Raw History: Episode 175 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 52
September 9th, 1996| Civic Center in Wheeling, West Virginia
WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels (1) since 3/31/96
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Vacant since 8/12/96
WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns (3) since 5/26/96
Commentary this week is provided by Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Kevin Kelly. The show opens with a short video package focusing on the final Intercontinental Title Tournament first round match. Ahmed Johnson says there will be hell to pay for whoever wins his title. Also, The Undertaker competes for the first time since losing Paul Bearer.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Faarooq w/ Sunny def. Savio Vega in 9:12
Sunny in her prime was insanely hot. I just had to point that out. The future Nation members get right into it with smack talk since Savio is apparently a good friend of Ahmed. Faarooq tosses Savio around. He’s powerful but I can’t take him seriously in that outfit. Savio tries a Thez press but Faarooq just slams him with a spinebuster. Faarooq stays in control through a commercial break. Sunny gives him extra leverage on a chinlock. Savio starts the rally to a big pop but the fans look to be sitting on their hands. Damn audio edits. Faarooq goes back to the chinlock while Sunny gloats to the camera. He hits the Dominator to win and end a boring affair. A lot of nothing with a lack of fire from Savio and lame offense from Faarooq. He faces Sid in the next round, while Owen Hart takes on Marc Mero. ½*
Sycho Sid walks out to a pop (what seems to be a real one) and wants to start their match now. It gets broken up.
ACTION ZONE ~ Several Superstars send words to Ahmed Johnson. The highlights are Clarence Mason saying a kidney injury sounds like a lawsuit and Steve Austin telling him to get well soon so he can injure the other kidney.
Carlos Cabrera brings out Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario for an interview. Shawn threatens Mankind but the best thing here is Lothario. He’s set to face Jim Cornette at In Your House and gets riled up while cutting his promo. So riled up in fact, that he starts shouting in Spanish. Shawn says he has more guts than brains but it works for him. As Shawn leaves, they plug his Playgirl appearance.
The Stalker def. TL Hopper in 3:29
The Stalker is Barry Windham in camo face paint. Since neither guy is going anywhere, they instantly cut to Brian Pillman and Owen Hart in the back. Pillman says he has a scoop about Bret Hart. Owen claims he and Bret have reconciled and they will officially reunite at In Your House. JR also apologizes for mentioning Razor Ramon and Diesel, but is sticking to his sources. Stalker wins with a superplex and nobody cared.
THIS PAST FRIDAY ~ Footage airs of Jerry Lawler’s confrontation with Mark Henry.
Crush w/ Clarence Mason def. Freddie Joe Floyd in 2:51
This is exactly what you’d expect. Crush has never been good so even his squashes see him work a lame rest hold. Mason joins commentary to simply say that he’s not just a manager, he’s also legal counsel. Floyd hits a cross body and that’s it. Heart Punch ends things.
THIS PAST FRIDAY ~ They show Bob Backlund introducing Iron Sheik.
The Undertaker def. Salvatore Sincere in 8:18
Sincere is undefeated but I believe this is his first time on Raw. Undertaker makes his shortest entrance ever, meaning business and going right after Sincere. Sincere weathers an early beating and takes over, hitting a jawbreaker. While he works a chinlock, Goldust and Marlena appear on a split-screen to hype his upcoming match with the Undertaker. They go to commercial and return with Salvatore still working rest holds. JR tells us that the negotiations with Diesel are progressing well but the Razor talks are stalled. Sincere hits a powerslam and series of elbows. He taunts and slaps the Undertaker, so the Deadman sits up and hits a leaping clothesline. Undertaker hits the Tombstone to win. Too much Salvatore to be good. I get that he was unbeaten, but a pissed off Undertaker should have ran through him to prove that he doesn’t need the urn. *
September 9th, 1996 | Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia
WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (2) 8/10/96
WCW United States Champion: Ric Flair (5) since 7/7/96
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (6) since 7/27/96
WCW Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (3) since 8/20/96
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr. (1) since 7/8/96
Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko discuss the nWo now having Ted Dibiase and the Giant, saying that Ted’s money means they could add anyone.
Super Calo def. Pat Tanaka in 2:33
Tanaka has Goldberg’s theme. Super Calo has some of the worst gear in wrestling history. A mask, shades and a hat doesn’t mix well. Mike Tenay joins commentary to help Tony and Larry. Sloppy start before Calo hits a somersault to the outside. They cut outside where random YOUTHS bring in boxes of nWo flyers. Calo ends up winning by blocking a gutwrench superplex and falling onto Tanaka. He gets a win heading into his Cruiserweight Title match on Sunday.
Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Steiner, who is set to face Lex Luger because he “had him beat last week” before Nick Patrick called for the quick DQ. I don’t see how he thought that because the match lasted less than a minute. Rick sounds like a complete idiot just saying “I can beat you” and shouting “STING” a bunch. Luger comes in to say that Rick is a great tag wrestler, but this is singles stuff.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BENE PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER ~ It’s the first ad for the infamous nWo shirt. All proceeds go to the Ric Flair retirement fund.
WCW PRO ~ Glacier finally made his debut and they put it on WCW Pro! That’s WCW’s “C” show for those unaware. They show no match highlights but we see his cheesy entrance.
The Nasty Boys def. The Amazing French Canadians in 3:27
It’s the WCW debut of the Quebecers! Pierre still has his Jean-Pierre Lafitte eyepatch. The new foreign heel team go for international heel heat tactic #1 by singing their national anthem. The Nasty Boys jump them during it. I’ve always hated that spot. If someone did it during the US anthem, people would lose their minds. The AFC turn things around with a cheap shot on Saggs and work him over for a bit. They hit their old finisher but Knobbs breaks up the pin. Knobbs then whacks Pierre with the Quebec flag and Saggs pins. The AFC looked fine, but the Nasty Boys are just not good at this point. *¼
Mean Gene interviews the winners, who reiterate that they aren’t with the nWo and their only concern is the Tag Team Titles.
Submission Match: Scott Norton def. Sgt. Craig Pittman w/ Teddy Long in 2:59
Norton has a submission match coming up at Fall Brawl. Norton pounds on Pittman and hits a single arm DDT that causes Pittman to regroup outside. Norton comes in and applies the armbar but Long gets on the apron to distract Nick Patrick. Ice Train strolls out to stop Long and throw the towel in. Norton and Ice Train go nose to nose but nothing comes of it.
Gene interviews Team WCW for Fall Brawl but there’s no Sting. Ric Flair questions Luger about his whereabouts and Luger stands up for him. Mongo and Benoit show up to question it as well.
RECAP ~ Footage of the DDP/Guerreros feud.
Juventud Guerrera def. Joe Gomez in 2:12
Who is booking the first half of this show? Yikes. The match itself is a train wreck. Juvi’s offense looks like shit. None of it connects cleanly. They both bump in sloppy fashion on nearly everything. Juvi calls for a super rana but just does a backflip. Then his twisting plancha to win also came off wrong. An absolute disaster. -*
Gene interviews Nick Patrick about disqualifying Lex Luger last week. Nick claims Luger did it intentionally because everyone is suspicious of him due to Gene’s accusations. He says they’re all lies and threatens to take Gene to court.
Outside, nWo flyers continue to be distributed, including some by Hogan, Hall, Nash and the Giant.
SATURDAY NIGHT ~ DDP takes on Jim Duggan and Rick Steiner faces Kurasawa!
Rick Steiner def. Lex Luger via countout in 6:58
We get a handshake to kick things off since there’s no ill will or animosity between them. Larry makes a good point on commentary that the nWo has leadership while Team WCW is kind of a mess. Rick takes Lex to the mat where he has a clear advantage. Hour two begins just as he scores a near fall. It looks weird to see pyro go off during a near fall. Rick snaps off a belly to belly suplex for another two. Bischoff calls the action like it’s moving at a crazy pace but it isn’t. Luger hits a powerslam He calls for the Torture Rack but Nick Patrick runs out and waves Luger to the back, saying something happened. The match itself was going rather well until the finish. **
Outside, Ted Dibiase is talking to someone in the limo. We can’t see but the voice is clearly Sting’s. It’s also clearly a sound byte from a past promo. Luger shows up and confronts Dibiase until Sting comes out from the limo and jumps him. The rest of the nWo joins in, including Dibiase. They leave and Luger goes after the only person left, the chauffeur. An excellent angle that made you feel like WCW is absolutely crushed.
LAST WEEK ~ The nWo related stuff is shown. Ted Dibiase, the arrival of Hogan, Hall and Nash and the eventual moment where the Giant joins. Things are so serious that the Dungeon of Doom helped Randy Savage to the back.
MOMENTS AGO ~ Sting helping the nWo jump Luger airs.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER ~ The shirt ad runs again.
Still outside, Le Luger and other WCW wrestlers look for the nWo.
Non-Title Match: WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. def. Billy Kidman in 1:38
Thinking about their rivalry in a few years, it’s cool to see these two compete so early. Kidman goes for an early powerbomb but it gets countered into a rana sending him outside. The camera misses Kidman getting whipped into the guardrail. Bischoff speaks in a somber tone throughout. Kidman dropkicks Rey inside and hits a body slam. He comes off the top with a splash for two. Rey wins from out of nowhere with a springboard somersault senton. That was rather enjoyable but way too short.
The Faces of Fear w/ Jimmy Hart def. Public Enemy in 10:42
Is it me or does Public Enemy get the split screen treatment more than anyone? They all brawl to the point where we must see things on the split screen. As if they knew what I was thinking, they completely cut away to a backstage interview with the Four Horsemen and Lex Luger, though it does go back to split screen work. Arn is disgusted by Sting. Luger is distraught that his best friend stabbed him in the back. Flair shouts a lot about War Games. Since Benoit has a match with Jericho at Fall Brawl, Mongo is the back up. Well that’s just not good. The match trudges along with nobody caring. Barbarian finally awakens the fans by missing a splash through a table outside. Rocco sets one up inside and moonsaults Meng through it. No disqualification is called. It’s Nick Patrick, who called a DQ for next to nothing last week. Meng pops right up and wins with the Tongan Death Grip. Why not cut this in half and give that time to Kidman/Rey? It would have been better for everyone involved. The finishing sequence here was odd. ¾*
The rest of the Dungeon of Doom joins the ring. That includes new members Mad Maxx and Konnan. Konnan is in his cholo gear and looks WAY out of place. Big Bubba is still more focused on Glacier than the nWo, which is hilarious to me. Sullivan says that they helped Savage last week so he owes them. He can start by taking out John Tenta tonight and the Giant at Fall Brawl.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER ~ Hulk Hogan says that Ted Dibiase is the boss because he has more money than Ted Turner. They talk about having the title and the power. Dibiase makes their demands for War Games. If they win, they want their own TV time and the nWo Tag Team Tournament.
John Tenta def. Randy Savage via countout in 3:00
Savage charges the ring and attacks but finds himself in quick trouble. He uses a steel chair outside to stop Tenta and for some reason, there’s no DQ called. Like, he used the chair several times in front of the official. Savage drops the elbow twice but Teddy Long runs out and pleads with Savage to come outside.
AS he gets outside, a limo pulls away. One stays behind and Savage searches it to find yellow spray paint. Other WCW guys join him and they paint WCW on the limo. The Horsemen return to the arena and take over commentary. Arn says that Hogan always wanted to be a Horsemen, which is why he’s doing this now. Flair vows to take Sting’s head off in War Games.
Raw Rating: 2.4
Nitro Rating: 3.7
Nitro: From an in-ring perspective, this episode wasn’t good at all. Like a lot of episodes in this era though, it excelled in terms of the big picture angle. The Sting stuff was mostly well done and sets a huge angle in motion. The nWo stuff was strong, while everything else was either too short or just bad. 5.0