The Way We Was: 1996 Week 33

Jamie Lithgow

It’s been a busy week in the world of wrestling from 20 years ago. We have no time for pop culture references this time as we need to see what went down in WCW as they presented Hog Wild, Monday Nitro and Clash of The Champions XXXIII all within the space of five days. On the other side, the WWF were preparing for this Sunday’s Summerslam PPV. Brace yourselves folks, there’s a lot to get through in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …

WCW Hog Wild

Say what you want about The Bootyman, but he bakes a good cake

Say what you want about The Bootyman, but he bakes a good cake

First up in a busy week for WCW was a trip to Sturgis, South Dakota for their newly created pay per view; Hog Wild. The unique selling point – if you can call it that – was that it was held during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which is apparently the largest in the world. Thus, the crowd for this WCW PPV was largely comprised of middle-aged bikers (and their bikes) with very little knowledge of, or interest in, wrestling. You may be asking yourself why such a concept was brought to fruition, and I shall respond by reminding you that this is WCW we’re talking about. Also, Eric Bischoff and Hollywood Hogan are motorbike enthusiasts. Make sense now?

Our main headline from the show is that Hollywood Hogan captured the WCW Championship from The Giant in his first match since turning heel last month. The match was terrible, with Hogan benefitting from The Outsider’s interference. Post-match, The Bootyman – who was wearing an nWo t-shirt and showing no ill-effects of the brutal attack he suffered at the hands of The Horsemen five days earlier – presented birthday boy Hogan with a birthday cake and congratulated the new champ on his victory. Illustrating the point that the nWo doesn’t mix business with pleasure, Hogan instructed The Outsiders to attack his best friend. The attack was a message to Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen; if this is what Hogan will do to his friends, just think what he’ll do to his enemies. Oh, Hogan also found time to re-brand the WCW Title as the nWo Title, with the aid a spray can.

In Other News From Hog Wild –

  • The Outsiders have finally, officially been given names. Hall and Nash managed to defeat Sting and Lex Luger after referee Nick Patrick appeared to chop block The Total Package as he had Hall in the Torture Rack. The commentators (Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan) largely brushed over what appeared to be a massive plot twist
  • Brushing over the nWo potentially bribing referees was symptomatic of the announce team on this show. In a complete 180 from the borderline hysteria they have displayed recently, none of them appeared to care about the nWo. The group was only really mentioned during their matches and even then it felt like just another wrestling angle. Considering the Earth shattering vibe Schiavone and co. convey on Nitro, this felt very weird
  • On a show held at Sturgis, featuring a stars and stripes clad, Harley Davidson riding Madusa, trashing Sonny Onoo’s Honda motorbike, bad guy Hollywood Hogan received the biggest pop. In fairness to the audience, he was probably the only wrestler they recognised
  • Most heat of the evening was received by Harlem Heat. Granted, Booker T and Stevie Ray did adopt classic crowd baiting tactics during their entrance, but it was clear that the primary reason for this hostile reception was due to the colour of their skin
  • Prior to the three hour pay per view, the audience of bikers were treated to a two hour, eight match episode of WCW Saturday Night
  • The Ultimo Dragon made his WCW debut as ‘The Ultimate Dragon’. He fought a losing effort against WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio, in a match hindered by the ring being placed on an elevated platform. The crowd, who clearly weren’t particularly tolerant of difference, chanted “USA” until some of the high flying offence broke the cycle of casual prejudice
  • Probably the biggest casualty of the apathetic audience was Chris Benoit vs. Dean Malenko. The pair fought an enthralling contest for 20 minutes to the sound of pure silence. As the match only had a 20 minute time limit, the referee called for over time and then double over time, which attracted loud boos from the crowd. Benoit picked up the win just shy of the half hour mark with assistance from Woman

Full Results

  • WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Rey Misterio, Jr. (c) def. The Ultimate Dragon
  • Scott Norton defeated Ice Train
  • Madusa defeated Bull Nakano
  • Chris Benoit (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth) defeated Dean Malenko
  • WCW Tag Title Match: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri and Colonel Parker) (c) def. The Steiner Brothers
  • WCW United States Title Match: Ric Flair (c) (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth) def. Eddie Guerrero
  • The Outsiders def. Sting and Lex Luger
  • WCW Title Match: Hollywood Hogan defeated The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart) (c)

Nitro Logo

Finally, Nitro was on the road this week. After what has seemed like an eternity at the Disney MGM studios in Orlando, this week the show hailed from Casper, Wyoming, or as Larry Zbyszko put it; “the middle of nowhere”. Still, it was good to finally watch a WCW show with actual wrestling fans in the audience. The show ending angle saw referee Nick Patrick subtly save Scott Hall from a Stinger Splash before hightailing it with The Outsiders as The Four Horsemen interjected themselves into the main event. It’s looking like the nWo now have a WCW referee in their pocket…

Chris Benoit prepares to face Super Baron Von Raschke

Chris Benoit prepares to face Super Baron Von Raschke

In Other News From Nitro –

  • The reason that The Horsemen ran in during this match, and the reason Hogan directed his Hog Wild promo at Ric Flair, is because The Nature Boy is scheduled to challenge Hogan for the WCW Title at Clash of The Champions XXXIII
  • Prior to this on Nitro, Hogan interfered during Flair’s match with Macho Man by attacking Savage, but not Flair. He later clarified that he wants Flair at his best for Thursday’s Champion vs. Champion match. He doesn’t want any excuses, apparently
  • Oh, and yes, you read that correctly. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair was given away for free on Nitro
  • In other nWo news, Hogan himself confirmed the existence of a fourth and fifth member while Hall and Nash mocked Sting and Luger for not figuring out who it is yet. Hogan also stated that he wants a new nWo Title belt. Apparently he finds ‘the big gold belt’ too heavy
  • Konnan appears to have turned heel, but did pledge his allegiance to WCW
  • Larry Zbyszko went from chastising Sting and Luger for not getting involved in the Hog Wild main event when The Outsiders interfered, to patting them on the back for calling out Hall and Nash on Nitro
  • There was another miscommunication between Harlem Heat’s manager – Sister Sherri – and their promoter – Colonel Parker. With any luck they’ll get rid of both of them
  • Chris Benoit faced a very large man by the name of Ron Studd. The big man had the same distinctive walk as the infamous Yeti…
  • Tony Schiavone’s insistence that Hollywood Hogan’s title win marked a dark day for WCW carried little weight due to his generally cheerful demeanour at the start of Nitro

Full Results

  • Hugh Morrus, Kevin Sullivan, Meng & The Barbarian (w/ Big Bubba Rogers & Jimmy Hart) def. High Voltage & Rough ‘n’ Ready
  • Diamond Dallas Page def. The Renegade
  • Konnan def. Jim Powers
  • Chris Benoit (w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman) def. Big Ron Studd
  • WCW Tag Team Title Match: The Steiner Brothers def. Harlem Heat (w/ Col. Robert Parker & Sister Sherri) (c) by DQ
  • WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Rey Misterio Jr. (c) def. Ultimate Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo)
  • WCW United States Title Match: Ric Flair (w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman) (c) def. Randy Savage
  • Lex Luger & Sting vs. The Outsiders – No Contest

Wcwclashofthechampions

The theme of Clash of The Champions was nWo interference. The Outsiders first interfered in the Triple Threat Tag Team Championship match, causing referee Nick Patrick to call for a disqualification just as his hand was about to hit the mat for a third time. Had it done so, The Steiner Brothers would have won the belts. Scott Steiner was not amused. In the main event – which saw Hollywood Hogan defend his newly acquired WCW Title against US Champion Ric Flair – The Outsiders ran in, which prompted The Horsemen, Sting and Lex Luger to also run in. Where were they at Hog Wild?!

Meanwhile, at The Dungeon of Doom...

Meanwhile, at The Dungeon of Doom…

In Other News From Clash of The Champions –

  • Rey Mysterio retained his Cruiserweight Title against Dean Malenko, but in controversial circumstances. The ref counted Rey’s shoulders down after a devastating top rope gut buster. However, Rey had his foot on the rope. Realising his error, the ref waved-off the decision allowing Rey to roll-up Dean for the win. The Iceman was justifiably pissed off
  • Nick Patrick proclaimed his innocence in all his dodgy decisions and antics this week
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Diamond Dallas Page to win DDP’s Battlebowl ring. Eddie also received a Diamond Cutter for his troubles
  • Kevin Sullivan cut a promo while a leprechaun ran around the ring…
  • Meng defeated Macho Man by forfeit. Savage was not beaten up in a backstage segment prior to the bout; apparently his injuries were a result of the attack by Hogan on Nitro. Erm, did someone not think to tell Meng that his opponent wasn’t even in the building, before he made his entrance?
  • Chris Benoit battled his second seven footer of the week in the form of The Giant. The Crippler was squashed in under 30 seconds by the former WCW Champion. Who booked that?!

Full Results

  • WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Rey Misterio Jr. (c) def. Dean Malenko
  • VK Wallstreet def. Jim Duggan
  • Konnan def. Ultimate Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo)
  • Madusa def. Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Onoo)
  • Eddie Guerrero def. Diamond Dallas Page in a Lord Of The Ring Match
  • The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) def. Chris Benoit (w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman)
  • Triangle WCW Tag Team Title Match: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) (c) vs. Lex Luger & Sting vs. The Steiner Brothers – No Contest
  • WCW Title Match: Ric Flair (w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman) def. Hollywood Hogan (c) by DQ

90s Raw Logo

It will likely be a few months before we see Ahmed Johnson again

It will likely be a few months before we see Ahmed Johnson again

The big news from the WWF concerns Ahmed Johnson. Last week we were told that he had ruptured his kidney as a result of Faarooq Asad’s attack two weeks ago. Well, it turns out this was a legit injury and not just a mere storyline. This week Ahmed was forced to undergo emergency surgery as a result of complications stemming from the injury. As a result, Ahmed’s Intercontinental Title has been vacated and a new champion will be crowned via a tournament which will begin at next week’s Raw tapings. We caught up with and emotional Ahmed, who was unsure if he would ever be able to return…

In Other News From Raw –

  • Ahmed’s nemesis, Faarooq, made his in ring debut against Skip of The Bodydonnas
  • Clarence Mason’s mystery client was revealed to be Crush, who has had somewhat of an image makeover since he last appeared in the WWF 18 months ago. Mason, Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon were surprisingly frank when discussing Crush’s legal issues. They mentioned that he had been arrested on weapons and drug charges. They did shy away from mentioning the drug in question – steroids – while Mason insisted that while Crush was arrested, he was not convicted. This is not true, Crush did spend time in jail
  • Bob Backlund stormed off commentary after losing his shit arguing with himself over contraception issues. Prior to this, I think he alluded to bringing in a new Superstar to be a better role model than Shawn Michaels, or something along those lines
  • Who made his Raw debut. Who? Who! And that’s as far as that gimmick goes. FYI, it was very clearly Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart in a mask
  • Mr Perfect caught up with Bret Hart while The Hitman was on a cruise. He is still pondering his future and whether or not to return to the WWF. Hart discussing his hypothetical return in “two or three months” is certainly a positive sign. Apparently he has a few things to get off his chest, which he won’t do if he decides to retire…
  • In order to further hype Sunday’s Summerslam main event, Raw ended with Vader attacking Shawn Michaels after HBK’s match with Owen Hart. Yes, Owen vs. Michaels was given away on free TV too

Full Results

  • Faarooq Asad (w/ Sunny) def. Skip
  • Crush (w/ Clarence Mason) def. Savio Vega
  • The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) def. TL Hopper & Who
  • WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) def. Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette)

Pepe's Fashion Corner

Ratings

Nitro hitting the road again appears to have had a positive impact on WCW’s TV viewership. Meanwhile, a sharp dip is not what Vince McMahon wanted to see just days away from the WWF’s premiere event, outside of Wrestlemania

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

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One thought on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 33

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 34 | Ring the Damn Bell

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