Raw kicks off with a much shorter and punchier intro. Because that’s the problem with the program: the theme song wasn’t catchy enough.
The first match is a 20 man Battle Royal with the winner getting to face Razor Ramon for a shot at the Intercontinental Title. There’s not much to say about this one. It’s clear from seeing the participants that Owen Hart will be the one to win (which he does). After all, I doubt they’re going to be giving Duke “The Dumpster” Droese or Barry Horowitz a match with Razor any time soon.
After that we get another promo from Ahmed Johnson. I think his gimmick is “wrestler”.
Next up we get the debut of Avatar who looks absolutely stupid. When he gets to the ring, he dons a luchador mask for no clear reason. Is it supposed to give him powers or something? Is he the Stanley Ipkiss of the WWF? During the match he goes to do an Eddie Guerrero-esque flying crossbody from the top rope to the outside, but loses his balance and falls back into the ring. Just an absolute goober.
The final match is Alundra Blayze hoping to regain the women’s title back from Bertha Faye. Bertha looks awful in the ring, but Alundra Blayze works her butt off and looks like a million bucks. She ends the match with an impressive German suplex for the win.
With the exception of Alundra Blayze, this whole episode just makes wrestling look incredibly amateur. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.
Luckily, WCW is here to pick up the pieces. Hulk Hogan cuts his final promo before Halloween Havoc, at one point referring to himself as “The Bad Guy” Hulk Hogan. Whoa, that’s gimmick infringement, Hulkster!
Let’s jump right to a cruiserweight tag team match between Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko VS Eddie Guerrero & Mr. JL. Naturally this is another fantastic showing from all these guys. Mongo even says at one point, “This is like a wrestling highlight film!” He’s not wrong.
After the match ends, Brian Pillman comes out of nowhere and DDTs Guerrero on the ramp as he makes his way back to the locker room. I have no idea what that was about and neither do the announcers. This is how you do story - plant the seeds for the next chapter just before the current one ends.
The show ends with a schmoz involving Sting, Luger, the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Dungeon of Doom. As the fighting reaches a fever pitch, the giant ice block that’s been looming in the background all episode explodes, revealing the Dungeon of Doom’s “insurance policy”, The Yeti! Except, he looks more like a mummy. Am I missing something here? Perhaps we’ll see at Halloween Havoc!
Verdict: Although Nitro does have some goofy elements to it, they’re just there to color the show without being the focus. I think that’s where Raw is stumbling right now.
Winner this week: Nitro
Score to date: Nitro 7, Raw 0
(Television Ratings: Raw - 2.2; Nitro - 2.6)