WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Asheville, NC

Airdate: September 16, 1996

Attendance: 5,000 (2,800 paid)

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

Opening montage.

As Zbyszko laments WCW’s mistrust of Sting, we revisit stills from the WarGames match at Fall Brawl. Tony then apologizes to Sting who was in Japan last week instead of in the limo in Columbus, GA. Earlier tonight, nWo minions passed out flyers as the Asheville faithful entered the arena.

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


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Lots of fast high-flying action, but some psychology between the maneuvers would have enhanced the match tremendously.

Substituting for a contract-seeking “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Tenay interviews Benoit and Mongo with Debra. They cut a promo on Luger as Mongo screams in anger.

We then get a “special look” at Glacier. You would think after weeks of promoting this guy, WCW would just put him in the ring rather than waste our time with this drivel.

Match 2: Diamond Dallas Page versus Ice Train (w/ Teddy Long)


Rating: **

Summary: I wanted to rate this as a DUD as WCW didn’t seem to care about this match as much as their nWo stuff during it.

The replay must have been sponsored by either Simon & Garfunkel or Depeche Mode due to the silence during it. We actually get to see Ice Train’s full nelson as DDP grabs Long’s towel when he gets up on the apron again. That wasn’t a bad trick by DDP, but it was bad timing by WCW.

In the meantime, the nWo minions carry signs stating “Who wants this crap?” in front of the merchandise stand. That’s bad advertising, in my opinion.

According to Tony, formerly the 1-2-3 Kid in the WWF, Sean Waltman sits at ringside wearing a Jim Morrison t-shirt. So THAT’S what happened to him.

Match 3: AAA Mexican champion Konnan (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Super Calo


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Valiant effort by Calo here, but his match last night was better.

At ringside, Tenay interviews Waltman who plays it way too cool for school here.

On WCW Saturday Night, the Amazing French Canadians face the Armstrongs while Disco Inferno squares off against Jim Powers. Also, a rematch for the WCW Cruiserweight title occurs as Mysterio wrestles Guerrera.

Match 4: Brad Armstrong versus Hugh Morrus


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Too short to be worth much, but it’s great to see Brad win once in a while.

After the match, Morrus nails Brad in the back sending him to the floor.

HOUR #2!

After a commercial break, Tenay interviews Savage by the entrance. We then revisit stills from his match against Giant. Savage then cuts a wacky promo on Hogan.

Out in the parking lot, the nWo celebrates with red Solo cups. Included is the Sting imposter.

Match 5: “Macho Man” Randy Savage versus Scott “Flash” Norton


Rating: ***

Summary: Savage treated Norton as if he were Hogan’s brother. Hopefully Norton didn’t suffer a concussion; otherwise, his trip to Japan would be cancelled.

Oh, crap…the elongated Glacier entrance. Let me see what I can do during it…my taxes, the laundry, the grocery list…

Match 6: Big Bubba Rogers versus Glacier


Rating: DUD

Summary: Next!

Promotional consideration paid for by the following: Slim Jim featuring Savage.

Sting then comes to the ring and grabs the microphone. With his back to the hard camera, he states that last Monday night he was flying from Los Angeles to Atlanta then turned on Nitro when he got home. What he saw from WCW was doubt. He then states that he’ll stand by those who don’t doubt him if they’ll stand by him. But, for all the doubters, they can “stick it.” He considers himself a “free agent” and will “pop in when you least expect it.” What about tonight’s match?

Before the Horsemen make their entrance, they have to leave Elizabeth behind due to what happened last night.

Prior to the next match, Waltman stood on his chair and pushed a button. More nWo propaganda fell from the ceiling. I guess the nWo has yet another member. After a commercial break, Bischoff read one stating “We beat you, now you’re paying all the bills.” Another reads “We’ll do TV our way.”

Match 7: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Woman) versus “Lionheart” Chris Jericho & Marcus Bagwell


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Good match that the Asheville faithful thoroughly enjoyed. I’m glad Jericho didn’t do the job as Bischoff mentioned that he’s an “up-and-comer” in WCW.

Match 8: The “Total Package” Lex Luger (w/o Sting) versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit & Mongo (w/ Debra)


Rating: *

Summary: Mongo may be improving, but he’s not Nitro main event ready yet. This was more angle than match with the Sting no-show.

After the match, Luger gives Flair a gorilla press slam, but the three-point stance tackle by Mongo takes Luger off his feet. The Horsemen then demolish Luger including an Arn DDT. According to Bischoff, Waltman will be referred to as “Syxx.”

Outside the arena, Hall tells the cameraman to show everyone in the limo watching Nitro. They’re excited about the lack of WCW wrestlers for next week’s show.

Conclusion: The nWo angle has completely overtaken Nitro. Unless you’re a fan of the Horsemen, the rest of the program wasn’t much wrestling-wise. I fear for RAW’s rating with this show.

TV Rating: 3.60

WWF Monday Night RAW

Taped from Wheeling, WV

Airdate: September 16, 1996 (taped 8/19)

Attendance: 4,903 (practically dead)

Hosted by Kevin Kelly, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Opening montage.

Prior to the first match, Roberts comes to the ring and chases off Lawler.

Match 1: Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus the Sultan (w/ Mr. Bob Backlund & the Iron Sheik)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Not an impressive debut for the Sultan.

Backstage, PIllman and Owen are psyched about Bret’s announcement at Mind Games on Sunday. Austin then interrupts and is ready for Bret’s return.

RAW is sponsored by TEKKEN 2.

Prior to the next match, Sunny unveils a huge poster of herself.

During the commercial break, the WWF “new fall season” was shown:

  1. Saturday at 9am ET: Blast-Off on Superstation WGN
  2. Saturday at 10am ET: LiveWire on USA
  3. Sat/Sun Challenge (check local listings)
  4. Sunday at 11am ET: Superstars on USA
  5. Monday at 8:57pm ET Monday Night RAW on USA

Match 2: WWF tag team champions the Smoking Gunns (w/ Sunny) versus “Sparkplug” Bob Holly & Alex “The Pug” Porteau


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Methinks the Gunns may not be titleholders come Sunday.

During a commercial break, an ad for WWF Superstars aired.

Prior to the next match, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon clarifies that neither Kevin Nash nor Scott Hall will be appearing next week as Ross left the broadcast table.

In the ring, Lawler interviews Vader with Cornette. To prepare for his match against Jose Lothario on Sunday, Cornette will “work out” with Tony Williams. Who? Let’s run down what transpires:

Match 3 (Intercontinental tournament semi-final): “The Rocket” Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) versus “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Really good match that showcased both wrestlers’ talented repertoires.

Video on the WWF tour in South Africa. After the event, Bret runs down Pillman and informs us that he won’t be at the PPV this Sunday. He then runs down Owen.

Next, we revisit last week when Sid got into Faarooq’s face.

During a commercial break, a promo aired for LiveWire coming this Saturday at 10am ET.

Match 4 (Intercontinental tournament semi-final): Faarooq (w/ Sunny) versus Sycho Sid


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Slobberknocker, my ass. This was painful compared to the previous match.

Promo by Undertaker on Goldust for their “final curtain” match this Sunday.

The card for this Sunday is as follows:

  1. Final Curtain: Undertaker versus Goldust (w/ Marlena)
  2. Jerry “The King” Lawler versus Mark Henry
  3. For the WWF tag titles, the Smoking Gunns versus Owen Hart & the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (w/ Jim Cornette)
  4. Speaking of Cornette, he will face Jose Lothario.
  5. The “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels versus Mankind for the WWF title

Lastly, Paul Bearer (w/ Mankind) cuts a promo on Michaels.

Conclusion: As expected, the Mero-Owen match delivered while the other matches belonged in the toilet. While I understand that casual viewers would flip between programs, the incessant need to continually advertise something was awful.

TV Rating: 2.10

Who won? Yes, Nitro won again with the nWo and Sting storylines being focused. Next week, the nWo should run roughshod all over Nitro while the Faarooq/Mero match will headline RAW. Who knows what will happen?

Stay tuned for In Your House X: Mind Games!

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

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