Raw History: Episode 178 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 55
September 30th, 1996 | Hershey Park Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania
WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels (1) since 3/31/96
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Marc Mero (1) since 9/23/96
WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart and the British Bulldog (1) since 9/22/96
We open to a video package chronicling Jim Ross’ passionate promo last week, which was ruined by the arrival of fake Razor. “Razor” faces Savio Vega tonight!
Steve Austin def. Jake Roberts in 8:45
It’s a rematch of the King of the Ring finals. Roberts has no shirt tonight, which is a bad look. JR announces that Austin will face Savio Vega at Buried Alive. Jake nearly hits the DDT but Austin escapes outside to gather himself. Jake uses that time to go after Jerry Lawler, who has taunted him with a Jim Beam bottle. Austin tries to sneak up but gets a right hand. He quickly turns things around and hits Bret’s signature middle rope elbow. I wish Jake was still heel. He was cunning enough to make up for his other shortcomings. Jake fails to get his foot on the rope on a pin, but they act like he kicked out anyway. Austin uses the ropes to block the DDT and they again do the “Jake gets his feet on the rope” spot before Austin does it after taking the DDT. Wow. Lawler is up and spits the booze at Jake. The distraction sets up the Stunner that ends it. Better than the KOTR match. I wish Austin got a clean win though. **
Austin and Lawler jump Roberts until Savio Vega runs out with the CARIBBEAN STRAP OF DEATH! He runs off the heels.
Mankind and Paul Bearer are shown digging a grave.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley is fed up and calls out Mr. Perfect. He demands a match but we get no answer so he just joins commentary.
The Godwins w/ Hillbilly Jim def. The Grimm Twins in 4:24
Ha, the Grimm Twins are the Harris Brothers/Skull and 8-Ball/Jacob and Eli Blu/Creative Control, etc. I never understood why they got so many chances. They were never good. They have hair here. While these teams do nothing of interest, Mr. Perfect speaks on the split screen. He accepts the challenge and seems to have an issue with the “New Generation.” Phineas ends the squash with a Slop Drop.
JEFF JARRETT SCANDAL ~ Dok Hendrix talks about how Jarrett didn’t truly sing his signature song. They reveal that the former Roadie did and he’s now the “Real Double J” Jesse James. They did this because Jarrett left to WCW again, but Jesse James would find success in a few years as the Road Dogg.
Savio Vega def. Fake Razor Ramon in 7:27
Gorilla Monsoon joins commentary to argue with Jim Ross. They just bicker about JR hoodwinking the fans with this Razor and Diesel stuff. Fake Razor struggles through Scott Hall’s moveset and does all of it poorly. Bless Savio, he tries. Dok Hendrix says he saw Diesel enter a locker room. They come back to him a few minutes later and he says he somehow lost Diesel. Gorilla says Hall and Nash’s names several times. Fake Diesel comes out and pulls the top rope down on Savio to result in the DQ. Way too long. Rick Bognar had no business working a match this long or playing the role of a guy with way more talent and charisma. -*
Savio eats the Razor’s Edge and the Jackknife. The former looked like ass but the future Kane managed a good powerbomb.
In a graveyard, Undertaker digs a grave for Mankind to build the PPV match.
After a recap of Mero winning the Intercontinental Title last week, we are told that Faarooq and Sunny have parted ways. Faarooq faces Mero in a rematch at the PPV.
NEXT WEEK ~ Sycho Sid goes one on one with Goldust!
Jim Cornette and Vader def. Jose Lothario and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels in 8:27
Commentary shills Vince McMahon appearing for a full hour on Livewire this Saturday morning. Man, I miss wrestling in the morning on the weekends. I’d wake up and go right into the graps. Vader tosses Shawn around while Jose Lothario stands on the apron with his tits out. Between him and Jake Roberts, guys need to find shirts backstage. At least Cornette has one. Vader’s done throwing Shawn from pillar to post, so Cornette wants the tag. He wastes time warming up, so Shawn makes the tag and Lothario beats his ass. Cornette gets in a thumb to the eye and tags Vader. Jose tags out before anything can go down though. Shawn hits the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM but Vader destroys him with a clothesline before Sweet Chin Music hits. Shawn rallies after a break but Vader falls on him. Vader follows with a powerbomb and a Vader Bomb to end it. Since a majority of the match was handled by Vader and HBK, so it was good. The manager interaction was kept to minimum and that was for the best. ***
Vader looks to continue the assault until Sycho Sid makes the save. His opponent for next week, Goldust, runs out. Shawn gets up and attacks Goldust to end the show.
September 30th, 1996 | CSU Convocation Center in Cleveland, Ohio
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: Public Enemy (1) since 9/23/96
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 open things but send it to Eric Bischoff. He talks about WCW’s roots starting back in 1905 and how the nWo is crapping all over that. Bischoff admits that bringing Hulk Hogan into WCW was the biggest mistake he’s ever made and the nWo stuff has got to stop.
Non-Title Match: WCW Tag Team Champions Public Enemy def. El Technico and Juventud Guerrera in 2:06
El Technico is just Billy Kidman in a generic luchador mask and red bodysuit. It’s horrible. I don’t see why he couldn’t just be Billy Kidman here. Schiavone hypes the new champions defending their titles against the Outsiders at Halloween Havoc. Juvi hits some quick offense but El Technico gets the tag and does nothing. He takes a an elbow drop/sidewalk slam combo. Juvi breaks the count but gets sent outside. They turn Kidman’s mask around to confuse him and win with the drive by. Decent enough squash. To add to things, Rocco Rock puts El Technico through a table with a somersault.
Mike Tenay interviews Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael and Debra backstage. Mongo threatens the nWo, Debra and her tits talk about Mongo being a team player as evidenced by his Super Bowl ring and Benoit discusses his match with Rick Steiner tonight.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER (not anymore) ~ The nWo are in their suite at a Cleveland hotel. Hogan’s there with his son, “Nasty Nick at Nite.” Hogan is nuts. He says they made an agreement with Linda that Nick can watch the nWo on Nitro every week going forward. That kid is going to regret that in a few years. They brag about taking over Nitro last week, Dibiase says WCW paid for this ad because they lost at Fall Brawl and Nash claims that Debra McMichael wants him. ~ THE PRECEEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORER (not anymore)
Alex Wright def. Dean Malenko in 5:17
Dean Malenko comes out with Rey Mysterio’s mask in his hand because he stole it on Saturday Night. They start by trading holds on the mat. Despite Malenko being the “Man of 1,000 Holds”, Wright does well to keep up with him. Dean is in control through a break but Wright tries to rally when they return only to get dumped outside. Commentary mentions that they’re calling Sting the “Lone Wolf” and they haven’t heard from him since he walked out on Luger. Wright hits a spinning heel kick before ducking a body press and winning via flash rollup. Not a bad match but it didn’t do anything. The upset win goes nowhere and Dean is on the way to a title shot. **
TWO DAYS AGO ~ Randy Savage faced Big Bubba. He beat up referees again, but the real story was Elizabeth coming out to watch.
Mike Tenay is supposed to interview Randy Savage, but he doesn’t come out. WHERE COULD HE BE?
Eddie Guerrero def. Jim Powers w/ Teddy Long in 6:27
Jim Powers is racking in those paychecks in 1996. Nick Patrick steals the show by wearing a neck brace from the attack by Savage on Saturday. After some rolling around the mat, Powers moves to a chinlock. The crowd collectively sit on their hands, even as the nWo propaganda crew walk around with signs. It seemingly takes forever for Eddie to escape. Powers finally brings a superplex for two. Eddie hits a German suplex and Powers doesn’t get his shoulder up but that’s supposed to be the finish so it comes off like shit. I think it’s meant to continue the issues between Patrick and Long, but Powers didn’t kick out so it’s moot. Dull match where Eddie did nothing and took the night off. ¾*
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER (not anymore) ~ Still in their suite, the nWo continue to enjoy themselves. The Nasty Boys show up and apparently join the group. Nick Hogan has a wolf mask on, bringing the first mention of the Wolfpack. Saggs does an impersonation of Eric Bischoff by talking out of ass like Ace Venture, which apparently got him heat in the back. ~ THE PRECEEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORER (not anymore)
SATURDAY NIGHT ~ Benoit and Mongo face the Rock n’ Roll Express, while Harlem Heat get their rematch at Public Enemy.
Mike Tenay interviews Arn Anderson, Woman and Elizabeth. They discuss Liz focusing on Macho Man recently. She says it’s complicated by they tell her that she’s either with the Horsemen or not. She has to make a choice.
Hugh Morris def. Brad Armstrong in 4:15
I’m sure people were just clamoring for this rematch. The hour number two pyro goes off as the most exciting thing during this match. They do similar stuff to their last match but the crowd doesn’t care. Morris wins after not one, but two No Laughing Matter moonsaults. This was there. ½*
Arn and Woman continue to try to convince Elizabeth to focus on the Horsemen, but she just keeps saying it’s complicated. Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff leaves the booth and asks for Tony Schiavone to take over.
Arn Anderson w/ Woman def. Chris Jericho in 5:35
Tony Schiavone officially rejoins commentary since Bischoff left to the Cleveland hotel room of the nWo. Jericho goes to the arm for a bit while commentary is focused on Bischoff and the Elizabeth angle. She watches in the back. Jericho hits a superkick but Arn avoids a plancha. He comes off the apron with a shoulder block but can’t capitalize because Woman slaps him around. Of course, there is no DQ called. Jericho still manages a flying back elbow before missing the Lionsault. Arn wins with the DDT. Nothing special here. **
Elizabeth leaves the building with her bags packed and papers in her hand.
Lex Luger def. VK Wallstreet in 7:23
This has the makings of a travesty of a match. Does Luger normally wear white boots? Something about him seems different here. We get typical Rotunda stuff here. Rest holds and heel tactics galore. Luger’s attempts at rallying get stopped by punches and kicks. They trade small packages to no avail. Luger eventually wins with the Torture Rack in a match that went on for far too long. Painfully boring.DUD
To make up for being complete dicks to Sting and not trusting him, they bring out a racecar with Sting’s likeness on the hood.
The Faces of Fear w/ Jimmy Hart def. The Rock n’ Roll Express in 8:26
Hugh Morris really is the only Dungeon of Doom member not worthy of Jimmy Hart accompanying him. After waking up a bit for Arn, the crowd goes back to sleep here. The Faces of Fear play the brutes while Morton and Gibson show flashes of fire. Morton takes a pounding but keeps kicking out to show how resilient the team is. The Express make the comeback but a distraction from Hart allows Barbarian to deliver a kick to the back of Gibson’s head. That gives them the win in a match with little to no heat. *
The Faces of Fear continue the beating until Public Enemy run out for the save. It fails and Barbarian ends up splashing Grunge’s leg.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER (not anymore) ~ Back to the hotel suite of the nWo. Hogan tries to say something but everyone is too loud, so he straight up tells them to shut up. He introduces Kyle Petty, who will be driving the nWo car in exchange for Hogan doing a movie with him. ~ THE PRECEEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORER (not anymore)
Chris Benoit w/ Debra and Steve McMichael def. Rick Steiner in 4:23
Surprisingly there’s no Scott tonight. Nick Patrick speaks to the camera about how brave he is for working hurt. They go right at one another and Benoit hits a release German suplex. Things slow down a bit but they continue to wail on each other. Steiner catches a leap frogging Benoit in a powerslam for two. Debra gets on the apron and distracts Patrick. Mongo whacks Rick in the back with the briefcase, giving Benoit the cheap win. That had potential but was super short. Why give seven minutes to Wallstreet/Luger and eight to the previous tag match, but only four here? Fun while it lasted but a big disappointment. **¼
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER (not anymore) ~ One final trip to the suite. Elizabeth is now there because they offered her a contract. Giant tries convincing her by saying he had no acting experience in the past but since joining the nWo, he’s done two movies. Liz leaves after Vincent brings present in. The camera follows her down the hallway, where Randy Savage comes running. He freaks ou because he thinks Liz is setting him up. That’s all for the show. ~ THE PRECEEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORER (not anymore)
Raw Rating: 2.3
Nitro Rating: 3.3
Nitro: Easily one of the worst episodes of Nitro so far. It was a chore to sit through. The nWo segments in the hotel were ranged from entertaining to odd to pointless. Eric Bischoff left to go to the hotel apparently, but never made it. The matches we were treated to were mostly bad. What was up with Savage at the end to? That felt random and thrown in. A head scratcher of a show. 2.0