WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Macon, GA

Airdate: December 23, 1996

Attendance: 4,900

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

Does WCW hype Starrcade with extra mustard? Can RAW find a way to beat Nitro with some holiday cheer? Let’s find out!

Opening montage.

Prior to the first match, we revisit the Benoit-Eddie encounter from 11/18 when Benoit won.

Match 1 for the WCW US title (semi-final): The “Crippler” Chris Benoit (w/o Woman) versus Eddie Guerrero


Rating: ****

Summary: Everything post-commercial break was fantastic. Eddie will face DDP at Starrcade for the vacant US title.

At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the Four Horsemen with Debra. Arn tells Benoit that he took the beating last week for him. Debra interrupts by calling Woman “that little creature” and “damaged goods.” According to Benoit, he doesn’t appreciate the allegations and tells Mongo to “talk to the hand.” Wow! Flair plays referee and sides with Benoit on his rendezvous. This group is NOT working on all cylinders.

After a commercial break, Hollywood Hogan along with DiBiase, Vincent, and Elizabeth comes to the ring. This is SERIOUS change-the-channel stuff here. What’s on RAW? Oh, never mind. Let’s get this over with, Hollywood. After running down Piper, Savage, and Flair (“the stupid little man”), he strokes his own ego LIVE on TNT. Parental guidance suggested.

On WCW Saturday Night, it’s WCW: The Year in Review. Yeah, that’ll generate ratings.

Match 2: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Tombstone


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Macon loves Lex Luger. That’s all that needs to be said about this match.

After the match, Giant comes to the ring, shoves Luger into the corner, but comes up empty on his follow-through. Upon clotheslining Giant a couple of times, Luger hooks the Torture Rack on the staggering Giant until Hall and Nash run in to save their nWo partner.

After a commercial break, we revisit last week’s show when Sting dropped nWo Sting like a bad habit. He then got involved with Arn, Mongo, and Mysterio during the melee at the end of the program. To say the least, Schiavone and Zbyszko are convinced Sting has joined the nWo.

Match 3: Rey Mysterio, Jr. versus Mr. JL


Rating: ***

Summary: Good back-and-forth match that could have been rated higher with some more drama added to it.

After the match, Mysterio approaches the broadcast table and disputes Sting’s joining the nWo. He then calls out Sting and yells to the Macon faithful that “Sting is WCW!” Rather than replay what Mysterio wants, we get a video of Sting that we’ve already seen before. C’mon, WCW!


We then revisit the earlier segment when Hogan ran down Piper.

Match 4: Glacier versus Buddy Lee Parker


Rating: DUD

Summary: For those unaware, Parker was the head trainer at the WCW Power Plant. If HE couldn’t make Glacier look reasonable, nobody could.


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


Match 5: Public Enemy versus the French Canadians (w/ Colonel Parker)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Public Enemy looked awful here. I mean they’re reaching Bushwhacker territory.

After the match, Public Enemy puts Ouellet on the broken table and executes their own Quebec crash onto him.

After a commercial break, we revisit last week’s episode when Rogers joined the nWo.

Match 6: Big Bubba Rogers versus Konnan (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: 1/2*

Summary: Just a match to show that Rogers was part of the nWo. Otherwise, this blew chunks.

After the match, Konnan threatens to maim Patrick until Rogers saved Patrick’s hide.

Lee Marshall then delivered the 1-800-COLLECT road report from “Knoxville, TN.” If only he would volunteer not to do these.

Match 7 for the WCW World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus WCW Cruiserweight champion Dean Malenko


Rating: **

Summary: Mat-based match that caused the Macon faithful to fall asleep.

During the commercial break, an ad for Starrcade aired. It will be LIVE on PPV this Sunday. Call NOW!

Match 8: Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner) versus Jeff Jarrett


Rating: NONE

Summary: This was all angle as the Macon faithful continued to chant “We Want Sting” because they didn’t fall for the fake one.

After a commercial break, it’s part two of the Hogan power-trip. When Hogan claims to be an ICON, Piper’s music plays. Suddenly, Bischoff, in Scottish splendor, performs an extremely poor Piper imitation. He then challenges Hogan for RIGHT NOW. Referee Nick Patrick comes out, and Bischoff lies down for Hogan. After Patrick counts the pin, Bischoff bows down to Hogan.

Again, Piper’s music plays, and a Scottish band emerges. Making his way through the band, the REAL Roddy Piper comes to the ring. When Piper and Hogan begin to trade blows, the nWo comes out to attack Piper. In the meantime, Sting watches everything from the rafters. As security separates Hogan and Piper, WE’RE OUTTA TIME!

Conclusion: Put Starrcade on a platter and sell it like hotcakes. Nitro served its purpose well in spite of some poor matches.

TV Rating: 3.20

WWF Monday Night RAW

Taped from Tampa FL

Airdate: December 23, 1996 (taped 1/16)

Attendance: 2,925 (wondering why they’re here)

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

Prior to the opening bout, we revisit last week’s show when Sable beat Lawler in the Karate Fighter’s Holiday tournament.

Match 1 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (champion) versus Marc Mero (w/ Sable)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: This was not Mero’s best day, and his days of chasing the IC title were apparently over.

After the match, Helmsley gets on the microphone mentioning their date at Royal Rumble. He then mentions his virility to Marlena which causes Goldust to chase Helmsley backstage.

We then revisit last week’s episode as Bart gives Billy a stungun which “injures” him. According to Vince, Billy has temporary paralysis below the waist. From LiveWire this past Saturday, we get Bart’s apology for his mistake.

Prior to the next match, Sunny, wearing a Santa cap, comes to the ring to join the broadcast table.

During the commercial break, “Sycho Sid is coming to town” aired. Enjoy!

Match 2: Rocky Maivia versus Salvatore Sincere (w/ Jim Cornette)


Rating: *

Summary: If you’re seeking matches involving the Rock, don’t go this far back or you won’t be impressed.

We then see a promo for Royal Rumble LIVE on PPV on 1/19.

In the ring, Vince interviews WWF champion Sycho Sid. According to Ross, Sid will be LIVE on LiveWire this upcoming Saturday. Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels watches from a monitor backstage. When Vince emphasizes attitude, Sid either yells or whispers his promo. What a colossal waste of time.

Ad for Shotgun Saturday Night aired.

Match 3: Pierroth & Cibernetico versus the New Rockers


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Showcase match for Pierroth and Cibernetico as they will compete in the Royal Rumble match.

After the match, Ross interviews Mascaras at ringside. He’s ready to compete in the Royal Rumble match as well.

Vince then shills Royal Rumble with participants listed as: Helmsley, Flash Funk, Davey Boy Smith, Ahmed Johnson, and Undertaker.

Prior to the next match, Honkytonk Man comes to the ring to join the broadcast table. He also comes back to find the next “greatest Intercontinental champion of all time.”

RAW is sponsored by Jackie Chan’s First Strike and the US Army. Is that a bowling movie?

Match 4: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Razor Ramon


Rating: ½*

Summary: I thought it was impossible to drag Bret down to this level, but Ramon did it. Fire ‘im already, Vince!

Backstage, Michaels acts both snarky and cocky but will be “prepared for everything” at the Royal Rumble.

Conclusion: Wow! This was the pure definition of a skippable show. As the rating reflects, LOTS of people skipped it.

TV Rating: 1.50 (Oh…my…God.)

Who won? 3.2 compared to 1.5? Are you kidding me? I’m surprised the WWF didn’t fold up their tent and move to Thursday nights. Meanwhile, WCW’s “match of the decade” and Starrcade preview kept the ratings train rolling in their favor. In the next rendition of the Monday Night War, fallout from Starrcade occurs on Nitro while Goldust faces Lawler on a live RAW.

Stay tuned for WCW Starrcade ‘96!

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

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