September 23, 1996 - Monday Night Wars 50

Raw 177

  • It’s the Raw after In Your House: Mind Games and we’re kicking things right off with the finals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. I have no idea why this wasn’t on the pay per view. Farooq takes on Wildman Marc Mero with special guest referee Pat Patterson, the first Intercontinental Champion. During the match, Sunny leaves a loaded purse on the apron for Farooq to use then starts a fight with Sable causing Pat to become distracted while trying to break it up. Mero ducks out of the way of the purse though, wrestles it from Farooq’s grasp, and nails him over the head with it all before Pat Patterson gets back in the ring to give him the 1 2 3. The audience is overjoyed at the outcome, and so is Marc Mero who thanks “his lord and savior Jesus Christ”, as well as the fans, the love of his life Sable, and Mr. Perfect. That’s quite an entourage he's got.

  • Next, the Bodydonnas take on the new tag team champions Owen Hart & the British Bulldog in a non-title match. The only thing worth mentioning is that somebody wearing an ECW shirt (presumably a wrestler from ECW) jumps the barricade. This also happened at In Your House last night, which was also in ECW’s hometown of Philadelphia. All JR has to say is this: “The little local Philadelphia wrestling outfit are here. They wrestle in a bingo hall. A little local outfit trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.”

  • Stone Cold gets to hop on commentary for a later match and just trash talks Bret Hart, clearly trying to provoke him into returning to the WWF to face Austin. It’s good that they’re giving Austin more mic time, but I really wish they’d let him cut live promos in the ring.

  • Finally, the show ends with JR in the ring gearing up to bring out Razor Ramon. For a preamble though, he runs down his treatment at the hands of the WWF over the last few years and how poorly he’s been treated and gets pretty fired up. I never expected to see a worked shoot angle from JR and I got to say I love it. It’s great seeing him so passionate and sticking up for himself. Finally Razor Ramon comes out, but it’s not Scott Hall. It’s a lookalike that mimics his mannerisms and voice, but is clearly not the genuine article. Before the crowd can really understand what the heck is going on, he’s jumped by Savio Vega and the program ends.

Say hello to...the Bad Guy?

Nitro 54

  • The first match of the night is the Taskmaster & Konnan VS Brad Armstrong & Juventud Guerrera. I should point out that when Konnan turned heel a month or so ago, he also adopted a cholo gang member character to make it easier for us to tell he’s “one of the bad ones”. The Dungeon of Doom wins, but immediately Konnan is ambushed by Big Bubba and he and the Taskmaster put the boots to Konnan. Rather than a double cross though, it turns out to be a gang initiation. You know, like gang members do.

  • Later the Macho Man Randy Savage takes on Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. Savage goes nuts though, hitting him with a steel chair and getting disqualified which causes him to turn on the ref next. I truly hate the Macho Man. It’s crazy that he’s supposed to be the savior of WCW. Thankfully for me, he gets his comeuppance when the nWo comes out and he gets Razor’s Edged by Scott Hall. With most of the WCW locker room overseas in Japan, the nWo has decided now’s as good a time as any to take over Nitro. They chase off the commentary team except for Bischoff who is now being held against his will and forced to call their matches. To keep an eye on him, they bring out Ted DiBiase’s new head of security Vincent, who WWF fans will recognize as Ted’s old bodyguard Virgil.

  • The rest of the show is the nWo putting on sham matches or cheating during real matches to win. With the help of referee Nick Patrick, it’s all too easy. The Giant acts as the ring announcer to bring out victim after victim. Hollywood Hogan is in the back tagging the walls of the arena and telling the Nasty Boys he has a job offer for them later in the evening that they seem more than happy to hear. Hogan also later approaches Ron Studd with what looks like the same offer, only to beat him up instead. It seems that nobody is safe when the nWo is around.

Certainly not Eric Bischoff.

Certainly not Eric Bischoff.

Verdict: The nWo finally gets the airtime they deserve and it’s everything I wanted. They really seem like maniacs only out for themselves. The rest of WCW, from the crew to the announcers to the refs to the wrestlers, are all justifiably scared and intimidated of what the nWo will do next. Raw just has a fat Razor Ramon.

Winner this week: Nitro

Score to date: Nitro 37, Raw 13

(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.0; Nitro - 3.4)