We’re gearing up for Wrestlemania 12, which in 1996 means “nothing happens”. We get two lengthy vignettes in the middle of the show (for the third week in a row I might add), one showing Shawn Michaels training and the other showing Bret Hart training. Then the show ends with a five minute music video of Bret Hart. So in an hour long program, we get about 30 minutes of wrestling.
One of those wrestling segments involves Shawn fighting Leif Cassidy, apparently one half of “The New Rockers”, a reinvention of Shawn’s original tag team, The Rockers. And who is the other member of the New Rockers? Why, none other than Shawn’s original partner Marty Jannetty, the saddest man in professional wrestling.
Following that, Aldo Montoya takes on Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Since Hunter is now announced to fight a returning Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania, the outcome of this match is pretty obvious. I find it very interesting that they’re putting him in the ring with the Ultimate Warrior. Does that mean they hold Hunter in higher regard than I realized, or that they hold Warrior in lower regard? Yeah, definitely gonna have to go with the second one.
Thankfully, we also get one interesting thing during this whole episode, which is the Undertaker getting some mic time and cutting a promo on Diesel ahead of their Wrestlemania match. Between that and the one hour iron man match between HBK and Bret Hart, this might actually be a great Wrestlemania.
Nitro’s coming off their recent pay per view (the stupidly named “Uncensored”), but you wouldn’t know it because none of the matches tonight have anything in common with the pay per view. My guess is that Uncensored was a sort of palette cleanser and we’ll be moving on to more interesting feuds. Today’s program features the Belfast Bruiser VS Randy Savage and JL VS Konnan, two pretty decent matches all things considered. Not much storyline being pushed, but at least the action’s decent.
To keep things balanced though, we also get Disco Inferno VS Booty Man, which makes me want to kill myself.
Finally we get Ric Flair VS The Giant. As the match heats up, Arn Anderson ambushes the giant with a folding chair to the back. The Taskmaster, who has also involved himself in the match because why not, grabs the chair from Arn to stop him from assaulting the Giant any further. Unfortunately for him though, when the Giant turns around to see who hit him, it’s the Taskmaster who’s holding the smoking gun. Naturally the Giant’s only recourse is to chokeslam the poor Taskmaster. As Arn begins laughing at this turn of events, the Giant turns his fury to Double A and gives him a chokeslam as well. The Giant hands chokeslams out to anyone else who wants one and storms off to the locker room. I hate the way every episode of Nitro ends with a screwy finish, but if we get the payoff of the Giant breaking away from both the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen, I’d be okay with that.
Verdict: With Raw basically phoning this week in, Nitro runs away with it once again. Although with Mankind being introduced next week and the promise of more Stone Cold to come, the pendulum may be swinging back in Raw’s direction sooner rather than later.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 19, Raw 7
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.8; Nitro - 3.1)