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Old 11-27-2015, 02:07 PM   #201
LKJ
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

I'd love to know how they got to the part in mapping out this match (to whatever level they did, which wasn't much) that their brilliant idea toward the climax of the match was "have Booty Man show up and give them frying pans."

I've got it in my mind that WCW's next PPV is bad too, but at least we're drawing nearer to the really great stuff.
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:04 PM   #202
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

That match might have more things wrong with it than any other match in history. Someone could watch it 10 times and still find new objectionable things on the 10th viewing.

Why doesn't Booty Man actually help fight with his outnumbered friends? Perhaps Hogan had told him to bring Hogan the cookware at a certain time because Hogan had planned to prepare a meal, and the match went long.

The lighting is terrible.

The world champion takes the pin, instead of

perhaps, the guy that almost never wrestles (Z-Gangsta), and for good reason. Because all he can do is the worst choke in wrestling history.

They put the best wrestlers at the top of the cage. But apparently they couldn't risk doing wrestling moves up there.
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Old 11-27-2015, 07:16 PM   #203
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

lol @ the doomsday cage match, really unbelievable

lkj you're really killing it with these. amazing stuff. nice that you'll be rewarded with some goat programming shortly.

sorry if i missed this in your write-ups but are you seeing any signs of the crowd turning on hogan? iirc he turned heel because fans were growing tired of his hulkamania gimmick but i wasn't watching WCW until after nwo began so wasn't sure if he was getting booed or anything like that beforehand.
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Old 11-27-2015, 07:23 PM   #204
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

You could detect occasional booing. The starkest examples were at WW3 when he was pitching a fit about getting ripped off in favor of Savage, and the crowd booed super loudly...there's a chance that they were booing the fact that he got ripped off, but I tended to think that they were booing his crying and whining. There was one Nitro where it was less ambiguous, loud booing and multiple loud "Hogan sucks" chants. But that was in Carolina, and he was up against the Horsemen.
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Old 11-28-2015, 12:45 AM   #205
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

March 25, 1996

NITRO

Huntsville, AL

The desk gives us our preview of matches for the night, including a World Title match between Ric Flair and The Giant, then sends it to the ring for the opener.

Belfast Bruiser vs. Randy Savage: As the Bruiser made his way to the ring, Eric Bischoff acknowledges that Bruiser obliterated Steven Regal's nose and cheekbone the night before and had him in the hospital overnight. It's an odd thing, but whereas a wrestler will almost always get grief for legitimately injuring another wrestler, it seems like everyone (myself included) is strangely impressed in this case. The announcers put Bruiser over pretty hard as a tough guy as a result of what happened last night. Frankly, I'm just all for Finlay and Regal both getting love from the bookers for being the only two to put on a good show last night. Bruiser lays in a HARD European uppercut, and Bischoff puts that over as the move that ****ed up Regal. Bruiser gives as good as he gets, and bumps hard for Savage at every opportunity while also delivering some stiff offense.



Finlay posts his own shoulder on a corner charge, falls into a laying position, and takes the Savage flying elbow for the pin. Enjoyable match.

Result: Randy Savage via pinfall

Mean Gene at the top of the ramp with Ric Flair, Woman, and Liz. Flair cuts a promo on The Giant for later, and then addresses Lex Luger after Luger clocked him last night. He says that Luger "will not be able to style and profile with him anymore." He asks Liz who is more of a man, him or Luger. She playfully says, "You, Ric." Too bad she changed her mind on that later.

US Title - Konnan (c) vs. J.L.: As I go through this project, I discover that some wrestlers were more entertaining than I remembered them being 20 years ago. Konnan is not one of those. He's the same boring wrestler that I remember. This match reflects that, despite one or two fun sequences.



Strong missile dropkick by JL to the back of Konnan's head. Eric Bischoff alludes to a "cruiserweight tournament" going on at this point, but this tournament consists of (1) mentioning that a tournament is happening, (2) arbitrarily referring to matches as "tournament matches," and (3) suddenly just declaring that someone won the tournament. Most of the alleged tourney, including the finals, weren't televised. As far as this match, Konnan executes a good-looking Alabama slam for the pinfall.

Result: Konnan via pinfall

Booty Man vs. Disco Inferno: Kimberly shows up at ringside a minute into the match. Eric Bischoff calls her "The Booty Babe," which would be her name until this monstrosity of an Ed Leslie push was over. Booty Man sees her, sticks his ass through the ropes, and invites her to spank him. She obliges. Kill me. Booty Man wins a quick match with the high knee.



Result: Booty Man via pinfall

Bischoff advertises WCW Saturday Night, and leaves off with, "With the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, and…Noah Tony Schiavone. … Did you know about that? Tony Schiavone's first name is Noah?" Mongo responds by mumbling. What an odd little moment.

Tag Team Titles - Sting & Lex Luger (c) vs. American Males: Hahaha this features the entrance I had remembered for a while, where Lex Luger only pretended to be nice to the fans if Sting was paying attention. In kayfabe, Sting was basically the biggest moron in the company. I love that his entrance theme featured lyrics saying "he's nobody's fool." He's EVERYBODY'S fool. His last two angles have just featured him being strung along by a purported friend basically heeling in broad daylight.



The announcers push a notion that Bagwell was a protégé of Sting. Sting ends up making the clean pin with a cross-body in a non-descript match. Sting does the whole babyface sportsmanship thing with the Males after the match while Luger has bailed and is playing into another camera individually outside the ring.

Result: Sting & Luger via pinfall

WCW Title - Ric Flair (c) (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth) vs. The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart): En route to the ring, Liz and Woman have wads of cash in hand that they say are the Macho Man's money that Liz got in the divorce settlement, and Liz and Woman walk down to the ring just throwing the money into the audience. A furious Randy Savage comes charging out of the back, but a few wrestlers and some officials restrain him. Woman slaps him as he's being held back. All involved eventually drag Savage away and, per the announcers, throw him out of the arena.

Giant dominates most of the match, and actually connects on his trademark chokeslam. But we don't have a new champion. Woman and Liz run in. Liz actually stands in Giant's way so he can't make a pin. As Randy Anderson is trying to deal with them, Arn Anderson comes in and whacks Giant in the back with a steel chair. Kevin Sullivan runs in and takes the chair from Arn. Giant turns around and sees that Sullivan is the one with the chair, and he goes level one and blames him. Giant chokeslams Sullivan. Arn laughs in the corner at what he accidentally caused, but Giant sees him and chokeslams him as well. The ring now has a bunch of bodies laying around in it, and the bell finally rings for a DQ. This whole thing was a silly mess.



Result: The Giant via DQ

They go to the announce desk, where they recap what we just saw and then mention that next week there is a scheduled match of Arn Anderson & The Taskmaster vs. Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man. Man, that's too bad. I was hoping that Hogan was gone now until Bash at the Beach. With that, they sign off.

Overall: Pretty bad episode. Enjoyed the opening match, and then nothing after it.

RAW

San Antonio, TX

We head straight into the action to open the show.

Shawn Michaels vs. Leif Cassidy: I enjoyed this Leif Cassidy character and thought that Al Snow played it well, but he never really got a chance to run anywhere with it. Michaels hits the ring and introduces Jose Lothario to the live crowd as his mentor. I really can't stress enough how dumb of an idea this Jose Lothario thing was. He was an old retired wrestler with zero name recognition among the crowds watching at this point, and he couldn't talk. I have never understood the point of this idea, but it was a thing for months.

Just as we saw Shawn do last week, Bret Hart comes to ringside. Bret actually joins in on commentary, and Jerry Lawler skips out to the back. Bret continues to speak confidently about what he's going to do to Michaels at WrestleMania as Marty Jannetty strolls in from the back to support his new tag team partner against his old one. Cassidy throws an impressive sit-out powerbomb as well as a superplex, and in general does good work with Michaels here, able to match move for counter-move. He does have one bad botch on an attempted stun gun, but whatever. Obviously it was still job city for Cassidy, but they put on an entertaining match.



Marty Jannetty runs interference, Bret Hart gets up and pushes him off, Michaels hits the superkick and makes the pin.

Result: Shawn Michaels via pinfall

Shawn pushes his way past Bret to go after Jannetty after the match, but Bret takes umbrage at getting shoved, and the two have some nasty words before Jose Lothario intercedes and the two go their separate ways. Bret goes over to Vince and cuts more of a promo on Shawn, and a pretty rambling one. Would have been better for the two to just walk off and end the segment there.



Hunter Hearst-Helmsley vs. Aldo Montoya: Basic squash match that gives the announcers a chance to talk up the Warrior-HHH match for Mania. Lawler says that he's been told that Warrior has gained 200 lbs. since he was last in the WWF, and has a crew cut now. HHH wins this with the Pedigree.

Result: HHH via pinfall



It's another pre-taped video with Goldust, coming from the backlot where the brawl at WrestleMania will happen. He makes a pass at a mannequin wearing a Roddy Piper shirt and then suddenly violently beats the **** out of it, breaking it into multiple pieces as he flings it hard into a wall. Pretty effective hype piece.



One last video promo hyping the debut of Mankind, who they announce will be there next week.

Undertaker and Paul Bearer out for an in-ring interview. Decent promo from Taker to hype the Mania match with Diesel; nothing groundbreaking.



More Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart training videos. I think these were pretty effective in building the WrestleMania main event.

Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Ahmed Johnson: I know that Owen is among the people to suffer at least a minor injury from working with Ahmed, though I don't think it happened in this match. They pan to ringside and show that Diana Hart-Smith is in the front row. Wonder what her occasion was to be in San Antonio. Jerry Lawler says that he sees it as "another sign that the Hart family is slowly coming around to siding with Owen." British Bulldog comes down to ringside as well, and ultimately runs in and attacks for the DQ. Not much to see in this match.



Result: Ahmed Johnson via DQ

The 2-on-1 beatdown begins, and then Vader comes down and joins to make it 3-on-1. As you might predict happens next, Yokozuna and Jake Roberts run down and join the fracas, ultimately clearing the ring.

Vince and the King end the show by hyping the upcoming WrestleMania matches, and then they send it to a music video featuring Bret Hart. A pretty lame music video, but since their habit has been to end the show on Billionaire Ted sketches, this was still a better ending than usual.

Overall: Not bad. Pretty predictable ABC hype, and it certainly wasn't an especially great episode, but it offered a good Shawn Michaels opener and none of the segments were terrible.

---

Ratings for 3/25/96: Nitro 3.1, Raw 2.8
Ratings Running Score: Nitro, 14-10-2

Better Show: "Meh, not bad" is enough to beat Nitro on this night. Raw checks in with the better show.
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 21-5

Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Leif Cassidy
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:29 AM   #206
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Im really enjoying the Lex stuff right now. That gif is great.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:50 AM   #207
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

WWF WRESTLEMANIA XII



Solid video montage hyping Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, and then we go to Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler to hype the upcoming event as Vader's music hits.

Of note: the pre-show featured the "blowoff" of the Billionaire Ted stuff, as they had the final sketch in the form of a match between the Huckster and the Nacho Man. That is to say that we are now free of that nonsense.

Vader, Owen Hart, & The British Bulldog (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson, & Jake Roberts (w/ Mr. Fuji): Owen and Davey get a separate entrance from Vader. I appreciate them creating an excuse to play Owen's theme music. The faces clear the ring early, then Ahmed executes a decent over-the-top plancha. As much crap as I throw Ahmed's way, it was always pretty impressive to see him take to the air given his size. Yokozuna does a front side slam on Vader that shakes the ring for another fun spot.



Ahmed sets up for the Pearl River Plunge on Bulldog, but Owen is in to break it up with a missile dropkick while Ahmed is still in the waiting position. Later, British Bulldog connects on his finisher, the running powerslam, but Jake Roberts just straight-up kicks out. It's kind of a burial of a move, as not only does Roberts kick out but Vince pretty much no-sells the moment on commentary. Jake does eventually do the job here though. The match devolves into six-man chaos, Jake DDTs Owen, but the referee is distracted and Jim Cornette comes in and distracts Roberts. Vader enters and attacks, connects on the Vaderbomb, and makes the pin. Fun, high-energy opener that was about as good as you could reasonably hope for given what was on the babyface side of the ring.

Result: Vader, Owen, & Bulldog via pinfall (13:08)
Rating: ***

We get a hype video for Goldust and Roddy Piper, then send it to the pre-taped Hollywood Backlot Brawl.

Hollywood Backlot Brawl - Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Goldust: Piper is waiting with a baseball bat. Dust arrives in an all-gold car, and Roddy is immediately on the attack, destroying the car and then laying a stiff beating on Goldust with his bat and with every available weapon. Dustin gets busted open here, and Piper is dominant in the fight, laying in a stiff right hand. Goldust turns the tide with a low blow, rams Piper into a dumpster, then gets in his car and actually runs Piper over and peels out of the parking lot. Piper gives chase, but the fight isn't really over yet.



Result: To be continued
Rating: N/A

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega: Savio wears an "SV" on the ass of his pants, so I guess he's moonlighting as a clothes designer in case this wrestling thing doesn't work out. This match gets ignored a good chunk of the time because they take a phone call from Roddy Piper, saying he's still going after Goldust. Then they go to split-screen video and show the OJ Simpson chase footage of a white Ford Bronco (the same model of vehicle Piper is pursuing Goldust in) motoring down the freeway. This whole thing was classic Vince: totally unfunny and painfully dated, as the OJ Simpson freeway chase had occurred nearly two years prior.



While they did at least give Steve Austin a match to go over in, the interruptions during the match showed that he was pretty unimportant to the company at this point. To be fair, he also doesn't put on a very good match here anyway. Austin waffles Savio twice with the Million Dollar Belt during a ref bump and then puts out the already unconscious Vega with the Million Dollar Dream as referee Tim White wakes up to call it a submission.

Result: Steve Austin via submission (10:05)
Rating: *1/2

Mr. Perfect is backstage with Diesel, who cuts a really short promo for his match later with Undertaker.

Hunter Hearst-Helmsley vs. The Ultimate Warrior: HHH comes to the ring with a beautiful woman as usual, this one more significant than the rest since it's Rena Mero, who would soon be known as Sable. Both announcers drool over her. Lawler: "Is she going to come over and sit by us? Have you seen my Congressional Medal of Honor laying around here anywhere?"



Lawler repeats what he said on Raw, that he's heard that Ultimate Warrior is up to 400 lbs. and has had his head shaved. We still hadn't seen the returning Warrior yet, but he enters to a huge pop here and looks basically the same as he always did. HHH jumps the Warrior before the bell and quickly pedigrees him, but Warrior no-sells and squashes him quickly. Really, doing the honors for Warrior here - even in a squash - was a great spot for Helmsley to have; that much was apparent even at the time. Warrior goes over with the press slam and the splash.



Result: Ultimate Warrior via pinfall (1:39)
Rating: N/A, don't rate really brief squashes but it did what it intended to do.

Todd Pettengill is backstage, and he introduces a new WWF superstar, "The Wildman Marc Marro." Pettengill was all kinds of awful, so him botching a name in his first appearance of the night is pretty standard. You'll recognize Marc Mero as the guy who was just performing in WCW as Johnny B. Badd. Mero is cutting a promo introducing himself when he's bumped into by HHH, who is putting the badmouth on his yet-to-be-named valet (Sable). This causes a brawl between the two and sets up Mero's first WWF program.



They show a bird's eye view of Roddy Piper arriving at the arena, then throw it to the next match.

Diesel vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer): One thing I notice here during Diesel's entrance. On the original broadcast, I still remember him looking at the camera right before entering the ring and saying, "I'm the ****, I'm telling you!" They seemingly bothered to edit that out on the version now on the WWE Network. Taker's feud opponents during the past four years had included Kamala, Giant Gonzalez, Yokozuna, the fake Undertaker, and every terrible stiff in the Million Dollar Corporation, so honestly Kevin Nash wasn't too bad of an opponent to work with here. Honestly, with what you would expect from these two on paper, it wasn't too bad of a power match. They keep up a good pace early. Unfortunately they do slow way down and fall into a sequence where Diesel takes it to Taker with one or two moves and then preens for the crowd, and they also have a lengthy bearhug sequence, but still this wasn't too bad overall.



Diesel hits a Jackknife, strolls around and taunts the crowd instead of going for the pin, hits a second Jackknife, takes an eternity to follow up, and eventually goes down to pin Taker, but Taker rises up and chokes him, making his way to his feet. Diesel back suplexes him, but again Taker rises up. You know where this is headed. Flying clothesline by Undertaker, a chokeslam, and then he actually does get Diesel up for the Tombstone and executes it to score the pin.



Result: Undertaker via pinfall (16:46)
Rating: **1/4

Some spoilers, but: Kevin Nash has given his notice to the WWF by this point, which always makes me think that "The Streak" would have ended here if not for that fact. Diesel gets a world title match at the next PPV, so you tend to think that he would have set it up with a win here. But obviously they're not going to let him go over any of their big stars after he puts in his notice.

Todd Pettengill is following security cameras, which spot that Goldust and Piper arrive at the arena. Why Goldust's escape route took him straight to the arena, I don't know.

Roddy Piper vs. Goldust (cont'd): Piper stalks Goldust through the arena and all the way into the ring. I have Tower of Doom flashbacks because they have just sort of found their way into the main ring for no apparent reason. They continue the brawl in the ring; the brawling here is less interesting than what they were doing in the backlot. During the brawl, Goldust kisses Piper, which sets up the babyface hulk-up. Piper rips his outfit off to reveal him wearing women's underwear underneath. Piper buries a knee in his crotch, and Goldust rolls out and runs from the ring as Piper's music plays.

So I enjoyed the earlier brawl; it was some decent hardcore stuff. The whole chase to the arena and most of the stuff in the ring was pretty stupid. I guess I don't hate the "match" in its entirety, but I have no idea how to rate it.

Result: Roddy Piper wins (I guess)
Rating: N/A

They transition their attention now to the main event. They show a hype video that's…fine, I guess, but not really up to the standard of amazing WWF hype videos.

Before the next match introductions, Howard Finkel introduces "a man who is now officially the WWF President," Gorilla Monsoon. So Piper as an authority figure is done now.

WWF Title Ironman Match - Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels: Full match writeup here. The cliffs are that the two battle to a 0-0 tie through 60 minutes, Bret has the Sharpshooter on but releases at the bell, Gorilla Monsoon orders the match to continue under sudden death rules, and Bret runs into two superkicks to drop the title. Very good match, albeit something of a letdown.



Result: Shawn Michaels, 1 fall to 0, OT (1:01:52)
Rating: ***1/2

Bret doesn't do the cliché babyface handshake, and in fact stomps out angrily, not to be seen again until much later in the year. Michaels celebrates his first World Title win until the show goes to a recap video and then signs off.



Overall: Good show. Nice opener, strong main event, the Piper/Goldust stuff was decent if a bit weird, Warrior squash worked, and even Diesel vs. Taker wasn't bad. Strangely enough, the Steve Austin match was the one part of the show that was pretty boring. It wasn't a spectacular show, but it was very solid and significantly better than what WCW put on PPV the week prior.
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:05 AM   #208
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

MARCH 1996 IN REVIEW

Arrivals:
WWF - Ultimate Warrior, Marc Mero, Sable
WCW - Steiner Brothers

Match of the Month: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XII

PPV of the Month: WrestleMania XII wins this in a lopsided blowout.

Ratings: There's always a delay in getting ratings to follow the better show…these things don't happen in real time. WCW won all three contested nights this past month. That had to be adding to WWF's concern.

Quality: Nitro continued to be the better overall show, but with WWF putting on a good PPV and WCW putting on an absolutely disgraceful one, the quality in the company's products was pretty close to even overall this past month. That is to say that WCW took a bit of a step back in product quality just as it started getting more of a foothold in the ratings.
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:16 AM   #209
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Quote:
Some spoilers, but: Kevin Nash has given his notice to the WWF by this point, which always makes me think that "The Streak" would have ended here if not for that fact.
Nash has actually said this before. Something to the effect of Taker should thank him because "The Streak" wouldn't be marketable since it would've been broken in 96 if he hadn't have left.
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Old 11-28-2015, 07:36 PM   #210
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

April 1, 1996

RAW

San Bernandino, CA

Video recap of WrestleMania's results to open. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler talk about what we saw last night, then hype that tonight, we're going to see an appearance by Shawn Michaels as well as Undertaker vs. Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw, and to open, the long-awaited debut of Mankind.

Mankind vs. Bob Holly: It's great to have Mick Foley in the mix, obviously. This is just a squash to put him over strong to start his WWF career. He does his signature spots, gives up the expected amount of offense you give to a JTTS that you're squashing, and then goes over with the Mandible Claw, shrieking and squealing as he puts Bob Holly out. I can never say enough good things about this brilliant touch where he would come out to creepy horror music but then had a separate entrance theme that was soothing piano.



Result: Mankind via submission

They show stills of the Marc Mero/HHH brawl from last night, and then show that Sable is sitting ringside for the show tonight.

Isaac Yankem vs. "Wildman" Marc Mero: Mero comes out to different music than I remember. I wonder if this really was his original music, or if we're just doing weird dubbing. Sable stands and cheers for Mero on his entrance. Mero is a little botchy on his signature spots in this match. Guess there could be an expected adjustment to dealing with the dimensions of a WWF ring and the general ringside area compared to the dimension of WCW's. HHH comes out to ringside during the match, sits next to Sable and tries to talk to her, but she isn't having it.



Mero goes over with a big sunset flip off the top rope. Not his finest work.

Result: Marc Mero via pinfall

There is further commotion between HHH and Sable at ringside. Sable ends up slapping him, Mero rescues her by pulling her over the guardrail, and she happily goes with him.



They advertise Ultimate Warrior for Raw next week.

They show a clip from last night's pre-show, where Sunny got up on the apron and shook her ass in Phineas Godwinn's general direction to provide the needed distraction for the Bodydonnas to win the Tag Team Titles. They say that there will be a rematch at the next PPV.



Bodydonnas (w/ Sunny) vs. Barry Horowitz & Aldo Montoya: This was weird. It certainly seemed like a setup to let the new Tag Team Champions just win a squash match and get put over strong on Raw, but they spend almost the whole match giving up offense to Horowitz and Montoya, and Horowitz even gets a visual pin in the match. If anything, this whole thing made the champs look pretty damn weak. Their gimmick was never good enough to get all that over anyway, but stuff like this doesn't do them any favors.



The Bodydonnas go over when Skip connects on a top rope hurracanrana and Zip follows with a seated splash off the top.

Result: Bodydonnas via pinfall

Vince McMahon brings Shawn Michaels into the ring for an interview. Shawn comes out wearing a really cheap-looking baseball cap that commemorates his title win the night before. He thanks the fans for picking him up last night and getting him through the match. He doles out some patronizing compliments to Bret Hart. Vince says that Shawn is facing Jerry Lawler next week and will face Diesel at the upcoming PPV. Michaels cuts a basic promo on Diesel, and that's that. Pretty boring segment. Shawn was obnoxious and usually wasn't much of a talker.



The Undertaker vs. Justin Hawk Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah): Bradshaw throws a couple of hard clotheslines during the match, and I'm left not actually knowing what the difference is between those and the Clothesline from Hell. He gets most of the offense here, but Undertaker launches the babyface comeback, hits the Tombstone, and appears to have the pin when Mankind runs in and attacks to cause the DQ.

Result: The Undertaker via DQ



Mankind sends Taker into the stairs and then executes the running elbow drop from the apron to the floor before locking in the Mandible Claw. He leaves Taker laid out in the aisle, then leaves, then comes back after leaving on a few more occasions before finally being forced away.

Vince advertises Yokozuna vs. Vader, Michaels vs. Lawler, and an appearance by the Ultimate Warrior for next week before signing off.

Overall: Meh. I liked the feel of the show just from a standpoint of it feeling fresh to have the first couple of matches feature new guys, and I like that they put Mankind over so strongly after a couple of months of hype, but I'd be lying if I said that I particularly enjoyed any of the segments. So I would say their heart was in the right place, but the show still wasn't very good.

NITRO

Cleveland, OH

We kick right off with a cold open, and The Giant and Sting staring each other down in the middle of the ring. Sting spits on The Giant. Apparently this is a match.

Sting vs. The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart): Sting takes the fight to Giant, but ultimately gets no-sold. Giant tosses him outside and then flings him into the steel barricade before tossing him back into the ring over the top from the floor. Giant attempts to re-enter with a chokeslam, but Sting kicks him back to the floor. Suddenly Lex Luger hits the ring and stands alongside Sting, facing down The Giant and Jimmy Hart. The Giant slinks away as the referee calls the match off. I sit here crestfallen, believing that we have just seen a Luger face turn when he was the best heel going in the business at the time. Generic face Luger isn't nearly as interesting.



Result: No Contest

To the desk, Eric Bischoff explains the backdrop of what happened before the cold open. They said it was scheduled to be a tag team title match of Sting & The Giant vs. Harlem Heat. WCW's executive committee had said that The Giant couldn't step in as Luger's partner. No idea why Luger was needing another stand-in. But regardless of that, the tag team match was still supposed to go on. Harlem Heat were making their entrance when Jimmy Hart sprinted in from the back and gave an envelope to Harlem Heat and whispered something to them, causing the Heat to take the (presumably) payoff and go away, leaving Sting to go at it with The Giant. So that's what led us to Lex Luger jumping to Sting's defense.

Triangle Match - Steiner Brothers vs. Nasty Boys vs. Road Warriors: Again, WCW triangle matches are done worse than modern-day WWE triple threat matches, in that there's always a participant (or in this case team) on the outside, just waiting to be tagged in. And it's one fall to a finish. I understand that there were some personal grudges among these teams, but it feels a little weird to do a three-way match with nothing on the line, especially under these non-tornado rules. Naturally this match is at its best when it breaks down and all six start brawling on the outside, but the referee gets the match back under control.



The match isn't very good overall. Some pretty dull brawling for the most part that provides little of interest to write about. Our ending comes when Public Enemy runs down, knocks Brian Knobbs out, and Johnny Grunge (dressed like a Nasty Boy) runs in and lays down for the pin just to screw the Nasty Boys over. Scott Steiner makes the cover for the win.

Result: Steiner Brothers via pinfall

Arn Anderson & The Taskmaster (w/ Woman and Elizabeth) vs. Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe): Happily, the Booty Babe has upgraded from a tutu to some sort of less ridiculous tight dress. Bobby Heenan suddenly says very seriously at the start of this match that he's retiring from broadcasting and that this would be his last night. The wrestling in this match is worthless. They meander their way toward a hot tag to Hogan, who delivers a couple of big boots in slow motion. Woman feeds a high heel to Sullivan, but the Booty Babe takes off her shoe and gives it to Hogan as well. This obsession with using shoes as weapons has long since passed the point of absurdity. Hogan is first on the draw with the shoe strike, and he pins Sullivan for the win. Garbage match.



Result: Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man via pinfall

As the segment starts to wrap, Arn Anderson and The Taskmaster jump the Booty Man in the ring and put a beating on him before Hogan makes the save. Mean Gene joins the babyfaces in the ring. Booty Man says that he's got something up his sleeve that is going to get them "some satisfaction," and tells Hogan to trust him and team with him next week. Then he refuses to elaborate on what the match is. Hogan blindly agrees, so we have another bad Hogan/Leslie tag match to look forward to next week I guess.

WCW Title - Ric Flair (c) vs. Lex Luger: Ric Flair spots Debra McMichael near ringside and flirts with her a bit before going into the ring. Bischoff identifies her by name and acknowledges her as Mongo's wife. Flair was always good at making Luger look as good as possible, and he shows that he's still got that ability in this match. Lex does seem pretty standard power offense, and Flair makes him look like a million bucks. In one moment there's a tight camera shot that shows them clearly calling spots, obvious enough that Eric Bischoff feels the need to jump in and cover by saying that they're trash-talking in the ring.

Lots of solid near-fall spots late, as Luger looks to be a split-second away from winning the title several times. Lex even throws in a superplex, which isn't a move I really recall seeing from him. Luger gets Flair up in the Torture Rack, but Liz runs distraction on the referee and Woman hilariously comes up with a cup of hot coffee that she runs into the ring and splashes in Luger's face. Flair makes the pin directly after, complete with feet on the ropes, to retain the title. WCW was really doing some goofy endings at this point. It does get good heat though



Result: Ric Flair via pinfall

They go to the desk to wrap things up. After recapping what they saw, Heenan extends a handshake to Mongo and Bischoff to say goodbye for what he said was his last show, then reveals that it's an April Fool's Day joke and laughs hysterically while the other two roll their eyes. I remember watching this at the time and really hoping he was serious, as a Heenan return to WWF would have been far better than him mailing it in for paychecks in WCW.



With that, the show signs off.

Overall: I don't know. Decent main event, but not a great show. I really want Hulk Hogan to go away at this point.

---

Ratings for 4/1/96: Raw 2.9, Nitro 2.8
Ratings Running Score: Nitro, 14-11-2

Better Show: Honestly kind of a toss-up, as both shows underwhelmed and just left me wanting to get through them, but a slight nod to Nitro for a watchable Flair-Luger match.
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 22-5

Match of the Night: Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
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Old 11-28-2015, 08:50 PM   #211
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

I would assume that using the Clothesline from Hell wouldn't work on Undertaker, since it'd just sort of be a clothesline to him. Using Clotheslines from Earth would be more effective.
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:07 PM   #212
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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Old 11-29-2015, 08:14 AM   #213
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

You might be right that Luger turned face, but I'm not sure how you concluded that from his actions during the Giant/Sting match. Didn't Luger just run in during a fair fight? It seemed like a very puzzling run in for the purpose of staring at one of the participants.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:24 AM   #214
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Great thread so far. It's starts to get interesting soon too so I'll be checking in more frequently.

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Old 11-29-2015, 12:27 PM   #215
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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You might be right that Luger turned face, but I'm not sure how you concluded that from his actions during the Giant/Sting match. Didn't Luger just run in during a fair fight? It seemed like a very puzzling run in for the purpose of staring at one of the participants.
It was confusing and weird, but I guess I should have mentioned Eric Bischoff's reaction on commentary. Luger runs in, the crowd pops, Eric Bischoff says, "And if there was any question about Lex Luger, well..." Granted that Mongo still called him two-faced. But Luger ran in to take sides and blow up whatever this scheme was supposed to be by Jimmy Hart, and Jimmy Hart was at the core of whether or not Luger was a heel.

Then, at the end of the night, Luger gets screwed out of the world title against a heel. I'm mostly taking my cues from the commentary team, but it does seem like the episode existed to build sympathy for Luger. And on top of that, I had it in my head that he just sort of transitions out of being this duplicitous heel and starts playing it straight.

Anyway, I knew that the shift into the next era would cost us elite 1996 heel Luger, so either I read this episode correctly or it's coming soon.
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Old 11-29-2015, 12:55 PM   #216
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Its coming soon and it's sad. Two faced Lex Luger was one of the best things about early 96. Supplementary best to Sting, the most gullible baby face of all time
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Old 11-29-2015, 02:13 PM   #217
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

April 8, 1996

RAW

San Bernandino, CA

We've got Mr. Perfect in for Jerry Lawler on color duties, as Lawler is wrestling on this episode against Shawn Michaels.

Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Vader (w/ Jim Cornette): Yoko takes a couple of strikes from Vader early, then rares back and unleashes the stiffest punch you'll see from him. This being Vader, I'm guessing Yoko was legit taking umbrage with how rough he was being. Vince mentions a few minutes in, "If you're just joining us, welcome to Monday Night Raw." He then says they started a little early tonight, and would be starting a little early every week going forward. This could only be a reaction to Eric Bischoff going on the air early and giving Raw results away.

I thought this was a solid match. Even the punching looked impactful, and Yoko threw his good (albeit limited) set of power moves at Vader, connecting on the front side slam that he did at Mania and also dropping the big leg. Yoko comes up empty on a corner charge and falls backward, with Yoko one leg up on the rope. Vader sets up for a Vaderbomb, but directs it specifically so that he lands on Yoko's leg. Yoko screams in agony and the referee calls for the bell right away, stopping the match and awarding it to Vader. Mr. Perfect says he heard Yoko's leg snap. Upon replaying it, I could actually hear the noise he was talking about too…not sure how they did that, since this was obviously a work. Vader directs two more Vaderbombs to Yoko's leg for good measure.



I really liked that ending. Well-executed and well-imagined, that ending plus the subsequent continued Vaderbombs were a great way to put him over as a monster.

Result: Vader via referee stoppage (submission)

Yokozuna does a nice job of agonizing and selling the pain as medical professionals stabilize his leg and cart him off on a forklift (I did wonder how the normal stretcher they first wheeled out would possibly work).

Vince McMahon in the ring. "He's back. He is…the ULLLLTIMATE WARRIOR!" Big pop for the Warrior. I suppose this would be his first-ever appearance on Raw. Warrior yells his usual incoherent but effective promo until he's interrupted by Goldust. Vince announces that Warrior will face Goldust for the IC Title at the next In Your House. Well if ever there was a wrestler for Goldust to prey on the homophobic instincts of, Warrior would be it. Goldust messes with Warrior, Warrior angrily fires back, even dropping the word "s***" that has to be bleeped, and floors Goldust with a clothesline that leaves Goldust scrambling to the back.



They go to footage of continuing to cart Yokozuna off on a forklift backstage. Vader comes running into the shot and hits Yokozuna's injured leg repeatedly with a steel chair.



Hunter Hearst-Helmsley vs. Duke "The Dumpster" Droese: Droese runs in early and brings the fight to HHH for a good while, dominating the action until HHH ducks under a charge by the Dumpster and leaves him tumbling out over the top rope. Obviously the match is a foregone conclusion, as they even include a PIP promo from Marc Mero directed at Helmsley in the middle of the match.



They let Droese look reasonably strong, and he actually sets up for his finisher, the tilt-a-whirl powerslam, but HHH escapes in mid-move and executes the Pedigree for the pin.

Result: HHH via pinfall

They show highlights of Mankind's run-in to attack Undertaker last week.

They also pan to the back and show Yokozuna being loaded into the medical van and being hauled away. As Vince McMahon leaves commentary to go back into the ring, Mr. Perfect says, "Perhaps we'll never see Yokozuna again."

Arm Wrestling Match - British Bulldog (w/ Owen Hart) vs. Ahmed Johnson: As they're going to get started, Owen interjects and says that Ahmed has a bunch of oil all over him and that he's cheating because of it. Vince questions how that would help him, and Owen says "he could slip and get extra leverage." Ahmed wipes his arm off on referee Jack Doan's shirt. Doan threatens to eject Owen if he doesn't back off. Owen hilariously jumps in two more times to make arbitrary objections to seemingly stop the match from happening. Owen eventually gets ejected so that the arm wrestling can commence. He was funny here.



After some back and forth, Ahmed wins the arm wrestling match. Bulldog attacks with a steel chair and beats him with it repeatedly after it's over. He attacks him with the table that they arm wrestled on as well, and leaves him beaten and needing help to get to the back.

Result: Ahmed Johnson wins the arm wrestling contest

They advertise Goldust vs. Savio Vega for the IC Title for next week.

Diesel comes out for commentary for the next match. He mockingly wears a Shawn Michaels t-shirt.

Shawn Michaels vs. Jerry Lawler: This match isn't much. Lawler just stalls his way through a lot of it. He does throw a piledriver, but nobody on commentary or in the crowd sees that as a big deal since Lawler basically doesn't have it as a recognized finisher, and Michaels kicking out afterward is a non-event. HBK launches the babyface comeback, he hits a number of signature moves and then stares down Diesel at ringside. Lawler tries to take advantage and hit him with brass knucks, but Michaels turns around and connects on a superkick to make the pin.

Result: Shawn Michaels via pinfall

Diesel and Shawn brawl in the ring after the match, Mr. Perfect throws Shawn's WWF Title belt into the ring for Diesel, and Diesel clocks Michaels with it and drops it on top of him as he's laid out. The show ends on that note.



Overall: Some entertaining stuff on this show. Loved Vader, enjoyed Owen. Pretty lame main event segment, but not a bad episode overall.

NITRO PRE-EMPTED THIS WEEK

---

Ratings for 4/8/96: Raw 4.7, Nitro N/A - of note, this 4.7 rating was pretty massive for whatever reason, even for an unopposed week. Nobody would pop that big of a rating again for a year and a half.
Ratings Running Score: Nitro, 14-11-2 (no result this week)

Better Show: N/A
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 22-5 (no result this week)

Match of the Night: Vader vs. Yokozuna
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Old 11-29-2015, 02:22 PM   #218
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Every time I see Vader just ooze awesomeness on these shows, it makes me hate Michaels even more for killing his push. If Vader had been able to maintain momentum for a few years we could have gotten some great Vader/Austin action down the line
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:17 PM   #219
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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Every time I see Vader just ooze awesomeness on these shows, it makes me hate Michaels even more for killing his push. If Vader had been able to maintain momentum for a few years we could have gotten some great Vader/Austin action down the line
Ive been watching some attitude era stuff on the network and was surprised to realize his work as wwe commish was pretty bad - highlighted by a stint on commentary during a foley/bossman match where I'm 95% sure he was hammered.
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:31 PM   #220
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

This thread is getting better and better, and now that I'm caught up a have a couple thoughts.

I mentioned in another thread that WM 12 was the first wrestling I watched since around WM 5, and the one thing that always stood out to me was the Piper/GD match. Early on there was probably the stiffest punch I can remember when Piper hit GD in the cheek. It made the sickest thud.

I have never seen Uncensored 96, bit the main event sounds so bad, I may have to watch it.

In regards to your post about WCW not hyping their PPV matches on Nitro, this will be an ongoing theme, and it only gets worse. Except in 99-2000 they didn't hype them on Thunder or Sat. Night either.
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:55 PM   #221
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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I have never seen Uncensored 96, bit the main event sounds so bad, I may have to watch it.
If you ever queue it up to watch that main event out of morbid curiosity, I do recommend taking a look at the Finlay-Regal match. I still can't get over just how stiff and punishing that **** was.
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:14 AM   #222
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Big +1 to the Finlay/Regal. I've seen others who make it a point to rate just about every f'n match give it 4.5-5* fwiw.
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:18 AM   #223
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

The end takes it out if that contention for me, but it's as high as it can be with an ending like that
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:21 AM   #224
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Yeah, Regal's cohorts running in for the DQ when Regal was actually at the advantage in the match anyway is a really dumb ending. It also hurts that the crowd isn't way into it, because they don't seem to really know what to make of the style of the match, and because they don't have much of a rooting interest in a heel vs. heel match anyway.

Tepid crowd + bad ending has a difficult time making it to four stars in my book. Certainly a five-star effort from both men though.
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:45 AM   #225
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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The end takes it out if that contention for me, but it's as high as it can be with an ending like that
Yeah, I agree. I give it aroind what LKJ did. Nothing awfully special but worth watching.
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