WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Pensacola, FL

Airdate: December 16, 1996

Attendance: unknown

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

Take your pick…fallout from IYH XII or Arn Anderson versus Taskmaster? Guess who wins.

Opening montage.

Holy switcheroos, Batman! Tony and Zbyszko are now sitting at the broadcast table by the entrance rather than at ringside. As they begin the show, the nWo (Bischoff and DiBiase) comes out to steal the broadcast. Initially, Zbyszko stands his ground but bequeaths it after a minute or so. Perhaps he can take in some night golf.

Bischoff then has us revisit Piper on last week’s show when Bischoff stood in Hogan’s place and paid the price.

Match 1 for the WCW World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus Psicosis


Rating: ***

Summary: While this was a complete contrast of styles, they mixed it together well.

After a commercial break, we revisit Nitro from three weeks ago when Sting planted Rick Steiner allowing Rogers to beat him.

Match 2: Big Bubba Rogers (w/o Jimmy Hart) versus Chavo Guerrero Jr.


Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Rogers.

Valvoline sponsors the replay.

After a commercial break, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Onoo with Chono. While Onoo wears a New Japan Pro Wrestling t-shirt, Chono unveils an nWo t-shirt. Another member has joined the ranks. As Onoo and Chono argue in Japanese, Okerlund asks Onoo for an interpretation “in English, you idiot.” Chono then rips the NJPW t-shirt on Onoo.

Match 3: IWGP tag team champion Masahiro Chono (w/o Sonny Onoo) versus “Lionheart” Chris Jericho


Rating: 1/2*

Summary: Showcase match for Chono despite losing. Poor Jericho had NOTHING to work with here.

On WCW Saturday Night, the Outsiders compete in a handicap match. Also, Eddie Guerrero faces Disco Inferno while new nWo recruit Mr. Wallstreet faces Eaton. Get it all right here:

Once again, we revisit last week’s show with Piper calling out Hogan, Flair putting Piper over on the microphone, and the “discussion” between Piper and Bischoff.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Flair with Arn, Mongo, and Debra. While Arn cuts a promo on the Taskmaster, Flair, wearing a University of Florida sweater, endorses the union of Benoit and Woman. Meanwhile, Debra calls Woman “nasty little Nancy” and is extremely full of herself. Mongo then shows his support for Arn as Flair does the same for Piper at Starrcade.

Match 4 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko (champion) versus David Sammartino


Rating: DUD

Summary: It takes a lot to drag Malenko down to DUD, but Sammartino did it. He should be proud.


Bischoff and DiBiase hand the reigns of the show back to Schiavone who’s joined by Tenay and Heenan.

We then revisit the defection of Chono to the nWo.

Match 5: Ice Train (w/ Teddy Long) versus Jerry Flynn


Rating: ½*

Summary: In addition to Flynn, this would be the Nitro debut of the tap-out submission. Surprisingly, it came from an Ice Train victory.

After the match, Syxx interviews the Outsiders at the entrance. While Hall calls out Faces of Fear for tonight and is allegedly sober, Nash looks like he fell off the wagon with a bandana and his Outsiders t-shirt ripped to resemble a tank top.


Buy the shirt! Send it to Rock Star Gary. Make it an XL.


Video featuring Sting airs.

Match 6: Rey Mysterio Jr. versus “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Showcase match for Mysterio.

Next, Lee Marshall provides the 1-800-COLLECT Road Report “from Macon, GA.” Unless Marshall brought his wife, I don’t see him “Macon” any bacon.

Another Benoit-Woman video airs. After Benoit speaks French to Woman, he asks “Kevin”: “Doesn’t life suck?” followed by “have you finally faced the truth?” I fear for Arn’s safety tonight and Benoit’s in the future.

Match 7: The “Enforcer” Arn Anderson versus the Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: *

Summary: Brawl with a lot of heat. Methinks Arn had better get Benoit back to help him fight the Dungeon of Doom.

After the match, Hart yelled “you shouldn’t have played that video.”

Match 8: Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner) versus Sting


Rating: NONE

During the commercial break, an ad for Starrcade aired live on PPV on 12/29.

Afterward, WCW World champion “Hollywood” Hogan comes to the ring along with Giant, DiBiase, Vincent, and Elizabeth. Upon running down Piper, he tells Vincent to locate him. Next, Hogan runs down Flair and calls Savage “washed-up.” DiBiase then informs us that “Piper ran out the back door.” How conniving! He then poses for the nWo-ites to finish the segment.

Match 9 (non-title): WCW World tag team champions the Outsiders versus Faces of Fear (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: NONE

Conclusion: Solid sizzle that will sell Starrcade. The influx of nWo recruits is good because it separates those who want to fight for WCW and those who want to fight against WCW. WWF who? In all seriousness, with Bischoff and DiBiase on the call in the first hour, WCW tested its audience to see if they wanted nWo Monday Nitro if only for an hour. Only time will tell. What’s on RAW?

TV Rating: 3.40

WWF Monday Night RAW

Live from Tampa FL

Airdate: December 16, 1996

Attendance: 2,925

Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler

As Bret comes to the ring to start the show, Ross joins him in the ring for an interview. Bret informs us that within the WWF: “there are no rules.” He then calls out all of the main event talent and refers to Michaels as “a little prissy.” Wow! According to Bret, he “will do anything and everything to get back on top.” Finally, he announces that he will be involved in the Royal Rumble.

Match 1 (toughman): Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Vader (w/ Jim Cornette)


Rating: *

Summary: Short match to continue the bad blood between Austin and Bret.

After the match, Vader steamrolls Bret as they brawl at ringside. Once officials break up that melee, Bret returns to hook a second Sharpshooter on Austin. Bret must be singing this tune.

We then revisit the Ahmed Johnson interview from last night.

Match 2: The Godwinns (w/o Hillbilly Jim) versus Razor Ramon & Diesel


Rating: ½*

Summary: We get the point, Vince. Now get these jabronies off my TV!

Back in the locker room, WWF champion Sycho Sid, who has beaten both Bret and Michaels within the last 30 days, “thrives on adversity” when he beats Michaels “in his own backyard.” He then tells Jose Lothario to “stay home.”

During the commercial break, an ad for WWF: Full Metal airs.

Vince then shills Royal Rumble live on PPV on 1/19 and interviews Michaels who has pride in his south Texas upbringing. He also promises to win the title at the PPV and informs us that Bret cannot and will not beat him. I smell a challenge!

Match 3: Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon versus TL Hopper & Dr. X


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Furnas and LaFon.

Back in the locker room, Billy cuts a promo on Bart.

Ad for the Royal Rumble live on PPV on 1/19.

In the finals of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament, Sable faces Jerry “The King” Lawler. While “Wildman” Marc Mero accompanies Sable, Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley seconds Lawler. While Sables calls Lawler a “pauper,” Lawler goes the misogynistic route. Regardless, Sable wins. Lawler then claims she cheated and demands a rematch. When Mero and Lawler come to blows, Helmsley attacks Mero from behind. They then double-team Mero until Goldust comes to Mero’s aid.

When Goldust gets in the ring, Lawler asks him “What’s the big idea, freak?” After Lawler touts Helmsley, he stammers before asking if Goldust is “queer.” Goldust emphatically replies “NO” and WALLOPS Lawler to a raucous ovation. WE HAVE A FACE TURN! Afterward, Marlena comes to the ring, and Goldust addresses her like a gentleman.

We then get this wonderful holiday treasure:

Match 4: Billy Gunn versus Bart Gunn


Rating: DUD

Summary: Too short of a match, and it finished with “stay tuned for later updates.”

While Billy’s “wife” checks on him, Bart’s “wife” also comes into the ring. Billy’s “wife” then asks Bart “How can you do this to your own brother?” While Billy lies prone on the mat, Bart is despondent over his brother’s health. After a commercial break, paramedics secure Billy to a stretcher while immobilizing his neck.

Conclusion: Wrestling-wise, this was awful. Entertainment-wise, for the most part, this was better than recent weeks. Can the fallout from the PPV bring a victory home for the WWF?

TV Rating: 2.30

Who won? Nope. Once again, Nitro beat RAW by more than a full point. Next week, Nitro features the other semifinal for the US title as Eddie Guerrero faces Chris Benoit. On RAW, Bret faces Ramon while Mero gets another shot at the IC title against Helmsley.

Stay tuned for Monday Night War week 66!

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

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