For whatever reason, tonight’s Raw got more viewers than Nitro. However, this is the last time that will be true for the next two years of programming. That’s crazy! I’m excited to see Nitro pull out the big guns, but let’s talk about today’s shows first.
The first match is Yokozuna VS his old tag team partner Owen Hart in another King of the Ring first round match. Yokozuna has the upper hand through most of the match, but when he starts climbing the ropes to deliver a Banzai Drop for the win, he slips and falls to the mat. Owen rolls out of the way just in time and, using the ropes for leverage, gets the pin on Yokozuna and advances in the tournament. Later in the locker room, Jim Ross interviews Yokozuna and it’s honestly pretty heartbreaking. It’s kind of a shame they never gave him the mic until recently.
At the midpoint of the show, Vince gets both the Ultimate Warrior and Jerry Lawler in the ring for a bit of a discussion ahead of their scheduled match at King of the Ring. Why are they fighting at King of the Ring? Yeah, I don’t really have a good answer for that one. Anyway, Lawler tries to beg off from the match by presenting Warrior with a big portrait that he created of the Warrior. Warrior says “if you’re any kind of artist, you’re a con artist.” That’s actually a pretty good line. Lawler is offended and smashes the painting over Warrior’s head, which is accompanied by the sound effect of glass shattering that was clearly added in post.
The final match, another in the King of the Ring tournament, is between the British Bulldog and the Undertaker. The Bulldog wins via countout when Undertaker is prevented from getting back in the ring by Mankind who was lurking beneath the ring so that he could grab Taker’s ankles. After the match, Mankind emerges and manages to piledrive Taker in the ring. Boy, Mankind has had Taker’s number every week. How much longer before Taker is able to turn the tables on him?
This is the go home show before Great American Bash and we’re in a bit of a holding pattern. Most of the show features decent wrestling matches, but not much else. Judging by the viewership numbers for the next two years though, I think they’re just prepping for a big explosion out of the gate starting after this upcoming pay per view.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan has a match with Squire David Taylor which Duggan wins by cheating yet again by taping up his fist. The ref even sees him do it and doesn’t bat an eye. And that’s not the first time the ref has seen Duggan do this same thing. Somehow though nobody seems to care. Am I missing something? Is there a rule that says “foreign objects are illegal except for tape”? I’m tired of faces using heel tactics and getting praised for it. I don’t care if they want to cheat, but don’t try to claim the high road.
Lord Steven Regal then has a match with Billy Kidman. I’m excited for this one because I’ve heard good things about Billy Kidman, but before the match even gets started, Sting runs in and assaults Regal. This must be in response to Regal calling him out a couple weeks ago.
As the show draws to a close, Razor Ramon shows back up and interrupts Bobby Heenan who is in the middle of an impassioned speech about Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Razor is joined by Diesel, making good on his promise from last week of having a big surprise. It looks like things are getting serious, so Eric Bischoff says that if they want to fight, they’ve got a fight at Great American Bash. This pay per view keeps getting more and more interesting!
Verdict: Because Nitro’s hands are a little tied in terms of story development this week, Raw manages to sneak up and edge them out. I mean, they actually managed to make me empathize with Yokozuna. That’s got to count for a lot.
Winner this week: Raw
Score to date: Nitro 25, Raw 11
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.7; Nitro - 2.6)