December 23, 1996 - Monday Night Wars 63

Raw 190

  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley is starting to get a good push after winning the Intercontinental Championship. He’s got cool new ring gear and new entrance music (the appropriately pompous Ode to Joy). It’s also worth noting that JR referred to him as “Triple H” for the first time back at the most recent In Your House. Tonight Hunter once again beats Marc Mero who I think is now only around as an excuse to keep Sable on our screens.

Better than Pomp and Circumstance if you ask me.


  • A quick update on Billy Gunn: we’re being told that he got whiplash from the Stun Gun he took last week and can’t feel his lower limbs. This story is going to be harder and harder to believe considering this episode and the next two or three were all pre-taped last week.

  • Later we get a tag team match featuring two wrestlers from AAA named Pierroth & Cibernetico VS the New Rockers, AKA the biggest jobbers in a division of jobbers. Interestingly, Mil Mascaras is on commentary, but since his english isn’t the best, he’s over with Carlos Cabrera at the Spanish commentary table. Apparently he’s going to be in the Royal Rumble next month. Similarly, so will the Honky Tonk Man, who also comes out to do a spot of guest commentary on this episode. I’ve never cared for the man and I don’t care to see him now.

Nitro 67

  • Chris Benoit kicks things off against Eddie Guerrero. The two men have a bit of a history with each other and it’s apparent when the match starts with the two men slapping each other hard in the face. The whole match is really fast-paced and violent and is a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of the other wrestling I’ve been seeing in this era. Here’s the whole match if you want to check it out:

  • After Benoit’s match, Mean Gene interviews him along with the rest of the Horsemen. Arn Anderson has some harsh words for Benoit for cuckolding Kevin Sullivan. Arn also says that he felt the rage from the Taskmaster when he took Benoit’s place in his match last week and that the beating that Arn took should have been Benoit’s. Debra also gets some mic time to tear Woman down and build herself up. She’s been given more time to talk over the last few weeks and it’s always the same thing. Combine that with her naturally annoying speaking voice and WCW is starting to get a lot of heat on her, which I’m sure was the plan. Benoit tries to interrupt her, drawing the ire of Mongo. Things are starting to get tense with the Horsemen here, but luckily Ric Flair intercedes and calms everybody down. Chris Benoit needs to be careful here or I could see him getting kicked out of the group.

  • Later, Rick Steiner (again accompanied by his brother Scott) comes to the ring to face Jeff Jarrett. The crowd decides to start chanting “We want Sting!” Well they get their wish (sort of) when the fake Sting comes down to the ring and sets Double J up for the Scorpion Death Drop. Before he can execute though, Rick Steiner clotheslines the faker and Jarrett pins the man. For some reason, the ref inexplicably counts to 3, the fake Sting more inexplicably tries to kick out just after the count, and most inexplicably of all the bell gets rung. I mean, it all looks and sounds good I guess, as long as you don’t think too much about the logic.

  • The show ends with Hollywood Hogan getting one more promo in on Rowdy Roddy Piper before their match at Starrcade this weekend. Suddenly Piper’s music hits, but the man that comes down the aisle turns out to just be Eric Bischoff in a ridiculous Scottish get-up and an old red and yellow Hulkster shirt. After he enters the ring, he does a mocking impression of Piper claiming that he’s not worthy of even being in the same ring as Hogan. Just as you think the show’s wrapped up though, Hogan and Bischoff are cut off again by Piper’s music, but this time it’s being played by a full Scottish band who marches down the aisle and lines the ramp on both sides. Then right down the middle of them all emerges the Rowdy One. He and Hogan immediately begin trading blows, but soon enough the rest of the nWo runs out to hold Piper down and let Hogan get his licks in. Before too long though, thankfully, a dozen or so security guards run in to separate everybody. What a great final buildup to Starrcade!

Bischoff is somehow even less Scottish than Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Bischoff is somehow even less Scottish than Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Verdict: The only interesting thing Raw did was the broken neck angle, but it’s almost immediately forgotten about already. The cross-promotion with AAA might bear some fruit, but I’m doubtful. Meanwhile, Nitro is running as hot as always with the compelling nWo storyline buttressed by legitimately good wrestling. I think the ratings this week are especially telling of the quality of the two shows.

Winner this week: Nitro

Score to date: Nitro 46, Raw 17

(Television Ratings: Raw - 1.5; Nitro - 3.1)