Raw History: Episode 164 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 40
June 17th, 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
King of the Ring Quarterfinals: Steve Austin def. Savio Vega in 8:13
We go right into the action tonight. These two had one of the top five or so matches in 1996 up to this point at In Your House last month. They go right after each other and start hot. Savio gets an early near fall with an enziguri. Vince reminds us that Savio wrestled four times in one night at last year’s KOTR, which is honestly part of why that show is so bad. Both men work the leg of the other. Things pick up heading into commercial and when they return, Austin misses that Bossman rope straddle move. Savio comes close to winning but Austin gets hit foot on the bottom rope. From out of nowhere, Austin debuts the Stone Cold Stunner and advances. I really like their chemistry, though it was nowhere near the PPV match. This was still good and both men worked hard at a pretty brisk pace. **¾
RECAP ~ We see all of the things that Mankind has done to the Undertaker since his debut. We then hear from the Undertaker, who says that Mankind will pay at King of the Ring.
King of the Ring Quarterfinals: Marc Mero w/ Sable def. Owen Hart in 9:42
Steve Austin sticks around for commentary, giving us one of our first chances to really hear him speak. He’ll face the winner at the PPV. Owen complains about Mero going after his cast. Mero continues to work on it. Not much happens as they seem to be killing time. Austin gets up but we go to break. Returning, Mero gets two on a rollup. Owen gets two on a Perfect Plex, which made me mark a bit. Owen tries for a back suplex, but Mero counters and rolls him into a pin to steal it. Disappointing match considering the men involved. This was okay at best. **
We go to footage of an interview Jim Ross conducted with the British Bulldog at a recent show. It looks like a Superstars taping or something like that. Bulldog just talks about his confidence and calls Diana his property. It’s not very good though since Bulldog was always a terrible promo. He runs down Shawn Michaels which brings the WWF Champion out and they brawl.
Aldo Montoya comes out for a match but Jerry Lawler gets in the ring to talk to him. Instead, Lawler attacks him to send a message to the Ultimate Warrior. He ends him with a piledriver.
They cut to a pretty high profile press conference for the WWF signing of Brian Pillman. A choked up and not at all “Loose Cannon” like Pillman thanks the WWF for the opportunity.
Non-Title Match: Jake Roberts def. WWF Intercontinental Champion Goldust w/ Marlena in 11:47
Our referee is Harvey Wippleman, who has been coming out to take notes on officiating in matches in recent weeks. Goldust does some stalling and they even cut to the WCW style split screen so we can hear Roberts talk about wanting to help younger athletes. At one point, Jake hip tosses Goldust and he ends up with his crotch right by the snake. When Goldust notices, he scurries. Lawler decides to completely spoil the Mission Impossible film on commentary. That’s how boring the match is. They also cut to Mr. Perfect in the back, but stop when Jake nearly hits the DDT. Once that gets stopped, Perfect says that he knows who the special referee will be in the KOTR main event and he’ll tell us after the match. Eventually, Marlena hands Goldust some actual gold dust, which he throws in Jake’s eyes. A right hand later and Goldust wins. Really dull match that plodded on for far too long. Why do they keep booking Roberts to have lengthy matches. Anyway, Harvey checks on Jake and decides to reverse the decision. ¾*
Goldust goes to attack Jake but the blind man still catches him with the DDT.
In the back, Mr. Perfect interviews Jim Cornette about the special referee. It turns out that Mr. Perfect will be the guest referee.
Great American Bash 1996 Results
The Steiner Brothers def. Fire and Ice in 10:28
Konnan (c) def. El Gato to retain the WCW United States Championship in 6:00
Diamond Dallas Page def. Marcus Bagwell in 9:29
Dean Malenko (c) def. Rey Mysterio Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship in 17:48
John Tenta def. Big Bubba in 5:22
Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit def. Kevin Sullivan in 10:01
Sting def. Lord Steven Regal in 16:29
Ric Flair and Arn Anderson def. Kevin Greene and Steve McMichael in 20:50
The Giant (c) def. Lex Luger in 9:36 to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
June 17th, 1996 | Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, 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
Here we are, one night removed from one of the best Pay-Per-Views in WCW history. Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko host hour one and Schiavone will stick around for hour two due to the attack on Eric Bischoff by Scott Hall and Kevin Nash last night. They run down some of the events from the Great American Bash while we see still images from the event.
Rick Steiner def. Stevie Ray in 2:18
Last week, Scott took on Booker. This time around, the lesser guys on each team go at it to open the show. Stevie attacks quickly and gets the jump on Rick. His gut is pretty out there for a guy consistently wrestling. He misses a second rope forearm and eats the STEINERLINE to quickly finish it. Not much here. Stevie is pretty bad but at least it was short. *
Booker T shows up and delivers an axe kick on Rick. Stevie powerbombs him but Scott runs out. He covers Rick instead of stopping Booker, so Booker comes off the top and lands on him. Not a bad angle but Scot looked like an idiot.
Joe Gomez def. Disco Inferno in 3:34
I feel like Joe Gomez got way too much TV time around this period. Disco wants to dance but Joe’s theme plays instead. Commentary puts over Gomez as a football fan who is offended by Mongo’s actions last night. He controls a lot of this match but Disco hits the swinging neckbreaker. The crowd actually cheers for him. Disco stops to dance, which costs him because Gomez rolls him up for two. I couldn’t get into this at all. ¾*
In the back, Mean BAH GAWD Gene interviews Ric Flair. Flair is now with Elizabeth, Woman and Debra since Mongo joined the Horsemen last night. Flair hypes up how good his life currently is. He faces Randy Savage later.
Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit def. The American Males in 6:49
The Horsemen are way over. Arn thinks he outsmarted Bagwell early but ends up taking a punch for his arrogance. The American Males work over Arn for a bit until the tag goes to Benoit. Benoit and Bagwell circle each other like this is some big time matchup that people were clamoring for. Benoit has a huge black eye from the match last night. It’s most likely makeup but it’s a cool touch nonetheless. There’s a very awkward moment where Bagwell and Arn fight for a backslide and Benoit and Riggs don’t seem to remember who is supposed to intervene and who is supposed to distract the referee. Later on, Benoit hits the diving headbutt but Riggs breaks the pin. Arn comes in and decks Bagwell to a huge pop. Benoit hangs up Riggs with a suplex onto the top rope and covers him to win with an assist from Arn. That sloppy moment really screwed things up but this was still quite fun. **½
Mean Gene steps in to interview Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson. They put over the Horsemen being complete now. When they finish, Gene points at a fan and says that he’s “three fingers short”, implying they’re flipping the Horsemen the bird.
John Tenta def. Big Bubba w/ Jimmy Hart in 4:41
Tenta has no music. They did this at the PPV so there isn’t a need to rematch it here. Tenta still has half of his head shaved and Bubba barely had his beard cut after last night. Tenta actually hits a dropkick early on. Bubba takes over and works some dull offense. Jimmy Hart gets involved, so Tenta hits him with an atomic drop. Bubba runs into a powerslam and Tenta finishes him off with another slam. He even adds his feet on the bottom rope for some reason. Did he forget he was a babyface? Just garbage stuff here. DUD
John Tenta chases Jimmy Hart. He gets lured into an attack from Bubba with a loaded sock. The sound effects are pretty legit. Bubba reveals that coins are inside of the sock. Gene interviews them after and all Bubba does is plug the Great American Bash encore, saying you can watch it to see him beat up Tenta again.
Mean Gene interviews Randy Savage in the back. Macho Man hypes the upcoming match and is asked if he got any professional help while away. He says that his psychiatrist told him he was OCD< which is “one cool dude.”
Ric Flair w/ Debra, Elizabeth and Woman def. Randy Savage in 8:07
Flair antagonizes Savage on the mic before the bell and Savage responds by saying he’s going to kick Flair’s ass. Savage attacks and just beats on Flair. After a break, Elizabeth gets in a cheap slap on Savage. It doesn’t do much though because they fight up the aisle and Savage throws Flair’s food and stuff from his VIP section on Flair. He even pours champagne on him. While they brawl, Schiavone plugs the upcoming war between the WCW and the “invaders.” Savage misses a double axe handle off the top heading into another break. Returning, Flair lays out Savage with an illegal object and takes time to strut. After a ref bump, Savage hits a low blow and the big elbow. He goes for a second but the women get in to protect Flair. Since he’s insane, Savage does the elbow anyway. Benoit runs out to eat a piledriver and he sends Anderson packing. Mongo sneaks in and whacks Savage with the briefcase twice. Flair covers to win. Pretty much what it needed to be. Savage went after Flair like a wild man and the Horsemen established themselves again. Mongo was even made to be a big deal by getting the winning shot against Savage. Good stuff. ***¼
Gene interviews Kevin Sullivan, the Giant and Jimmy Hart. They talk about how untrustworthy the Horsemen are. Sullivan seems to think that they are the superior faction. Umm, the Dungeon of Doom were a bunch of losers outside of the Giant.
VIGNETTE ~ BLOOD CONTINUES TO RUN COLD! GLACIER IS COMING TO WCW!
LAST NIGHT ~ We finally get the images of Eric Bischoff taking the powerbomb off the stage last night.
Before the upcoming match, Gene interviews Rey Mysterio Jr., who made his debut last night. Rey just says that he doesn’t like how Dean Malenko cheated to beat him and then says some stuff in Spanish.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko (c) def. Rey Mysterio Jr. in 8:42
Unfortunately, we don’t get any Mike Tenay to save this on commentary. They work at a quick pace to start and Rey comes close on a rollup. They club a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker spot. Dean makes up for it with a vicious clothesline. Dean takes to wearing down Rey and slowing the pace. Rey breaks a submission with the ropes but walks into a body slam. Dean is greeted up top by Rey, who randomly back flips off. He tries to go back up and ends up taking an electric chair drop. Dean also hits a stiff powerbomb but Rey kicks out. Rey whips Dean into the guardrail and gets a near fall on a sunset flip. He also hits a sweet leaping rana to the outside. Malenko blocks a wheelbarrow move into a reverse DDT and cleanly wins it this time. Nowhere near the level of their match 24 hours prior but still good. They seemed to try to cram a lot into a short time and it didn’t click as well. ***
WCW World Heavyweight Championship: The Giant (c) w/ Jimmy Hart def. Scott Steiner in 8:16
Despite having taped up ribs, Scott tries to slam the Giant. Once that fails, the Giant takes over and holds serve. Unfortunately, his offense just isn’t very good or interesting at this point. It’s a lot of nothing while Steiner just sells the ribs. For some reason, Giant tries to get a chair. He was in complete control but okay. Scott gets an opening and tries a sleeper, but Giant backs him into the corner. Scott suplexes him from out of nowhere to a huge pop. He goes to use the chair but it is wooden so it just breaks over the Giant’s head and he no sells it. Chokeslam ends it. I rather liked the finish but nothing about this really stood out to me. *¾
Mean Gene is by the stage to make the big announcement tonight. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash challenged any three guys from WCW for Bash at the Beach. They will have a rather infamous mystery partner. Anyway, apparently WCW officials used win/loss records to choose the six top WCW stars. They include Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, the Giant, Ric Flair, Sting and Randy Savage. They randomly chose three and the three chosen are Luger, Sting and Savage!
Raw Rating: 2.3
Nitro Rating: 3.4
Nitro: There were a fair amount of highs and lows on this week’s show. We got some real trash (Stevie/Rick, Bubba/Tenta and Gomez/Disco), but I enjoyed a lot too (Horsemen tag, Flair/Savage and Malenko/Mysterio). Though there was no Hall or Nash, they were the focal point of the show and things built towards Bash at the Beach rather well. 6.0