Since yesterday was In Your House: Buried Alive, this is the requisite live (read: good) episode of Monday Night Raw. Bret Hart has finally returned to the WWF to give an in-ring interview. The Hitman tells us that “a certain rival wrestling organization” made him a great offer to join up with them, but that he ultimately turned them down to continue working with WWF. He goes on to say that he’ll be facing Stone Cold Steve Austin, the man who’s been trash-talking Bret this entire time, at next month’s Survivor Series. Speaking of Austin, at In Your House, he finally made his entrance accompanied by his now-classic theme song. Hopefully this is an indication that things may be getting interesting soon on Raw.
The main event of the night is (finally) going to be the match between Mr. Perfect and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. However, earlier in the night, Hunter injured Mr. Perfect with a moving crate backstage and now Perfect’s claiming he’s unable to fight due to “doctor’s orders” which seems like a load of BS to me. Marc Mero has graciously offered to take his place though. Hunter says he’ll only agree to the match if Mero’s Intercontinental title is on the line, which the Wildman agrees to. I expect this to be a good showing from Hunter with an inevitable win by Mero, up until the ref takes a bump and goes down. Hunter capitalizes on it by grabbing a steel chair, but it’s immediately taken from him by Perfect. Ugh, just when things were getting exciting. But wait! Perfect turns around and whacks Mero with the chair before the ref can notice, revealing that Mr. Perfect and Hunter Hearst Helmsley were playing the long game all along as Hunter gets the pin and becomes the new Intercontinental Champion. Consider me officially swerved.
Since Ric Flair was injured in the attack by the nWo a couple weeks back, he won’t be able to take on the Giant at Halloween Havoc this coming Sunday. Taking his place will be the knock-off version of Flair, Jeff Jarrett. After Jarrett defeats Ron Studd tonight, Flair comes down to the ring in a suit and has Double J demonstrate his strutting abilities, which are met with a fair amount of boos. Flair shows him how it’s done, earning cheers and “Nature Boy” chants. It seems that there’s only one Flair, but I guess we’ll have to settle for less this coming Sunday.
Later on, JL takes on the nWo Sting. As the match begins, the rest of the nWo makes their way down to ringside to watch. The imposter Sting quickly takes control of the match, ending it with a Scorpion Deathlock. Before they can celebrate though, the real Sting finally shows up after weeks away and attacks the imposter. Interestingly, Sting is no longer sporting the colorful facepaint and ring gear from before, instead going for a painted white face and a black duster. Even more interestingly though is that the nWo allows this attack to happen without even batting an eye. Finally they enter the ring and ask him straight up if he’ll join them. Sting’s response boils down to “maybe I will, maybe I won’t” before just walking away.
The show ends with Eric Bischoff finally locating Randy Savage to finally get his thoughts after seeing the Miss Elizabeth video last week. Savage, dressed all in black, quietly addresses Bischoff, and implies that at Halloween Havoc, he means to end both Hollywood Hogan’s career and life. There’s a response for you.
Verdict: This week was very close, but in the end I had to give it to Raw for bringing back Bret Hart as well as being willing to take a chance on Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Getting Sting back on WCW with a more interesting personality though was very cool.
Winner this week: Raw
Score to date: Nitro 40, Raw 14
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.6; Nitro - 3.2)