The Way We Was: 1996 Week 31

Jamie Lithgow

We’re off to 1996 again and this week Michael Johnson made history by winning both the 200 and 400 metres at the Atlanta Olympics. With an eventful week in wrestling to cover let’s find out if anyone made history on Raw or Nitro in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …

90s Raw Logo

The Undertaker doubts whether Austin has washed his hands since using the bathroom...

The Undertaker doubts whether Austin has washed his hands since using the bathroom…

The Shawn Michaels/Vader feud took a backseat this week, allowing the spotlight to shine on The Undertaker’s rivalry with Mankind. In Raw’s main event Taker battled, and was defeated by, Stone Cold Steve Austin. As will become a recurring theme with these two, the finish of this Austin/Taker match wasn’t exactly the cleanest. Mankind wondered out to ringside and distracted The Deadman. The pair proceeded to brawl to the backstage area. You would think The Undertaker would have been awarded the DQ win due to Mankind’s interference, but you’d be wrong. The referee actually counted Taker out, thus handing the victory to Stone Cold. That’s twice Austin has fought The Undertaker on Raw since becoming ‘Stone Cold’ and that’s twice he has been protected from doing the job. The future looks bright for Mr Austin, despite The Undertaker returning to Tombstone him.

In Other News From Raw –

  • Mankind and Taker’s match at Summerslam has officially been dubbed a ‘Boiler Room Brawl’
  • Mankind was a busy boy; he also attacked Shawn Michaels and put him in the Mandible Claw. HBK was watching his mentor, Jose Lothario, have a heated exchange with Jim Cornette when Mankind struck
  • Speaking of said exchange, Jim Cornette shouted things at Lothario and Jose punched him for it. As good as Cornette’s delivery was, I – and most of the audience – just didn’t care
  • Remember that Mark Henry guy from a while ago who had a run-in with Jerry Lawler? Well we saw footage of ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ lifting some really heavy weights at a powerlifting competition. No explanation was given
  • For some reason Vince McMahon decided to pronounce Henry O. Godwinn’s name “Henry O’ Godwinn”. He’s from Arkansaw, not Ireland…
  • Clarence Mason was getting a roasting from Gorilla Monsoon over his new, mystery client’s troubles with the law. These must be mammoth contract negotiations because both men were sat in the exact same office and wearing the exact same clothes as last week
  • It was announced that next week’s Raw will feature a battle royal, with the winner receiving a WWF Title shot on the Raw after Summerslam
  • At various points on Raw – particularly during wrestlers’ entrances – the crowd sounded a lot livelier than they looked
  • Having just watched him perform a one armed chokeslam on his opponent, Vince did not think Sid would even attempt a powerbomb on a man the size of Justin ‘Hawk’ Bradshaw
  • Apparently Ahmed Johnson sustained a ruptured kidney after last week’s attack from a mystery man…
  • Said mystery man has now been named as Faarooq Asad; The Modern Day Gladiator. Apparently this newcomer doesn’t much care for Ahmed and has been granted an IC Title shot at Summerslam. Talk about jumping the queue

Full Results

  • Psycho Sid defeated Justin Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebakiah) via DQ
  • Vader defeated Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
  • Davey Boy Smith (w/ Owen Hart) defeated Henry Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim)
  • Steve Austin defeated the Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) via count-out

Nitro Logo

Nash looks for double tops using his new darts...

Nash looks for double tops using his new darts…

Remember last week when I suggested that, despite what the announcers have been saying, this whole New World Order angle hasn’t really got going yet? Well, shut me up because it’s on, it’s on like Donkey Kong! Yes, shit most definitely went down this week. After Ric Flair no-showed last week, WCW re-booked the 6 man tag match pitting him, Chris Benoit and Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael against Sting, Lex Luger and Macho Man. During the match, Dungeon of Doom manager, Jimmy Hart, appeared at ringside appealing for help. Realising something serious must be bothering The Mouth of The South, first the babyface team then The Horsemen followed Jimmy to the back. The cameras beat the cavalry to the scene to find Arn Anderson already knocked out with Scotty Riggs and Marcus Bagwell also sustaining a beating from The Outsiders. Rey Mysterio tried to interject, but was caught in mid-air by Nash and launched into the side of trailer – this was the famous ‘lawn dart’ spot. The contingent from the ring arrived in time to chase The Outsiders away, with Macho Man clinging to the roof of The Outsider’s limousine as it drove away. A good segment indeed, but what really cemented this incident as something different to a normal wrestling angle was the aftermath. For the best part of 30 minutes Nitro was home to backstage panic and chaos with some genuinely good acting, and not just by wrestling standards. One could have been convinced we were watching the aftermath of a natural disaster or fatal accident. Woman in particular had me convinced that Arn Anderson was slipping away from us! In amongst all the panic we also got some storyline advancement. Rey Mysterio was heard telling Eddie Guerrero and Alex Wright that there were “four of them”. One could argue that this angle lasted too long, but it was certainly effective,

Scott Hall, Hollywood Hogan and Aphex Twin...

Scott Hall, Hollywood Hogan and Aphex Twin…

In Other News From Nitro –

  • The nWo is now a brand. We’ve seen the members and heard the name, but this week we were introduced to the logo and the theme music during the very first “the following announcement has been paid for by The New World Order” promo
  • The actual content of this promo was nothing we didn’t expect, but the manner in which it was delivered was vastly different to anything seen before. Shot in black and white, from different angles and no interviewer prompting the rather flippant remarks. It was a wrestling promo, only cooler
  • The Outsiders will face Sting and Lex Luger at Hog Wild. Hogan also said that should they win they will become “insiders”. Are they getting contracts?
  • In reference to The Outsiders’ attack, in hindsight it did seem unusual for the announcers to hype Rey Mysterio and Arn Anderson so much prior to their planned matches. Rey was set to defend his Cruiserweight Title against Eddie Guerrero while Double A was set to job to WCW Champion The Giant
  • Larry Zbyszko coined his “new world odour” line. It has already gotten old
  • Following the attack, Eric Bischoff allowed Bobby Heenan to leave the announce desk for his own safety. Heenan cited his very real – and very private at this point in time – neck problems as a reason
  • Questions were raised regarding where exactly Ric Flair was last week
  • If you had just witnessed an assault who would you call? An ambulance, the police, the Ghostbusters? Not in WCW, the fire brigade were first on the screen, for some reason
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan said he wants to “beat up” Hulk Hogan and claimed that his daughter’s first word was “Hulkster”. Straight onto double syllables then, Jim has only just reached that milestone himself
  • Big Bubba was upset with Jimmy Hart following his match
  • Rey Mysterio was unmasked by EMTs while receiving treatment. Rey did cover his face with his hands, but the announcers did a good job of conveying the significance of a luchdor being unmasked
  • Prior to the attack we saw footage of The Outsiders attacking Sting as he and Luger left the arena at a house show over the weekend
  • There was a new ‘Glacier’ promo. We actually saw him in this one, and he looks exactly like Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. Specifically The Unmasked version of the character that appeared in MK3
  • We saw Scott Steiner execute his ridiculous Steiner Screwdriver on a member of High Voltage. This move is insane, especially when done on someone of that size
  • Due to The Outsiders’ attack the advertised card for Nitro went totally out of the window. Doing a good job of conveying a thrown together feel, the main event saw The Giant face the lesser-spotted Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine

Full Results

  • Jim Duggan defeats Mike Enos
  • Lex Luger, Randy Savage & Sting vs. Chris Benoit, Ric Flair & Steve McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael, Miss Elizabeth & Woman) – Double Count Out
  • The Steiner Brothers defeat High Voltage
  • Eddie Guerrero defeats Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jimmy Hart)
  • WCW World Heavyweight Title Match: The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) (c) defeats Greg Valentine


Lift off; the nWo effect may be starting to show…

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


One thought on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 31

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 32 | Ring the Damn Bell

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