WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Asheville, NC

Airdate: June 3, 1996

Attendance: 4,500 (3,518 paid)

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

Opening montage.

We revisit last week when Bubba shaved ½ of Shark’s head.

At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Shark. A tepid reaction brings out a MAN, rather than a fish or a disaster, who goes by the name of John Tenta.

Match 1: John Tenta versus Bubba Rogers


Rating: DUD>

Summary: Methinks this feud is NOT over.

Match 2: The Faces of Fear versus High Voltage


Rating: **

Summary: Quite the squash for the Faces of Fear as they impressed me. High Voltage took a lickin’. Let’s hope they keep on tickin’.

Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews Luger and Sting. The Steiners interrupt, and each team questions the other team’s intentions.

Short Hulk Hogan video takes us to commercial. I’m glad it was short, or I would have tasted my dinner again.

Match 3: Disco Inferno versus Sgt. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman (w/ Teddy Long)


Rating: DUD

Summary: If Disco Inferno’s trying to get over with a comedic gimmick, it has some wings. On the other hand, it will be very difficult to take him seriously should he ever try to be a title contender.

Before the commercial break, we see the end of an interview where Regal slapped Sting.

Match 4: Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves) versus “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan


Rating: *

Summary: If the crowd wasn’t fully enthralled by Duggan’s antics, this match would get nothing and like it.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Regal with the Blue Bloods. According to Okerlund, Regal was reprimanded by the WCW Executive Committee for his actions to Sting on Main Event. He then cuts a promo on Sting.

Clips that led to the chaos between Chris Benoit and the Taskmaster are shown. On 4/27, Benoit stated to Arn that he had a problem with the Horsemen-Dungeon association causing the Taskmaster to interject. On May 4, Benoit and Arn have another heated discussion about the same subject. Again the Taskmaster interjected. On 5/18, Benoit told the Taskmaster that he’s “in a league of (his) own.” At Slamboree, the Taskmaster held Benoit while Public Enemy executed the Drive-By on him. On 6/1, the Taskmaster called Benoit a “serpent” and vows to destroy said “serpent” at the PPV.

Match 5: The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Prince Iaukea


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase squash for the Taskmaster as he prepares for Benoit at GAB.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews the Taskmaster. The latter mentions Hogan, and a smattering of fans chanted his name. Next, the Taskmaster refers to Pillman as a “quitter.” Lastly, he vows to get rid of Benoit. Could Pillman be making a return to WCW? Stay tuned!

Match 6: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Woman & Elizabeth) versus the Rock’n’Roll Express


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Tag formula worked here, but the Express were working in super slow-motion.

1-800-COLLECT sponsors the replay.

Okerlund interviews the Horsemen at the VIP table. While Flair states that the jerseys were a gift from Debra McMichael, Heenan joins the fray. Okerlund asks “the Brain” if he will manage the Horsemen at the Great American Bash. Heenan declines their offer then grabs a Haliburton. Upon opening it, he reveals his All-Madden award from 1988. Heenan, instead of being their manager, will be their “coach.”

Short promo by the Giant followed by a short video of Hogan.

Blood runs cold for GLACIER…coming to WCW.

Yet another Hogan video. I’m getting nauseous. Included were clips of Hogan knocking Vader silly.

Match 7 for the WCW World title: The Giant (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Ice Train


Rating: DUD

Summary: Not that Ice Train was a World title contender, but this was a serious waste of time.

After the match, Norton comes into the ring to check on his partner and chastises the Giant. For his troubles, the Giant gives him a chokeslam. Make that 2. Officials and High Voltage come out to help Fire & Ice.

Okerlund interviews the Giant at ringside. The latter questions the former about the Hogan vignettes. ‘(He doesn’t) want to see any more of Hulk Hogan.” I concur. He then cuts a good promo on Luger.

When we return from commercial, Norton is still down on the mat.

Match 8: Hugh Morrus versus Scott “Flapjack Flash” Norton


Rating: DUD

Summary: Surprising win but not a good one to say the least.

Ad for the WCW Magazine. That naughty narrator continues to shill “demented” stuff.

Training video of Greene and McMichael. The narrator actually tells us that the ring is 16’ x 16’ instead of 20’ x 20’. Wow! Greene then uses the whiteboard to show how he wants to destroy the Horsemen. McMichael discusses the Horsemen strategy while Greene snaps into a Slim Jim. They agree that they need a manager— “Macho Man” Randy Savage! They run to the phone to call him.

Match 9 for the WCW World tag team titles: Sting & the “Total Package” Lex Luger (champions) versus the Steiner Brothers


Rating: ****

Summary: Excellent TV main event with another crappy finish. Perhaps we’ll see these teams tangle on PPV?

After the match, the Giant gets into the ring and brawls with Luger. As the Giant gives Luger a cross-corner whip, he comes up empty on his follow-through. Sting and Scott re-enter the ring, and it’s 3-on-1 against the Giant. Wow! Scott and Sting give Luger an Irish whip into the Giant as Luger clotheslines the World champion over the top rope to the floor. Hart restrains the Giant as the latter tosses Zbyszko’s chair into the ring.

As Heenan pleads with Savage regarding the match at the PPV, “Ramon” approaches Bischoff. When “Ramon” mentions the pronoun “we,” Bischoff questions him. Ramon’s response is “You know who.” Sting approaches the broadcast table, and Bischoff gets between them. According to “Ramon,” “Nobody tells me what to do, and nobody tells me when to do it.” He then flicks his toothpick in Sting’s face. Sting’s response is a slap to “Ramon’s” face. Cops and Doug Dillinger get between them as “Ramon” announces a “big” surprise for them next week.

Conclusion: Wow! The pace for this show improved over last week although most of the matches were fully-fledged crapola. The main event along with the Horsemen match were very entertaining.

Now let’s discuss the final segment. Again, Hall used the Cuban accent but got his point across very well. Not only did he make his invasion seem like a big deal but also makes me want to watch next week’s show without any reservations whatsoever. That’s good TV. What’s on RAW?

TV Rating: 3.00

WWF Monday Night RAW

Taped from Fayetteville, NC

Airdate: June 3, 1996 (taped 5/27)

Attendance: 5,000 (4,200 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Goldust challenges Ahmed Johnson to “come get (his) Intercontinental title.”

Opening montage.

Prior to the first match, we revisit the “Wrestling after dark” in Florence, SC followed by the second match in North Charleston that cost DiBiase his WWF career.

Match 1 (King of the Ring qualifier): Stone Cold Steve Austin (w/o the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase versus Bob “Sparkplug” Holly


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Austin as he advanced to the quarterfinals.

The bracket is shown. In another qualifying match, Justin Hawk Bradshaw beat Henry Godwinn. Austin awaits the winner of the Savio Vega-Marty Jannetty match (aired 6/8, taped 5/28).

We revisit last week where Lawler kept Warrior from returning to the ring against Goldust. Vince mentions the Lawler/Warrior match at the King of the Ring. While they plug Warrior’s comic book, Lawler does some artwork disparaging Warrior.

Backstage Jim Ross discusses the upcoming Mankind/Undertaker match at the King of the Ring. Following that, we see highlights to the ending of the Goldust/Undertaker match at Beware of Dog 2.

Match 2: Mankind versus Barry Horowitz


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Mankind.

After the match, Ross interviews Mankind in the ring. He questions the Undertaker’s pride. That’s asking for trouble. Strange but effective promo.

Highlights of the “main event” of Beware of Dog are shown for the sole purpose of shilling the rematch at the upcoming PPV.

Goldust sits in his “den” as we revisit the shenanigans by Goldust against Johnson from last week. Other than wearing a feather boa, he is only wearing the Intercontinental belt placed ever so conveniently. Goldust then elaborates about his love for chocolate. Oh, he’s laying it on thick.

Prior to the next match, the Bodydonnas are on the hunt for a new manager. They make a plea to the audience to mail in your resume.

Match 3: The Godwinns versus Tekno Team 2000


Rating: ½*

Summary: That rating was solely for the double-team efforts of Tekno Team 2000 because this was their FINAL match in the WWF. Adios!

Clarence Mason was on the phone as three different camera angles of Monsoon showing him which way to go after walking from the ring are provided.

RAW is sponsored by the US Army and milk.

Match 4 (King of the Ring qualifier): Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Jenny Lee)


Rating: ½*

Summary: Terrible match, but it served a purpose. Helmsley was supposed to win the King of the Ring tournament and have matches around the country against Michaels, but his involvement in the Curtain Call caused plans to be changed. I wonder if this loss combined with the loss at the previous PPV were enough punishment to fit the crime.

Next week, Owen will face Yokozuna in a KOTR qualifying match. Also, the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith will square off against the Undertaker.

After the match, Roberts opens the bag and puts Revelations atop Helmsley as Jenny is mortified.

Conclusion: Oh. My. God. This was an absolutely dreadful episode. Please don’t waste your time with it. I beg you. How did it fare against Nitro?

TV Rating: 2.30

Who won? Not surprisingly, RAW lost a whole ratings point from last week. Nitro was a better program this week with its main event and Horsemen matches, and it showed in the ratings. Next week, RAW contains a couple more KOTR qualifying matches while Nitro promises a big surprise from “Ramon” and company. I can’t wait!

In other news during this week in pro wrestling: Believe it or not, Davey Boy Smith gave his 90-day notice to the WWF. According to Meltzer, it’s merely an attempt to get Vince McMahon’s attention and better pay due to the main event exposure he’s receiving. Is it true? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Could you imagine Smith appearing on Nitro in 1996? It could happen.

Stay tuned for Monday Night War week 40!

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

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