The Way We Was: 1996 Week 15

The Way We Was

Jamie Lithgow

It’s Friday, which of course means that we shall once again travel back to 1996 to see what the world looked like. Top of the music charts in the UK was Firestarter by The Prodigy, while the slightly more wholesome James and The Giant Peach hit cinema screens. In showbiz news, a 27 year old Halle Berry filed for divorce from some baseball guy. In technology news the rollout of DVDs has been held up. Videos, on a CD? Are you sure?! Sounds like witchcraft to me so let’s see what was happening in the world of wrestling instead. No Nitro this week because TNT showed a movie, but Raw was on – and it was good – so let’s start this week’s The Way We Was
90s Raw Logo

"Ouch, my leg..."

“Ouch, my leg…”

Tell you what, bloody good episode of Raw this week. With Nitro pre-empted I was expecting WWE to not really try because they would achieve a market share regardless. However – and unlike earlier in the year when Raw was unopposed –WWE took the opportunity to put on a quality show for their largest audience since Nitro debuted. I’ d wager that this episode of Raw was probably the highest rated ever to that point, but due to the lack of reliable ratings figures prior to September 1995 I can’ t be 100% on this. Anyway, onwards to the show…

Not unlike the current WWE product, I was left wondering why an angle from this week’ s Raw did not occur at Wrestlemania. For a good portion of the Wrestlemania XII build it seemed nailed-on that we would see Vader vs. Yokozuna in a singles match. What we actually got was a throw away six man tag, which also featured The British Bulldog, Owen Hart, Ahmed Johnson and Jake Roberts. On this episode of Raw – which was recorded the day after Wrestlemania and broadcast one week later – we eventually got to see Vader vs. Yokozuna one on one. Vader was awarded the decision after the referee stopped the match when The Mastodon appeared to break Yoko’ s leg with a Vader Bomb. A distressed Yokozuna was put in a splint and carried out of the arena in a forklift. This was either because the stretcher was not big enough or the EMT’ s were not strong enough to carry the former WWF Champion. Vader continued his attack as Yoko was being taken to an ambulance which was waiting outside the arena for him. This was a really good angle and I understand why it was saved for a week when more eyes would be on it, but I would still have preferred to see Vader look like a sadistic monster at Wrestlemania. Ah well…

In Other News From Raw…

  • Despite weighing a massive 450lbs, Vader still gave up over 200lbs to Yokozuna
  • Mr Perfect replaced Jerry Lawler on commentary as The King wrestled WWF Champion Shawn Michaels in the main event, for some reason
  • Perfect wondered if we would ever see Yokozuna again… we will…
  • For the second time since I started following Raw and the PPVs from 1996 I have come across Duke ‘ The Dumpster’ Droese; and for the second time I was very impressed. Coincidentally enough his opponent was once again Hunter Hearst Helmsley, so maybe that’s where my praise should go? Either way, the wrestling bin man was fired up and entertaining to watch. Seriously folks, he’ s pretty good…
  • We were given a glimpse of how The Ultimate Warrior character might have worked had he hung around until the Attitude Era. In a confrontation with Goldust he exclaimed that he didn’ t “give a shit” what The Bizarre One was into. This was another good segment, albeit visually a very weird one…
  • There were “Bring Back The Conquistadors”and “Bring Back Jamison” signs in the front row
  • You know how whenever WWE run an arm wrestling angle these days they have a proper arm wrestling table? Well, not in 1996. Ahmed Johnson got the better of The British Bulldog to prove who had the strongest right arm in the company. Bulldog then lost his shit and attacked Ahmed with the very worn looking table that refused to break, despite multiple attempts. The best bit of yet another solid angle was Owen Hart complaining about the amount of oil on Johnson’s body and pretending to be an expert on the rules of arm wrestling. As a result he was told to leave by the referee
  • Diesel – who was wearing a Shawn Michaels t-shirt – battered HBK after the main event. Big Daddy Cool – or “Big D” as Vince called him – had been providing guest commentary and was aided by Mr Perfect in his destruction of the WWF Champion

Ratings

The unopposed Raw scored a very impressive 4.7. As mentioned earlier, this was probably the show’s highest rating to that point. Elsewhere, Seinfeld was once again the highest rated show of the week, but with a below average 17.2. A Friends rerun scored 14.7…. a rerun!

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

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4 thoughts on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 15

  1. Vader power bombed Yoko? Is that right? Good grief, Leon White’s back had to have been seriously fucked up for about a week after that. But…wow,, that was damned impressive.

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    • A Vader Bomb is somewhat less impressive than a Power Bomb. A Vader Bomb is a reverse corner splash from the second rope. Thankfully Vader did not have to lift Yoko because apparently that requires a forklift truck!

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  2. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 16 | Ring the Damn Bell

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