Raw History: Episode #163 and Reliving Nitro: Episode #39
June 10th, 1996 | Cumberland County Memorial Auditorium in Fayetteville, North Carolina
WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels (1) since 3/31/96
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Goldust (2) since 4/22/96
WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns (3) since 5/26/96
While introducing the show, Jerry Lawler shows Vince McMahon a pretty good looking portrait he drew of the Ultimate Warrior, which he will present to him as a peace offering tonight.
King of the Ring First Round: Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette def. Yokozuna in 3:57
Before the match, we see footage of Owen Hart winning the King of the Ring in 1994 and celebrating his Slammy win earlier in the year. Owen attacks from behind but quickly gets take down by Yokozuna’s size advantage. Yokozuna misses an elbow drop and Cornette gets in a cheap shot. Owen makes the mistake of trying to headbutt Yokozuna. I know he’s playing a Japanese guy, but you can’t headbutt a Samoan in any situation Owen. Yokozuna goes for the Banzai Drop but his fat ass falls off the second rope. Owen cradles him with his feet on the ropes and steals it. Harmless little match that was fine for what it was. *
FOOTAGE ~ We see some stuff from a recent live event in Rosemont, Illinois. Shawn used the Kliq Cam and it was one of the biggest house show draws for the WWF in 1996.
ACTION ZONE ~ Comments from Jake Roberts are heard giving a personal interview about his demons. He talks about the toll it took on his wife. He joins commentary for the upcoming match.
King of the Ring First Round: Marc Mero w/ Sable def. Skip in 10:32
Jim Ross interviews Yokozuna in the back during the entrances. He says that he needs to go find himself. Jake Roberts admits that he is happy to be facing Justin Hawk Bradshaw in the next round instead of one of these guys because they’re too fast for him. At least he’s honest. They really play the quick pace card for the first stage of the match. Skip takes over with a front suplex on the ropes. Lawler questions Roberts; views on women like Sunny. He says “you shouldn’t pledge allegiance to every flag.” Wow. Skip slows it down to wear out Mero. Mero does a huge diving sunset flip after blocking a super rana, but Skip gets free of the pin. Skip pummels him with a clothesline and takes over again. Mero does the rally but misses a cross body and goes over the top. Skip misses a plancha outside and Mero hits one of his own before winning with a super rana. This had potential, but I think it went too long for what they were going for. It could have been better with a bit of time cut down. **
NEXT WEEK ~ Savio Vega takes on Steve Austin in a King of the Ring First Round match.
Vince McMahon introduces the Ultimate Warrior for Jerry Lawler’s painting presentation. Warrior doesn’t buy the apology, saying that he appreciates the art but believes Lawler is the con artist. He says that he’s going to kick Lawler’s ass at the King of the Ring. Lawler hits him with the painting and the glass shatters on Warrior. Warrior no sells and powers up and the segment just ends there. Nothing else happens. That was so strange.
British Bulldog w/ Diana Smith, Jim Cornette and Owen Hart def. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer via countout in 13:36
During the Undertaker’s entrance, Shawn Michaels gets interviewed at WWF Studios. Jim Cornette joints commentary to interrupt the interview and tell Shawn that Gorilla Monsoon has allowed Cornette and Clarence Mason to handpick the referee for the HBK/Bulldog rematch. This goes on for far too long and Undertaker’s theme just plays forever while it’s going on. Bulldog stalls a bit when the match starts but once he gets on offense, he uses the stalling suplex. It’s very impressive. Undertaker gives no fucks and sits up right after. Bulldog still powerslams him and wears down the Undertaker with a chinlock. Undertaker begins to rally to “rest in peace” chants. He counters a running powerslam and sends Bulldog into the corner. They brawl outside after a commercial break and Mankind appears under the ring. He holds Undertaker’s ankle, allowing Bulldog to get inside and win via countout. Fine little TV match here, but nothing more. **¼
Cornette pulls his guys away from Mankind because he’s a loose cannon. Mankind drills Undertaker with a pulling piledriver but officials breaks things up as the show ends.
June 10th, 1996 | Wheeling Civic Center in Wheeling, West Virginia
WCW World Heavyweight Champion: The Giant (2) since 4/29/96
WCW United States Champion: Konnan (1) since 1/29/96
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Sting and Lex Luger (1) since 1/22/96
WCW Television Champion: Lex Luger (1) since 3/696
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (1) since 5/18/96
There sure were a lot of Civic Centers in the 90’s. Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko host hour one again. We are just six nights away from the Great American Bash. They hype the show and somehow think that Arn Anderson and Ric Flair vs. Joe Gomez and the Renegade is worth getting excited about. They recap Sting’s altercation with the “interruption” last week.
Scott Steiner def. Booker T in 5:53
Oh look. It’s a WCW World Title program from four years in the future. Neither guy brings their brother to ringside. They start with some solid work, highlighted by Booker missing a kick and taking a dope butterfly suplex. Scott clotheslines Booker to the outside. Booker takes Scott to the mat and just holds him there for a short while to rest. Scott counters a suplex into a reverse DDT. He busts out the belly to belly and the crowd comes alive. They’re pretty hot for this being a city that doesn’t get a lot of big events. Booker holds the ropes to stop the Frankensteiner and nails an axe kick for two. Booker misses a top rope splash and takes the loss to an overhead belly to belly suplex. Surprised it didn’t end with the Frankensteiner. Pretty good opening contest here, featuring two future stars. **½
Mean Gene interviews Scott about the upcoming match at the PPV against Fire and Ice. Scott says that pride themselves on being the best tag team in wrestling, but Debra McMichael interrupts to speak with Mean Gene. Scott allows it and Gene focuses on Debra. She stumbles through a promo where she says she wants the match to be called off because Mongo might seriously hurt someone since he’s furious. Gene says that he’s going to talk to Bobby Heenan about trying to call it off.
Diamond Dallas Page def. Jim Powers in 4:06
Jim Powers continues to find work. DDP takes time to talk smack to the fans while Powers gets in a hope rollup or two. This goes on for way too long and Powers gets in too much before losing to the Diamond Cutter. DUD
VIDEO PACKAGE ~ They recap the Kevin Sullivan/Chris Benoit feud, which has replaced the Sullivan/Pillman one.
VIDEO PACKATE ~ This one hypes Konnan. He gets interviewed after about a title defense against El Gato, who is just Pat Tanaka.
Sting def. Meng in 3:10
Meng holds serve for the first short while of the match until Sting hits a cross body. He fakes out Meng on a right hand and ends up hitting one anyway. He gets in some clotheslines and a face crusher but Meng pulls him into a small package. It looks weird to see someone of Meng’s size do a small package. Sting crotches him up top and wins with the Scorpion Death Lock. Fine showcase for Sting but considering the Faces of Fear winning on TV recently, I would have had him beat someone else.
In the back, Mean Gene conducts the interview with Debra McMichael and Bobby Heenan. Heenan says that Debra has been with Flair every night of the week but now she wants to try and talk to him. He invites her into Flair’s locker room and slams the door in Gene’s face. We hear Debra scream and she runs out upset. Renegade and Joe Gomez randomly try to console her, so Arn and Ric beat them up and save us from that shit main event.
Jim Duggan def. Squire David Taylor w/ Jeeves in 2:24
So this is happening because Duggan is upset that Taylor took the 2×4 from him last week. You know, the illegal object he attempted to use. Taylor stalls outside while Duggan gets “USA” chants. They announce that with Gomez and Renegade out, the main event is changed to a Tag Team Title match. So, if you take your opponents out, you get rewarded? Makes sense. Duggan wins a dull affair with the taped fist knockout.
VIDEO PACKAGE ~ It hypes this Sunday’s Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. Cruiserweight Title match. Lots of AAA footage for Rey since he hasn’t debuted in WCW.
Backstage, Big Bubba cuts a promo about John Tenta being fat and bald.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship: The Giant (c) w/ Jimmy Hart def. Scott Norton in 1:42
As hour number two starts, we get a World Title match. Again, the Giant squashes a member of Fire and Ice. Seriously, couldn’t he squash guys that aren’t about to go into a PPV match?
Giant wants to do another chokeslam, but Lex Luger makes the save. Luger fights him off and prevents another chokeslam through a table like a few weeks ago. He hits him with a champagne bucket to get him down and then goes over to commentary to say that he now knows the Giant can feel pain.
Lord Steven Regal w/ Jeeves def. Billy Kidman in 0:57
Whoa, Billy Kidman looks young here. I’m talking, he’d look too young for a pre-teen boy band. It is apparently a rematch from Saturday Night. Kidman starts hot but misses an ugly 450 splash and Regal wins with a stump puller. Sting runs out to slap the hell out of Regal and then just leaves. That was random. It wasn’t like Regal held the submission on for longer than he needed to.
Public Enemy def. The Nasty Boys via disqualification in 9:00
Public Enemy comes out during the Nasty Boys’ entrance to start the brawl. The fighting leads to the shitty WCW split screen stuff that they do way too often. It calms down into a normal tag match while Heenan sells the hell out of the upcoming PPV. It’s almost Paul Heyman levels of good. They go to commercial during this. The match is pretty dull when they aren’t brawling. Rocco Rock leaves to the back and brings a trash can back out with him. Knobbs stops him in the aisle though. Rocco ends up going to the top but Saggs whacks him with the trash can and gets disqualified. Outside of the brawling parts, this was incredibly boring and went on for far too long. *
VIGNETTE ~ Hulkamania still runs wild, brother!
They recap the training and build for Arn and Ric against Kevin Greene and Mongo.
WCW World Tag Team Championship: Lex Luger and Sting (c) vs. Arn Anderson and Ric Flair w/ Elizabeth and Woman ends in a no contest at 13:22
More PPV selling on commentary from Bobby. Luger no sells some Flair chops and press slams him. SCREAMING CLOTHESLINES! The faces continue to toss the heels around and the crowd pops for all of it. Sting beats up Flair like all of their other matches. Flair still sells and bumps for him like it’s the first time ever. Flair gets furious and goes to use a chair but calms down and stops. After a break, Arn gets his ass handed to him by Sting and Luger. Sting hits a superplex and Arn breaks up a pin. Finally, it looks like the heels get in control and Sting takes the heat. Another commercial break comes and goes. During all of this, Sting is still taking a beating. He gets his knees up on Arn trying a damn Vader Bomb. Luger gets the hot tag eventually but here comes the Giant. They go at it and the match is thrown out. **½
Luger beats up Giant but ends up just falling down. Scott Steiner comes out and breaks a chair on Giant. He, Sting and Luger all beat up the Giant. Anderson and Flair hightail it as Jimmy Hart comes out and convinces the Giant to just leave. Giant gives a quick interview to Mean Gene and says that he promises Luger will leave the Bash on a stretcher.
Bobby Heenan yells into the camera about Randy Savage and the upcoming PPV match. He stops and leaves when he sees something off-camera. Scott Hall steps into the picture and gets in Eric Bischoff’s face. Bischoff wants the big surprise and you can see fans pointing behind Eric. Hall points and behind Eric is Diesel! Nash’s promo is great. He says that this is supposedly where the big boys play but they aren’t here to play. Nash says that Bischoff can’t get three people to face them because nobody wants to. He disses Savage for his Slim Jim commercials and calls Hogan’s show “Blunder in Paradise.” Bischoff says that he’ll try to get them their fight when he goes to WCW HQ tomorrow morning and invites them to the Bash. Nash claims they’re loved in Baltimore and they’ll be there.
Raw Rating: 2.7
Nitro Rating: 2.6 (Of note, this is the last time Raw wins the ratings for 84 weeks. Nitro goes on a massive streak starting next week.)
Nitro: Again, this episode was highlighted by the opener and the main event. Both of them were pretty good. The important thing is that most of the middle of the show built towards something. Things either set up The Great American Bash, furthered feuds (PE/Nasty Boys) or continued the push of someone (DDP). The show flowed better than last week though there’s still too much Mean Gene. 5.0