March 11, 1996 - Monday Night Wars 24

Raw 150

  • Last week, Nitro was preempted by another show so Raw ran unopposed. The only thing worth mentioning from that episode was the debut of Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, better known today as John “Bradshaw” Layfield (or JBL), one of the commentators for SmackDown Live. Neat!

  • I guess they were saving their good material for tonight. The first match of the night is Savio Vega VS the Ringmaster. Except, he’s not the Ringmaster anymore:

 I'm losing my mind.

I'm losing my mind.

  • That’s right, baby! He’s here! This is a surprisingly good match out of Savio Vega. Unfortunately, both men wind up spilling out of the ring and getting counted out. But either they don’t hear the bell or they don’t care because they continue slugging it out until we finally cut away to a commercial.

  • Mark Henry, the world’s strongest man, is in attendance tonight and apparently had a little segment with Jerry the King Lawler to open the show. Seems like Lawler insulted Henry, resulting in Henry gorilla pressing Lawler over his head. I don’t know how long before Mark Henry gets signed, but it’s cool to see him doing little things like that beforehand.

  • Vince then gets Goldust and Rowdy Roddy Piper in the ring to interview them both. I guess Goldust is now also trying to get at Piper as well as Razor Ramon. During the interview, Goldust continually tries to provoke Piper until he finally caves. Piper hits Goldust so hard that his wig flies off before declaring, “You want a fight?! Then a fight you’ve got. And I’m gonna make a man outta you!” Okay I guess that’s one direction you could take with Piper. I guess I expected him to avenge Gorilla Monsoon and get into it with Vader, but I suppose a SECOND homophobic storyline is just as good.

 "Please, Roddy, help me get a better gimmick!"

"Please, Roddy, help me get a better gimmick!"

  • The main event of the night is a tag match between Owen Hart & the British Bulldog VS Yokozuna and the Undertaker. Holy cow, yes the Undertaker is teaming up with Yokozuna. Whoops except a minute into the match, Diesel comes out and clotheslines Paul Bearer out of nowhere, causing the Undertaker to stalk back to the locker room in pursuit of Diesel. So Yoko’s left to get double teamed just like last time. And just like last time, Vader comes down for some action as well. And just like last time Ahmed Johnson and Jake the Snake come down to help Yokozuna. And just like last time, I still hate this ending.

Nitro 27

  • Nitro’s first match is Hacksaw Jim Duggan against the Giant. Well, it was nice knowing you Duggan. I have no idea why they would feed him to the Giant. Of all people, you’re going to job out Hacksaw? You couldn’t give him, like Alex Wright? Well not Alex Wright; he has to job out to Luger later on in the episode.

  • The next match is billed as the Nasty Boys against the Road Warriors. Except that instead of the Nasty Boys, the freakin’ Steiner Brothers roll out of the back on a couple of Harleys and ride down to the ring on them. I am so stoked for the Steiners to be back! The match goes back and forth, with both teams hitting hard. I have no idea who’s going to win, until the Road Warriors use a foreign object behind the ref’s back to get the win. Welp, I guess I hate the Road Warriors now.

The quality could be better, but check out that entrance!

  • Finally, we get a rematch between Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and the Taskmaster VS Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Booty Man, but this time it’s a lumberjack strap match. That means the ring’s surrounded by dudes with leather straps and also there are straps in the ring to use too. It’s total chaos. And in the eye of this hurricane is Booty Man, foregoing the second pair of yellow tights beneath his ripped ones and putting on display for everyone to see: his booty, man.

Verdict: This is a tough one. While Nitro had my favorite match of the night, it didn’t have much else going for it. Meanwhile, Raw didn’t really have anything crazy that stood out, but everything it had was pretty decent. And while I do want to give bonus points for Stone Cold’s official debut, he still hasn’t done anything for people back then to get excited about. Story wins out though, and Raw definitely has more plot being developed right now.

Winner this week: Raw

Score to date: Nitro 18, Raw 6

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.9; Nitro - 3.2)