Live from Salisbury, MD
Airdate: February 19, 1996
Attendance: 4,700 (3,800 paid)
Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael
**BREAKING NEWS** WCW began running house shows again during this time period and had a couple of title changes:
Match 1: Hulk Hogan versus the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Woman)
Summary: In spite of the fact that Arn beat Hogan for a second time this match was terribly lopsided in Hogan’s favor making it quite awful.
The replay is sponsored by 1-800-COLLECT.
Match 2: Loch Ness (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright
Summary: Creature feature night on Nitro as a future Hogan nemesis squashed the up-and-coming Wright. Sigh.
On WCW Saturday Night Badd defends the World TV title against Benoit (aired 2/24, taped 1/18). Also, Konnan defends the US title against Scott Armstrong (taped 2/14). The Road Warriors are in action. Lastly Sting and Luger defend the World tag team titles against Public Enemy. That’s a pretty packed show!
Match 3: The Belfast Bruiser versus Brad Armstrong
Summary: Not a good showcase for the Bruiser here. As always Armstrong looked good in defeat.
Match 4 for the WCW World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Woman and Elizabeth) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Summary: Typical Flair-Savage TV match that incited the crowd with the heel shenanigans.
After the match Hogan makes the Taskmaster taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the chicken Chesapeake at Fratelli’s. With Savage down Flair brawls with Hogan as does Arn and the Taskmaster.
Wait a minute! Who’s this guy sliding into the ring? Is he a newcomer to WCW? What’s his name? Whoever he is delivers a double clothesline to Flair and Arn. With all these tassels is he a warrior?
NO! It’s the Booty Man formerly known as the Zodiac aka Ed Leslie. Once again he has turned face to side with his longtime friend Hulk Hogan.
Anyways he clears the ring. None of the announcers mentions him by name. While that transpires Flair commandeers the announce desk as he gloats in triumph. All of a sudden the Booty Man shoos them away again. Hogan arrives and finally supplies the mysterious man’s name. Gene joins us to assist Hogan with a microphone. The Hulkster wants a six-man match next week on Nitro involving himself, Savage, and the Booty Man against Flair, Arn, and the Taskmaster. Eric grants his wish as the show goes off the air.
Conclusion: Wow! Another exciting ending for Nitro. The wrestling definitely took a back seat to the drama surrounding the main event players; however, the meat in the middle wasn’t very nourishing. It appears there was a lengthy interview segment with WCW’s race car driver that was removed. Thanks, WWE Network, for saving me from that. Let’s see what RAW did to counterprogram.
TV Rating: 3.70 (Holy huge rating, Batman!)
WWF Monday Night RAW
Live from Cincinnati, OH
Airdate: February 19, 1996
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Clad in a black bikini on the beach Sunny provides the necessary discretionary advisory.
Highlights of In Your House VI as Ramon flashes a gang sign. Oh, wait, that’s the 4-life sign in honor of his four Intercontinental titles. Or was that his signal to WCW that he’s on the way? Call “Mean” Gene right now!
Promises of the Ultimate Warrior and Larry Fling Live are made. Yikes!
Match 1 for the Intercontinental title: Goldust (champion w/ Marlena) versus Razor Ramon
Summary: Obviously this feud must continue with that shitty finish.
After the match Ramon gets on the mic and drops the word “ass.” He then makes references to Piper then states he loves kids. He doesn’t want “this kind of stuff” (i.e. Goldust) to be watched by his kids. He goes on to request a match with Goldust anytime and anywhere. He begs Piper to give him a date with Goldust. I wonder if it’ll ever happen.
Backstage the Undertaker exits a coffin that reads “Rest in Peace.” That becomes important later.
Dok Hendrix shills the Undertaker sweatshirt from the WWE Store. Adult $29.95/Youth $19.95. Get yours today!
Promotional consideration paid for by Edge shave gel.
Slam Jam with Dok Hendrix who shills WrestleMania XII on 3/31 from Anaheim, CA. Highlights from IYH VI are then shown. Just as Hendrix describes Cornette’s “holding Yokozuna back” according to the extra-large Samoan Vader makes his way to the ring.
The Bodydonnas (w/ Sunny) Vader versus Barry Horowitz and Aldo Montoya
An Ultimate Warrior video is shown.
Promo for WrestleMania XII.
While wearing a red negligée Sunny sings “Happy Birthday” in honor of President’s Day. Does anybody have a cigar?
In the stands Bob Backlund campaigns for President.
REAL Match 2: The Ringmaster (w/ Ted DiBiase) versus Marty Jannetty
Summary: Showcase match for the future Rattlesnake.
Vignette for Mankind. While holding a rat Foley cuts an ECW-like promo for his character.
The 1996 Slammy Awards take place WrestleMania weekend.
Next week on RAW Yokozuna faces both Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith in a handicap match. Also Diesel will be there. Let’s not forget that Jake “the Snake” Roberts will face Isaac Yankem. Lastly an interview featuring both Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
Prior to the match Vince announces that the Undertaker will face Diesel at WrestleMania.
Match 3: The Undertaker versus Tatanka (w/ Ted DiBiase)
Summary: Definitive squash by the Undertaker. Tatanka didn’t seem too thrilled to be there.
After the match the Undertaker watches the replay of Diesel’s destruction of the casket. He heads backstage to find out about the carnage.
But first…LARRY FLING LIVE! The Billionaire News Network brings us a poor imitation of Larry King who interviews Billionaire Ted. Larry takes a call from Randy of Sarasota, FL, but of course it’s the Nacho Man complaining of thinning hair. Terry from Tampa who is obviously the Huckster calls in. A joke regarding a lady’s high heel shoe is subsequently made. Jane from Hanoi is the third caller who is supposedly Jane Fonda, then-wife of Ted Turner. While Fling lists all the dastardly tricks Ted pulls with respect to WCW Ted sweats bullets while drinking from a straw. Strangely Ted loses his voice which prompts Fling to take a pot shot at WCW for being tight-lipped about the allegations. Next week Fling will interview the Huckster and the Nacho Man with respect to their “geriatric” match at WrestleMania XII. Miraculously Ted’s voice returns and blurts out that he’s the special guest referee then he realizes he’s supposed to have laryngitis. Oops. I’ll touch on this in the conclusion.
Meanwhile the Undertaker and Paul Bearer are backstage and see the carnage that used to be the Undertaker’s coffin. Bearer screams “You’ll pay for this, Diesel.” Fade to black.
Conclusion:THIS is what the WWF counter-programmed against a Hogan match and a World title match? While I appreciate the Diesel coffin demolition alongside the Undertaker squash and the Vader destruction instead of a tag squash this episode felt very flat. The only admirable quality was the subtle character change of the Ringmaster.
In addition while an E for effort could be awarded with the quality of the satire I again must sigh and shake my head at the WWF’s petty response to WCW in the Monday Night War. I realize the culmination of this is a very bad match at WrestleMania, but can we please make it stop?
TV Rating: 3.10
Who won? Whew! While the numbers were very high for both shows more of the wrestling audience chose Nitro instead of RAW. The Loch Ness and Bruiser segments might have spelled a ratings loss if not for the hot ending to the World title match. Next week the six-man match on Nitro opposes either Yokozuna or Jake Roberts. I don’t like RAW’s chances.
Anyways, see you next time for week 25 of the Monday Night War!
Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).