The Way We Was: 1996 Week 48

Jamie Lithgow

It’s been a busy week in the world of wrestling back in 1996. WCW presented its second annual World War 3 pay per view – so, World War 3 II, I guess – the nWo has opened the flood gates to new members and the WWF gave us a rematch from Wrestlemania X on Monday Night Raw. All this and more in this week’s The Way We Was


World War 3: Like the Royal Rumble, only not as good

World War 3: Like the Royal Rumble, only not as good

As expected the second annual World War 3 battle royal was a complete clusterfuck. To make matters worse, unlike last year’s event and WCW’s most recent pay per views, the undercard also failed to deliver. The one highlight was the opening contest between Rey Mysterio Jr. and The Ultimate Dragon, as WCW are still calling him. Easily Dragon’s best outing in WCW to date and well worth checking out. Back to the 3 ring, 60 man battle royal and it was won by The Giant. Predictably the New World Order (Giant, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx) worked together to the point that they and Lex Luger were the last five wrestlers left in the match. The Total package rallied to eliminate Hall and Syxx, but upon trying to eliminate Nash, The Giant tipped both of them over the top rope for the win. Big Sexy seemed to take this in his stride and celebrated with his stable mate afterwards. Of the six commentators deployed to call the action, precisely none of them mentioned the obvious plot twist. As winner of World War 3, The Giant has now earned a shot at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, currently held by nWo kingpin Hollywood Hogan. Come on guys, that’s the first thing that sprung to my mind.

In Other News From World War 3 –

  • It’s on! Rowdy Roddy Piper will face Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade in December. Piper insisted it be a no disqualification match to nullify the influence of the nWo. His logic being that how can they break the rules if there are no rules to break? The gap in his logic is that the match can thus turn into an eight on one handicap match and there’s nothing he, nor the referee, can do about it. As a potential preview, Hogan and co. exposed the huge scar on Piper’s hip, beat him up and spray painted his surgically repaired leg
  • The majority of the 60 man, 3 ring battle royal was shown to television viewers on three separate screens. Add the six commentators talking over each other and you can understand why I used the term “clusterfuck”. The action only filtered into one ring (and thus one screen) for the last few minutes
  • Sting dropped Jeff Jarrett with a reverse DDT again. Two PPVs and two defeats to The Giant. It’s hardly the best of starts for Double J in WCW
  • In contrast to the first cruiserweight match, Dean Malenko vs. Psychosis was as dull as dish water. Granted it portrayed Malenko as a skilled technician capable of nullifying a high flying luchador, but it didn’t provide much to get excited about
  • Ric Flair has finally been stripped of his United States Championship. The 30 day rule – i.e. a champion cannot go more than 30 days without defending their title – was cited as the reason why the injured Nature Boy can no longer hold the belt. Fair enough, but what about Hogan? His 30 days since Halloween Havoc expired this week without him wrestling at World War 3 or even appearing on Nitro
  • As a result of Harlem Heat’s victory over The Amazing French Canadians, Sister Sherri got her hands on Colonel Parker. Dusty Rhodes popped huge for this, but nobody else did
  • Chris Jericho defeated his nemesis, referee Nick Patrick, with one hand tied behind his back. The reason this match was not a complete mess is because Nasty Nick used to be wrestler himself. Not that I’m saying the bout was a classic either…
  • Mean Gene quizzed Diamond Dallas Page about Eric Bischoff joining the nWo. DDP, who is Bischoff’s real life next door neighbour, clearly stated that he did not care about Eric’s actions and was only focussed on his own career
  • Former WWF wrestlers The Outsiders exposed WCW’s stupid triangle tag match rules. The Faces of Fear and The Nasty Boys thought they had out-smarted Hall and Nash by tagging both of them in before dropping to the apron. With nobody else to tag, surely The Outsiders would have to compete against each other? Correct, so Nash lay down and allowed Hall to cover him. The stupid looking WCW tandems had to scramble to stop The Outsiders retaining their titles by pinning themselves. Hall used Jimmy Hart’s megaphone to deck Brian Knobbs and leave him ripe for Nash to pin shortly afterwards

Full Results

  • The Ultimate Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) defeated Rey Misterio, Jr. to retain the J-Crown Championship
  • Chris Jericho defeated Nick Patrick
  • The Giant defeated Jeff Jarrett
  • Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) defeated The Amazing French-Canadians (w/ Col. Robert Parker)
  • Sister Sherri defeated Col. Robert Parker by countout
  • Dean Malenko defeated Psychosis to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
  • The Outsiders defeated The Faces of Fear (w/ Jimmy Hart) and The Nasty Boys in a Triangle match to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship
  • The Giant won World War 3

Quote of The Night

“I never thought I’d see Eric and Vince walk down the same aisle together”

Tony Schiavone as Eric Bischoff entered the arena with Vincent by his side

Nitro Logo

Marcus Bagwell; looking rather buff...

Marcus Bagwell; looking rather buff…

Applications to join the nWo are now open. As both the highest ranking executive in the nWo and WCW – which he gleefully told us – Eric Bischoff has opened a 30 day window where anyone wishing to jump ship and move their contract to the New World Order can do just that. These words were barely out of Easy E’s mouth before Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs marched to the ring. Bagwell immediately embraced Nash, Hall etc. but Riggs was more reluctant. That hesitation cost Riggs because Bagwell nailed his American Males tag partner with a neckbreaker, I’ve now officially lost count of how many members the nWo has.

In Other News From Nitro –

  • We have been given some logic and a context for Bischoff’s heel turn last week. He explained that after Nash powerbombed him at The Great American Bash back in May, he decided that he had two choices; join his new enemies or be consumed by them. He apparently met with Hall and Nash shortly after this incident to concoct his fiendish plan. Bischoff being an inside man does explain an awful lot, and I’m struggling to think of any subsequent occasions when he has been attacked. Dare I say it, this was actually quite a clever piece of writing
  • A tournament to crown a new United States Champion has begun. An unhappy Giant – who is in possession of the title belt after stealing it from Ric Flair – wants to face the winner
  • Ultimo Dragon’s J Crown is supposed to consist of 8 championships, but he only seems to have seven belts…
  • The blind led the blind when Mean Gene – who has returned after two months negotiating a new contract – and Rick Steiner – who has been gone for ages wrestling in Japan – tried to discuss recent events involving the nWo and Sting. If nothing else, a very confused Rick did confirm that he and is injured brother are 110% WCW
  • Gene again expressed frustration towards DDP for not answering his questions, despite Page once again providing honest and frank responses. Is DDP friends with Scott Hall; yes. Is he friends with Kevin Nash; yes. Does he live next door to Eric Bischoff; yes. Is he joining the nWo; no. These answers – which page provided last week too – were not clear enough for Gene though
  • Lex Luger got carried away while applying his Torture Rack to Arn Anderson in the aisle. The count out means that both men were eliminated from the US Title tournament
  • Sting attacking Jeff Jarrett – who is proving rather difficult to like – is one thing, but this week he nailed the ever-popular Rick Steiner with his reverse DDT after The Dog-faced Gremlin said he could no longer trust The Stinger
  • Chris Benoit cut his best promo to date. Sporting a black eye from his victory over Kevin Sullivan on WCW Saturday Night, The Crippler referenced Sullivan’s influence in the WCW front office and his ability to fire Benoit should he wish to. To that point, Benoit said that Sullivan had two choices with this rivalry; “the man’s way or the coward’s way” i.e. Sullivan can face Benoit like a man or fire him, like a coward
  • The rest of Nitro was comprised of World War 3 recaps before the nWo – including new recruit Bagwell – attacked Harlem Heat and The Faces of Fear as the show went off the air

Quote of The Night

“There’s no way WCW can stop a gang attack like this”

Tony Schiavone as 6 members of the nWo attacked 4 WCW wrestlers the day after WCW presented a 60 man battle royal

Full Results

  • WCW US Championship Tournament Quarter Finals: Lex Luger fought Arn Anderson to a double count-out
  • Diamond Dallas Page pinned Disco Inferno
  • WCW TV Champion Lord Steven Regal defeated Tony Pena
  • WCW US Championship Tournament Quarter Finals: Eddie Guerrero pinned Konnan
  • Big Bubba pinned Rick Steiner
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. pinned Psychosis
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Alex Wright
  • Meng & The Barbarian fought Harlem Heat to a no contest

Contract News

It has not escaped my attention that there has been absolutely no mention of Macho Man Randy Savage over the last few weeks, despite him being the focal point of Nitro over the last few months. Why? Because he is now officially out of contract and a free agent. Word on the street is that the WWF have no interest in bringing him back, so I guess it’ll be a matter of time before we see him back in WCW…

90s Raw Logo

So, you want depth to your wrestling angles...?

So, you want depth to your wrestling angles…?

There were two big stories and a not a lot else on Raw this week. Story number one developed during the Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart match, which opened the show. Yes, you read that correctly, Bret vs. Owen was given away on TV. That said, the bout did not have a conclusive finish after Stone Cold Steve Austin nailed Bret with a chair, causing a disqualification. Austin, egged on by Owen, then made motions to break Bret’s ankle using the chair. At this point Owen’s tag partner, The British Bulldog, put a stop to things telling Owen that “enough is enough”. While the tag champs argued, Stone Cold seized the opportunity to smack Bulldog with the chair, which prompted Owen to exchange words with Austin. The storyline and match possibilities stemming for this situation are potentially endless…

In Other News From Raw –

  • An angry Shawn Michaels conducted a satellite interview from Jose Lothario’s house. Michaels – whose Elvis-esque top lip proved rather distracting – will face the winner of the forthcoming WWF Title match between Sid and Bret Hart. HBK will receive his mandatory rematch at the Royal Rumble, which will be held in the 72,000 seater Alamo Dome in Michaels’ home town of San Antonio. Somewhat televising the outcome of the next In Your House, HBK firmly stated that he’d rather face Sid – who he claimed had crossed a line by attacking Lothario at Survivor Series – and isn’t bothered about facing Bret at this point in time. Michaels finished by taking the John Cena-esque stance of acknowledging that fans are entitled to boo or cheer him as they wish, so long as they enjoy the show he doesn’t care
  • In case you’re bothered, Lothario apologised for costing Michaels the title at Survivor Series, which HBK did not accept as he did not feel it necessary. Lothario also said that he will require heart surgery, but is holding off for now
  • In a dream match, of sorts, Sable defeated Sunny in the Milton Bradly Karate Fighters tournament after Sunny was caught tampering with her fighter. Regarding Sunny’s defeat, Jerry Lawler and Todd Pettengill had the following to say; “that got a little sticky”, “she really blew it” and “Sunny will find that hard to swallow”
  • Raw’s director got their timings wrong at the end of the Michaels interview. For some reason Rocky Maivia and Sunny found themselves sharing his spotlight as he was at his angriest
  • Speaking of Rocky, not only has he caught Sunny’s eye but Don Muraco and Captain Lou Albano sang his praises in pre-recorded comments too
  • The Executioner – who constantly appears to be in a state of shock – will face The Undertaker in an Armageddon Rules match at In Your House. Spoiling the mystery, Vince McMahon informed us that it’s just a no disqualification match
  • Raw ended with Hunter Hearst Helmsley – who was on commentary – interfering during Marc Mero’s match with Billy Gunn. The bad guys double teamed The Wildman until Jake The Snake Roberts made the save. While on commentary, Mr Perfect’s absence was acknowledged with Triple H saying that he used Perfect, just as he used Sable and everyone else to get to where he is

Contract News

In reality, Mr Perfect’s absence is a far more complicated affair than that. As we have previously learned, Mr P no longer wrestlers because he has been collecting on an insurance policy due to injuries sustained in the early 90s. However, upon hearing that Perfect might be open to a return to in-ring competition the WWF contacted the insurance company to let them know, thus keeping everything above board. This rather foolish move rendered Perfect’s policy null and void, which did not exactly please him. In order to make amends, Vince McMahon offered Perfect a three year deal worth $900,000, which was turned down because upon hearing of WWF’s blunder Perfect negotiated a deal with WCW. This deal is understood to be worth significantly more than the WWF’s $300,000 per year offer, but would see Mr Perfect return to active competition. Perfect is now officially out of contract with the WWF and will begin work with WCW in the spring, after he has gotten himself back into ring shape

Quote of The Night

“Mr Muraco speaks Muraconese”

Vince McMahon, displaying no sense of irony or sarcasm

Full Results

  • Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart (w/ Clarence Mason) by DQ
  • The Executioner (w/ Mankind and Paul Bearer) defeated Freddie Joe Floyd
  • Rocky Maivia defeated Salvatore Sincere
  • Marc Mero (w/ Sable) defeated Billy Gunn by DQ


Ratings are down on both Raw and Nitro, possibly because The Pittsburgh Steelers’ one score victory over the Miami Dolphins kept viewers tuned to the Monday Night Football instead

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

One thought on “The Way We Was: 1996 Week 48

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 49 | Ring the Damn Bell

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