WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Birmingham, AL

Airdate: September 23, 1996

Attendance: 4,308

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

Opening montage.

Tony welcomes us to the show then produces the ad for Nitro in today’s USATODAY. It states “while WCW’s away, the nWo will play!” A disgusted Zbyszko equates the nWo to “parasites.”

We then revisit the Savage-Giant match from Fall Brawl. Tony feels that Savage will be a “target” tonight.

Earlier today, the nWo propaganda was being torn up by the Birmingham faithful. The Alabamians didn’t see Gene Stallings’ endorsement on it.

Match 1: AAA Mexican champion Konnan & the Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart & Big Bubba Rogers) versus Juventud Guerrera & Brad Armstrong


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Quick match that teased dissention within the Dungeon of Doom.

After the match, Konnan gets in the Taskmaster’s face so Rogers flattens him. They then hit a double clothesline as Hart describes this as an initiation. But where’s his DoD tattoo?

Prior to the next match, we revisit last week’s episode in the nWo limo. But where’s the Michelle sparkling wine?

In the locker room, Tenay interviews Savage who wants to “wipe out” Hogan at Halloween Havoc.

Match 2: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho versus “Mean” Mike Enos


Rating: **

Summary: Stark contrast of styles here as this match had its moments.

GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDDDBERG! Wait a minute! He didn’t debut for another year. Oh, it’s just Pat Tanaka.

Match 3: Glacier versus Pat Tanaka


Rating: DUD

Summary: Let’s move on.

On WCW Saturday Night, Dean Malenko faces Brad Armstrong while Public Enemy takes on High Voltage. Should Savage survive tonight, he’ll wrestle Big Bubba Rogers.

Shown in the crowd is Matt Ghaffari who won a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics as a Greco-Roman style wrestler. Congratulations, Matt!

Match 4 for the WCW World tag team titles: Harlem Heat (champions w/ Sister Sherri & Colonel Parker) versus Public Enemy


Rating: **

Summary: What a surprise! I wasn’t expecting that. Since the inception of Nitro, Harlem Heat has lost the titles TWICE on the show.

HOUR #2!

According to Bischoff, the nWo has another new member to be revealed tonight. Could it be the Brooklyn Brawler?

Match 5: “Macho Man” Randy Savage versus Greg “The Hammer” Valentine


Rating: *

Summary: This was barely a wrestling match and more of an act of war by Savage.

After the match, Savage tosses Curtis out of the ring as the nWo hits the ring. They ambush Savage as Hall gives Savage the Outsider Edge. Meanwhile, by the entrance, a concerned Elizabeth stands by unable to assist her ex-husband. Nash then gives Savage the jackknife powerbomb.

Newly crowned ring announcer Giant grabs the microphone and introduces the “nWo World champion” Hollywood Hogan who delivers a leg drop to Savage. While trash fills the ring, Hogan gives him another leg drop as Nash whips Savage with a Slim Jim. Next, Hogan spray-paints Savage’s bald spot then the Outsiders take over the broadcast table keeping Bischoff as a hostage. Hall subsequently introduces Vincent who played Virgil in the WWF. Nice potshot, WCW.


Buy the nWo t-shirt! They even have “Giant” size that makes Giant “look skinny on TV.” HA!


After a commercial break, the nWo announces they have taken over NASCAR and bring out a Chevrolet Monte Carlo sporting the #49 and the nWo colors of black and white. Nash states that Kyle Petty will drive the car.

Match 6: Michael Wallstreet versus Jim Powers (w/ “Peanuthead” Teddy Long)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Next!

Still backstage, Hogan sings Benny Goodman’s “Hooray for Hollywood” poorly, knocks on a door, and finds the Nasty Boys. Upon congratulating Knobbs on his sister’s wedding, hediscusses business with them then gives them his suite key and the World title belt.

After a commercial break, Hogan, Nash, and Hall return to the broadcast table wearing Savage’s hat.

Match 7: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan versus Ron Studd


Rating: NONE

REAL Match 7: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan versus Syxx


Rating: *

Summary: Not quite the debut I imagined for Syxx.

Ad for the WCW Magazine. Skip it ‘cuz it has Glacier in it.

Match 8: nWo Sting versus Bo LeDuc


Rating: DUD

Summary: As bad as it reads.

Match 9: The Outsiders versus High Voltage


Rating: 1/2*

Summary: Squash city for the Outsiders.

Before Nitro leaves the air, a replay of the ambush upon Savage is shown. Hall then asks Giant if Andre is really his dad. Sigh.

Conclusion: One of the worst episodes of Nitro in its brief history. I’ll have more on the extended involvement of Hall and Nash at the end. Please tell me RAW was better than this.

TV Rating: 3.40

WWF Monday Night RAW

Live from Hershey, PA

Airdate: September 23, 1996

Attendance: 3,923

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

To being the program, we revisit Mind Games where Razor and Diesel attacked Vega backstage. Ross acted like “I told you so.”

Opening montage.

Mr. Perfect is in the ring as ring announcer Howard Finkel notifies us that Pat Patterson will be the special guest referee for the final of the Intercontinental tournament.

Match 1 (Intercontinental tournament final): Faarooq (w/ Sunny) versus “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)


Rating: ***

Summary: This would be the biggest title Mero would own in his wrestling career. Decent match too.

After the match, Sunny opens her purse which contains a brick. Ross then enters the ring and interviews Mero who praises the Lord and thanks Sable. Lastly, he thanks Mr. Perfect for his tutelage. In a snarky way, Ross asked Mero “what about me?” Knowing that Ross was the new head of talent relations, Mero told him he was a great guy. Way to suck up, Marc.

We then revisit In Your House 2 when Shawn Michaels beat Jarrett for the Intercontinental title thanks to the accidental help from the Roadie.

During the commercial break, the “New Fall Season” was shown:

  1. Saturdays at 9am ET on WGN: Blast Off
  2. Saturdays at 10am ET on USA: LiveWire
  3. Wrestling Challenge on syndicated TV
  4. Sundays at 11am ET on USA: Superstars
  5. Mondays at 8:57pm ET on USA: Monday Night RAW

RAW is sponsored by Sony Playstation.

Back in the locker room, Dok Hendrix narrates the victory celebration by Mero.

Next, we get the EXPOSURE of “Double J” Jeff Jarrett as he lip-synched “With My Baby Tonight.” According to Vince McMahon, the “real Double J” will be on RAW next week.

Prior to the next match, we see a still from Mind Games where Cornette mistakenly signed away his protégés.

Match 2: WWF tag team champions The “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & the “Rocket” Owen Hart (w/ Clarence Mason) versus the Bodydonnas


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for the new champs. Apparently, this is the last Bodydonnas match ever. They will be missed. Of course, I got a good price on oceanfront property in Phoenix if you’re interested.

Afterward, we revisit stills from the WWF title match at Mind Games. According to Ross, Sid will face Vader at In Your House XI: Buried Alive on 10/20. After Kelly promotes the Undertaker/Mankind buried alive match for the aforementioned PPV, Undertaker cuts a promo on Mankind in a graveyard shot in black and white.

Backstage, Hendrix stands outside Ramon and Diesel’s dressing room, tries to get an interview, but gets rebuffed by Ramon.

Next week on RAW, Vader and Cornette will face Michaels and Lothario. Smells the ratings!

The Playstation Slam of the Week was the table spot from Mind Games.

Match 3: The Stalker versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley


Rating: *

Summary: I definitely know why Mr. Perfect can steal away all of Helmsley’s women. ‘Cuz Helmsley sucks! I wonder if he’ll ever win another match.

After the match, Ross enters the ring, but first, there’s a Mankind promo on the Undertaker also shot in black and white.

After a commercial break, a perturbed Ross gives this diatribe:

“I have no loyalty to the World Wrestling Federation. I’ve only got loyalty to good ol’ JR…In 1993, I left a great job in Atlanta, GA…the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League to go to…the WWF. I came here to be the primary play-by-play man in the WWF. I don’t think anybody here’s gonna disagree that I’m the best play-by-play man in the whole damn business.

“So I show up for work the first day at WrestleMania IX in Las Vegas, NV, and they give me a sheet to wear…a toga. You’ll look good in a toga, JR. I leave the National Football League for a toga. It’s crap. And then, ladies and gentlemen, I go to the first King of the Ring in Dayton, OH, and I guarantee ya, if you listen to the broadcast, I carried (it) from ringside.

“…then did you ever wonder where ol’ JR went to? Why isn’t JR doing play-by-play anymore? Let me tell ya why. Because the egotistical owner of the World Wrestling Federation, and you know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about Vince McMahon…couldn’t stand the competition. So JR disappeared. And then on Super Bowl Sunday in 1994, I woke up with an affliction called Bell’s Palsy. And my entire left side of my face looked like I had a stroke. You think I like that? You think I like that my left doesn’t open all the way because I got sick? Let me tell you how warm-hearted Mr. McMahon is. Mr. McMahon called me into his office on February 11, 1994, and he fired my ass.

“So I get back in my car, and I’m driving to my home in that over-priced hellhole, Connecticut, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to tell my wife and my two little girls that their daddy had just got fired…Remember when McMahon got indicted? They needed somebody to come back and do RAW? They called ol’ JR. And then they let me go again.

“So finally they call me back…hire me at 50 cents on the dollar to come back and work in the front office. Do you think that all these guys leaving the WWF was an accident? Hell no, it’s not. You think all these guys coming here was an accident? Absolutely not. I’ve been very busy. And right now, I want to bring back one of your favorites. He’s the bad guy, Razor Ramon…”

The Hershey faithful pop for Ramon’s music, but the instant that he emerges, it’s obvious that isn’t not Scott Hall and merely an imposter.

Ross then asks “How do you like that, WWF? How do you like Razor Ramon? How do you like that, McMahon?” Fireworks explode, Ramon cuts a poor imitation, and Savio Vega hits the ring to attack Ramon as the show goes off the air.

Conclusion: With the opening title match, Austin’s commentary during the dreadful Stalker-Helmsley match, and JR’s diatribe against the WWF and specifically Vince McMahon make this a very fascinating episode.

On the other hand, mimicking the competition with registered trademarks is low-brow. The WWF has reached a new low with this tactic.

In spite of that, JR’s diatribe was absolutely great until he unveiled Ramon. If you’ve not seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so ASAP.

TV Rating: 2.00 (Yikes!)

Who won? Holy wide margin of victory, Batman! With the advertisement in the national newspaper, and the speculation on Ramon and Diesel, viewers flocked in DROVES to watch Nitro and skip RAW.

Let’s examine tonight’s shows from each side:


  1. With its ongoing lawsuit against WCW for trademark infringement, the WWF decided to prove that ANYBODY could play Ramon or Diesel. While true, the players performing the reincarnation will not receive the same response as the originals.
  2. While bait-and-switch is a frowned-upon strategy to hook viewers, it works. I’m sure there was a portion of the WWF audience expecting a big surprise.
  3. Although the surprise was a huge disappointment, Ross’ worked shoot soliloquy wasn’t. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how fresh his attitude was during the segment. He made it sound believable and heartfelt.


  1. Since the WWF acknowledged that neither Hall nor Nash were under contract to the WWF, WCW made it a point to showcase Hall and Nash excessively to deter viewers from changing the channel. Throughout the second hour, they were either on commentary, beating up Jim Powers, or wrestling High Voltage.
  2. I realize that the majority of the main WCW players were wrestling in a tournament in Japan, but Nitro could have been a much more entertaining show had they showcased the nWo faction properly rather than haphazardly. I pray that next week’s Nitro blows this show out of the water quality-wise.

Stay tuned for week 54 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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