Surprisingly this episode is live, even though it’s not the day after a WWF pay per view. They’ve also abandoned talking about Billy and Bart Gunn completely so I guess that’s done. The first match is Farooq & Steve Austin VS Savio Vega & Jesse James, who takes his sweet time getting to the ring because he’s too busy singing his dumb song. Austin gets fed up and beats him down on the spot. The match begins, but it has to stop when Double J can no longer continue. Luckily for them though, the ref allows Bret Hart to take his place instead. Seems like a questionable decision by the ref if you ask me. Anyway, Bret gets Farooq in the Sharpshooter, but Crush and the rest of the Nation of Domination pile in and jump the Hitman. Austin also joins in to stomp a mudhole in Bret when out of nowhere comes Ahmed Johnson with a 2x4 he must have borrowed from Hacksaw Jim Duggan and scares everybody off.
Later, JR moderates a face off between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Bret delivers a long-winded and, what I’m sure he would consider, fiery promo on Shawn Michaels. Finally Shawn is allowed to rebut. He gets about ten seconds in and pops the crowd immediately, but is then interrupted inexplicably by Sycho Sid. Are we supposed to like Sid? Because he sucks. I can’t think of a better way to draw heat than to interrupt HBK just as he’s gearing up to tear into somebody. Sid gets a mic and begins to babble, when he’s mercifully interrupted by the Undertaker. Except the Undertaker is then in turn jumped from behind by Vader. The whole thing is a complete mess with no real outcome or purpose beyond killing time. Kind of like the first segment, too.
It’s the day after Starrcade and there’s a fair amount that happened. We start out tonight with the nWo arriving to the arena and celebrating their wins last night. While the Outsiders did in fact beat the Faces of Fear to retain their titles, the Giant lost to Lex Luger. During their match, the ref was temporarily knocked out and Sting came down and left his baseball bat in the middle of the ring. He then whispered something to each man individually before leaving. It seems to me that Sting isn’t interested in joining either side in this fight and is just trying to sow chaos among them. Luger took advantage of the weapon and used it to beat the Giant down and get the win. Now, not only did the Giant lose, but Hogan himself lost to Rowdy Roddy Piper, and to a sleeper hold of all things. Even the ref looked surprised when it happened. However, Hogan is still claiming that he came out on top during the fight, despite video evidence to the contrary.
Early in the show, Jushin Thunder Liger takes on Ultimo Dragon, who managed to beat Dean Malenko last night, earning him his ninth title belt, which is insane. Japanese wrestlers, I should mention, won the first 3 matches at Starrcade last night, including Akira Hokuto’s win over Madusa for the WCW Women’s Championship.
Diamond Dallas Page also lost in his match against Eddie Guerrero for the United States Championship last night at Starrcade. It wasn’t exactly his fault though, as Hall and Nash decided to interfere like they’ve been doing recently with DDP’s matches, except this time their target was DDP himself. Looks like they’re done waiting for DDP to come around to their side and have made their decision regarding his membership offer loud and clear. He’s interviewed tonight by Mean Gene and is noticeably stoic compared to his usual boisterous self. He’s unapologetic though, and if anything, I still think that he could be the one leading the charge against the nWo in the near future.
Later we get our first ever WCW midget wrestling match. I have no idea what else to call it so let’s just keep going. It’s a tag team match between Mascarita Sagrada & Octagoncito VS Jerito Estrada & Piratita Morgan. All four men are smaller versions of pre-existing Mexican wrestlers. I’d like to point out that Mascarita Sagrada at least still wrestles to this day and can be seen on Lucha Underground. His identity has remained a secret this entire time as well, which is pretty cool.
As the show begins wrapping up, Rowdy Roddy Piper comes out to talk about beating Hogan last night. He says it will be his last match, so he’s glad he got to go out on top. Of course, Hogan can’t let this stand, so he and Bischoff come down to challenge this claim. Piper’s willing to have a rematch right here right now, but of course the nWo gangs up on him before that can happen. They all proceed to just mop the floor with the man, culminating with the Giant grabbing him by the throat in preparation for the chokeslam. However, he decides against it and drops Piper. The Giant is still harboring hard feelings about not getting any help from Hogan last night during his match. Seeing this dissension, Hogan starts a group huddle with the other members of the nWo to figure out what to do here. Meanwhile, Piper is carted off by paramedics. When the huddle breaks, Hogan calmly but menacingly tells the Giant he’s got three strikes: one was losing his match last night, the second was letting Piper go tonight, and the third is right here: BAM! Hogan strikes the Giant right in the face! The Giant grabs Hogan by the throat and begins choking the life out of him while shouting that he wants a match with Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship. Hogan begins sobbing and apologizing and agrees. The Giant releases his grip, and of course gets subsequently mobbed by the other men who rip the nWo shirt off of the Giant and beat the tar out of him.
Verdict: It’s not even close this week, as further evidenced by the ratings. Raw is a complete mess, proving that even when they’re live, they still can’t manage to have a compelling show. Nitro on the other hand continues to evolve the nWo storyline while also keeping the other wrestlers in the company interesting.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 47, Raw 17
(Television Ratings: Raw - 1.6; Nitro - 3.6)