WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Lake Buena Vista, FL

Airdate: July 8, 1996

Attendance: 600 (0 paid)

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

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Due to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Turner Broadcasting loaned/rented/whatever their production equipment to other broadcast companies for the Olympics. That caused WCW to air Nitro, Pro, and WCW Saturday Night from the MGM Studios.

Opening montage. Hogan’s still in it despite what happened last night? Huh?

Stills for BatB are shown.

Match 1 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko (champion) versus Rey Mysterio, Jr.


Rating: ****1/2

Summary: Told you it would cost him. Malenko has no one to blame but himself. Awesome match! Seek it out pronto!

PEPBOYS sponsors the replay.

Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews both the Nasty Boys and the Steiners. Mutual respect is spat between them.

Blood runs cold, but they’ve removed the arrival date. Might as well scrap it now.

Order the encore presentation of BatB coming tomorrow at 8pm.

Stills from the silver dollars on a pole match are shown.

Match 2: Lord Steven Regal & Squire Dave Taylor (w/ Earl Robert Eaton & Jeeves) versus Big Bubba Rogers & Hugh Morrus (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: *

Summary: More angle than match here as the Tenta-Rogers rivalry isn’t over.

After the match, Tenta rams Rogers into a palm tree. You don’t see that every day.

Ad for the WCW Magazine. The naughty narrator is still fixated on torture. Tsk. Tsk.

On WCW Saturday Night, the Dungeon of Doom are in eight-man tag action while the Horsemen are in six-man tag action. Also, the Public Enemy will face Harlem Heat (aired 7/13, taped 7/9).

Match 3: Eddie Guerrero versus Psicosis


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Really good match with a ton of high-flying.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews the Taskmaster and the Giant with Hart. Taskmaster has a solid shiner after what Benoit did to him last night. Of course, they discuss the Hogan heel turn. According to the Giant, as long as he has the World title, “nothing can go wrong.” Famous last words.

Match 4 (#1 contender for the WCW World tag team titles): Nasty Boys versus the Steiners


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Methinks the happy couple want their team to face the Steiners at Hog Wild.

After the match, a fireworks display occurred. Well, it was Independence week.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews the Nasty Boys. According to Knobbs, they don’t see what was wrong with what Hogan did last night. Yikes!

Prior to the next match, stills from the US title match from BatB are shown.

Match 5 for the WCW US title: Ric Flair (champion w/ Woman, Debra, & Elizabeth) versus Jim Powers


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Showcase match for Flair.

At the VIP table, Okerlund interviews three of the Four Horseman (sans Benoit). Arn takes Hogan to task for forsaking his role model status.

After Heenan gives a pep talk to the WCW wrestlers, a still photo of Luger on a stretcher is shown. Since his status is unknown, Pittman will take his place in the next match.

Match 6: Sgt. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman the “Tatal Package” Lex Luger (w/ Teddy Long) versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Benoit.

Match 7: Sting versus Arn Anderson


Rating: ***

Summary: More angle than match as the Outsiders’ influence ruined the flow of it.

After the match, WCW Security keeps distance between the Outsiders and Savage & Sting.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Sting who takes Hogan to task for falling down on the job as a role model. “(The fans) cannot believe in you!” He then tells Hogan to “stick it.” Very passionate promo. Savage refers to Hogan as “Hollywood” Hogan but refrains from saying things that don’t belong either on TV or at Disney World. He’s one up on Pillman in that respect. Finally, Okerlund ends the segment with the ultimate question: “What happened to Hulk Hogan last night?”

Back at the entrance, Okerlund interviews the Outsiders. Nash (with fanny pack) informs us that Hogan will be on Nitro next week. Afterward, Hall notifies us that this portion of Nitro was sponsored by “the Outsiders and Hulk Hogan.” That part may need to be tweaked a little.

To end the program, Bischoff and Heenan discuss the events from last night via still photos.

Conclusion: In regards to Hogan’s heel turn, whether you saw the PPV last night or didn’t, the animosity from the wrestlers as well as the broadcasters in this show told the whole story. Spectacular sales job on the turn performed by WCW.

With respect to the wrestling, the Cruiserweight match was remarkable along with the Guerrero-Psicosis match being really good. By itself, Nitro was an excellent follow-up to the PPV last night. Unless RAW has some special surprise, I don’t smell them getting anywhere near Nitro’s rating.

TV Rating: 3.50

WWF Monday Night RAW

Taped from Green Bay, WI

Airdate: July 8, 1996 (taped 6/24)

Attendance: 4,660 (sold out but fading quickly)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

BIG NEWS! WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has indefinitely suspended the Ultimate Warrior due to his no-showing of events last weekend. The suspension can be lifted with the presentation of an appearance bond. Monsoon continued by saying that Warrior will wrestle Owen tonight (although the match took place prior to his hiatus). While this certainly smells like angle, it’s actually true.

Opening montage.

Match 1: Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) versus the Ultimate Warrior


Rating: **1/2

Summary: This was all Owen as Warrior’s act went stale on him.

After the match, Warrior clotheslines Smith from behind then catches an incoming Vader with a right hand. The numbers catch up with Warrior as Smith delivers his running powerslam. Owen remounts the top turnbuckle and hammers Warrior with the cast. While Owen and Smith hold Warrior, Vader gives him the Vader bomb.

“Moments ago” Warrior gets assistance from officials. RIP Warrior.

Meanwhile, Michaels and Johnson once again threaten us with a third man. O-kay.

Prior to the next match, Pillman comes up behind Vega, but J.J. Dillon stops him before any shenanigans take place.

Back on 5/18 (taped 4/30) on Superstars, Vega and Bradshaw traded shots with the strap and the bull rope respectively.

RAW is sponsored by the WWF Magazine. Vic Venom can’t be far behind.

Match 2: Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah) versus Savio Vega


  1. Albany, NY on 7/11.
  2. Worcester, MA on 7/12.
  3. Portland, ME on 7/13.
  4. Bangor, ME on 7/14.
  5. Vancouver, BC on 7/21 for the PPV.

Rating: *

Summary: WAY too long a match for these two in the ring. Hopefully, future matches can help them with their timing and execution.

After the match, Uncle Zebekiah distracts Vega so that Bradshaw can nail him from behind. Bradshaw then knocks Vega into the middle of 1998 with the cowbell. After the replay, Vega has a brand on his right cheek.

Back at the WWF Studios, Michaels and Johnson continue to drag out the mystery partner hijinks. Vince then shills next week’s show that involves a WWF title match between Michaels and Billy Gunn. Also, Johnson defends the Intercontinental title against Bart Gunn.

Footage from both East Rutherford, NJ and New Haven, CT was shown.

Match 3: The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) versus the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & Vader (w/ Jim Cornette)


Rating: *

Summary: While a competitive match for Camp Cornette, it wasn’t a very good one.

Back at WWF Studios, Michaels and Johnson continue to tease who their partner is.

Ad for the WWF Superstar Line (with Lex Luger’s theme) narrated by Jim Ross.

Backstage, Cornette believes Michaels and Johnson are bluffing.

Back at WWF Studios, Michaels and Johnson reveal their third man to be…Sycho Sid who whispers his return promo to scare Cornette.

Cornette is flabbergasted and apoplectic!

Conclusion: While the opening match is historical for the wrong reasons, the rest of the program was awful. Yes, the WWF paid off its tease with a third man, but that part was probably the second-best part of the whole program. There’s no way this episode stood up well against Nitro.

TV Rating: 2.50

Who won? I was right. Nitro won by a full ratings point. The news of Hogan’s heel turn caused viewers to focus their attention on WCW. Next week, Nitro promises a freshly heel-turned Hogan while RAW promises matches involving their singles champions. I don’t like RAW’s chances next week either.

IN OTHER NEWS THIS WEEK: The Helmsley de-push continued as he did jobs for Marc Mero in Madison, WI, Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, IN, Detroit, MI, Pittsburgh, PA, East Rutherford, NJ, New Haven, CT, and Providence, RI. I bet he can count how many lights are fixed above the ring by now. Considering he’s the WWF champion for the FOURTEENTH time, it’s fun to look at the other side of the coin sometimes.

Stay tuned for week 45 of the Monday Night War!

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

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