It’s Friday which means it’s time once again to travel back to 1996. Just as in 2016, this week saw the start of the UEFA European Championships. The 1996 version of the tournament saw England start their campaign with a disappointing draw following a late equaliser before defeating one of their UK neighbours in game two. Sadly it was Scotland who suffered on this occasion, and even sadder is that this was the last time the Tartan Army graced a European Championship! Oh well, at least if the similarities continue we can look forward to England being eliminated by Germany, via a penalty shootout. Anyway, I now feel sufficiently old so let’s see what was happening in the world of wrestling during this week 20 years ago in ‘The Way We Was‘ …
It was a quiet week in the WWF because, quite frankly, Raw wasn’t very good. The big news stemming from the show was Jerry Lawler hitting The Ultimate Warrior with a framed portrait he drew of the former WWF Champion. The King drew the picture as a peace offering, because the cowardly commentator is scheduled to face Warrior at the upcoming King of The Ring pay per view. Warrior refused the gift – although did praise King’s artistry – thus, Lawler smacked him with it.
In Other News From Raw –
- Mankind hid under the ring and grabbed The Undertaker’s leg, causing The Deadman to be counted out in his match with The British Bulldog. The Deranged One continued the assault, debuting his unique version of a piledriver
- In hyping his upcoming match with Justin ‘Hawk’ Bradshaw on Superstars this weekend, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts said it would be a “stiff challenge”. Ah, insider references…
- Owen Hart has taken a shine to The Slammy award he accepted on Shawn Michaels’ behalf two months ago. I wonder if this rather sudden infatuation will last?
- The WWF actually seem to be advertising for the Bodydonnas new manager…
- Yokozuna said he is ‘going away to find himself’. No word on where exactly he is going, but this was prompted after he was defeated by his former tag partner; Owen Hart. Yoko fell off the middle rope, allowing Owen to pin him. This angle feels like a subtle weight themed storyline, but the reason I’m confused is because nothing else on Raw at this time is ever this subtle…
- Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) defeated Yokozuna in a KOTR Qualifying Match
- Marc Mero (w/ Sable) defeated Skip in a KOTR Qualifying Match
- Davey Boy Smith (w/ Jim Cornette, Owen Hart, & Diana Hart Smith) defeated the Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) via count-out
Thankfully Nitro was miles better than Raw, with the big news from the go-home episode before The Great American Bash once again being the antics of a certain Razor Ramon. Last week he promised ‘a big surprise’ and this week he delivered, in the shape of ‘Big Daddy Cool’ Diesel. The big man cut his famous “this is where the big boys play?” promo before reiterating the challenge of finding three WCW guys for a fight. Eric Bischoff seemed to accept the challenge and promised that he would find three guys. Bisch even invited the apparent WWF invaders to The Great American Bash on Sunday, presumably for said fight. Sold, I’ll be watching that! What an awesome segment.
In Other News From Nitro –
- A debuting Joe Gomez and a returning Renegade were given quite the build-up ahead of their main event match with Ric Flair and Arnderson. I know what you’re thinking, nothing about that statement adds up at all. Don’t worry though, the pair were merely pawns in an angle way above their pay grade. Flair and Anderson battered the duo in a backstage angle that also involved Debra McMichael – Mongo’s wife – rendering them unable to wrestle. The more appropriate team of Sting and Lex Luger took their place in the show’s main event.
- The aforementioned Debra McMichael rather randomly appeared this week in an attempt to talk The Horsemen out of their match with Mongo and Kevin Green at The Great American Bash. She is scared that Mongo might get carried away and really hurt somebody. Her diplomatic approach failed, obviously
- WCW have finally figured out how to fill a two hour show; video promos! Almost every match booked for Sunday’s PPV was hyped in a video package, in Sullivan and Benoit’s case using the exact same film as last week. For good measure we even got promotional vignettes for various wrestlers, including Konnan, Dean Malenko and Hulk Hogan
- The name Rey Misterio Jr. was mentioned in passing…
- Lex Luger was in full babyface mode this week, and managed to get the best of The Giant after the champ’s match with Scott Norton. Giant did interfere in the main event though, after which he suggested that his match with Luger on Sunday should be no disqualification…
- Flag waving babyface Hacksaw Jim Duggan produced tape from his trunks, wrapped it around his fist and decked Dave Taylor before pinning him… in full view of the referee
- Kevin Green’s wrestling name is now Kevin ‘Shallow Grave’ Green, per his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- Dennis Rodman is now an honorary Nasty Boy. You won’t find this footage on the WWE Network version of Nitro, but Brian Knobbs presented the NBA star with a Nasty Boys jersey on some basketball show on NBC. I think the connection here is that Rodman and Isiah Thomas were known as ‘The Nasty Boys’ when they played for The Detroit Pistons
- Speaking of The Nasty Boys, they had yet another match with The Public Enemy. I’ve genuinely lost count of the number of matches these teams have had
- Scott Steiner defeats Booker T
- Diamond Dallas Page defeats Jim Powers
- Sting defeats Meng
- Jim Duggan defeats Squire David Taylor (w/ Jeeves)
- The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) (c) defeats Scott Norton
- Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves) defeats Billy Kidman
- The Public Enemy defeat The Nasty Boys by DQ
- WCW World Tag Team Title Match: Lex Luger & Sting (c) defeat Arn Anderson & Ric Flair (w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman) by DQ
Raw won?! Despite Razor Ramon teasing a big surprise and Nitro being by far the more entertaining show, Raw still edged it in the ratings, 2.7 – 2.6. Go figure…
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.