WCW Monday Nitro

Live from Chicago, IL

Airdate: January 20, 1997

Attendance: 17,000

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


Rating: *

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


Rating: ½*

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.


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


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


Rating: *1/2

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


Rating: ***

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)


Rating: DUD

Summary: G-A-R-B-A-G-E.

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)


Rating: **

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)


Rating: *1/2

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


Rating: *

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)


Rating: *

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)


Rating: *

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

Attendance: 4,834

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.

Opening montage.

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


Rating: **1/2

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


Rating: *

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:

  1. Undertaker
  2. Vader
  3. Bret (if he accepts)
  4. Austin

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


Rating: *

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?

Stay tuned for WCW Clash of Champions XXXIV!

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

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