It’s time once again to push the rewind button and head back to 1996. Top of the UK Charts for the second consecutive week is Mark Morrison with ‘Return of The Mack’. Over in the states the NBA Playoffs have started. In the Eastern Conference a Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls have taken a commanding two game lead over the Miami Heat. Shaq’s Orlando Magic and Patrick Ewing’s New York Knicks are also looking strong. Out west San Antonio, Utah and Seattle are looking like the teams to beat. That’s enough basketball – because no doubt we’ll hear plenty about it from Eric Bischoff in the coming weeks – so let’s head to Raw and Nitro for this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …
Remember last week’s angle when Goldust was stripped of the Intercontinental Title before Gorilla Monsoon declared it vacant? Well it may as well have never happened because Goldust regained the title in his rematch with Savio Vega. After Marlena distracted the referee, Steve Austin – who has been feuding with Savio and was watching at ringside – smacked the Puerto Rican with the Million Dollar Championship belt to hand Goldust the easy pin. In a typical display of wrestling’s lack of consistency, despite appearing after last week’s controversial IC Title bout WWF President Gorilla Monsoon was nowhere to found after this week’s screwy finish. I genuinely cannot figure out the purpose of this whole angle. It appears to have been a vehicle to further the Savio/Austin feud, but why didn’t Austin just interfere last week and cost Savio the title then?
In Other News From Raw –
- A very young Yoshihiro Tajiri featured as a jobber against The Godwinns
- Speaking of The Godwinns, The Body Donnas ran in after their match and attacked the hog farmers. Bizarrely, the personal trainers – I think that’s what Skip and Zip are supposed to be – chose to ‘slop’ Phineas by placing the greasy mess on Phineas’ face by hand. Erm, just empty the bucket over his head lads…
- Mankind spent much of his match against Aldo Montoya pulling out his own hair. Vince McMahon also hammered home that Mankind is deranged
- Aldo Montoya got pyro for his entrance, and I’m not joking. Guess that’s what being friendly with The Kilq will get you…
- We saw footage from Germany of The British Bulldog attacking Jake Roberts only for Jake to turn the tables and slide his snake all over Bulldog’s body…
- Vader no-sold a massive splash from Fatu seconds before performing a top rope moonsault that just barely connected with the Samoan. This was supposed to be a big deal because it was the first time Vader had done his moonsault in WWE, but it fell pretty flat due to how far from the target Vader landed
- In an interesting tactic for hyping his upcoming title match with Shawn Michaels, Diesel said that he is not interested in the WWF Championship and that his run with the belt was the worst year of his life. He also said that has a score to settle with Vince. Maybe Diesel vs. Vince in a non title match would be more appropriate then?
- Goldust (w/ Marlena) defeated Savio Vega to win the vacant WWF Intercontinental Championship
- Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) defeated Fatu
- The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) defeated Yoshihiro Tajiri & Ken Patterson
- Mankind defeated Aldo Montoya
In typical WCW fashion, they promised the world and delivered fuck all. The main event was announced as a rematch from last week pitting WCW Tag Team Champions Sting & Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair and The Giant. The difference this week was that all titles were on the line i.e. Sting & Luger’s Tag Titles, Luger’s TV Title and Flair’s World Title. I liked this stipulation because only wrestlers putting a title on the line could leave with the World Title i.e The Giant benefitted from not having a title to lose, but was not able to pin his own partner to become World Champion. So did Flair leave with three belts? Did Luger leave with all the gold? Did Sting win the World Title? Did any titles change hands when it seemed certain that at least one would? Of course not. Woman handed Flair a cup of hot coffee – which is quickly replacing her shoe as weapon of choice for heels in WCW – who then tried to throw it at Sting and Luger. However, and just like last week, the intended victim(s) ducked and The Giant took one in the eyes. Where is Woman getting all these cups of coffee from? Is there a barista position just off the hard camera at these Nitro events? Anyway, inexplicably the ref saw this as a reason to throw the match out and save everyone’s title. On the plus side, The Giant was pissed and has managed to land himself a WCW World Title match against Flair next week…
In Other News From Nitro –
- Pepe has finally moved away from the cowboy look and towards googly eyes and Dracula capes. I for one embrace this bold new image
- The first round drawings were made for this year’s Battlebowl, which will take place at Slamboree in May. WCW made no attempt to explain the concept to new viewers with Mean Gene – along with two young ladies – periodically reading out names of wrestlers who will apparently form tag teams in some kind of tournament. In keeping with the rich tradition of ‘random’ drawings in wrestling, the one thing WCW didn’t want to happen happened. Yes, Ric Flair will team with hated enemy Macho Man Randy Savage. As an added twist, the pair will face Flair’s best friend, Arn Anderson, and Eddie Guerrero. Elsewhere, rivals Lord Steven Regal and The Belfast Bruiser were paired together too
- A man in a suit called Rob Garner – he’s a WCW Vice President, or something – warned Macho Man about his future conduct regarding Flair. If Savage continues his current behaviour trend then he will be strongly advised to seek professional help. Savage called Garner “a little, little stupid person”. Harsh words…
- True to form, Savage was intercepted by security and carted away after trying to attack Flair prior to the main event
- Eric Bischoff read out spoilers for Raw. He only seems to do this when Raw sounds particularly grim, which it most certainly was. I’ve yet to hear him read out Raw spoilers when Shawn Michaels or Bret Hart are competing
- Babyface Hacksaw Jim Duggan acted like a heel throughout his match with Meng and blatantly cheated to win. Is he turning heel? Of course not, that’s just Duggan for you…
- Apparently the over-the-top-rope rule is still a thing in WCW, hence why The American Males picked up a DQ win over The Public Enemy. Post match PE did the same ‘Enemy Sandwich’ spot from last week, only on Scotty Riggs this time
- Having shown us their ludicrously bad side on this show, WCW also showed us their ridiculously good side by booking Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero as a little mid-card match. Hardly their best encounter but more than satisfying all the same. During the match we heard about a WCW cruiserweight tournament that apparently Eddie is still in, but Benoit has been knocked out of. The tournament is predominantly being held in Japan it would seem, hence why it is news to me. Oh, and since when is Chris Benoit a cruiserweight?!
- The American Males defeated The Public Enemy by DQ
- Chris Benoit defeated Eddie Guerrero
- Jim Duggan defeated Meng
- WCW World Heavyweight / WCW Television Title / WCW Tag Team Titles All Titles On The Line tag team match: Lex Luger (c) [TV / TT] & Sting (c) defeated [TT] Ric Flair (c) [WCW] & The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart, Miss Elizabeth and Woman) by DQ
Raw is on a roll. It’s 3.3 comfortably defeated Nitro’s 2.7. On Thursday Friends scored a 16.6 with ‘The One With The Bullies’. ER was the big winner of the week with a 22.4
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.