Live from Las Vegas, NV
Airdate: January 22, 1996
Attendance: none listed (bunch of NATPE conventioneers and lost gamblers perhaps)
Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael
As Eric, Mongo, and the Brain prepare us for a monumental Nitro the Mexican Heavyweight champion Konnan interrupts them to announce that he will defend his title tomorrow night at the Clash against Psicosis. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of Konnan’s wrestling style his signing with WCW is extremely pivotal as his affiliation with AAA (the wrestling promotion not the motor club) integrates itself with WCW. Lucha libre, anyone?
Prior to the match Hogan wishes Savage good luck in his match then requests the first shot.
Match 1 for the WCW World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Summary: As you would expect these guys brawled for most of the match but still made it exciting. The crowd blew the roof off of Caesar’s Palace when the pinfall occurred. For the third month in a row the WCW World title changed hands. Keep that in the back of your mind as we travel through 1996.
After the match Hogan made Arn taste the steel railing. It must be on special tonight. “Mean” Gene Okerlund entered the ring, but abruptly Savage took Hogan to task for celebrating Savage’s victory. In response Hogan congratulated Savage but then challenged him for the title. Savage told Hogan to climb the ladder and he’ll see him for the title in Vegas (for Halloween Havoc). When Hogan refers to his fans as “Hulkamaniacs” the crowd boos him. Wow! Way to go, Vegas! What happened here didn’t stay here obviously.
Match 2: Dean Malenko versus the “Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman
Summary: This match could have been so much better considering its participants. As it is Pillman’s psychotic character made itself known here.
On WCW Saturday Night Sting and Lex Luger face the Barrio Brothers (aired 1/27, taped 1/10). Also Johnny B. Badd (w/ Kimberly) wrestles against Meng (aired 1/27, taped 1/10). Yet again Harlem Heat tangles with the American Males. Lastly, Flair squares off against “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright (aired 1/27, taped 1/17).
Be sure to catch Clash XXXII tomorrow night live from Las Vegas at 8:05pm EST only on TBS. Included will be the nuptials between Colonel Parker and Sister Sherri. Aw.
Also don’t miss SuperBrawl VI live on PPV on February 11.
Match 3 for the WCW World tag team titles: Harlem Heat (champions w/o Sister Sherri) versus Sting and “The Total Package” Lex Luger
Summary: Text-book tag match with an intriguing finish. I wonder if Sting knew that Luger used a foreign object to gain the titles.
Match 4 (non-title): Hulk Hogan versus US Champion One Man Gang
Summary: If you’ve seen one Hogan match you’ve seen this one.
After the match the Zodiac runs in and gets nailed by Hogan. Benoit gives it a try to no avail. Savage joins Hogan in warding off both the Dungeon of Doom and the Horsemen. Sigh. While the Zodiac restrains the Giant from entering the ring the Giant calls for Hogan’s head tomorrow at the Clash.
Back in the ring Gene interviews Hogan and Savage again. I wonder if WCW knew how to spell redundant or overexposure. The Monster Maniacs are ready for Flair and the Giant tomorrow night.
Conclusion: Two title changes and tons of restaurant recommendations due to all the tasting of the steel railing make for a crazy yet fun show. This is one of the best Nitros in the history of the show so you definitely don’t want to miss this one. How would it fare against RAW?
TV Rating: 2.70
WWF Monday Night RAW
Live from Stockton, CA
Airdate: January 22, 1996
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Sunny provides us with a very seductive discretionary warning while bending down to shoot a pool shot.
Recap of the Royal Rumble.
Match 1: Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) versus Savio Vega
Summary: Impressive WWF singles debut match for Vader.
After the match Vader delivers a second Vader bomb to Vega as Cornette blocks referee Jim Korderas. As Korderas intervenes Vader gives him a couple of head butts and tosses him out of the ring. Referee Jack Doan attempts to eject Vader and gets nailed. Vader then gives him a powerbomb. WWF interim President Gorilla Monsoon came into the ring to reprimand Vader for his actions. Monsoon decrees that Vader has been suspended indefinitely.
As Vader confronts Monsoon a “WCW Sucks” sign is shown prominently on camera. After Vader slaps Monsoon on the shoulder Monsoon responds with three chops. Vader tosses Cornette down and sandwiches Monsoon between himself and Doan who was being propped up in the corner. Vader then drops an elbow on Monsoon. Next he positions him then gives him a Vader bomb. Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon chase Vader away from the ring. Now I see why WCW counterprogrammed the World title match in this time slot.
After the replay Vader declares war on the WWF. That would occur post-shoulder surgery for him.
A-ha! Now I get it! WCW held a Clash on 1/23 in opposition to the encore presentation of the Royal Rumble just to mess with its buyrate. Now THAT’S a clever yet devious war tactic.
Highlights of the Intercontinental title match from last night are shown.
Just as the match begins a pre-taped interview with the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and the 1-2-3 Kid takes place. DiBiase refers to Ramon as a cry baby in reference to his loss last night.
Match 2: Razor Ramon versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Shae Marks)
Summary: Since both men have scheduled matches at the next PPV an escape clause was needed to finish this match. With that being said this match stunk on Melba toast.
After the match Ramon returns to the ring and almost gives the Razor’s Edge to Helmsley. However, Helmsley escapes and grabs Marks on his way backstage.
“For comedic purposes” according to Vince the final installment of Billionaire Ted’s ‘Rasslin’ War Room is shown. Ted states that he’s tired of stealing every idea from the WWF and requests an original idea. His mandate is met with silence. Scheme Gene has an idea but he has to reveal it on his hotline. “Don’t fall for cheap imitations” is the tag line under the WWF New Generation slogan. Sigh.
Vince is in the ring and interviews Shawn Michaels. “The Heartbreak Kid” cuts a promo on Owen Hart. Meanwhile Cornette interrupts Michaels’ promo in support of Owen. Michaels offers ANYTHING to get his hands on Owen. Cornette rebuts with Michaels’ title shot at WrestleMania. With some provocation by Cornette along with crowd solicitation Michaels accepts the offer then tosses Cornette over the top rope to the floor.
Next week on RAW Diesel faces the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith while Shawn Michaels squares off against Yokozuna. Hopefully this is better than it sounds.
Prior to the match Goldust and Marlena cut a promo complete with clapperboard. Goldust proceeds to whisper his challenge to the “Hitman.” It would appear that Dustin has been taking interviewing tips from Sycho Sid.
Match 3 (non-title): Intercontinental champion Goldust (w/ director Marlena and usher) versus WWF champion Bret “Hitman” Hart
Summary: If my highlights appear to be brief there’s a distinct reason. This match was marred by a few commercial breaks in an effort to beat WCW to break. By doing so they could win the quarter hours. I wonder if it worked.
After the match Bret is shown having a black eye. Vince gets in the ring and interviews him. Bret proceeds to cut a promo on Diesel and also informs the Undertaker that he will be receiving a rematch.
Exclusive press conference with Billionaire Ted on why he wants to put the WWF out of business will air next week. Oh brother.
Conclusion: If anything could establish Vader as a monster heel that first segment accomplished that goal. The rest of the show attempted to showcase the wrestlers involved in the next PPV and did a good job. If there was any blemish on this show it would definitely be the Billionaire Ted skit.
TV Rating: 2.90
Who won? Lookee, lookee here. The beating WCW to break tactic worked for the WWF as they won 2.9 to 2.7. The fact that they could trump a Vegas show that featured two title changes showed how pivotal the Royal Rumble fallout/Road to WrestleMania material truly was. The Vader introduction kept the RAW audience from changing the channel so kudos to them.
See you next time for the Clash XXXII!
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