WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Macon, GA

Airdate: May 27, 1996

Attendance: 4,309 (1,811 paid)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Eric Bischoff, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

We’re back to being head-to-head finally. This is the very first 2-hour Nitro. Umm…does something else historic happen on this show? I forget.

Opening montage.

Unlike Bischoff and Heenan, Tony and Zbyszko sit at a ringside table to call the action.

Match 1: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Woman and Elizabeth) versus the American Males


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Although it was obvious from the commentary during the match who would win, the Males made it extremely competitive and practically won. Some Horsemen chicanery sealed the deal however.

After the match, Woman splashed champagne in Flair’s face to awaken him. Back at the VIP table, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Flair and Arn. The latter cuts a great promo as always. Meanwhile, Flair must have taken one too many shots to the head as he recites lyrics from “Afternoon Delight.” He then requests (former) NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle’s assistance. Rozelle hadn’t been NFL commissioner since 1989 and would leave us seven months following this broadcast. In ’96, Paul Tagliabue was NFL commissioner.What’s in that champagne, anyway? According to Elizabeth, “(Flair) can have anything he wants.” Woo!

Workout video for McMichael and Greene is shown. It’s about as fascinating as watching two jocks in the gym working out could possibly be.

Match 2: Steve Doll versus the Mauler (w/ Col. Parker)


Rating: NONE

Summary: This was merely a setup for the Ramon angle.

“Ramon’s” soliloquy: “You people…you know who I am. But you don’t know why I’m here. Where is Billionaire Ted? Where is the Nacho Man? That punk can’t even get in the building. Me, I go wherever I want, whenever I want. And where, oh where, is Scheme Gene? ‘Cuz I got a scoop for you. When that Ken-doll look-alike, that weatherman wannabe comes out here later tonight, I got a challenge for him, for Billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man, and for anybody else in dubbaya-see-dubbaya. Hey, you wanna go to war? You want a war? You’re gonna get one!”

Clad in a denim jacket and blue jeans, he leaves the ring and tosses his toothpick at the cameraman.

You can factor in the prime-time wrestling show scheduled simultaneously against RAW. You can factor in Bischoff’s giving away taped RAW results. You can factor in beating RAW to break, starting earlier, and ending later. None of these “war” tactics compare to the introduction of WCW’s newest “bad guy.” To add effect, neither Tony nor Zbyszko attach a name to the former Razor Ramon. I can only imagine what happens next.

Match 3: Diamond Dallas Page versus Sgt. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman (w/ Teddy Long)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Short, almost-squash for DDP. His stock is rising. Buy in now before the price skyrockets.

According to Tony, “Macho Man” Randy Savage has been banned from all televised WCW events. “Crazed” Savage highlights follow.

Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews Shark. He is no longer in the Dungeon of Doom and ready to win the WCW World title from the Giant.

Although taking time off from WCW, Hogan got a video narrated by Lee Marshall. It included George Foreman, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Greene, and Sugar Ray Leonard. I don’t know which is worse--seeing Hulk Hogan or listening to Lee Marshall.

HOUR #2! Eric Bischoff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan take over broadcasting duties at their desk near the entrance. Bischoff dismisses the interruption earlier in the show.

Match 4 for the WCW World title: The Giant (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Shark


Rating: ½*

Summary: This slow big-man match opposed the Ultimate Warrior vs. Goldust match on RAW? I hope this program improves quickly.

After the match, Bubba enters the ring, cuts Shark’s hair off, and shaves half of his head.

Match 5 for the WCW World TV title: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Maxx


Rating: DUD

Summary: The World TV champion/one-half of the World tag team champions is ready for his World title shot on 6/16. I certainly hope that match is eons better than this one was.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Luger. We revisit the chokeslam of Luger through the table from two weeks ago.

Match 6: Brad Armstrong versus “Hardwork” Bobby Walker


Rating: *

Summary: The Armstrong curse rears its ugly head again. Walker needs more seasoning in the Power Plant before he either kills someone or himself. This match has NO business being on Nitro and should have been relegated to WCW Saturday Night.

Ad for the WCW Magazine. Once again, the narrator shills this rag like a dirty magazine. Shame on him!

Match 7: “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright versus Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves)


Rating: **

Summary: This had potential to be so much more than it was. In addition, crickets could be heard chirping in the Macon Coliseum during this match. Please tell me this show gets better soon.

Sony Playstation sponsors the replay.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Regal. The latter refers to Okerlund as a “miserable little toad.” He then refers to Wright as “Junior Adolph” which was off-color and unnecessary. Regal even took a shot at the incoming invader. Finally, Regal challenges the franchise of WCW, Sting.

Match 8: Sting versus Scott Steiner


Rating: ****

Summary: Crappy finish to a great match.

After the match, the locker room empties to break up the melee.

As Bischoff and Heenan wrap up the show, “Ramon” comes out and calls Bischoff a Ken doll again. “This is where the big boys play? What a joke!” “Ramon” instructs Bischoff to tell Billionaire Ted to get three of his best wrestlers, possibly the Nacho Man, the Stinger, or anybody he wants. According to “Ramon,” “we’re taking over.” He wants the war in the ring “where it matters.” He then tosses his toothpick at Bischoff.

Conclusion: The opening match, the main event, and the “Ramon” segments make this a must-watch episode, but be forewarned. The rest of this show DRAGS. They need better matches to fill in the middle of the show better than they did here.

As far as the “Ramon” interruption is concerned, I only had one problem with it, and so did the WWF. Hall had ZERO reason to use a Latino accent on the microphone. Even though Hall is from Florida, he’s not considered to be Latino; therefore, both I along with the WWF felt it was part of the Ramon gimmick. I won’t sue, but the WWF surely did. What’s on RAW?

TV Rating: 2.80

WWF Monday Night RAW

Live from Fayetteville, NC

Airdate: May 27, 1996

Attendance: 5,000 (4,200 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Match 1 (King of the Ring qualifier): The Ultimate Warrior versus Goldust (w/ Marlena)


Rating: **

Summary: I guess that’s one way to remove both competitors without either having to job.

Lawler leaves the broadcast table and grabs Marlena’s chair. He drops it, and the Warrior stalks him all the way around the ring until Lawler flees backstage.

Speaking of backstage, the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase is speaking to his protégé Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Highlights from last night are shown. Vince instructs us that three matches will be re-done at 8pm ET tomorrow night.

He then asks DiBiase about his frustration. DiBiase sweetens the pot to tomorrow night’s Caribbean strap match by adding the stipulation of losing his career in the WWF should Austin lose. We shall see.

Match 2 (non-title): WWF tag team champions the Smoking Gunns (w/ Sunny) versus the Bodydonnas (w/o Sunny)


Rating: ***

Summary: They strayed from the usual tag formula, yet Bart still came out victorious. Not bad. Skip’s involvement in the match kicked the rating up a bit.

We revisit the summons from Clarence Mason from last night then the WWF title match. Please read my Beware of Dog reflection for my thoughts.

Sega Saturn slam of the week reveals the end of the WWF title match. But I won’t.

RAW is sponsored by Big Red chewing gum and milk.

Match 3 (King of the Ring qualifier): Ahmed Johnson versus Vader (w/ Jim Cornette)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Unfortunately, the best wrestler in the match was doing commentary. On the bright side, Johnson will NOT be the 1996 King of the Ring. Whew!

After the match, Johnson was unconscious in the middle of the ring. After a commercial break, paramedics brought Johnson to the back on a stretcher. Goldust gets involved by giving Johnson mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The latter wakes up, wipes the golden makeup from his lips, and goes ballistic. As he tries to make his way downstairs, Bob Holly asks if he’s OK. Johnson chokes him against the wall asking “Where is he?” Mero rats out Goldust’s whereabouts, but Leif Cassidy (looking more like Al Snow) stands in front of the door. Johnson plows his way through both Cassidy and the door, but Goldust isn’t there. Instead, Johnson nails the cameraman.

Conclusion: The King of the Ring matches made for an entertaining hour. The realism behind the Johnson stalking of Goldust helped the episode become even more enjoyable.

TV Rating: 3.30

Who won? In spite of going two hours, Nitro still lost to RAW. I completely understand why as RAW was the much better program. The only edge I give to Nitro is the invasion angle was a tad better than the maniacal Johnson one. No matches for next week have been advertised, so next week’s ratings win is a toss-up in my opinion.

Stay tuned for Monday Night War week 39!

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

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