It’s Friday, which means today we take our weekly trip back to 1996 to see what the world of wrestling was like 20 years ago. Outside of wrestling – and Earth – scientists have discovered what appear to be microscopic, fossilised worms on a Martian rock i.e. lots of little dead aliens. NASA bosses have promised to do whatever it takes to confirm whether or not extra-terrestrial life did once exist on Mars. 20 years on, NASA are still going with ‘probably, but we’re not sure’ as the answer to that particular question. Enough science though, let’s see what was out of this world on Raw and Nitro in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …
The big angle on this week’s Raw featured – believe it or not – Aldo Montoya. Yes, you read that correctly. So, how on Earth did The Portuguese Man O’ Jobs find himself in such a prominent position just 13 days away from WWF’s biggest show of the summer? A couple of weeks ago Montoya scored an upset win over Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler on an episode of Superstars. Thus, Raw opened with King avenging his loss in a fairly one-sided rematch. However, prior to the bout Lawler again mocked Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts’ drug and alcohol problems, with Montoya acting as a proxy for King’s verbal assault. After the match the abuse turned physical with Lawler forcefully emptying a bottle of Jim Beam down the gullet of the apparently teetotal Montoya. If you recall a similar angle with Chris Jericho and CM Punk then this was much the same, only with Jerry Lawler playing the part of Jericho and a man wearing a jock strap on his head in place of Punk. As for why Montoya was used instead of booking an altercation between Lawler and Roberts; Jake is at home injured. Bear in mind that WWF tape four weeks of Raw in one sitting. Thus, if a Superstar misses a Raw taping – which is just one date – it will appear like a month long absence to television viewers.
In Other News From Raw –
- The main event of Raw was a battle royal. The prize was a WWF Championship match the night after Summerslam. Shawn Michaels’ buddy, Ahmed Johnson, won after last eliminating Goldust. Afterwards Faarooq came out to have a scrap with big Ahmed
- The Undertaker eliminated himself and Mankind at the start of the battle royal. The pair fought to the back and were shown brawling in the backstage area at various intervals during the main event
- Sid’s Powerbomb was over huge with the fans. The Master and Ruler of The World looked like the favourite to win the battle royal until he was eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Granted Owen Hart and The British Bulldog provided a distraction, but that’s another feather in Austin’s cap
- With King embroiled in a controversial angle, the lesser-spotted JR was deployed on commentary. There was zero chemistry between him and Vince
- There will be a ‘Bikini Beach Blast-Off’ featuring Sunny, Sable and Marlena on the Free For All prior to Summerslam. I don’t what that is, but count me in!
- The New Rockers are now insisting on being called “The New and Improved Rockers”
- There will be a four way elimination Tag Team Title match at Summerslam. The Smoking Gunns will defend against The Bodydonnas, The Godwinns and The New – and Improved – Rockers
- And finally, Kevin Kelly caught up with WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels, for a wee chat on a park bench. HBK alluded to defending his title after Summerslam. This could be considered kayfabe confidence in his ability to defeat Vader, but he also bemoaned his real-life work schedule, again. He also hopes Bret Hart returns because without The Hitman the WWF “is like peanut butter without jelly”. The camera was quite tight to Shawn’s face, so we were unable to see if there was gun being held to his head…
- Jerry Lawler defeated Aldo Montoya
- The Bodydonnas defeated The New Rockers by DQ
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson won an 11-man battle royal by last eliminating Goldust. The match also included; The Undertaker, Mankind, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Psycho Sid, Marc Mero, Steve Austin, Justin ‘Hawk’ Bradshaw and Savio Vega
This week’s Nitro was the go-home episode before the first pay per view of the nWo era; Hog Wild. So far WCW have played it cool by not featured Hogan, Hall and Hash at every given opportunity. In fact, this week was our week off from the group as they have so far tended to appear live every other week. I wonder if this trend will extend into 1997 and 1998? Despite not physically being at the Disney MGM studios, the over-arching theme of the evening was of course centred on them, and their limousine. The mysterious vehicle that has been present for the last couple of weeks was back, and this time bearing gifts. Sting and Lex Luger were the only wrestlers brave enough to take a closer look, in fact they visited that particular well a couple of times. First time they opened the limo door they found the car empty apart from a wreath of flowers with the words “Condolences on the Death of WCW” written on the ribbon. After briefly disappearing, the car returned and this time there was somebody inside, but the door was slammed shut before The Stinger could get a close look. He did, however, snatch a bag from the car. It was a Turner broadcasting satchel. In unrelated news, Eric Bischoff was AWOL from commentary and had not been spotted all day prior to Nitro…
In Other News From Nitro –
- The Outsiders and Hogan did appear in one of their pre-recorded, black and white nWo promos. Nash said that their objective was that of extinction, not just a takeover. We did not see the end of this promo though, because Sting and Luger ordered the director to stop it. We were actually allowed to hear the director’s conversation with Tony Schiavone as this was unfolding. I hadn’t even considered that somebody in the WCW production truck must be in the nWo’s pocket in order for their promos to be broadcast. Or, somebody above the level of director is…
- Upon collecting the aforementioned flowers from the nWo’s limo, Macho Man punted them into the crowd and Mystic Sting predicted “a long and happy life in WCW”…
- Bischoff wasn’t the only announcer reportedly missing, but turns out Bobby Heenan was just late
- As with last week, there were four empty chairs reserved at ringside. Hogan, Hall, Nash and…?
- After last week’s attack, WCW’s roster organised their own security. This largely consisted of Dungeon of Doom members – plus Scott Norton – acting as bouncers around the ringside area. Rather than a set-up for another angle, they did actually refrain from getting involved in any matches. Well, until Arn Anderson added his support…
- Double A – along with Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael – interfered during Ric Flair’s match with The Bootyman. The Horsemen absolutely smashed the Hulk Hogan ally, despite not knowing of his allegiance since Hogan’s heel turn. They specifically targeted The Bootyman’s leg. Afterwards the group cut a heated promo on the nWo
- Remember a couple of weeks ago when Dean Malenko inexplicably attacked Chris Benoit? Apparently he did so because Jimmy Hart guaranteed The Iceman a Cruiserweight Title match
- Jimmy Hart wasn’t finished wheeling and dealing there. He was caught trying to persuade Woman to ditch The Horseman because her association with the group was “tearing someone apart”. Benoit put a stop to Jimmy’s antics which brought out Malenko and the pair had a scrap. The announcers continue to plead ignorance to the fact that Woman is married to Benoit’s nemesis; Kevin Sullivan
- In reference to the wreath of flowers left by the nWo; Tony Schiavone – who was sat at the announce position – was able to tell us exactly what it said before Sting had even unveiled the full message for the camera. How did he know what it said? Is Schiavone the fourth man?
- It was a busy night for Sting and Luger, who demanded to know where The Nasty Boys stand after Knobbs and Saggs again failed to condemn Hogan for turning heel
- Ric Flair will defend his United States Title against Eddie Guerrero at Hog Wild after he took liberties with Eddie’s nephew, Chavo, during a match on WCW Saturday Night. Apparently Flair is also the number one contender to the WCW Title. I assume they meant number three contender, because Hogan is the man facing The Giant at Saturday’s PPV and Craig Pitman wrestled The Giant for the belt on this very show
- WCW World Tag Team Title Match: Harlem Heat (w/ Col. Robert Parker & Sister Sherri) (c) defeat The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
- Malia Hosaka (w/ Sonny Onoo) defeats Madusa
- Alex Wright defeats Chris Benoit (w/ Debra McMichael, Miss Elizabeth & Woman) by Count Out
- Randy Savage defeats Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves)
- WCW United States Title Match: The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe) defeats Ric Flair (w/ Debra McMichael, Miss Elizabeth & Woman) (c) by DQ
- WCW World Heavyweight Title Match: The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) (c) defeats Sgt. Craig Pittman (w/ Teddy Long)
- Lex Luger & Sting defeat The Nasty Boys
With the Atlanta Olympics over, Raw has regained some of its viewership but it’s not quite enough to topple Nitro, which is holding steady. So, we’re still waiting for the nWo effect to really tell
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.