Raw History: Episode 165 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 41
King of the Ring 1996 Results
King of the Ring Semi-Finals: Steve Austin def. Marc Mero in 16:48 (****)
King of the Ring Semi-Finals: Jake Roberts def. Vader via DQ in 3:39 (½*)
The Smoking Gunns def. The Godwins to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship in 10:10 (*¼)
The Ultimate Warrior def. Jerry Lawler in 3:51 (¼*)
Mankind def. The Undertaker in 18:18 (***¼)
Ahmed Johnson def. Goldust to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 15:27 (**)
King of the Ring Finals: Steve Austin def. Jake Roberts in 4:35 (*)
Shawn Michaels def. British Bulldog to retain the WWF Championship in 26:23 (****)
June 24th, 1996 | Brown County Expo Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin
WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels (1) since 3/31/96
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ahmed Johnson (1) since 6/23/96
WWE Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns (3) since 5/26/96
Non-Title Match: WWF Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson def. Hunter Hearst Helmsley in 10:26
Ahmed is fresh off of winning the title last night, while Hunter is still in punishment mode after the curtain call. While they go through some uninteresting stuff, Vince announces that Ahmed will team with the Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels to take on British Bulldog, Owen Hart and Vader at the next Pay-Per-View. Hunter takes control while Lawler flirts with his random valet of the week. They go to a picture in picture interview with Goldust. He says that he tried to save Ahmed but will now end him. He also calls him “mandingo” again. Yikes. Goldust is apparently wrestling the Undertaker at the next PPV too and he isn’t worried because he put him in a casket back in May. Ahmed eventually wins a match that goes too long with the Pearl River Plunge. Painfully boring. If Hunter wasn’t going anywhere, just let Ahmed run through him about half the time. ¼*
Dok Hendrix interviews Ahmed in the ring about being the first African-American Intercontinental Champion. Ahmed says he will defend the title for everyone, regardless of color. He will defend the belt for the people. Someone tried being the people’s champion before the Rock.
The KOTR replay gets plugged.
The Bodydonnas w/ Cloudy def. The Brooklyn Brawler and Jerry Fox in 3:57
Cloudy is the new manager for the Bodydonnas and is just a dude in drag. Sunny joins commentary to discuss it. Sunny says that she’s planning on bringing in a singles star to get more titles for her. Vince questions this and Sunny says that two men can’t keep her satisfied. Vince doesn’t touch that with a ten foot pole. The Bodydonnas win a relative squash with the whoopee cushion.
British Bulldog, Owen Hart and Vader w/ Diana Smith and Jim Cornette def. Aldo Montoya, Barry Horowitz and Savio Vega in 4:20
Cornette joins commentary and just spits his rapid-fire delivery, cutting down Shawn Michaels, the Packers and WWF officiating. The team of stars dominates this one. Vega gets in a few hope spots but that’s about it. Cornette claims that Jose Lothario pulled a switchblade on him at the PPV. Classic. Bulldog plants Montoya with the powerslam but doesn’t want to pin. Owen comes in, celebrates and wins with the Sharpshooter. This did what it needed to. I was fine with it.
Brian Pillman shows up on crutches. He yells at Vince about his paycheck and curses on-screen. LOOSE CANNON!
The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer def. Steve Austin via disqualification in 9:47
The first of many, many matches between these two. Austin is coming off of the King of the Ring win, while Undertaker lost to Mankind last night. I love that Austin shows no fear and then attacks Undertaker from behind. While they go at it, Lawler gets up to bother Bearer about his mistake last night, which helped cost the Undertaker the match. Bearer avoids him as Undertaker throws Austin into the ring post. They go to break and returning, Undertaker hits old school, though it isn’t quite old school yet. As Austin wears down Undertaker, Goldust and Marlena show up. Goldust joins the booth. Undertaker rallies and hits the chokeslam. Goldust gets up and throws actual gold dust into his eyes, resulting in the DQ. You could tell they were working this as a basic TV main event. They did nothing special but it was fine and kept me mostly interested. **
Undertaker fights Austin off before bowing in front of Bearer. Bearer seems unsure if Undertaker will hit him. Lawler gets on the mic and eggs it on, but Undertaker shoos him away.
June 24th, 1996 | Independence Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina
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
Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko promote Bash at the Beach and call it the biggest show in WCW history. When they go to the footage of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash’s attack on Eric Bischoff, the fans loudly chant “WE WANT FLAIR.”
Mean Gene interviews the three opponents for Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and the mystery partner at Bash at the Beach. They are Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage. They’re all in Sting paint. After they promote their unity, Luger almost slips up and says WWF. The Steiner Brothers interrupt (after Savage leaves) and says that they will have their backs if needed, but with the titles on the line tonight, that’s their focus. Harlem Heat show up and Booker shouts about having a score to settle with Luger.
Public Enemy def. The Bluebloods w/ Earl Robert Eaton in 5:49
For what I believe is the first time, we get Public Enemy with no table. Johnny Grunge has a dog collar around his neck, promoting their upcoming dog collar match with the Nasty Boys. Rocco does some athletic stuff while Dave Taylor and Lord Steven Regal seem to not even want to touch their opponents. Rocco dropkicks Dave over the top, causing commentary to discuss the possibility of a DQ. I’ve always disliked that rule. Things eventually break down and everyone goes at it. Eaton trips up Grunge, who hits himself with his cast. Grunge still ends up whacking Taylor with the cast and winning it. Strange stuff. PE mostly worked a spotty hardcore style and with a dog collar match coming up, they should have stuck to that. Trying to wrestle with Taylor and Regal came off as awkward. *¼
Kip Abee and The Taskmaster w/ Jimmy Hart wrestle to a no contest in 2:00
Why is he the Taskmaster some weeks and Kevin Sullivan on others? Sullivan attacks from the start and beats Kip through the crowd. They fight to the back where Sullivan wants to take Kip to the ladies’ room. Security stops him and he heads back to the ring for an interview. Umm…okay. At least it served to make Taskmaster look insane.
Sullivan promises that he and the Giant will beat Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit at Bash at the Beach.
VIGNETTE ~ Glacier is still coming.
Non-Title Match: WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko def. Bobby Walker in 4:39
They don’t specify if this is a title match or not. For those unaware, Walker would go on to sue WCW for discrimination. Malenko is in complete control throughout this. He stretches Walker and nails a snap suplex. After a stiff ass powerbomb from Dean, Disco Inferno walks around the ring with his new gold record to distract him. It leads to a Walker near fall. Disco plays his theme song and dances. He gets in the ring but is knocked out when Dean sends Walker into him. A Northern lights suplex ends it. Mostly a squash. I honestly don’t know what they’re going for with this feud. After Dean and Rey stole the show at the last PPV, they move into a match with Disco Inferno?
Mean Gene interviews Dean and Disco. Disco basically calls him boring and Dean says that he knows 1,000 holds, but only needs one to put him away.
Eddie Guerrero def. Barbarian in 5:38
Seriously, where the hell has Eddie been? Dude was a highlight on early Nitro and had the best match in Nitro history up to this point against Ric Flair. He wants the US Title, so he’s trying to face bigger opponents. Barbarian pretty much has his way with Eddie here. Like, he just tosses him around and does lackadaisical covers. Eddie busts out a nice side suplex and goes to the top. Barbarian stops him and hits a super belly to belly suplex. He goes for a superplex, but Eddie falls on him and steals it. I get what they were going for, but it didn’t make Eddie look very good. He came off as a guy with heart, but one that only won because he got lucky. *¾
Mean Gene interviews him about his tough US Title match loss at Uncensored back in March. Eddie says that it was tough and he wants another shot. Gene goes to ask about the recent hostile takeover, but hour number two is here, so he gets cut off while saying that he’d like to be representing WCW at the Bash.
Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit w/ Steve McMichael def. The Rock n’ Roll Express in 6:30
They actually use a countdown for the second hour. Ugh. A message pops up on the WWE Network saying that the match is presented in the most complete format as there were some technical difficulties with the show. The crowd is way behind the Horsemen. Benoit does a lot of the early work. Any time the Horsemen do anything, it gets a massive pop. I’m talking Arn just doing a sleeper. They goad the Express into a cheap shot where Mongo looked ready to use the briefcase but Benoit hit a clothesline instead. Mongo still gets to use it later on and Benoit wins after an Arn DDT. Fine little match here that did what it needed to. **
Joe Gomez runs out to help the Rock n’ Roll Express but takes a beating. Randy Savage and Kevin Greene show up and chase the Horsemen off. The crowd hates it. Ric Flair and the ladies are interviewed in the back and he rambles in typical Flair style. He spends too much time with that, so he misses out on plugging his upcoming match with Konnan.
Lord of the Ring Match: Diamond Dallas Page def. Alex Wright in 4:03
So, DDP is still the “Lord of the Ring” but he never got his rightful shot at the WCW World Title. They do some quick rollup spots, which I like since it makes it seem like winning the ring is a big deal, even though it isn’t. “A for effort” boys. Wright and DDP have both been enjoyable in their Nitro appearances so far. Wright hits a jumping kick for two. After getting his knees up on a slingshot splash, DDP hits the Diamond Cutter and wins. Again, decent match for what it was. The DDP push is up and running. **
Mean Gene is at it again, interviewing Kevin Greene. He talks smack about Mongo selling out before saying that he has to go play for the Carolina Panthers, but once the season is over, he’s going Mongo hunting.
Randy Savage w/ Kevin Greene def. VK Wallstreet in 4:37
Savage is still in Sting face paint. As for Wallstreet, it’s a different name, but the same dull worker that bored me to tears as IRS on Raw for three years. He does some of his boring stuff but at least it is clear here that Savage was the star and was going over. The commentators bicker about the potential takeover until Savage wins with the elbow. This was mostly a squash, as it should have been.
WCW World Tag Team Championship Triangle Match: Harlem Heat def. Lex Luger and Sting (c) and The Steiner Brothers in 9:18
Only two men are legal at a time. We get a coin toss to start and the champions are the odd men out. That builds up the whole “they could lose without ever getting tagged” angle. The Steiners and Harlem Heat continue their rivalry for a bit until good guy Scott tags in Sting. They go to break while Sting is working over Stevie and when they return, not much has changed. Things continue to go along fine until a hot tag goes to Luger. He calls for the Torture Rack when the invaders (Hall and Nash but they don’t have official names yet) walk through the crowd with baseball bats. During all of the commotion, Harlem Heat apparently win the titles. The match itself was relatively fine but that ending killed it because we didn’t even get to see it. I know they were wanting to push this angle as real but still. **¼
Security enters the ring and they, along with Sting, Luger and the Steiners, keep the invaders at bay. Harlem Heat doesn’t care and leave with their titles.
Raw Rating: 2.7
Smackdown Rating: 3.3