January 1, 1996 - Monday Night Wars 16

Raw 141

  • This episode is one big pre-taped, half-baked gimmick called “Raw Bowl” consisting of basically four tag teams competing against one another which takes up the entire first half of the show. The second half is literally just a replay of Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Henry O. Godwinn’s “Arkansas Hog Pen Match” from In Your House followed by Diesel pinning Mabel in a match that lasts all of five seconds.

  • That’s it. I’ve got nothing else.

Nitro 18

  • Now if you were watching Nitro instead (like you should have been) and if for some reason you desperately wanted to keep track of Raw Bowl, well Eric Bischoff’s got you covered. He tells us right out of the gate that “Over on the Raw Bowl, or the Toilet Bowl or whatever it is, the Smoking Gunns won it. Forget about it. Stick right here. We’re live and this is where the action is!” Brother, you ain’t lying.

  • The first match up is Randy Savage VS Arn Anderson. The Macho Man dropped the Heavyweight Championship to Ric Flair at Starrcade earlier in the week thanks in part to Arn Anderson’s interference (and some brass knuckles), so this is a bit of a grudge match. Tonight, Arn tries once again to hit Macho with the knucks, but drops them by accident, allowing Savage to scoop them up and turn the tables on Double A leading to a victory for the Macho Man. Chris Benoit and Brian Pillman try to jump him after the match, but he’s too wily and escapes.

  • Speaking of Benoit, he’s up next in a match with Lord Steven Regal. Benoit tries to go for a tope suicida, but misses and knocks himself silly on the concrete, allowing Regal to throw him back in the ring and get the pin. After the match, Mean Gene gives the traditional interview with Benoit who is joined in-ring by both Double A and Brian Pillman. Pillman, ever the loose cannon, wants to know why Benoit is even in the Four Horsemen if he can’t take care of his business. Arn grabs the mic away and comes down on Pillman, asking why he’s always setting fires and starting wars that don’t need to be fought? It seems there’s some dissension in the ranks. If Pillman doesn’t watch it, I reckon he’ll be finding himself on the wrong side of Arn’s knuckles.

 Flair looks different here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Flair looks different here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

  • Rounding out the Horsemen appearances, Ric Flair (the new Heavyweight Champion) is in the main event against Hulk Hogan, back from his one week suspension. Hogan does his usual “hulking up” bullcrap and is about to win when he gets distracted by Jimmy Hart, allowing Arn Anderson to come up from behind and slug him with his patented brass knuckles. But of course, Hogan being Hogan, he pops right back up and returns the favor before one-shotting every other member of the Horsemen as they pile into the ring. God I hate him.

Verdict: Raw has rolled over and died. There’s no other explanation. Meanwhile Nitro finally has Benoit properly inserted into the Four Horsemen and we’re getting some real nice plots and subplots with them. WCW clearly knows they’ve got something interesting and it’s in their best interest to push them hard, even if they do have to keep making Hogan look strong as well.

Winner this week: Nitro

Score to date: Nitro 15, Raw 1

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.6; Nitro - 2.5)