Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby ‘The Brain” Heenan, and “Iron” Mike Tenay
There’s a surprise on Nitro? There’s a surprise on RAW? Whose surprise is better? Read on!
As the program begins, “Macho Man” Randy Savage jumps the rail, tosses a chair into the ring, and takes the microphone from ring announcer David Penzer. Since he’s not been in WCW for almost three months, Savage states that he’s “been blackballed” and won’t leave until he “talks to somebody (who has) some major stroke.” After mentioning that he’s not going anywhere during this 2-hour Nitro, he calls out Eric Bischoff and tells him to “kiss (his) ass.” He then stages a sit-in to a raucous ovation from the Chicago faithful.
When Chavo Guerrero, Jr. comes to the ring, Savage won’t budge. As Savage stands up, he nails Chavo and tosses him out of the ring. Maxx comes to the ring, but Savage nails him too. Meanwhile, referee Scott Dickinson confronts Savage and gets dumped unceremoniously. Next, WCW Security Director Doug Dillinger asserts his authority, but Savage shoves him away. Afterward, Wright tries to reason with Savage but eats a knuckle sandwich. Pass the spread! Ten minutes in the program has elapsed as the Amazing French Canadians and Steiners urge Savage to leave albeit from the aisle.
Suddenly, Sting repels from the celling of the United Center down to the floor and walks to the ring. After Sting points his bat at Savage, he enters the ring and pushes his bat into Savage’s throat. Upon shoving Savage, Sting offers him the bat. When Sting turns around, Savage returns the bat in lieu of hitting him. Savage then leaves with Sting through the crowd. What an incredible opening segment.
I’m glad I didn’t change the channel.
After a commercial break, we revisit Nitro from 12/16/96 when Chono joined the nWo. He then wrestled and lost to Jericho via disqualification later in the program.
Match 1: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright
After a leap frog by Wright, Jericho hit a flying shoulder block.
He then delivered a superkick for 2.
When Wright gave Jericho a cross-corner whip, he ate a boot shot to the chest during his follow-through.
After Jericho missed a clothesline, Wright gave him a spinning heel kick.
As the Chicago faithful chanted for their favorite Oregonian town, Boring, Wright gave Jericho a cross-corner whip followed by a back elbow.
Jericho came back and hooked a rollup for 2.
Upon struggling, Jericho hooked a second rollup.
Summary: After the opening segment, the Chicago faithful did NOT want a standard wrestling match without some personality.
Match 2: nWo Sting versus Scotty Riggs
When nWo Sting tried to rally the Chicago faithful, Riggs nailed him from behind.
He then gave nWo Sting a flying back elbow.
After a pair of dropkicks, Riggs delivered a back drop.
nWo Sting then reversed an Irish whip and gave Riggs a stungun.
Upon giving Riggs a backbreaker, nWo Sting got a 1-count.
He then whipped Riggs into the corner but ate boot on his follow-through.
When Riggs mounted the second turnbuckle, he delivered a missile dropkick for 2.
Suddenly, Bagwell, with BUFF written on the back of his nWo shirt, came down the aisle to taunt Riggs.
After avoiding a charging nWo Sting, Riggs delivered a flying forearm.
Bagwell and other nWo members then stormed the ring as Riggs hightailed it through the Chicago faithful.
Referee Mark Curtis awarded the match to Riggs via disqualification.
Summary: Showcase match for the Bagwell-Riggs encounter at the PPV.
After the match, the nWo coerces Penzer to announce nWo Sting as the victor.
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, Lord Steven Regal defends the TV title against Chavo Guerrero, Jr. Also, Ultimo Dragon wrestles Mr. JL. For some unknown reason, Public Enemy and Harlem Heat square off. And to top it off, Arn and Mongo face Meng, Barbarian, and Hugh Morrus. It’s from Green Bay, so it must be cheesy!
In a pre-recorded interview, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair interviewed Chicago Blackhawk Bob Probert who wanted to mix it up with the nWo. Apparently, that wasn’t the only kind of mixing Bob did. RIP Bob.
Match 3: The “Enforcer” Arn Anderson & Mongo (w/ Debra McMichael) versus Eddie Guerrero & Jeff Jarrett
As the Chicago faithful chanted “Jarrett sucks,” Arn gave him a back elbow.
Jarrett came back, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a cross body block for 2.
Eddie tagged in and escaped the Horseman double-team.
When Arn pointed at Mongo, the Chicago faithful ERUPTED!
Mongo tagged in and gave Eddie a military press, but Eddie escaped and gave him an arm drag.
When Mongo vaulted him, Eddie delivered a dropkick.
However, when Eddie charged, Mongo backdropped him over the top rope to the floor.
Smartly, Arn had already distracted referee Randy Anderson.
Outside the ring, Mongo whipped Eddie back-first into the steel railing and tossed him back in.
Arn tagged in but Eddie made the hot tag.
Suddenly, Eddie was shown running from the ring. Methinks Syxx had something to do with it.
Arn then gave Jarrett the SPINEBUSTER.
As Debra distracted Anderson, Arn applied a Boston crab while Mongo put the boots to Jarrett.
Apparently, she threw in her sash which equaled throwing in the towel.
Eddie and Jarrett won.
Summary: With Mongo’s return to Chicago, Eddie’s involvement with Syxx, and Debra’s fascination with Jarrett, a lot of chaos went into this schmoz. Regardless, with the exception of the match on WCW Saturday Night, this was Arn’s last match. Pardon me, I have something in my eye.
After the match, Arn confronts Mongo about Debra’s sash and leaves.
At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Flair with the disjointed Horsemen. While Flair tears down his fellow Horsemen for their troubles (i.e. Woman and Debra), Arn decrees the Horseman hand gesture to be a symbol of excellence. After Mongo gets a cheap pop in his hometown, the Chicago faithful boos Debra out of the building. When Benoit speaks, he focuses on perspective. While Mongo questions Benoit’s determination, Debra takes another crack at Woman’s figure.
After a commercial break, an interview by Bischoff from WCW Saturday Night aired. Upon taking shots at Flair, Piper, and Giant, Bischoff dissed Savage for his purported lust for “Elizabeth and Bischoff’s hair.” That will not win him any popularity contests.
Match 4 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Ultimo Dragon (champion w/ Sonny Onoo) versus Dean Malenko
While the Chicago faithful chanted “E-C-W,” Dragon hit a dropkick.
Upon giving Malenko a series of kicks, Dragon received a powerslam.
After Malenko gave Dragon a cross-corner whip, he ate boot on his follow-through.
However, when Dragon charged, Malenko gave him another powerslam for 2.
He then delivered a brainbuster for another 2.
As Schiavone shilled Clash XXXIV airing tomorrow night, Malenko gave Dragon another cross-corner whip and followed with a corner clothesline.
After a handspring elbow sent Malenko between the ropes to the floor, Dragon attempted a plancha but missed. When Dragon hit the mat below, this sound was overheard.
Dragon then reversed an Irish whip sending Malenko back-first into the steel railing.
Back in the ring, Dragon mounted the second turnbuckle, got caught, but executed a sunset flip for 2.
He then gave Malenko a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
After Malenko mounted the second turnbuckle, Dragon joined and gave him a super huracanrana for 2.
Upon blocking another suplex attempt, Dragon hooked la magistral cradle and pinned Malenko.
Summary: Great finish to a quick match. I look forward to their rematch at the Clash.
PEPBOYS sponsors the replay.
We then revisit the Savage sit-in from earlier.
Match 5 for the WCW World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus Jacques Rougeau (w/ Colonel Parker)
As Regal came off the ropes, Parker tripped him. SNEAKY!
When Rougeau distracted referee Mark Curtis, Parker nailed Regal.
Rougeau then joined and gave Regal a double axe handle to the back.
Back in the ring, Regal came off the ropes, and Parker tried to trip him again.
On the other hand, Regal stomped his hand as payback.
While Rougeau held Regal, Parker came into the ring but hit Rougeau instead.
As Mark Curtis called for the bell to disqualify Rougeau, Regal gave Parker an atomic drop sending him into Rougeau.
After the match, Regal dumps Parker over the top rope to the floor.
During the commercial break, an ad for nWo Souled Out aired.
Lee Marshall then delivers the 1-800-COLLECT road report from “Green Bay, WI.” In lieu of doing these reports, I wish Lee would have performed the beer barrel polka somewhere else.
Match 6: The “Crippler” Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) versus the Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Baton down the hatches! A major scrum is about to break out!
As Taskmaster made his entrance, Benoit ambushed him in the aisle.
Taskmaster then made Benoit taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the El Ripper at the Vig.
They then fought up the stairs, on the concourse, and into the men’s room.
After Taskmaster rammed Benoit head-first into a plexiglass ad board above the urinal, Benoit removed the plexiglass and nailed Taskmaster with it. OUCH!
When Dillinger tried to stop the fight, Benoit tossed him down to the floor. I guess it’s not Doug’s night.
Taskmaster then rammed Benoit into the wall before leaving the men’s room.
Upon kicking Benoit down the stairs to the floor of the United Center, Taskmaster made Benoit taste the steel railing again. Waiter, could you please give the Wolverine the All In Chicken Parm as well?
If that wasn’t enough, Taskmaster tossed some Miller Genuine Draft in Benoit’s face.
That must have woken Benoit up because he then made Taskmaster taste the steel railing. One more item, waiter, an as-if dessert for the bookerman please?
Benoit then returned the beverage favor and tossed Pepsi at Taskmaster.
Finally, they hit the ring, and Benoit slammed Taskmaster.
He then placed Taskmaster atop the top turnbuckle, but Taskmaster blocked a suplex.
Upon tying Benoit to the Tree of Woe, Benoit escaped but received a kick down near Tinley Park. Poor Woman.
After Benoit received an atomic drop, he bounced into and out of the corner while knocking heads with Taskmaster.
While Woman got up on the apron to distract referee Randy Anderson, Hart grabbed the bell and gave it to Taskmaster.
Summary: As a wrestling match, this wasn’t much. As a brawl, this was intense stuff with a horrific stunt by Benoit to punctuate it. Doesn’t he realize he must do this all over tomorrow night?
After a commercial break, the nWo minus Hogan takes over the broadcast table.
Match 7: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan versus Carl Ouellet (w/ Colonel Parker)
Before the match began, Nash made fat jokes at Ouellet’s expense.
Duggan then came out and waved the WCW flag.
After Duggan gave Ouellet a cross-corner whip, he followed with a series of clotheslines.
When Rougeau distracted Duggan, Ouellet gave Duggan a running guillotine.
He then mounted the second turnbuckle, hit a leg drop, and got 2.
The Steiners then hit the ring as Rick nailed Rougeau.
While referee Mark Curtis was distracted by Rick and Rougeau, Duggan whipped Ouellet into Scott who nailed him.
Duggan then pulled out the athletic tape, nailed Ouellet, and got the pin.
Summary: Even in Chicago, they love Duggan. I could deal without the extracurricular activity though.
After a commercial break, we revisit Starrcade when Hall prevented DDP from winning the US title. The next night on Nitro, DDP remained quiet about his payback. Last week, DDP revealed said payback by turning down the t-shirt and giving Hall a Diamond Cutter.
Match 8: Masahiro Chono versus “Squire” Dave Taylor
Bischoff requested that Nick Patrick referee this match.
Following that, Chono converted a sleeper into an inverted DDT.
After he mounted the top turnbuckle, he gave Taylor a flying shoulder block.
Taylor then hooked a sunset flip for a 1-count.
As Taylor flipped out of a backslide, he delivered a dropkick.
With Chono on the apron, Taylor mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle.
While Chono got irritated with the Chicago faithful on the floor, Taylor leaped from the apron and gave him another double axe handle.
He then whipped Chono back-first into the steel railing.
Back in the ring, Chono reversed an Irish whip and gave Taylor an inverted atomic drop.
After a Yakuza kick, Chono hooked the STF.
Summary: Despite his nWo affiliation, Chono wasn’t over with the Chicago faithful. Maybe he should give Michael Jordan the flu.
Match 9: WCW World tag team champion Scott Hall versus Booker T (w/ Sister Sherri)
After giving Hall a back elbow, Booker T missed an elbow drop but performed the spinaroonie to bring joy to the world.
He then gave Hall a Harlem sidekick for 2.
As Hall reversed an Irish whip, he gave Booker T a fallaway slam.
Hall then placed Booker T atop the top turnbuckle, joined him, but got nailed.
When Booker T mounted the top turnbuckle, he gave Hall a cross body block but only got 2 thanks to referee Nick Patrick’s blatantly slow count.
While Booker T took exception to Patrick’s count, Bagwell distracted Sherri.
Hall then delivered the Outsider Edge.
Summary: Showcase match for Hall.
During the commercial break, an ad for the nWo hotline aired.
Match 10: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Stevie Ray (w/ Sister Sherri)
After Stevie Ray tossed Luger outside the ring, he joined and whipped him back-first into the steel railing.
While Stevie Ray distracted referee Nick Patrick, Sherri put the high heels to Luger and choked him with her scarf. How dastardly!
Back in the ring, Stevie Ray clotheslined Luger.
Luger came back and delivered a powerslam.
Following that, he hooked the Torture Rack for the submission.
Summary: Showcase match for Luger.
To finish the show, Hogan graces the Chicago faithful with his presence and cuts a promo on Giant. Suddenly, Giant hits the ring, but WCW security stops him from going after Hogan. When Giant breaks free, Nitro goes off the air.
Conclusion: Without the Savage sit-in and the shilling of both the Clash and PPV, this show was awful. What’s on RAW?
TV Rating: 3.70
WWF Monday Night RAW
Live from Beaumont, TX
Airdate: January 20, 1997
Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
After Vince crows about over 60,000 fans in the Alamodome for the Royal Rumble, Ross describes stills of Michaels’ WWF title victory as of the match. While Vince and Lawler describe last night’s controversy, Vince promises that President Gorilla Monsoon will make a ruling tonight.
As Ross, Vince, and Lawler open the program, Bret comes down the aisle in street clothes. According to Vince, Austin will face Undertaker later instead of Sid due to the concussion Sid received last night. Bret then whines about losing his chance at the WWF title at IYH XII. Following that, he rightfully claims that he won the Royal Rumble match and should be the #1 contender.
According to Bret, he’s “been screwed by Shawn Michaels…Steve Austin…the (WWF)…and (Vince).” Keep in mind that Vince has not revealed himself as the owner of the WWF on TV here in early 1997. Nonetheless, Bret quits the WWF and leaves through the crowd.
Austin then comes to the ring, but his microphone doesn’t work. Snidely, he read the riot act to the audio engineer. Upon getting a working microphone, he runs down Bret. Following that, he complains about not facing Sid and makes a crude joke about Monsoon and bananas. HA! He then challenges the Undertaker RIGHT NOW as Vince walks backstage. Wow! I wondered why Nitro had such a hot opening segment. This was nuclear!
RAW is sponsored by Western Union.
Prior to the first match, we revisit stills from the Rumble match as Owen eliminated Smith from the Rumble. Was it intentional or accidental? You make the call!
Match 1 (non-title): WWF tag team champions Owen Hart & the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (w/ Clarence Mason) versus Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon
Non-title? That’ll generate ratings!
After a leg lariat by LaFon, Furnas tagged in and took down Owen with a shoulder block.
He then delivered a dropkick for 2.
After an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, Furnas got another 2.
Owen came back with a spinning heel kick and tagged in Smith.
As Furnas reversed an Irish whip, he gave Smith a huracanrana for 2.
Smith then sought refuge outside the ring.
Upon his return, he distracted referee Jim Korderas so that Owen could give LaFon the business.
LaFon came back with a jawbreaker and tagged in Furnas.
After they broke the wishbone on Smith, Owen tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a missile dropkick to Furnas for 2.
During a commercial break, a promo for the replay of the Royal Rumble aired. Hmmm…isn’t there a free wrestling show on TBS on at the same time?
In the first of many, Ross shilled La Femme Nikita while dissing Robin Hood.
In the ring, Owen hit an elbow drop on Furnas for 2.
When Owen attempted the Sharpshooter, Furnas escaped.
He then ducked a double clothesline and gave one to Owen and Smith.
After Owen missed a clothesline, Furnas hit a cross body block for 2.
Owen then delivered an enziguri for 2.
Smith tagged in and gave Furnas a delayed vertical suplex for another 2.
When Owen tagged in, he reversed an Irish whip and gave Furnas a belly-to-belly suplex.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a diving head butt.
Hot tag LaFon.
After giving Smith a snap suplex, LaFon hit a senton for 2.
Upon giving Smith a Northern Lights suplex, LaFon got another 2.
When Furnas distracted Korderas, Owen nailed LaFon with his Slammy.
Smith then hit the running powerslam and got the pin.
Summary: Technically solid tag match, but the Beaumont faithful wasn’t buying it.
We then revisit Michaels’ entrance from last night to emphasize his babyface character.
Prior to the next match, we revisit the Johnson-Faarooq match from last night when Johnson put Olajuwon through the French broadcast table.
Not THAT Olajuwon!
Match 2: Faarooq (w/ the Nation of Domination) versus Bart Gunn
As the match began, Ross delivered potshot #2 to WCW about Robin Hood. HA!
Upon giving Faarooq a hip toss, Bart delivered a dropkick.
After a commercial break, Faarooq gave Bart a spinebuster for 2.
While Faarooq distracted referee Mike Chioda, PG-13 gave Bart the business.
Afterward, Faarooq hooked a rope-assisted reverse chinlock until Chioda caught him.
As the Beaumont faithful chanted “jailbird” at Crush, Bart missed an elbow drop.
After a slam, Faarooq mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a flying shoulder block.
Upon giving Faarooq a back elbow, Bart delivered a pair of clotheslines.
He then gave Faarooq a cross-corner whip followed by a bulldog. As Bart made the cover, PG-13 put Faarooq’s left leg on the bottom rope. SNEAKY!
Bart then exited the ring and nailed both members of PG-13.
Next, Faarooq leaped from the apron and nailed Bart.
After Crush returned Bart to the ring, Faarooq delivered the Dominator.
Summary: Showcase match for Faarooq.
As the Nation walk backstage, Vince returns to ringside with Monsoon.
After a commercial break, Vince interviews Monsoon who has an invitation for Bret. According to Monsoon, the referee’s Rumble decision is final, and Austin is the winner. However, Monsoon denies him the title shot at WrestleMania XIII and notifies us of a four-man elimination match that will determine the #1 contender to the WWF title at WrestleMania XIII. The four wrestlers will be:
Bret (if he accepts)
Afterward, Austin comes to the ring and calls Monsoon a “jackass.” As he gets in McMahon’s face, Bret returns to the ring to accept Monsoon’s offer. He then brawls with Austin in the aisle and rams him face-first into the steps.
During a commercial break, an ad for WWF: Full Metal aired.
When we return, officials prevent Bret from entering the ring.
Match 3: Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Undertaker
Vince rejoined the broadcast table for this match.
As Undertaker made his entrance, he brawled with Bret.
When Austin tried to attack Undertaker, he ate the steps again. Pass the spread!
In the ring, Undertaker gave Austin the rope walk shoulder smash.
After an Irish whip, Austin countered a back drop with a swinging neckbreaker.
Upon giving Undertaker a back elbow, Austin got 2.
He then guillotined Undertaker using the second rope.
Undertaker came back, gave Austin a cross-corner whip, but ate boot on his follow-through.
Following that, Austin mounted the second turnbuckle and gave Undertaker a double axe handle for 2.
To help Austin, Lawler left the broadcast table and shouted “his ribs” alluding to Undertaker’s busted ribs from last night.
When Austin tried to ram Undertaker face-first into the top turnbuckle, Undertaker’s trick knee acted up. HA! That’s an old “Stunning” Steve Austin trick!
As Undertaker approached, Austin gave him the Stone Cold Stunner but couldn’t capitalize.
Meanwhile, wrestlers and officials tried to separate Bret and Vader backstage.
Screw the Clash! Catch the encore of the Rumble tomorrow night. Despite 48,000 tickets being sold, the WWF couldn’t be in dire financial straits. Conversely, it could be this.
After a commercial break, we somehow missed some footage from last weekend’s Shotgun Saturday Night. C’mon, WWE Network! Help a guy out!
In the ring, Austin mounted the top turnbuckle but got crotched.
As Undertaker joined, he attempted a superplex, but Austin pushed him back down to the mat and hit an elbow smash for 2.
For the third time, Ross dissed Robin Hood while plugging La Femme Nikita. Tell us how you really feel!
Meanwhile, Undertaker delivered a flying clothesline as Vader and Bearer came to the ring.
When Vader entered the ring, referee Earl Hebner called for the bell disqualifying Austin.
Summary: Did you really expect a finish here with the Rumble winner and the WWF’s greatest attraction?
After the match, Undertaker gives Vader a chokeslam as Bret joins the fray. A four-way brawl breaks out until Bret chases Austin down the aisle. He then makes Austin taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Grown Man grilled cheese at J Wilson’s. Next, he rams Austin face-first into the steps as Undertaker gives Vader a belly-to-back suplex. After Bret rams Austin face-first into the apron, Austin makes Bret HIT THE POLE! RAW then goes off the air.
Conclusion: Bret’s temporary resignation created the necessary drama for RAW to tell a good story. Compared to the shows in ’96, this was a tremendous improvement. Did it stand a chance against Nitro this week?
TV Rating: 2.20
Who won? Nope, RAW lost by a point and a half. It seems Savage bore more weight to wrestling viewers than Bret in early ’97. With the Clash and nWo Souled Out, a lot could happen in WCW before the next Nitro. How will RAW compete?