It’s Friday, which once again means we’re headed back to 1996 to relive events from wrestling’s past. This week’s pop culture reference will make a lot people feel old because on this week 20 years ago the Atlanta Olympic Games started. The legendary Muhammed Ali lighting The Olympic Torch is rightly considered one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. So, let’s see what iconic moments were produced on Raw and Nitro in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …
This week saw the go-home episode of Raw before this Sunday’s In Your House 9: International Incident. I am not exaggerating when I say this, but almost all the hype for this pay per view has gone into the main event. At a stretch I could maybe name two of the other matches, but with no degree of certainty. Anyway, said main event does include six of the company’s top stars, so maybe drawing attention away from the undercard is by design rather than accident. On Raw, Camp Cornette (Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Vader) were in bullish mood and promised “a surprise up their sleeve” for Shawn Michaels’ and Ahmed Johnson’s new partner; Sycho Sid. They also promised not to get involved in Shawn Michaels’ match with Billy Gunn in the main event of the show. Technically they did keep their word, but after the dastardly trio pretended to leave the arena, Jim Cornette baited Michaels and Ahmed into the parking lot for a fight. The brawl lasted all of a second because Sid screeched into shot in his hire car to even the sides as Raw went off the air.
In Other News From Raw –
- Tag Team Champions, Billy and Bart Gunn, both had the opportunity to become double champions with singles matches against WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson respectfully. They failed, obviously
- The other match at this Sunday’s In Your House that I am aware of is Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero. There has been zero build for this, other than Austin accidentally sustaining a mouth injury against Mero at last month’s King of The Ring before voicing his desire for revenge this week
- Speaking of Mero, he is clearly more suited to a match with Goldust after The Bizarre One’s Usher handed Sable a gift during Mero’s entrance. The ungrateful cow threw it on the ground
- So if Goldust isn’t feuding with Mero, then who is he facing on Sunday? The Undertaker, I think. I’m unsure about this one because there is even less reason for this match to exist than Mero vs. Austin
- Speaking of The Undertaker, we saw a very lengthy, but very cool, promo for The Deadman. It featured a version of his theme music using guitars. I wonder if that will stick? In keeping with the lack of sense In Your House is making, the tail-end of this promo package focussed on Taker’s rivalry with Mankind with only passing glimpses of Goldust
- TL Hopper made his Raw debut. Yes, the wrestling plumber guy
- This week’s ‘Slam of The Week’ was sponsored by Jean Claude Van Damme’s new movie ‘Sudden Death’. Thus, we got ‘The Sudden Death Slam of The Week’. I wonder if that would pass WWE’s PR office these days?
- Shawn Michaels’ alluded to his relationship with Sid, but said he “won’t go into that right now”…
- WWF IC Champion Ahmed Johnson defeated WWF Tag Team Champion Bart Gunn (w/ Sunny)
- Marc Mero (w/ Sable) defeated TL Hopper
- WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) pinned WWF Tag Team Champion Billy Gunn (w/ Sunny)
With last week’s Nitro doing little to build upon Hulk Hogan’s heel turn the previous night, we were back on track this week because the now Hollywood Hogan was actually on this show. The Outsiders paved the way for Hogan’s entrance after attacking Lex Luger during the main event. With Luger down, and his opponent – Big Bubba – also incapacitated, the proverbial red carpet was rolled out for a black clad Hogan to make his first appearance since Bash at The Beach. For a second it appeared as if Hogan would spare Bubba when he held out his hand, but it was a swerve. The Outsiders dealt with The Dungeon of Doom member and Hogan delivered another excellent promo. The first half essentially reaffirmed his comments from 8 days ago, but he revealed more details about his motivations and plans for the nWo in the second half. He called The Outsiders – who still have not officially been given names yet – the foundation and suggested more “outsiders” would follow. He also suggested that people from within WCW could also be persuaded to join the group. He then issued a challenge to WCW Champion, The Giant, for the Hog Wild PPV in August. If successful, Hogan will rebrand the belt and call himself “the nWo Champion”. Only once he was finished speaking did the locker room head out to surround the ring. The show ended at exactly this moment.
In Other News From Nitro –
- Pepe has returned to Mongo’s side!
- The terms “New World Order” and “NWO” must have been confirmed by WCW bosses as they were used far more freely this week
- This ever-evolving angle has been given the added layer of a potential ‘fourth man’ by the paranoid announcers
- The Outsiders draped sheets over the giant WCW logo. Written on these sheets were the letters “N”, “W” and “O”
- WCW were short on big names to oppose the nWo this week. With Ric Flair and Macho Man both absent, particular emphasis was placed on Sting, who apparently would have been present had he not had commitments in Japan. Are the announcers questioning The Stinger’s loyalty, but not Flair and Macho Man’s?
- Jimmy Hart’s plan to defeat the nWo; “destroy The Horsemen!” Pay attention to the question Jimmy…
- Jimmy also alluded to adding new members to The Dungeon of Doom in order to defeat The Horsemen…
- Not long after this, Dean Malenko attacked Chris Benoit for apparently no reason, handing a big win to Eddie Guerrero. Has The Iceman joined The Dungeon?
- Fire & Ice (Scott Norton & Ice Train) are having some issues. Norton was pissed at Ice Train after the loss to The Steiner Brothers. Ice Train’s former manager, Teddy Long, interjected but only made things worse. Both men appeared up for a fight…
- Rough & Ready (Mike Enos & Dick Slater) vs. Harlem Heat was a Colonel Parker derby. The Colonel manages Rough & Ready and ‘promotes’ Harlem Heat, whatever that means. The Heat bagged the win after their manager, Sister Sherri, kissed Dirty Dick Slater. Eeeeww!
- The lesser-seen WCW Woman’s division was dusted off and given an airing. Madusa won. This is understandable given that she is literally the only full-time member of the division currently under contract
- Debra McMichael – who is still being afforded more mic time than most – still cannot speak properly or finish her sentences. She finished her promo on Kevin Greene by insulting South Carolina. Hopefully Mongo informs here where exactly ‘Horseman Country’ is before she opens her mouth again…
- Speaking of Kev, he’s back! Don’t get too excited though, it was flying visit. Last time we saw him – which was last month – he signed-off by saying he’ll be back next year, after the NFL season. Sounds fair enough from the Carolina Panther. For some reason though, he returned this week to call-out his arch rival, Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael. However, the clock was ticking and he had to run and catch a plane – which was apparently taking him directly to training camp – before Mongo showed up. It gets more bizarre because Nitro was once again in Orlando, Florida. So Kevin Green apparently flew to Orlando to challenge Mongo to a fight, but did not leave himself enough time to have the fight before flying home to Charlotte? Nice one Kev
- The Dungeon of Doom have called in reinforcements for their feud with The Four Horsemen. We were reminded that the Faces of Fear (Meng & The Barbarian) are members of the group, with Meng picking up a big win against Arn Anderson
- The Steiner Brothers defeat Fire And Ice
- Dean Malenko defeats Billy Kidman
- WCW Tag Team Title Match: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) (c) defeat Rough ‘n’ Ready (w/ Col. Robert Parker)
- Madusa defeats Malia Hosaka
- Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeats Arn Anderson
- Eddie Guerrero defeats Chris Benoit by Count Out
- WCW Television Title Match: Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeats Lex Luger (c) by DQ
The trend continues, although Raw did recover ever so slightly
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.