WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Lake Buena Vista, FL

Airdate: July 15, 1996

Attendance: 450 (0 paid)

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

Opening montage still containing Hogan in yellow and red. Tsk. Tsk.

Prior to the first match, we revisit the heel turn that changed the wrestling world.

Match 1: Fire & Ice versus the Steiners


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Extremely good high-impact match, but what will happen to Fire & Ice?

Back at the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the Taskmaster and Rogers. According to the Taskmaster, Hart has a plan. While he describes the logistics of warfare against the Four Horsemen, Ice Train and Norton bicker on their way backstage. As Rogers runs down Luger, the Faces of Fear join in on the fun.

Yet another Glacier promo. If I wanted something cold, then I’d hit the fridge.

Near the garbage dumpster, Okerlund interviews Fire & Ice. No subtlety with the interview location whatsoever, right? For no reason at all, Teddy Long joins the interview only to get shoved down by Norton. I think Fire & Ice is either burnt or melted.

Match 2: Dean Malenko versus Billy Kidman


Rating: ***

Summary: Quite the finish to what amounts to a showcase match for Malenko. I want to see more of this Kidman fellow.

1-800-COLLECT sponsors the replay.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Carolina Panthers linebacker Kevin Greene who can’t believe the actions of “Hollywood” Hogan. Additionally, Greene wants a piece of Mongo ASAP.

Ad for the WCW Magazine. The Steiners and the Giant (“the big man”) are featured. Considering how dated the material for the magazines was, the magazine became more of a collector’s item than a news rag.

Match 3 for the WCW World tag team titles: Harlem Heat (champions w/ Sister Sherri) versus Rough’n’Ready (w/ Col. Parker)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Terrible tag team match that was made all the more ridiculous considering that Parker represented both teams.

Rey Mysterio Jr. video.

When we return from commercial, Greene is ready to kick Mongo’s ass RIGHT NOW, but Mongo’s nowhere to be found. It’s too bad because Greene has to catch a flight to training camp.

Match 4: Malia Hosaka versus Madusa


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Hair mares in 1996 do not make a match great. Let’s move on.

The second hour begins NOW with a series of fireworks.

After a commercial break, the Outsiders drape sheets over the WCW letters with nWo.

Match 5: Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson


Rating: ½*

Summary: With zero purpose to this match beyond the long-standing Dungeon-Horseman war, the effort here wasn’t 100% by either competitor.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Mongo with Debra. Okerlund points out that Greene was looking for him but had to leave. Mongo responds by calling the Carolina Panthers “expansion pukes.” Cam Newton would NOT be impressed. Debra rambles afterward.

Match 6: Eddie Guerrero versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Crappy finish to a match that elevates the Hog Wild match between Benoit and Malenko.

Yet another Glacier promo. Do you suppose he emerge from Lake Michigan?

In case you were worried, the nWo letters have been removed from the signage.

Match 7 for the WCW World TV title: Lex Luger (champion) versus Big Bubba Rogers


Rating: *

Summary: In spite of its main event slot, this match was more angle than sport as you’re about to find out.

After the match, the Outsiders pummel Luger in the ring as “Hollywood” Hogan makes his way toward the ring. “The Brain” is smart to point out that Hogan isn’t wearing red and yellow but all black. Assisted Jackknife powerbomb by the Outsiders leave Luger OUT COLD. Strangely, Hogan wakes Rogers up and shakes his hand. However, the Outsiders destroy him too.

Okerlund gets into the ring as a “Diesel” chant rings out. Hogan wishes he’d turned heel two years ago due to the nWo. Well, that would have been different with Leslie and Duggan as his henchmen. According to Hogan, after he led the children down the right path, the fans still booed him. (The fans) “can stick it, brother.” As plastic bottles litter the ring, Hogan discusses Savage’s divorce. He then refers to the Outsiders as “renegades.” I hope they don’t paint their faces. Hogan calls out the Giant for the WCW title in Sturgis instead of Savage and Sting.

As Hogan challenges all of WCW to retort, WCW wrestlers come to the ring, but WE’RE OUTTA TIME!

Conclusion: Once again, a solid first hour kept the viewers in their seats for a second hour that, despite the Benoit-Guerrero match, was lackluster wrestling wise. The payoff of Hogan’s interview at the end was the second hour’s peak by a landslide. What’s on RAW?

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 barely conscious)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Earlier tonight, Michaels and Johnson arrive at the arena and are greeted by WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. However, Camp Cornette interrupt as officials separate everyone.

Opening montage.

Match 1 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Ahmed Johnson (champion) versus WWF tag team champion Bart Gunn (w/ Sunny)


Rating: *

Summary: The comatose crowd (minus the “kings” in the front row and the audio sweetening) didn’t help this dreck whatsoever.

After the match, Michaels pumps up his match against Billy as well as the main event at the PPV.

As Mero makes his entrance, Goldust’s usher gives Sable a wrapped present. Sable drops it like a bad habit. Methinks that present came from Marlena and not Goldust.

Lex Luger’s music sponsors the WWF Superstar Line.

RAW is sponsored by milk and AOL.

Prior to the next match, we see highlights of Hopper giving Droese a vertical suplex and getting the pin. He then put Betsy (the plunger) in Droese’s face. I certainly hope that wasn’t a USED plunger. Yuck!

Match 2: “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable) versus T.L. Hopper


Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Mero.

Camp Cornette is ready for an International Incident. Sshh..don’t tell Homeland Security!

Undertaker video. By the way, he has a match against Goldust this Sunday on PPV.

Prior to the main event, the WWF tour is plugged:

  1. This Sunday (7/21) in Vancouver, BC (PPV).
  2. Next Monday (7/22) in Seattle, WA (RAW taping).
  3. Tuesday (7/23) in Yakima, WA (Superstars taping).
  4. Wednesday (7/24) in Spokane, WA.
  5. Thursday (7/25) in San Francisco, CA.

We also see Michaels’ involvement at the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Sweethearts Tennis Tournament.

Vince then offers condolences to the befallen nephew of Bret—Matt Annis who died from a serious bacterial infection at the young age of 13. Yikes!

Match 3 for the WWF title: The “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (champion) versus WWF tag team champion Billy Gunn


Rating: **1/2

Summary: I’ll give you a dollar if you truly thought Smoking Billy Gunn was going to win the World title here. He didn’t have a prayer.

After the match, Michaels tossed Billy outside the ring so he could perform his post-match poses.

Backstage, Cornette goads Michaels and Johnson into chasing him to the parking lot outside the arena. Of course, Camp Cornette is waiting for them. Suddenly, Sycho Sid crashes his Lincoln as he tries to assist his tag team partners this coming Sunday. As soon as the sides even up, Camp Cornette speeds away in their Lincoln.

Conclusion: THIS was the go-home show for a PPV? Although there were some plugs, I did not feel like I was being sold an upcoming PPV with the matches or the commentary. Once again, RAW fails to be good at any level compared to Nitro.

TV Rating: 2.60

Who won? With Shawn Michaels on one channel, and “Hollywood” Hogan on the other, guess who people chose? If you chose Hogan, you win the prize of a Mr. Nanny videocassette. You can find it in local garbage dumps around the country.

Seriously, once again, Nitro trumped RAW in the ratings battle with the nWo storyline. Nothing was promised for either show next week, but RAW had better have something up their sleeve coming out of a PPV that wasn’t shilled properly.

Stay tuned for WWF In Your House IX: International Incident!

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

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