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.
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
While Flair wore his pink robe to the ring, both ladies wore green dresses.
After Flair tossed Riggs outside the ring, the Horsemen double-teamed him with a back elbow by Arn.
While Riggs gave the ten-punch count-along to Arn, Bagwell gave Flair a back drop and a pair of dropkicks.
He then clotheslined Flair over the top rope to the floor.
Flair grabbed a bottle of champagne from his VIP table, but Woman told him to put it back.
As Arn set Bagwell up against the ring post, He swung and “hit the pole” according to Zbyszko.
While Bagwell distracted referee Randy Anderson, Flair grabbed Riggs’ legs so that Arn could chop-block him. (whistle) Personal foul. Defense. #0. 15-yard penalty. First down.
Arn then rammed Riggs’ leg on the apron.
According to Tony, Flair offered them glasses of champagne.
Knee crusher by Flair to Riggs.
An enziguri by Riggs sent Arn through the ropes to the floor.
Hot tag Bagwell.
Slam of Flair by Bagwell was followed by a dropkick to Arn.
Back drop to Flair preceded a missile dropkick by Bagwell.
All four men were in the ring.
As Anderson was returning Riggs to the corner, Bagwell hooked an inside cradle on Flair.
Arn rolled them the other way and got 2.
Riggs rolled them back the other way and got another 2.
Fisherman’s suplex by Bagwell to Flair, but Arn made the save.
Riggs then dropkicked Flair.
Bagwell crawled over to cover Flair and got his eyes scratched by Woman.
Behind Anderson’s back, Arn delivered the DDT to Bagwell.
Flair draped himself atop Bagwell and got the pin.
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)
For those unaware, Steve Doll was Steven Dunn formerly of the tag team Well Dunn. The Mauler was “Mean” Mike Enos formerly of the Beverly Brothers.
Overhead belly-to-belly suplex by the Mauler put him in control.
The Mauler placed Doll on the top rope and gave him a fallaway slam from the top. Wow!
Clothesline by the Mauler who caught Doll then both men spill over the top rope to the floor.
The Mauler then rammed Doll head-first into the ring post.
Before a commercial break, the Mauler rammed Doll head-first into the cameraman stand twice.
When we return, it appeared that “Razor Ramon” had resurfaced while coming through the stands.
As the Mauler delivered a shoulder block, “Ramon” jumped the railing. That would get him arrested in most states.
“Ramon” then retrieved a microphone and got into the ring.
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)
To mock Pittman, DDP performed some push-ups. Pittman performed some one-arm push-ups, but when DDP went to kick him, he moved out of the way. DDP looked like Charlie Brown after missing the football.
Shoulder block by Pittman got 1.
Head butt by DDP gave the opposite effect and sent DDP falling out of the ring entirely to the floor.
Once again, DDP’s tied up in the camera cables.
After giving DDP a hard cross-corner whip, Pittman applied Code Red.
To break the hold, DDP grabbed Long by the jacket, shoved him causing him to taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Osso Bucco at the Tic Toc Room.
As Pittman checked on his manager, DDP delivered the Diamond Cutter.
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
I realize that since joining WCW, John Tenta has had a couple of gimmicks. But ring announcer David Penzer just hailed Shark from Tsunami? Sheesh.
Shoulder block by Shark didn’t faze the Giant.
Clothesline by the Giant took Shark down to the mat.
Standing boot choke in the corner by the Giant.
Shark tried to slam the Giant but failed.
The Giant then slammed Shark! Wow! That man’s over 500 pounds!
After giving Shark a cross-corner whip, the Giant ate boot on his follow-through.
Believe it or not, Shark mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a flying clothesline.
Hart jumped on the apron to distract Shark and it worked.
The Giant turned Shark around and delivered the chokeslam.
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
Maxx used to be called Maxx Muscle and accompany DDP to the ring. Who did he beat to earn this title shot? After a brief scan of ’96 WCW history, the answer is NOBODY.
Bischoff noted that Rey Mysterio, Jr. will enter WCW at the Great American Bash to contend for Malenko’s Cruiserweight title. But when’s Ohtani’s rematch?
After receiving a pair of clotheslines by Luger, Maxx delivered a powerslam for 2.
Sidewalk slam by Maxx got 2.
Elbow drop got another 2 for Maxx.
As Eric noted that the Taskmaster and Chris Benoit will face one another at the Great American Bash in a falls count anywhere match, Maxx gave Luger a clothesline.
After giving Luger a cross-corner whip, Maxx ate boot on his follow-through.
The “Yokozuna-defeating loaded” forearm nailed Maxx.
Powerslam by Luger was followed by the Torture Rack.
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
Um…what’s on RAW? Why’s this match on Nitro?
Walker reversed a cross-corner whip then delivered a crisp arm drag takedown.
After giving Walker a cross-corner whip, Armstrong delivered a monkey flip.
Walker, almost landing on his feet, ran up the opposite turnbuckle (slipping in the process), and hit a flying body press for 2.
While Armstrong and Walker trade some mat-wrestling holds, Heenan mistakenly referred to Debra McMichael as “Brenda.” Was he referring to “Miss Brenda” who used to manage Rip Rogers?
Inside cradle by Walker got 2.
Backslide by Walker got 2.
After a backdrop, Walker mounted the second turnbuckle, jumped to the top turnbuckle (slipping in the process again), and hit a shoulder block.
Walker won. Upset city!
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)
Two flying headscissors by Wright sent Regal reeling to the floor to regroup.
Baseball slide by Wright sent Regal into the steel railing. He didn’t taste it though.
Plancha by Wright.
During the commercial break, a new Blood Runs Cold promo aired. It’s revealed to be Glacier! If his debut is as hot as his promos are, I see big things for him.
Wright countered a European forearm with a belly-to-belly suplex for 2.
He then converted a cross-corner whip into a rollup for 2.
A pinfall reversal sequence culminated with a Wright dropkick.
Cross-corner whip by Wright was followed by a back drop of Regal.
Another cross-corner whip, and Regal ate a back elbow.
Next, Wright hit a spinning heel kick for 2.
Another cross-corner whip by Wright, but Regal pushed him down.
He then gave Wright a somersault rollup for the pin.
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
It’s very subtle, but the bassline to both Scott’s and Sting’s entrance themes was the same. Oops.
Before Sting hit the ring, he got a snack at Flair’s VIP table. HA!
Gorilla press slam by Scott put him in control early.
Nice dropkick by Sting was followed by a flying back elbow from the second rope.
Clothesline by Sting sent Scott through the ropes to the floor.
Plancha by Sting had Scott reeling.
Tiger driver by Scott was followed by a belly-to-belly suplex.
With Sting on the floor, Scott mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle. Impressive!
Back in the ring, Scott got a 2 count.
Cross-corner whip by Scott, and he hit a clothesline on his follow-through.
After another cross-corner whip, Scott ate boot on the follow-through.
Overhead belly-to-belly suplex by Scott got another 2 count.
STF by Scott followed by an elbow drop.
Fujiwara arm bar then Scott used a half-nelson for a 1 count.
Slam by Scott preceded the Scorpion death drop by Sting! Hadn’t seen it before this match! Wow!
Stinger splash, but the second one missed.
Dragon suplex by Scott, and Luger came to the ring.
In response, Rick Steiner came to the ring.
Scott placed Sting on the top turnbuckle and hit a super Samoan drop.
Scott missed the Frankensteiner as Sting held the rope.
Sting then applied the Scorpion death lock, but they’re in the ropes.
Sting then reversed a tombstone piledriver with one of his own and got 2.
Splash by Sting hit knees.
With Sting on the apron, Scott tried to suplex him back in. Instead, Sting suplexed him to the floor.
As Scott tried to suplex Sting on the floor, Luger got involved.
When Luger tossed Scott back into the ring, Rick shoved Luger.
With all four men in the ring, referee Nick Patrick called for the bell.
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)
To heck with the opening montage, send the Warrior to the ring and light up his symbol!
Goldust missed a haymaker, so Warrior gave him an inverted atomic drop.
He then gave Goldust a regular atomic drop that sent him over the top rope to the floor.
The break in the action gave Vince a chance to apologize for the weather-induced problems with last night’s PPV.
After reversing an Irish whip, the Warrior gave Goldust a back drop.
With Goldust outside the ring, Warrior whipped him over the steel railing into the crowd.
Goldust quickly recovered and made Warrior taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Lamb Begendi at Sherefe.
Still recovering, Goldust got his head rammed into the ring post.
When they returned to the ring, Vince shilled Warrior’s comic book.
Warrior countered a reverse chin lock with an electric chair.
Goldust tried to leave, but Ahmed Johnson brought him back to the ring.
Outside the ring, Goldust rammed the Warrior head-first into the steps.
After giving Goldust a cross-corner whip, the Warrior came up empty on his follow-through.
Goldust used the Warrior’s momentum and sent him outside the ring into Marlena’s empty director’s chair.
Back drop #2 got 2 for the Warrior.
Belly-to-belly suplex by the Warrior got 2. I’m as shocked as you are.
When Goldust asked referee Tim White to check the time, Goldust took the Warrior on a trip to the DEEP SOUTH. OUCH!
Powerslam by the Warrior got 1-2-NO!
After a series of clotheslines, the Warrior hit a flying shoulder block.
Goldust exited the ring and went down the aisle with Marlena.
The Warrior went after him, and both competitors were counted out.
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)
Sunny was managing the Smoking Gunns. Let’s do the quick math--the Bodydonnas lost their titles to the Godwinns after Phineas signed a mysterious document allowing Sunny to be in his team’s corner. Next, the Smoking Gunns beat the Godwinns last night for the titles, so Sunny duped Phineas and aligned herself with the new champions. She definitely defined the term gold digger with those shenanigans.
For some odd reason, Hillbilly Jim was the guest color commentator.
Bart received a cross-corner whip, leapfrogged over Zip, and clotheslined him.
Meanwhile Harvey Wippleman was taking notes in the aisle.
Gorilla press slam by Bart to Zip led to a tag to Billy.
Flying headscissors by Skip was quickly followed by a sunset flip by Billy for no count.
Skip exited the ring and confronted Sunny. OK, kids, let’s not have a domestic argument live on TV!
When we return from commercial, Zip low-bridged Bart sending him to the floor. Skip then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying body press. Amazing!
A leg drop by Skip got 2 on Bart.
Doctorbomb by Zip (gee…go figure) got 2.
Elbow drop by Skip got 2.
German suplex with a bridge by Bart got 2 on Skip.
In the meantime, Phineas came to the ring which greatly disturbed Hillbilly Jim.
Hillbilly Jim and Henry removed Phineas from the ring.
Double back elbow by the Bodydonnas followed by a Skip-assisted Zip leg drop.
Billy came into the ring, and the Bodydonnas gave him a front suplex on the top rope. OUCH!
They then gave Bart a slingshot double suplex.
Skip mounted the top turnbuckle, hit another flying body press, but Bart shifted his momentum.
Bart then pinned Skip.
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)
Owen joined the broadcast table for color commentary.
Vader spat on Johnson, so the latter beat the stuffing out of Vader.
After a thumb to the eye, Vader returned the favor.
After receiving a cross-corner whip, Johnson hit a clothesline.
Next, he hit a cross-body block, and both competitors spilled over the top rope to the floor.
Once Johnson tossed Vader back into the ring, Cornette nailed Johnson with the tennis racquet.
Fearing for his life, Cornette hightailed it backstage.
Running body block put Johnson down on the mat.
Vader then mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a cross body block of sorts for 2.
He then missed a clothesline yet ate one himself.
Pair of avalanches by Vader preceded a clothesline.
Vertical suplex attempt by Vader was blocked then reversed. Wow!
After a slam, Vader attempted the moonsault but missed.
Pair of clotheslines by Johnson was followed by a powerslam.
Cornette returned to the ring to distract referee Mike Chioda.
Johnson brought him in the hard way while Owen took great offense.
Johnson then gave Cornette a whip into Vader knocking him sideways.
Spinebuster by Johnson, but Owen mounted the top turnbuckle and leveled Johnson with the cast. Meanwhile Chioda was distracted with the removal of Cornette from the ring.
Vader advanced to the next round.
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.