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Raw History: Episode 191 & Reliving Nitro: Episode 68

July 10, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episode 191 & Reliving Nitro: Episode 68  

Raw History
Episode #191
December 30th, 1996 | Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York

WWF Champion: Sycho Sid (1) since 11/17/96
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (1) since 10/21/96
WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart and the British Bulldog (1) since 9/22/96

In a nice surprise, we are live this week. Typically, Raw’s only been live the night after Pay-Per-Views. We open to a video hyping the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels feud. They’ll be face to face tonight!

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.

Faarooq and Steve Austin w/ The Nation of Domination vs. Jesse James and Savio Vega
The heel team is one of the strangest ever. No vest for Austin tonight. Yesterday on Superstars, Austin lost a handicap match to two jobbers, so he PILLMANIZED them after. Austin jumps James in the aisle, getting this started quickly. Savio makes the save but Faarooq stayed inside. The match officially gets underway, with Savio and Austin handling the early stuff. Their chemistry is still solid here. When James and Faarooq are in there, things get progressively worse. Jesse takes a chop block outside from Austin and basically dies. Bret Hart, in street clothes, runs out and takes Savio’s place. Austin wears down Savio, keeping Bret at bay. Savio finally falls into the tag. Bret takes it to Faarooq and even the intervening Austin. Bret hits at least TWO OF THE MOVES OF DOOM before Crush jumps in to stop the Sharpshooter, resulting in a DQ at 10:27. Fine enough way to start the show. Bret didn’t do much and he would’ve certainly helped the quality. [**]

The Nation and Austin beat on Bret and Savio until Ahmed Johnson and his 2×4 make the save. Jim Duggan is getting a lawyer for gimmick infringement as we speak.

Non-Title Match: WWF Intercontinental Championship Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Flash Funk
Goldust and Marlena get their crappy seats in the strands again this week. Funk attacks quickly and starts hot. Hunter sends him outside and bows to the audience. Goldust cuddles up with Marlena as they watch. Funk gets a close near fall on a rollup and hits an odd looking cross body. His speed is clearly a problem for Hunter. Hunter takes over and works a heat through a break. He looks at Goldust as he hits a Marty Jannetty fist drop for two. His offense is painfully dry and boring. Jerry Lawler gets up and yells at Goldust for not being a real man and for distracting Hunter. With that distraction, Hunter blocks Funk with the title and steals it at 9:13. Hunter was a long way away from being able to lead an entertaining match. This dragged and was boring. [*½]

Hunter attempts to jump Goldust from behind, so Funk makes the save once he gets back up.


It’s time for the face to face “summit” between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Wow, you could see the Bret/Shawn WrestleMania rematch coming a mile away. Shawn’s a sarcastic ass from the start. He says he’ll be on commentary during Bret/Vader next week. Jim Ross wants Shawn to start the summit but Shawn says he wouldn’t dare go before the almighty Bret Hart. Bret says Shawn is disrespectful and hasn’t learned anything from Jose Lothario. When Jose cost Shawn the WWF Title, he apologized. Shawn did nothing of the sort when he cost Bret the title. He says Shawn never held up his promise to carry the title with honor and pride. Bret brings up Shawn posing in Playgirl (I don’t even think women buy that magazine) and says he degraded the WWF. Shawn removes his jacket during the insults. Bret says they’ll wrestle soon and all the dancing in the world won’t save him. “I will kick your ass,” says Bret, because he can. OH SNAP! Shawn retorts, saying Bret’s a hypocrite because he’s no role model on the road. Before he can go any further, WWF Champion Sycho Sid comes out to interrupt. He literally just screams into the microphone to start. He calls them both out for being losers and wants competition. GONG. The Undertaker is here! Oh, but here comes Vader and they brawl. Sid and Undertaker come face to face but Vader gets involved again. As they leave, Shawn gets a cheap shot on Bret before leaping out onto Sid. ALL HELL HAS BROKEN LOOSE!

Goldust w/ Marlena vs. Jerry Lawler
HHH and Honky Tonk Man are on commentary with Vince. This is joined in progress with Goldust confronting HHH. Lawler takes him back inside while HHH kidnaps Marlena. He tries carrying her to the back but Marc Mero stands in his way in the aisle. Goldust escapes Lawler and tries saving his wife. HHH tosses Marlena to Mero and avoids Goldust, who crashes into them. HHH does a number on them and Ma knocked out Marlena is the final image. [NR]

Top Ten Matches in Raw History So Far!
1) WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. 1-2-3 Kid – 7/11/94 – ****½
2) Two Out of Three Falls: Doink vs. Marty Jannetty – 6/21/93 – ****
3) Loser Leaves Raw: Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair – 1/25/93 – ****
4) WWF Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Marty Jannetty – 5/17/93 – ***¾
5) No Holds Barred: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – 3/27/95 – ***½
6) Mankind vs. Steve Austin – 11/18/96 – ***½
7) Bret Hart vs. Hakushi – 7/24/95 – ***½
8) Owen Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – 11/20/95 – ***½
9) Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – 8/1/94 – ***½
10) British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart – 6/5/96 – ***½

WCW Starrcade 1996 Results
Ultimo Dragon def. Dean Malenko (c) in 18:31 to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Akira Hokuto def. Madusa in 7:07 to win the WCW Women’s Championship Tournament
Jushin Thunder Liger def. Rey Mysterio Jr. in 14:17
Jeff Jarrett def. Chris Benoit in a No Disqualifications match in 13:49
The Outsiders (c) def. The Faces of Fear to retain the WCW World Tag Team Titles
Eddie Guerrero def. Diamond Dallas Page in 15:22 to win the WCW United States Championship Tournament
Lex Luger def. The Giant in 13:24
Roddy Piper def. Hulk Hogan in 15:36 in a non-title match

Reliving Nitro
Episode #68
December 30th, 1996 | Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tennessee

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (2) 8/10/96
WCW United States Champion: Eddie Guerrero (1) since 12/29/96
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: Ultimo Dragon (1) since 12/29/96
WCW Women’s Championship: Akira Hokuto (1) since 12/29/96

Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko handle hour number one.

A limo pulls up and the nWo come out celebrating. That’s odd since Giant and Hogan both lost last night. There was dissension in the ranks to close the show but they act like nothing happened. Giant brings the tension back by pointing out that his name is STILL on the WCW World Title. Man, WCW is lazy. Hogan tells Giant it’s all good, but Giant still wants his World War III title shot. Hogan calls an nWo member winning World War III a “bye” so he doesn’t have to defend it. Giant is pissed that he doesn’t get a shot to be the top dog.

The Amazing French Canadians w/ Col. Robert Parker vs. Public Enemy
Interesting to note that in 1994, these were the WWF and ECW Tag Team Champions. Here, they’re not doing much of note. Following the singing of the Canadian national anthem, Public Enemy comes out and the teams brawl to kill some time. AFC get beat with their own flagpoles. Rougeau avoids a table bump and Grunge goes through it on his own. That leaves Rocco to fall to the Quebecer Crash in 3:29. Not much of a match here. [NR]

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Ultimo Dragon (c) w/ Sonny Oono vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
With his Cruiserweight Title win, Ultimo Dragon now holds NINE titles. He would drop the J-Crown (the other eight) the upcoming Saturday to Liger at the Tokyo Dome. Here though, it’s just the WCW title on the line. Liger works the surfboard. He does it to this day still and it’s 2017! They move at a fast pace but it feels rushed. Like they know they aren’t getting a bunch of time. They fight up top and Dragon snaps off a super rana. He follows with a tiger suplex to retain in 4:41. Good fun but way too short to get going. To compare, they got eighteen minutes in the Tokyo Dome in front of over 62,000.[**½]

Strap Match: Konnan w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Mr. Wallstreet
We’re supposed to get a rematch of the awful Konnan/Big Bubba match from last week. Bubba no-shows, so we get Mr. Wallstreet in his nWo shirt instead. He says Bubba can’t make it but has a message that Bubba isn’t scared. Sheesh. Wallstreet whacks Konnan with the strap a bunch. Wallstreet starts touching the corners, but Konnan taps them behind him. Before the fourth, Wallstreet punches Konnan into the turnbuckle, giving the nWo their third straight loss in 2:34. Boring match but at least it was kept short. [NR]

Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff come out for some promo time. They pull off revisionist history as Bischoff claims Hogan beat Piper in the middle of the ring. It’s a strange play. It’s one thing for the heels to make up excuses for the loss but this is just odd. I’d have preferred if Hogan claimed Piper got lucky and isn’t around now because he’s too scared for a rematch. They just keep saying Hogan won and then leave. Weird promo.

Hugh Morris vs. Kensuke Sasaki w/ Sonny Oono
In true WCW form, their name plate misspells Kensuke’s name, ending it with an “I”. These two club each other for a while and none of it seems to matter. Eric Bischoff comes back out to interrupt things. They were planning on showing the Piper/Hogan finish from last night but Bischoff steals the tape. THAT NEFARIOUS BASTARD! I picture him taking it like Swiper from Dora. Anyway, Sasaki misses an elbow, so Morris hits No Laughing Matter. Oono jumps in to cause the DQ before the three count at 4:40. Who thought it was a good idea to give this as much time as Liger/Ultimo? Bad business. [¼*]

They show still images of Piper’s win over Hogan last night. I feel like anyone who didn’t see the PPV is a bit confused.

SATURDAY NIGHT ~ Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko for the US Title, as well as appearances by Masahiro Chono, Arn Anderson, Lord Steven Regal and more!

The Faces of Fear w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Harlem Heat w/ Sister Sherri
Two teams that have come up short against the Outsiders. Stevie Ray gets clobbered by the Faces of Fear until Booker turns things around. This is all background noise to Robert Parker showing up for more drama with Sherri. Sherri attacks him, allowing Jacques to throw something in Stevie’s eyes. It gets all over the ring. Meng covers but Booker whacks him and Steve drapes his arm over to win at 3:34. Why? That finish was a mess. The substance made a literal mess, while having it backfire makes the AFC look stupid and the Faces of Fear look weak. [DUD]

Mean Gene is out for the first time tonight and interviews DDP. He asks about the nWo screwing him out of the US Title. DDP isn’t whining and continually tells Gene not to worry about it. He knows what he’s going to do but doesn’t reveal it just yet.

HOUR NUMBER TWO! Tony is joined by Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan.

Disco Inferno vs. Glacier
What the hell is happening with this episode? Before the bell, Disco threatens to hurt Glacier with his new “leg hold” and makes UT jokes for cheap heat. The ring has a big black mark from the stupid substance in the last match. Heenan is the best part of this when he says that Disco put both his uncles (Nunzio and Louie) in the leg hold and they’re tied together in the hospital right now. This is somewhat competitive but not good. Glacier ends it with a kick at 4:18 after Disco fails to apply his leg hold. [½*]

Chris Benoit w/ Woman vs. Chris Jericho
Finally, something of interest again. They start quick and Benoit alley-oops Jericho into the top rope. He abuses him and talks smack while commentary continues to plug a midget match later tonight. They engage in a chop war, which I love. Heenan suggests Benoit tie Jericho’s hair up in the ropes. Benoit eats a weak atomic drop and a better superkick. He avoids the Lionsault but Jericho hits a cross body. Jericho misses a corner dropkick, so Benoit hits the super back suplex to end quickly end it at 3:58. Why? In what world is giving Glacier and Disco more time than Benoit and Jericho a good idea? It was fun while it lasted at least. [**¼]

Mean Gene is back to interview the Four Horsemen, minus Arn Anderson. Gene is cut off by Debra of all people, ruining the hopes of a good promo. Woman puts her and Mongo in their place, saying they have no vote because they haven’t been around long enough. Jeff Jarrett shows up to complain about second class treatment. Ric Flair is the only one to get a reaction and he’s just off the rails. He dances with Woman to a pop. Benoit and Woman leave before Debra makes a crack about Woman’s weight gain. Flair dances with her to end the promo. This made no sense and did nothing for anyone unless you want to see Flair dance.

Jerrito Estrada and Piratita Morgan vs. Mascarita Sagrada and Octagoncito
It’s one thing to see Chavo, Konnan or Rey but seeing Mascarita Sagrada has me popping for Lucha Underground! Estrada doesn’t look like a midget, just a short dude. They work quickly and get in all their flying shit. On fire tonight, Heenan says Octagoncito was so happy to be a wrestler, he felt like he was four feet tall. Sagrada wins with a rollup at 2:21. Different and kind of fun, but nothing more. [NR]

Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Hey, another midget match! No entrances for these two. Really? Morris, Disco, Glacier, the midgets, Konnan and Wallstreet were more deserving of entrances than these two? The feeling out process sees Dean keep things grounded. Dean LAUNCHES him into a flapjack. He wears him down with a half crab variation. It picks up as the match progresses, with Rey taking to the sky and Dean planting him with surprisingly impressive looking power offense. After a Dean powerbomb, Rey hits a great senton to the outside. The crowd is FINALLY waking up. Malenko still has counters for most of Rey’s offense. Rey snaps off a head scissors but time expires at 9:19. How did WCW constantly do so bad with the time limit thing? This match was good, playing off their past and did enough to wake the crowd up somewhat. Easily the highlight of the night. [***]

Greg Valentine vs. Lex Luger
Why are they still booking Valentine? Schiavone calls Luger’s win over the Giant the best match of Luger’s career. Ha. Valentine starts hot but Luger quickly turns it around and it’s SCREAMING CLOTHESLINES time. A Torture Rack ends it at 2:51. [NR]

Roddy Piper is here to close out the show. Piper says he left Hogan sleeping at Starrcade, making him the icon. He claims that was his last match (you sure about that Hot Rod?) before Eric Bischoff arrives to interrupt. They still claim Hogan won, so Piper responds with jokes. Hogan mentions Roddy’s kids, so now Piper is serious. Before anything can go down, the nWo run out and jump him. The Giant doesn’t get involved and idly stands by. Hogan whacks Piper in the hip with a chair. The fans LITER the ring with garbage. Hogan wants Giant to chokeslam Piper, but he shoves him aside instead. Giant stands across from the nWo, who huddle up. Hogan gets in Giant’s face and slaps him for dropping the ball. Giant grabs Hogan by the throat and shouts for everyone to get out of the ring. Piper is carted off on a stretcher while screaming. Hogan cries and apologizes before agreeing to give Giant the title shot. Once Hogan leaves, he orders the nWo to jump the Giant. He fights them off to a pop until the numbers become too much. They rip his nWo shirt and beat him up with the World Title until he’s out. The year ends with Piper’s ambulance pulling away. A hot ending but couldn’t the nWo not stand tall for once? Giant threatening Hogan and them leaving would’ve been fine and built intrigue for the title match.

Top Ten Matches in Nitro History so far!
1. Eddie Guerrero vs. Ric Flair – 5/20/96 – ****
2. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko [c] vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. – 7/8/96 – ****
3. Ric Flair vs. Sting – 11/6/95 – ***½
4. Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero – 10/16/95 – ***½
5. The Road Warriors vs. The Steiner Brothers – 3/11/96 – ***½
6. Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero – 11/18/96 – ***½
7. Eddie Guerrero vs. Psychosis – 7/8/96 – ***½
8. Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko – 9/2/96 – ***½
9. WCW US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero – 12/23/96 – ***½
10. Juventud Guerrera vs. La Parka – 11/18/96 – ***½

Raw Rating: 1.6
Nitro Rating: 3.6

The final score: review Bad
The 411
Raw: Not the strongest way to end 1996 but there was hope. The opener was decent and the HHH/Funk match was boring. However, the Shawn/Bret stuff was a great angle to build a lot of tension for the planned Mania match. 4.5

Nitro: This show mostly sucked. There was so much nonsense that it negated the relatively strong ending and the solid Malenko/Mysterio match. It’s clear the WCW is doing stuff on a week-to-week basis and have no real plan. It’s part of why the WWF turns it around on them. 3.0


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