August 5, 1996: Monday Night Wars 44

Raw 171

  • Jim Ross is on commentary tonight since Jerry Lawler is in the first match against Aldo Montoya. Lawler is still working the “Jake the Snake is a drunk” angle that I’m not particularly fond of.

  • After that, the New Rockers take on the Bodydonnas while Hillbilly Jim sits in on commentary for some reason. The match ends with the Smoking Gunns running in to attack the Bodydonnas who are then joined by the Godwinns. Suddenly I’m realizing the entire WWF tag team division consists of jobbers jobbing out to other jobbers.

  • The main event of the night is an Invitational Battle Royal for the number one contender spot. Most of the participants are actually the more interesting wrestlers in the company, including Mankind and the Undertaker who immediately eliminate each other and continue fighting their way into the back. There goes that I guess. During the match, Stone Cold kicks at least two other wrestlers in the nuts and actually makes it pretty far. Unfortunately he’s the second to last to be eliminated, leaving Goldust to fight Ahmed Johnson which means I officially lost interest. Ahmed ends up winning the whole thing and is confronted by Farooq before the refs pull the two of them apart.

Nitro 47

  • Coming off the nWo scare last week, the wrestlers of WCW have decided to take safety into their own hands. For the entire night, Scott Norton, Big Bubba, Meng, and the Barbarian are at ringside and on full alert for the nWo. It’s really cool to see these guys put aside what differences they may have with their fellow wrestlers. At the end of the day, they’re all WCW guys just trying to protect themselves from the Outsiders.

  • The first match is the Rock and Roll Express VS the tag team champions Harlem Heat. The crowd loves the champs, chanting “Heat Heat Heat” throughout the match.

  • After that, Mean Gene interviews the Nasty Boys about their thoughts on the nWo. They’re a little evasive when answering, claiming to be on neither side. Luger and Sting come down to try to get a straight answer out of them, but to no avail. The Nasty Boys seem to be on nobody’s side but their own.

  • We then get another women’s match, which all seem to basically be “Madusa VS Japanese Wrestler”. I don’t know why that is. Are there really so few American women wrestlers? Her opponent, Malia Hosaka, actually ends up winning, albeit with the help of her manager Sonny Onoo.

  • Halfway through the show, Macho Man, Luger, and Sting finally go investigate the limo that’s been sitting around nearby. When they open the doors though, it’s not the nWo that they find, but a funeral arrangement bearing the words “Condolences on the death of WCW”. The trio then do a dumb little interview with Mean Gene afterwards where they destroy the flowers. Yawn. Give me the nWo or go away.

 It's good!

It's good!

 

  • As the second hour begins, neither Bobby the Brain nor Eric Bischoff are anywhere to be found. In fact, they never show up for the whole show, leading Larry Zbyszko and Tony Schiavone to fill in for them while continually wondering what happened to them. I’d like to know that myself.

  • Next up is the Booty Man VS Ric Flair. Arn Anderson comes to ringside as well with a steel chair and sits down outside to watch out for the nWo. Mongo and Benoit are also lurking around nearby as extra insurance. Eventually though, the Horsemen can’t contain themselves any longer and jump in the ring to put the boots to the Booty Man with Arn putting the finishing touches on him with the steel chair. Larry Zbyszko pipes up that “now is not a good time to be friends with Hogan.” After they finish destroying the Booty Man, Gene manages to get some words from the Horsemen. Arn in particular has something to say to the nWo: “If you’re gonna take a baseball bat to the Horsemen, you better finish the job. There’s one rule of gang fighting. See we are the original gang and we’re the most vicious in all of professional wrestling history. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one theirs to the morgue.” Compared to Arn’s measured intensity, Flair is an absolute wildman, screaming “Hogan! You want our attention?! Well you just got it.”

 

  • Following this, we get a second nWo commercial. However, before it can reach the end, Sting and Luger break into the control room and force the staff there to quit running the ad. They’re basically bullying these guys just as bad as Hall and Nash did. Are there no actual good guys in this company?

  • We then get one last promo by the Giant before the upcoming pay per view in South Dakota. Talking to the nWo, he says “If you’ve got any guts at all, show up to Sturgis and I’ll show ‘em to you.”

  • The show ends with Macho, Luger, and Sting once again checking on a nearby limo. I assume this is a different limo. The nWo sure is blowing a lot of money all of a sudden. Anyway, when they throw open the door, a backpack is thrown out to them before the door slams quickly shut and the limo drives off. Inside the backpack is a note that says “Rey was right. There are 4 members...or are there 5? See you in Sturgis!”

Verdict: Raw’s Battle Royal was interesting enough, especially since it was filled with their top stars and no jobbers. However, the ongoing tension of the nWo looming over everything on this episode of Nitro takes the cake. The Four Horsemen beating the tar out of the Booty Man and then each cutting a promo on the nWo is particularly good.

Winner this week: Nitro

Score to date: Nitro 32, Raw 12

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.8; Nitro - 3.0)