It has been quite a week in 2016, and it was just as eventful in 1996. I am of course referring specifically to the world of wrestling because in the wider world the only significant news I could find was Mike Tyson having another scrape with the law and the Olsen twins – who were 9 years old in 1996 – signing a book deal for 14 books. They’ve only just learned how to write?! Anyway, just as we had Wrestlemania 32 this week, the folks in 1996 were treated to Wrestlemania 12. So, without any further ado, let’s see what happened on the subsequent episode of Raw as well as WCW Nitro in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …
The Big news from the Raw after Wrestlemania is not actually anything that happened at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. Remember those ‘Mankind’ promos that aired a while back but seemed to abruptly stop shortly after the Royal Rumble? Well Mankind had quite an eventful debut on Raw. Firstly, he defeated Bob Holly with a bizarre mouth submission. He then attacked The Undertaker during The Deadman’s match with Justin ‘Hawk’ Bradshaw. After delivering a Cactus Jack-esque elbow from the apron, Mankind had to be dragged off The Undertaker. Looks like we have a new player in town…
In Other News From Raw –
- Vince McMahon was absolutely delighted to announce Shawn Michaels as the new WWF Champion
- Mankind had different entrance and exit music. His entrance theme was very ominous but his exit music was a relaxing piano piece
- There were a few “he’s hardcore” chants during Mankind’s match
- A few weeks ago Johnny B Badd disappeared from WCW Nitro. This week on WWF Raw a man matching his description made his in-ring debut as ‘Wild Man’ Marc Mero. Triple H’s lady friend from Wrestlemania, Sable, sat in the front row and was very impressed by the Wild Man. Triple H was not so impressed. He and Sable exchanged views before she slapped him across the face. The best bit of this angle was that it took place behind a random fan who had not been asked to move out of the way
- You know how NFL and NBA players get hats to wear directly after winning a championship? Well Shawn Michaels was wearing WWF’s answer to that tradition on Raw…
- In his promo, HBK put Bret Hart over and promised to wear the WWF Title with the same “honour, dignity and class” as The Hitman. He then turned his attention to Jerry Lawler – who he will face next week for some reason – and Diesel, whom he will defend the title against at the next PPV. That would be the same Diesel who lost to The Undertaker the previous night. Losing at Wrestlemania and being tossed into the title picture the next night, where have I seen that before…?
- The rest of Raw was populated by Wrestlemania recaps, Ultimate Warrior promos and some guy on a bike plugging ‘Weekly World News’. This appeared to have nothing whatsoever to do with wrestling
- Mankind defeated Bob Holly
- Marc Mero defeated Isaac Yankem DDS
- Skip & Zip (c) (w/ Sunny) defeated Aldo Montoya & Barry Horowitz to retain the WWF Tag Team Titles
- The Undertaker defeated Justin Bradshaw via disqualification
With no ground breaking news from Nitro I shall instead detail the angle that will take longest to explain, so that I don’t have to bullet-point it….
The show started with The Giant and Sting having a scrap in the ring. The scheduled match was supposed to be Sting teaming with The Giant to defend the Tag Titles against Harlem Heat. Already I’m confused because Sting’s championship partner is Lex Luger, not The Giant. Anyway, we were shown footage of Jimmy Hart paying Harlem Heat not to compete and were told The Giant had also been paid off. Again this doesn’t make sense. Why would a Dungeon of Doom manager have to pay a Dungeon of Doom member to attack one of their main rivals? The commentators surmised that Hart did all this to protect Lex Luger’s stake in the Tag Titles. Problem is, they immediately contradicted themselves by saying that the WCW Championship Committee would not allow The Giant to sub for Luger in a title match. Answers on a postcard folks, because I have no idea what the hell was going on with this angle…
In Other News From Nitro –
- Pepe was asleep. Oh, he was also a cowboy again
- For the second week in a row Ric Flair defended his WCW Title against a heel challenger, who had to play the role of babyface for the night. Last week it was The Giant, this week it was Lex Luger. Flair picked up the win after Woman threw hot coffee in Luger’s eyes
- Speaking of cheating, that’s how Hulk Hogan and The Booty Man defeated Arn Anderson and Kevin Sullivan. Before Sullivan could use Woman’s stiletto, Hogan twatted him with The Booty Babe’s platform shoe
- Oh, Sullivan and Anderson are back on the same page, apparently
- The Booty Babe was also referred to as Kimberly
- What’s better than one Brian Knobbs? Two Brian Knobbs! Johnny Grunge from The Public Enemy dressed as Knobbs in order to get pinned and cost The Nasty Boys their match against The Road Warriors and The Steiners
- The Booty Man has a plan to get the upper hand on Sullivan et al. once and for all. He’s not giving anything away though; we’ll have to tune in next week to find out. Hold me back…
- The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Sting by DQ
- The Steiner Brothers defeated The Nasty Boys and The Road Warriors in a Triangle Tag Team Match
- Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe) defeated Arn Anderson & Kevin Sullivan (w/ Miss Elizabeth and Woman)
- Ric Flair (w/ Miss Elizabeth and Woman) (c) defeated Lex Luger to retain the WCW Title
The trend is over; Raw defeated Nitro in the ratings for the first time since January. Their 2.9 just edged WCW’s 2.8. For perspective I shall once again refer to Friends which drew an 18.4 on Thursday for The One Where Old Yeller Dies, i.e. the one where Chandler tries to grow a moustache to look more like Tom Sellick.
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.