The Way We Was: 1996 Week 44


Jamie Lithgow

One of the big stories this week was the Chicago Cubs’ victory in baseball’s World Series. Well, back in 1996 it was the New York Yankees celebrating after defeating defending champions the Atlanta Braves in game six. That’s my entire baseball knowledge exhausted, so let’s see who was celebrating on Raw and Nitro in this week’s The Way We Was‘ …90s Raw Logo

The man of the moment in the WWF

The man of the moment in the WWF

A more apt name for this week’s Raw would have been ‘The Steve Austin Show’, better yet ‘The Steve Austin Show: Unleashed’. Steve was at the WWF studios in Stamford to conduct first a solo interview and then a split screen affair with Bret Hart, who was at home with his kids. We joined Steve at various points during the show, mainly so Vince McMahon could say “coming up later…” Each time this happened Austin grew more and more pissed off. When we finally spoke to Austin he exclaimed that he was “sick of being jerked around”. We saw footage of his attack on Brian Pillman from Superstars, which Austin seemed to take great pride in. Upon hearing that we would catch up with Pillman from his home next week Stone Cold said that he would be there too. Austin went on to out Vince as “the real boss” and asked how he would discipline him. Stone Cold even went on to say that Vince won’t discipline him because he is a greedy promoter and there’s too much money to be made from Austin vs. Hart for him to risk suspending anyone. Vince said nothing and moved on.

Later we heard from Austin and his opponent at Survivor Series, Bret Hart. Stone Cold scoffed at most of The Hitman’s comments. Hart again put Austin over as the best wrestler in the company, until they meet at Survivor Series that is. He also seemed to accept that Austin could win, but put over that he is well rested and ready to go. When pressed by Vince, Hart also seemed to confirm that if he should lose to Austin he will continue to wrestle – and I should hope so given the contract he just signed. Austin then ended by saying that win, lose or draw it won’t be over between him and The Hitman. When Vince brought an end to the segment Austin lost his rag with the production assistant he had been verbally abusing all night. Throwing the poor guy around, Stone Cold trashed the place too.

In Other News From Raw –

  • The show’s main event saw WWF Champion Shawn Michaels defeat The British Bulldog by disqualification when Owen Hart interfered. This brought out Sid who scared the baddies out of the ring. Oddly, Hart – a heel – issued Michaels and Sid with a challenge for a tag team match and even offered to put his and Bulldog’s titles on the line. That was rather generous…
  • Crush took issue with a sign in the audience and beat the crap out of security guard as a result. The sign said ‘Jailbird’. The fan holding an identical sign behind the big Hawaiian is lucky he didn’t turn around
  • The Real Double J Jesse James made his underwhelming re-debut
  • When Jim Ross joined the commentary teamed he brought a few scoops of news with him. According to JR’s sources Clarence Mason is Faarooq’s new manager and we will see big changes in the ‘Modern Day Gladiator’ on this week’s Livewire
  • Marc Mero – who was on the phone – said he is “perfectly pissed off” after Mr Perfect turned on him last week and cost him the Intercontinental Title
  • Speaking of Perfect, he defeated Phineas Godwinn in the first round of the Karate Fighters tournament
  • The writing is now officially on the wall for The Smoking Gunns. Billy and Bart had another argument during Billy’s victory over Freddie Joe Floyd. The fly in the ointment is Sunny, who was doing guest commentary. Billy loves her, Bart hates her
  • Steve Austin debuted his “DTA: don’t trust anybody” phrase. Just prior, the shirtless, waistcoat-wearing Austin shouted at a woman for offering him makeup for his interview. Yeah, because that would make him look stupid…

Quote of The Night

“What makes him so great? He doesn’t have a Slammy like I do. He doesn’t have a WWF Tag Team Championship like I do. He goes around flaunting, you don’t see me bragging like he does.”

Owen Hart on Shawn Michaels

Rumour Corner

Word on the street – and this is somewhat supported by his strong booking abruptly ending – is that Vader was originally scheduled to defeat Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship. However, with JJ Dillon leaving the front office to join WCW, WWF officials apparently changed their plans just in case Dillon passed this rather sensitive information on to his new colleagues in WCW.

Prior to appearing at Halloween Havoc, it is being said that Rowdy Roddy Piper did inform the WWF of his joining WCW out of courtesy due to his long service and good relationship with the company. While Vince avoided spilling the beans on TV, Piper’s impending debut with the competition was made public via the WWF’s hotline over the weekend.

Full Results

  • Jesse James defeated Salvatore Sincere
  • Crush (w/ Clarence Mason) defeated Aldo Montoya
  • Billy Gunn defeated Freddie Joe Floyd
  • Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) defeated The British Bulldog (w/ Clarence Mason & Owen Hart) by disqualification

Nitro Logo

This is what NWO Nitro would look like, every week

This is what NWO Nitro would look like, every week

After a very entertaining Halloween Havoc, predictably Nitro didn’t provide us with as many storyline developments. This can be partly attributed to the extensive highlights we saw from the pay per view during the show. In terms of new developments to report the most significant is probably that the nWo now want control of Nitro. Under the terms of their victory in WarGames at Fall Brawl the group currently have control of WCW – or nWo – Saturday Night. They have now set their sights on WCW’s flagship show because along with the World Title they now hold the Tag Titles and have belt-napped the US Title too. The group also feel that they are responsible for the show’s growing popularity. Apparently, they would even like TNT to nominate them for a Cable Ace Award, whatever that is.

In Other News From Nitro –

  • Sting, wearing full Crow face paint this week, was spotted sitting in the rafters. He appeared at the start of the show and then again during Lex Luger’s match with Booker T. Once The Total Package spotted his pal he took off after him, handing the count out victory to Booker
  • Syxx also appeared during Steven Regal’s match with Juventud Guerrera at the start of the show. He welcomed us to “nWo Nitro” and urged Sting to “make the right choice”. He also alluded to the Cruiserweight Title
  • Speaking of Regal, the TV Champion is back after a lengthy tour of Europe and Asia. We’ve not seen him since the summer
  • Performance of the night goes to Nick Patrick’s lawyer, who was very convincing as a smug prick. Chris Jericho and Teddy Long both complained about Patrick’s performance as a referee after the dodgy ref had again cost Jim Powers (Teddy’s guy) a match and blamed Jericho for the ‘spasm’ he suffered in the main event of Halloween Havoc. Somehow the lawyer came across as a bigger dick than Patrick, which is saying something
  • The Outsiders appeared to be scouting Diamond Dallas Page. Larry Zbyszko quipped that DDP would be a good fit for the New World Order. Really? You want more guys to join them?!
  • The Nasty Boys battered High Voltage before cutting a promo on Hogan and The Outsiders. Apparently Knobbs and Saggs “don’t need to belong”. That rhetoric is far cooler coming from Sting and Piper
  • Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael helped a battered and bruised Chris Benoit to defeat an equally battered and bruised Eddie Guerrero
  • AC Green of Phoenix Suns fame was very vocal towards Booker T. The annoying thing is that he was sat on the camera side of the front row and he’s really tall. Thus, he stood up for most of the match and blocked half the ring
  • The Giant cut a scathing promo on Jeff Jarrett and his relationship with the Four Horsemen
  • Jeff Jarrett then fumbled his way through a promo about wanting to unite WCW, along with Ric Flair, to defeat Hogan and the nWo. Comically, Jarrett only started to fumble his words and ramble after he was told to wrap it up
  • In a bizarre segment, Hogan closed the show with a revisionist account of Roddy Piper’s promo from Halloween Havoc and posed for his “nWo-ites”

Quote of The Night

“Ricky Morton; he’s not a giant but he can move like one”

Larry Zbyszko

The Merch Table

Looks like WCW may have stumbled upon a new revenue stream. They sold over $50,000 worth of merchandise at a house show last week. Approximately half of this was attributed to nWo t-shirts.

Speaking of nWo merchandise, WCW has gone to the trouble of creating a New York address for their mail orders and also use a different phone number for nWo orders. Clever, eh? The problem is if your shirt doesn’t fit the return address is a WCW address.

Full Results

  • WCW TV Title Match: Lord Steven Regal (c) defeats Juventud Guerrera
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeats Mike Enos
  • Dean Malenko defeats Jim Powers (w/ Teddy Long)
  • Jeff Jarrett defeats Ricky Morton
  • High Voltage vs. The Amazing French Canadians – No Contest
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. defeats Jimmy Graffiti
  • Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) defeats Eddie Guerrero
  • Booker T (w/ Sister Sherri) defeats Lex Luger by Count Out


Nitro destroyed Raw this week. Given the quality of Halloween Havoc and the debut of Piper – who didn’t actually appear on Nitro – this is not surprising. Elsewhere, The Simpsons returned for its 8th season with Treehouse of Horror VII

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


3 thoughts on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 44

  1. That Raw is when Steve really got going as Stone Cold and never looked back. You look at him when he started as ringmaster at start of 96 and you look at him on this Raw, you think it was someone else entirely.

    Steve along with Mankind looked like he came out of a different era in 96 where WWF was still keeping for the most part keeping to the same stuff they had been doing for years.

    Steve basically tapped into the emotions many fans felt at the time, that they were fed up of pure babyface’s, cartoonish characters, and just someone who would give the finger to authority.

    He gave them someone who they could cheer when he swore, when he went ballsy at Vince, Gorilla etc.

    Bash Shawn, Bret and anyone else when he wanted to and this was really cathartic to see.

    All the while offering brilliant wrestling and just something so different, fresh and suited to the smark’s and even casual fans who were crying for change by WWF at the time.

    Lord the amount of 20-20 hindsight of Steve’s words to Vince and how it unintentionally started the slow built to the whole Vince and Austin feud in 98. With the subtext building for 11 months and then became text when Steve stunned Vince during his suspension period.

    From there Vince’s heel turn got going and the Montreal Screwjob gave Vince the perfect amount of heat to see the birth of the Mr. McMahon character.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 45 | Ring the Damn Bell

  3. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 46 | Ring the Damn Bell

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