Monday Night War: August 1996
WCW continues to be on a roll in the war.
RAW was a rather weak program as the main bout saw Ahmed Johnson win an eleven man battle royal to earn a WWF World Championship match on the RAW after SummerSlam. After his victory, Faarooq attacked Ahmed, who would be injured and never get the title shot against Shawn Michaels.
Nitro saw WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat retain the titles against the popular 80s tag team the Rock N’ Roll Express. Chris Benoit defeated Alex Wright in a solid singles match. Lord Steven Regal couldn’t beat the Macho Man on this night. WCW World Champion The Giant defended against Sgt. Craig Pittman to continue the trend of poor title defenses. The main event saw Sting and Lex Luger defeat the Nasty Boys. To end the show a mysterious bag was tossed out of a limo that had a Turner logo on it. The war between the NWO and WCW is at a fever pitch.
The go-home RAW prior to SummerSlam didn’t see a spike in audience but rather an alarming decrease in viewers as the WWF was just six days away from their biggest event of the summer. Rightfully so as the matches weren’t all that intriguing aside from the main event that saw WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels pinned Owen Hart in a non-title match. It was also announced that Ahmed Johnson had been stripped of the WWF Intercontinental Championship and his career was in jeopardy.
The first hour for Nitro was unappealing with the highest profile match being Renegade against Diamond Dallas Page. Luckily for WCW, they had a second hour to fill and did they fill it indeed. The Steiner Brothers got a disqualification victory over WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio had a good match with Ultimo Dragon and retained the title in the process. The feud between Ric Flair and Randy Savage continued as well with Flair winning a singles match after Hulk Hogan whacked Savage over the back with a steel chair. The main event saw Scott Hall and Kevin Nash compete on television for the first time, hence the rating spike. The match ended in a no contest with the Four Horsemen ran into the ring.
A stronger show this week for RAW as it featured Owen Hart defeat Davey Boy Smith by count-out in a WWF Intercontinental Championship tournament match. Goldust won a four man battle royal to earn a WWF World Championship match in a few weeks on RAW. A segment involving the Undertaker and Mankind with the newly turned heel Paul Bearer took place which saw Taker being carried to the ring by druids before causing Mankind and Bearer to the floor. WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels overcame Yokozuna in a non-title match.
Nitro continued its trend of strong matches with a fun match between Dean Malenko and Lord Steven Regal. The Nasty Boys made a claim to be the number one contenders with a victory over hardcore rival Public Enemy. Chavo Guerrero Jr. managed to get an upset victory over Diamond Dallas Page but paid the price for it afterward. Harlem Heat retained the tag titles against the American Males. Sting and Lex Luger suggested to Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael that they step out of the War Games match so that WCW can have a team that has all the experience to take out the New World Order. The main event was to be the Giant vs. Randy Savage but it never happened when Savage attacked Giant with a steel chair prior to the bell ringing.
Without any competition WCW took advantage and spiked a big number. The show featured the debut of Juventud Guerrera in singles action against Billy Kidman. A decent match between WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. and Mr. JL. Jim Duggan suffered a rare pin fall loss with The Giant pinning Duggan following a choke slam. Another flashback to the 80s when Ric Flair and Arn Anderson defeated the Rock N’ Roll Express. Also featured the debut of Chris Jericho against Alex Wright but the match ended in a no contest because Jericho didn’t want to win by count-out. Steiner Brothers took care of business against the Blue Bloods. The main event between Sting & Lex Luger against Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael ended in a no contest when the New World Order came out and brutally attacked the men in the match and Ric Flair and Arn Anderson when they entered the ring. Flair would have his trademark hair spray painted black in a memorable moment.
What are your memories of the Monday Night War at this point? Leave your thoughts below?
Thanks for reading.