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  1. HOUR TWO Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Zbyszko.
  3.  - Michael Buffer does the honors. Wow ... did DDP ever get a Buffer intro?
  6.    WCW lays off the "first title match!" thing, which is a good idea since
  7.    people are starting to remember that Goldberg actually got a TV Title
  8.    shot back in October.
  10.    Wait a minute ... this being a Raven match, that means it's "no DQ",
  11.    right? So if neither man can be DQ'ed, and neither can be counted out
  12.    (because the WCW officials have lately refused to count guys out when
  13.    they brawl outside the ring in "no DQ" matches), then the only possible
  14.    finishes are Raven getting the pin, or Goldberg winning the title! Anyone
  15.    REALLY think Raven has a chance of getting the pin? Even with help from
  16.    the Flock?
  18.    The match starts out with Goldberg slamming Raven into the guard rails
  19.    down on the floor. Schiavone confirms that this is "Raven's Rules" (no
  20.    DQ), and that because of it there is no countout. How in the hell can
  21.    Raven possibly win?! Back in the ring Goldberg does that leg roll-up
  22.    which is similar to the one Hogan uses when he actually feels like
  23.    wrestling. He then kicks Raven in the head with a reverse kick--which
  24.    Tony and Larry hail as a tremendous new move. They move back to the
  25.    floor, where Raven uses a chair on Goldberg. They go back in the ring and
  26.    Raven trips Goldberg onto the chair (which I'll go on record as saying is
  27.    the most impressive thing I saw Goldberg do in this match). Raven gets in
  28.    a few more chair shots, then slaps of a sleeper. Goldberg powers his way
  29.    out of it. Raven whips him into the corner and delivers a clothesline,
  30.    which Goldberg shakes off. Raven tries again, but Goldberg catches him in
  31.    the gut with the spear. The crowd goes wild.
  33.    Suddenly the Flock comes in. Kidman does a drop-kick which Goldberg
  34.    shrugs off. Sick Boy gets clotheslined out of the ring. The newest Flock
  35.    member, who everyone says is Horace Boulder, nails Goldberg with a stop
  36.    sign. Goldberg no-sells it and dumps the guy out. Reece comes in and
  37.    hoists him up, but Goldberg breaks free and delivers a vertical suplex.
  38.    Raven, realizing now that Flock interference--which hasn't worked the
  39.    several other times they've come in on Goldberg--won't work here either.
  40.    He tries to walk out of the match (no countout, remember), but is met
  41.    beyond the rail by several security guards pretending to be fans.
  43.    On a quick side note, this is the third week in a row that Raven has had
  44.    an encounter with "fans". The first incident was apparently real, but
  45.    it's being reported that the second incident was actually Mortis minus
  46.    his mask who attacked Raven. This week it was a well coordinated group of
  47.    "fans" who pop up out of nowhere, pick Raven up and throw him back over
  48.    the rail for Goldberg to get 'em. Give me a break! The crowd eats it up,
  49.    though. The Flock, having had their morale broken, retake their seats in
  50.    a quiet and orderly fashion. From there it's just a formality to spear
  51.    and Jackhammer Raven for the win. Goldberg gets his 75th victory and the
  52.    U.S. Title.
  54.    Two quick questions:
  56.    1. Where was Saturn?
  58.    2. Are we going to have to wait another 75 weeks while WCW pushes
  59.    Goldberg to his first World Title match?
  61.    This was an exciting segment, but not a "good" match by any stretch of
  62.    the imagination. Goldberg actually displayed less offense than most of
  63.    his other recent matches, and as I noted above, his face-first smash into
  64.    the chair was his most impressive move (yes, even more impressive than
  65.    suplexing Reece). Take out the spots on the floor and the Flock
  66.    interference and this was the usual Golberg quickie win. All last week I
  67.    figured Goldberg would win, but by DQ due to interference by Saturn. Once
  68.    Nitro kicked off and it sunk in that "Raven's Rules" would be in effect,
  69.    there simply wasn't any way that Goldberg wasn't walking out with the
  70.    title. "No DQ" matches are always done to give the title challenger a
  71.    tremendous advantage, and by the virtue of Raven having it in every one
  72.    of his matches, there's very little chance he can ever hold onto a title
  73.    (unless his future opponents are more susceptible to attacks from the
  74.    Flock). I sure hope WCW thinks about this before they give him another
  75.    title.
  77.    By the way, who did Goldberg ever beat to get a U.S. Title shot in the
  78.    first place? I realize he was 74-0, but do that many squashes really make
  79.    up for actually beating proven wrestlers? Must have been that win he got
  80.    over Steve McMichael six months ago.
  82.    Now we have to sit through an hour-and-a-half of junk until Hogan vs.
  83.    Savage.
  85.  - Nitro Girls.
  88.    With Goldberg's match out of the way it's time to talk about Hogan and
  89.    Savage, which the announcers do for much of this match. La Parka does a
  90.    risky dive off the top to the floor, but all we hear is comments about
  91.    Bischoff and the NWO. The match actually then starts to pick up, which is
  92.    as good a time as any to insert a dumb angle. Eddie Guerrero drags Chavo
  93.    Guerrero, Jr. to the ring--apparently in an effort to fire him up and
  94.    talk him into attacking Ultimo Dragon. The brow-beating works and Chavo
  95.    pushes the dragon off the top (as Eddie distracts the ref). La Parka
  96.    lands a spinning corkscrew moonsault and covers for the pin. Eddie slaps
  97.    Chavo's face all the way back down the aisle.
  99.    Are we really going to have to sit through ANOTHER month of this crap
  100.    before Chavo snaps and slugs Eddie? This angle could have been greatly
  101.    speeded up by having Chavo win his match against the Dragon at the PPV.
  102.    Eddie could have then attacked Chavo, kicking off a match between the two
  103.    at the NEXT PPV. We all know this is what it's leading up to anyway. As
  104.    it is now, it looks like the split will happen at the next PPV, then the
  105.    match between the two at the PPV after that! Either that, or WCW will
  106.    just sort of lose interest and the angle will be forgotten (which happens
  107.    half the time anyway). This angle maybe wouldn't even be so bad if it
  108.    didn't involve Eddie NOT wrestling any matches! When was the last time he
  109.    wrestled on Nitro? On Thunder? On PPV? That's the only way Chavo would
  110.    ever realistically win a match between these two: Eddie will be too rusty
  111.    when the match finally happens!
  113.  - Bobby Heenan joins the announcing crew, replacing Zbyszco.
  115.  - CHRIS BENOIT vs. CURT HENNIG (w/ Rick Rude)
  116.    Benoit simply is not a well-liked man by the WCW higher-ups. We get the
  117.    usual intensity from Benoit, but what's the point when his opponents suck
  118.    and Benoit never wins any more (title match or not)? Rude sits in for
  119.    commentary for a minute, then heads to the ring when it looks like Hennig
  120.    could use some help. Rude interferes by dropping Benoit across the ring
  121.    rail. Hennig takes Benoit's limp body and starts to apply the Hennig-
  122.    Plex, but Benoit reverses it into the Crippler Crossface. Rude then nails
  123.    Benoit from behind, stopping the match with a DQ. (Benoit wins. Yay.)
  124.    Benoit is doubleteamed until Booker T. comes out. Benoit lets Booker know
  125.    that he doesn't appreciate his "interference" and the two eventually come
  126.    to blows. Let me guess ... ANOTHER PPV match between these two? What's
  127.    the point? If Benoit wins the belt, it'll only be "about friggin' time!"
  128.    On the other hand, if Benoit loses yet again: "Fool me once, shame on
  129.    you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times--screw you WCW!!!"
  130.    I wonder who Benoit hates more: Eric Bischoff, Terry Taylor or Kevin
  131.    Sullivan?
  133.  - After some clips from the PPV, "Mean" Gene interviews "Rowdy" Roddy
  134.    Piper. Piper admits he dropped the ball at the PPV. Because of that, he's
  135.    going to do some tinkering with tonight's main event. First, Piper says
  136.    the match is "no DQ". Second, he says no one will run in the ring because
  137.    Hogan has no friends. (Is that a stipulation or an observation?) Third,
  138.    Piper says he's posting soldiers so that Hogan can't run out of the
  139.    building. Fourth, Piper says that they will stay with the match no matter
  140.    how long it takes.
  142.    WHAT THE BLOODY HELL?!?!?!
  144.    First off, what did I just say above about "no DQ" matches favoring the
  145.    challenger? This move on Piper's behalf all but assures that Savage will
  146.    lose the title! Second, Hogan has his buddy the Disciple ... isn't that a
  147.    friend who can run in to help him? Third, why would Hogan want to leave
  148.    the arena? He wants to win the title, doesn't he? Fourth, how is
  149.    committing to staying with the match anything new? Schiavone says this
  150.    is what WCW always does to "please the fans" anyway. Add to that the fact
  151.    that Savage is so busted up that the longer the match goes, the less
  152.    chance he has to win. The only way Piper could have f***ed this match up
  153.    any more for Savage would be to add "Savage is so tough that he'll fight
  154.    with one hand tied behind his back!"
  157. - HAMMER vs. SATURN
  158.    Again, where was Saturn during Raven's match. He shows up for a nothing
  159.    match with Hammer, but is nowhere around when Raven's defending title?
  160.    All these two do is punch, kick and choke each other. Both men are
  161.    counted out while brawling on the floor.
  163. HOUR THREE Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
  165.  - They show stills from the PPV again: the same stills they showed earlier.
  168.    The P.E. bring a table to the ring which not only has tape covering the
  169.    saw cut on the bottom, but also has a little "X" target to show where to
  170.    throw the opponent onto it on top. After some uninspired brawling and the
  171.    usual botched attempt to put someone through the table, Bagwell gets the
  172.    win with the Buff Blockbuster. (Scott had wanted to apply his Steiner
  173.    Recliner for the win, but Buff talked him into letting him do the Buff
  174.    Blockbuster). Both before and after the match Buff and Scott have a
  175.    contest to see which one can act the gayest. P.E. tried to put Bagwell
  176.    through the table, but Johnny Grunge only put him halfway on the table.
  177.    Had the move worked, they'd have killed Bagwell. As it was, Bagwell moved
  178.    easily in time and the two hoodies crashed through the plunder.
  180.  - Nitro Girls.
  182.  - PSYCHOSIS vs. BOOKER T.
  183.    So-so match. Early on neither man does all that much, with the bout
  184.    moving equally back-and-forth. Psychosis has a stint on offense, but
  185.    Booker comes back and does his usual string of moves to earn the pinfall
  186.    victory. Booker is getting some huge reactions from the crowds these
  187.    days: mostly, I think, because he's won so many matches. He's starting to
  188.    get some of that Goldberg-type reaction. ("He wins all the time, so he
  189.    must be good, so I better cheer for him!")
  191.  - BRIAN ADAMS (w/ Vincent) vs. LEX LUGER
  192.    A non-typical Luger match. No, it wasn't that it was any good, he just
  193.    didn't get beat up for the whole match like usual. Vincent tries to
  194.    interfere and Luger Racks him. Konan runs in and Luger Racks him. He then
  195.    catches Adams with a forearm and pins him.
  197.  - They come back from the commercial. Schiavone talks about how great the
  198.    PPV was. they inexplicably then take another commercial.
  200.  - Buffer introduces Hogan. Hogan then gets on the mic and works the crowd.
  201.    They take another commercial--during which they run a brief promo for the
  202.    next WCW PPV: Slamboree. Savage makes his entrance after the break. All
  203.    told they kill more than ten minutes since the last match ended.
  206.    Hogan delivers his usual low-aerobic performance, while Savage can barely
  207.    walk with that bad knee of his. Hogan dominates the first half of the
  208.    match, whipping Savage with his belt, working on his knee and so on.
  209.    Savage then rallies back, whips Hogan with the belt, them amazingly
  210.    enough goes up top for an elbowdrop, which connects. (I'd like to see
  211.    Hogan give half this effort with a bad leg. Savage may have lost a lot
  212.    over the years, but he's still a hell of a guy to go through with a match
  213.    like this.) The shock of the landing is too much for Savage and he can't
  214.    make the cover. Hogan then takes over, slapping on a Figure Four. (Whoa
  215.    ... an actual logical procession of moves!) Hogan works on the knee for a
  216.    bit. Both men then get up and trade choke holds. The ref tries to break
  217.    it up (why?) but Savage tosses him away. Referee Nick Patrick comes up
  218.    holding his back. Moments later the Disciple comes in and lays out
  219.    Patrick with a Stunner (why?) The Disciple attacks Savage. (Didn't Piper
  220.    say no one would/could help Hogan?) For the next minute or two they beat
  221.    on Savage, working his knee over by banging it against the ring post. In
  222.    an interesting move, the Disciple take the title belt, drapes it over his
  223.    shoulder, then gives Savage a Stunner with it under his chin. Savage
  224.    looks ripe for the picking, though the ref is still unconscious on the
  225.    mat.
  227.    Enter Kevin Nash to a thunderous crowd response. Nash gives Hogan a
  228.    "whuzzup?" gesture. Suddenly he's tackled at the knees from behind by
  229.    Eric Bischoff. This slows him up long enough for Hogan and the Disciple
  230.    to lay into him. The Disciple holds him while Hogan winds up with the
  231.    belt. Nash dodges, and it's the Disciple who takes the belt to the face.
  232.    (Clang!) Nash then sets Hogan up for the Jacknife (big crowd roar), but
  233.    Bischoff lays in some of those weak-ass karate kicks. Nash turns and
  234.    nails Bischoff with a punch which didn't even muss Eric's hair. Nash
  235.    Jackknife Hogan, receiving one of the loudest responses ever heard in a
  236.    WCW arena. He then lays Savage on top of Hogan and heads over to pick up
  237.    the ref.
  239.    Here comes Bret Hart.
  241.    What? Why?
  243.    Bret Hart slides in the ring. Stopping just long enough to scoop up the
  244.    World Title belt, he nails Nash with it, sending him to the canvas! Hart
  245.    then grabs Hogan, rolls him over on top of Savage and drags the ref over
  246.    to make the count. Three seconds later "Hollywood" Hogan has won the WCW
  247.    World Heavyweight Title for the fourth time! The crowd is stunned.
  249.    "Rowdy" Roddy Piper quickly scurries to the ring. Bret raises Hogan's
  250.    hand in victory just before spotting Piper. "Why?" Piper starts asking
  251.    Hart. Hart backs away from him, refusing to look him in the face. Piper
  252.    persists, demanding to know what Hart has done and why. Piper asks one
  253.    too many times and receives a punch to the face from Hart for his
  254.    troubles. Just before the cameras wink off Hart gives the crowd that sly
  255.    grin of his.
  257.    The Hitman has returned.
  259.  - This Wednesday: Nothing announced.
  261.  - Next week: Nothing announced.
  265. Bret Hart is a heel. He's probably not NWO, but he's definitely not a
  266. "tweener" either. Don't try to convince me otherwise. Even if WCW says he
  267. isn't, he is. He's what the fans think he is and right now most fans hate
  268. him. How can you attack Nash, attack Piper, help Hogan win the title and
  269. still be considered anything but a heel? At best he's just trying to get the
  270. belt around Hogan's waist so that he can win it from him, in which case he's
  271. the biggest jerk in the world. After all his whining about how the WWF made
  272. him play a heel, what does he do? Turns heel. Either Hart or WCW finally
  273. realized that for all the bad feeling Hart had about it, he was very much
  274. over as a heel those final days in the WWF.
  276. Much like RAW last week, this was a fairly bad show which had a big finish.
  277. It's was filled with a lot of the usual stuff, though at least most of it
  278. was moving in new directions compared to the last month or so. (The Guerrero
  279. angle being the exception, as well as what's going on with Jericho.)
  281. Getting back to Hart, I'd say his turn is probably the second biggest angle
  282. so far in wrestling this year behind Mike Tyson. Even if it didn't make much
  283. sense, it was huge, and takes WCW in a direction completely different from
  284. where they were going just 24 hours earlier. Hart can now feud with Hogan,
  285. Nash, Savage, Piper--even Sting, and the fans will accept it. Of course Hart
  286. is now a guy that everyone hates. Sounds like a good time for him to have a
  287. Hart Foundation backing him up, doesn't it? The Bulldog and Neidhart weren't
  288. very over with the fans, so turning them heel with Hart would be easy.
  289. Rounding out the group, one has to admit that Chris Benoit has had a pretty
  290. bad attitude lately. Throw in Jimmy Hart as their manager and you'd have a
  291. pretty tough group which could go at it with both WCW and the NWO. Not very
  292. original but, hey ... I can dig it!
  294. Forgetting Hart for a moment, did anyone not see Hogan winning the belt
  295. again? I think we all knew it would happen, the only question was how big a
  296. fight was he and Nash going to get in after the match. Who would have
  297. thought it would be Bret Hart to come in and steal all the thunder?
  299. Speaking of which, Thunder--which is on Wednesday this week--will be huge.
  301. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  303. WWF RAW is WAR:
  304. Live/Taped: Taped 4/14.
  305. Length: Two Hours.
  306. Location: Long Island, New York.
  307. WWF RAW Hosted By: Jim Ross, Michael Cole and Kevin Kelly.
  309.  - The show begins with a recap of what went down last week between "Stone
  310.    Cold" Steve Austin, Vince McMahon and Dude Love.
  313. ~~~~~~
  315. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  317. The Bottom Line:
  319. Ratings ...
  321. WCW Monday Nitro:
  323. Hour One: 5.2
  324. Hour Two: 5.0
  325. Hour Three: 5.1
  326. Composite Score: 5.1
  327. Final Quarter Hour: 6.5 (New Record)
  329. WWF RAW is WAR:
  331. Hour One: 4.3
  332. Hour Two: 4.4
  333. Composite: 4.4
  334. Final Quarter Hour: 3.6
  336. Combined rating for last fifteen minutes of both shows: 10.1 (New Record)
  338. As expected, the live Nitro versus the taped RAW won the ratings this week.
  339. Nitro, having hyped the show for the entire week before, as well as
  340. throughout the PPV the night before, managed to improve their ratings by
  341. eight-tenths of a full ratings point. RAW, delivering a sub-par taped show
  342. only dropped two-tenths of a point from last week. This is a huge win for
  343. WCW, but one that comes at a tremendous cost in certain respects. After all,
  344. they can't keep having the World Title change hands, Bill Goldberg win his
  345. "first" title, or have Bret Hart turn heel every week now, can they? They
  346. did literally everything they could and while it got them the win (something
  347. they were able to do easily for 83 straight head-to-head encounters before
  348. this), they only lowered RAW's ratings by two-tenths of a point. With Nitro
  349. now going on something of a ratings killing hiatus for the next four weeks,
  350. I doubt the WWF is all that upset about not winning this week.
  352. [Ratings courtesy]
  354. WCW has filed a $2 million lawsuit against Ric Flair for his no-showing
  355. upwards of five straight events he was scheduled to appear at. Rumors still
  356. persist that this may all be some kind of elaborate work. If so, I don't see
  357. what purpose it serves. How will WCW get any money out of it? How will they
  358. generate any fan interest since they haven't mentioned it on TV? The only
  359. fans who are even aware of this is that still small portion of fans who get
  360. "inside" information via the Internet or hotlines. Just as a generous
  361. estimate, there's maybe 100,000 wrestling fans who actually have such access
  362. and use it on a regular basis. That's only about half as many fans as there
  363. are those who buy wrestling PPV's, and is less than a 20th or 30th of the
  364. total number of fans who watch it on TV. This week from 10:45 PM Eastern to
  365. 11:00 PM there were over SEVEN MILLION viewers combined for both RAW and
  366. Nitro. Even if we went way overboard and suggested that there were a million
  367. wrestling fans who have regular access to "inside" info, that would still
  368. only constitute one seventh of all the people who watched wrestling at its
  369. peak this week. Does it make sense to run an angle which only serves to make
  370. you look bad and make the WWF look good: all to fool--generous estimate
  371. here--less than ten percent of all the fans? Many fans who are aware of this
  372. situation--perhaps most of these fans--are fairly upset with WCW. The fans
  373. who just watch on TV, on the other hand, have to be wondering where Flair is
  374. and if he will show up on RAW soon.
  376. And how do they come up with "$2 million" in regards to their lawsuit. They
  377. can't possibly be claiming Flair's absence cost them that much money, can
  378. they? $2 million is almost exactly what Flair was supposed to be paid by WCW
  379. over the next three years. Could a lawsuit for this amount essentially be a
  380. sign that Flair's affiliation with WCW has all but officially come to an
  381. end? I just can't see them winning a lawsuit for that amount AND still have
  382. Flair locked up under contract.
  384. Then the WWF comes along and complicates the story by mentioning Flair in
  385. relation to their PPV this Sunday. Obviously in all likelihood the WWF is
  386. just using this Flair situation to generate a few extra buys by dropping his
  387. name, thus starting the rumor that he's on the verge of making the jump:
  388. possibly at the PPV itself. I give it zero chance of happening myself, but
  389. the rumor is now out there and is making the rounds. The WWF shouldn't be
  390. commended for fueling the rumor, but WCW also deserves a lot of blame for
  391. stupidly allowing the situation to exist in the first place.
  393. Wouldn't it be interesting, though, if Flair and the WWF have come to some
  394. kind of clandestine agreement, and that the WWF feels they may be able to
  395. bring him in--regardless of any lawsuits floating around out there. If one
  396. accepts the notion that WCW winning the lawsuit would mean Flair was gone
  397. from the company, then the WWF agreeing to pay Flair a couple of million to
  398. pay off the lawsuit, as well as a few more million for his services over the
  399. next few years, well ... lets just say the WWF might be getting Flair
  400. relatively cheap. Of course this opens up a whole can of worms in terms of
  401. future litigation battles with WCW, not the least of which would be an
  402. accusation of collusion and/or tampering with a contract. Please don't take
  403. any of this as any kind of serious speculation: merely hypothetical musing.
  405. What makes all this so difficult to speculate on is what exactly is
  406. contained in the "letter of intent" Flair signed with WCW. No one besides
  407. Flair, his agent and WCW have any idea what this document says. It's wholly
  408. possible that Flair is locked up in WCW until 2001 under ironclad terms.
  409. It's also a possibility that the wording is such that Flair might have some
  410. kind of an out--or at least a set of terms not as explicitly lined out as
  411. would be in a standard contract of employment. Without knowing what Flair's
  412. obligations to WCW are/were, and what WCW's obligations to Flair are/were,
  413. as outlined by this letter, there's simply no speculation which can be
  414. either accurate--or out of the bounds of reason. We're all in the dark on
  415. this one. All that's known for sure is that Flair no-showed some events and
  416. WCW filed the lawsuit in court last Friday.
  418. No matter what the outcome, this whole situation is shaping up to deliver
  419. WCW one big black eye from a public relations standpoint. Barring a
  420. reconciliation between the two sides (which still doesn't seem to be out
  421. of the question), it looks like we won't be seeing Ric Flair for a long
  422. time. In laying the blame for this situation, most fingers are pointing
  423. squarely at one person: Eric Bischoff.
  425. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  427. This Week's Winner: Nitro.
  429. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  431. "Slobberknocker Central" and "Monday Night Recap" are copyright 1998 by
  432. John Petrie, and all opinions expressed therein are his own, and not those
  433. of "Internet Access, Inc". Check the "Slobberknocker Central" main page for
  434. info on how to receive the "Recap" free via E-Mail every week.
  435. Volume One, Number 127 of the "Monday Night Recap", April 20th, 1998.
  438. ~~~~~~
  440. Slobberknocker Central Monday Night Recap #126
  441. April 13th, 1998
  443. WCW Monday Nitro:
  444. Live/Taped: Live.
  445. Length: Three Hours.
  446. Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  447. HOUR ONE Hosted By: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko.
  449.  - "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's challenge to Hogan from last week is replayed. This
  450.    would be significant because it makes us think we'll see these two fight
  451.    tonight. Bear that in mind as the show progresses.
  453.  - The Nitro Girls do a number in the ring. If I had to guess, I'd say a
  454.    "number two". Yes, that's a poop joke. I'm mighty fond of them nowadays.
  455.    The crowds here in Minnesota always embarrass me, and this one was no
  456.    exception. ECW marks dominated the ringside area, as one fan wore a
  457.    turban and held up an Al Snow head, while another had on a wrestling
  458.    mask, pirate hat, and held up numerous unimaginative signs. Several fans
  459.    in attendance believed that Bill Goldberg is their father. Many fans felt
  460.    that (insert wrestler's name here) FEARS (insert other wrestler's name
  461.    here; or "ME" or "SOAP"). I saw more signs with "3:16" on them than you'd
  462.    see walking down the digital clock aisle in the afternoon at Wal-Mart.
  463.    So many signs, so few brains.
  465.  - FIT FINLAY vs. SCOTT STEINER (w/ Vincent)
  466.    Vincent is carrying that trophy he's had for the last week or so. WCW
  467.    won't bother to explain what it means, which makes it the only thing that
  468.    passes for a mystery in WCW now that The Disciple's name has been
  469.    revealed.
  471.    An unremarkable opener, which saw the crowd mostly cheering for Steiner
  472.    as loudly as they'd have cheered years ago for Verne Gagne vs. Nick
  473.    Bockwinkle. Disgusting. The only thing of note to happen during the match
  474.    was when Steiner dropped to the floor and had a brief verbal exchange
  475.    with Larry "the Ax" Hennig--Curt Hennig's dad. (Which made no sense since
  476.    Hennig is in the NWO. Would Hennig appreciate Steiner yelling at his
  477.    dad?) Scott wins with the Steiner Recliner.
  479.    Going to the break Bret "Hitman" Hart whines about how he's not going to
  480.    whine about being screwed any more. He again whines about how he'll
  481.    interfere whenever it looks like anyone in WCW is about to be screwed.
  483.  - "Mean" Gene Okerlund hypes the hotline. Larry Zbyszko rattles off a ton
  484.    of AWA wrestlers, as well as current WCW wrestlers who got their start in
  485.    Minnesota. For some reason he doesn't mention Buck "Rock & Roll"
  486.    Zumhopfe, "Jumping" Jim Brunzell or Charlie Norris: all of whom just
  487.    wrestled here in my own hometown just last week. Curiously enough, Lenny
  488.    Lane was scheduled to appear here also. Whether he did or not I don't
  489.    know because, frankly, $12 was just too much to pay to see these guys in
  490.    "action".
  493.    The crowd was very unkind to Lane, giving him a "Lenny sucks!" chant at
  494.    one point. The match itself was only interesting because Lane got in a
  495.    fair amount of offense, which allowed him to play to the crowd (which,
  496.    right on cue, gave him a big heel reaction). Ultimo Dragon overcame a
  497.    number of flubbed moves to eventually earn the win with a Dragon Sleeper.
  499.    Another video clip of Bret Hart whining.
  501.  - Schiavone tosses it to the back, where "Mean" Gene is waiting to
  502.    interview Roddy Piper. Piper announces that Nash and Hogan will face each
  503.    other in a match here tonight. He then says he'll confront Hogan in the
  504.    ring, with the intention of ridding the wrestling world of "Hollywood"
  505.    Hogan once and for all.
  507.    Piper is suddenly attacked by Hogan and the Disciple, who lays Piper out
  508.    with a weak looking Stone Cold Stunner. Schiavone says medical attention
  509.    is being given to Piper ... even though only about twenty seconds has
  510.    passed.
  512.    Of course we all know by now that this was pretaped--probably at last
  513.    week's Nitro. Hogan, at nearly this exact moment, was in L.A. to tape an
  514.    appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". His people felt it was
  515.    necessary to hype his new "3 Ninjas" movie. He needn't have bothered: the
  516.    movie opened in 32nd or 33rd place over the weekend. To put that debut
  517.    into perspective, you could show vacation slides in your own home, charge
  518.    your family admission, and STILL make more money than this movie did!
  520.  - Mean Gene interviews the Giant, who grunts his usual "chokeSLAM!" speech.
  523.    Chavo comes to the ring alone, revealing the fact that Eddie Guerrero
  524.    wouldn't be on the show tonight. What's worse, Grunge wins this one by
  525.    avoiding a Sunset Flip roll-up and sitting on Chavo for the pin.
  527.    More comments from Bret Hart, this time whining about Hogan and Nash.
  528.    (You know ... those two guys in WCW who are FAR more popular than he is.)
  530.  - The Nitro Girls dance in bunny suits. Ask Gloria Steinem if this is
  531.    "family entertainment".
  533.  - Kevin Nash comes to the ring to deliver comments. He says he just saw his
  534.    friend Hogan "run out the back door!" He compares the Piper beating to
  535.    the "beating" which got George Michael in trouble last week. Nash then
  536.    lets us all know that Randy Savage isn't in the building (wink, wink).
  537.    Moving on, he claims he should have won the World Title last week. This
  538.    brings Sting to the ring, where the champ extends the offer of another
  539.    title shot to Nash. J.J. Dillon comes out as well and tries to keep the
  540.    peace. Before all is said and done, Dillon makes a main event match
  541.    between the two official. Sting adds that he's sick of hearing Nash whine
  542.    about his powerbomb being illegal, and that it's fine with him if the
  543.    move be made legal for the match. Dillon grudgingly agrees. The bit ends
  544.    with the camera whirling away so as not to pick up Sting doing a Sean
  545.    Waltman-esque crotch chop. Nash, seeing this, tells Dillon that Sting is
  546.    "out of control!"
  548.    There you have it: this week's main event will be ... the same as last
  549.    week's. Huzzah!
  552.    Benoit wins with the Crippler Crossface. I don't think the match deserves
  553.    any more comment than that.
  555.    They then replay Buff Bagwell's challenge to Lex Luger from last
  556.    Thursday. After the break they show another Thunder clip: this time of
  557.    Eric Bischoff getting suplexed by Rick Steiner. Schiavone mentions Ric
  558.    Flair's name for what may be the only time of the entire show.
  560.  - Bagwell and Bischoff hit the ring. Bagwell gets a bit of spotlight time
  561.    to do imitations of Luger and Rick Steiner. Bischoff then shows he's not
  562.    really up on the current angles as he says the reason Hogan isn't in the
  563.    building is because he was off doing the Leno show. Schiavone tries to
  564.    cover by suggesting that Hogan hopped a lear jet to go out and do the
  565.    show. Yeah, so he'd get there about, what, four hours after they finished
  566.    taping the show and after it had already aired?
  568. HOUR TWO Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Zbyszko.
  570.  - BUFF BAGWELL (w/ Eric Bischoff) vs. LEX LUGER
  571.    Stall ... power move ... stall ... power move. Midway through the match
  572.    Luger does a "happy dance" imitation of Bagwell which makes me feel
  573.    embarrassed for the entire Pfohl family. Luger gets Bagwell in the
  574.    Torture Rack, but is attacked by Bischoff (stopping the match). Luger
  575.    actually sells one of Bischoff's kicks. Eric is then hoisted into the
  576.    Rack, but is saved by a run-in from Scott Steiner. Steiner throws a punch
  577.    which misses Luger by a full time zone, but is still enough to cause
  578.    Luger to drop Bischoff. Rick Steiner eventually makes the save.
  580.    More comments from Hart, this time advising Randy Savage to dump Hogan
  581.    and Nash. I feel like asking Hart if he'd like some cheese with that
  582.    whine?
  584.  - Nitro Girls.
  587.    Jericho only makes a half-hearted grab for a "Jericho is Gay" sign, yet
  588.    goes all out to tear up a "Jericho-holic 4 Life" sign. Hmmmm. Very
  589.    telling. He then launches into a diatribe about how Super Calo is really
  590.    "Prince Nakilaki" under the mask. The match itself is passably okay, with
  591.    Jericho getting the win with the Lion Tamer (after Calo botches a forward
  592.    headscissors roll-up off the top). Prince Iaukea cokes out to help Calo
  593.    after the match.
  595.    Bret Hart lets us know who he admires in WCW: guys like Chris Benoit, the
  596.    Giant and Sting. What ties all these guys together is that they are all
  597.    currently good guys, and none of them whine as loudly or as often as Bret
  598.    Hart.
  600.  - HAMMER vs. SATURN
  601.    Kidman tries to break this one up, but gets tossed to the floor. Man, you
  602.    have to be bad to get kicked out of the Flock! Saturn puts Hammer away
  603.    with the Rings of Saturn.
  606.    Rocco brings a table out with him. Sure enough, it gets used when
  607.    Goldberg spears Rocco through it (Rocco having just set it up in the
  608.    corner moments before). This was maybe the most entertaining of
  609.    Goldberg's many squashes. After h gets the usual Jackhammer pin Saturn
  610.    comes out for a confrontation. Raven appears and pulls Saturn to the
  611.    back. The other Flock members get beat up by Goldberg anyway. Nothing new
  612.    here.
  614.  - Since three minutes of Goldberg apparently wasn't enough, they play a
  615.    minute long video highlighting many of Goldberg's previous wins.
  617. HOUR THREE Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
  619.  - Nitro Girls. Nitro Party Video.
  621.  - YUJI NAGATA (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. CURT HENNIG (w/ Rick Rude)
  622.    Curt and Rick talk to their dads Larry and Dick at ringside. Hennig
  623.    starts out in the match fired up, trying to look good in front of his old
  624.    man. The match goes nowhere, however, as Rude freely interferes. Nagata
  625.    is dragged over by the elder Hennig and Rood twice: the second time Larry
  626.    removes his sweater to reveal a "Hennig Rules" shirt. Hennig gets the win
  627.    with the Hennig-Plex. They then handcuff Nagata to the ropes. Jim "the
  628.    Anvil" Neidhart runs out for the save, but the crowd has already lost
  629.    interest by this time. So sad that Hennig can only get a moderate crowd
  630.    reaction in his home state.
  632.  - LA PARKA vs. BOOKER T.
  633.    Almost a total squash, with Booker doing all his big moves on the way to
  634.    the obvious win. Afterwards Chris Benoit comes out top stop La Parka from
  635.    delivering a chairshot. Booker T. extends his hand, but Benoit shoves him
  636.    down. The two stand nose-to-nose to the almost total indifference of the
  637.    crowd. I'm not sure if the crowd has just burned themselves out cheering
  638.    too much too early, or if it's really indicative of how bad the show's
  639.    been up to now.
  641.  - RAGE (w/ Chaos) vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
  642.    This is Nitro? Is WCW seriously telling me that DDP vs. one half of High
  643.    Voltage is a worthy match for the third hour? DDP takes three-and-a-half
  644.    minutes to carry this one to it's foregone conclusion.
  646.    Raven and the Flock then come out, with Raven again whining "what about
  647.    me?" He stops in the aisle, allowing the Flock to reach the ring by
  648.    themselves. Page does a plancha and knocks down three Flock members (the
  649.    giant Reece, missed completely, still falls down anyway). Raven,
  650.    meanwhile, is attacked from behind by ANOTHER FAN! Either he's
  651.    legitimately become the most hated man in wrestling, or WCW is stupidly
  652.    embarking on some kind of ongoing fan run-in angle.
  654.  - KONAN (w/ Vincent) vs. RICK STEINER (w/ Ted DiBiase)
  655.    Looking back at this time a few years from now, I think many fans are
  656.    going to be of the opinion that Konan was among the most worthless
  657.    wrestlers ever to occupy such a semi-prominent position on a wrestling
  658.    promotion's roster. I realize he's a big deal in Mexico and all that, but
  659.    frankly his entire stint in WCW has thus far resulted in very few matches
  660.    of quality or any appreciable level of interest. He came in as a typical
  661.    babyface and did nothing to distinguish himself, which forced the fans to
  662.    very quickly lose interest in him. What was his solution, then? To turn
  663.    heel and adopt a persona which drew upon racial stereotypes. Even then
  664.    the effort he's given in his matches continued to decrease. How much of
  665.    that is his fault and how much is the fault of the lockerroom climate of
  666.    WCW is debatable. What is less debatable, though, is the fact that Konan
  667.    could go away tomorrow and I doubt many people would miss him.
  669.    In this match here Rick Steiner shows that as he's aged, he seems to have
  670.    forgotten more than Konan apparently ever knew. Konan lets himself get
  671.    beat up for awhile, applies one rest hold, then falls victim to a top
  672.    rope bulldog (made possible because of Ted DiBiase, who prevents Vincent
  673.    from knocking Steiner off the ropes). You all know I don't attribute
  674.    ratings to matches (because they're too subjective from person to
  675.    person), but this one would earn a "DUD" if one ever deserved it.
  677.  - We get another look at the Randy Savage post-attack footage from last
  678.    week. Haven't we reached the point where we can just assume Hogan did it
  679.    and move on? This is followed by one of those dramatic video pieces
  680.    touching upon all the highlights of the Hogan/Savage/Nash situation.
  682.  - KEVIN NASH vs. STING
  683.    Michael Buffer once again does the introductions.
  685.    Nash again delivers a match which is better than anything he did in WCW
  686.    in 1997, just as Sting continues to show that he's on the road back to
  687.    where he was before his lengthy hiatus. Neither of these statements
  688.    really say much, but it does all add up to a match which is easily the
  689.    best and most interesting of the show. Sting gets in the early offense,
  690.    with Nash then taking over for a short time. The match is very slow early
  691.    on, which helps both keep from getting too winded. Both men were very
  692.    over with the crowd, making it seem like everyone was rooting for both
  693.    men equally. A series of near falls gets everyone on their feet midway
  694.    through the match. The pace, unfortunately, alternates between pin
  695.    attempts and rest holds, which keeps the crowd into it, but never really
  696.    works them up to a frenzy. Sting stages a comeback and delivers a number
  697.    of Stinger Splashes. At this point Randy Savage--with his arm in a cast--
  698.    and Elizabeth make his way to the ring. Sting has Nash in a Scorpion
  699.    Deathlock. Liz distracts the ref, allowing Savage to hit Sting in the
  700.    back with a cast.
  702.    Wait a minute. Savage hurt his leg. The fake injury they did last week
  703.    was to his left shoulder and/or neck. Why is he wearing a cast on his
  704.    right arm? Am I missing something?
  706.    Anyway, Nash covers for a two and nine-tenths count. Nash then delivers a
  707.    now legal powerbomb, which draws a tremendous reaction, but also a
  708.    barrage of garbage in thrown in the ring. Nash covers for what is a sure
  709.    pinfall ...
  711.    ... when Bret Hart pulls the ref out of the ring. The amount of thrown
  712.    trash increases. The bell rings as Hart lays into Nash, dropping him to
  713.    the mat and maneuvering him into a Sharpshooter. The rest of the NWO runs
  714.    in, but Hart has little trouble single-handedly fighting them all off.
  715.    Nash slams Sting to the mat with another powerbomb and leaves. The show
  716.    ends with a shot of Sting laid out amongst garbage in the ring.
  718.  - This Thursday: Nothing announced.
  720.  - Next week: Nothing announced.
  724. Pardon me, but did they switch from a live broadcast to a replay of last
  725. week's show when I wasn't looking? Worse than that, the show seemed to be
  726. pieced together from some of the least interesting matches on Nitro over the
  727. last few months, then all played together as if it were a live show. This
  728. show completely failed to generate any kind of surprises, much less real
  729. interest in the scheduled main event. More than that, it did a horrible job
  730. in hyping the PPV coming up this weekend.
  732. I'm assuming that Hogan's appearance on The Tonight Show was scheduled weeks
  733. or months ago, which is the only reason that Hogan didn't look into
  734. canceling his appearance. He needed to be in the arena tonight and wasn't.
  735. The pre-taped video segment did nothing to serve the live crowd, nor the
  736. home viewers. All it did was cheat the fans out of seeing him and Piper
  737. wrestle--even though both were promised for the show last week. Even the
  738. segment itself was used to set up some anticipation for a Hogan/Nash match,
  739. then a Hogan/Piper Nash: anticipation which was instantly killed by the
  740. attack. Explain this to me: Hogan nearly kills Savage last week, yet decides
  741. to stick around. This week he lays out Piper, suffers some kind of "guilt",
  742. "remorse" or "fear", and flees the building! What? How many times are we
  743. going to have to sit through Piper suffering serious beatings and hospital
  744. trips? Why couldn't he have come out later and trashed Hogan in an
  745. interview, then wrestled an NWO scrub. Clearly Piper was given the night
  746. off because of Hogan's absence.
  748. And what about Ric Flair? It's all over the Net now that Ric Flair has maybe
  749. been fired by WCW. Well, not really fired, maybe, but perhaps "suspended".
  750. Long story short, WCW claims Flair DIDN'T have permission to skip Thunder
  751. last week, and again did a no-show this week on Nitro. Plans for him to
  752. reform the Four Horsemen have supposedly been scrapped. Eric Bischoff called
  753. a lockerroom meeting and told anyone who would listen that Flair wasn't a
  754. "team player" and would be mad an "example of". (The last guy Bischoff made
  755. an "example of" was Syxx, if that tells you anything.) Now there are reports
  756. that Flair is talking to his lawyers, under the assumption that he has in
  757. fact been fired. We even have Konan saying on the WCW/NWO hotline that
  758. everyone in the company is under the impression that Flair has indeed been
  759. fired.
  761. Could it all be some kind of elaborate work? If so ... ERIC BISCHOFF IS A
  762. MORON! Working the smarts is one thing; doing so in such a way as to hurt
  763. the ratings of your OWN TV shows for several weeks is just plain stupid!
  764. Just last week WCW claimed, via Mark Madden, that the reason the WWF is
  765. doing so good in the ratings is because some fans are watching expecting
  766. Scott Hall and Flair to show up on RAW any day now. You know what? I said
  767. the same thing myself a good two or three weeks before WCW did. Obviously
  768. that's not the entire reason the WWF's ratings are up, but it's certainly
  769. something which has to be one the minds of a few fans--especially since
  770. Waltman waltzed back onto the Monday night stage. Most fans would be into
  771. any Bischoff vs. Flair angle the second they did it on TV. Why kill your own
  772. ratings just to work over a few jaded "smart" fans? It makes no sense. Even
  773. worse, any kind of Flair/Bischoff feud is going to draw obvious comparisons
  774. to the Austin/McMahon feud running strong in the WWF. It just makes sense
  775. for WCW to pull the trigger on this angle and start it immediately, or else
  776. push it off for a few months until after the WWF has finished their similar
  777. angle. In the meantime, why keep Flair off TV, allowing the "Flair jumps to
  778. the WWF!" rumors to stay alive? There are clearly problems between Flair and
  779. WCW here and it's their own handling of the situation which is making
  780. matters so bad for them, and so good for the WWF. How hard is it for WCW to
  781. send a camera crew to Flair's home and tape a generic, non-specific
  782. interview in which he vows to return soon and stick it to the NWO? They
  783. don't have to commit to any kind of angle, or tip their hand in regards to
  784. what they eventually have planned for him. Deliberately holding him back in
  785. order to build the surprise factor of an eventual return just hurts their
  786. own ratings, and helps those of the WWF.
  788. Of course with WCW on top of the ratings they don't even need to worry about
  789. such things, right?
  791. Right?!
  793. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  795. WWF RAW is WAR:
  796. Live/Taped: Live.
  797. Length: Two Hours.
  798. Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  799. WWF RAW Hosted By: Jim Ross, Michael Cole and Kevin Kelly.
  801.  - The "over half-a-billion viewers" opening sequence has been replaced by
  802.    a new video clip which features the WWF "Attitude" logo. What better way
  803.    to begin a new era for the WWF.
  805.  - Stone Cold Steve Austin heads into the ring. He quickly demands that
  806.    Vince McMahon come out, or he'll hold the show "hostage" as he's done
  807.    before. After a delay McMahon is shown peering out from behind the
  808.    curtain. He eventually comes out, accompanied by Jerry Brisco, Pat
  809.    Patterson and two policemen in riot gear. Once in the ring, Austin grills
  810.    McMahon as to who his opponent will be at the "Unforgiven" PPV. McMahon
  811.    says he hasn't made up his mind yet. Austin asks if that means he won't
  812.    find out until the PPV itself. McMahon says he'll find out "soon".
  814.    Austin moves on, accusing McMahon of hating him, and being disgusted over
  815.    Austin's mannerisms and personal habits. He says that the more he looks
  816.    at what Vince McMahon considers an appropriate WWF champion, that that
  817.    image only fits one man: Vince McMahon himself. Austin asks McMahon if
  818.    he'd like to be the WWF Champion. McMahon asks "where are you going with
  819.    this?" Austin implies that before McMahon presented Austin with the new
  820.    WWF Title belt, that he probably strutted around with it on his own waist
  821.    at home in front of the mirror, adding that McMahon's own wife probably
  822.    though he looked a bit stupid for doing so. The mention of his wife
  823.    doesn't sit well with McMahon. Austin goes on to say that he intends to
  824.    put the title on the line tonight in a match, and that there can be only
  825.    one opponent: Vince McMahon himself! The crowd reaction is sheer frenzy.
  827.    Without an answer from McMahon, Austin lays out two options for McMahon:
  828.    the "easy way" or the "hard way". Echoing their encounter from a few
  829.    weeks ago, McMahon asks what the "easy way" and "hard way" are? Austin
  830.    says the easy way is for McMahon to go to the back and get whatever
  831.    official he'd like--Austin doesn't care because, as he puts it, he could
  832.    probably beat McMahon with one arm tied behind his back. The hard way?
  833.    Austin drags a camera to the back and beats up McMahon wherever he is in
  834.    the arena. Since McMahon has an ass whipping coming either way, it's up
  835.    to him to chose. Austin adds that he's already beaten up McMahon's limo
  836.    driver and flattened the tires, so McMahon can't go anywhere. (I guess
  837.    McMahon never travels by cab.) Jim Ross sends us to the break highly
  838.    incredulous that such a match could--should ever happen.
  840.  - McMahon is in the lockerroom being counseled by Jerry Brisco and Pat
  841.    Patterson. They advise him that Austin is making a fool of him and that
  842.    he needs to stop it now or he'll never have any control in the WWF again.
  843.    "I know you can do it!" exclaims Patterson. McMahon paces, pondering his
  844.    decision.
  847.    All the competitors are already in the ring when DeGeneration X comes
  848.    out. This is a "Chain Match" and Los Boricuas are the "mystery team"
  849.    which the WWF hyped over the weekend. How lame. This match is a "DUD" in
  850.    its own right as nothing much happens. Hunter Hearst Helmsley Pedigrees
  851.    DOA member Chainz on a steel chair, then on the entry ramp. There being
  852.    no DQ stipulation in the match, and the ref being able to DQ one team
  853.    over the other, he just throws the entire match out when D-X enters the
  854.    ring. Jim Ross asks what D-X has against the DOA. You want a goofy
  855.    theory? Here's mine:
  857.    Remember back in 1995 when Skull and Eight-Ball (wrestling as either
  858.    Jacob and Eli Blu or the Grimm Twins) were fired by the WWF because of an
  859.    altercation they had with Shawn Michaels in the lockerroom? What if this
  860.    whole D-X/DOA feud is supposed to make the "smart" fans think this is
  861.    really a "Clique"/Harris Brothers feud? Furthermore, Chainz (Brian Lee)
  862.    had a thing going against Rick Rude in ECW. Just maybe we're supposed to
  863.    think that Rude got D-X to hate Chainz when he was part of the group
  864.    (before leaving for WCW). "The enemy of my friend is also my enemy," or
  865.    something like that. I said it was a goofy theory.
  867.    Back in the ring Los Boricuas are celebrating with D-X. Before we get a
  868.    chance to really ponder the horror of them joining the group, Chyna lays
  869.    Savio and Jose out with low blows from behind. Pedigrees and chairshots
  870.    follow.
  872.  - Shane McMahon has joined in the conversation in the back, attempting to
  873.    talk his father out of fighting Austin. "You don't think I can take him?"
  874.    asks McMahon. Shane compares this match to a time when he was nearly
  875.    killed speeding on a motorcycle. Brisco and Patterson say they know Vince
  876.    and think he can beat Austin. Shane says that's a bunch of crap.
  878.    Okay, this angle has officially reached the "compelling" level.
  880.  - Vince McMahon makes the long walk to the ring alone. Delaying the start
  881.    of the next match, he talks about how the WWF has been his "heritage",
  882.    mentioning his grandfather, father and children. He says the WWF has
  883.    "always been about honor and integrity: qualities sorely lacking in our
  884.    current World Wrestling Federation Champion. Stone Cold Steve Austin has
  885.    no honor. Stone Cold Steve Austin has no integrity. I know the decision
  886.    I'm about to make here tonight would not sit that well with those that
  887.    have preceded me. Nonetheless, sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's
  888.    gotta do. And so in answer to the question 'will I fight Stone Cold Steve
  889.    Austin in this ring tonight?' The answer is 'oh hell yeah!'" The crowd
  890.    goes nuts, realizing that they will see the end of Vince McMahon in
  891.    little more than an hour. Jim Ross begins complaining about McMahon's
  892.    foolish decision. Patterson and Brisco come out to shake his hand and pat
  893.    him on the back. Ross leaves the desk, vowing to use what little power he
  894.    has in the company to stop the match from happening.
  897.    No match. The lights lower and out comes the Undertaker, who demolishes
  898.    everyone but Christopher. The Undertaker calls out Kane, saying he will
  899.    show him what evil is really about. He essentially challenges him to a
  900.    match later in the show.
  902.  - Kevin Kelly files a report from the back, setting up a clip taped during
  903.    the commercial. Jim Ross is arguing with Patterson and Brisco that
  904.    McMahon will get killed. Shane is on his side. McMahon himself stops
  905.    pacing in the shower, comes out and orders Shane to get his gym bag from
  906.    the car. Shane says this is the dumbest decision he's ever made.
  907.    McMahon says it may well be. Ross makes his feelings known. McMahon
  908.    orders him to go back out and do his job.
  910.  - Tennessee Lee introduces Jeff Jarrett. Leaflets drop from the ceiling
  911.    hyping Jarrett's appearance at the upcoming PPV, where he's scheduled to
  912.    sing with the Sawyer Brown band. Bleah.
  915.    Steve Blackman deliver comments from the back regarding how he'll get his
  916.    hands on Jarrett some day. The match itself never gets on track as Klub
  917.    Kamikaze runs in and attacks Taka. The ref throws the match out. Jarrett
  918.    slaps on a meaningless Figure Four afterward.
  920.  - Steve Austin says he isn't surprised that McMahon accepted the match,
  921.    since he'd be receiving a beating either way. He admits that the advice
  922.    McMahon has taken from Patterson and Brisco is bad advice.
  924.  - McMahon, dressed in workout gear, looks on as Patterson and Brisco show
  925.    him how to counter the Stone Cold Stunner. Ross declares that the WWF
  926.    will be torn apart when McMahon is hospitalized at the hands of Austin.
  928.  - Faarooq, with new theme music, comes to the ring and calls out Rocky
  929.    Maivia and the Nation of Domination. He says he'll give Rocky another
  930.    chance to kick his ass. Rocky and the NOD come out to the stage. Maivia
  931.    makes light of Faarooq's challenge, saying he'll lay the smack-down on
  932.    Faarooq whenever he pleases. Rocky warns Faarooq to get ready for his
  933.    beating. Faarooq gives him the old NOD salute. Rocky laughs, until he
  934.    realizes that Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock have come out behind him.
  935.    They chase the Nation to the ring and a brawl ensues for the next few
  936.    minutes.
  938.  - Terry Funk--"Chainsaw" Charlie no more--comes to the ring. There he
  939.    brings out his new tag team partner to replace Cactus Jack. He says his
  940.    new partner is hardcore. Of all the guys rumored, 2 Cold Scorpio only
  941.    turns out to be a minor disappointment. Funk says the WWF never gave
  942.    Scorpio a serious chance, but that he would. The crowd reaction is mostly
  943.    positive.
  946.    The crowd chants "ECW!" The match is quick, with 2 Cold getting the pin
  947.    following a sweet looking 450 Splash.
  949.    They immediately start the second hour.
  951. WWF WAR ZONE Hosted By: Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.
  953.  - Luna comes to the ring and calls out Sable. They cut away to the War Zone
  954.    intro. Back to the action "Sable" comes to the ring. Yes, Goldust is at
  955.    it again. Goldust poo-poo's over a house mic as Luna rips his evening
  956.    dress off. The crowd gets a good laugh, but really reacts when the real
  957.    Sable runs out. Sable and Luna go at it for a few moments, tearing some
  958.    of each other's clothes.
  960.  - Steve Austin is shown getting into his wrestling gear.
  963.    Shamrock and Dan Severn, who is part of Cornette's group, share a brief
  964.    stare-down before the ref sends Severn from the ringside area. We're
  965.    obviously going to get a slow build for that one. As the match starts
  966.    Ross complains about Bob Holly and Bart Gunn's nicknames, refusing to
  967.    call them "Bombastic" and "Bodacious" any more. The match is very simple,
  968.    going back-and-forth with little of note happening. After just a few
  969.    minutes of action the ref calls for the bell, DQ'ing both teams for not
  970.    listening to his instructions. We going to get any actual wrestling
  971.    tonight?
  973.    A quick shot of McMahon continuing his preparations.
  975.  - Kevin Kelly gets a few comments from his boss in the back: "I'd be lying
  976.    to you if I didn't tell you I've got butterflies in my stomach. But
  977.    afraid? I proved I wasn't afraid of the United States government. I'm
  978.    sure as hell not afraid of Ted Turner and Time/Warner. I'm not afraid of
  979.    the big bad wolf. And I sure as hell am not afraid of Stone Cold Steve
  980.    Austin!" The crowd can actually be heard popping for McMahon after the
  981.    Turner remark. Commissioner Slaughter has joined Patterson and Brisco in
  982.    cheering Vince on.
  984.  - The Head Bangers are waiting in the ring for a match, but fall victim to
  985.    another appearance by the Undertaker. One gets Tombstoned, while the
  986.    other is chokeslammed. The lights go out again and Kane appears on the
  987.    stage. Paul Bearer tells the Undertaker that he and Kane will fight, but
  988.    that he'd have to wait until next week, and that the two would fight in
  989.    the cemetery where the Undertaker's parents are buried. The crowd isn't
  990.    too happy that the two wouldn't be fighting this week.
  992.    They cut to the back, where Austin has begun making the journey through
  993.    the hallways to the ring.
  995.  - This week's Val Venis clip airs. Video distortion is needed to cover up
  996.    some of the naughty bits of the naked women hanging around him.
  998.  - D-X make their way to the ring, followed by Owen Hart. Owen challenges
  999.    any member of the group to a match. Helmsley says they held a theme
  1000.    writing contest and that Billy Gunn was the one who won the privilege of
  1001.    facing Owen. Owen is backed up by LOD 2000 and Sunny. They cut away from
  1002.    the ring to a shot of McMahon pumping some iron as they head into the
  1003.    commercial break.
  1005.  - OWEN HART (w/ LOD 2000 & Sunny) vs. "MR. ASS" BILLY GUNN (w/ D-X)
  1006.    Owen and Gunn wrestle a solid match, only diminished slightly by the poor
  1007.    color commentary provided by Helmsley and X-Pac. The LOD keep the other
  1008.    D-X members from interfering. After at least ten minutes of action the
  1009.    match ends when Owen rolls up Gunn from behind for the pin (Gunn caught
  1010.    off guard because he was celebrating a powerslam he'd just performed).
  1012.    During the match Ross announces that there would be no more commercial
  1013.    breaks taken during the final fifteen minutes of the show. After the
  1014.    match they immediately cut to the back to a shot of McMahon making his
  1015.    way through the halls. McMahon, still possessing the lingering vestiges
  1016.    of a huge physique, swaggers to the ring. Ross asks who will run the WWF
  1017.    when McMahon is injured, then exclaims that he just bought a new house
  1018.    and how would he pay off the mortgage if McMahon's demise shuts the
  1019.    company down. Shane comes to the ring and tries one last time to talk his
  1020.    father out of it, but is gently steered from the ring by McMahon and his
  1021.    handlers. Ross, forgetting that 54 year old Terry Funk held a title just
  1022.    a few weeks ago, says the WWF isn't the company that has senior citizens
  1023.    as their champions.
  1025.    Steve Austin comes to the ring. In the process of going from corner to
  1026.    corner he bumps into McMahon. The ref takes the World Title belt and
  1027.    holds it up in the air. McMahon takes the belt and holds it to his waist,
  1028.    showing what it would look like there.
  1031.    The ref brings the two together in the middle of the ring. Austin gives a
  1032.    smirk to the crowd: a smirk which is wiped off his face by a slap from
  1033.    McMahon. The two separate and are close to locking up, when McMahon gets
  1034.    a microphone from Slaughter and reminds Austin about his boast that he
  1035.    could beat McMahon "with one arm tied behind your back!" Austin give a
  1036.    "yeah, but ... " look, but McMahon taunts him. "You got any guts? Are you
  1037.    a man of your word?" Austin agrees and extends his left arm. "Oh no,"
  1038.    says McMahon, "the Stunner arm!" Jerry Brisco ties Austin's right arm
  1039.    behind his back, with McMahon exhorting him to "cinch it up, Jerry, cinch
  1040.    it up!" After his arm is tied down Austin asks the crowd if they think he
  1041.    can still beat McMahon with one arm tied behind his back? "Oh, hell
  1042.    yeah!" McMahon then asks if they think HE can beat Austin with one arm
  1043.    tied behind Austin's back? "Oh, hell NO!!!" Just priceless. McMahon
  1044.    stalls a bit further by getting a last moment rub-down from Slaughter and
  1045.    Brisco. The final icing on the cake is Brisco inserting a mouthpiece so
  1046.    that Vince can protect his teeth. With everyone cleared from the ring,
  1047.    Austin and McMahon stand ready in opposite corners to start the most
  1048.    momentous Heavyweight Title match in the history of the World Wrestling
  1049.    Federation.
  1051.    Then Dude Love's music starts to play ...
  1055.    Dude Love comes out and asks if everyone can't just get along? He
  1056.    launches into a monologue about how he and Austin are tight (they were
  1057.    WWF Tag Team Champions for a brief time), but that McMahon is the one who
  1058.    signs the Dude's paychecks. Dude says he's vetoing this match. McMahon,
  1059.    fed up with Mick Foley's antics (or so it seems), shoves him down from
  1060.    behind. Dude gets up, declaring that McMahon made a big mistake, and goes
  1061.    after him with the Mandible Claw! Before he can get it slapped on Austin
  1062.    intervenes. Dude then slaps the claw on Austin, taking him down to the
  1063.    mat. McMahon, seeing that there'll be no match, exits the ring, where
  1064.    Shane and the others herd him away from the ring. Dude asks McMahon if
  1065.    he'd like a piece and McMahon has to be held back from entering the ring.
  1066.    Austin tries to fight Foley off, but he still has one arm tied behind his
  1067.    back. Dude sends him into a guard rail down on the floor, then dumps him
  1068.    on top of the announcer's desk. A cameraman is wiped out in all the
  1069.    chaos. Dude perches on top of Austin, pounding on him as the show fades
  1070.    off the air.
  1072.  - Next week: Undertaker vs. Kane.
  1076. For nearly two hours the WWF engaged in one of the most riveting, compelling
  1077. storylines ever. At the last moment they swerved everyone and pulled a
  1078. bait-and-switch which resulted in little more than a standard heel turn and
  1079. establishing the championship contender for the next PPV. I understand why
  1080. they did it, and taken as a whole it was a reasonable way to build up Foley
  1081. as Austin's next challenger. Still, I'd much, MUCH rather have seen the
  1082. match take place, as well as all the intriguing possibilities that could
  1083. have resulted from that. The eventual outcome heavily overshadows the
  1084. tremendous job done building up to the point, though I'm sure most people
  1085. (myself included) are most upset because, for just a moment, the WWF
  1086. suckered us into really believing the match was going to take place. We all
  1087. should have known better but, dammit, the WWF did it to us again!
  1089. Setting aside the storyline for a moment, which carried through the entire
  1090. show like no other angle I can think of offhand, this was, wrestling-wise,
  1091. one of the weakest shows in memory. With the exception of the Owen/Gunn
  1092. match, every other match on the card was either a squash, meaningless, or
  1093. for some reason didn't take place. They also again set up a number of
  1094. mystery surprises which didn't pay off, though as usual the fault there lies
  1095. both with the vague hype machine of the WWF, as well as the wishful thinking
  1096. of the fans. (No Abdullah the Butcher, no Pit Bulls, etc.)
  1098. Had the Austin/McMahon angle not been so masterfully executed this would
  1099. actually have gone down as a pretty bad installment of RAW. As it is,
  1100. though, it is the incredible execution of the angle which saved the show,
  1101. and makes it one of the most memorable ever.
  1103. I wonder if they might have done it differently had they realized fully what
  1104. the fan reaction would be like. I think the one thing no one really counted
  1105. on was how many fans McMahon himself seemed to win over just before the
  1106. appearance of Dude Love. I think McMahon, if anything, had earned a lot of
  1107. respect from the fans for what he was doing. Of course most just wanted to
  1108. see him stretchered out. Still, had the match actually taken place and
  1109. McMahon had given a good accounting for himself, he just may have received
  1110. a decent reaction. With the way things went down, though, I'm not sure how
  1111. much of the "good will" he generated will last. One has to admit, though,
  1112. that doing it this way he and the WWF ducked a lot of criticism that would
  1113. have been leveled at him from his long-time critics in regards to putting
  1114. himself over, his ego, and so on. Of course those same critics will now
  1115. complain about the swerve finish, so it was a no-win situation no matter
  1116. what he did in the eyes of those fans.
  1118. To echo the sentiment being voiced by many across the Internet: "oh what
  1119. might have been!"
  1121. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1123. The Bottom Line:
  1125. Ratings ...
  1127. Nitro: 4.3 (Hour One: 4.4 / Hour Two: 4.2 / Hour Three: 4.4)
  1128. RAW: 4.6 (Hour One: 4.3 / Hour Two: 4.9)
  1129. Final Quarter Hour: Nitro: 4.3 / RAW: 6.0 (All-time record.)
  1131. If you've checked out some of the wrestling news sites, you've undoubtedly
  1132. heard that RAW has finally beaten Nitro in the ratings, ending Nitro's
  1133. winning streak at 83 weeks. This one win certainly won't diminish what WCW
  1134. accomplished during that streak, as Nitro truly did deserve to win on many
  1135. of those occasions. What this win does do, however, is justify to many WWF
  1136. fans their support of the promotion, and their claims that the WWF, while
  1137. not always the better of the two groups, was still deserving of some respect
  1138. for the quality product they often delivered. The WWF, and their fans, knew
  1139. that they couldn't win in a straight-up comparison of "big names", "quality"
  1140. wrestlers, or even in a comparison of money spent on production values. For
  1141. the last year-and-a-half the WWF has had to rely on innovation, originality,
  1142. some in-your-face shock value, and an overall superior ability to tell a
  1143. story in the ring. Not everything they've done has worked, and they've had
  1144. to endure some rocky times because of it, but in the end it has all served
  1145. to galvanize the support among the fans, as well as generate new ones and
  1146. attract WCW fans through their efforts. It's been a controversial approach:
  1147. abandoning the image of "sports entertainment" and foregoing the once very
  1148. lucrative children's market in favor of a more mature audience demographic.
  1149. They've had to endure talent injuries, roster defections, network tensions,
  1150. and a general sense of unease, unrest and distrust in the lockerroom.
  1152. What they've also done--to some extent--is prove me wrong. I never really
  1153. thought the WWF could win a ratings battle again without WCW simultaneously
  1154. suffering a serious slip of their own. Some may argue that that's precisely
  1155. what did happen. In a minor way I'd agree, but not to the extent to which I
  1156. thought would be necessary for Nitro to lose on a Monday night. How much of
  1157. this win was sheer novelty value and hype on behalf of the WWF, and how much
  1158. of it was a feeling on behalf of WCW fans that Nitro simply got boring and
  1159. repetitive ... well, there's no real way to know which was the deciding
  1160. factor. Next week's ratings will again be interesting because it would tend
  1161. to show which of the above two phenomena was at work this week. If RAW is
  1162. anywhere close to Nitro in the ratings, it'll prove that this comeback of
  1163. theirs is for real. I fully expect Nitro to win again next week, and for
  1164. many of the weeks after that. However, from here on out the ratings war
  1165. could go either way, and "business as usual" may no longer be enough to
  1166. ensure a ratings win for Nitro.
  1168. And on that subject for a moment, WCW has no one to blame but themselves.
  1169. They knew what was at stake this week. Sure, they'll downplay this loss like
  1170. crazy, but let's face some facts: aside from the ratings, WCW doesn't have
  1171. much of a lead on the WWF when it comes to any statistical or financial
  1172. data. House show attendance and earnings are booming for both, PPV buyrates
  1173. are close (with WrestleMania's buyrate zeroing in on a 2.2 or 2.3), the WWF
  1174. apparently leads in merchandise sales, as well as all foreign revenues. With
  1175. "who's better?" being a debatable topic with no solid winner or loser given
  1176. the differing tastes of the fans, all WCW really has to validate their claim
  1177. that they're "number one" is the TV ratings.
  1179. For at least one week the WWF gets to borrow that title from them. For at
  1180. least one week the numbers bear out what many WWF fans have felt for a long
  1181. time: that quality matters and that the WWF--like them or not--just may be
  1182. the "better" of the two promotions on occasion. The ratings may not be the
  1183. final word on the subject, and they may not prove anything as far as either
  1184. side goes, but for one week they serve as a validation and vindication of
  1185. the WWF and their fans. For one week, and perhaps many more to come after
  1186. that, the WWF is once again in the game on Monday nights.
  1188. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1190. This Week's Winner: RAW.
  1192. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1194. "Slobberknocker Central" and "Monday Night Recap" are copyright 1998 by
  1195. John Petrie, and all opinions expressed therein are his own, and not those
  1196. of "Internet Access, Inc". Check the "Slobberknocker Central" main page for
  1197. info on how to receive the "Recap" free via E-Mail every week.
  1198. Volume One, Number 126 of the "Monday Night Recap", April 13th, 1998.
  1201. ~~~
  1203. Slobberknocker Central Monday Night Recap #124
  1204. March 30th, 1998
  1206. WCW Monday Nitro:
  1207. Live/Taped: Live.
  1208. Length: Three Hours.
  1209. Location: Chicago, IL.
  1210. HOUR ONE Hosted By: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko.
  1212.  - They show a clip of Kevin Nash's comments to "Hollywood" Hogan last
  1213.    Thursday on Thunder.
  1215.  - Nitro Girls. A little more of what happened between Hogan and Nash on
  1216.    Thunder is then shown.
  1219.    After just a couple of minutes of action the Giant comes to the ring and
  1220.    chokeslams everyone. (I really liked this ... when I first saw it in ECW
  1221.    three years ago.) The Giant accepts Roddy Piper's offer to be his partner
  1222.    in the "Baseball Bat Match" against Hogan and Nash at Spring Stampede.
  1224.  - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (with the Giant
  1225.    hovering around in the background). Piper makes a few announcements.
  1226.    First, Kevin Nash must face Sting and Lex Luger tonight, and he can
  1227.    choose anyone as his partner except Hogan. Second, he reveals that
  1228.    Hogan's new sidekick is really Brutus Beefcake, and that his real name is
  1229.    "E. Harrison Leslie". Finally, he announces a match between himself and
  1230.    Hogan for later in the show.
  1232.  - They again show a clip of the confrontation between Hogan and Nash.
  1234.  - SATURN (w/ the Flock) vs. FIT FINLAY
  1235.    Saturn wins with the Rings of Saturn in what was a decent match.
  1237.  - Mean Gene hypes the hotline.
  1239.  - Hogan and the NWO assemble in the ring. Hogan tells us that Brutus
  1240.    Beefcake is "The Disciple", and that he represents all us NWO-ites who
  1241.    worship him. Hogan then says that none of the other NWO members will team
  1242.    with Nash for his match. Nash comes out and, quoting Randy Savage, says
  1243.    all those guys behind Hogan may be waiting to stab him in the back. Nash
  1244.    then says he already has a partner picked out. (Supposedly a big mystery,
  1245.    though his mention of Savage pretty much gives it away.)
  1247.    Tony Schiavone reminds us that Thunder won't be on TBS this week. Atlanta
  1248.    Braves Baseball makes its return, preempting the show for the first of
  1249.    many times (until Thunder makes the move to Wednesday nights, as has been
  1250.    expected for some time). WCW will offer live RealAudio coverage of their
  1251.    "Malice in the Palace" house show that night in Tampa, Florida instead.
  1252.    Check out WCW's website for details.
  1254.  - Nitro Girls.
  1257.    Jericho rags on Dean Malenko before the match. Jannetty taps out in the
  1258.    Lion Tamer in about a minute. Jericho then says with his remaining time
  1259.    he'll list all 1,004 holds he knows (saying Malenko only knows about 60).
  1260.    He has a huge stack of computer paper and begins reading off all the
  1261.    holds one at a time. WCW cuts to a commercial. When they return he is
  1262.    still reading off the list, but is interrupted by Prince Iaukea.
  1265.    Iaukea wins with the Northern Lights Suplex.
  1267. HOUR TWO Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Zbyszko.
  1269.  - Nitro Girls. Nitro Party Video.
  1272.    Guerrera gets the easy win with the Juvi Driver.
  1274.  - In what I assume was a bit of corporate sponsorship, they show the full
  1275.    trailer for the "Lost in Space" movie coming out soon. New Line Cinema
  1276.    ... Doesn't Ted Turner own that company?
  1279.    Hayashi looked better here than in his other Nitro appearance (I think
  1280.    ... they all sort of blur together after awhile). Chavo wins with a
  1281.    spinning DDT off the turnbuckles. Good match.
  1283.  - Raven hops the rail, grabs a mic and tells us his sob story. He accuses
  1284.    Diamond Dallas page of betraying him by not getting WCW to hire him. In
  1285.    case you haven't picked up all the subtext in this, Raven is claiming
  1286.    that both he and DDP were trained by Jake "the Snake" Roberts, and that
  1287.    it's because of DDP that he got stuck in ECW.
  1289.  - RAVEN vs. BUFF BAGWELL (w/ Scott Norton)
  1290.    Before you can even figure out why this match is happening in the first
  1291.    place, DDP runs out-chasing Raven from the ring and completely out of the
  1292.    arena through the crowd. Page then takes a seat at the desk and tells us
  1293.    just how rough his own life has been, and that Raven's woes are just a
  1294.    joke. This story would have worked better if DDP accused Raven of burning
  1295.    down his home. Wearing a mask would just help Raven in general.
  1298.    With the push these two guys have had lately, I wasn't sure who would
  1299.    win. They end up wrestling a very good match which Disco wins, pinning
  1300.    Kidman after a spike Piledriver.
  1302. HOUR THREE Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
  1304.  - CURT HENNIG (w/ Rick Rude) vs. JIM "THE ANVIL" NEIDHART
  1305.    Rude takes a seat at the announcer's desk. Nothing match. Neidhart easily
  1306.    dominates Hennig-all the while calling for Rude to come to the ring.
  1307.    Hennig puts up little opposition and after a couple of minutes, just when
  1308.    Neidhart is about to win, Rude finally does run into the ring. He takes
  1309.    out the ref, then beats on the Anvil. Davey Boy Smith runs out to make
  1310.    the save, but he is taken out by Brian Adams moments later. Eventually
  1311.    Bret Hart has to come out to save his relatives. After the NWO has run
  1312.    off Hart whines about being screwed again, then vows to do the same to
  1313.    Hogan and the NWO.
  1315.  - CHRIS BENOIT vs. BOOKER T.
  1316.    Another good match between these two, with the result being the same as
  1317.    the last time: time limit draw.
  1319.  - Nitro Girls.
  1322.    A promising match which doesn't get the chance to go anywhere. Kidman and
  1323.    the Flock run in to get revenge for Psychosis injuring Lodi. The Dragon
  1324.    actually helps Psychosis fight them off.
  1327.    A longer than usual match, but this time Goldberg has nothing to work
  1328.    with and doesn't end up looking too impressive. Strong ... yes, intense
  1329.    ... certainly, but not really impressive. He no-sells Traylor's offense,
  1330.    and wins in the usual fashion. Win #67 according to Tenay. Goldberg then
  1331.    taunts Saturn, who is sitting at ringside. Saturn has to be held back
  1332.    from entering the ring.
  1335.    They try to stretch out the suspense, even after Savage has already come
  1336.    out. The match is every bit as bad as you'd expect, with the usual NWO
  1337.    run-in affecting the finish. Luger hoists Nash into the Torture Rack, but
  1338.    the Disciple runs in and whonks him. He rolls Nash onto him and the ref,
  1339.    distracted by Hogan during this, makes the three count. Fan sentiment is
  1340.    expressed by a fully loaded drink cup which lands on Luger's groin just
  1341.    before the pin.
  1343.    Roddy Piper then comes out and begins to brawl with Hogan.
  1346.    Hogan takes a tumble down the ramp, looking roughly about 70 years old in
  1347.    the process. Almost the entire match consists of brawling on the floor
  1348.    mixed with fat old potato punches which land with less force than that
  1349.    which is mustered by your grandma swatting a fly. the match is put out of
  1350.    its misery when the Disciple runs in. More drink cups start to fill the
  1351.    ring. Security can be seen scrambling to eject the guilty parties.
  1353.    Kevin Nash then comes to the ring for no appreciable reason. He picks up
  1354.    Piper to hold for Hogan. Hogan winds up a big running punch, but Piper
  1355.    ducks and Nash is nailed instead. Hogan and Nash get into a shoving
  1356.    match, which is broken up by the arrival of the Giant. The show ends with
  1357.    Hogan and Nash muttering threats at each other.
  1359.  - This Thursday: Thunder won't be on.
  1361.  - Next week: Nothing announced.
  1365. A fair amount of quality wrestling, but all of it came as part of matches
  1366. which mean very little in the greater scheme of things. Each match seemed to
  1367. feature a pushed wrestler who will go on to face another pushed wrestler
  1368. appearing in a match tonight at the next PPV. I'm glad we're getting to see
  1369. some okay matches, but do we need to sit through seven hours per week of
  1370. what is essentially bulked up squashes? Add in the fact that the PPV's for
  1371. WCW over the last half year have offered very few storyline payoffs, we're
  1372. stuck tuning in over and over to see some good wrestling overshadowed by
  1373. angles which resolve themselves at glacier-like paces.
  1375. Remember the old saying about a frog in a pan of water? Put it in hot water
  1376. and it'll jump out ... put it on cold water, turn up the heat slowly, and
  1377. it'll cook. That's kind of the way things work in WCW. Things never seem to
  1378. change from week to week. After about three or four months, though, things
  1379. have finally moved on a bit. The change, however, is slight even when you
  1380. compare it to things done months earlier.
  1382. I've said it before: I'm just not that much a fan of wrestling in general
  1383. nor WCW in particular to have a handful of good matches be my ONLY
  1384. motivation to tune in one, two or three times a week. I like good matches,
  1385. but it takes the overall product in terms of storyline, interviews and the
  1386. matches themselves to make me WANT to watch on a regular basis. This is why
  1387. the WWF wins me over so much more often. Even when the match quality lets me
  1388. down, it's the storylines and such which keep me coming back. The WWF
  1389. actually GIVES me a reason to tune in every week. With WCW it's "well, tune
  1390. in this week or you'll miss a two-and-a-half star match between Ultimo
  1391. Dragon and Eddie Guerrero." In all other respects there's no reason to watch
  1392. more than, say ... once a month. You might miss some okay matches if you did
  1393. that, but I doubt any of them would have been "must see"-and you certainly
  1394. wouldn't have missed much in the way of angle progression, interviews,
  1395. surprises and so on.
  1397. Maybe I should just quit watching Thunder.
  1399. There's also the matter of WCW's big name stars. Given how poorly the top
  1400. stars actually wrestle, and how long it takes for anything to happen, all
  1401. many fans are being asked to do is just tune in to SEE their "favorite"
  1402. stars in action. I guess if you truly are a "Hollywood" Hogan fan, and you
  1403. like his interviews, and the very act of tuning in to see him pretend to
  1404. wrestle makes you happy, then I guess more power to you. That's not the type
  1405. of fan I am, though. I like to know that the wrestlers I enjoy seeing are
  1406. going to actually do something worth my time. WCW seems to hold it over our
  1407. heads that it's our "privilege" to see these stars-like we should be
  1408. grateful to them for providing said stars. Actually delivering a worthy
  1409. performance is secondary, if not non-existent. Hulk Hogan doesn't have to
  1410. wrestle a good match because he IS Hulk Hogan, and just seeing him is "good
  1411. enough". Bret Hart doesn't have to give a good interview because he IS Bret
  1412. Hart, which is plenty "good enough" for us lowly fans. WCW figures just
  1413. having all these stars under lock and key is "good enough" and no effort
  1414. beyond that on their part or the wrestlers parts is required.
  1416. All the talent in the world is no good if nothing is done with it. That's
  1417. how I see it, anyway.
  1419. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1421. WWF RAW is WAR:
  1422. Live/Taped: Live.
  1423. Length: Two Hours.
  1424. Location: Albany, NY.
  1425. WWF RAW Hosted By: Jim Ross, Michael Cole and Kevin Kelly.
  1427.  - Video highlighting many of the memorable moments from WrestleMania is
  1428.    shown.
  1430.  - WWF head honcho Vince McMahon makes his way to the ring amidst a chorus
  1431.    of boos. He has a brand spanking new WWF World Heavyweight Title belt
  1432.    draped over his shoulder. McMahon, after requesting the crowd quiet down
  1433.    a bit, asks us to give it up for the champ ...
  1435.    *KEE-RASH!*
  1437.    Austin, once he hits the ring, eyes the new belt, throws his down and
  1438.    grabs the new belt away from McMahon. After Austin basks in the glow of
  1439.    the crowd for a bit, McMahon offers him an apology over what he'd said
  1440.    about him in recent weeks. He says he's proud of Austin winning the title
  1441.    and that together, with Vince's guidance, the two can perhaps mold Austin
  1442.    into the greatest WWF Champion ever.
  1444.    Austin tells McMahon he's full of it: that he knows for a fact that
  1445.    McMahon hates him. McMahon says he's incapable of hate. He says he loves
  1446.    him, and that he's a hell of a guy and ...
  1448.    "Hold it!" says Stone Cold. "You what ... ?" McMahon fumbles over
  1449.    himself, saying that "I love you" is just a figure of speech. Austin says
  1450.    he loves Vince too, but that now that they have all the b.s. out of the
  1451.    way, he vows to continue raising as much hell in the WWF as he can.
  1452.    "Well," offers McMahon, "we can do this the easy way, or the hard way."
  1453.    Austin asks him to define what "easy" and "hard" means. McMahon says
  1454.    "easy" means being flexible and, essentially, doing what McMahon says.
  1455.    "Hard" means McMahon will force Austin to mold to his wishes. Austin asks
  1456.    if he can think it over for a few seconds. He gives the crowd a knowing
  1457.    look, kicks McMahon in the gut and lays him out with the Stone Cold
  1458.    Stunner! Austin asks for a "oh, hell yeah!" from the crowd if they
  1459.    approve.
  1461.    They do.
  1463.    Back from the commercial they replay the Stunner, along with footage of
  1464.    McMahon-holding his neck-being helped from the ring. In the back McMahon
  1465.    is shown consulting with his underlings.
  1467.  - LEGION OF DOOM vs. LOS BORICUAS (Jesus & Jose)
  1468.    Sunny brings her new-look Legion of Doom team to the ring. There she says
  1469.    they will from now on be known as "LOD 2000". In less time than it takes
  1470.    to say "Bill Goldberg" they squash their opponents, taking one of them
  1471.    out with the Doomsday Device.
  1473.    In an update from the back, Kevin Kelly announces that McMahon has called
  1474.    the local police.
  1476.  - After another replay of the Stunner, Kevin Kelly reiterates that the
  1477.    police have been called, adding that Steve Austin told him that McMahon
  1478.    doesn't have the balls to have Austin arrested.
  1480.  - KURRGAN (w/ the Jackyl) vs. CHAINZ
  1481.    Kurrgan gets a quick win with the Iron Claw. During the match they cut to
  1482.    the back to show McMahon pacing-waiting for the police to arrive. Kurrgan
  1483.    drags Chainz up the ramp by the forehead Claw, following after the Jackyl
  1484.    like a big puppy.
  1486.    An unmarked police car pulls up in the back just as they go to break.
  1487.    When they return McMahon is leading several policemen to Austin's
  1488.    dressing room.
  1490.  - Tennessee Lee introduces "Double J" Jeff Jarrett, who once again rides
  1491.    the neon-covered horse to the ring.
  1493.  - "DOUBLE J" JEFF JARRETT (w/ Tennessee Lee) vs. AGUILA
  1494.    Lee, sitting in for color commentary, promises he'll have a big surprise
  1495.    next week. Aguila gets in a few moves, but Jarrett has little trouble
  1496.    getting the quick win over him with the Figure Four. After the match
  1497.    Steve Blackman runs out and tries to beat on Jarrett, but Jarrett manages
  1498.    to get away relatively unscathed.
  1500.    McMahon looks on in the back as the police are leading Austin away in
  1501.    cuffs. Austin takes a shot at McMahon, slamming him against a row of
  1502.    lockers as he passes. McMahon lets out an expletive, telling Austin he's
  1503.    going where he belongs. Austin vows that "your ass is mine!" for what
  1504.    he's done.
  1506.  - The arrest is replayed, this time showing Austin being led to the police
  1507.    car and stuffed in the back seat. Cut to a live shot of McMahon and his
  1508.    stooges coming to the ring. The crowd boos him unmercifully. McMahon gets
  1509.    on the mic and says he didn't want to have to do that, but that Austin
  1510.    selected his choice, and "dammit I selected MINE!"
  1512.    RAW ends several minutes early, promising a major announcement from
  1513.    DeGeneration X, as well as a Steel Cage Match to decide who will win the
  1514.    held-up WWF World Tag Team Titles. Rocky Maivia, holding a new
  1515.    Intercontinental Title belt, also has a few choice words for Ken
  1516.    Shamrock. All this yet to come in the War Zone.
  1518.    What a show!
  1520. WWF WAR ZONE Hosted By: Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.
  1523.    What action we do see is okay, but the match never develops into much of
  1524.    anything, as Rocky refuses to tag in and walks out on Faarooq. Faarooq
  1525.    falls victim to a belly-to-belly suplex at the hands of Shamrock. After
  1526.    the pinfall Faarooq calls Rocky back out, saying he'll make him wear an
  1527.    ass whooping. Rocky comes out and the two brawl, with the other Nation
  1528.    members splitting the two apart. Rocky walks out again, turns when
  1529.    Faarooq calls him again, raises an eyebrow as a signal, and looks on as
  1530.    D-Lo, Kama and Mark Henry attack Faarooq from behind! Just like that
  1531.    Faarooq is out of the NOD. Finally! The Rock declares himself the new
  1532.    "ruler" of the Nation.
  1534.  - Pete Rose being Tombstoned by Kane is the "Slam of the Week".
  1536.  - Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna head to the ring. Hunter accuses Shawn
  1537.    Michaels of dropping the ball in regards to making sure Mike Tyson was
  1538.    really a member of D-X. Hunter says he's picked up the ball and will make
  1539.    the decisions for D-X from now on. Calling tonight the "Genesis of D-X",
  1540.    he says he'll form an army to take care of business. When you start an
  1541.    army, he says, you first look to your buddies ... your friends ... the
  1542.    Kliq!
  1544.    Sean Waltman enters the arena! A huge chunk of the crowd goes wild.
  1545.    Waltman-apparently now dubbed "the Kid"-starts into a shoot-style speech,
  1546.    taking shots at Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. (A full transcript of this
  1547.    is available at several of the big wrestling sites out there.) He says
  1548.    Hogan sucks, that Bischoff's head would go up Hogan's ass if Hogan
  1549.    "stopped short", and that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash are being held
  1550.    hostage by WCW, otherwise they'd come back to the WWF. He and Hunter wrap
  1551.    the segment up with a "suck it!" and some crotch chops.
  1553.  - In the only real down moment of the night, the WWF shows a video of a new
  1554.    superstar making his way to the WWF: Val Venis-the porn star. Venis is
  1555.    the much ballyhooed rookie Sean Morley. He's supposedly pretty good.
  1556.    He'll need to be to overcome this gimmick. Venis does a mildly amusing
  1557.    interview from a bed while watching a porno movie (which we can't see,
  1558.    but we can hear).
  1560.  - MARC MERO (w/ Sable) vs. TAKA MICHINOKU
  1561.    Before the match can start Luna appears and challenges Sable to a
  1562.    rematch. Sable immediately accepts. Luna says she wants an "Evening Gown
  1563.    Match", which is essentially a "Tuxedo Match". (The loser is the one
  1564.    stripped down to their underwear.) Even though Mero protests, Sable
  1565.    indicates that she accepts the challenge.
  1567.    Mero gets an easy win over the Light Heavyweight champ, putting him away
  1568.    with the TKO. After Mero and Sable have left Taka is attacked by three
  1569.    Japanese guys who jump out of the crowd. (Michinoku Pro stars Shoichi
  1570.    Funaki, Mens Teioh and Dick Togo.) Taka is powerbombed and butt-splashed
  1571.    off the top. Jim Ross yells "who are these guys!" as they run away
  1572.    through the crowd. Yowza ... the Light Heavyweight Division just
  1573.    quadrupled in size!
  1575.  - THE NEW MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. THE HEAD BANGERS
  1576.    As the match starts Dan "the Beast" Severn makes his way to the ring!
  1577.    Cornette runs down Severn's many accolades, including his collegiate
  1578.    wrestling record and UFC background. Cornette mentions that Severn has
  1579.    beaten Shamrock in the UFC, (Ross pointing out that Shamrock himself also
  1580.    beat Severn on one occasion). Severn's NWO World Heavyweight Title is
  1581.    mentioned.
  1583.    The Midnight Express in an okay, but short match in which neither team
  1584.    really shines nor dominates. One of the Bangers is put away with the
  1585.    Alabama Jam. Cornette then sends Severn into the ring to add some injury
  1586.    to insult. Both Head Bangers are suplexed, with one of them receiving a
  1587.    double arm submission hold from the Beast. Severn, dressed in a suit,
  1588.    adjusts his tie before leaving the ring.
  1590.    Before the segment ends Steve Austin uses his one phone call to ring up
  1591.    Jim Ross. Austin's voice is played out to the crowd as he vows revenge on
  1592.    Vince McMahon next week.
  1594.  - Kane and Paul Bearer come out as the steel cage is still being
  1595.    constructed. Bearer announces that he's proud of how his Kane did at
  1596.    WrestleMania, and that he's dreamed up a match for the two to compete in
  1597.    at the next PPV. Paul says he's had a vision of a special match in which
  1598.    the ring is surrounded by fire. To win, one wrestler must force his
  1599.    opponent to catch fire: an "Inferno Match". Something tells me the
  1600.    buyrate for the next PPV just went up a bit.
  1602.    Jerry Lawler mentions offhand that D-X will add a new member before the
  1603.    show is over.
  1606.    They show a clip of Terry Funk getting some ointment rubbed on a nasty
  1607.    bruise he'd received the night before. Jim Ross explains that the titles
  1608.    had been held up from the night before because Cactus and Funk put the
  1609.    Outlaws in the wrong dumpster. This cage match would decide the
  1610.    undisputed champs.
  1612.    A short, but wild match. Cactus took some nasty slams into the cage. Funk
  1613.    was then hung by the chin with a long-chained pair of cuffs. That allowed
  1614.    Gunn and the Dog to doubleteam Cactus. This was a no DQ match in which
  1615.    the only way to win was pin or submission-none of that "over the top or
  1616.    through the door" crap. Things looked good for the Outlaws, but Cactus
  1617.    started to stage a single-handed rally. He then climbed to the top, either
  1618.    to escape the cage or drop an elbow, but was nailed in the head with a
  1619.    chair by the kid, who had come out along with Helmsley and Chyna. Gunn
  1620.    and the Dog then teamed to spike piledrive Cactus on a chair. Road Dog
  1621.    does the old break dancing "worn" en route to covering Cactus for the pin.
  1622.    New Tag Team Champions! Everyone then beats on Cactus as the few
  1623.    remaining moments of the show play out. They go off the air with all
  1624.    members of DeGeneration X, including Road Dog and Billy Gunn-the other
  1625.    new D-X members, doing crotch chops atop the steel cage.
  1627.  - Next week: Stone Cold's revenge. Tennessee Lee's surprise.
  1631. Following the tradition of the past few years, the WWF follows up Wrestle-
  1632. Mania with a strong installment of RAW. This year, though, the PPV was good
  1633. enough that the subsequent RAW didn't outshine it. Barely. Fact is, both
  1634. were so good it's hard to make a call as to which, in the end, was "better".
  1635. While everyone is squabbling over that, what can't be denied is that this
  1636. was maybe the strongest one-two punch of shows the WWF has ever delivered.
  1638. It's no surprise how easy Waltman was able to slip into the D-X mix. What
  1639. was a bit surprising was how strong the crowd reaction was for him. His
  1640. comments about Hulk Hogan ("you suck, pal!") went way over with most
  1641. everyone in attendance it seemed. I'm not a huge Waltman fan myself, and I
  1642. have serious doubts about his remaining in-ring skills, but even I can see
  1643. that WCW may have goofed on this one. Lest we all forget that Syxx's
  1644. "Six-Ball" shirt was, for the longest time, WCW's best selling t-shirt. Just
  1645. maybe this guy has a bigger following than either I or WCW thought. I can
  1646. just imagine what the "average" fan out there who watch both shows thinks
  1647. about the NWO situation between Hogan and Nash now that Syxx has shown up in
  1648. the WWF. The whole "where's Scott Hall?" question now would seem bigger than
  1649. ever to those without Internet access, or those who don't call the hotlines.
  1650. The longer Hall is gone from WCW the more some fans will expect to see him
  1651. pop up on RAW some night. Of course we all know he won't, but most WCW fans
  1652. wouldn't know that. Nor would most WWF fans either. WCW may have to bring
  1653. him back sooner than expected just to keep from losing a few viewers. The
  1654. irony is WCW can't trash Waltman in return without pissing off Nash and
  1655. Hall.
  1657. I'm a bit annoyed that the Tag Title match at the PPV ended up being a
  1658. "Dusty Finish" after all. It does slightly diminish what WrestleMania meant.
  1659. Not a huge amount, since it was only the Tag Team Titles, but some
  1660. nonetheless. I guess the reason I'm not fully outraged is because it was, in
  1661. the end, the most logical booking decision. The "Hardcore Legends" get the
  1662. PPV win and Funk gets another title reign added to his career record, while
  1663. it's the better suited Outlaws who go on to face the LOD at the next PPV.
  1664. I haven't decided yet whether their joining D-X is a good thing or not.
  1666. Speaking of which, what's the deal with Michaels? My assumption is that he
  1667. was at home getting some much needed bedrest, and that Helmsley's taking
  1668. over D-X is simply to fill the gap until he comes back. Still, Helmsley
  1669. sure did dis HBK. The night he comes back will be an interview you won't
  1670. want to miss.
  1672. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1674. The Bottom Line:
  1676. More happened in two nights in the WWF than has happened in the last three
  1677. months in WCW: four titles changed hands, the LOD returned with Sunny as
  1678. their manager, Sean Waltman returned, Dan Severn returned, Sean "Val Venis"
  1679. Morley was introduced, three new Light Heavyweights came in, Pete Rose was
  1680. Tombstoned, a forklift was used in a match, some blood spilled, Stone Cold
  1681. was arrested and Mike Tyson slugged Shawn Michaels.
  1683. Don't get me wrong, I like Roddy Piper and all, but ...
  1685. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1687. This Week's Winner: RAW.
  1689. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1691. "Slobberknocker Central" and "Monday Night Recap" are copyright 1998 by
  1692. John Petrie, and all opinions expressed therein are his own, and not those
  1693. of "Internet Access, Inc". Check the "Slobberknocker Central" main page for
  1694. info on how to receive the "Recap" free via E-Mail every week.
  1695. Volume One, Number 124 of the "Monday Night Recap", March 30th, 1998.
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