anyway, let’s see what WWE did to capitalise on their unopposed access to America’s wrestling fans…

90s Raw Logo

I suppose the big news from Raw, unfortunately, has to be this week’s Billionaire Ted skit. Once again nobody within WWE has spotted the irony of a WCW parody occupying the main event slot of a WWE show. Instead of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels or The Undertaker closing the show, Vince opted to shine the spotlight on his competition. No wonder WCW has been on a five week ratings win streak…

He said it, and they repeated it...

He said it, and they repeated it… without context

Anyway, while previous Billionaire Ted skits have focussed on Turner’s questionable finances and the age of ‘The Hukster’ and ‘The Nacho Man’ – by the way, Hogan is only four years older than WWF Champion Bret Hart – this week’s sketch was a pretty distasteful personal dig at Ted Turner. In the show opening video package Vince McMahon accused Turner of being “obnoxious, sexist and racist”. The show-closing skit was preceded with the following statement: “The following satire is intended to entertain and inform. The quotes contained herein are actual quotes by the man who could control 50% of America’s cable systems, Ted Turner.” The segment itself was presented as a gameshow, with Billionaire Ted competing against a stereotypical blonde bimbo – and Ted Turner is the sexist?! The pair were presented with a series of quotes and asked to identify who provided them. The joke being that all were attributed to Ted Turner, all were outrageous and/or offensive and – of course – Billionaire Ted lost. At no point was a context provided for any of the quotes and the Billionaire Ted character even cracked an OJ Simpson decapitation joke. I honestly don’t know what’s worse; Turner’s quotes or WWE’s shameless and biased exploitation of them.

Where's the 'L'?

Where’s the ‘L’?

In Other News From Raw –

  • Shawn Michaels was dressed as his own biggest fan/a complete twat when he sat at ringside to watch Bret Hart’s match with Hunter Hearst Helmsley
  • The Ultimate Warrior’s return to WWE was confirmed. Roddy Piper will announce his first opponent – presumably for a Wrestlemania match? – next week
  • Speaking of Warrior, in a voiceover for a video promo, Vince McMahon claimed that he disappeared after Wrestlemania VII. Didn’t he appear arm in arm with Hulk Hogan at the following Wrestlemania and compete for the WWE Title at Summerslam ’92?
  • Justin Hawk Bradshaw made his Raw debut. He and Uncle Zeb hog tied and ‘branded’ Hakushi after Bradshaw won with a hellacious clothesline. I can’t help but feel that his branding iron was missing a letter…
  • Shawn Michaels, a babyface, acted just as obnoxiously as The 123 Kid, a heel, but was cheered all the same
  • Mankind’s latest promo featured the line “have a nice day”…
  • Goldust starred in his own ‘Piper’s Pit’ segment. Dressed in a kilt and stood in the original Piper’s Pit set, The Bizarre One laid the innuendo on thick and heavy. Apparently Piper will address Goldust’s advances/provocations next week
  • Two things I noticed in this segment, 1; it was supposedly directed by Marlena, but she appeared on camera directing absolutely nothing. 2; Goldust is hard to take seriously at the best of times, but especially when his rubber suit allows us to hear his every movement
  • Hold on, what happened to Razor Ramon? I thought he was feuding with Goldust?
Mel Gibson took an altogether different direction with his Braveheart sequel...

Mel Gibson took an altogether different direction with his sequel to Braveheart

Full Results

  • Shawn Michaels defeated the 1-2-3 Kid
  • Justin Bradshaw defeated Hakushi
  • Bret Hart (c) defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley to retain the WWF Championship

Ratings

WCW’s five in a row streak is over, largely because it wasn’t on. The unopposed Raw scored a 3.6, which is about right considering the unopposed Nitro from last month scored a 3.7.

You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.

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