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Raw History: Episode 205 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 83

October 23, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episode 205 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 83  

Raw History
Episode #205
April 14th, 1997 | Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana and Johannesburg Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa

WWF Champion: The Undertaker (2) since 3/23/97
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia (1) since 2/13/97
WWF European Champion: British Bulldog (1) since 3/3/97
WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart and the British Bulldog (1) since 9/22/96

Quite the special episode of Raw here, as the show featured matches from the US and South Africa. Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette were on US commentary duty, while Jim Ross and Honky Tonk covered the South Africa side.

The Godwins vs. The Legion of Doom
We’re in Muncie for this one. This stemmed from the accidental slopping LOD suffered last week. The duos slugged it out in the manner you’d expect. It’s really all either team has. Hawk ran shoulder first into the ring post, opening the door for a Godwins heat segment. LOD won’t let it last long, so they give the impression it lasted through a commercial break. Hot tag to Animal, who cleaned house until Owen Hart and the British Bulldog showed up. Bulldog hit Animal with a Tag Title, allowing Henry to pin him at 6:05. Nothing match, as expected. Surprised LOD did a job before the PPV. [½*]

Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Chyna vs. Jesse James
Over to South Africa for this one. It totally felt different from the usual Raw environment, but not in a good way. Commentary was barely existent and it seemed like a house show. However, there was a note at the start of the show about some production issues, so it was probably lost somewhere because when JR and Honky can be heard, they seemed to carry on like they were there the whole time. Anyway, this got off to the kind of start that told me they were going longer than they should. James continually had his momentum cut off, until stealing a page out of Honky’s book and turning his collar up during an offensive spurt. Honky got up from commentary, tripped him and James ate a Pedigree to end it in 11:49. It felt closer to 25 minutes. Too long, too dull and nothing of real interest happened until the finish. [¾*]

Post-match, Jesse James said he can’t wait to beat Honky’s mystery man at In Your House. He also dared Honky to get in the ring now, but Honky decided against it and cowered.

Non-Title Match: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Savio Vega w/ The Nation of Domination
We remained in South Africa for this one. JR wet himself over Rocky’s “ovation” but it was probably piped in. No clue why this is being televised, as it’s scheduled for the PPV with the title on the line. While they exchanged early holds, Ahmed Johnson got split screen promo time and was as hard to understand as usual. Back to the match, where Rocky did well until running into a spin kick. Like the previous match, this went long. Savio’s even more dull as a heel than HHH at this time, so his heat segment was rough to get through. The pace finally quickened as Rocky made his comeback, which even included the first ROCK BOTTOM! At least, the first I’ve seen from him. It only got two. Savio escaped the Shoulder breaker and rolled him up with a handful of tights to win at 14:29. Another match that went too long, but at least it had a solid finishing run. [*¼]

The NOD put the boots to Rocky until Ahmed Johnson ran them off.


LAST WEEK ~ We got footage of Steve Austin talking with Gorilla Monsoon and getting a match with Bret Hart at the PPV.

That led to Steve Austin coming out for an in-ring interview with Vince McMahon in Muncie. He said the WWF is finally giving him what he wants, which is another shot at Bret. Austin added that he will beat Bret at the PPV and that Bret’s time has come and gone. Not one of Austin’s better promos. Short and to the point, though, and it got Austin on TV.

Goldust vs. The Sultan w/ The Iron Sheik
Back to South Africa for this one. Goldust has his face painted in a cool design, which is the first time I recall it. This match featured a ton of nothing outside of Goldust taking a bump into the steel steps and a piledriver. His short rally was interrupted when HHH and Chyna attacked him for a DQ at 3:01. Nothing to see here. [NR]

The Sultan joined in on the beating, leading to a SPIKE PILEDRIVER!

Bret Hart got a video package that intercut a bunch of his promos while touring overseas, where he says he’ll beat Steve Austin for everything that he stands for.

The Headbangers vs. Mankind and Vader w/ Paul Bearer
Back to the USA for this one. The Headbangers used double team offense to wear down Vader, because they couldn’t handle him one on one. They brawled outside for a bit after we got a recap of the fireball spot from two weeks ago. Mankind got a hot tag and ran wild until Mosh drank something from under the ring. He spat it at Mankind, resulting in a DQ at 5:33. Another nothing match. [*]

Blinded, Mankind accidentally put the Mandible Claw on Vader.

Lights flickered in South Africa, with Undertaker cutting a promo over the PA system, where he promised to send Mankind to hell at the PPV.

COLISEUM VIDEO ~ Footage aired of Sunny, Marlena, the Funkettes and Sable in bikinis during the Slammy Awards. I know everyone went nuts for Sable’s very revealing bikini, but Sunny looked 10x better.

The Commandment cut a promo in the ring in South Africa, saying his Truth Commission was coming soon. Nothing else we didn’t hear least week.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Crush w/ The Nation of Domination
Our main event was in South Africa, which JR called “Ahmed’s homeland.” He also said this wouldn’t be a pretty match. He was right. Ahmed got the first advantage, sending Crush outside to get scolded by Faarooq. Savio came down to discuss things with his leader as Crush bored us with rest holds heading into the commercial. Crush hitting a piledriver made me cringe because that’s a dangerous spot done by two sloppy wrestlers. Crush followed it with a sleeper that lasted so long, I nearly knocked out. Ahmed survived and won via rollup after a painfully long 8:40. Like the rest of the South Africa stuff, it dragged on. [¼*]

Faarooq got post-match promo time to say that if Ahmed can beat all three NOD members, he’ll disband the group. Ahmed gave them a serious stare, but never answered yes or no.

Vince and Cornette ended things with a quick rundown of this Sunday’s PPV card.

Reliving Nitro
Episode #83
April 14th, 1997 | CoreStates Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (2) 8/10/96
WCW United States Champion: Dean Malenko (1) since 3/16/97
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (1) since 10/27/96
WCW Television Champion: Prince Iaukea (1) since 2/17/97
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Syxx (1) since 2/23/97
WCW Women’s Championship: Akira Hokuto (1) since 12/29/96

LAST WEEK ~ Clips of the nWo segment were shown where they settled their differences. DDP and Sting standing tall against them to close the show was also shown.

HOUR ONE! Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko. They said Lex Luger wants to cash in his World Title shot tonight!

The nWo theme played and they walked over to the announce position. Kevin Nash said the nWo is a family and if Luger wants Hulk Hogan, he has to go through him. Wait. That’s not how title shots work. Luger won his, fair and square, at the PPV.

The Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Chris Benoit
No Woman with Benoit. ECW Hat Guy was in the crowd, 24 hours removed from ECW’s first PPV, Barely Legal. They went at it quickly. Hart tripped up Benoit, who followed him outside and delivered a right hand. Barbarian let it happen so he could big boot Benoit. He followed it with a wicked super belly to belly suplex. It didn’t get the pop or response from commentary that it should’ve. He missed a diving headbutt, Benoit hit his own and won in 2:37. Short and sweet. Both guys got in some good offense that they crammed into the short runtime. [*½]

Kevin Sullivan, Jacqueline, Konnan and Hugh Morris ran down immediately to jump Benoit. He got hit while in the Tree of Joey Lawrence, before Jeff Jarrett and Mongo arrived to send them packing. Mean Gene got a word with Benoit, who promised to destroy Sullivan. Why the hell is this feud still a thing?

Non-Title Match: WCW United States Champion Dean Malenko vs. Hector Guerrero
I don’t know why, but Hector in trunks instead of long tights looked odd to me. He got in some shine, including a springboard splash on the outside. Back inside, Dean nailed a Tiger Bomb and won via Texas Cloverleaf at 2:56. A squash that made sense given what came after. [NR]

Dean refused to break the hold, so Eddie Guerrero, with arm in a sling, came out. Dean let go and they exchanged words before he left.

Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Man, there are a lot of ex-ECW guys on this show. This got some “ECW” chants. Things moved outside quickly on a headscissors spot. Juvi delivered a sweet, stiff powerbomb off the apron. It reminded me of a lesser version of the wild Hiromu Takahashi sunset flip bomb. Inside, they traded counters until Rey won with a springboard rana in 3:25. Disappointing. It wasn’t much of a match and felt very rushed. [*]

Mean Gene brought out Luna Vachon for an interview. She yelled a lot and said she’d take the Women’s Title from Madusa. There’s just one problem. Madusa isn’t the champion. To be fair, nobody in WCW probably knew who the champion was.

Non-Title Match: WCW Television Champion Ultimo Dragon w/ Sonny Oono vs. Lane Carlson
Dragon’s nameplate read “Ultimate Dragon.” Lane Carlson is Lenny Lane. He did surprisingly well here, hitting a Rocker Dropper, clotheslining Dragon to the outside and hitting a corkscrew senton. There was a nasty thud when he landed. Dragon cut him off with a trip and finished him with the dragon suplex at 3:47. Solid little squash. Lane got in some decent offense and Dragon looked fine. [NR]

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Syxx (c) vs. Prince Iaukea
Prince dropped the TV Title last week and somehow earned a Cruiserweight Title shot. Commentary noted that apparently Nick Patrick is no longer nWo and would be reinstated as a referee. Larry still doesn’t trust him. Early on, Iaukea surprised Syxx and forced him to take a breather outside. Iaukea missed a springboard cross body, leading to Syxx showing off the Bronco Buster. Hey! It’s not 1998 yet! Syxx missed a somersault senton, leading to a Prince rally. He got two on a springboard clothesline, but was crotched up top. Syxx made him submit to the Buzz Killer at 5:42. Decent stuff. Might be the best Iaukea match I’ve seen, which is not a good sign for him. [**]

Mean Gene returned, this time to interview Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Kevin Greene. Piper yelled a ton, rambled and ran down the nWo. Flair and Piper basically said they paved the way for guys like the nWo (basically what Hogan said last year, but it was wrong then, apparently). Greene agreed with them. It wasn’t a good promo, but it got the point across to hype Slamboree.

HOUR NUMBER TWO! Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan replaced Larry Zbyszko.

Philadelphia Street Fight: High Voltage vs. Public Enemy
“ECW” and “Let’s go Flyers” chants, since PE wore Flyers jerseys to the ring. This was a precursor to the eventual hardcore division in WCW. It was just a bunch of people hitting each other with weapons for no real rhyme or reason. There was no structure. PE got the win in front of their fans with the Quebecer Crash through two tables at 4:37. Fun idea to give these guys some shine in Philly, but nobody cared about High Voltage. This was pretty much nothing. [*¼]

Big Al vs. The Giant
Big Al joins the list of former ECW guys on this show (with Juvi, Rey, Benoit, PE, Eddie, Dean and many others) because he’s 911. He stood up to the Giant, but fell to the Chokeslam in just 1:01. Wow.[NR]

Diamond Dallas Page w/ Kimberly vs. Konnan
No Jimmy Hart or any Dungeon of Doom help for Konnan. DDP got a massive pop. Konnan stalked Kimberly a bit, but fell in short order to a sweet Diamond Cutter in just 2:08. [NR]

Randy Savage and Elizabeth appeared in the stands. Savage had a microphone and told Kimberly to stop calling him. That triggered DDP, who ran into the crowd and chased Savage.

Harlem Heat w/ Sister Sherri vs. Jeff Jarrett and Steve McMichael w/ Debra
Sherri is what a valet should be. Debra is the opposite. Funny moment at the start, as the camera was right on Booker’s face while he jawed with a fan and simply said, “YOUR MOTHER!” Booker and Jarrett started off, giving us a preview of a future WCW World Title program. Mongo ran wild after his tag, but after a commercial, Jarrett was back in and taking a beating. Jarrett eventually came back and tried the Figure Four, but Stevie made the save. Things broke down and the briefcase came into play. Sherri saved Stevie from getting hit with it, because she’s awesome. She grabbed Debra, holding her back from getting involved. The referee seemed to throw the match out at 7:13, but Jarrett and Mongo were announced as the winners by DQ. The match didn’t do much for me. Sherri gets it extra points, though. [*½]

Mean Gene interviewed the winners and Jarrett was super pumped for some Slamboree news. I don’t know why, because the news didn’t involve him. Mongo signed a contract to wrestle Reggie White that night. White, a fellow NFL player, was in the crowd. Mongo ran down Philadelphia and White, saying Reggie left Philly for the money and won a Super Bowl. Reggie hopped the guardrail and Mongo spat at him, leading to a pull-apart brawl. Solid build for the match, but it felt rushed and Mongo’s promo wasn’t very good.

Kevin Nash w/ The nWo vs. Lex Luger
I guess Hogan has the night off. The entire nWo came out with Nash, sans Hogan, Savage and Hall. Their distraction allowed Nash to hit a big boot and take control. He used Snake Eyes and didn’t seem to take the match seriously. Thanks to OSW Review, I can no longer watch Luger matches without hearing his incredibly loud selling. Nash dominated until Luger hit a forearm. The nWo jumped in for the DQ at 4:07. Not much of a match. [NR]

DDP ran in to help Luger, but the nWo proved to be too much for him. The Giant slowly strolled out and Nash grabbed a lead pipe. He looked confident with it. Giant sped up and as he reached the ring, Sting came walking out from the back. I’d never have him come from the back. It means he was hanging out like normal. Anyway, he had extra bats, handing them to DDP, Luger and Giant outside. Sting entered the ring alone with the nWo. He ducked a shot from Nash and laid him out with the bat. The nWo bailed as the rest of the faces came in to help.

Raw Rating: 2.2
Nitro Rating: 3.5

The final score: review Bad
The 411
Raw: A terrible go home show. This was a giant waste of two hours and nothing made me more interested in the upcoming PPV, except maybe the champions attacking LOD in the opener. None of the matches were any good. The USA/South Africa split was a bad idea that had no flow and all the matches overseas felt like something out of a house show. Easily the worst Raw in a long time, ending their hot streak. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I just didn’t enjoy this at all. 1.5

Nitro: I wasn’t too impressed by this episode. None of the matches truly stuck out to me, though Syxx/Iaukea was decent. They did well to advance some angles (aggressive Dean, Jarrett/White, Benoit/Sullivan, DDP/Savage) and the ending was very hot. A lot of things still felt like filler, which is my biggest issue with these episodes. 5.0


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