Raw History: Episode 172 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 48
August 12th, 1996 | Key Arena in Seattle, Washington
WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels (1) since 3/31/96
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ahmed Johnson (1) since 6/23/96
WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns (3) since 5/26/96
A video opens the show to discuss Ahmed Johnson’s career-threatening injury and how he had to have emergency surgery.
Faarooq w/ Sunny def. Skip in 4:34
Jerry Lawler loses his mind over Sunny and hypes something later called “The Naked Truth.” This is very one-sided, with Faarooq just destroying Skip. Lawler continues to be a horny old man and doesn’t shut up about Sunny possibly stripping tonight, as well as the upcoming bikini beach thing at SummerSlam. Skip gets a small comeback but runs into a powerslam. The Dominator gets a great reaction and ends things.
LAST WEEK ~ We see Jerry Lawler’s win over Aldo Montoya. Jake Roberts calls in to say that the power that saved him will crush Lawler. Lawler responds and it randomly just cuts to commercial.
Crush w/ Clarence Mason def. Savio Vega in 8:38
Future Nation of Domination members collide! Vince’s surprise at Crush being Mason’s client is hilariously bad. Crush and Savio do a lot of nothing since Crush is leading and he’s horrible. The more entertaining stuff is Lawler asking Vince if he’s been arrested before. When he asks if Vince has ever been indicted, they go right to commercial. Returning, Crush is still in control. He finally wins a dull affair with a full nelson. At least it’s a better finish than the head vice. -*½
LAST WEEK ~ Mankind and The Undertaker brawling around the arena is highlighted so they can plug the upcoming Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam.
In the back, a naked silhouette of Sunny trying on bikinis is shown. She is annoyed that they invited Sable and Marlena to the Bikini Beach Blast Off at the SummerSlam Free-4-All. Lawler makes a joke about his lap getting wet.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ~ Kevin Kelly sits down with Ahmed Johnson in his home. The Kuwait Cup, Intercontinental Title and a Slammy are on display. He basically says that he’s unsure if he’ll ever be able to wrestle again.
The Godwins w/ Hillbilly Jim def. TL Hopper and Who in 5:20
Yup, it’s the Raw debut for Who, who is Jim Neidhart in a generic mask. Bob Backlund joins commentary to run down Shawn Michaels because children shouldn’t be allowed to watch him gyrate and dance. Hopper and Who hit a double back body drop and the crowd doesn’t care one bit. Gorilla Monsoon speaks on a split screen to announce that the IC Title is now officially vacated. The Slop Drop ends the match. Extended squash.
Gorilla Monsoon announces that a single elimination tournament begins next week to crown a new champion.
WRESTLE VESSEL ~ Mr. Perfect speaks with Bret Hart about possibly returning. Bret says that the fans are going to have to accept his decision if he never chooses to return. He has enjoyed his time on the cruise and interacting with the fans. Bret wants to show up in two or three more months to speak his mind and let fans know officially. He also promises to bring a shovel. There’s a Triple H joke in there somewhere.
Non-Title Match: WWF Champion Shawn Michaels w/ Jose Lothario def. Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette in 9:47
We get a quick start from these two. Shawn is doing his overly cocky thing where he just makes himself look several steps ahead of his opponent. During a rest hold, they show Owen Hart’s enziguri last year that sent Shawn into “Tell Me A Lie” territory. Shawn does a great job of bumping on the spinning heel kick, allowing Owen to take over. Owen hit a missile dropkick heading into the break. Returning, Shawn hits the big elbow and tunes up the band. Vader runs out and gets on the apron but gets dropkicked off. Owen misses a charge and hits the ropes. He rebounds into a kick to the gut followed by Sweet Chin Music. Disappointing match considering the men involved. Also, who thought this should only go a minute longer than Crush/Savio? **½
Vader goes to bring a chair inside but Shawn steals Owens’ cast. They dare each other to come after one another. Owen gets up, so Shawn takes him out but then Vader gets his hands on him and delivers a headbutt. Vader beats up Shawn until he’s lifeless. He then hits two Vader Bombs and goes for the Vadersault but the show fades out before he hits it.
Hog Wild 1996 Results
Rey Mysterio Jr. def. Ultimo Dragon to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship in 11:38 (***¾)
Scott Norton def. Ice Train in 5:06 (*½)
Battle of the Bikes: Madusa def. Bull Nakano in 5:25 (**)
Chris Benoit def. Dean Malenko in 28:10 (****)
Harlem Heat def. The Steiner Brothers to retain the WCW World Tag Team Titles in 17:52 (**½)
Ric Flair def. Eddie Guerrero to retain the WCW United States Championship in 14:14 (***¾)
The Outsiders def. Lex Luger and Sting in 14:36 (*¾)
Hulk Hogan def. The Giant to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 14:57 (*)
August 12th, 1996 | Events Center in Casper, Wyoming
WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (2) 8/10/96
WCW United States Champion: Ric Flair (5) since 7/7/96
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (6) since 7/27/96
WCW Television Champion: Lex Luger (1) since 3/6/96
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr. (1) since 7/8/96
Red and yellow Hulk Hogan is still in the Nitro intro. Larry Zbyszko thinks they’re in the middle of nowhere tonight but Tony Schiavone calls this a great city. They somberly discuss Hogan winning the title and desecrating it. They go over some still shots of Nick Patrick being knocked over during the Torture Rack last night. Nick also clipped Luger’s knee, but Tony thinks the jury is still out on whether it was intentional or not. However, the fast three count he gave when Luger was pinned was apparently absolutely intentional. Make up your mind.
Barbarian, Hugh Morris, Kevin Sullivan and Meng w/ Big Bubba and Jimmy Hart def. High Voltage and Rough and Ready in 2:55
What the hell is this? The teams just club away on each other and none of them seem interested in working. The crowd is surprisingly hot for Sullivan, who competes in a shirt and jeans. Meng pins Rage with a kick to win in short order. Strange way to open the show, especially seeing the Dungeon of Doom work as faces.
Rough and Ready jump one half of High Voltage. The other half gets in and Rough and Ready calmly leave like nothing happened. It was all awkward.
Sting and Lex Luger interrupt the commentary team. They want no more sleepless nights. Lex struggles though his promo so he gives the mic to Sting who handles things. He doesn’t care about any controversy and they want Hall and Nash right now. The Outsiders never show up.
VIGNETTE ~ Glacier is coming. One of these days.
Diamond Dallas Page def. The Renegade in 5:46
I can’t believe Renegade is still around. This was actually a PPV match about a year earlier. Renegade weathers an early storm but isn’t able to capitalize on anything. Schiavone says that the NWO will respond after this. DDP uses the ropes for leverage on a chin lock. Old school heel stuff. He then counters a suplex into the Diamond Cutter for the victory. I liked the finish at least. *
The NWO is shown in their locker room. Kevin Nash says they run things and they’re in their gear, but they plan on doing things on their time. Hall mentions that they keep beating Luger and Sting and that the title is now the NWO Title. Hogan finds it funny that WCW doesn’t even know who the fourth or fifth members are. He also doesn’t like the title and suggests a new design.
WCW SATURDAY NIGHT ~ The Four Horsemen will be in eight-man tag action, while the Giant also competes.
Konnan def. Jim Powers in 3:22
Both men get the jobber entrances. Konnan lost the US Title and is portraying more heel tendencies. He taunts the fans in between moves here but doesn’t seem too comfortable with it yet. Konnan wears Powers down with a strange looking leg submission. Konnan wins by using the ropes for leverage. Commentary insinuates that these actions are because of Hulk Hogan.
Mean Gene interviews him about cheating and Konnan isn’t even facing the hard camera. Gene literally turns him around. Konnan shouts that Gene shouldn’t worry about it because he doesn’t pay his bills. He basically says that he’s still on team WCW but isn’t going to play by the rules.
Chris Benoit w/ Elizabeth and Woman def. Ron Studd in 3:32
Studd is better known as the YE-TAY or, in the future, Reese. Benoit is set to face the Giant at the Clash of the Champions, so facing someone so big is a warmup. He gets walloped early but dropkicks Studd in the knee. Chopping down the tree is a good strategy. He continues to target the leg. Studd does a small rally and is dumb enough to go up top. Benoit crotches him and hits an awesome superplex that ends it. Benoit is awesome.
Benoit gets interviewed and says basic things about knocking the Giant down to size.
As hour number two approaches, we see still images from Hog Wild of the Tag Team Title match. Thanks to the shady finish, a rematch is coming up. Bobby Heenan and Tony Schiavone are back to doing their job this week. Heenan questions Eric’s whereabouts last week and he just says he had business to take care of.
WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Brothers def. Harlem Heat (c) w/ Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri via disqualification in 5:22
The Steiners are pissed and start hot, causing the champions to take a powder outside. Things calm down but Scott still belly to belly suplexes Booker in a preview of WCW’s World Title picture in 2000. The crowd eats up everything the Steiners do. Scott clotheslines Booker over and out while Rick chases Parker away. Scott goes to suplex Booker back in but Sherri holds his foot down. Parker, still running from Rick, enters and trips over the pin, resulting in the DQ. The Steiners brought fire but that was a mess, especially the finish. *¼
We get some still images to recap the Battle of the Bikes at Hog Wild, as well as the Cruiserweight Title match.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) def. Ultimo Dragon w/ Sonny Oono in 4:34
Oh look, another PPV rematch. Their match at the PPV was dam good though. Dragon lights him up with a series of kicks and then a modified airplane spin. Heenan is lost on how to call this. Dragon is in control until he comes off the top and leaps into Rey’s boot. I hate that spot. Rey gets caught up in the ropes but fixes himself and snaps off a springboard rana. He somersaults onto Dragon outside. The pace stays fast and Dragon nails a springboard moonsault inside. He wastes time taunting, opening the door for Mysterio to retain with a sunset flip. One of the better sub five minute matches I can recall. They worked at a crazy pace and crammed a lot into a short span, but it never felt messy. ***
Still images of Ric Flair’s win over Eddie Guerrero at Hog Wild are shown.
WCW United States Championship: Ric Flair (c) w/ Elizabeth and Woman def. Randy Savage in 9:13
I appreciate that the NWO’s arrival hasn’t made Flair and Savage forget their issues. Savage charges the ring and they brawl instantly. After some fighting outside, they take a break. Returning, Elizabeth slaps Savage, crushing my memories of SummerSlam 1991. Savage fires off shots while the crowd goes nuts. Flair takes him to the mat with the figure four but the referee catches him using the ropes for leverage. Savage turns the submission over and goes on the offensive. We get a ref bump just before Savage hits a double axe handle to the outside. Hulk Hogan shows up and whacks Savage with a steel chair. He doesn’t hit Flair, causing commentary to again speculate that Flair is the new NWO member. Flair gets Savage inside and pins him with his feet on the ropes. Another fun match. Savage and Flair have brought great intensity to their matches on Nitro. The finish wasn’t clean but it was intriguing. ***
Time for more still images, this time of the WCW Title match from Hog Wild. They show actual footage of the Booty Man thinking he got to join the NWO, only for Hogan, Hall and Nash to beat him up too. They punctuate it all by painting the title.
Mean Gene interviews Hulk Hogan by the stage. He says that he helped Flair tonight because when he beats him at Clash of the Champions this week, he wants no excuses from the fans. This was all going fine until Hogan’s final insult is that when he beats Flair, Flair will be known as the “stupid little man” instead of the “Nature Boy”. Lame.
Lex Luger and Sting vs. The Outsiders ends in a no contest around 4:00
The Outsiders come in through the crowd and not showing up through the tunnel freaks out commentary. Luger shows up with no Sting (but to Sting’s theme) and goes right after the Outsiders. Sting comes out and sneaks in a diving clothesline on Nash. The fans love it. The Outsiders use double team tactics and crooked referee Nick Patrick doesn’t call for the DQ. Commentary is confused by this. The Four Horsemen run out and the Outsiders leave through the crowd. No bell rings. Nick Patrick also leaves.
Mean Gene interviews the Horsemen and a Horsemen/NWO match is teased. Flair goes on a screaming rant about taking down Hogan and saying that Nash should try Mongo on for size.
Raw Rating: 2.0
Nitro Rating: 3.3
Nitro: If I was just grading the first half of the show, it would be dire. Outside of Benoit’s superplex, nothing about the first hour was any good. The second hour was a lot of fun though. The US and Cruiserweight Title matches were good and the final segment/match was a cool way to advance the angle. 6.0