Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby ‘The Brain” Heenan, and “Iron” Mike Tenay
Can Nitro redeem itself for the piss-poor effort displayed last week? What can RAW do to garner more wrestling viewership? Let’s find out!
Match 1: Glacier versus “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 1997 was beginning the way 1996 ended. Yikes!
After a hip toss, Glacier delivered an arm drag.
He then botched a leap frog as Eaton collapsed to the mat in a heap. Sigh.
After a reverse enziguri, Glacier slammed Eaton.
He then delivered the Cryonic kick, but Eaton was in the ropes.
After a successful leap frog, Glacier hit a superkick.
Summary: Get this amateur off my screen! He’s not over, and he sucks.
We then revisit Nitro from three weeks ago when Rogers joined the nWo. Next, we revisit Nitro from two week ago as Konnan dropkicked Rogers. We then revisit last week’s show when Rogers no-showed, and Wallstreet had to take his place. To say he didn’t win would be the lone bright spot of that match.
Match 2 (Mexican strap): Konnan (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Big Bubba Rogers
How will this match compare to last week’s dreck?
As Schiavone shilled nWo Souled Out on 1/25 live on PPV, Rogers clotheslined Konnan.
He then whipped Konnan with the strap and slammed him.
When Rogers came off the ropes, Hart grabbed his ankle.
That allowed Konnan to take Rogers off his feet and whip him.
After Rogers touched three corners, Konnan impeded his progress by jumping on his back.
Rogers then delivered another clothesline and tied Konnan’s hands together with the strap.
While Konnan gave Rogers a pair of double axe handles, he whipped Rogers again.
Upon giving Rogers a low blow with the strap, Konnan touched three corners before Rogers temporarily prevented him.
He then nailed Konnan who fell into the fourth corner to win the match.
After the match, Rogers gives Konnan the Bubba Spike (Bossman slam).
In the locker room, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the Taskmaster who cuts a promo on Benoit. When Okerlund tries to pry about a mysterious person, Taskmaster shies away.
After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews the Four Horsemen at the entrance. Those are some fast feet, Gene. However, neither Benoit nor Woman is present. As Flair sings Okerlund’s name, he praises Benoit’s prowess with Woman. Afterward, to a chorus of boos, Debra states that Woman “is as ugly as grandpa’s toenails.” Ick. She then touts Jeff Jarrett who comes out to take Benoit’s place supposedly. Arn refutes his claim, but Jarrett’s calls him “the horses’ rear.” Rightfully, Arn nails Jarrett from behind.
Match 3: The “Enforcer” Arn Anderson versus Jeff Jarrett
After he tossed Jarrett into the ring, Arn gave Jarrett a back elbow.
As the Monroe faithful chanted “D-D-T,” Arn tossed Jarrett between the ropes to the floor.
He then joined and rammed Jarrett face-first into the cameraman podium.
Back in the ring, Jarrett came back with a swinging neckbreaker. No! Not Arn’s neck!
Summary: Impromptu “match” to further the Horseman drama.
After the match, as Flair questions Debra’s motives, the McMichaels put the fun in dysfunctional for the Horsemen. After a few minutes, Flair settles things by agreeing with the McMichaels. On the other hand, Arn storms off as the soap opera continues.
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.
On WCW Saturday Night, Mysterio faces Chavo Guerrero, Regal wrestles Psicosis, and another epic (**cough**) encounter between the Amazing French Canadians and Harlem Heat. Don’t miss it!
As DDP’s music plays, he doesn’t appear. Hmmm…
Match 4 for the WCW World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus ???
Regal sported new music as he made his entrance to “Trumpet Voluntary.” Was he getting married? A quick fact check says no as he had been married over ten years at this point in his life. In fact, he’s still married to the same woman. Congrats!
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan took DDP’s place as the Monroe faithful loved him due to his Mid-South wrestling roots.
Suddenly, Nash, Syxx, and Bischoff overtook the broadcast table.
After Duggan gave him a series of clotheslines, Regal sought refuge outside the ring.
To explain both Hall and DDP’s absences, Nash states they’re out to dinner together. Uh huh.
While Regal gave Duggan a forearm shot that sent him between the ropes to the floor, Nash shilled the nWo PPV.
Upon Duggan’s return, he reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a back drop.
After Duggan gave him a clothesline, Regal sought refuge outside the ring again.
While Nash requested “no fat chicks” and Syxx requested no “heinous broads” for their Miss nWo pageant at the PPV, Duggan slammed Regal and got 2. Misogyny is alive and well in the nWo.
Regal came back with a knee lift as Nash made Labor Day softball jokes.
When Duggan gave Regal a cross-corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
Upon giving Duggan an elbow drop, Regal got 2.
Bischoff then instructed “Macho Man” Randy Savage to find employment elsewhere. Wow!
After Duggan gave Regal another cross-corner whip, Regal applied the brakes only to cause a mid-ring collision.
Duggan then pulled out the athletic tape and KO’d Regal.
Abruptly, the bell rang. Once again, a 10-minute match didn’t quite reach ten minutes.
Summary: I think someone yelled “Go home” to Duggan, so he did. D’oh!
After the match, referee Mark Curtis gives an unconscious Regal his belt. Duggan then grabs the WCW flag and waves it for the Monroe faithful.
Match 5: Hugh Morrus versus Jim Powers (w/ Teddy Long)
Does anybody want some juice?
Not THAT kind of juice!
Powers reversed a cross-corner whip and followed with a hip toss.
After a slam, Powers clotheslined Morrus but couldn’t take him off his feet.
When he tried a second time, Morrus flattened him with his own clothesline.
He then gave Powers a cross-corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
Powers then mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a lariat for 2.
Upon giving Morrus a shot to the midsection, Powers gave him a knee lift.
He then delivered a dropkick and attempted a cross body block.
However, Morrus caught and powerslammed him.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the No Laughing Matter.
Summary: Stark contrast in crowd appeal between the previous match and this one.
PEPBOYS sponsors the replay.
We then revisit the highlights of hour #1 involving the Horsemen.
Match 6: Psicosis versus Rey Mysterio, Jr.
As Mysterio attempted a hip toss, Psicosis hip-tossed him over the top rope to the floor.
Psicosis then attempted a springboard moonsault but botched it BIG TIME.
Both wrestlers splattered on the floor. THAT WAS UGLY!
Upon tossing Psicosis back into the ring, Mysterio attempted a springboard maneuver, but Psicosis caught him in mid-air with a dropkick.
Mysterio then reversed a cross-corner whip, but Psicosis floated over and clotheslined him. That resulted in a 360° sell. Woohoo!
Psicosis then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a spinning leg lariat for 2.
When Mysterio contemplated seeking refuge by sticking his head between the ropes, Psicosis guillotined him using the bottom rope.
With Mysterio on the floor, Psicosis gave him a baseball slide.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle, lost his balance, remounted it, leaped, but ate the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Mickey Finn at Enoch’s.
With Psicosis on the floor, Mysterio delivered a somersault senton.
After tossing Psicosis back into the ring, Mysterio hit a springboard moonsault for 2.
He then hooked a victory roll for another 2.
After Tenay informed us that Liger beat Ultimo Dragon for the J-Crown championship, Schiavone shilled Clash XXXIV on 1/21 live on TBS.
After a slam, Psicosis mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the guillotine leg drop, but only got 2.
Upon clotheslining Mysterio using the top rope, he gave Mysterio a powerbomb for another 2 because Mysterio put his foot on the bottom rope.
Schiavone then informed us that the Outsiders will defend the WCW World tag team titles at nWo Souled Out against the Steiners.
Upon countering a second powerbomb, Mysterio rolled up Psicosis and almost got 3.
After baiting Psicosis to miss a high-risk move, Mysterio delivered the West Coast Pop.
Summary: Even the Monroe faithful stood up to cheer for that finish. Bravo, gentlemen!
Prior to the next match, we revisit Starrcade when Syxx beat up Eddie and stole the US belt. Methinks this was supposed to be a different video.
Match 7: The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Chavo Guerrero, Jr.
After Taskmaster tossed Chavo outside the ring, Chavo mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick knocking both Taskmaster and Hart down.
As Chavo brawled with Taskmaster, the balsa wood chair shot from Starrcade was shown. Yep, I was right.
When Taskmaster tossed Chavo outside the ring, he joined and rammed Chavo face-first into the steps.
He then rammed him face-first into the cameraman podium.
After making Chavo HIT THE POLE, he tied Chavo to the Tree of Woe.
He then gave Chavo the double stomp and got the pin.
Summary: Showcase match for Taskmaster.
After a commercial break, we revisit last week’s show when the nWo attacked Piper. As the EMTs brought Piper to the ambulance, he continued to spout his gibberish.
Prior to the next match, we again revisit Syxx’s beating of Eddie and stealing the US belt. Uh huh.
Match 8 for the WCW US title: Eddie Guerrero (champion) versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright
According to Schiavone, Eddie will defend the US title against Syxx in a ladder match at the nWo PPV.
After a leap frog by Wright, Eddie gave him a flying headscissors.
Upon swatting away an Eddie dropkick, Wright gave him a pair of flying headscissors followed by a dropkick.
Eddie came back with a leg lariat, slam, and springboard senton for 2.
Wright then reversed an Irish whip and delivered a clothesline for 2.
While Wright held a reverse chinlock, Syxx set up a ladder in the aisle while wearing the US belt.
When Syxx distracted Eddie, Wright rolled the latter up for 2.
He then followed with a dropkick and a snap suplex with a bridge for another 2.
After giving Eddie a backbreaker, Wright almost got 3.
He then gave Eddie a cross-corner whip but got vaulted to the apron.
Wright then mounted the top turnbuckle, hooked a sunset flip, and got 2.
After hooking a belly-to-belly suplex, Wright got another 2.
He then gave Eddie another cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
Eddie then delivered a belly-to-back suplex.
As Wright reversed an Irish whip, he gave Eddie a spinning heel kick.
Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle.
Afterward, he gave Eddie a Northern lights suplex for 2.
When he attempted to mount the top turnbuckle again, he got caught and received a top rope superplex. Woohoo!
Following that, he mounted the adjacent top turnbuckle and hit the frog splash.
Summary: I didn’t think they’d one-up the Mysterio-Psicosis match, but Wright brought the goods here.
After the match, Eddie chases after Syxx for his belt.
Lee Marshall then delivers the 1-800-COLLECT road report from “New Orleans, LA.” I was hoping he had too many hurricanes and jambalaya to supply this, but I’m out of luck.
Match 9: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) versus the Amazing French Canadians
Did I call this from last week or what? Let’s hope it’s quick.
The teams brawled at the onset, and Harlem Heat gave Rougeau a double vertical suplex.
After a powerslam by Stevie Ray, Booker T tagged in and gave Rougeau a leg lariat.
As Booker T missed an elbow drop, he gave us the spinaroonie albeit three years before it got a name.
He then delivered the Harlem sidekick as Parker got up on the apron.
With Booker T distracted, Ouellet clotheslined him. That resulted in a 360° sell. Woohoo! Daily double!
While Sherri continued to distract referee Scott Dickinson, Ouellet tossed Booker T outside the ring.
After Parker put the boots to Booker T, Rougeau rammed the latter shoulder-first into the steps.
Shortly after, the Canadians gave Booker T a double stungun.
Rougeau then gave Booker T a piledriver and tagged in Ouellet.
As Rougeau applied a Boston crab, Ouellet delivered a guillotine leg drop. That only got 2 thanks to a save by Stevie Ray.
While Stevie Ray distracted Dickinson, Ouellet brought the flag into the ring to nail Booker T.
Instead, he WALLOPED Rougeau by mistake. Oops.
Harlem Heat then gave Rougeau the Heat Bomb (powerbomb/elbow drop combo).
Harlem Heat won.
Summary: This was way better than what I had anticipated.
Promo for nWo Souled Out aired.
We then revisit Starrcade when Sting hit the ring during the Luger/Giant match. What’s with the whispering? Did he think he was in a crowded theater?
Match 10: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Meng
When Luger gave Meng a cross-corner whip, he ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
Meng then followed with a clothesline.
Shortly after, Meng delivered a shoulder breaker for 2.
He then gave Luger a piledriver for another 2.
Luger came back and delivered a flying forearm.
He then gave Meng a back drop followed by a powerslam for 2.
Meng then gave Luger a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
Luger then hooked the Torture Rack, but Meng’s leg knocked down referee Mark Curtis.
Suddenly, Barbarian hit the ring and nailed Luger in the midsection.
Luger then reversed an Irish whip and gave Barbarian a powerslam.
He then put Barbarian in the Torture Rack.
Luger won despite Curtis’ lack of knowledge/concern of opponent.
Summary: Showcase match for Luger over both members of Faces of Fear.
After a commercial break, Hogan and the rest of the nWo come to the ring. Before Hogan finishes his spiel about Piper and Giant, the latter sprints to the ring to confront him. Nash tries to attack Giant but gets tossed over the top rope to the floor. Afterward, Rogers gets shoved down, and Norton eats a Giant elbow. After Syxx gets swatted like a bug, Bagwell and nWo Sting get shrugged off together. As Wallstreet eats a Giant elbow, Vincent gets shoved back to Shreveport. When Patrick confronts Giant, he receives a gorilla press and is tossed onto Norton on the floor.
That leaves Hogan and Bischoff. As Giant blocks and crushes Hogan’s hand, Bischoff gives him a double axe handle to ZERO effect. Before Giant can manhandle the boss, Hogan repeatedly nails him in the back with a steel chair. The nWo then destroys Giant as the litter from the Monroe faithful continues to pour into the ring. As the nWo holds Giant, Bischoff gives Giant a karate kick.
Before the show goes off the air, the nWo overtake the broadcast table and sing Queen’s “We Are The Champions.” Suddenly, Sting comes to the ring, whispers something to the Giant, and points his bat at the nWo. Upon dropping the bat, Sting exits the ring. Vincent then goes to the ring, checks on Giant, and grabs the bat.
However, when you poke a bear, you’d better be ready to get mauled. That’s what happens here as Giant chokeslams Vincent and holds off the nWo with Sting’s bat. As the Monroe faithful chant “We Want Sting,” both Sting and Giant stand tall albeit in different areas of the arena.
Conclusion: Sell that nWo PPV! Sell that Clash of Champions! Oh yeah, also showcase Alex Wright in the match of the night against Eddie Guerrero. While a portion of this show stunk on Melba toast, it had its moments. This was a much better effort than last week, WCW. What’s on RAW?
TV Rating: 3.40
WWF Monday Night RAW
Taped from Albany, NY
Airdate: January 6, 1997 (taped 12/30/96)
Attendance: 6,855 (who can’t sit still)
Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Match 1: Mankind (w/ Paul Bearer) versus WWF tag team champion the “Rocket” Owen Hart (w/ Clarence Mason)
When Mankind charged, Owen gave him a belly-to-belly suplex.
Quickly, he attempted the Sharpshooter, but Mankind made the ropes.
After Mankind gave Owen a cross-corner whip, he placed a knee into him.
Shortly after, Owen bit and stomped on Mankind’s mandible claw hand. Psychology!
With Owen standing against the ropes, Mankind gave him a Cactus clothesline.
Mankind then unseated ring announcer Howard Finkel, grabbed his chair, but got nailed by a Slammy. You don’t see that every day.
Owen then gave Mankind a front suplex on the steel railing. OUCH!
He then took his WWF tag team championship belt and whipped Mankind with it.
Back in the ring, Owen delivered a head butt to the midsection followed by a spinning heel kick.
Next, he hooked an abdominal stretch, but Mankind hip-tossed out of it.
Owen then delivered an enziguri sending Mankind back down to the floor.
He then joined Mankind, but the latter used momentum to make Owen taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Pete Special at the Standard.
Mankind then dumped a cooler and hammered Owen in the head with it. I guess the beer’s on Mick tonight.
Nevertheless, he then made Owen taste the steel railing a second time. Waiter, could you give the blond wrestling technician a Carnegie Reuben as well?
During a commercial break, an ad for WWF: Full Metal aired.
Afterward, Mankind gave Owen a swinging neckbreaker.
Owen then reversed an Irish whip, and countered a second swinging neckbreaker with a DDT.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but fell victim to a Mandible claw.
Owen escaped and gave Mankind a second spinning heel kick.
With Mankind in the corner, Owen charged but came up empty.
Mankind then delivered a piledriver.
Summary: Despite being a heel versus heel match-up, the chemistry between these two wrestlers was phenomenal. They could go 15 minutes on a PPV, and the snowflakes would drop from the wrestling heavens. Unfortunately, this match was too short to build any drama.
Backstage, Shawn Michaels stands alongside Jose and Pete Lothario. He reiterates his promise not to interfere in the Bret-Vader match later in the show.
We then revisit Shotgun Saturday Night from this past weekend. During the show, Ahmed Johnson beat Crush by DQ when D’Lo Brown (not named yet) interfered. Johnson then gave Brown a Pearl River Plunge on top of a car on 56th Street. You don’t see THAT every day either. Also, the Sisters of Love (Headbangers) beat the Godwinns with help from Brother Love.
RAW is sponsored by the US Army.
Match 2: Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon versus Razor Ramon & Diesel
The Honkytonk Man joined the broadcast table for this match.
When LaFon attempted a cross body block, Ramon caught and gave him a fallaway slam.
LaFon came back with a cross-corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
He then hooked Ramon with a crucifix for 2.
After a snap suplex, Furnas tagged in but ate a discus punch from Ramon.
Furnas then gave Ramon an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, but as Furnas came off the ropes, Diesel put a knee into his back. SNEAKY!
Diesel tagged in and gave Furnas a clothesline.
When he gave Furnas a cross-corner whip, he followed with an elbow.
Ramon tagged in and delivered a pumphandle slam.
During the commercial break, an ad for Royal Rumble aired.
Afterward, Diesel tagged in and gave Furnas a double axe handle.
Next, he delivered a sidewalk slam for 2.
While LaFon distracted referee Jack Doan, Diesel and Ramon double-teamed Furnas in the heel corner.
Diesel then gave Furnas a running guillotine but missed a leg drop.
After he gave Furnas another cross-corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
Furnas then delivered a dropkick sending Diesel head-first into the top turnbuckle.
Hot tag LaFon.
After delivering a spinning thrust kick, LaFon gave Diesel an enziguri.
Upon giving Diesel a spinning heel kick, LaFon got 2.
He then attempted a butterfly suplex, but Diesel gave him a back drop.
LaFon, in mid-move, hooked a sunset flip as Furnas completed the move by dropkicking Diesel.
Diesel then reversed a cross-corner whip but ate boot.
As LaFon mounted the second turnbuckle, he leaped but ate boot.
Ramon tagged in but received a Northern lights suplex from LaFon.
As Furnas tagged in, Ramon nailed him.
He then attempted the Razor’s Edge, but LaFon made the save while Furnas backdropped Ramon.
When Furnas gave Ramon a huracanrana, Diesel made the save.
All four men were in the ring until both Furnas and LaFon clotheslined Diesel over the top rope to the floor.
LaFon then mounted the top turnbuckle as Furnas held Ramon.
He then delivered a clothesline as Furnas gave Ramon a somersault rollup.
Furnas and LaFon won.
Summary: LaFon and Furnas brought the goods while Ramon and Diesel were terrible.
Thanks, Sir Charles.
We then revisit last week’s show when Helmsley removed Marlena from ringside, tossed her to Mero, and sidestepped Goldust who ran over both Mero and Marlena. Next week on RAW, Goldust teams with Mero to face Lawler and Helmsley. Color me impressed.
We then revisit Shotgun Saturday Night again when Marlena got up on the apron during a Sultan-Goldust match. She then removed the top of her dress to distract Sultan. Of course, she had her back to the camera, but don’t complain to me about it.
Backstage, Bret cuts a promo on both Michaels and Vader until Sid’s music cuts him off.
Ad for the Royal Rumble aired. We’re 2 weeks away!
In the ring, Jim Ross interviewed WWF Champion Sycho Sid who makes about as much sense as the Ultimate Warrior used to make during his promos. What does it accomplish?
Thanks again, Bubba. Enjoy retirement but leave the hotties alone.
Suddenly, Michaels interrupts while wearing a bathrobe. He then stands on the broadcast table and dances after removing his robe. Fortunately, he was wearing jeans. Sid then apologizes for what he’s going to do because he’s “not responsible.”
Vince then shills Royal Rumble.
Prior to the next match, we revisit Superstars when Undertaker tombstoned Cornette after hearing Cornette trash him on commentary.
Match 3: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Vader (w/o Jim Cornette)
Michaels joined the broadcast table for this match.
After Vader tossed Bret outside the ring, Bret reversed an Irish whip sending Vader shoulder-first into the steps.
While Michaels questioned who “they” are with regards to Vader, Bret leaped from the steps and gave Vader a forearm smash. Michaels, use the force.
Nonetheless, Bret made Vader HIT THE POLE.
He then made Vader taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Pilgrim at JT Maxie’s.
Back in the ring, Bret worked on Vader’s arm but received a running body block.
In case you forgot, Vader will face the Undertaker at Royal Rumble.
Vader then gave Bret a short-arm clothesline followed by a slam.
Next, he mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a clothesline.
Prior to a commercial break, Austin was shown backstage watching the match on a monitor.
During the commercial break, the Starburst Fruit Twists Rewind is the Pearl River Plunge from Johnson to Brown on a car.
Afterward, Vader leaped from the second turnbuckle and hit a flying body block.
He then remounted the top turnbuckle, delivered a splash, but only got 2.
Upon attempting a Vader bomb, he ate knees.
After a shot to the midsection, Bret gave Vader a side Russian leg sweep.
He then slammed Vader, mounted the second turnbuckle, and hit a flying elbow for 2.
Upon giving Vader a tear drop suplex, Bret got another 2.
After Vader reversed an Irish whip, a cross body block by Bret sent both wrestlers over the top rope to the floor.
As they brawled at ringside, Sid dragged a cameraman backstage.
Suddenly, Austin came to the ring and gave Bret a Stunner in the aisle.
Meanwhile, Vader distracted referee Earl Hebner.
Back in the ring, Vader delivered the Vader bomb.
Summary: Decent TV match with just enough outside interference to cause a meaningful loss for Bret.
After the match, Sid grabs Pete Lothario backstage and powerbombs him on a table. Unfortunately, the table doesn’t break. YEE-OUCH!
After a commercial break, Michaels, Savio Vega, and Aldo Montoya (wearing his mask) check on Pete. Michaels then strings together numerous obscenities toward Sid that the censors blissfully catch.
Conclusion: It must be a new year because this is not your typical 1996 RAW. In fact, each match was pretty decent, and the show was very entertaining. Can it translate into a ratings victory?
TV Rating: 2.10
Who won? Nope, Nitro outperformed RAW again by more than a point. It will take something earth-shattering for RAW to stop Nitro’s streak. The question is: Which week will it happen? While nothing was scheduled for next week’s Nitro, the Goldust/Mero/Lawler/Helmsley tag was promoted for RAW.
IN OTHER NEWS THIS WEEK: Scott Hall was sent home this week, but not for reasons you’d think. In Shreveport, LA on January 4th, Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys legitimately and repeatedly nailed Hall knocking some teeth out. That caused Hall to have oral surgery and miss Nitro.