The Way We Was: 1996 Week 30

Jamie Lithgow

Happy Friday everybody! To celebrate the end of the working week we are once again delving into the past to relive events from 20 years ago. Outside of wrestling the big news has been the start of the Atlanta Olympics. So far there has been lots of swimming and weightlifting, but the biggest news comes from the bombing at the Centennial Olympic Park. Two people died and over one hundred were injured, but it could have been much worse if not for an eagle-eyed handyman who spotted the device before it detonated. Nasty stuff, but let’s lighten the mood and see what was ‘da bomb’ in the wrestling world with this week’s bumper edition of ‘The Way We Was‘ …

iyh91996In Your House 9: International Incident was this past Sunday. Lasting less than two hours – as was the original blueprint for In Your House pay per views – and with no Earth shattering news to report, I have decided to squeeze in a brief run-down of significant events here, rather than afford the show a separate post.

The big news to stem from In Your House was the emergence of the next challenger to Shawn Michaels’ WWF Championship. With HBK booked in the six man tag main event, he is lacking a singles feud heading into Summerslam; step forward Vader. The pair had a confrontation on the Free For All after Jim Cornette got in Jose Lothario’s face. Cornette even accused the 61 year old Lothario of pulling a knife. Vader and HBK then ran in to defend their respective managers. In the six man main event, Vader pinned the WWF Champion to earn the victory for his team. This wasn’t a clean win however, Cornette provided the assist. After a post-match brawl – which was instigated by the defeated babyface team – Jim Cornette demanded that Vader be granted a title shot.

In Other News From In Your House –

Mankind confirms The Undertaker is not the source of the muddy footprints left in the hall

Mankind confirms The Undertaker is not the source of the muddy footprints left in the hall

  • Vince McMahon provided a not so subtle hint towards the Summerslam main event: “imagine if Vader had an opportunity to take Michaels’ WWF Championship?” Yeah, just imagine…
  • One match for Summerslam has been confirmed. Gorilla Monsoon has booked Mankind vs. The Undertaker in a match that will start in the boiler room. Why the boiler room? Because Mankind interfered in Taker’s match with Goldust after emerging through the ring. The pair fought to the back with the brawl continuing throughout the show. The last we saw of the pair they were fighting in and around the building’s heating equipment
  • Quote of the night came from Vince during his detailed analysis of Mankind’s interference: “How did he do what he did?”
  • The Bodydonnas defeated WWF Tag Team Champions, The Smoking Gunns. It was a non-title bout though. Yes, a non-title match on a PPV. Also, Skip and Zip’s new manager, Cloudy, has left already. It was an amicable split though, with Zip telling us that she(?) had shown them that they don’t actually need a manager
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin no longer wears plain black trunks; he now has a logo on his ass. I wonder how long that will last?
  • Speaking of Austin, he was rather popular with the Canadian fans, despite being a heel. Austin’s opponent, Marc Mero, was not popular in the slightest. Fans did like Sable though, they liked her a lot…
  • Henry Godwinn took the place of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts against Mankind. Roberts apparently suffered an injury in an accident at home, but Jerry Lawler went to town with his assumption that Jake had ‘fallen off the wagon’. King was on top form with his one-liners
  • Vince McMahon claimed that The Godwinns – the large, slow, pig farmer guys – are just as quick as The Bodydonnas – the small, fast, fitness guys. JR gave Vince the opportunity to correct himself, which he did not take. Vince reiterated this claim later in the show too
  • The fans in Vancouver were certainly lively, and in some instances a little too lively…

Full Results

  • Free For All Match: Justin Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah) defeated Savio Vega
  • The Bodydonnas defeated The Smoking Gunns
  • Mankind defeated Henry Godwinn
  • Steve Austin defeated Marc Mero
  • The Undertaker defeated Goldust by DQ
  • Owen Hart, The British Bulldog & Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) defeated Ahmed Johnson, Shawn Michaels & Sycho Sid

90s Raw Logo

Debut #1: It doesn't even fit him...

Debut #1: It doesn’t even fit him…

Raw was live from Seattle, with the rather large Key Arena surprisingly full. According to Vince it was a capacity crowd, thus the next three weeks of WWF TV will feature a very healthy audience. Anyway, Raw was a night of debuts. Four to be exact, or, three and half might be more accurate. The most significant newcomer attacked Ahmed Johnson during the show’s main event. Dressed a bit like a Spartan, only shitter, Jerry Lawler suggested the mystery man “looks like Ron Simmons, only bigger”. The former WCW Champion – or his doppelganger – appeared to align himself with Sunny as Raw went off the air.

In Other News From Raw –

  • The aforementioned main event saw WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels, team with Intercontinental Champion, Ahmed Johnson, to challenge The Smoking Gunns for their WWF Tag Team Titles. This match actually started the show, but was thrown out after the two teams brawled prior to the match when Sunny got covered in the birthday cake she had apparently prepared for Shawn Michaels. Billy Gunn got knocked out, thus the match could not begin. WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon, rescheduled the match for the main event.
  • HBK ate some birthday cake directly off Sunny’s face. In a subsequent promo he said Sunny “can’t get any action unless it’s from The Heartbreak Kid” and “thanks for the cake”, which was followed by a wink and a knowing smile. Subtle, this was not
  • The second most significant debut of the night was actually the half debut I mentioned earlier. Clarence Mason was shown trying to negotiate a deal with Gorilla Monsoon for a client who has apparently served time in prison. In the foreground we saw the arm of a large gentleman wearing a cut-off denim shirt. Who could this be?
  • The other debuts were that of glorified jobbers The Goon and Freddie Joe Floyd
  • Steve Austin debuted another catchphrase by stating that he “opened a can of whoopass” on Marc Mero the previous evening. He was also dismissive of Bret Hart’s status within the company due to The Hitman’s continued absence
  • Vader vs. WWF Champion Shawn Michaels at Summerslam was made official, as was Goldust vs. Marc Mero
  • Brian Pillman threatened to say the seven words you can’t say on TV while doing guest commentary. He said none of them

Full Results

  • Mankind defeated Freddie Joe Floyd
  • Goldust defeated Barry Horowitz
  • Marc Mero (w/ Sable) defeated the Goon
  • Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson defeated The Smoking Gunns (w/ Sunny) via disqualification in a WWF Tag Team Championship

Nitro Logo

"Hey Lex, why is Sting still holding my briefcase?"

“Hey Lex, why is Sting still holding my briefcase?”

Over on Nitro, I am starting to doubt the legitimacy of the threat posed by the nWo. Since Hogan turned heel to join The Outsiders at Bash at The Beach we have seen him just once, while the worst The Outsiders have done is beat up Big Bubba – who is a heel – and Lex Luger – who was also a heel until he was selected to face The Outsiders at Bash at The Beach. They also draped blankets over the WCW logo last week. This week ‘The Big Mang and The Medium Sized Mang’ – we’re still waiting to hear them be officially named – broke into the production room. Rather than cause complete chaos and plunge Nitro into darkness, the pair mischievously kept asking the director to pan the crowd as they were expecting “a friend” to be in attendance. They left when security showed up. Despite this, the announcers continue to be absolutely terrified of what might happen next and who else will join the nWo. But hey, scaremongering has always, and will always, work on the masses.

In Other News From Nitro –

Reality based storylines you say...?

Reality based storylines you say…?

  • Rather than jump straight into talking about Hogan and the New World Order, Tony Schiavone felt the need to make a link to the topic at the start of the show, it went as follows; Nitro – WCW – Atlanta – Olympics – Muhammed Ali – Shaquille O’ Neil – Hogan
  • With WCW’s tour of Japan over, Sting and Macho Man were back to reaffirm their willingness to fight for WCW
  • WCW Champion, The Giant, interrupted an 8 man tag – which featured his Dungeon of Doom pals – to wipe out the opposition and accept Hogan’s challenge for Hog Wild
  • A new member of The Dungeon of Doom debuted in this match. He appeared to be a leprechaun. He was abnormally large and very excitable, but still very clearly a leprechaun
  • The Dungeon team were opposed by WCW’s young guns i.e. Jim Powers, Joe Gomez, The Renegade and Alex Wright. The quartet even got their own, slightly homoerotic, video promo where they struggled to remove their t-shirts while walking down the beach
  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. made his Nitro debut. He was defeated by Dean Malenko, who had The Dungeon of Doom’s Jimmy Hart in his corner
  • Former tag team partners, Scott Norton and Ice Train, will face each other at Hog Wild. After arguing last week the team officially split when Norton walked out on Ice Train during a match on WCW Saturday Night. On Nitro Norton attacked Ice Train’s opponent – Meng – because he wants Train to be fresh for their match in a couple weeks
  • In recent weeks Glacier has gone from “coming in July” to “coming soon”. There are now no longer any indications of a time frame for his debut
  • Ric Flair was scheduled to team with Chris Benoit and Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael against Sting, Macho Man and Lex Luger, but The Nature Boy failed to show up. The remaining Horseman – Arn Anderson – took his place. There was a subtle suggestion towards Flair’s loyalty. Is he the fourth man???
  • The good guys won this match, with Macho Man reclaiming the money Liz stole from him. Or, in more accurate terms, he stole Mongo’s money to prove that two wrongs make a right. Debra tried to hand Benoit the briefcase to use as a weapon, but Woman stopped her. Benoit was absolutely livid with Woman over this miscomunication, which was a rather unpleasant sight to see in hindsight

Full Results

  • Squire David Taylor (w/ Jeeves) defeats Scott Norton by DQ
  • Konnan defeats VK Wallstreet
  • Alex Wright, Jim Powers, Joe Gomez & Renegade defeat Hugh Morrus, Kevin Sullivan, The Barbarian & The Leprechaun (w/ Jimmy Hart) by DQ
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeats Prince Iaukea
  • Dean Malenko defeats Chavo Guerrero Jr.
  • Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeats Ice-Train by DQ
  • Eddie Guerrero defeats Psychosis
  • Lex Luger, Randy Savage & Sting defeat Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael & Woman)

Ratings

A big dip in ratings for both shows, although Nitro still held the lead. The likely cause of the dip was a third wrestling option available on Monday i.e. the finals of the men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling at the Atlanta Olympics. Yeah, probably not. Olympic coverage does explain pro wrestling’s slump in viewership though.

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

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One thought on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 30

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 31 | Ring the Damn Bell

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