Monday Night War: September 1996
The WWF continues to struggle in the Monday Night Wars.
WWF RAW: Pre-emptied
WCW Nitro: 4.3
A strong rating for Nitro as they went up uncontested with RAW off the air. The show featured an entertaining match between Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko. We got a bait and switch match between the Steiner Brothers and Sting & Lex Luger with Nick Patrick calling for a disqualification less than a minute into the match. The ending of the show saw the Four Horsemen main event against the Dungeon of Doom. The New World Order closed the show attacking everyone and Hulk Hogan spray painted Randy Savage with yellow paint to make him look like a coward. Hogan delivered several leg drops on his former friend, as well. Prior to the beating, Sting and Luger had left the arena to chase after Ted DiBiase who left in a limo. The closing moments of the program were classic and memorable for the time.
WWF RAW: 2.4
WCW Nitro: 3.7
Coming back from a week of preemption and RAW was smoked in the ratings yet again. It wasn’t exactly a strong show by any means as the main event saw the Undertaker squash Salvatore Sincere. The only competitive match on the show saw Faarooq defeat Savio Vega to advance in the WWF Intercontinental Championship tournament. Barry Windham made his return to the WWF under the name The Stalker.
The Amazing French Canadians made their WCW debut defeating the Nasty Boys. Rick Steiner won a singles match against Lex Luger due to Luger being called to the parking lot. Outside, Luger sees Sting inside an NWO limo, which would be a huge storyline development. The main event was Randy Savage taking on John Tenta.
WWF RAW: 2.1
WCW Nitro: 3.7
The rating for RAW continues to go dangerously low as WCW remains strong. RAW this week featured the debut of the Sultan, who was placed by Fatu. Marc Mero squared off against Owen Hart in a tournament match while Psycho Sid wrestled Faarooq in the main event. Despite the two strong matches, RAW just hasn’t been able to get any traction.
Fall Brawl was the previous night and WCW continued the excitement from that event with a singles match between Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera which would happen hundreds of times afterward. Glacier finally made his Nitro debut winning a match against Big Bubba. This is the episode that featured Sting’s famous “I’m a free agent” speech and that would be the last words we’d hear from Sting for over a year. The main event was a handicap match that saw Lex Luger taking on Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael.
WWF RAW: 2.0
WCW Nitro: 3.4
It’s interesting to see that this week for RAW got the lowest rating for the month despite a new WWF Intercontinental Champion being crowned when Marc Mero won the title against Faarooq. Jeff Jarrett, who has left the WWF, is revealed to have not been the singer of “With My Baby Tonight.” The final segment of the show saw Jim Ross cut a promo about how he was fired twice and introduced the new Razor Ramon, which was another wrestler working under the popular gimmick that Scott Hall had mastered.
The New World Order continued to destroy Randy Savage and spray painted his bald spot. We get the debut of Vincent as the head of security for the NWO. There literally wasn’t any match of relevance on the show and Nitro still had a great rating in comparison to RAW.
WWF RAW: 2.3
WCW Nitro: 3.3
A slight rebound in the ratings as it featured WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels teaming with Jose Lothario against Vader and Jim Cornette. The new Razor Ramon made his in-ring debut and the debut of the new Diesel, who was played by Glen Jacobs, happened on the show as well. Hunter Hearst Helmsley issued a challenge to Mr. Perfect, and a rematch from the King of the Ring took place between Steve Austin and Jake Roberts. Oh, and it is revealed that The Roadie was revealed as the singer of “With My Baby Tonight.”
Alex Wright got an upset victory over Dean Malenko, though Wright hadn’t been doing much of anything and Malenko is challenging for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Chris Jericho squared off against Arn Anderson in singles action. The main event saw Chris Benoit get a victory over Rick Steiner. Elizabeth is offered a NWO contract and is confronted by a pissed Randy Savage to end the program.
What are your memories of the Monday Night Wars at this time? Leave your thoughts below!
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