Thankfully this episode Raw is finally stepping its game up in comparison to the usual fare. They’re still pretty light on storytelling, but the in-ring work of every match is great. Just really solid all around.
First up is the rematch between the 1-2-3 Kid and Razor Ramon. It’s a good match that ends way too quickly. The Kid agrees and immediately goes straight into a second match, catching Razor off guard for a bit but he soon recovers and gets the pin again. When the Kid gets up for a third round, Razor signals that he’s going to end it once and for all with a Razor’s Edge. But at the last moment he changes his mind and rolls the kid up in a small package instead. This is great in-ring storytelling, showing how scrappy the 1-2-3 Kid is while also getting across how much their friendship means to Razor.
Barry Horowitz then faces Hunter Hearst Helmsley. There’s actually a lot of good back-and-forth in this match that makes both guys look great, but Hunter in particular looks great by peppering in a few cowardly heel techniques in the early minutes of the match.
The OJ Simpson verdict is being decided tomorrow, and to capitalize on this, Vince puts together another one of his call-in phone lines that he loves so much. At least this time the proceeds will go towards preventing child abuse.
We then get a tag team match that introduces us to the USWA tag team champs PG-13 who both look like Ninja from Die Antwoord. I actually really like these guys. They dance around taunting their opponents, they look crazy, and they actually do coordinated tag team moves together. I wouldn’t mind seeing them more often.
Jean Pierre LaFitte finishes the night off in a grueling match with Bret Hart who wins but is rewarded with a DDT on the outside by Isaac Yankem. This earns Yankem a cage match with Bret Hart (as punishment, I guess?).
I’m glad to see Raw step things up this week. Again, nothing super flashy, but lots of solid wrestling.
The show kicks right off with Savage VS Luger. Lex comes out with a determined look on his face, knowing that he’ll have to leave the WCW forever if he loses. Not one to be outdone, Randy Savage gives Luger an intense stare down.
The ref takes a bump and gets knocked out while Savage has Luger pinned. However, the Giant comes out to chokeslam Savage just before the ref wakes up, knocking out the Macho Man and allowing Luger to get the win. This earns “The Total Package” a chorus of boos from the crowd who don’t take kindly to these kind of shenanigans.
The next match is between Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero, who earned his spot by defeating Jushin Thunder Liger on a different WCW show.
These guys are both so ahead of their time. It’s no wonder so many people list them as inspirations. They might be too ahead of their time though as WCW takes every opportunity to distract us away from the match. Steve “Mongo” McMichael says up top, “You fans are in for a treat. These guys fly around more than a couple of vultures flying over some dead meat.” What??? What kind of a comparison is that? Later, in reference to Dean, he says, “Man of a thousand holds? Now there’s a book out called ‘101 Sex Positions’, where does he come up with a THOUSAND holds?” If Mongo wasn’t bad enough, we cut midway through the match because “Hulk Hogan’s limo just pulled up!” and we’re treated to Hogan in a neckbrace determinedly telling Jimmy Hart that he’s going to find that “big, stinky Giant” tonight and put him in his place. Thankfully, we cut back in time to see Eddie win with a brainbuster into a frog splash. Afterwards, Dean shakes Eddie’s hand, tells him he got lucky, and challenges him to a rematch, which Eddie accepts. I love these guys. I hate Mongo and Hulk Hogan.
Hogan comes out to cut a promo on the Giant and then walks around the crowd barrier handing out high-fives. That is until an old woman throws some kind of powder in his eyes and assaults him with her cane. Except it’s not a little old lady, it’s the Taskmaster! The Giant come out to the ring, rips off Hogan’s neck brace, and then BREAKS HIS NECK FOR A SECOND TIME! Yes! That’s what I’m talking about! While Hogan lays there, essentially dead, the Taskmaster literally adds insult to injury and shaves off Hogan’s iconic handlebar mustache. This is amazing. I have NO idea how, or if, the Hulkster will recover in time for Halloween Havoc in three weeks.
After all that, we cap the night off with Ric Flair against Arn Anderson. Except that just when Flair gets Double A in the Figure Four, Flyin’ Brian interferes just like he did at War Games. Since it seems like Brian just can’t help himself, Flair will be getting another rematch with Anderson next week in Chicago, but this time it’ll be in a steel cage. Hell yeah, dude.
Verdict: While Raw is starting to catch up to Nitro, it still has a long way to go. Good wrestling isn’t enough when Nitro seems to be able to juggle so many more story telling plates on top of their exceptional matches. This week is much closer than it has been, but we still have a clear winner.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 4, Raw 0
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.5; Nitro - 2.5)