As 1996 in WWF comes to a close, the WWF Writer’s Room has provided a handy timeline of the year that was in WWF.
April 1996: Shawn Michaels wins the WWF Title at Wrestlemania 12 in an hour-long Ironman match.
May 1996: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash leave the WWF, and jump to WCW. This is where the timelines diverge. Chris Jericho and Rocky Maivia debut. At the May Pay-Per-View, In Your House 8: Heartbroken, Goldust loses the Intercontinental Championship to Phatu after interference from the Undertaker. Phatu quickly loses it to Zip of the Bodydonnas afterward. Shawn Michaels defends the WWF Title against Mankind.
June 1996: The 1996 King Of The Ring tournament is held. In the finals, Owen Hart defeats Chris Jericho to win his second King Of The Ring tournament. Zip and Skip dissolve their tag team due to jealousy over Zip winning the Intercontinental Title. Shawn Michaels defends the WWF Title against the British Bulldog, of Camp Cornette. Goldust steals the Undertaker’s urn, and uses it to control Undertaker.
July 1996: Marty Jannetty betrays 123 Kid, his fellow New Rocker, to become the Skunkrocker, as he believes 123 Kid is stinking up his image by association. At In Your House 9: Money In The Bank, Ted DiBiase sponsors the first Money In The Bank match. With the Undertaker’s help, Goldust prevails over The Ultimate Warrior, Marc Mero, Skunkrocker, Tajiri, and Jushin Thunder Liger to win a WWF Title shot anytime, anywhere. The Two Man Power Trip of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hunter Hearst Helmsley win the WWF Tag Team Titles. Shawn Michaels defends the WWF title against Owen Hart of Camp Cornette in a cage match.
August 1996: A series of interviews between Vince McMahon and Mankind are aired, where Mankind talks about his tortured past. Skunkrocker becomes the first Pan-American champion in a Fearsome Foursome match against Doink, Edge, and Dave Taylor. Goldust and the Undertaker face The Ultimate Warrior and a mystery partner, who turns out to be The Undertaker’s long-lost brother Kane. Vader of Camp Cornette defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWF title in a San Antonio Street Fight. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon is injured in an assault by Vader, and Vince McMahon is made WWF President in his stead. Shawn Michaels is abandoned by god after losing the WWF title. Bret Hart returns to the WWF, defeating his brother Owen Hart in his return match.
September 1996: WWF Raw moves from USA Network to the Home Box Office. At In Your House: Vengeance, Vader defends the WWF title against The Ultimate Warrior. After Brian Pillman debuts, costing the Brave Lions(Roddy Piper and Chris Jericho) their tag team title match on the first Raw on HBO, he challenges Chris Jericho to what will be Pillman’s first WWF match. Steve Austin wins the Intercontinental Title, and declares that Pillman, HHH, and himself are now the Three Man Power Trip, the future of the WWF. Shawn Michaels faces Mankind in a match, which ends when the final interview between Mankind and McMahon is aired:
We didn’t see Mankind at first, only Vince talking to him. “Okay Mick, I’m not absolutely sure this is going to work, but trust me.”
“Don’t call me Mick, Vince…” The video zoomed out so we could see that Mick and Vince are in the same interview room as the last few interview segments. Mick is wearing a tye-dye shirt and sunglasses. “Call me DUUUUUUUDE LOOOOVE, AAAOOOOWW!”
“Okay… Dude Love, what do you have to say to Mankind?”
“Mankind, you don’t have to be this way, man! You don’t have to go around fightin’ and bitin’ all the time, you can start movin’ and groovin’ instead! Look inside yourself, and be who YOU want to be!”
This spurs Mankind’s face turn and transformation into Dude Love. Michaels and Dude Love then begin to team together as The Heartbreakers. Bret Hart and Owen Hart have their rematch, and this time Owen Hart wins.
October 1996: At In Your House 11: Great White North, Bret and Owen Hart have their rubber match, and Bret picks up the victory and number one contendership to the WWF title. Vader defends the WWF Title against Road Warrior Animal, who has recently defected from WWF. Brian Pillman defeats Jushin Liger and Skunkrocker in a triple threat match to win the Pan-American Championship and Steve Austin retains the Intercontinental Title against Rick Martel. Chris Jericho defeats HHH to win the Brave Lions a tag team title shot at the Survivor Series. Goldust defeats Dude Love when the Dudleyz interfere, joining forces with Goldust. HBK beats the Undertaker to win back his smile, and God’s favor. Stan Hansen and Mark Henry debut in the WWF. The Ultimate Warrior leaves the WWF, and Animal becomes the Ultimate Warrior instead.
November 1996: At the Survivor Series, The Brave Lions defeat the Two Man Power Trip for the Tag Team Titles when Jericho reverses a back body drop into a flipping piledriver he terms the Canadian Destroyer. Taz, Doink, Vampiro, and the Insane Clown Posse defeat The Godfather, his bodyguard Mr. Godwinn, Tracy Smothers, Bart Gunn, and Jake Roberts in a Survivor Series match, with Taz the sole survivor. Stan Hansen, Mark Henry, Bob Holly, Marc Mero, and Finlay defeat Bradshaw, Robert Ford(Brad Armstrong), Fatu, Samu, and Sione, with Henry and Hansen the sole survivors. Goldust, Undertaker, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, and Dirty Dutch Dudley defeat Shawn Michaels, Dude Love, The Ultimate Warrior, Kane, and Dave Taylor, with The Undertaker the sole survivor. Vader defends the WWF Title against Bret Hart. After the match, Owen Hart turns face, stopping Camp Cornette from beating down Bret.
December 1996: Ken Shamrock debuts in the WWF. Jake Roberts turns heel, and declares himself an agent of God’s will. Owen Hart faces the British Bulldog at In Your House 13: Mayhem In Madchester. As well, Vader defends his WWF Title against Bret Hart in a Falls Count Anywhere Mersey Melee. Brian Pillman reveals to Vince McMahon that the Insane Clown Posse, who still have their general managership powers from the recently cancelled WWF Superstars, helped him tape a secret IYH, In Your House 12: Pan-American Power Trip, on which Pillman taped all his mandatory Pan-American Title defenses until Wrestlemania. Along with this slight, the Insane Clown Posse demanded to play a vulgar song on the Christmas Raw, causing Vince to challenge them to a match.
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