It’s Friday, which means it must be Monday night in 1996. The big news from this week 20 years ago cannot be avoided, especially as someone who attended a Scottish primary school on March 13th 1996. The Dunblane Primary School massacre occurred this week. A tragic event and with no other significant news from this week let’s get straight into Raw and Nitro in ‘The Way We Was‘ …
With most feuds advancing, but with no major twists or turns, I guess the main story from this week’s Raw comes from the training montages of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart ahead of their Ironman match. Between footage of him running up stairs, climbing ropes and lifting weights, Shawn Michaels introduced us to the man who trained him; Jose Lothario. The sentiment was laid on pretty thick here, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse.
In Calgary, a shirtless Bret Hart was training for his wrestling match by – who would have thought it – practicing some wrestling in the famous Dungeon. A far more real sounding Hart avoided the sentimental approach and put over his toughness. He surmised that Michaels had little else in the locker beyond a Superkick and good conditioning. Hart came across as the heel of the pair, and in 1996 that is very much the case – despite both actually being babyfaces. However, viewing in hindsight I could see Hart being the more popular with today’s audience. The sentiment dripping from the Michaels side of this angle feels even more forced than the relentless push of Roman Reigns…
In Other News From Raw –
- You know how WWE have a reputation for censoring fans by confiscating signs? Well, that clearly only applies to statements Vince McMahon does not agree with…
- This week’s WCW parody was more light-hearted than last week’s. Apparently handcuffs and ladies shoes will be barred from ringside during The Huckster’s match with The Nacho Man. More good news is that this nonsense will not be on the main card. Thank God for the pre-show
- The Ringmaster is now ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. Both Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler approve of his new moniker
- Roddy Piper was supposed to announce The Ultimate Warrior’s Wrestlemania opponent, but instead Vince just told us in passing that it will be Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Vince also referred to Warrior as “the most reckless performer in WWF history”
- If that’s what Piper did not do then what did he do? He called himself a lesbian and slapped Goldust
- Stone Cold Steve Austin was given a run for his money by Savio Vega
- Remember last week I was pondering the whereabouts of Razor Ramon? Well he’s been relegated to wrestling on Superstars as Savio’s tag partner in the Tag Title tournament
- Footage of “Olympic hopeful” Mark Henry gorilla pressing Jerry Lawler prior to the show was aired, much to The King’s chagrin. Henry – who looked like a wider version of Shaq – was sat in the front row during the live show
- Two weeks ago Yokozuna was subjected to a three on one attack by Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Vader before Ahmed Johnson and Jake Roberts made the save. Well the exact same thing happened this week, only Diesel attacked Paul Bearer to draw The Undertaker – who was tagging with Yoko – away from the ring to set this deja-vu angle in motion
- Savio Vega fought Steve Austin (w/ Ted Dibiase) to a double count-out
- Henry Godwinn & Phinneas Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) defeated Jerry Meade & Alex Porteau
- Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Vin Grier
- The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) & Yokozuna defeated Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith via DQ
The big news from WCW is that I’m confused. Regular readers will know that this can mean only one thing; WCW have a PPV this Sunday. Granted I do not watch WCW Saturday Night, but from following Nitro – their flagship show – one would assume I’d at least have a rough idea of the card for Uncensored, right? Nope. All I can tell you is that there will be some kind of four tier cage match featuring Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Booty Man, Kevin Sullivan, Arn Anderson, Ric Flair and – for some reason – Lex Luger. Sounds ridiculous, but the main event of this week’s Nitro featured a six man tag double strap lumberjack match, so I’m now fully desensitised to the wackiest shit WCW can send my way. If you’re wondering what the aforementioned match looked like then it was a complete mess and Hogan won. Thus, exactly as you would imagine.
In Other News From Nitro –
- Pepe was clearly fresh from a doggy party as he was dressed in a colourful party hat
- Bobby Heenan hyped the main event by suggesting it would be “a beating nobody is going to like”… he wasn’t wrong there
- Hacksaw Jim Duggan blatantly and repeatedly cheated, and the ref allowed it. Thankfully The Giant – a heel – picked up the clean win
- Jimmy Hart helped Lex Luger defeat Alex Wright. Although Luger did not initially notice that he was aided, he wasn’t exactly upset when he did realise
- Oh yeah, Lex Luger is the new TV Champion. I genuinely have no idea who the previous champion was because the belt is featured so rarely
- There was a really good worked-shoot segment featuring the supposedly fired Brian Pillman and Eric Bischoff. During The Giant’s match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan a couple of large banners with the message “CALL BRIAN 1-900-200-PILL” were visible opposite the hard camera. For the most part this was treated as a genuine disturbance, with alternate camera angles used and commentators trying to ignore it as much as possible. WCW even teased us with a quick ‘accidental’ glimpse of Pillman, who has not been mentioned on TV since his apparently legit firing a few weeks ago. All that let this angle down – by today’s standards at least – was Bischoff identifying Pillman on commentary and one brief focussed shot of the incident.
- The Steiner Brothers are back. They rode to the ring on motorbikes to take on The Road Warriors. Apparently The Nasty Boys were scheduled to face LOD, but they were beaten up off camera by mystery assailants
- After Animal used one of his arm guards to nail Rick Steiner, an angry Scott Steiner exclaimed that he and his brother have been hunting The Road Warriors for years and want a piece of them
- The lumberjacks in the main event were all dressed like Mick Foley… I mean lumberjacks. Dungeon of Doom members Loch Ness and The Giant even started fighting amongst themselves
- The Giant defeated Jim Duggan (w/ Jimmy Hart)
- The Road Warriors defeated The Steiner Brothers
- Lex Luger (c) defeated Alex Wright to retain the WCW TV Title
- Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage & The Booty Man defeated Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan & Ric Flair (w/ Miss Elizabeth and Woman) in a Six Man Tag Team Lumberjack Strap Match
Nitro returned to the airwaves with a victory after their week away. Their 3.2 bested Raw’s 2.9. Seinfeld was the highest rated show of the week with a 20.1 while an old episode of Friends scored 18.0. Not bad going for a re-run.
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.