Monday Night Wars Revisited: Week Five

By @ac_adamson.

Welcome back to week 5 of the Monday Night Wars revisited. After a short mid-season break, I return to look back into which company had the best wrestling action during the Monday night wars. Last week, Nitro pulled out a storming show and after spending 3 weeks chasing down Raw it sensationally stole the lead. Can they continue or will Raw start to pull back some ground? Lets find out. Firstly lets recap the rules:

The Rules

  1. The WWE network carries Nitro from episode 1 on 04/09/1995 until episode 204 on 16/08/1999 which means it is missing roughly the final year and a half of programming. This means that the qualifying period for this competition will be episodes 2 through 204 of Nitro along with the corresponding week of Raw.
  2. The first ever episode of Nitro went unchallenged by Raw and is therefore disqualified. Any other weeks that I find where one or the other show went unchallenged by the other will also be disqualified and a new week will be chosen. May 24th1999 is also disqualified. This week the war was put on hold to remember Owen Hart.
  3. Shows judged will be selected at random, using a random number generator app on my phone.
  4. Shows will be judged on each matches individual quality. Nothing else will be taken into consideration.
  5. Matches will be given a mark out of 10. No half marks or quarter marks will be allowed.
  6. Due to the fact that often the shows had different running times, the scores for each match will be averaged out to give an overall score for match quality. Eg
match raw Nitro
1 6 8
2 7 5
3 3 4
4 5 2
5 9 7
6 6 N/A
6 5.2
  1. In the above example Raw wins and is awarded 1 win and 6 points. Nitro loses and is awarded 5.2 points. These totals will be added into the league table.
  2. Should a week end in a tie, the win will be given to the show with the highest individual match score. If that is also a tie the result will be decided by the score given for the final match on the card. If the result is still tied then the result will be decided by the lowest mark given on any match will be the losing show. If that ties then the second lowest and so on until a winner is decided.
  3. A league table will be drawn up showing number of wins, and a running points total. after 10 weeks a result will be announced based on total number of points, if this is a tie then it will be decided on number of weekly wins. If that is a tie then we concede that both shows were equally as good as the other and we can finally put to bed the Monday night wars and move on. It has been 15 years after all. Is anyone really still interested?

The randomly generated number this week is 76 which brings us nicely to Nitro episode number 76 and Raw episode number 198. Both shows are 2 hours in length and were originally broadcast on 24/02/1997 history tells us that this night was won by NITRO. This throws up an interesting scenario as this episode of Raw was an ECW takeover and so some of the matches involved ECW talent. It interests me to get the third player in the game into my experiment and it will be fun to find out if they help or hinder the WWE’s efforts to retake the number 1 spot. I am going to switch things up this week and start with Nitro.

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MONDAY NITRO 

NITRO Match 1

Public Enemy V The 4 Horsemen (Jeff Jarrett & Steve “Mungo” McMichael)

00:04:07

Public Enemy were horrible wrestlers and had no right being anywhere near a stable with as much history as the 4 Horsemen. After a few botched attempts at a move by Public Enemy, McMichael hits Double J across the back with a briefcase allowing the public Enemy to pick up a win. After the match Arn Anderson and Ric Flair hit the ring but nothing really gets resolved.

3/10

NITRO Match 2

Hacksaw Jim Duggan V Galaxy

00:03:14

This one follows the same formula as most Hacksaw matches, lots of beatdowns and lots of USA chants. Galaxy was better known as Mexican superstar Damien 666 and at this stage of his career he was pulling double duty for WCW wrestling here under a mask and as Damien when required. This one is a squash though as hacksaw gets the victory after a punch to the head.

2/10

NITRO Match 3

Hugh Morrus v Joe Gomez

00:02:51

Hugh Morrus is better known these days as the recently disgraced NXT trainer Bill DeMott, Not many people in the industry have nice things to say about Bill but he did manage to get this gimmick over for a short time in WCW. This one is another squash match as Morrus quickly dispatches his opponent with a moonsault to take the victory.

2/10

NITRO Match 4

La Parka V Ice Train w/Teddy Long

00:03:54

This match starts in a tiny Split screen as Teddy Long (Ice Train’s manager) cuts a wooden promo on Jacqueline. Ice train and his stupid nonsensical name is an absolute beast of a man, according to Wikipedia he was around in WCW for a good few years although I can honestly say I have no memory of him whatsoever. He has the majority of the offence in this one and eventually gets the victory after landing the Train wreck (big splash) on a fallen La Parka for the 123.

3/10

NITRO Match 5

Faces of Fear (Meng & The Barbarian) w/Jimmy Hart v Chris Jericho & Eddie Guerrero

00:07:29

The Barbarian and Meng spent many years tagging together under numerous different guises this particular one is managed by Jimmy Hart. Both men are renowned for working a very stiff style as Jericho finds out very early on when he gets dumped right on the back of his head. This begins the onslaught as Jericho takes the majority of the the offence. Meng and Barbarian hit a really nice double team back body drop into a power bomb followed by a double diving head butt from opposite corners of the ring. Eddie makes the save on 2 and the beatdown on Jericho continues.

The tide turns though after Jericho manages to get the hot tag to Guerrero. The finish arrives after Jericho takes a nasty looking bump to the outside, Eddie ascends to the top turnbuckle only to be attacked by Dean Malenko who pushes Eddie from the top into a big boot from the barbarian who picks up the 3 count. Best match of the night so far.

5/10

NITRO Match 6

Rey Mysterio V Juventede Guerrera

00:05:31

WCWs cruiserweight division was on fire at this point and they were able to showcase some of the best talent from all over the world and these two at that time were perhaps the best they had to offer. At 21 and 22 respectively they should have been as green as grass but they weren’t and they both consistently put on high quality matches. This one being no exception. It’s a real shame that Rey battled so many injuries in his career and had to adjust his style so much that he was a shadow of his former self by the end of his run at the top level. Rey picks up the victory in this one with a roll under hurricanrana into a pin. Another great match. This show is starting to pick up

5/10

NITRO Match 7

Prince Iaukea V Pat Tanaka

00:02:53

Two more great Cruiserweights on display here. Veteran Pat Tanaka formerly of the Orient Express taking on a man who I have seen a lot during this series. I’m starting to think that Iaukea was one of the most under-rated guys in WCW. He has consistently pulled great matches off and given a bit more time this one could have also been there. Iaukea gets the victory early after a picture perfect high cross body into a pin.

3/10 

NITRO Match 8

Ultimo Dragon v Dean Malenko

00:08:56

This is the 3rd Cruiserweight match in a row and so i’m thinking I must be due a match from one of the big guys soon. (God I hope its not the giant) Dragon is another guy who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Dean Malenko is playing a heel in this one and is showing a much more aggressive style than you would normally see from the man of 1000 holds. Malenko’s slow methodical style contrasts really nicely with the high flying hard hitting Dragon. Malenko though is like a man possessed and after he refuses to release a blatant choke the ref has no choice but to call for the bell.

6/10

NITRO Match 9

Diamond Dallas Page V Squire Dave Taylor

00:00:00

DDP Comes to the ring smoking a huge cigar which he certainly wouldn’t approve of these days. Page hits a diamond cutter as soon as the match starts when suddenly Nash and Hall make there way to the ring. Before they get there though the Ref and Dave Taylor inexplicably leave which is not even acknowledged by the commentary team. Randy Savage comes out next and blindsides DDP as he is distracted by Hall and Nash Suddenly a fan is in the ring but he soon takes a beating from savage and is quickly disposed off by Nash. I can’t explain what happened to the match. It definitely started the bell rung but then it just didn’t end. Therefore this match is disqualified from the competition.

No more matches on this show as the rest of the time is taken up by WCW and the NWO facing off in the ring before Sting comes out to show his allegiance. He picks the NWO as the show falls off the air.

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MONDAY NIGHT RAW

RAW Match 1

The Godwins V The New Blackjacks. 

00:05:50

Tonight’s raw kicks off from the Manhattan Centre in New York and that instantly gives the show a retro feel compared to the glitz and the glamour of the Nitro episode I just watched. The Manhattan centre is the birthplace of Raw and so it feels like I have been transported back to 1993 not 1997. The show kicks off with all 4 men in the ring as we go straight into a match (imagine that) Bradshaw sucks chants start early on from the very vocal ECW section of the crowd.

We’re almost 20 years in the future now and Bradshaw still sucks. Ken Shamrock makes his on screen debut during this match as he is shown sitting in the crowd. Vince acknowledges him as UFC star and the worlds most dangerous man. Blackjack’s get the victory after referee Mike Chioda counts to 3 even though Phineous Godwins’ foot is blatantly on the ropes. The Godwins stalk the referee around the ring before eventually giving him a good slopping. Strong start

4/10

RAW Match 2

Little Guido V Big Stevie Cool

00:03:35

Paul E Dangerously joins Lawler and Vince on commentary for the first of the ECW showcase matches that have taken over this episode of raw. The BWO are all at ringside as Lawaler calls them a “rip off gimmick”. Heyman asks him a rip off of what? but Vince soon shuts that line of conversation down. ECW champion Raven is also at ringside, there is a random interview with Goldust and with all that going the match ends without anyone really noticing it was happening. The crowd were well into it but there were to many distractions for the TV audience. Stevie gets the victory with the Stevie kick.

3/10

RAW Match 3

Savio Vega v Goldust

00:08:29

This one starts with a pre-match brawl following an arm wrestling match between Sunny and Marlena (yes really) a very early incarnation of the Nation of Domination surround the ring as the crowd chant for ECW throughout. Vega dominates the majority of this match at one point on Commentary Vince refers to Sunny as the “queen of cyberspace” if only he knew what was to come. Crush pulls Goldust’s boot as he is running off the ropes which earns him a slap in the face. Crush enters the ring and the ref throws this one out. The nation begin the beatdown on Goldust but Miguel Perez (???) makes the save.

5/10

RAW Match 4

Mikey Whipwreck V Taz

00:03:27

The second ECW Showcase match and this one is clearly to show that ECW is more than just chair shots and blood-loss. Wrestling was very much on the menu in ECW and these 2 put on a masterclass. The human suplex machine hits a number of different types of suplexes before Sabu suddenly dives from the top of the RAW logo onto some conveniently placed security guards. TAZ locks in the tazmission and the ref calls for the bell. an entertaining match and Taz is another example of a guy who could really go before injuries turned him into a crotchety old podcaster.

4/10

RAW Match 5

The Headbangers V Legion of Doom

00:08:08

Another Raw and another LOD return. either these guys went away and came back a lot or I am just getting lucky with my number generator. I love watch the Legion of Doom work. for me there has never been a better tag team. The roof blew off the Manhattan centre when there music hit and the crowd never came back down for the entirety of this match. NITRO SUCKS chants are placed periodically through the match. These are acknowledged by the commentary team when Vince declares that the WWF do not censor there audience and that if you come to a show you are free to cheer or boo as you see fit. (I do not know when this rule changed).

As always the LOD no sell any offence and make every move and strike they do look like it would kill a normal person. Hawk starts to take a beating though as the headbangers start to gain some momentum this is short lived however as hawk hits a double clothesline and gets the hot tag to animal. The match spills to the outside and ends in a double count out. which did not impress the crowd. LOD still hit the doomsday device though and the crowd go home happy.

7/10 

Quick interlude: After the match the “Tell me a lie” Get well soon video for Shawn Michaels airs. I urge you if you have not seen it, please check it out on YouTube. It is the cheesiest thing that exists in the world and needs to be seen to be believed)

RAW Match 6

Dvon Dudley w/ Sign guy Dudley V Tommy Dreamer w/ Beulah McGuillicutty

00:04:29

Time for ECW to show off the extreme side of the business, Lets see how far they are allowed to go. Tommy heads to the outside and starts to take weapons from people in the crowd who randomly pass him a ring bell and a walking stick. During the match we have a split screen interview with the Undertaker and it is during this that the match ends. Dreamer hits a DDT to a chair and gets the 3 count.

Bubba Ray comes out to make the save but then the crowd explode as the sandman makes his way out. all 4 men brawl on the inside as Heyman and Lawler try to get to each other on the outside. Vince holds them apart and is soon assisted by the rest of the ECW locker room. Lawler has been a brilliant antagonist to Heyman through out this show and they both played off each other brilliantly in this segment.

4/10

RAW Match 7

The Undertaker V Farooq

00:11:09

The undertaker starts the match by attacking D Lo as the nation of domination are all at ringside again for this one. He then starts to walk the top rope and goes old school but at this point I guess it was just called School. The crowd are still on fire for this and have been fantastic all night.

Vince leaves it until this point in the show when an undertaker is in the ring to explain that Jim Ross is not on the show tonight due to the death of his father. Mid way through your main event is a great place to cut away from the action and show a recap of a match that was on earlier as we get a few minutes of the Legion of Doom v The Headbangers from earlier in the night.. When we come back Farooq is leading the offence but Taker then hits a top rope powerslam. Farooq hits a pile-driver but Taker sits straight up. Its at this point that the nation invade the ring and this one is over. after the bell the Legion of Doom come out to make the save and the show goes off the air.

7/10

And there we have it. Week 5 is in the bag. both shows were of equal length at 2 hours, Nitro had 8 matches and 38 minutes and 55 seconds of in ring time against Raws 7 matches but 45 minutes and 10 seconds. It was a pretty historic night for WCW with Sting joining the NWO and it was also a pretty historic night not only for the WWF but also for ECW. however I know you are all dying to know which show came out on top and I can announce now that this night was won by … RAW. Raw pulled in a rating of 4.85 against Nitros 3.50. Raws best show by a considerable margin but is it enough to put it back into the lead. Check out the league table below.

RAW: 3, 3.57, 3.16, 3.87, 2.75, 4.85 (18.20)

NITRO: 1, 3.29, 2.80, 3.27, 5.25, 3.50 (18.11)

Remarkably after Nitro’s wonderful week last week RAW really needed to pull something out of the bag this week and they did. Re-taking the lead and as we head into the second half of the competition there is only 0.09 in it.

Check back next time to find out if Raw can increase its lead or if Nitro can retake the top spot.

Thanks for reading. if you want to check me out on Twitter please feel free to send me questions comments or feedback. @ac_adamson

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