January 27, 1997 - Monday Night Wars 68

Raw 195

  • This episode is very bad. The only interesting angle recently is the four way match between Austin, the Undertaker, Vader, and Bret Hart, so they keep stretching it out week after week until we finally get to it at the next pay per view which is still three weeks away. Today the show features an interview with Shawn Michaels, who gets interrupted by Bret Hart, who in turn gets interrupted by Taker, who in turn gets interrupted by Stone Cold who actually never enters the ring with the other men because “he recognizes an ambush when he sees one.” Pretty smart, honestly.

  • Later the British Bulldog faces Doug Furnas in a singles match. Owen Hart tries to help the Bulldog cheat but accidentally ends up hitting him in the head with his Slammy award, nearly costing him the match. Afterwards they inaudibly squabble with each other in the ring for way too long and finally just make up and leave. It’s a totally boring way to increase the tension between the two that I’ve noticed has been building recently.

 This is how I feel watching Raw every day.

This is how I feel watching Raw every day.

  • The last match of the night is inexplicably a tag team match with Vader & Mankind against the Godwinns. What is even happening anymore? I think the WWF is just flailing around trying to find some magic combination of people and ideas that will get people interested in them again.

Nitro 72

  • It’s the day after the first nWo pay per view, “Souled Out”, where the Steiner Brothers managed to beat the Outsiders to become the new Tag Team Champions. Tonight on Nitro however, Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall are in the commentary booth and they call up Randy Anderson, the referee that was in charge of that match, and fire him on the spot. Not content with that, they also call up the Steiner Brothers and officially strip them of the titles. I feel like the nWo is doing everything they can to be actual heels recently, but they’ve still got cheering fans in the audience. I love the nWo from a storytelling perspective because it gives us a very clear villain to rally against, but man do I hate their guts now.

"If firing a guy with cancer doesn't get us heat, I don't know WHAT will!"

  • In a similar vein, the Giant faced Hogan last night and had him pinned for what could have been a 20 count, but with Nick Patrick as the referee, the nWo managed to cheat their way out of it. And then of course the nWo came out in full force and beat the Giant up to end the show. Tonight the Giant comes out and tells us “What doesn't kill me, pisses me off more.”

  • Later in the show, we see Sting lurking around like he does, but he’s now accompanied by the Macho Man. I can’t wait to find out what in the world they’re getting up to. Are they a third faction apart from both the nWo and WCW?

 The Inside Outsiders? Still workshopping the name.

The Inside Outsiders? Still workshopping the name.

  • Finally, Hugh Morrus takes on Chris Benoit, but during the match a woman jumps out from behind the crowd barricade to confront Woman. While the ref and the security guards are busy separating the two, Kevin Sullivan smashes a wooden chair over Benoit’s head to get Hugh Morrus the win. Afterwards, the mysterious woman and the Taskmaster walk off towards the back together, but are stopped by Mean Gene for some kind of an explanation. Both of them are being cagey about their relationship, but it seems that they may have been romantically involved years ago. Hopefully this will lead to more women wrestlers for Madusa to wrestle or something, but I don’t think I’m going to get my hopes up for that.

Verdict: Raw is just wasting my time at this point. They tell us about the one cool thing that’s going to happen next month and then just bide their time until then. And while Nitro obviously does build towards big main events on their pay per views as well, there’s much more substance and plot development happening on a weekly basis.

Winner this week: Nitro

Score to date: Nitro 51, Raw 17

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.2; Nitro - 3.6)