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!
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
After Benoit intimidated Eddie with his Four Horseman status, Eddie chopped and slapped the taste out of Benoit’s mouth.
In split-screen, the Taskmaster had stern words for Benoit.
Abruptly, DDP, wearing a Three Stooges t-shirt, joined the broadcast team to a raucous ovation from the Macon faithful.
While DDP ran down Eddie on commentary, Benoit countered a side headlock with a knee crusher.
When he attempted a second knee crusher, Eddie countered with a sunset flip for 2.
According to DDP, Benoit “keeps coming and coming.” Has he been speaking with Woman? Ahem.
Benoit then countered another side headlock with a wristlock, pulled the hair, and got 2.
As Eddie hooked a victory roll for 2, Nitro went to commercial.
Afterward, Benoit vaulted Eddie into a guillotine using the top rope. Impressive!
He then gave Eddie a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
Next, he delivered a vicious powerbomb for another 2.
While Zbyszko took the misogynistic route with respect to Woman, Benoit clotheslined Eddie for almost 3.
Eddie then reversed an Irish whip and gave Benoit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle, got caught, and received a superplex for 2. Woohoo!
Eddie came back with a sunset flip and evaded a knuckle sandwich. Pass the Miracle Whip!
He then hooked an inside cradle for 2.
Benoit then countered an Irish whip and hung Eddie out to dry on the top rope.
He then cradled Eddie, hooked the second rope, but referee Randy Anderson caught him.
After Benoit argued with Anderson and placed Eddie on the top turnbuckle, Eddie pushed Benoit down to the mat, hit a corkscrew frog splash, and got the pin.
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
For those unaware, Tombstone was portrayed by Al Poling a.k.a. 911 from ECW.
According to Schiavone, Madusa will face Akira Hokuto for the WCW Women’s title at Starrcade.
After giving Tombstone a shoulder block, Luger clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
He then leaped from the apron and delivered a double axe handle.
Back in the ring, Tombstone clotheslined Luger and slammed him.
Following an elbow drop, he got 2.
He then gave Luger a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
After a pair of clotheslines, Luger nailed Tombstone with a flying forearm.
He then hooked the Torture Rack and got the submission.
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
Mysterio reversed a cross-corner whip, but JL vaulted him. Mysterio kept his balance and gave him a flying headscissors.
After Mysterio flipped over the top rope to the apron, JL dropkicked him to the floor.
JL then attempted a plancha but came up empty with a SPLAT.
According to Schiavone, Mysterio will face Jushin “Thunder” Liger at Starrcade.
Meanwhile, Mysterio leaped from the apron and gave JL a huracanrana.
After JL missed a shoulder block from the apron, Mysterio delivered a springboard leg drop for 2. Nifty!
JL then reversed an Irish whip and delivered a sitout powerbomb for 2.
After a backbreaker by JL, Mysterio came back with a springboard moonsault for 2.
JL responded with a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
Upon giving Mysterio a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, JL whipped him into the corner and SQUISHED him.
He then gave Mysterio a cross-corner whip but came up empty as Mysterio floated to the apron.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered another flying headscissors.
With JL on the floor, Mysterio hit a tope suicida. Woohoo!
Back in the ring, after a leap frog, JL face-planted Mysterio.
He then hooked la magistral cradle but only got 2.
After a slam, JL mounted the top turnbuckle, got caught, and received a superhuracanrana.
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
Oh criminy! Goober’s back!
After a leg sweep, Glacier only got a 1-count.
Parker came back with a cross-corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
Glacier then placed Parker atop the top turnbuckle and booted him all the way down to the floor.
He then joined and gave Parker a series of kicks on the floor.
After a leap frog, Glacier hooked an inverted snap mare and followed with a thrust kick.
Parker then reversed a cross-corner whip and caught Glacier.
However, Glacier escaped, nailed Parker with another thrust kick, and delivered a tilt-a-whirl pancake. Innovative!
He then hit the Cryonic kick but only got 2.
A second Cryonic kick got the pin.
Summary: For those unaware, Parker was the head trainer at the WCW Power Plant. If HE couldn’t make Glacier look reasonable, nobody could.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
Buy the shirt! Send it to Rock Star Gary. Make it an XL.
THE PRECEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER.
Match 5: Public Enemy versus the French Canadians (w/ Colonel Parker)
As you would expect, Public Enemy brought a table to the ring with them.
While the Canadians butcher the Canadian national anthem, Public Enemy used their WCW skull caps to blind them. I think these guys took the term skullduggery too literally.
They then whipped the Canadians into one another and gave Ouellet a double clothesline.
Upon bringing Rougeau in the hard way, Public Enemy gave him a double shot to the midsection.
As Grunge placed Rougeau on the table, Ouellet made Rock taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like Blind Willie’s Buffalo chicken at the Rookery.
While the Canadians double-teamed Grunge, Parker put the boots to Rock.
The Canadians then hit a bear hug/seated senton move on Grunge for a 1-count.
Ouellet tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a leg drop as Rougeau had Grunge hooked in a Boston crab.
He then placed Public Enemy’s table atop the top turnbuckle, mounted it, but Rock disrupted their Quebec crash attempt.
With the table already broken, Public Enemy smashed it in Ouellet’s face.
Referee Scott Dickinson called for the bell disqualifying Public Enemy.
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)
Rogers hit an elbow drop and chased after Hart.
Konnan then hit a slow-motion version of Mysterio’s tope suicida.
He then returned to the apron to dropkick Rogers.
Next, he sent Rogers into the steps and gave him a seated dropkick.
When Patrick prevented Konnan from throwing a punch, Rogers nailed Konnan.
He then scratched at Konnan’s eyes, but Patrick basically ignored it.
While Hart distracted Patrick, Rogers choked Konnan with a bandana.
He then tossed Konnan over the top rope to the floor.
Shortly after, Rogers delivered a clothesline, came off the ropes, but Hart tripped him.
Patrick then ejected Hart.
Konnan came back with a somersault clothesline followed by a dropkick.
Deliberately, he tossed Rogers over the top rope.
Patrick called for the bell disqualifying Konnan.
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
After a leap frog by Malenko, Regal avoided a monkey flip by using a cartwheel.
He then gave Malenko an enziguri.
Meanwhile, Sonny Onoo came to the ring with his camera.
When he took referee Mark Curtis’ picture, Curtis ejected him. It’s a daily double!
Shortly after, Malenko gave Regal a belly-to-back suplex.
Malenko then gave Regal a cross-corner whip followed by a dropkick.
After giving Malenko a head butt to the midsection, Regal attempted a Boston crab, but Malenko flipped out of it.
Malenko then attempted the Texas Cloverleaf, but Regal made the ropes.
When Regal gave Malenko a cross-corner whip, he ate a mule kick on his follow-through.
After Malenko leap-frogged Regal, the latter dropkicked Malenko in the back.
He then gave Malenko a butterfly suplex for 2.
After another cross-corner whip by Regal, Malenko floated over and gave him a German suplex.
Tenay then mentioned the 10-minute rule for TV title matches. Cue ominous music.
Upon giving Regal a brainbuster, the bell rang.
Time limit draw.
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
According to Schiavone, Jarrett will face Benoit in a no-DQ match at Starrcade.
After Rick reversed a cross-corner whip, he caught and rammed Jarrett back-first into the turnbuckle.
He then delivered an elbow drop.
Next, he gave Jarrett a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Jarrett then mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a clothesline.
Rick then reversed an Irish whip and gave Jarrett an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
Abruptly, nWo Sting came to the ring as Jarrett tossed Rick outside the ring.
When nWo Sting tried to give Jarrett the Scorpion death drop, Rick gave him a Steinerline.
Jarrett then covered nWo Sting, and referee Randy Anderson actually counted the pin.
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)
New music for Helmsley debuted as he entered to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, 4th Movement. You can’t say you don’t learn anything from my reflections.
According to Ross, this match has no-DQ/no-countout stipulations.
After Helmsley made his entrance, Goldust and Marlena came through the Tampa faithful to distract Helmsley. They then sat down under a golden spotlight.
Upon giving Helmsley a cross-corner whip, Mero followed with a back drop.
A second cross-corner whip by Mero resulted in a Helmsley flip.
Mero then gave Helmsley a pair of rights sending him over the top rope to the floor.
Uncharacteristically, Mero then chased after Lawler.
After Lawler ran backstage, Helmsley ambushed Mero outside the ring.
Upon slamming Mero on the floor, Helmsley grabbed a chair but remembered the DQ stipulation. Smart!
Back in the ring, as Mero received a cross-corner whip, he floated over Helmsley and gave him an arm drag.
Mero then gave Helmsley a cross-corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
That resulted in a Helmsley flop.
Helmsley then used momentum to send Mero outside the ring.
Upon Mero’s return, Helmsley tossed him over the top rope to the floor again.
According to Ross, Goldust will meet the IC champion at the Royal Rumble.
Helmsley then followed with a baseball slide.
He then joined and rammed Mero face-first into the steps.
While Mero was on the apron, Helmsley guillotined him using the top rope.
After a shoulder block, Mero re-entered the ring via a sunset flip and got 2.
Helmsley then attempted a somersault rollup and got 2 as Mero bridged out.
He then hooked a backslide and got 2.
Helmsley responded with a clothesline.
During a commercial break, an ad for WWF: Full Metal aired.
Afterward, Helmsley delivered a delayed vertical suplex followed by a knee drop for 2.
Mero came back with a flying headscissors and a knee lift.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick for 2. Woohoo!
Next, he gave Helmsley another cross-corner whip and delivered a Samoan drop.
Again, he mounted the top turnbuckle but missed the Merosault.
Helmsley then hit the Pedigree.
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)
To better the babyface reaction for Maivia, Sincere adopted Cornette as a manager.
For those interested, Vince shilled the first ever Shotgun Saturday Night premiering on January 4.
After a leap frog, Maivia hip-tossed Sincere over the top rope to the floor.
According to Vince, RAW will be LIVE next week with Goldust facing Lawler.
After Sincere gave Maivia a cross-corner whip, Maivia leaped to the top turnbuckle and delivered a fist drop.
Following a dropkick, Maivia gave Sincere a cross-corner whip, but Sincere floated over him.
Sincere then gave Maivia a sidewalk slam for a 1-count.
He then delivered a cross-corner whip resulting in a sternum-first bump by Maivia.
Next, he gave Maivia a clothesline followed by a fist drop.
He then gave Maivia a jawbreaker as Sunny showed concern.
After a slam, Sincere hit another fist drop.
Upon clotheslining Maivia, Sincere delivered a side Russian leg sweep for 2.
Maivia came back with a clothesline as Ross subtly disparaged WCW.
After Sincere reversed an Irish whip, Maivia delivered a SWEET floatover DDT.
He then gave Sincere the shoulder breaker for the pin.
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
As the match began, Mil Mascaras joined the Spanish broadcast table for this match.
After missing a clothesline, Pierroth botched a leap frog but gave Cassidy a hip toss.
Upon delivering a flying forearm, Pierroth gave Cassidy a dropkick.
Cibernetico tagged in and countered a hip toss with an arm drag.
After Cibernetico gave Cassidy a dropkick, Jannetty tagged in and distracted referee Mike Chioda so that Cassidy could clothesline Cibernetico.
Upon giving Cibernetico a cross-corner whip, Jannetty delivered a fist drop for 2.
Cassidy tagged in, and the Rockers gave Cibernetico a double clothesline.
After a commercial break, Cibernetico executed a sunset flip but only got 2 on Cassidy.
Upon slamming Cibernetico, Cassidy mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
Pierroth tagged in, delivered a dropkick, and powerbombed Jannetty for 2 thanks to a save by Cassidy.
After Cibernetico nailed Cassidy sending him between the ropes to the floor, he hit Cassidy with a tope suicida.
In the ring, Pierroth slammed Jannetty, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a splash.
Pierroth and Cibernetico won.
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
After Ramon missed a clothesline, Bret hit a cross body block for 2.
Ramon came back with a knee drop for 2.
He then gave Bret a HARD cross-corner whip injuring Bret’s back.
Next, he held a standing choke and nailed Bret in the back of the head sending him between the ropes to the floor.
Ramon joined and nailed him.
However, Bret reversed an Irish whip sending Ramon back-first into the steps.
Bret then made Ramon taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Snapper in Paradise at Whiskey Joe’s.
He then whipped Ramon into the steps and made him taste the steel railing once again. Um, waiter, can you please give the greaseball imitation wrestler some jammin’ jerk chicken too please?
Prior to the commercial break, Bret rammed Ramon face-first into the ring post. Perhaps Ramon will blade?
Afterward, Bret delivered a bulldog, mounted the second turnbuckle, and hit an elbow drop.
He then applied the Sharpshooter for the submission.
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.