The Way We Was: 1996 Week 18

The Way We Was

Jamie Lithgow

It’s Friday, which of course means that we once again hit the rewind button and take a look at what was going down in 1996. With a Pay Per View as well as Raw and Nitro to cover we best not waste any time. However, I do have a couple of snippets of news for you: This week marked the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster where eight climbers were caught off-guard and perished during a storm. These events inspired a book and a movie – I’d highly recommend the movie; Everest. Also, regular readers may be concerned about 2-Pac because he has not been mentioned in the introductory paragraph of this series for a while. Not to worry folks, he is still with us. He’s on bail for sex abuse and probation violation charges while he appeals his conviction. Apparently he can avoid jail if he organises a benefit for underprivileged children. He’s some character is old 2-Pac. Anyway, off to 1996 we head in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …

In Your House 7

Does this still count as 'tuning up the band'?

Does this still count as ‘tuning up the band’?

The big news from ‘In Your House 7: Good Friends Better Enemies’ is not something viewers will have realised at the time. This PPV marked the last televised WWE appearance of Kevin ‘Diesel’ Nash and Scott ‘Razor Ramon’ Hall for seven years. Nash continued his run of losing on PPV by failing to capture the WWF Championship from Shawn Michaels in the main event. Meanwhile, former Intercontinental Champion Hall – who wasn’t even booked at the last PPV; Wrestlemania – was left wishing that he’d have been overlooked this month too. Vader defeated him cleanly and convincingly in a nothing match. I assume this will be the last time I mention the names Diesel or Razor Ramon on my journey through 1996…

  • Fans who bought this PPV purely to see The British Bulldog vs. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts – hey, you never know – were left short changed. It quickly transformed into a tag match featuring Owen Hart and Ahmed Johnson after Jake whipped his snake out and caused a scene.
  • Speaking of which, Jim Cornette fainted at the sight of Jake’s slithery serpent. Maintaining an air of cool in the midst of a crisis, Vince McMahon on commentary said “I think he’s gonna die”. Very helpful Vince
  • Fans who bought this PPV purely to see Goldust vs. The Ultimate Warrior – which sounds slightly more plausible – were also left short changed. Technically Warrior won via count out, but this was a segment not a match. Basically Warrior stole Marlena’s cigar and burnt Goldust’s hand with it. A fat man in a suit and fedora who accompanied Goldust took all the bumps once the shit had hit the fan. This gentleman looked an awful lot like Mantaur…
  • Phineas Godwinn proved to be even more simple than we thought. He was distracted by a framed photo of Sunny. Fair enough you might think, but it was being held by Sunny herself
  • In a moment that screamed “fuck it, it’s my last night” Diesel seemed to decide at the very last second to powerbomb Shawn Michaels through the announce table rather than onto the floor. The fact that a surprised Vince McMahon almost joined HBK in going through the table – and the monitors – adds weight to this theory
  • So how did Michaels defeat the 7ft Diesel in a No Holds Barred match? By using the prosthetic leg of a retired ex-wrestler, obviously. As the heel, Diesel introduced the rather unique foreign object after attacking Maurice ‘Mad Dog’ Vachon, who was sat at ringside

Full Results

  • Free For All: Marc Mero (w/ Sable) defeated The 1-2-3 Kid (w/ Ted DiBiase)
  • Owen Hart & The British Bulldog defeated Ahmed Johnson & Jake Roberts
  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Goldust (c) (w/ Marlena and Goldust’s bodyguard) by count out in a WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
  • Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) defeated Razor Ramon
  • The Body Donnas (c) (w/ Sunny) defeated The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship (7:17)
  • Shawn Michaels (c) (w/ Jose Lothario) defeated Diesel in a No Holds Barred Match to retain the WWF World Heavyweight Championship

90s Raw Logo

With Diesel vanquished, Raw took Michaels in an altogether different direction for his next challenger. The show started with backstage footage from In Your House of an upset British Bulldog mumbling something about Michaels trying to sleep with his wife. This somewhat random storyline was furthered during a segment on Raw where Jim Cornette, Bulldog and Diana Smith herself pointed the finger at “sexual deviant” Michaels. Conspicuous by its absence was a denial from HBK. Instead he decided to antagonise Bulldog and start a brawl.

So, hands up who wants to wrestle Mankind...

So, hands up who wants to wrestle Mankind…

  • Away from this angle, Mankind seemed to be the focus of Raw this week. If deranged is what he is going for then he has certainly succeeded. During his match with Bart Gunn his face and hands were smeared with blood from an unidentified source. The close-up of Mankind’s bloody hand halfway down Gunn’s gullet was quite a sight. Post-match Gunn put the Mandible Claw over as a paralysing move by explaining that he was unable to move while in the hold. After attacking Gunn again, Mankind – in his own unique way – explained the theory behind the claw. It’s all to do with pressure points and nerves apparently…
  • The misleading information regarding WWF cards continued on Raw. Prior to the first ad break Vince McMahon said the following – “Coming up; Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Ultimate Warrior, one-on-one”. What we got was Austin and Warrior in separate singles matches, one-on-one with their respective opponents
  • Speaking of Austin, Savio Vega challenged him to a Caribbean Strap Match. He refused
  • Henry Godwinn dragged a clearly terrified piglet to the ring prior to a number one contenders tag match. To keep things nice and vague, The Godwinns and The New Rockers battled to a double count out after Sunny got involved and Phineas got distracted again
  • The aforementioned Ultimate Warrior match was his Raw in-ring debut. It was against Isaac Yankem and it wasn’t very good

Full Results

  • Mankind defeated Bart Gunn via submission
  • Steve Austin (w/ Ted Dibiase) defeated Scott Taylor via submission
  • The New Rockers fought The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) to a double count out
  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Isaac Yankem DDS

Nitro Logo

The Giant was overjoyed at winning his second WCW Title

The Giant was overjoyed at winning his second WCW Title

We’ve got a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. The Giant cleanly defeated Ric Flair to capture the gold in a surprisingly short main event. Another surprising element was the lack of cheating from Flair’s camp. Post-match Giant – who has been a tweener for the last couple of months – cut an impassioned “come one, come all” promo directed at the likes of Hogan, Savage, Sting and Luger. Fair play to Paul Wight; six months into his wrestling career and he has developed a genuine champion’s aura.

  • Pepe must have had a long day at Comic Con. He was fast asleep while wearing a Batman themed hat and jacket
  • This was the first pre-taped Nitro since its debut. Bischoff usually hits us over the head with the fact that Nitro is live, which he did not do this week. The word “live” was also missing from the Nitro/TNT graphic. To round this theory off, the show was held in the exact same venue as last week on front of the exact same fans…
  • The confusing relationship between Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger continued. Hart appeared at ringside and tried to throw in the towel for Luger during his and Sting’s tag match with Harlem Heat. Booker T actually caught the towel and became distracted enough to fall victim to a roll up from Sting
  • I don’t know how to describe this, but Steven Regal and The Belfast Bruiser had a fight in the car park. Judging by the state of their arms and legs I’d suggest that not all the windows they smashed were made from sugar glass. Towards the end of the bout Bischoff requested that the camera remain on a wide shot, and it did. This was probably for the best; this wasn’t the most PG of brawls
  • There was a great quote from Steve McMichael on commentary during this match; “it’s a cinderblock” he yelled, after Regal picked up a small roof tile
  • The Battlebowl tournament is already over booked. The ‘random’ draw which already paired rivals Ric Flair & Randy Savage and Regal & The Bruiser together has also placed tag teams The Steiner Brothers and Road Warriors on opposing teams

Full Results

  • WCW World Tag Team Title Match: Lex Luger & Sting (c) defeated Harlem Heat
  • The Steiner Brothers defeated Fire & Ice
  • Parking Lot Brawl: Lord Steven Regal defeated The Belfast Bruiser
  • WCW World Heavyweight Title Match: The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Ric Flair (w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman) (c)

Pepe's Fashion Corner

Ratings

Raw absolutely trounced Nitro by a margin of 3.9 to 2.1. WCW need to turn the tide because Nitro is starting to drift away. Meanwhile, The One Where Old Yeller Dies drew a mammoth 18.0 for Friends

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

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2 thoughts on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 18

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 19 | Ring the Damn Bell

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