First to the ring on tonight’s Raw is Justin Hawk Bradshaw. He faces off against Sycho Sid, who comes out to a huge pop. I’m surprised he’s getting such a big reaction. Regardless, it becomes immediately apparent that Sid is in a different league from his opponent, so Bradshaw resorts to cheating by using his combination rope and cowbell to level the playing field while also getting a hand from his manager Zebekiah. Even still, Sid manages to break away and powerbomb the both of them.
After this, we get our first promo by the Sub-Zero knockoff, whose name is apparently Faarooq Asaad. He’s actually not bad on the mic so far. He’s also accompanied by his manager Sunny, which seems like a strange fit. Any reason to give her more screentime I suppose.
Vader then takes on Marc Mero. Vader wins of course, but the Wildman puts up a pretty good show. Afterwards Jim Cornette goes on a tirade against Shawn Michaels’s manager Jose Lothario and then tries to hit the guy with his tennis racket. During this scuffle, Mankind sneaks out and puts the Mandible Claw on HBK for some reason.
The main event of the night is Stone Cold Steve Austin VS the Undertaker. This is a great match. I’ve never seen the Undertaker move this fast before. Austin looks fantastic here too, even piledriving Taker at one point. Taker comes back though and just as he’s about to pin Austin, Mankind comes out to ringside once more and distracts him, leading to a countout and a win for Stone Cold. Regardless, Undertaker still comes back in and finishes Austin with a Tombstone Piledriver to send the crowd home happy.
After the first match (in which Hacksaw Jim Duggan cheats again by taping up his fist), we move on to a 6 man tag match between Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, and Mongo McMichael VS Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage. All in all it’s a really good match. Even Luger gets chants during it, just to give you an idea. However, about 15 minutes into the match, Jimmy Hart runs out frantically trying to get everyone’s attention. Apparently the nWo has shown up. As we make our way to the back, we discover that Hall and Nash have taken baseball bats to Arn Anderson and both of the American Males and are finishing off the massacre by throwing Rey Mysterio headfirst into the side of a trailer before making their getaway in a waiting limo. The whole place is thrown into utter chaos as the other wrestlers, the crew, and the wives and girlfriends seek medical attention for the victims while the announcers desperately try to make sense of everything. For the next 20 to 30 minutes, there are no more matches. It’s no coincidence that all of the men who have been assaulted were supposed to wrestle tonight. Instead we focus only on the scene of devastation as paramedics finally arrive. It feels exactly like live news coverage of a catastrophe on the scale of a natural disaster or a shooting. It’s totally surreal. As Rey Mysterio is put on a stretcher and fitted with a neck brace, he manages to tell Eddie Guerrero that there was a 4th member of the nWo there. Who could it be?
In the middle of all this, the second hour of Nitro starts, which would normally be when Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan would take over. However, Bobby, with his history of neck injury, soberly tells his fellow broadcast team that he doesn’t feel safe being there while the nWo is lurking around and leaves the program for the rest of the night. After his departure, our first match gets underway. Since the American Males can no longer wrestle, they are replaced by standby team “High Voltage” who are joined in the ring by the visibly shaken Steiner Brothers. Rick Steiner doesn’t even stay on the apron for most of the match, instead opting to remain on the ground so he can continue to keep looking back at the entrance ramp to make sure they won’t be attacked by the nWo.
Near the end of the show, to capitalize on their actions, the nWo has actually paid for a commercial to air on Monday Nitro to continue their campaign of terror.
Finally the Giant ends the program by cutting a promo on Hollywood Hogan. It’s wild how in less than a month, suddenly the Giant is now the good guy in his feud with Hogan and has the full support of the crowd. Whoever’s writing for WCW is a mad genius.
Verdict: Despite Raw having a much better than average show, it just can’t compete with the brilliant reality bending of the nWo invasion angle.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 31, Raw 12
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.1; Nitro - 3.1)