WCW Monday Nitro: 1.9 Rating
WWE Monday Night Raw: 2.7 Rating
As I was sinking my teeth into the second week of head to head primetime competition between the well established WWE Monday Night Raw and the brand new show WCW Monday Nitro, which we all know was obviously Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff’s blatant kick in the balls to Vince Mcmahon and his Monday Night Empire, there was one thing I began to realize that I’m sure I didn’t even think about as a young child: One show was clearly comfortable with their booking methods and weekly ratings, and that show was Monday Night Raw, but on the other hand Monday Nitro was clearly doing whatever they could to be as much of a different type of weekly entity as possible. I literally can’t stress enough that Nitro was definitely the show that looked more “raw.” WWE’s show looked more like an over-produced, under-developed one hour block of silly and redundant rubbish, creatively speaking. At the end of the night, Monday Night Raw felt like watching some kind of really bad children's book play out before your very eyes on a television screen and it was most definitely tough to watch! Sound familiar?
On this week, however, both of these shows actually put their best foot forward to begin their programs. Raw kicked it off with the match between Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid in a “best friends turned enemies” story that involved Dean Douglas which was, in my opinion, probably the hottest angle WWE had to offer at that point in time. The rest of the angles in WWE were either corny and childish and were most likely to pit a clown and a plumber against each other, or they were just flat out half-assed from the start regardless of who or what was involved!
Nitro kicked off with a very entertaining interview segment that saw “Mean” Gene Okerlund having to stand in the uncomfortable spot between “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan and The Giant to ask the questions. Just one night after War Games, and The Giant was ready to mame and thrash the all-american hero Hulk Hogan once more. Shades of greatness were shining through as The Giant let the world know he had an insatiable appetite and burning desire to destroy “Hulkamania” forever!
Raw went off the rails quickly when they had a meaningless tag team match between the duo of Kama & Tatanka versus Savio Vega & Bob “Sparkplug” Holly. There’s literally NOTHING going on here! Nitro kept their momentum going as the newly crowned tag champs Harlem Heat attacked the Blue Bloods during their entrance for a match with the newest team in WCW, the American Males. Booker T grabs a mic and says that they want to defend those belts against the best teams in the company and the American Males were the perfect guys to catch the beatdown! The tag team championship match took place without the discretion of Commissioner Bockwinkel, and the American Males pulled of the incredible and unforeseen upset victory to win the titles. Immediately, there's the question of “what will Bockwinkel do?” All I’m saying is at least this had some substance to it and it was a surprise-- better than two guys fighting over a tiger shaped balloon and a plunger...
Each program went into garbage mode after this. Johnny B. Badd against Paul Orndorff for absolutely no reason on Nitro, and Jean Pierre LaFitte in a squash match against 1995’s version of James Ellsworth on Raw. “The Hitman” Bret Hart was locked into a fued with Jean Pierre because he was apparently a swashbuckling, pirate-thief in a modern wrestling company-- in other words, it was the undisputed drizzling shits! Raw kept the irrelevance ball rolling as they only had one more match on the show between the tag champs, Yokozuna and Owen Hart, against Men on a Mission. The match serves no purpose other than a lame attempt to make Owen and Yoko look strong going into their pay-per-view match with World Champion Diesel and Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. The only interesting concept of the whole ordeal is that Yoko and Owen will have an opportunity to win either the World Championship or the Intercontinental Championship in WWE’s first “Triple-Header Tag Team Match” at the upcoming In Your House PPV.
Nitro had a nice segment between Randy Savage and Lex Luger arguing out some issues and getting in each other’s faces in the ring. “Macho Man” is always gold with the microphone, period! They closed the show out with The Giant destroying Hogan’s motorcycle with a monster truck. Although it was sort of cheesy seeing Hogan clubbing the driver’s side door of the monster truck as The Giant revved the engine and laughed down upon The Hulkster, it was still the far superior ending on that Monday night!
Monday Nitro had a definitive start and a definitive finish that were connected and also displayed some consistency. Raw though, not so much. It was almost as if WWE had no idea that they were actually in a fight. They were used to being the bully, until they got popped right in the face! The scary thing to me is: WWE’s booking in 1995 is disturbingly similar to their booking today!
Next up, the showdown of Monday, September 25, 1995!
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