July 1, 1996 - Monday Night Wars 39

Raw 166

  • Remember five years ago, back in ‘91, when Shawn Michaels betrayed his former tag team partner Marty Jannetty? The WWF certainly does. In fact it seems like they remember about once a year when they need to kill some time on Raw. And today, we’re killing some time. With the title not even on the line, the Heartbreak Kid faces Marty Jannetty. And of course HBK wins.

 The face of a man who successfully wasted 20 minutes of our time.

The face of a man who successfully wasted 20 minutes of our time.

  • The next match is Duke the Dumpster VS Mankind with Jake the Snake on commentary. Jake, who has recently gone public with his struggles with substance abuse and his subsequent sobriety, just gets verbally abused by Jerry Lawler for the entire match about his alcohol addiction. Jake is able to take it all in stride until Lawler finally crosses the line by slapping him in the face. Unfortunately after picking up and slamming Lawler onto the announcer’s table, poor Jake gets the Mandible Claw slapped on him by Mankind. Jake and Mankind have a match next week, so hopefully he can redeem himself.

  • The final match of the night is Goldust VS Marc Mero with Stone Cold on commentary. Stone Cold is easily the best part of the whole thing. He’s constantly putting himself over and burying Vince for not doing the same. This seems like the beginning of the Austin/Vince feud and it couldn’t come soon enough. Stone Cold may already be the best talker in the company and might even be more charismatic than Shawn Michaels if given the chance.

 Side Eye Steve Austin

Side Eye Steve Austin

Nitro 42

  • It’s the go home show before Bash at the Beach and Diamond Dallas Page can’t find his Lord of the Ring ring! DDP starts the show off by interrupting the broadcasters to tell us that somebody’s stolen it from him. I like the running gag of wrestlers constantly barging in on the announcers. If they also start setting up one of the show’s later storylines with it too, even better. Now I’ve got DDP and his hunt in the back of my mind all episode and it gives me a feeling of needing a resolution. It’s a pretty simple but effective technique to get me invested.

  • The first match is Harlem Heat VS the Steiner Brothers which I only mention because Larry Zbyszko on commentary says that after WCW fights the outsiders at Bash at the Beach, there will certainly be a new world order. Larry, you sly dog! I bet he got a kick out of that little bit of foreshadowing.

  • Eric Bischoff is finally back after being attacked at the Great American Bash. And who should interrupt his opening spiel but none other than his assailants, Razor Ramon and Diesel, as they make their way through the crowd. When they’re stopped by security, they brandish their bags of popcorn and their tickets, indicating that they’re paying customers and are just here to watch the show! Yes, I’m sure that’s all they’ll be getting up to.

 They kayfabe spent money on front row seats. That's an interesting way of bringing the WCW down.

They kayfabe spent money on front row seats. That's an interesting way of bringing the WCW down.

  • After John Tenta loses to the Giant (earning Tenta another visit from Big Bubba who shaves off half of Tenta’s beard so that it matches his hair), we get a Rey Mysterio Jr. vignette to get us hyped for his match. As Rey Mysterio comes down the aisle though, Razor and Diesel jump the barricade and make their way towards him. Luckily they’re intercepted by cops who separate them just in time as the rest of the locker room pours out to confront the outsiders. The crowd actually starts up a “Diesel” chant here, but the two men are escorted away.

  • Oh and it turns out DDP dropped his ring on the bathroom floor. Whoops!

Verdict: The matches on Raw weren’t great, but at least we got some pretty solid commentary out of it. Lawler may be a jerk, but he actually got me to feel mad and wish that Jake the Snake would shut him up. And Stone Cold is Stone Cold. However it can’t compete with the atmosphere that Nitro has created. Everything feels electric going into Bash at the Beach. Heck, DDP’s even got me interested in a taped fist match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. After this pay per view, I’m gearing up for a New World Order tomorrow.

Winner this week: Nitro

Score to date: Nitro 28, Raw 11

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.6; Nitro - 3.3)