This week marks our first official showdown between Raw and Nitro. Since Nitro is actually aired live, they have an early advantage over Raw because they can talk smack without getting any rebuttal from Raw (at least for now). Let’s move on to the comparison and see how both programs stack up.
Raw Episode 126
Coming off a two week break, Raw returns with their “new fall season” along with a brand new intro video and song. Is this in response to Nitro’s much slicker intro? I’d bet it is.
The first match features two actual wrestlers, namely Razor Ramon and the British Bulldog, which is a good changeup from the usual jobber matches. The fight ends when multiple outside wrestlers interfere. This will be a theme in Nitro as well this week.
Vince interviews the 1-2-3 Kid who has beef with Razor Ramon, who is also present, for still treating him like a kid and then challenges him to a match next week to prove himself. This is a really cool angle that is ruined by Jerry Lawler constantly interjecting on commentary with little jokes and quips. Between that and the recent Isaac Yankem DDS vignettes, Lawler’s stock has really taken a hit recently with me.
Golddust has another vignette. I’m still not sure what his gimmick is. Is this what people from Hollywood are supposed to be like? It seems like they’re bringing him in to feud with Undertaker. I guess gold reflects light and that’s like, Undertaker’s weakness?
Shawn Michaels faces off against Sid and wins with some sweet chin music. Although, if you were watching Nitro, you already knew that because…
Monday Nitro Episode 2
Nitro spoils Raw’s main event! Since Nitro is live and Raw is taped two to three weeks in advance at this point, they’ve already got the inside scoop. Right before the Sting/VK Wallstreet match, they tell us not to go switching channels to the competition because it’s stale. And to prove it, they just flat out say that Shawn Michaels defeats Sid with a superkick. I absolutely love this. This is the kind of thing that’s going to kick Raw’s butt into gear and shake things up finally.
Backing up a bit, the first match is between Sabu and Alex Wright who is being billed as “Das Wunderkind”. Sabu takes several huge bumps including one after he wins where he smashes through a table with Alex Wright on top of it. This is so violent that the ref reverses his decision and awards the match to Wright. I’ve never seen anything like this on Raw. Is this possibly the beginning of hardcore matches?
Also during that match, Eric Bischoff off-handedly name drops New Japan Pro Wrestling which, besides Smoky Mountain Wrestling being mentioned when Jim Cornette joined up with WWF, is the first time I’ve heard an outside promotion mentioned at all.
Macho Man has his match with Scott Norton, who apparently is best known as an arm wrestler. However the match is interrupted by the Dungeon of Doom, and in particular a guy dressed up like a shark named Shark who we knew in the WWF as Earthquake. I guess money trumps dignity.
The main event of the night is Lex Luger challenging Hulk Hogan for the WCW belt. Unfortunately though the Dungeon of Doom decides to ruin this match as well and puts the boots to Hogan. Are they just going to do this for every match? I gotta admit, that would be a bold choice.
Verdict: Although Raw had some fun stuff this week, they also had a lot of filler with two jobber matches and a lengthy Todd Pettengil segment in support of the upcoming “In Your House” pay per view. And while Nitro did have the whole Dungeon of Doom thing going on again, the wrestlers and their in-ring performances were just more enjoyable than Raw. Plus the edgier commentary of the Nitro team is head and shoulders above Raw’s.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 1, Raw 0
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.5; Nitro - 2.4)