Remember when Raw changed the game last week? Yeah forget about it. Today’s episode immediately fails to follow up on any of it. The best they can muster is showing us footage from last week and talking about it. Besides that, nothing happens.
The only thing worth mentioning is that there was a women’s tag team match featuring Alundra Blayze & Kyoko Inoue VS Aja Kong & Watanabe. Among the rest of the matches, this one stands out as being fairly fast-paced, hard-hitting, and interesting. But as we’ll soon see, even this match pales in comparison to what Nitro offers.
For completion’s sake, the other matches were Rad Radford VS Ahmed Johnson, Hunter Hearst Helmsley VS some jobber, and Mo VS the Undertaker (sorry, Taker. Even you couldn’t pull this one out of the fire for Raw). Brother Love also makes a return appearance after being gone for a few years to interview Bret Hart and he is just as abrasive as he always was.
Now over on Nitro, we’re just coming off of World War 3 and a few things have happened, most notably that Randy Savage won the 60 man battle royal and is therefore the new Heavyweight Champion. However, there is a cloud of controversy hanging over the belt because Hogan claims he was never eliminated since he exited the ring through the bottom rope when he was fighting the Giant. Unfortunately for him, the ref didn’t see it and his decision was final.
The first match of the night is Johnny B. Badd defending his Television Championship against Diamond Dallas Page. When these two were last in the ring at World War 3, Johnny ended up winning and DDP’s valet, fed up with DDP’s dirty tactics, left with Johnny instead at the end of the match. Tonight she accompanies Johnny to the ring. In contrast to Johnny’s grand entrance, DDP comes down with none of his usual swagger. Instead he solemnly makes his way to the ring with a bouquet of flowers and in an act of contrition offers them to the Diamond Doll. As she takes the flowers though, DDP sucker punches Johnny to start the fight. Meanwhile, the Diamond Doll discovers a length of chain hidden inside her bouquet. Johnny signals to her to give him the chain while the ref’s back is turned, but she instead throws it between his legs to Johnny who lays out DDP with it. Seems pretty hypocritical to me, but what are you gonna do?
Sidebar: If she’s going to be part of the narrative, can we please give the Diamond Doll a real name?
Remember that women’s tag team match from Raw featuring all the Japanese wrestlers that was pretty good? Well Nitro does the exact same thing but better. In a rematch from World War 3, Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki take on Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto. This match makes Raw’s look like child’s play. Bull Nakano takes a double coup de grace but kicks out and answers with a double suplex. Her partner ends the match with an absolutely BRUTAL brainbuster to Cutie Suzuki. This was easily the best match of the night on either program (Dave Meltzer gave it 3.5 stars. None of the other matches on Nitro rated above 1.5 stars and none of the Raw matches were even rated. For reference, their match at WW3 was a 4 star match).
The last match of the night is another tag team match, this time between Arn Anderson & Flyin’ Brian VS Sting & Luger. The Horsemen lose, causing Ric Flair to run down and start laying into Sting and Luger. Arn and Brian join in before all three are chased off by Hogan who also tries to get Luger but is stopped by Sting. Hogan and Sting exchange some words that would undoubtedly shed some light on what Sting and Luger’s relationship is at this point, but unfortunately they’re not miked up so we’re still in the dark.
I also just want to point out that WCW is doing a bad job of making Chris Benoit seem like part of the Horsemen. He doesn’t come down with Flair, nor is he mentioned even once. What’s going on there?
Verdict: Unable to capitalize on their fantastic show from last week, Raw flounders with a series of boring matches while failing to continue the story they’ve set up. Meanwhile Nitro is chugging along with a few decent story lines, despite their messy execution. Paired with that amazing women’s tag team match, WCW has more than enough to put them over Raw once again.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 11, Raw 1
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.3; Nitro - 2.5)