WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Miami, FL

Airdate: January 15, 1996

Attendance: 4,200 (3,100 paid)

Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael

Opening montage.

Match 1: “The Total Package” Lex Luger versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Stunning upset for the #1 contender to the WCW World title. It would appear that Luger has Savage’s number.

Before the next match the Taskmaster drags “Mean” Gene Okerlund to the ring as all members of both the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen make their presence felt. US champion One Man Gang is with the Dungeon of Doom. In case you aren’t aware WCW aired the post-Starrcade dark match between One Man Gang and Kensuke Sasaki over the weekend, stopped the tape after the controversial pin, and gave the One Man Gang the title.

Regardless, Arn quickly berates Pillman for being underdressed then dismisses the match since there “…will be no winners or losers…just survivors.” Taskmaster offers praise to Flair in addition to the Giant to the Horsemen for the Clash. Conversely he complains about Pillman’s lack of respect. Arn stands up for his group but the “Loose Cannon” spouts off causing Arn to slap him. Benoit offers a stern look toward Arn in response.

E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W! The debut of Public Enemy will replace the scrapped Dungeon-Horsemen match.

Match 2: Hugh Morrus and the Taskmaster versus “The Crippler” Chris Benoit and the “Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman The Public Enemy versus the American Males


Rating: *

Summary: Not a great debut for Public Enemy whatsoever. Seeing as their specialty is garbage matches with weapons and tables this should be considered a “who thunk it?” and a disappointment.

After the match Rock whips Bagwell into the steel railing as Grunge sets up two tables. Both men set Bagwell up on the table then Rock mounts the top turnbuckle only to give Bagwell a somersault senton through both tables. E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W!

Promotional consideration paid for by Slim Jim featuring “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Don’t miss Clash XXXII on January 23 live on TBS for the wedding of Colonel Parker and Sister Sherri!

Match 3 for the WCW World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Sting


Rating: ***

Summary: Yet another chapter is written in the story of Flair versus Sting, and again it writes itself in excellent fashion. This will probably be the best match of the night.

After the match Hogan and Savage hit the ring scattering Luger and Flair.

Gene is in the ring and interviews Hogan. The Hulkster informs Sting that Luger is bad news while Savage seconds his motion. In rebuttal Sting wants to hear Luger’s side of the story. Since he wants a title shot Hogan has a problem with Savage’s losses to Luger and questions how he got the shot next week in Vegas. As a proper rebuttal Savage just walks away from Hogan. Gene plugs the main event at the Clash of Hogan/Savage versus Flair/Giant.

On WCW Saturday Night Hogan will be there. Also Harlem Heat will face Sting and Luger (aired 1/20, taped 1/10). Lastly Jim Belushi is interviewed.

Match 4: Hulk Hogan versus Meng (w/ the Taskmaster)


Rating: DUD

Summary: If there was ever a match to begin booing Hogan (in case you were on the fence) this is the one. Hogan’s creative control not only got him the main event on the show but also a “questionable” win when it wasn’t necessary.

The replay is brought to you by 1-800-COLLECT.

Conclusion: This was a truly strange show with one good match. A minor note which resulted in a big improvement in program quality was lack of pot-shots towards the WWF. As you can see from the rating Public Enemy’s debut was probably watched by every ECW fan on the planet by this point in time, but I wonder how RAW was counterprogrammed.

TV Rating: 3.50 (Holy Cow!)

WWF Monday Night RAW

Taped from Newark, DE

Airdate: January 15, 1996 (taped 12/18)

Attendance: none listed (ZERO sales tax and probably nobody still there by this point)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

A viewer discretionary warning is shown as Sunny lies atop a pool table.

Meanwhile Dok Hendrix is backstage and notifies us that Razor Ramon will confront Goldust upon his arrival.

Opening montage.

Match 1: “The King of Harts” Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) versus Marty Jannetty


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Really good showcasing of both wrestlers here. I’d love to see these two get more time on a PPV.

Todd Pettengill shills the Royal Rumble this Sunday night only on PPV as well as the “Free for All” on the Preview Channel at 6:30pm beforehand. During the “Free for All” two wrestlers will wrestle for the #30 spot in the Rumble. The loser, however, will receive slot #1. Diesel then cuts a promo followed by a Vader vignette. Besides the Royal Rumble match another match that will take place is Ahmed Johnson versus “Double J” Jeff Jarrett.

Still backstage Dok confirms Ramon’s impending appearance at the arena. While this barely makes any sense it gave the audience something to anticipate. Whatever you do, DON’T SWITCH THE CHANNEL!

In the meantime Sunny seductively shoots pool. Make your own cue stick and 8-ball jokes accordingly.

Match 2: The Ringmaster (w/ the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) versus Matt Hardy (early beta version)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Better days were ahead for both of these competitors. Welcome to the WWF, Steve.

Shawn Michaels promotional video followed by a pre-taped Shawn Michaels promo. If you wanted to know where the boyhood dream idea began you can pinpoint it to this moment.

Backstage Dok informs us that Ramon should be here by the time Goldust is interviewed. How appropriate.

Match 3: WWF tag team champions The Smoking Gunns versus the Spiders


Rating: DUD

Summary: Extremely short showcase for the tag champions as they prepare for their match this Sunday.

Billionaire Ted’s ‘Rasslin’ War Room: Ted wonders why he can’t buy the WWF. Russo informs him that the WWF has better athletes, and that (WCW) has “disloyal (Savage), greedy (Okerlund), has-beens from the 80s (Hogan).” Now THAT’S a pot shot. Ted then asks the Huckster if he wants to be called the “Boy Toy.” Sheesh!

While Goldust makes his way to the ring Lawler throws another pot shot at Ted Turner regarding the Time-Warner merger. Wow, I’m amazed at how low they’re actually sinking with this stuff.

When Goldust enters the ring he caresses Vince’s tie and tries to touch his hair. Vince questions Goldust’s intentions and whether or not he is preying upon most men’s homophobic fears. The response from Goldust is priceless: “Mr. Television announcer, is that an extra microphone in your pants or are you just happy to see me?” Oh my God! He proceeds to cut a promo on Ramon referring to him as “naughty boy.”

Dok notifies us that Ramon has just arrived.

Be sure to catch the Royal Rumble this Sunday live on PPV for the WWF title match between champion Bret Hart and #1 contender the Undertaker.

Ramon enters the backstage area where Dok rats out Goldust’s location. Methinks Dok would make a terrible witness against the Mafia.

Match 4: The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) versus Isaac Yankem


Rating: DUD


While Kane and the Undertaker had numerous matches in the years to come this “preview” was nothing special.

Backstage Dok interviews Goldust. All of a sudden Ramon attacks Goldust. He tosses Goldust into a steel railing followed by a closed door. Officials try to break up the melee as Ramon nails Goldust with a trash can. After Ramon nails Goldust with a trash can again Goldust hits Ramon “down there” to curtail the onslaught.

After a commercial break Sunny sits in a tub and lays on the sexual innuendo pretty thick.

We get the replay of the melee followed by a promo for next week when Goldust faces Bret “Hitman” Hart. Vince then runs down the card for the PPV:

  1. For the WWF title: Bret Hart defends against the Undertaker
  2. For the Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon defends against Goldust
  3. For the WWF tag team titles the Smoking Gunns defend against the Body Donnas (subbing for the injured 1-2-3 Kid and injured Sid)
  4. Also Ahmed Johnson faces “Double J” Jeff Jarrett
  5. Lastly the Royal Rumble match itself

Backstage Goldust tries to make a hasty retreat and Ramon hammers him again. He proceeds to ram Goldust into the fuse box. After Ramon tosses him through a door leading outside the arena the two fight in the snow. Upon ramming Ramon into the production truck Goldust escapes in his Cadillac.

Conclusion: What else can I say but counter-program fail? Other than the melee between Ramon and Goldust this show was practically meaningless. It executed its purpose of shilling the Royal Rumble PPV but that’s about it. The Billionaire Ted stuff was particularly mean-spirited as well.

TV Rating: 2.40

Who won? As I stated earlier I believe the ECW faithful who knew that the Public Enemy were going to appear on Nitro tonight tuned in because WCW dominated the ratings with that huge number.

Since the Royal Rumble usually signifies the beginning of the road to WrestleMania I hope RAW’s effort in the Monday Night War improves. With that being said Nitro needs something new and fresh to retain that high number next week versus the fallout from the Royal Rumble.

In other news this week WCW mandated that wrestlers must leave their title belts behind at TV tapings. This is a direct repercussion from the Madusa/WWF Women’s title trashing debacle on 12/18/95. More repercussions are soon to follow.

Also making news this week was this. ECW was definitely ahead of the curve with this bombshell.

See you next time for the Royal Rumble!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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