The Way We Was: 1996 Week 45

Jamie Lithgow

It was election week in 1996, only the predicted Clinton victory did come to pass this time. With Nitro miles ahead in the ratings but one of the most infamous episodes of Raw ever on the other side, let’s see who came out as top Trump in this week’s ‘The Way We Was‘ …90s Raw Logo

I told you to swig a beer for the working man...

I told you to swig a beer for the working man…

There was only one story in the WWF this week and it concerned the two edgiest characters in the company. This week’s episode of Raw was completely dominated by the invasion of Brian Pillman’s home by his former friend and tag team partner; Stone Cold Steve Austin.

We heard that Pillman would be interviewed live from his house on last week’s Raw. Upon hearing this, Austin immediately revealed his intention to be present at said interview. Fast forward to this week and Kevin Kelly welcomed us to suburban Cincinnati where The Loose Canon was recuperating after having ankle surgery last week. FYI, Pillman really did have surgery on his ankle. The angle on last week’s Superstars when Austin supposedly inflicted the injury is the kayfabe explanation for Pillman’s forthcoming absence from the WWF. Anyway, Kevin Kelly revealed that Pillman’s kids were spending the night with their grandparents as a precaution because word had gotten out that Austin was headed to the house, which he indeed was. Speaking on a remarkably clear car phone by 1996 standards, Stone Cold paraphrased Pulp Fiction lines from Samuel L. Jackson by saying that he would extract “great vengeance” from Pillman. When Vince McMahon warned Austin about the consequences of trespassing, heel Stone Cold said McMahon would make allowances for him because he was too big a star and Survivor Series was reliant on him facing Bret Hart. Vince went quiet and ended the phone call at that point. We then heard from Pillman who said that Austin had crossed a line from a professional to a personal rivalry. He went on to say that when Austin 3:16 meets Pillman 9mm he would blast Stone Cold’s sorry ass to hell, at which point Pillman pulled out and cocked a handgun. Yikes! This was the cue for Kevin Kelly and the rest of the crew to collectively shit themselves, which they very much seemed to do.

After another short interlude – those pesky wrestling matches – Austin had reached the house and was busy beating up some of Pillman’s ‘friends’ in the garden. He eventually entered the house by smashing through the back door. I thought Austin missed a golden opportunity to throw in a Jack Nicholson/Shining reference, oh well. At this point Pillman aimed his gun at Austin just as the satellite feed conveniently cut-out. We eventually re-joined the feed with Austin nowhere to be seen. Apparently Pillman had fired the gun twice but did not hit Stone Cold, who, according to Kevin Kelly, took off at the sight of the weapon. This story directly contradicts that of Kerwin Silfie, a WWF producer who was sitting in the truck outside. While the satellite feed was supposedly down, Kerwin informed us – over the phone – that nobody had entered nor left the house. Just as Raw was going off the air chaos erupted again when Austin magically reappeared, prompting Pillman to wield his gun again. While this show-long angle did feel more like some sort of Netflix drama than Monday Night Raw, it was enthralling stuff all the same.


In Other News From Raw –

Who's the new guy?

Who’s the new guy?

  • Not only where tensions high at Brian Pillman’s house, but Jerry Lawler of all people had to play peacemaker between commentators Vince McMahon and Jim Ross as the situation evolved. Ross, who is still portraying a heel of sorts, was antagonising Vince by expanding on Austin’s claim that McMahon (as owner of the WWF) could stand to profit from such an explosive and controversial situation. McMahon claimed that there’s nothing he nor the WWF could have done to prevent it, but JR retorted with the bulletproof argument that Austin gave them a full week’s notice that he would show up in Cincinnati to cause trouble. JR even claimed to have spoken to Austin that day, but that nobody had asked him for any information he may have regarding Stone Cold’s intentions. The usually cool and calm Vince was clearly irritated by JR’s very compelling argument. The last few minutes of the show felt genuinely awkward with two thirds of the announce team in a “I’m not speaking to him” mood
  • The other big news from Raw was Sid’s victory over Marlena in the MB Karate Fighters tournament
  • I jest, Sid was actually on form during a verbal joust with his on/off friend Shawn Michaels, as the build for their WWF Title match at Survivor Series intensifies. The pair apologised to each other for last week’s fracas before Michaels claimed that he got Sid released from “the looney bin”. A crazy looking Sid denied such claims and called Shawn “stupid” and JR – who was moderating – “fatso” to a huge pop. Shawn then claimed that Sid wasn’t in his league, which Sid countered by saying “I’m not in the little league, little man”. Eventually tempers boiled over and the hastily erected podium folded into a neat pile on the canvas after Michaels brushed it with his arm. Before we got to see anything more than a shoving match, Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog) hit the ring. The Champion and challenger cleared the ring of the bad guys, but not before Michaels had grabbed a chair from Owen Hart, making it look like he had struck Sid with the weapon instead of Hart. The pair were then separated before they could cause each other any serious harm
  • A young Rocky Maivia made his official debut in a brawl between Goldust and The Stalker’s Survivor Series teams. Rocky is part of The Stalker’s team with fellow rookie Mark Henry and Marc Mero
  • You may notice from the results section that fake Razor Ramon defeated Marc Mero. He was assisted by Triple H, so it most certainly was not a clean victory
  • Mr Perfect’s wrestling license has been revoked by President Gorilla Monsoon after his part in ‘the perfect hoax’ two weeks ago
  • The Undertaker – who isn’t dead after being buried alive – will face Mankind in a rematch at Survivor Series. This month’s stipulation will see Paul Bearer locked in a cage to prevent interference. We were shown footage from Superstars of an effigy of Bearer hanging upside down in a cage while an invisible Undertaker spoke to us from beyond the grave… i.e. the Gorilla Position

Quote of The Night

“Get out of the way mother fucker!”

Brian Pillman to Kevin Kelly after Steve Austin returned to his house just as Raw went off the air


Full Results

  • Goldust (w/ Marlena, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Mr. Perfect, Crush, & Clarence Mason) fought The Stalker (w/ Marc Mero, Sable, Rocky Maivia, & Mark Henry) to a double disqualification
  • The Sultan (w/ Bob Backlund & the Iron Sheik) defeated Alex Porteau
  • Fake Razor Ramon (w/ Fake Diesel) defeated Marc Mero (w/ Sable)

Nitro Logo

Déjà vu on Nitro

Déjà vu on Nitro

In Comparison to Raw, Nitro was rather uneventful this week. WCW are currently running an angle with Eric Bischoff negotiating a match between Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Apparently Bischoff has hit a brick wall negotiating with Piper’s representatives but said that Roddy himself is keen. The now outed Executive Producer of WCW will meet with Piper personally next Tuesday on the set of his newest movie in Toronto. Bischoff sounded optimistic about that at least. Meanwhile, bad guy Hogan – who unlike good guy Piper was actually present on the show – claimed that Piper was just scared to face him. He focussed the rest of his show-ending promo on threatening to crash the Cable Ace Awards if he isn’t nominated before posing for his ‘fans’.

Obviously I’m viewing this in hindsight and from what I can gather the feeling at the time is vastly different to my feelings on this angle. That said; I don’t give a shit about Piper vs. Hogan. Both men have come across badly so far. Bischoff even said as much when he was discussing his progress in the negotiations; “both these guys have massive egos”. Hogan is the bad guy who doesn’t represent WCW and is more focussed on making movies and being a celebrity, fair enough. Piper too does not represent WCW, and where was he this week? Oh that’s right, filming a movie, just as he will be next week when Nitro is happening.


In Other News From Nitro –

  • It has taken just one month for brand new, squeaky clean babyface Jeff Jarrett to become a loathsome prick, despite not actually turning heel. During an interview segment with him and Four Horsemen members Chris Benoit and Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael, Jarrett called himself “the lead horse”. Chris and Steve were not amused and reiterated that they were the only members of The Horsemen present before ditching Double J. Jarrett then cut a promo trying to rally the troops of WCW against Hogan and the nWo. Nobody in the arena was listening to Jeff because Sting made one of his mysterious appearances in the rafters
  • Speaking of Sting, Lex Luger would like just one minute of his time. It has not be granted thus far
  • Could Diamond Dallas Page be joining the nWo? He once again benefitted from Nick Patrick’s dodgy officiating, as the nWo also tend to do. Furthermore, The Outsiders did more than just watch him this week, they interfered on his behalf during DDP’s match with Ice Train
  • WCW have started a tournament to crown a new Women’s Champion. Madusa, currently the only contracted female wrestler in the company, won her first round match
  • Believe it or not the best match of the night was a Marcus Alexander Bagwell bout. To be fair he was facing Brad Armstrong, who could probably wrestle a broomstick and make it look competitive
  • Speaking of Bagwell, we may have seen the first seeds of dissension between him and Scotty Riggs. During a match with Dean Malenko, Scotty rolled outside the ring. Rather than let his partner get a breather, Bagwell threw Riggs back into the ring and into the arms of The Iceman who swiftly collected the victory. The American Males exchanged differing opinions after the match
  • During this match Syxx paraded around ringside with his crew of sign carriers. Dean Malenko’s Cruiserweight Title is next on the nWo hit list…
  • Kevin Sullivan thinks he will face Chris Benoit in a match in Baltimore. I assume he’s getting confused because WCW aren’t going to be in Baltimore any time soon. Last time the pair met was at The Great American Bash, which was held in Baltimore. Maybe that’s the source of the confusion
  • Once again Chris Jericho spoke really well during his now weekly ‘Nick Patrick’s a dodgy ref’ segment
  • Booker T’s patience is wearing thin with Colonel Parker. I can’t wait for Harlem Heat to ditch that idiot

Quote of The Night

“I’ll see you up in the bathroom in Baltimore”

Kevin Sullivan makes Chris Benoit an offer he can’t refuse


Full Results

  • Marcus Alexander Bagwell (w/ Scotty Riggs) defeats Brad Armstrong
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeats Ice-Train (w/ Teddy Long)
  • Cruiserweight Title Match: Dean Malenko (c) defeats Scotty Riggs (w/ Marcus Alexander Bagwell)
  • Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) defeats Hector Guerrero
  • Women’s Title Tournament Quarter Final Match: Madusa defeats Reina Jubuki
  • Chris Jericho defeats M. Wallstreet
  • Lex Luger defeats Booker T (w/ Sister Sherri)

Ratings

Raw managed to claw back some viewers, but Nitro still boasted a commanding victory. Elsewhere, Nitro’s 3.4 paled in significance when compared to the 18.0 Friends scored for ‘The One with the Racecar Bed’ on Thursday.

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

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