July 22, 1996 - Monday Night Wars 42

Raw 169

  • We’re live from the Key Arena in beautiful Seattle, Washington, one day after In Your House: International Incident. And it turns out it’s the Heartbreak Kid’s birthday! To celebrate, Sunny and the tag team champions the Smoking Gunns bring a big cake out to ringside. Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson come down for their match against the Gunns but are ambushed by them immediately. HBK and Ahmed get the upper hand so Sunny decides to pick up the cake and smash it in HBK’s face. Luckily Ahmed intercepts her and gives her a taste of her own medicine, or cake as it were.

 The next logical step up from a pie in the face.

The next logical step up from a pie in the face.

  • To give the Smoking Gunns time to recover, and to clean all the cake up, the match gets pushed to the end while Wildman Marc Mero faces a newcomer named The Goon. Once again, the best part of the match is Stone Cold Steve Austin on commentary. At several points he goes off on a tangent, but this one about the Lex Express is particularly fun:

  • The next match is guest commentated by the other Hollywood Blond, Brian Pillman. He spends the match teasing that he might say one of the “seven words you can never say on television” and talking about how he’d like to be in a three-way with Sable and Marlena. You know: real loose cannon stuff!

  • The show closes with the tag match that was promised earlier, but right when it seems that HBK and Ahmed are going to win (which would give them collectively the Heavyweight, Intercontinental, and Tag Team championships), Ahmed is attacked by someone who looks like a bootleg Sub-Zero. Not sure who it is but maybe we’ll find out next week.

 From the not-so-popular video game "Mortal Combat"

From the not-so-popular video game "Mortal Combat"

Nitro 45

  • Nitro starts out with a match between Squire David Taylor and Scott Norton. The match isn’t anything special, but it is the first time I’ve actually seen a ref disqualify a wrestler for intentionally throwing their opponent over the top rope, leading to David Taylor’s victory. What a stupid rule.

  • The next match is between Konan and VK Wallstreet. The crowd is really behind Konan which is awesome, especially considering we got a “USA” chant during the previous match. After Konan wins he gets a huge pop and takes a victory lap around the outside to give everyone high fives.

  • After that is an 8 man tag match between Alex Wright, Joe Gomez, Jim Powers & Renegade (so basically Team Jobber) VS the Dungeon of Doom, consisting of the Taskmaster, Hugh Morrus, the Barbarian, and a new member called the Leprechaun who just runs around like a coked up maniac. None of this really matters though as we spend the majority of the time focused on Scott Hall and Kevin Nash who have found their way into the camera control room and are causing a ruckus but don’t ultimately do anything.

Verdict: Nitro tries to play too coy this episode by never really showing the nWo do anything while talking them up constantly. Meanwhile, Raw may not be putting on five star classics, but at least this episode is a lot of fun and never feels like it’s dragging.

Winner this week: Raw

Score to date: Nitro 30, Raw 12

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.2; Nitro - 2.6)