DDT Monday Retro- August 12, 1996: Live, From Casper Wyoming!

Wrestling (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Wrestling (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Hello again everybody and welcome to DDT Monday Retro! We’ve got a hot show for you tonight. I’m especially excited for WCW Nitro, as it took place in MY VERY OWN HOMETOWN of Casper, Wyoming. Now, if you’ve never heard of Casper, Wyoming, don’t feel bad. Nobody has. I’ve lived here for 33 years and I’m still not entirely sure that it actually exists. Oh well. Let’s get this show on the road!

Previously on Monday Retro:

Hulk Hogan turned his back on the fans and went ‘Hollywood,’ joining up with former WWF stars Kevin Nash (Diesel) and Scott Hall (Razor Ramon). The New World Order was created at Bash at the Beach 1996, and Hogan and co. have dominated Nitro ever since. At ‘Hog Wild,’ Hogan defeated The Giant to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and now Hogan and the NWO have the whole world (championship wrestling) in their hands. Because with championships comes power and with power comes responsibility.

With responsibility comes a feud with Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake, as it turns out because he came out at the end of the show and got beat up by his former best friend, while Hogan’s new best friends laughed and joined in on the beating. Hogan also spray-painted NWO on the championship for the very first time which, in the mind of many old-timers, destroyed the credibility and history of the title. Just wait a few years, old-timers. It’ll get much, much worse.

WCW Monday Nitro– August 12, 1996

Running Time: 91 Minutes

Venue: Casper Events Center, Casper Wyoming

The Show: It begins with Larry Zbysko telling us that they’re live in the middle of nowhere, which is correct. Tony Schiavone corrects him, saying it’s the ‘Great American West,’ which is…significantly less true.

Schiavone and Zybysko are recapping the previous Saturday’s (God I love Saturday pay-per-views) Hog Wild, with Zybysko questioning where WCW wrestlers were when the New World Odor (GET IT- WORDPLAY!) were dominating The Giant.

They also recap The Outsiders v Sting and Lex Luger and what would be the beginnings of Nick Patrick: EVIL NWO REFEREE. Patrick cost Luger and Sting the match and issued a fast count but, it was done rather subtly, so there was plausible deniability that Patrick would profess for the next few months.

But enough talk, Jack! This is World Championship WRESTLING and that’s what we want to see.

Luckily, we don’t have to wait long as High Voltage and Rough & Ready are teaming up to take on the Dungeon of Doom in a veritable dream match. Who needs the NWO vs The Horsemen when we have High Voltage vs Dungeon of Doom?

Oh, that match didn’t last long. Dungeon won and then Rough & Ready proved that they were, in fact, rough and ready because they beat up High Voltage after the match.

Next up, Luger and Sting make their way to the ring and they are TICKED OFF. Luger said he and his BFF are tired of following the rules. Zbysko is really hammering the fact that nobody came out to save The Giant at Hog Wild. Luger and Sting called out the NWO but, in typical Heel 101 fashion, they did not appear. After kind of just standing around the ring for a while, Luger and Sting finally leave.

I loved Mortal Kombat as a kid. It was one of my favorite video games, even if the Super Nintendo version (what I had) paled in comparison to the Sega Genesis version.

Next up, Renegade vs Diamond Dallas Page. Renegade, for those who don’t remember, was the Wayfair version of The Ultimate Warrior. Unfortunately for Reneguy, he fell victim to the Diamond Cutter which, even back in 1996, was just such a dope move. This was before DDP would begin the run of a lifetime, but his finisher was definitely paving the way to superstardom.

After the match, we cut backstage to Hogan, Hall, and Nash. It’s so funny seeing them without the legendary nWo t-shirts yet. Hogan is wearing an airbrushed tank top, Scott Hall is wearing a weird anti-WCW shirt with the ‘No Smoking’ logo drawn over the WCW Logo. But Kevin Nash wins the evening, and perhaps the decade because he is wearing a ‘No Fear’ shirt that everybody in my elementary school wore at one point in their lives.

Anyway, the three celebrate Hogan’s win and tease making a new NWO World Championship. They also threaten to melt the WCW title down like it’s The Undertaker’s urn because simply spray painting it isn’t insulting enough. Maybe they should just give it to David Arquette. Hall and Nash accept Luger and Sting’s challenge for ‘sometime later tonight,’ but don’t actually say when. Call me crazy, but I feel like it will be with about 5 minutes left in the show.

Next up is Konnan vs Jim Powers. Konnan looks like Mexican Goldberg here but luckily it won’t be long before he becomes the K-Dogg that we all know and love.

Following that match, we get Chris Benoit v Big Ron Studd (not to be confused with Big John Studd). Benoit defeats him with a superplex and then issues a challenge to The Giant for, presumably, Clash of the Champions that will take place in a few days.

Next up is The Steiner Brothers vs Harlem Heat for the 197th time. The Steiner Brothers won by DQ after Colonel Robert Parker and Sister Sherri interfered. Harlem Heat seemed, (excuse us), heated with Parker after the match.

Next on the docket is Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Ultimo Dragon and, though the match is short (only a little over 4 minutes), it is but mighty. These two are great. Mysterio wins with a rollup and tells Dean Malenko that if he wants the title, he can come and get it.

The next match is Ric Flair vs Macho Man Randy Savage for the United States Heavyweight Championship of the World. Though the feud had been overdone by this point, it’s still pretty cool to see a WrestleMania rematch taking place in the same building that I once pinned an opponent in 16 seconds (I was an amateur wrestler in school before I realized I had very little athletic ability). The match itself isn’t even that great. Lots of punches (from Savage) and begging off (from Flair). The match ends with Hollywood Hogan nailing the Macho King with a laughably weak chair shot, before rolling him into the ring for Flair to get the pin. The announcers seem to hint that Flair could be the NWO’s 4th Guy, even though Hogan and Flair are scheduled to wrestle each other 3 days later at Clash of the Champions.

Hogan himself confirms that Flair isn’t the 4th guy when he’s interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. Hogan says that the reason he helped Flair was just cause he wants The Nature Boy to be in his top form for their match at The Clash. He also dubs Flair “Stupid Little Man,’ which is one helluva insult, if I do say so myself.

And look at that, with just about 10 minutes left in the show, it looks like we are getting The Outsiders vs. Sting and Luger. Hall and Nash come out and Luger immediately rushes out and begins fighting both men. Sting follows suit and then all-out bedlam transpires. The two teams battle back and forth until Luger, much like he did at Bash at the Beach, gets hurt and Sting is forced to take The Outsiders on by himself until…

The Four Horseman make the save!

Now, listen. As I’ve said, I wasn’t yet a pro wrestling fan by 1996. But now I understand the significance of the Horsemen saving Sting and Luger. This is a big moment, yet it seems like the announcers are more concerned with talking about Nick Patrick.

Mene Gene Okerlund interviews Flair, who says that even though he doesn’t like Sting or Luger, they’re still WCW. This seems like a significant moment in WCW’s battle against the NWO and I wish the announcers would have put it over more. They end the show by plugging the following Thursday’s Clash of the Champions (which, for some reason, is not available on Peacock. God, I hate Peacock.).

Now it’s time to (metaphorically) switch the channel over to Raw. Let’s see what Vinnie Mac and Co. have in store for us.

WWF Monday Night Raw– August 12, 1996

Running Time: 48 Minutes

The Venue: The Key Arena, Seattle, Washington.

The Show: We open with a recap of recent events regarding Ahmed Johnson’s ruptured kidney. I don’t remember if Johnson was legitimately injured or not but, storyline-wise, they blame his injury on Farooq.

Then we get the catchy Raw theme and out first are Sunny and her liege, the aforementioned Farooq. Farooq is taking on Sunny’s real-life husband, Chris Candido. Farooq, a former (and, it should be noted, the only black) WCW Champion, beats Candido with The Dominator and doesn’t even lose his Spartacus helmet in the process.

Next up, we get Crush vs. Savio Vega. Crush hadn’t been seen in the WWF for more than a year, and this was his big return. Nobody noticed he was gone, and nobody cared that he was back. He got the win with a full nelson, though.

During the match, it’s teased that Bret Hart is considering retirement. In retrospect, maybe he should have.

We then get another recap of the Ahmed Johnson kidney rupturing, followed by a sit-down interview with Ahmed Johnson. It’s actually a pretty good interview. It humanizes Ahmed a little bit and paints him as even more of a star. Johnson says that he’s not sure if he’ll ever be able to come back to the World Wrestling Federation which, in the world of wrestling, means he’ll be back in a couple of months and, ideally, he’ll blow the roof off the joint when he does. This was a chance to make Ahmed a bonafide star, similar to how Stone Cold Steve Austin became an even bigger star after returning from his neck injury. Unfortunately, Austin became the star he was destined to be. Johnson…did not.

The Godwinns vs. TL Hopper (a plumber) and Who (who?) are next. The Godwinn’s win and I tell myself to stop complaining about 2021 Raw because it could be a lot, a lot, worse.

The only interesting thing about this tag team match is that Bob Backlund joined commentary and said that he was bringing somebody to the WWF to be champion, and his champion would be a much better role model than Shawn Michaels was. I actually don’t know who Backlund would be bringing in, so color me intrigued.

Because of Johnson’s injury, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon announces a single-elimination tournament to crown a new Intercontinental Champion. I love a good tournament, so this should be good.

Next up is a video package in which Bret Hart discusses the possibility of retirement. Obviously, we know he won’t do that, and will actually go on to have the best run of his career. This show definitely misses the presence of the Hitman, though.

Speaking of a Hart, our main event of the evening is Shawn Michaels vs Owen Hart and I will alwasys want to see these two wrestle. Owen is partners with Big Van Vader at this point. Vader will be taking on Michaels at Summerslam, so this match makes a lot of sense and it’s, as usual, extremely well-wrestled. Michaels gets the win after two superkicks (the first one was kind of…awkward). After the match, Vader gets the upper hand on Michaels and hits him with two Vader Bombs. The show ends right as Vader looks like he’s about to land a moonsault.

And that’s that. In a perfect world, Vader would have defeated Shawn Michaels at Summerslam and reigned as a monster heel WWF Champion for an entire year until, say, Ahmed Johnson returned and Pearl River Plunged him. Alas, that’s not how this story goes.

Which Show Was Better: Nitro was infinitely better but Shawn Michaels vs Owen Hart was the match of the night and it wasn’t even close. Still, Raw was putting out The Godwinns vs Who, while WCW put forth Savage vs Flair and The Outsiders vs Sting and Luger. Is it any wonder how WCW won the ratings battle for *checks notes* 83 weeks?

Check back next week as we see the fallout from WWF Summerslam, as well as the next chapter in WCW’s battle against the NWO. Will Shawn Michaels still be the WWF Champion? Will Hogan and the company desecrate the WCW Championship even further? Will a Nitro main event actually end without a disqualification? Tune in next week to find out!