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Raw History: Episode 188 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 65

June 19, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episode 188 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 65  

Raw History
Episode #188
December 9th, 1996 | New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut

WWF Champion: Sycho Sid (1) since 11/17/96
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

A short video package opens the show, focusing on the Undertaker/Mankind rivalry. Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.

Non-Title Match: WWF Champion Sycho Sid def. WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley via countout in 2:58
I hate throwaway Champion vs. Champion matches. They should be a big deal. To make matters worse, Sid treats HHH like a total jobber. He jumps him in the aisle and kicks his ass to the ring. HHH gets in no offense, takes a powerbomb and rolled outside for the countout. Total squash so I won’t rate it but it made the IC Champion look like a chump. NR

Goldust w/ Marlena def. Bart Gunn in 5:57
Commentary hypes how Bart nearly took the IC Title from HHH on Superstars yesterday. Billy Gunn got involved and the Gunns collide next week. Goldust throws gold dust in Bart’s face and then Marlena blows cigar smoke there. Bart takes a pounding while Billy gets an interview backstage. It’s the bland stuff you expect from a tag split, where one partner says he carried the other. Bart rallies and hits a bulldog. He misses a cross body, gets his knee clipped and loses. The fans were silent for this nothing match. ¾*

Billy Gunn comes out to talk smack but his brother levels him to send him packing.

BURIED ALIVE ~ Footage is shown from the Buried Alive match between Mankind and the Undertaker.

KARATE FIGHTERS ~ No match. Just Todd Pettengil hyping the finals between Lawler and Sable next week.

Jesse James def. Justin Hawk Bradshaw and Uncle Zebekiah in 5:51
It’s funny that Jesse’s theme is “With My Baby Tonight.” He jumps his opponents and starts hot. The match is boring, so Vince starts talking about Sid/Hart at the PPV. He thinks Bret will get squashed like Hunter earlier. The numbers game becomes too much and James finds himself in trouble. Both guys fail at their finishers before Bradshaw holds James so Zeb can brand him. James moves and Bradshaw takes it instead. James knocks out Zeb and pins Bradshaw. Another match that did nothing for me. Bradshaw beat up Zebekiah after the bell, ending that unison already. ¼*

Jim Ross is in the ring for an interview with Bret Hart. It’s a short promo where they quickly go over Steve Austin and the British Bulldog before focusing on Sid. Bret says that when Sid snaps, he’s psycho but when Bret snaps, he’ll be champion. Sid will be excellently executed at the PPV. Not bad, but not too good either. I do like where Bret’s character is going heading into 1997 though.

SUMMERSLAM ~ Clips of the Boiler Room Brawl are shown.

No Holds Barred: The Undertaker def. Mankind w/ Paul Bearer in 10:32
Undertaker is still in his strange leather attire. He hits the leaping clothesline in the opening seconds. Undertaker’s hot start leads to a Tombstone attempt but the Executioner interrupts. Taker sends him packing and gets jumped by Mankind heading into commercial. Returning, Taker lifts psychology from Survivor Series (and Mind Games) by dropping the steel steps on Mankind’s hand. Mankind retaliates by sending Taker into the steel steps and attacking the leg. In a great move, he lays Taker’s leg on a chair and CACTUS ELBOWS it. They work through another commercial and Mankind brings a chair inside. He gets it booted and punched into his face. He comes back by applying the Mandible Claw. Undertaker fades but rallies and counters with a modified bear hug. That’s just weak. He then quickly hits the Tombstone and wins. Rather tame considering the stipulation but still better than most of what we got on TV in this era. I dug the psychology and a few spots though the clips shown throughout the night made you expect something more. ***

The Executioner is back and he uses a sleeper to take Undertaker down.

Reliving Nitro
Episode #65
December 9th, 1996 | Independence Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (2) 8/10/96
WCW United States Champion: Vacant since 11/25/96
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (1) since 10/27/96
WCW Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (3) since 8/20/96
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (2) since 10/27/96

Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko host hour number one.

Roddy Piper kicks things off. He adds to his pop with a Carolina Panthers shirt. He rattles off local places that he used to frequent. Again, he’s popular as hell but adds to it with the cheap stuff. Piper says the match with Hulk Hogan will be his last ever. Sure thing, Hot Rod. He brings up the boxing match with Mr. T, admitting it was a work. He talks about the nWo wearing leather and not having girls in the vignettes, eluding to them playing for the other team. Piper wants Hogan tonight and will be back later. I liked this to start the show. It’s different for Nitro and Piper is typically entertaining on the stick.

VK Wallstreet def. Mike Enos in 1:33
What the shit is this? You go from a hot opening with Piper to this garbage. The match plays background noise to Ted Dibiase coming out with a contract. The distraction allows Wallstreet to hit the Stock Market Crash and win. NR

Ted Dibiase hands the contract to VK Wallstreet. I would give him a contract to stay home.

SATURDAY NIGHT ~ Kevin Sullivan was shown a video of Woman and Chris Benoit drinking wine together. Sullivan basically booked himself to be a cuckold.

Hugh Morris def. Renegade w/ Joe Gomez in 3:01
I guess WCW’s thought process was to start with a star and then fill time with nobodies. Renegade takes a quick beating before powering up and getting two on a slam. Morris hits a back suplex and wins with No Laughing Matter. A whole lot of nothing. NR

Kevin Sullivan storms out, furious about the Benoit and Woman video being shown. He’s mad that WCW is using his personal life for ratings.

Mean Gene brings out Charlotte Panther Kevin Greene, who gets a big pop. He is still displeased with Mongo’s turn earlier this year but mostly focuses on hyping the crowd up for football. Greene says he’d like a piece of Hulk Hogan.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko (c) def. Jimmy Graffiti in 7:04
This is more I like it. While not major names, Dean and Jimmy are both consistently good. They go through a feeling out process before a commercial break. Sonny Oono is back like last week, taking photos. I still say video would be better for scouting purposes. Both men deliver suplexes, with Malenko gaining a near fall from one. Jimmy avoids a baseball slide and drops Dean on the guardrail. Inside, Dean comes back with a superplex. Jimmy gets surprise near falls before eating a powerbomb. Graffiti comes back himself with a hot shot only to have a suplex countered into a small package that ends it. This started slow but both guys worked hard to do a few interesting things. **¼

Gene interviews Sonny Oono. He calls Sonny out on his fake accent. Sonny says he does it because the accent gets him free education and money.

SATURDAY NIGHT ~ Hugh Morris gets a TV Title shot against Lord Steven Regal!

The Faces of Fear w/ Jimmy Hart def. The Nasty Boys in 5:20
Do you think the Nasty Boys are upset that their old manager is with the Faces of Fear now? The teams clobber each other a bunch from the start, but none of it is interesting. The match calms down but the Outsiders show up to a huge pop and watch from the stage. Barbarian tries the diving headbutt but misses. Hart accidentally nails Barbarian with the megaphone but the Barbarian shakes it off quickly. He hits Knobbs with it and gets the win. This would be the final Nasty Boys match on Nitro. It was bad. ¼*

Gene Okerlund brings out Ric Flair in his hometown. He puts over the city and the Panthers before giving Roddy Piper a long winded introduction. Despite this, Piper doesn’t want help from the Four Horsemen.

Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay replace Larry Zbyszko for hour number two. They start by recapping the Piper opening segment.

Chris Jericho def. Bobby Eaton in 2:33
We’re still in the days of cheesy babyface Jericho. Eaton gets the early stuff and hits a flying knee drop for two. Jericho shows off a spinning heel kick and Lionsault before taking an electric chair drop. Eaton misses the Alabama Jam. Jericho hits a pretty missile dropkick and wins. NR

After a recap of the Steiners/Sting stuff, the Steiners are interviewed by the entrance. They call Sting crazy and are waiting for a message from him.

VIGNETTE ~ Lex Luger highlights. I guess those do exist.

Arn Anderson w/ Debra McMichael and Mongo def. Sgt. Craig Pittman in 2:57
Pittman has lost managers but gained a mustache. Kevin Sullivan speaks on a split screen, blaming Arn for allowing Benoit to take Woman from him. Next week, they go one on one. Pittman does surprisingly well and, after a break, locks in Code Red. Arn reaches the ropes and they go to the floor. Debra distracts the referee and Mongo hits Pittman with a weapon. Arn wins via DDT. Honestly, why would Arn need to cheat to beat this scrub? NR

Gene decides to interview the winning side. Debra speaks and it’s almost as bad as last week. She literally brought nothing to the table. Arn says he has a bone to pick with Woman when she returns.

ON THE ROAD WITH LEE MARSHALL ~ Lee’s in Pensacola, Florida at a Nitro party. That’s where Nitro comes to you from next week.

WCW United States Championship Tournament First Round: Diamond Dallas Page def. Jeff Jarrett in 9:44
The winner here gets a bye to the finals because Arn Anderson and Lex Luger went to a double countout last week. They face the winner of Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit. Considering their current pushes, both men are favorites. They go through a feeling out process that sees Jarrett strut a bit. Following a commercial for Starrcade, DDP hits a back suplex. Jarrett comes back by busting our an enziguri. He gets two after a DDT and neckbreaker. DDP fires back and continues to have the fans behind him. He’s interesting, while Jarrett isn’t. DDP shows off a flying clothesline for a near fall. The Outsiders run out to a pop, looking to help DDP again. Jarrett yells at Nash from the middle rope, so Hall sneaks in and plants him with the Outsider’s Edge. DDP slides in and covers Jarrett to advance. Solid little match here, but they oddly skewered the alignments. DDP worked as a face but commentary acted like he was the heel. Jarrett felt like a heel but was the face. Strange. **½

DDP gets interviewed by Mean Gene about the Outsiders helping him again. He claims he doesn’t need help because he has the hottest finish on the planet and was PWI’s Most Improved Wrestler last year. He compares the nWo to a chick who won’t stop calling. Just leave him alone.

We’re supposed to get Rick Steiner vs. Scott Norton but Roddy Piper’s music kicks in as he comes out instead. He demands Hulk Hogan and sits in a chair waiting. No Hogan, but Eric Bischoff makes his entrance. Bischoff says the nWo left the building and that he refused to sign Piper to save him from himself. Bischoff says they’ll see him in Nashville and calls him a gimp. Piper attacks Bischoff so the nWo show up. Piper holds them off with a chair and Kevin Greene joins him as the crowd goes nuts. The nWo do the Wolfpac sign to each other. Nash enters the ring as the show ends.

EXCLUSIVE ~ The WWE Network has post-show footage. Arn Anderson and Mongo join Piper and Greene, keeping the nWo at bay.

Raw Rating: 2.3
Nitro Rating: 3.3

The final score: review Poor
The 411
Raw: Mankind and the Undertaker had one of their lesser matches, but it was enough to bring this episode out of the gutter. They were the clear highlight. Even Bret Hart’s promo lacked something. The other matches were either flat out bad or the booking hurt someone (the opener). An easy skip since Mankind & Taker had better matches elsewhere and this did next to nothing to build the PPV. 3.0

Nitro: Though a lot of the roster was off touring Germany, they did a good job laying the show out. It never felt long, everything moved at a brisk pace and they set some stuff in motion for Starrcade. I could’ve done with less VK Wallstreet and Hugh Morris though. 5.0


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Monday Night War, Nitro, RAW, WCW, WWE, Kevin Pantoja