So what I’m finding out is that on the same night that Raw had such a game-changing show a couple weeks ago, they also taped several other episodes in advance. So that explains why last week’s and this week’s show are so useless. This is probably the main reason Nitro wins week after week: every episode is live. The WWF doesn’t have the ability to advance storyline if a month’s worth of episodes are all taped in one night. It doesn’t excuse anything, but at least there’s an explanation for it.
The best Raw can muster is a match between Marty Jannetty and Sycho Sid where the 123 Kid ends up running out to beat up Jannetty when he tries to attack Ted DiBiase. Consequently, Razor Ramon runs out and chases the Kid out into the crowd and out of the room.
King Mabel also cuts a promo during the Brother Love Show on the Undertaker. They’re feuding because...um...because Mabel decided that they’re feuding? Whatever. They’ve got a casket match coming up at In Your House so we’ll see what kind of shenanigans get pulled this time.
The night ends with a video of Shawn Michael’s doctor explaining what’s been going on with Shawn. He says that it’s almost definitely post-concussion syndrome. I’m glad we’re not losing track of this story, but I’d really like to break out of this pre-taped purgatory we’re trapped in.
Over on Nitro, the Tag Team Champions the American Males take on the former champs Harlem Heat. When the dust settles, it’s Harlem Heat who come out on top, regaining their championship belts. I’d expect this to be a big deal, but the announcers don’t seem to care and just gloss right over it. Seems like a weird choice. I’d expect every title change to be a big deal. Although it is weird that these two teams have traded the belt three or four times now in the last couple of months. Is that the reason? Is Bischoff just over it?
We also get Scott Norton in a match, but this time it’s not Shark he’s facing, it’s The Giant. I find it interesting that with one match, Norton goes from being in a feud with Shark to jobbing out to The Giant. Honestly though, this is probably a better use for him. Seeing The Giant squash a legitimately big dude makes him look really good and right now he’s the biggest and scariest heel in the company.
Next up is an interview with Ric Flair, accompanied by Charles Barkley for no apparent reason. At this point in his career, Sir Charles was playing for the Phoenix Suns and since Nitro this week was in Phoenix, I guess he just asked to be part of the show. Is Barkley a big wrestling fan? He got a decent amount of mic time and used it to put over Flair. Nothing else really happened, but it was a fun little break from the action. Besides, anytime Flair wants to talk, you just let him.
The final match of the night is Lex Luger VS Macho Man Randy Savage for the Heavyweight Championship. The match ends up going ten minutes long, but they refuse to stop the show and just let it run its course. Doing something like that helps sell the idea that this is the most important thing happening right now and whatever else is on after Nitro can just wait. Anyway the match ends when Flair runs in and slugs Macho with a set of brass knuckles which causes both Hogan and Sting to come down and throw their weight around. The whole thing ends with a big dumb interview with Macho, Hogan, and Sting that I assume is to keep us invested in their pseudo-feud with each other and Luger, but the whole thing is just too muddy at this point to really figure out what’s happening in general.
Verdict: For all its inelegance at times, Nitro is at least trying to make something work. However, if Raw can get down to doing live shows every week, I think they’ll have the edge just by virtue of having cleaner and easier to follow stories.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 12, Raw 1
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.6; Nitro - 2.4)