This is a really bad episode. Just going to get that out right at the top.
We start out with a great six man tag team match between Yokozuna, Owen Hart, and the British Bulldog VS Shawn Michaels, Diesel, and the Undertaker (who is referred to as “The Phenom” for the first time). It’s fun to see Taker mix things up a little bit from his usual methodical pace. He and Diesel have a great double big boot spot right in Yokozuna’s mush. The heels win in the end and are quickly joined by Mabel and Dean Douglas who start attacking the faces. They leave them in such dire conditions that most of the rest of the episode is video packages and replays of SummerSlam that Vince and Lawler talk over while the medics tend to the wreckage.
The only other match is Fatu (in his “Make a Difference” phase) against Skip from the Body Donnas.
And that’s the whole episode. I can’t believe this was a finished product that got VInce’s stamp of approval. It’s really just a stinker. Funny enough, NItro this week isn’t actually that great either, so Raw would have had a good chance of beating it for once.
This episode is live from the Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) in Chicago. Maybe it’s just because this is the place that I’ve seen all my WWE shows at so far, but my first impression is that this episode feels bigger and better than usual, almost like a pay per view. Unfortunately that feeling wears off kind of quickly.
The first match is Sting defending his US Heavyweight Championship against Shark. Sting gets the win so quickly and easily that it makes me wonder why they even had the match at all.
Next up is Sabu fighting someone named Mr. JL. For all I know, he’s just local talent. Although at one point he hits a draping DDT on Sabu so maybe not. Sabu gets the win via camel clutch, but clearly isn’t done with his opponent. Remember, the last time we saw Sabu he put his opponent through a table and nearly killed himself in the process, so we’re probably about to see something else like that. Except we then cut back to the announcers who just ramble on about Hulk Hogan. Meanwhile in the background we can still hear the audience losing their minds as cool stuff keeps happening in the ring. Ugh, Hogan ruins everything even when he’s not present.
Big Bubba Rogers has a match against Roadwarrior Hawk who gets counted out when he gets distracted beating up Disco Inferno. Dumb.
Hogan shows up now wearing all black and minus the shaved-off mustache. I wonder if this is them testing the waters for a new character direction for Hogan, maybe even for the nWo? He cuts a promo on the Giant as well as an unnamed wrestling promoter from the New York area for having a big ego. Shots fired, Vince!
The show ends with a steel cage match between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. They’re in a cage to prevent outside interference, but it is the crappiest, smallest joke of a cage I’ve ever seen. And of course Flyin’ Brian scales it easily. Flair is able to knock him to the ground but then gets walloped by Arn Anderson wearing brass knuckles. The ref doesn’t see it though and Arn easily gets the pin.
Verdict: While this was a below average show for Nitro, there were still some decent moments throughout. If Raw wouldn’t have regressed so hard this week, they might have come away with the better show this week. But devoting over half your program to filler is not a good way to win the ratings game.
Winner this week: NItro
Score to date: Nitro 5, Raw 0
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.6; Nitro - 2.6)