We’re one day removed from In Your House 12 where Bret Hart lost to Sycho Sid. The fight spilled out to the floor where Shawn Michaels was doing guest commentary and Sid, unprovoked, pushed Shawn away from him by the face before getting back in the ring. Naturally HBK didn’t take too kindly to that and hopped up on the apron to try to get at Sid, but accidentally wound up crashing into Bret Hart, allowing Sid to capitalize on Bret’s mistake and hit him with a Powerbomb for the win. Now tonight on Raw, Bret comes down for an interview with JR and calls out the entire WWF locker room and Shawn Michaels in particular for their loose adherence to the rules that cost him his match. Therefore he declares that he’s entering himself in the Royal Rumble and then sits himself down at the commentator’s table for the next match…
Which happens to be Stone Cold VS Vader. So I’m sure Bret won’t be interfering with this one at all. Whoops! Stone Cold gets sent to the outside by Vader and Bret IMMEDIATELY can’t help himself and puts Austin in the Sharpshooter. The ref signals for the bell and awards Austin the win by DQ. Vader doesn’t like this one bit and comes out swinging at the Hitman. I’m beginning to wonder if Bret has ANY friends in the WWF. Considering even his own brother despises him, I’d say it’s unlikely.
This is followed by the finals of the Karate Fighters Tournament, a cross-promotional event featuring the stars of the WWF playing games of Karate Fighters with one another. Karate Fighters, if you didn’t know, is basically just an updated version of the kid’s game “Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots”. Jerry Lawler loses to Sable and accuses her of cheating. Marc Mero gets in his face, but Hunter Hearst Helmsley runs out to back the king up. Luckily for Mero, Goldust of all people comes to his aid and eventually Hunter and Mero take their fight to the back. Turns out that Hunter made a pass at Marlena recently which explains what just happened. Lawler still doesn’t understand though and tries to get to the bottom of everything:
Finally, we end with Billy Gunn VS Bart Gunn. As the fight reaches its crescendo, Bart drops Billy neck-first onto the top rope. When Billy hits the mat he doesn’t seem to be able to move. The ref stops the match and Bart begins freaking out. Billy is still conscious but remains motionless. It looks like he’s broken his neck. The wives of both men rush out to the ring in tears as the paramedics arrive and spend the last few minutes of the program tending to Billy and trying to get him to an ambulance. Didn’t we already do this angle with Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart? The audience seems to remember that as well and doesn’t seem to buy into it this time. At one point you can hear some smark in the crowd shout, “Where’s the Undertaker?” I guess the audience isn’t exactly invested in Billy and Bart Gunn the way they were with the Heartbreak Kid.
Right out of the gate, Larry Zbyszko and Tony Schiavone are interrupted by Ted DiBiase and Eric Bischoff who take over the broadcasting duties. Chris Jericho is set to take on a wrestler from NJPW named Masahiro Chono who comes out with Sonny Onoo. They stop to give an interview and Sonny shows off his New Japan shirt for the camera. Chono unzips his jacket to show off his own shirt, but it’s not New Japan’s logo he’s sporting, it’s the nWo’s! Sonny freaks out and tries to reprimand him, but Chono violently pushes him away. Looks like the nWo’s gone international! During the match, Jericho gets his leg caught in the ropes and Chono proves that he belongs with the nWo when he mercilessly continues raining blows down on him, leading to a disqualification. I like this guy.
Later we get another Chris Benoit and Woman video from wherever it is they are in Europe and once again they continue to dig into Kevin Sullivan. Speaking of which, Sullivan is up next in a match against Benoit’s teammate Arn Anderson. But rather than demoralize the Taskmaster, the video only enrages him and he goes ballistic during the match which spills to the outside and even over the barriers and into the crowd. Anderson’s doing everything he can to keep up, but he’s having trouble. When the ref accidentally bumps into him, Arn takes his frustration out on the poor man and DDTs him on the spot. With the ref out cold, Arn decides to take advantage of the situation and punches the Taskmaster below the belt. Members of the Dungeon of Doom try to help their leader only to receive DDTs and punches to the face for their trouble. It’s only after Arn finally gets a chair to the back that he goes down. What a fight!
That’s followed up by Rick and Scott Steiner (who’s been forced to take it easy recently due to a back injury he’s recovering from) once more calling out Sting. I always like these little Sting cameos. Hopefully they can pay it off at Starrcade.
The final match is the Outsiders VS the Faces of Fear. It takes everything the ref can do to keep some semblance of order, but even still all four men are in the ring at once more often than not. Fellow Dungeon of Doom member Big Bubba runs out to lend a hand, but not to Meng or the Barbarian. It looks like Bubba’s switched sides and is now in the nWo! And if there was any doubt, he attacks the Taskmaster himself when he runs down. That’s the last straw for the Dungeon of Doom, who all spill out of the locker room to take out Hall and Nash, but they’re joined by the rest of the nWo. It’s mayhem as these two warring factions are also joined by the rest of the WCW locker room. Scott Norton wades through the mayhem and seems to be fighting on the side of the nWo as well. Sting is in the fray and single-handedly takes out Arn Anderson, Mongo, and Rey Mysterio. Sting may not be in the nWo, but he sure seems to be fighting on their side.
Verdict: I have to give the WWF credit for trying something with the whole Billy Gunn breaking his neck angle. Not sure if that’s going to have much of a payoff though. On the WCW side, they continue to build up everyone involved in the nWo VS WCW storyline, including all the mini-factions within each group. And they do it all without killing time by playing with toys like the WWF has been doing with their Karate Fighters promotional tie-in.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 45, Raw 17
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.3; Nitro - 3.2)