Back in 1996 there’s only one word on people’s lips in the build up to Christmas; “Elmo”. The Sesame Street character has been encouraging children to tickle him in the latest toy craze that has parents panic buying before the big day. Let’s see who was ticklish on Raw and Nitro in this week’s The Way We Was…
‘In Your House 12: It’s Time’ turned out to be a far better show than its card suggested. Given the recent dire state of Monday Night Raw, a show of this surprisingly good quality was a much needed relief. Not that I’m saying it was a flawless offering of course.
The big news concerns the WWF Title, which is still around the waste of Sycho Sid. The Champ defeated challenger Bret Hart following plenty of distractions and run-ins, most notably from Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Former champ HBK provided guest commentary for the match, which probably wasn’t the wisest decision after we saw footage of him, Sid and Bret brawling next to a hotel swimming pool on the morning’s episode of Superstars. Predictably Michaels was involved in the finish. After Sid pushed the “little man”, HBK jumped on the apron to get the Champ’s attention. As is often the case when a wrestler lingers on the apron in favour of actually getting in the ring, someone collided with Shawn and that someone was The Hitman. This collision was enough for Sid to seize the advantage and Powerbomb Bret for the victory. After the match, Bret and Shawn had a very realistic looking fight with Bret pulling Michaels’ shirt over his head in a similar fashion to what ice hockey players might do. Considering Sid was involved, this match was actually quite entertaining. However, I am surprised it lasted the distance. Not long into the bout Steve Austin ran in and started a pull-apart brawl with The Hitman. This brought out The British Bulldog and Owen Hart who sought revenge on Austin for similar antics during their match earlier in the evening. Surprisingly this incident did not result in a disqualification. Bret did appear to get the better of Stone Cold, but based on the referee’s lack of action one has to assume Austin didn’t even land so much as a finger on The Hitman to force a DQ.
In Other News From In Your House –
- Might we be seeing the genesis of a Bret Hart heel turn? Prior to his match with Sid he was even more whingy than usual, and lost his shit when Michaels’ music played over the end of his promo time. Also, to start the match he jumped Sid from behind. Granted, ‘turn around is fair play’ after Sid had attacked Bret from behind in their brawl by the swimming pool, but it was still interesting to see The Hitman presented in this way
- Leif Cassidy and Flash Funk seized their opportunity to contest a much better match than anybody expected. Fair play to the crowd – who were excellent throughout the show– for allowing these guys the chance to strut their stuff. Funk scored the win after debuting a slightly less dangerous, but no less exciting, finisher; the 450 splash. JR called it a Shooting Star Press though
- Speaking of better than expected, Fake Diesel and Fake Razor were involved in an above average match. That said, they were working with Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. The finish of this bout was excellent. While Razor held Bulldog in place for The Razor’s Edge, Owen struck Ramon with a picture perfect spinning heel kick which allowed Bulldog to seamlessly perform a sunset flip for the win. Post-match Steve Austin ran-in and attacked Bulldog’s knee until he was chased away
- AAA tag team Pierroth and Cibernético appeared at ringside for a closer look during this match too. They, along with several other AAA wrestler, will compete in the Royal Rumble match as the WWF continue to pursue a working relationship with the Mexican promotion
- Ahmed Johnson is back and apparently the poor guy has lost his car, his girlfriend and his house as a result of the injury he sustained at the hands of Faarooq. Either that or he’s just very careless with his possessions…
- Speaking of Faarooq, he will face Ahmed at the Royal Rumble. Crush and some Nation of Islam-esque guys accompanied him for his promo, along with Clarence Mason
- Goldust beat the holy hell out of Hunter Hearst Helmsley after Triple H was caught on camera making unwanted advances towards Marlena earlier in the evening. Goldust’s first attack – during which he inadvertently struck Marc Mero too – resulted in the Intercontinental Champion losing his match by count out, and thus keeping his title
- Apparently Jim Cornette manages Sal Sincere. Who knew?!
- Turns out an Armageddon Rules match is just a Texas Death Match, which in turn is a Last Man Standing Match where a pinfall has to first be gained in order for the referee to administer a ten count. As expected, Mankind interfered and because there were no disqualifications the bout turned into a handicap match. What was not expected, however, was Mankind being restrained in a straightjacket by security guards. While this was happening The Undertaker and The Executioner battled outside, getting soaking wet in the process. In the end The Deadman won with a Tombstone. Sadly the finish to this entertaining brawl proved rather anti-climatic due to fans in the arena not having the rules explained to them in the manner that television viewers had
- An event called ‘It’s Time’ that did not feature Vader; that was In Your House 12 folks.
- Free For All Match: Rocky Maivia defeated Salvatore Sincere (w/ Jim Cornette) by DQ
- Flash Funk defeated Leif Cassidy
- Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (c) defeated “Diesel” & “Razor Ramon” to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship
- Marc Mero (w/ Sable) defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley (c) by countout in a WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
- The Undertaker defeated The Executioner (w/ Paul Bearer) in an Armageddon Rules Match
- Sycho Sid (c) defeated Bret Hart to retain the WWF World Heavyweight Championship
The big news this week is that Goldust isn’t gay. Having debuted just over a year ago, the long held assumption was that the flamboyant character who has made sexually suggestive comments and advances towards most of his foes was gay. Well, the issue of sexual preference came up this week and The Bizarre One answered with a firm “no” when Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler asked if he was “a queer”. Goldust then battered Lawler, hopefully for calling him a derogatory name rather than suggest he might be gay. It’s 1996 though, so I doubt it
In Other News From Raw –
- The angle that led to Goldust’s revelation was also worthy of note. Sable, accompanied by Marc Mero, claimed victory against Lawler in the final of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighter tournament. King – who for some reason was accompanied by Hunter Hearst Helmsley – did not take defeat very well and demanded a rematch. Marc Mero then stepped in to stick up for his manager – Sable and Marc’s relationship has not been acknowledged on TV yet – but was double teamed by King and Hunter. It was at this point Goldust, who has beef with Hunter after the previous evening’s events, made the save for Mero
- Cranky old Bret Hart doesn’t like change. Since returning to the WWF last month he said that he can no longer tell his friends and enemies apart before claiming that there are no rules anymore. Bret then said he doesn’t need rules and doesn’t like Shawn Michaels. He then announced his entry into the Royal Rumble before taking a seat at the announce desk. He promised to be a better commentator than HBK i.e. by not interfering in the match…
- He lied. During Stone Cold Steve Austin’s match with Vader, The Hitman attacked Austin’s leg. Vader, who lost the bout via disqualification, showed his displeasure towards Hart before The Hitman refocused on Austin and applied The Sharpshooter. Man that Bret Hart is some heel…
- Raw ended with an injury angle involving Billy Gunn. During his match with kayfabe brother, Bart, Billy got hit with a Stun Gun before lying motionless on the canvas. The match was thrown out as Bart stood in shock while his and Billy’s wife entered the ring to cry/shout at each other. Vince allayed fears of the WWF attempting to boost ratings with a paralysis angle by stating that Billy probably suffered “a stinger”, something he said many wrestlers experience in their careers. This angle was just that though, so they were trying to use a neck injury to boost ratings after all
- During a promo earlier in the show, Vince called Billy “Jim”. Well, he was wearing a black hat…
- A genuinely psychotic looking Sycho Sid cut a promo on Shawn Michaels and told Jose Lothario not to attend the Royal Rumble and stay at home. Well, you can’t say he didn’t warn you…
- A hungover – or on drugs, or both – Michaels mispronounced his own name during his promo. He went on to say that he has no problem living out the intimate details of his life on national TV and claimed that certain others (i.e. Bret Hart) would not be so bold. Well that’s his prerogative, and theirs. I’m still not sure what all these remarks have to do with wrestling, or why it should affect the fans…
- Dr X made his debut. Disappointingly it was not Action Man’s nemesis, just Tom Prichard in a mask
- Steve Austin vs. Vader ended in a no contest
- Diesel & Razor Ramon defeated The Godwinns
- Doug Furnas & Philip Lafon defeating Dr. X & TL Hopper
- Bart Gunn defeated Billy Gunn by referee decision
The nWo is beginning to swell with three men joining the group on this episode of Nitro alone. The show ending angle saw Big Bubba turn on his Dungeon of Doom teammates to join the group. This sparked a gang fight between the two factions, which brought out almost the entire locker room. As Ice Train made his way to the ring to help the WCW boys, Scott Norton attacked him. Apparently this was meant to signify Norton joining the nWo, but of all the people he could have attacked Norton attacked his former tag partner and arch rival. Sting then entered the ring, at which point everybody stopped fighting. Arn Anderson decided to test the waters by taking a shot at The Stinger, but got battered for it. Ditto Meng and Rey Mysterio Jr. too. Sting left having beat up some WCW guys as Nitro went off the air. Who’s side is this guy on?!
Elsewhere on the show, Masahiro Chono double crossed Sonny Onoo, who thought he had signed the former World Heavyweight Champion to a NJPW contract. As Onoo revealed a rather fetching NJPW t-shirt, Chono removed his jacket to reveal an nWo top. Apparently NJPW’s merchandise is of a high quality because Chono tried and failed to rip the shirt off Onoo’s back.
In Other News From Nitro –
- Hollywood Hogan called out Roddy Piper, despite Piper not actually being present at the show. This was the same angle as we’ve seen three times previously, only this time it didn’t close the show. The best part of this segment was Hogan reminding the fans in Florida that he started his career there, before making fun of Piper for having to remind fans of his connections to North Carolina last week. I assume the irony in this statement was deliberate, if not then Hogan is one stupid mother…
- Sting answered the call of The Steiners this week, as did nWo Sting. After slickly revealing a baseball bat that was hidden up his sleeve, the real Sting hit the imposter with his reverse DDT before handing Rick Steiner the baseball bat and leaving through the crowd. Bemused would best describe Rick and Scott
- During this angle we were reminded that Sting hasn’t uttered a word since September 16th
- You may notice that Chris Jericho defeated Masahiro Chono. This was due to a disqualification after Chono did not let up when Jericho got stuck in the ropes
- The abysmal Jerry Flynn made his Nitro debut against the lesser spotted Ice Train. Train defeated the newcomer with an ankle lock
- David Sammartino, the son of Bruno Sammartino, was unsuccessful against WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko. Most notable for his early-mid 80s WWF run alongside his dad, Sammartino looked like a completely different person here. Apparently he has spent the last ten years either in the gym or on a sunbed
- The nWo – in the form of Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase – seized control of the first hour of Nitro. Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay called the action in the second hour. I’m still not sure why Bischoff did not dig his heels in and call the whole show. Must have meetings to attend I guess…
- Bischoff and DiBiase made reference to welcoming Sting on board…
- We saw another home movie from Chris Benoit and Woman. In it Benoit spoke French to his new lady friend. This obviously had the desired effect because it got Kevin Sullivan so angry he and his Dungeon of Doom buddies attacked Benoit’s Four Horseman boss Arn Anderson. Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael made the save
- Kevin Nash debuted the term “too sweet” in reference to his bandana and shades combo. That’s not the two words I would have used to describe his fashion choices
- Eddie and Chavo Guerrero’s music sounds very, very similar to ‘Badstreet USA’, The Fabulous Freebirds old theme
- Arn Anderson has softened his stance on the prospect of Chris Benoit and Woman being romantically linked, Debra has not. She had another yap about “Nancy”. Ric Flair then lost his voice trying to put Roddy Piper over, which brings us to our Quote of The Week…
Quote of The Night
“I’m on my way to Kevin Greene’s house for a victory party”
“And a throat lozenge”
Eric Bischoff, in response
- Lord Steven Regal (c) defeats Psychosis to retain the WCW Television Championship
- Big Bubba Rogers defeats Chavo Guerrero Jr.
- Chris Jericho defeats Masahiro Chono by DQ
- Dean Malenko (c) defeats David Sammartino to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
- Ice-Train (w/ Teddy Long) defeats Jerry Flynn
- Rey Misterio Jr. defeats Bobby Eaton
- Kevin Sullivan (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeats Arn Anderson
- Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner) vs. Sting ended in a No Contest
- The Faces of Fear (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Outsiders ended in a No Contest
I guess nWo defections equals ratings. Elsewhere, The Monday Night Football bossed ratings with Miami’s narrow victory over Buffalo
You can read all previous ‘The Way We Was’ pieces here.