Today’s episode is fine, but nothing to write home about. I’m still wondering when they’re going to treat WCW as real competition. The main event is decent, but the rest of the matches are basically comedy acts.
For example, kicking the show off is Hunter Hearst Helmsley against Doink the Clown. It’s so weird to see Triple H portraying this character and even weirder still to see him relegated to fighting a literal clown. That being said, it’s still very cool to see that he’s been using the pedigree as his finisher for over 20 years.
After that, PG-13 come back to face the Smoking Gunns for the tag-team championship. I’m not really sure why they didn’t build PG-13 up a little more before throwing them in the ring with the champs because obviously they get smoked, which is a shame.
Then Dean Douglas wrestles some jobber. I seriously don’t care about this character and I don’t need to see any more working-class-guy-turned-pro-wrestler gimmicks. His entrance music is literally nails on a chalkboard. Hard pass on this dude.
At one point, a man named Ahmed has a nice little video package talking about how his mother sacrificed so he wouldn’t have to go without. It’s a nice story, but there’s no context given for why he’s being shown on screen or who he is or why we’re learning about his mom. I seriously don’t even know if he’s a wrestler or not. He could just be a motivational speaker.
Finally we get to the cage match between Bret Hart and Isaac Yankem, DDS. I have to give Raw credit for one thing at least: their cages put Nitro’s to shame. This thing is the real deal, baby! Lawler tries to interfere at one point, but Gorilla Monsoon comes out and locks the King into a tiny little cage that is then suspended high in the air so he can’t influence the outcome of the match. Now that it’s a fair fight, Bret is able to scale the cage and land on the outside for the win.
In stark contrast to the mostly inconsequential booking on Raw, Nitro is chock-full of great matchups. Let’s get right to it!
First to the ring comes Diamond Dallas Page, who I absolutely love. He’s just this big swaggering jerk who smokes cigars and is accompanied to the ring by hot women called Diamond Dolls. His opponent is Johnny B. Badd who I don’t know a ton about but already hate from the one or two matches of his I’ve seen. He wears a stupid cape, throws out frisbees into the crowd and has some sort of confetti or t-shirt cannon that he shoots off for a cheap pop. As Johnny’s cheesing for the audience, DDP comes up and just bashes him over the head with the WCW Television Title belt and knocks the guy out cold before the bell’s even been rung. He gets DQ’d for it, but who cares because DDP is awesome.
Follow that up with Eddie Guerrero VS Chris Benoit, debuting for the first time on Nitro. I’m very interested in seeing Benoit wrestle since I know how influential he was for a lot of wrestlers. Guerrero does a ton of impressive high flying stuff, including a HUGE flying cross body to the outside and later a springboard tornado DDT. However, he’s just no match for the raw power of Benoit who ends the match with a devastating powerbomb followed up with a dragon suplex for the win. I love WCW.
We break up the action with a Hulk Hogan promo on the big, stinky Giant. The Hulkster asks, “Whatcha gonna do, when the shadow, the darkness, the evil of Hulkamania gouges youuuuu?!”. Whoa, dude. I don’t know if the little Hulkamaniacs signed up for all of that. I gotta hand it to WCW though. Who would have thought I’d actually be interested in a Hogan storyline?
The main event of the night is a tag-team match featuring Arn Anderson & Flyin’ Brian VS Ric Flair and...nobody. Flair doesn’t have a partner to start the match! Flair’s sheer power and guts allow him to hold his own at first, but as he wears out, Double A and Flyin’ Brian get the upper hand and start really working on Flair. Just when things seem most dire for the Nature Boy, who should run out to his help but Sting! Flair makes the hot tag and the Stinger lays waste to the other team who eventually get counted out, giving Flair and Sting the win. Thankfully this is just a taste, because we’re getting a rematch in just a couple weeks at Halloween Havoc!
Verdict: At this point Raw is still playing goofy games while Nitro is putting on a wrestling show. Nitro’s got me invested in multiple stories and eagerly looking forward to their next pay per view, whereas I’m just going through the motions with Raw every week. Apparently, so are they.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 6, Raw 0
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.6; Nitro - 2.2)