Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby ‘The Brain” Heenan, and “Iron” Mike Tenay
Post-Starrcade madness or Pre-Royal Rumble attitude? What’s your pleasure? Read on!
Outside the arena, a pair of black limousines stops outside the arena as the nWo emerges feeling like they’re “stronger than ever.” Notwithstanding, Giant informs Hogan that not only is his name still on the World title belt but also since he won World War III he earned a title shot. A listless Hogan describes Giant’s win as a “bye” and tells him not to “drop the ball again.”
Tony and Larry discuss/oversell the stills from the Luger-Giant match at Starrcade.
Match 1: Public Enemy versus the Amazing French Canadians (w/ Colonel Parker)
Do I have to watch this?
As you would expect, Public Enemy brought a table with them to the ring.
All four wrestlers brawled at the start until Rock gave Rougeau a back drop.
Public Enemy then gave Ouellet a double back drop followed by a double clothesline.
When the Canadians attempted to leave, Public Enemy chased after them and nailed them with the Quebecois flags.
They then whipped Ouellet shoulder-first into the steps.
After ramming Rougeau face-first into the table, Public Enemy attempted the drive-by, but Rougeau escaped causing Grunge to land through the table.
Back in the ring, the Canadians delivered the Quebec Crash to Rock.
The Canadians won.
Summary: This gets nothing and likes it. Hopefully in 1997, Nitro neither contains Public Enemy or Amazing French Canadians matches.
Prior to the next match, we get stills from the Mysterio-Liger and the Ultimo Dragon-Malenko matches.
Match 2 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Ultimo Dragon (champion w/ Sonny Onoo) versus Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Liger reversed an Irish whip and gave Ultimo Dragon a back drop. However, Ultimo Dragon landed on his feet like a cat.
Well, maybe not THAT cat.
After a pair of double clotheslines resulted in a stalemate, Liger gave Ultimo Dragon a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
He then hooked a surfboard, but Ultimo Dragon wouldn’t submit.
Next, Liger delivered a handspring elbow for 2.
After a somersault senton, Liger got another 2.
Upon giving Ultimo Dragon a powerbomb, Liger attempted another tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Ultimo Dragon escaped and delivered one of his own.
When Liger sought refuge outside the ring, Ultimo Dragon gave him a tope suicida. Woohoo!
He then whipped Liger back-first into the steel railing.
Back in the ring, Ultimo Dragon slammed Liger, mounted the top turnbuckle, but ate boot on the way down.
Liger then delivered a brainbuster for 2.
As he placed Ultimo Dragon on the top turnbuckle, he delivered a superplex for another 2.
Ultimo Dragon then reversed a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
When Liger mounted the second turnbuckle, Ultimo Dragon joined and gave Liger a super huracanrana. Wow!
He then hooked the tiger suplex and pinned Liger.
Ultimo Dragon retained.
Summary: Surprisingly, the Knoxville faithful were asleep during this cruiserweight high-flying exhibition. Those ingrates!
Match 3 (strap): Konnan versus Big Bubba Rogers Michael Wallstreet
Instead of Rogers, Wallstreet stepped in for his nWo comrade.
After securing a corner, Wallstreet mounted the top turnbuckle but ate boot on the way down.
Konnan then yelled “Dungeon of Doom” and gave Wallstreet a somersault clothesline.
He then missed a clothesline, but Wallstreet didn’t.
Upon tying Konnan in a hangman, Wallstreet secured three corners while Konnan tagged them too.
As Wallstreet nailed him, Konnan fell back hitting the fourth corner.
Summary: Worst strap match EVER. This show has had a frenetic pace, and the quality of the wrestling is being tremendously sacrificed. Hopefully, the quality improves going forward.
Hogan and Bischoff then make their way to the ring and lie about beating Piper last night. Scratch what I said about quality improvement. This ain’t it.
Match 4: Kensuke Sasaki (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus Hugh Morrus
After neither wrestler could take the other off his feet, a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
When Onoo distracted Morrus, Sasake gave Morrus a vertical suplex for 2.
Morrus then delivered a clothesline for 2.
Upon giving Sasake a cross-corner whip, Morrus gave him an avalanche.
Bischoff then interrupted the broadcast and informed Tony and Larry that the finish to the Hogan-Piper match from Starrcade will not be shown because he has the master tape.
In the ring, Sasake delivered a clothesline for 2.
He then reversed an Irish whip and gave Morrus a powerslam.
After a regular slam, Sasake mounted the top turnbuckle but missed the big elbow.
Morrus then slammed him, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit the No Laughing Matter.
Before referee Scott Dickinson could count to three, Onoo came into the ring and nailed Morrus with the Japanese flag. I think someone missed his cue.
Regardless, Dickinson called for the bell disqualifying Sasake.
Summary: Despite the moonsault, this match was G-A-R-B-A-G-E.
After the match, Morrus tries to grab Onoo, but the latter escapes.
Next, stills from the Hogan-Piper match are shown.
On WCW Saturday Night, US champion Eddie Guerrero faces Dean Malenko. Also, Lord Steven Regal defends the World TV title against Ice Train. Tune into the muthaship! It’s gotta be better than this dreck.
Match 5: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) versus Faces of Fear
While Stevie Ray threw punches at Meng in the corner, Tony shilled nWo Souled Out live on PPV on 1/25.
Stevie Ray then gave Meng a cross-corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
Meng came back with a clothesline and tagged in Barbarian.
When Booker T tagged in, Harlem Heat gave Barbarian a midsection shot/Harlem sidekick combo.
After a leg lariat, Booker T got 2 on Barbarian.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle, got caught, and received a top rope overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Where was that last night?
Meng tagged in and gave Booker T a backbreaker for 2.
Stevie Ray tagged in and gave Meng a back drop followed by a clothesline.
Suddenly, Colonel Parker came to the ring to SPANK Sherri. Kinky!
When Sherri tackled Parker, Stevie Ray gave Meng a powerslam.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t get a count because referee Mark Curtis was tied up with Barbarian and Booker T.
Rougeau then came to the ring and threw black powder in Stevie Ray’s eyes. It left a big black spot in the ring that remained throughout the show.
Meng then gave Stevie Ray a Mafia kick.
While Barbarian distracted Curtis, Booker T mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, and nailed Meng. Methinks Meng was too far away for Booker T to deliver the Harlem Hangover.
Stevie Ray made the cover, and Harlem Heat won.
Summary: I bet there’s a match between the Canadians and Harlem Heat next week due to these shenanigans. I will NOT be looking forward to that.
Valvoline sponsors the replay.
At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews DDP. When Okerlund questions him about getting screwed by the nWo last night, DDP shrugs it off, but payback should be forthcoming.
We then revisit Hogan’s edict to Giant and the Hogan/Bischoff segment. According to Tony, Piper is here TONIGHT. I’m so excited!
Match 6: Disco Inferno versus Glacier
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Are you serious?
Before the match began, Disco Inferno told Glacier to forfeit the match. He even declared Glacier “dumber than Peyton Manning.” HA!
Glacier then thwarted Disco Inferno’s lousy offense and gave him a series of kicks.
When Disco Inferno missed an elbow drop, Glacier used a double leg sweep to keep Disco Inferno down.
Believe it or not, Glacier then gave him a gutwrench suplex.
When Glacier attempted the Cryonic Kick, Disco Inferno put referee Scott Dickinson in front of him.
While Glacier politely moved Dickinson out of the way, Disco Inferno delivered a clothesline that resulted in a 360° sell. I’m flabbergasted.
He then attempted his new move (leg lock), but was confused how to apply it.
Next, he gave Glacier a swinging neckbreaker and gloated to the Knoxville faithful.
Glacier then delivered the Cryonic Kick.
Summary: Even the Disco Inferno can’t make this guy interesting.
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.
After a commercial break, stills from last night’s Jarrett-Benoit match are shown.
Match 7: The “Crippler” Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) versus “Lionheart” Chris Jericho
A spin kick by Jericho sent Benoit between the ropes to the floor.
With Benoit on the apron, Jericho delivered a springboard dropkick.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick to Benoit on the floor.
Back in the ring, Jericho attempted a leap frog, got caught, and received a guillotine on the top rope.
After giving Jericho a spinebuster, Benoit delivered an elbow drop for 2.
Jericho then hooked a backslide for 2.
After Benoit missed a chop, Jericho rolled him up for another 2.
Upon ramming Jericho face-first into the second turnbuckle, Benoit gave him the ten-punch count-along. Mind you, only a smattering of Volunteers was counting.
Jericho then countered with an inverted atomic drop followed by a superkick.
Afterward, he attempted the Lionsault but came up empty.
Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body block.
On the other hand, upon charging Benoit in the corner, Jericho came up empty.
Benoit then gave him a belly-to-back superplex.
Summary: Fast-paced match with a lot of offense, but NOTHING will wake up this sluggish crowd.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Ric Flair, Mongo & Debra McMichael, Benoit, and Woman. Where’s Arn? When Debra talks to Woman, the latter puts her in her place. Mongo takes exception by calling Woman a “skirt.” As Flair restores order, Jeff Jarrett comes out to join the party. Flair then answers the question about Arn by stating that “he’s over at the Hyatt with a Miller Lite...” As Benoit tells Jarrett that he “proved (he) can be anything but a Horseman,” Debra throws a potshot at Woman as Flair dances with her. That shoulder injury can’t heal fast enough.
Lee Marshall then delivers the 1-800-COLLECT road report from “Monroe, LA.” Hopefully, he finds a good swamp so he can stop doing these.
Partido 8 (enano): Octagoncito y Mascarita Sagrada contra Jerito Estrada y Piratita Morgan
For those who require translation, this was a dwarf tag team match.
When Estrada came up empty on a corner charge, Octagoncito gave him a hip toss.
After Octagoncito reversed a cross-corner whip, he gave Estrada a back drop.
Sagrada then dove from one of the turnbuckles and gave Estrada a splash.
When Morgan tossed Sagrada at Estrada, Sagrada hooked a sunset flip on Estrada for 2.
After Sagrada missed a dropkick, Estrada clotheslined him using the second rope.
Sagrada came back with a flying headscissors but missed a dropkick.
Estrada then gave Sagrada a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
When Estrada tried to vault Sagrada over the top turnbuckle, Sagrada performed a headstand on the top turnbuckle. HA!
He then took Estrada down with another flying headscissors.
Shortly after, Sagrada hooked a springboard sunset flip on Estrada.
Octagoncito and Sagrada won.
Summary: Lucha libre exhibition by the dwarfs probably gave the slumbering Knoxville faithful nightmares.
Hopefully, Freddy, you were not involved. Thanks for making an appearance though.
Match 9: Rey Mysterio, Jr. versus Dean Malenko
After an arm drag sent Malenko outside the ring, Mysterio gave him a flying headscissors on the floor.
Shortly after, Malenko gave Mysterio a face plant followed by a gutbuster for 2.
After a snap suplex, Malenko hooked a single leg crab, but Mysterio came back with a springboard dropkick.
Upon giving Mysterio a backbreaker, Malenko got 2.
When he tried a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Mysterio landed on top for 2.
Malenko then whipped Mysterio into the corner sternum-first.
As Mysterio gave Malenko the ten-punch count-along, Malenko vaulted Mysterio toward the corner. However, Mysterio was incapable of keeping his balance and landed awkwardly on the top rope. OUCH!
Malenko then attempted a belly-to-back superplex, but Mysterio used momentum to land on top.
Needing to recover from the earlier blown landing, Mysterio gave Malenko a hip toss.
Malenko responded with a powerbomb for 2.
Afterward, a victory roll by Mysterio got 2.
When Malenko attempted another powerbomb, Mysterio countered with a sunset flip for 2.
Malenko came back with a clothesline and a slam.
When Malenko attempted to mount the top turnbuckle, Mysterio caught him and delivered a springboard dropkick. That sent Malenko to the floor.
Mysterio then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a senton to Malenko on the floor. Unfortunately, even that couldn’t awaken the sleepy Volunteers.
Upon tossing Malenko back into the ring, Mysterio attempted the West Coast Pop, but Malenko countered with a Boston crab.
Mysterio then bridged out and hooked a somersault rollup for 2.
As Malenko reversed a cross-corner whip, he caught Mysterio during his floatover and gave him a sidewalk slam.
When Malenko attempted a figure-four leg lock, Mysterio kicked him head-first into the top turnbuckle.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered another flying headscissors.
The bell rang as the match was ruled a time-limit draw.
Summary: With each wrestler coming off a loss at the PPV, a draw neither hurt nor helped them.
Match 10: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
After giving Luger a knee lift, Valentine delivered an elbow smash.
Tony again shilled nWo Souled Out live on PPV on 1/25.
Luger then gave Valentine a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
He then gave Valentine a clothesline.
Upon attempting a second clothesline, Valentine evaded him sending Luger between the ropes to the floor.
Valentine then jumped from the apron and gave Luger another elbow smash.
With Luger on the apron, Valentine attempted to suplex him back in.
On the other hand, Luger escaped and hooked the Torture Rack for the submission victory.
Summary: Showcase match for Luger.
After a commercial break, Piper comes out, and the Knoxville faithful finally wakes up with a “Rod-dy” chant. He then declares himself “the ICON.” While he states that Starrcade was his last match, Hogan and Bischoff storm the ring. Hogan then brings up Piper’s family causing Piper to want to “do it one more time.”
Suddenly, Hall, Nash, and Syxx hit the ring to nail Piper. As Giant traipses toward the ring, the nWo gives Piper a shoulder breaker on Norton’s knee. With litter all over the ring, Hogan WALLOPS Piper’s hip with a chair followed by telling Giant to chokeslam Piper.
When Giant refuses and releases Piper, Hogan tells him that he “dropped the ball again.” As the EMTs bring out a stretcher for Piper, Hogan slaps Giant who responds by prepping Hogan for a chokeslam while holding off the rest of the nWo. While Piper speaks in gibberish on the stretcher on his way backstage, Giant coerces Hogan to get his World title shot. Ultimately, Hogan acquiesces and shakes Giant’s hand.
As Hogan leaves the ring, he tells the rest of the nWo to “get him.” Bagwell leaps from the top rope, but Giant shrugs him off. After Vincent tries but fails miserably, nWo Sting attempts a dropkick but gets swatted away. Giant then chokeslams him, but the nWo overpowers him. As Hogan returns to the ring, he nails Giant with the World title belt. He then taunts and slaps Giant while Piper leaves the arena in an ambulance.
Conclusion: So WCW puts great wrestling on PPV but sacrifices it dearly on Nitro. This show was more skippable than the Skipper himself. What’s on RAW?
TV Rating: 3.50
WWF Monday Night RAW
Live from Albany, NY
Airdate: December 30, 1996
Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Bret mentions Michaels’ excuses as Michaels refers to himself as a degenerate. They will trade banter face-to-face TONIGHT! I smell something…
Prior to the first match, we revisit Superstars as Jason Ahmdt and Eddie Jackie receive medical assistance after being pummeled by Austin. Earlier on the show, they defeated Austin in a handicap match.
Match 1: Stone Cold Steve Austin & Faarooq (w/ Clarence Mason & PG-13) versus Savio Vega & Jesse James
As James sang during his entrance, Austin ambushed him. He must HATE that tune.
Vega came out to even the odds.
He then whipped Austin back-first into the steps.
Austin came back and guillotined Vega using the top rope.
After a clothesline by Austin, Faarooq tagged in and gave Vega a spinebuster for 2.
He then gave Vega a cross-corner whip but ate knees on his follow-through.
Upon a second charge, he ate boot. Perhaps he’s famished tonight.
Vega then delivered a leg lariat for 2 as Bret watched the match backstage on a monitor.
When Austin tagged in, he stomped Vega down to the mat.
Vega came back with an inside cradle for 2, but Austin responded with a clothesline for 2.
He then gave Vega a cross-corner whip but received a leg lariat during his follow-through.
As Austin held Vega by the ankle, Vega gave him an enziguri.
Hot tag James.
After giving Austin a flying forearm, James delivered a bulldog for 2.
Faarooq tagged in, but James reversed an Irish whip and gave him a back drop.
On the other hand, when he attempted a clothesline, Faarooq ducked sending James over the top rope to the floor.
While Vega and Faarooq distracted referee Earl Hebner, Austin gave James a chop block outside the ring.
Suddenly, Bret came to the ring to check on James and badmouth Austin.
After a commercial break, Bret substituted for James despite not wearing his gear.
Vega then gave Faarooq a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
Shortly after, Vega countered a side headlock with a jawbreaker.
Austin tagged in as Vince shilled the Royal Rumble on 1/19.
After Austin and Vega brawled, Vega attempted a splash but ate knees.
Upon giving Vega a forearm smash, Austin got 2.
Faarooq tagged in and gave Vega a powerslam for another 2.
As Farooq stood over Vega, the latter stood up and gave Faarooq an electric chair.
Hot tag Bret.
After he gave Faarooq an inverted atomic drop, Bret delivered a side Russian leg sweep.
Upon mounting the second turnbuckle, he delivered an elbow smash.
When he applied the Sharpshooter, Crush entered the ring and hit Bret with a double axe handle.
Hebner called for the bell disqualifying Faarooq and Austin.
Summary: This was meant as a teaser to have both Bret and Austin in the same match without much contact.
After the match, the Nation of Domination along with Austin destroy Bret and Vega until Ahmed Johnson runs in with a 2x4. Instead of at the Royal Rumble, Johnson wants Faarooq NOW. He then gets the Albany faithful to chant “you’re going down.” That was more thrilling than the match.
Promo airs for Royal Rumble…3 weeks away.
Prior to the next match, Helmsley cuts a promo on Funk from backstage and threatens to show Marlena what a “real man” is like after the Royal Rumble. He’s going to introduce her to this guy?
RAW is sponsored by RAW Magazine.
Match 2 (non-title): WWF Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley versus Flash Funk
Why yes, Felicia, the Funkettes escorted Funk to the ring. Thanks for asking.
Before Helmsley made his entrance, Goldust and Marlena came through the crowd to watch the match.
Since Helmsley was distracted by Goldust, Funk gave him a cross-corner whip followed by a back drop.
After giving Helmsley a leg lariat, Funk delivered a standing moonsault for 2.
When Helmsley reversed a cross-corner whip, Funk leaped to the second turnbuckle, attempted a cross body block, but came up empty.
then delivered a clothesline and tossed Funk outside the ring.
Funk then leaped over the top rope to re-enter the ring, rolled up Helmsley with a bridge, and got 2.
Helmsley then gave Funk a hangman’s neckbreaker for 2.
He then hooked a vertical suplex, but Funk came back with a cross body block for 2.
During a commercial break, an ad for WWF: Full Metal aired.
Afterward, Funk escaped an abdominal stretch with a hip toss but ate knees when attempting a splash.
Upon giving Funk a knee drop, Helmsley got 2.
Vince then shilled Shotgun Saturday Night airing this coming Saturday.
After Helmsley delivered a vertical suplex, he mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a fist drop for 2.
Shortly after, Funk gave Helmsley a belly-to-back suplex as Lawler cut a promo on Goldust.
Funk then mounted the top turnbuckle, hit a flying body press, and got 2.
When Funk gave Helmsley a cross-corner whip, it resulted in a Helmsley flip.
Funk then slammed Helmsley, remounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a moonsault for 2.
While the Goldust-Lawler shenanigans continued, Funk clotheslined Helmsley over the top rope to the floor.
Since referee Mike Chioda was involved with Lawler, Helmsley WALLOPED Funk with the IC title belt. SNEAKY!
Summary: Because the Albany crowd was bored with the match, Lawler woke them up going after Goldust. Anything for ratings, right?
After the match, Goldust comes to ringside as Lawler backs away. When Helmsley saunters after Goldust, Funk catches him, tosses him back in the ring, gives him a cross-corner whip, and delivers an avalanche. After a slam, Funk mounts the top turnbuckle and hits the 450° splash.
Promo for WWF Shotgun Saturday Night aired.
A plug for the WWF Holiday Hell Tour then aired:
1/3 in San Diego, CA
1/4 in Stockton, CA
1/5 in Los Angeles, CA
1/6 in Fresno, CA
1/10 in San Jose, CA
1/11 in Anaheim, CA
1/12 in Las Vegas, NV
1/13 in El Paso, TX
In the ring, Jim Ross interviews the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Bret “Hitman” Hart. When Ross mentions that Bret will face Vader next week on RAW, Michaels swears that he won’t interfere. Bret then calls out Michaels for his attitude and disrespect and claims he was “screwed” out of the WWF title last year at WrestleMania XII. As Bret mentioned Michaels’ pictorial in Playgirl Magazine, he doesn’t believe that “girls buy that magazine.” He then states that sometime in the future when the two go face-to-face, he “will kick (Michaels’) ass.”
Michaels responds by stating that Bret is no role model on the road. Well, Bret did back that up in his book. Regardless, WWF Champion Sycho Sid comes to the ring and wants “real competition.” Suddenly, Undertaker’s gong rings as he makes his way to the ring. Vader then ambushes Undertaker from behind. After Undertaker puts Vader down, he stands face-to-face with Sid. Afterward, Michaels crotches Bret in the ropes and leaps at Sid. They then brawl in the aisle until officials separate them.
Promo for Royal Rumble live on PPV on 1/19.
The Starburst Fruit Twists Rewind is the Ahmed Johnson run-in with the 2x4 scattering the Nation of Domination from the ring.
Match 3: Goldust (w/ Marlena) versus Jerry “The King” Lawler
To take Lawler’s place, both Honkytonk Man and Helmsley sat at the broadcast table.
While Goldust was distracted by Helmsley, Lawler leaped from the apron and gave him a double axe handle.
In the ring, Lawler gave Goldust a back elbow, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a fist drop.
As the Albany faithful chanted “Burger King,” Marlena blew smoke in Lawler’s face.
Goldust then delivered a lariat followed by a fist drop as Helmsley left the broadcast table to saunter after Marlena.
He then picked her up and took her down the aisle until “Wildman” Marc Mero stood in his path.
When Goldust charged after Marlena, Helmsley tossed her to Mero. Goldust then ran over both of them like a locomotive.
Helmsley then made Goldust taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Barnyard Tango at O’Toole’s.
Abruptly, referee Jack Doan called for the bell as Lawler won by count-out.
Summary: More angle than match as the WWF stirs the pot between Goldust and Helmsley.
After the match, Helmsley finishes with Goldust and clocks Mero as Marlena writhes in pain in the aisle.
Conclusion: While very angle-driven, RAW did a great job selling both the Royal Rumble PPV and its matches. Also, the “attitude” is starting to make its way onto the program in small doses. Can that contribute to a ratings victory?
TV Rating: 1.60 (Astonishing)
Who won? Hell no! Despite Nitro stinking up TNT for 2 hours, it destroyed RAW by almost 2 points. While Nitro has nothing scheduled for next week, Bret faces Vader on RAW. Can WCW’s streak continue?