The Way We Was: 1996 Week 21

The Way We Was

Jamie Lithgow

After yesterday’s bonus edition looking at WCW Slamboree, Jamie has spent another night in 1996 to bring us up to speed with the rest of the news from another busy week in the WWF and WCW. As always some context is needed to adjust our minds to life in 1996; a film version of 70’s TV show ‘Mission Impossible’ has just been released starring the wee man – Tom Cruise – and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls destroyed Shaq’s Orlando Magic (they won the series 4-0) to reach the NBA Finals. Anyway, let’s see who got destroyed in the wrestling ring in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …

90s Raw Logo

Don't worry lads, wrestling fans haven't evolved to use cameras yet...

Don’t worry lads, wrestling fans haven’t evolved to use cameras yet…

The big news in the WWF this week was not something that occurred on Raw, rather what occurred the night before at a house show in Madison Square Garden. May 19th 1996 is a significant date in American wrestling history for this was the night The Godwinns won their first WWF Tag Team Titles! There was also some nonsense involving Shawn Michaels (who else?!), Razor Ramon, Diesel and Hunter Hearst Helmsley too.

Yes, of course, this week marked 20 years since the infamous ‘Curtain Call’ or ‘MSG Incident’. For those that have never heard about this – I assume you are a minority – this was the moment Shawn Michaels (a babyface), Triple H (a heel), Razor Ramon (a babyface) and Diesel (a heel) all embraced in the ring to mark the last WWF appearance of Razor and Diesel. So, what was the big deal? Well in 1996, despite most people being aware of the worked nature of wrestling, the relationship between heel and babyface was still protected as much as possible. While Vince McMahon had okayed this public display of affection between good guys and bad guys, he was unaware to what extent The Kliq members would embrace and also completely naive to the notion that a fan might record such an incident on a camcorder. As a result, Vince did choose to punish those involved. Problem was, Diesel and Razor had just left the company and Shawn was the WWF Champion. By my count that leaves just one man to shoulder the blame. I’ve picked Hunter as a dark horse for this year’s King of The Ring, I hope this little faux pas doesn’t hinder his chances…

In Other News From Raw –

And this would not be the last time a wrestler would feature in their own comic...

And this would not be the last time a wrestler would feature in their own comic…

  • In a pointless segment, Clarence Mason and Jim Cornette issued Shawn Michaels with a restraining order against Diana Smith. Their plan was to prevent HBK from doing commentary during The British Bulldog’s match with Jake Roberts. The restraining order was confirmed by Gorilla Monsoon, but the WWF President then used too much common sense for the bad guys’ liking. Instead of banning Michaels from ringside, Monsoon sent Diana packing. So what made this segment pointless? For starters HBK walked passed Diana on his way to the commentary desk, and he was a lot closer than 100 yards. Secondly, Diana reappeared later to throw water at Michaels – which mainly landed on some less than happy looking fans. The restraining order was forgotten about almost as soon as it was mentioned
  • As I alluded to earlier, The Godwinns defeated The Bodydonnas for the Tag Titles at the MSG house show. Even better for Phineas was that he managed to steal a kiss from Sunny too
  • The Undertaker learned a valuable lesson about cutting promos from inside a casket i.e. don’t do it. Mankind showed up, closed the lid and used a strap to seal it shut. He then beat the crap out of the coffin with the Deadman still inside. Mankind – 1 Undertaker – 0

    It's almost as if the camera man has been told to ignore Marc Mero...

    It’s almost as if the camera man has been told to ignore Marc Mero…

  • You can always tell when you are watching the Raw before a PPV – and thus the final taping from their four week block at that arena – because you frequently see fans in the front row yawning
  • We saw footage of The Ultimate Warrior’s comic book launch. Apparently it explores “the evolution of destiny and the power of self-belief through Warrior’s own belief system known as Destrucity”. Sounds, erm, fun…
  • Savio Vega interfered during Steve Austin’s match with Marc Mero, causing a disqualification in favour of Austin. Mero was not best pleased by the actions of his fellow babyface
  • Later in the show Austin made a better job of attacking Savio by hitting the ring after his match had ended. He and the 1-2-3 Kid – who’s goatee is starting to take shape – tied Savio up and whipped him
  • It is becoming uncomfortably obvious that the main part of Marc Mero’s act is Sable

Full Results

  • Steve Austin (w/ Ted Dibiase) defeated Marc Mero (w/ Sable) via disqualification
  • Savio Vega defeated the 1-2-3 Kid (w/ Ted Dibiase)
  • Davey Boy Smith (w/ Jim Cornette, Clarence Mason, & Diana Hart Smith) fought Jake Roberts to a no contest

Nitro Logo

Ahead of next week’s shift to two hours, this week’s Nitro was a 90 minute affair. Hot on the heels of Slamboree, the big storyline WCW are going with is Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael and Carolina Panther Kevin Green vs. Arn Anderson and Ric Flair which has now been officially booked for The Great American Bash in June. Other than a lot of hype from Eric Bischoff and Ric Flair cutting a promo on the footballers there is nothing else to report on WCW’s new premier feud.

In Other News From Nitro –

  • With Mongo now ‘in training’ he is off commentary for the time being, which unfortunately means no Pepe!
  • A paranoid Macho Man was once again refused entry to the arena. Yet again Macho was in his gear and appeared to have no bags. Thus, one has to assume he travelled to the building already wearing his colourful spandex and sparkly cowboy hat ensemble…
  • Having won the BattleBowl tournament the previous night, Diamond Dallas Page continued his winning ways on Nitro. There was bad news for DDP though. Due the controversial nature of his victory in the battle royal – his feet touched the floor but this was not spotted by the referee – he will not receive a WCW Title shot as promised. Page will still be recognised as the winner of the tournament though, and get to keep the ‘Lord of The Ring’ title and souvenir ring. The WCW Title shot at The Great American Bash has instead been handed to Lex Luger. That would be the same Lex Luger who was eliminated in the first round of BattleBowl…
  • DDP has also introduced a new catchphrase; “self-high five!”
  • Ever wondered how Ric Flair benefits from holding the ropes while he applies his Figure Four Leglock? While I’ve not figured out the specific mechanics of why he benefits, this little bit of cheating was enough to keep Eddie Guerrero’s shoulders on the mat long enough for a three count. That’s right, Flair pinned Guerrero using a Figure Four
  • Speaking of Guerrero, his theme music sounds an awful lot like Badstreet USA…
  • Nitro ended with the WCW Champion claiming another clean win over a Horseman. This time Arn Anderson felt the wrath of The Giant

Full Results

  • Tag Team Match: Fire And Ice vs. The Steiner Brothers – Double Count Out
  • Ric Flair (w/ Elizabeth & Woman) defeats Eddie Guerrero
  • WCW World Tag Team Title Match: Lex Luger & Sting (c) defeat The Faces Of Fear
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeats Brad Armstrong
  • World Heavyweight Title Match: The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) (c) defeats Arn Anderson (w/ Kevin Sullivan)

Ratings

Nitro did manage to narrow the gap but their earlier timeslot continues to distort the ratings in WWF’s favour. With the NBA Finals approaching – thus less basketball on TNT – Nitro will be back at it’s usual time soon enough, and for two hours!

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

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3 thoughts on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 21

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 21 | Ring the Damn Bell

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