When your first two matches are Flash Funk VS The Goon and Fake Diesel VS Phineas Godwinn, you know you’re in for a boring show. At least the Justin Hawk Bradshaw/Jesse James match had a surprising outcome: Bradshaw goes over the Real Double J when Zebediah grabs Jesse’s foot, tripping him up and giving Bradshaw the opportunity he needed to get the pin. It’s fitting, since that’s exactly what Jesse James (known as The Roadie at the time) did to Jeff Jarrett to cost him the Intercontinental Title at In Your House 2. Besides that, the last match is just a time killer consisting of Marc Mero & Jake the Snake VS Billy Gunn & Hunter Hearst Helmsley. If there was anybody wondering why Raw’s ratings were down week after week compared to Nitro, this episode is a prime example of why.
Nitro starts with Rick Steiner calling out Sting to meet him face to face in the ring instead of ambushing him from behind like a coward. His brother Scott is backing him up this time and promises that he’ll be ringside to make sure Sting doesn’t try any funny business. Sting appears up in the rafters (like he does) and simply nods his head in approval. We’ll see them in action later on, but first it’s Glacier VS Hardbody Harrison. Poor Glacier. Already relegated to the opening match. I think the nWo angle taking off like it did probably took the interest away from whatever push he was supposed to get.
About halfway through the program, the nWo decides to come out and take over the broadcast booth. Interestingly, they don’t interfere in any matches or anything, they just take over on commentary. Eric Bischoff picks up right where he left off, assisted by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. As they call matches, they make fun of some wrestlers and put others over, all while basically talent scouting who they might want to add to the nWo roster. I don’t actually think I would mind having an nWo commentary team more often. It’s a fun and unique way of mixing things up.
Finally we arrive at the main event: Rick Steiner VS Sting. After a bit of back and forth, Sting hits Rick with the Scorpion Death Drop. While he’s out, Sting walks back to his corner to grab the black baseball bat he’s left there. Rick has managed to get back to his feet and is propping himself up in the opposite corner. Sting levels the bat at Rick’s chest, but then hands it to him instead. Sting then turns around and puts his hands up, indicating that Rick’s got a free shot if he wants to take it. Rick takes him up on the offer and winds up, but his brother Scott jumps in front of him and stops him before he can follow through. His little test completed, Sting takes the bat back and leaves the ring, heading for the commentary booth. He stops in front and silently points the bat at the nWo before turning around and disappearing back through the crowd. Nash, Hall, and Bischoff take this to mean that Sting’s decided he’ll be joining them soon. I’m not so sure myself.
Verdict: Even if Raw wasn’t completely phoned in this week, they’d have a hard time overcoming the return of Sting to the ring and the edgy and interesting commentary provided by the New World Order.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 44, Raw 16
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.3; Nitro - 3.4)