The Monday Night Wars: April 8th, 15th and 22nd

RAW April 8th

With Nitro off for the week, the WWF gets a chance to add to its post-Mania momentum and maybe woo some new viewers away from WCW.

Mr.Perfect is with Vince on the call since Jerry Lawler has a match later.

The WWF was hoping to lure Bret Hart back to the WWF in time for Sumerslam for a rematch with HBK, a match that was going to possibly be contested as a ladder match. Hart had no intention of returning anytime soon, especially if jobbing to HBK was the primary goal.

In Hart’s Calgary sun column he spoke wistfully of retiring and also indicated Shawn Michaels acting like an asshole is what got him beaten up by “9 thugs”. He also felt Shawn’s act wasn’t suitable for children. Hart made sure to toss a few barbs at the Ultimate Warrior as well for blowing up while doing a match that lasted less than two minutes at Mania, while Hart went over an hour. Bret also made light of Warrior’s limited moveset, and threw in a veiled steroid comment.

Just a hair over 3 million people watched the following RAW, making it the second highest rated pro wrestling show in cable history. The 1988 Royal Rumble remained in the number one position.

Yokozuna vs. Vader

The bulls smack each other with hard blows. Vader eats a Samoan drop, which prompts Jim Cornette to climb the ropes to distract Yoko. This allows Vader to pounce and absolutely maul Yoko with a barrage of punches in the corner. Yoko fights his way back into this before Vader knocks him down once again and Vader bombs his leg. Yoko screams a mournful wail. The ref stops the match.

Vader will have none of that and he Vader bombs the leg again. Yoko squeals and manages to roll to the floor. EMTs come down with a standard stretcher and try and stabilize the big man’s leg. Canned heat pours boos over the arena.

When we return from a commercial we see that a FORKLIFT to haul Yoko away. Vince acknowledges that some fans cheered as Vader’s rampage unfolded and he wants to know what kind of person would root for that kind of “hor-rah”. Good angle.

This is the end of Yoko’s run as a upper card player. He’s being sent off to the fat farm and will never really be pushed again. Vader suffered a legit ruptured eardrum during the match.

Vince is in the ring to interview THE ULTIMATE WARRIORRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. The crowd is molten for his entrance. Warrior is blown up. He puts over the fans and credits them for his return.

Goldust wanders down and makes his way into the ring. Vince announces Goldust will defend his IC gold against the Warrior at IYH. Goldust oozes over him and Warrior snorts. Goldust starts to flirt with Warrior so he beats his chest. More come ons finally lead to Warrior calling him a freak. Mind games won’t hurt the Warrior as he’s above that “bullshit”. He then promises to “kick ass” at the PPV and clotheslines the bizarre one.

Yoko is being loaded into an ambulance, only to be assaulted by a chair wielding Vader, who finishes his job from earlier.

Duke “The Dumpster” Droese vs. HHH

Droese charges the ring and quickly sends HHH to the concrete. Duke pounds on HHH and tosses him around the ring with ease. A charge misses and the Dumpster spills out on the floor. A wacky Marc Mero insert promo is played. He promises a surprise for the “silver spoon” next week and hisses. Then the lights go out.

HHH tries a Pedigree but is backdropped instead. The Garbage Man gets a last burst of offence before HHH catches him with a Pedigree for real and gets the pin. Vince is shocked by this win. Match was fine.

Arm Wrestling Challenge: Ahmed Johnson vs. The British Bulldog

Diana Smith is at ringside. Why didn’t Ahmed save Yoko earlier?

Owen stalls until the ref scolds him. Owen keeps it up, so the ref throws him out.

Ahmed wins once they finally get to the competition.

Bulldog whacks Johnson with a chair several times. Bulldog tries to smash Johnson through a table, but this table is apparently an ancestor of the Randy Orton collection & fails to break. Ahmed is tossed into it again to no avail, and finally Davey just picks the table up and drops it on Johnson twice. This was a far better use of a table spot than Public Enemy dragging one out everytime they wrestle.

They show clips of Savio Vega losing to Steve Austin at Mania and then announce he’s getting an IC title match next week anyway.

Call the Hotline now and find out “What Olympic sport is Diesel preparing for?” I really want to know what the Hell that tease was for.

World Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler

Diesel is at ringside doing commentary. Diesel wants to win the title because he knows it would kill Shawn inside. Lawler is out punched (all of Memphis has just fainted) and works some comedy spots and stalling into his strategy.

Then he produces a foreign object and cracks Shawn with it. Lawler chokes away and toys with HBK. A piledriver earns a near fall. Lawler gets caught trying a flying move and Michaels delivers a flying forearm then a top rope elbow. Shawn stalls to make loving eyes at Diesel, which allows Lawler to reach for a gimmick again. HBK just superkicks him and pins him anyway.

Shawn and Nash brawl afterward which ends with a Nash big boot and a belt shot across his face.

RAW April 15th

3 weeks after Bret Hart lost the title, we will hear from him for the first time as he competes in Germany. The teaser is Hart’s retiring.

Marc Mero vs. Leif Cassidy

You think Sable would believe you if you told her she’d be the 2nd or 3rd biggest star in the WWF in two years? Cassidy and Mero go through a fast paced exchange of moves. Leif shakes his hand and cheap shots Mero. Cassidy then sticks his tongue out at Mero and gets slugged for his efforts.

Mero knocks Marty and Leif’s heads together, which earns him a cheap shot from Jannetty soon after. Leif dances and mugs for the camera as he wears away at Mero. Marty gets some more licks in. Lawler keeps calling Sable ugly.

Mero uses a carousel headscissors and pounces on Cassidy with a move Dusty Rhodes used to call the “flip, flop and fly”. Mero delivers a top rope sunset flip for the win soon after. Solid match.

Bart Gunn vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Austin lost to “The Carribean Kid” on Superstars this past weekend. To no ones surprise the Kid was revealed to be Savio Vega. They drag this out for a while as they work a lot of basic stuff into their back and forth encounter. Dibiase trips Gunn while he is eating Austin up. Austin jams Bart into the turnbuckle post shoulder first and puts him to sleep with the Million Dollar Dream. Not much to Stone Cold here yet other than solid matches and staring into the camera with unblinking eyes.

Jim Cornette cuts a rousing promo on Vader’s reign of terror over the WWF. Gorilla Monsoon and Yokozuna will never be the same and now Razor Ramon will return and face Vader at the upcoming PPV. Corny trains Vader, breeds Vader but he cannot control Vader. Good stuff from Cornette. He rarely delivered his “A” game during his WWF run but this definitely was a winner.

A Sunny music video airs so the teens can get their wanking material for the week.

IC Champion Goldust vs. Savio Vega

Goldust gays it up to get the fans riled and also to try and bother Savio. It mostly fires Vega up. Dustin rubs his butt into Vega’s crotch then runs for his life. Savio spanks Goldust but focuses too much on abusing the Bizarre One and ends dropped with a stun gun. A butt butt leads to more molesting.

With the crowd somewhat dead, Goldust gets on the mic and tells the audience if they don’t be quiet he’s going to come out and kiss each one of them. Goldust does more gyrating and ends up caught by Vega. Vega spanks Goldust again and this allows Goldust to recover and kiss him. Goldust gets the advantage from Vega’s shock but wastes time touching himself and allows Savio to comeback.

The ref is bumped so Marlena passes the IC title to Goldust in the ring but Vega intercepts it and cracks Goldust with it for the pin. A second ref comes down and reverses the decision. President Monsoon enters the ring and orders the title vacated and declares a rematch next week will determine the new champion.

LONG match and disjointed. Savio’s not very good and Goldust is more interested in mind games than in ring mechanics.

Clips are shown of Bret Hart screaming at the cameras to get out of his locker room after Wrestlemania. Then we see him drive off without showering. Fast-forward a few weeks and Hart is interviewed in Germany. Hart is bitter about how the title match was contested, since his championship benefits were null and void in such a contest. Then he bitches about the unannounced overtime that cost him his title. He had Shawn trapped in the Sharpshooter when the match ended. Hart’s not going to WCW as he sees it as a stepdown and likes the respect he gets in the WWF. Retirement sounds better and better as time passes.


After an infamous hotel room double-team beating of Ken Shamrock a few years earlier, the Nasty Boys found themselves partnered with him at a celebrity softball game. Shamrock played nice and that led to WCW ripping on him on their hotline as they put Jerry Saggs over for beating “the world’s most dangerous man” up. They neglected to mention the part where another man helped, along with the use of furniture in order to take Shamrock.
The Road Warriors are still unhappy with their money. WCW told them they’d have to be benched if they made it known they were going to leave when their deal is done, so the Warriors decided to stay for now since the WWF doesn’t offer guaranteed money.

Eric Bischoff opens up by ripping on RAW being pre-taped. “They are history, meanwhile we are making history”.

Hulk Hogan vs. Arn Anderson and Kevin Sullivan

Booty Man was injured by the bad guys ten days ago, so this is a handicap match. The heels double team Hogan but he beats them both off. Hogan tries to put a figure-four on Sullivan and locks it on goofy, perhaps because he’s not a technical wizard or perhaps because of the height difference. Anderson makes the save and finds himself trapped in a shitty looking figure-four as well. The heels go back to double-teaming but Hulk just decides to start no selling and he batters them both away.

The announcers tell us that the big feud ending stipulation the Booty Man came up with is that who ever wins gets to go after the loser’s valets. WHAT??? Sullivan cracks Hogan with a chair but Hulk no sells it. He cracks Sullivan with a weak looking chair shot in return. Arn stands nearby with his head down and back exposed and eats the steel chair as well.

Anderson goes low and Team Evil briefly take over. Hogan fights out of a piledriver and Sullivan is legdropped for the win.

Hogan throws Woman in the ring and chases Liz in as well. Hulk teases battering the ladies like a hero, but Hogan grabs Jimmy Hart instead and gives him a pounding until The Giant comes down and chokeslams Hogan and Hulk NO SELLS THAT TOO. FUCK YOU.

He big boots the Giant and poses as the monster wobbles. Giant is slammed and Mean Gene comes in during this fracas to deliver an interview. Giant sneaks off as Hogan screams about the WCW title. What a vomit worthy opening segment. Crap match too.

The Nasty Boyz vs. The Public Enemy

Falls count anywhere, street fight rules. The Nasties jump Public Enemy from behind during the ring intros. Plunder shots aplenty follow. A trash can is placed over Grunge and Knobbs and Saggs punch the outside of it. The next five minutes is the standard walk around and hit one another with objects. The crowd is very into it though as everyone is standing.

Grunge finally misses a leap from the top and goes through a table, which allows Knobbs to get the win. Public Enemy dump each other onto Saggs laying prone on a table after the match. I probably would have enjoyed this at the time but this was just garbage wrestling.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Earl Robert Eaton

These two first wrestled each other in 1977 or 78. Savage chases Eaton around. Eaton gets his offense in and tries to drive Randy nutty by posturing and strutting like Ric Flair. Macho is then locked in a figure-four and a Horsemen shirt is waved in his face. That sets Savage off and he disposes of Eaton soon after with the big elbow. He goes for another and the B-team babyfaces come in and try and calm him down. Savage ends up handcuffed and dragged away.

World tag team champions Sting and TV Champ Lex Luger vs. World Champion Ric Flair and The Giant

Flair hits on Debra McMichael who is in the audience. Sting over comes anything Flair throws at him. Flair is press slammed into The Giant who tosses Flair back in. Flair shoots him a death look,. Luger comes in and press slams Flair into The Giant as well and Giant tosses Ric back in again. Flair is pissed and chops his partner. Ric then runs away.

The heels make peace and begin to beat down Lex. Mongo compares it to the Rodney King beating, which is received with silence before Eric moves along quickly.
After several minutes of wearing down The Total Package, Flair locks on the figure-four. Lex escapes but continues to absorb a whooping. Finally Flair is caught on the top rope and slammed off. That allows Sting to get the hot tag and blitz Flair. Flair is locked in a Scorpion Death Lock. Woman tries to toss coffee in Luger’s face but Luger ducks and the coffee (theoretically) hits Sting in the face (it fell well short). That earns the heels a DQ. The Giant chokeslams both faces after and threatens Flair.

April 22nd RAW

Savio Vega vs. Goldust

Match is for the vacant IC title. Savio and Goldust slug away to start. Goldust slaps him and kisses him to rile Vega up. When Vega responds with forearms, Dustin cracks him in his balls. Lawler reads off current news stories to make the show not feel weeks old. Vince asks him “Who cares?”

Goldust works over Vega’s leg as Lawler continues delivering news and polls. A chinlock makes me wish I didn’t have rules against fast-forwarding. The Warrior cuts an insert promo to explain to Goldust that his heart belongs to his fans, then hints he’s going to buttfuck Goldust as he makes a Deliverance reference. Vince mentions that weekend’s NFL draft and suggests Savio Vega is a first round talent kind of athlete. Steve Austin comes to ringside. Nothing is happening in the ring.

Goldust’s Curtain Call finisher is escaped by Savio. Marlena distracts the ref as Savio gets a cover. Austin cracks Vega with the Million Dollar belt and Goldust wins back his title. No idea why they even teased a switch or bothered to hold up the belt. A nothing match.

Fatu vs. Vader

“Make a difference” Fatu is on a losing streak, and two “gang members” (played by Samu and Tama I believe) are appearing at ringside during his matches. This was eventually suppose to lead to Fatu joining them before facing his demons and turning face again. The angle was dropped way before any of that could occur.

Joined in progress with Vader abuses Fatu’s ribs with punches. Fatu battles back with a diamond cutter and a top rope splash that Vader no sells. Fatu is mauled with a clothesline and the crowd chants “moonsault” and so Vader complies!! The pin is academic after that. A fun squash.

The WWF edited out the crowds cheers for Vader.

We get house show footage of a fat and winded Jake the Snake getting beaten down by Davey Boy Smith, who was saving Owen Hart after Owen ate a DDT. Jake makes his own comeback and covers Bulldog with his snake. This sets up a Jake vs. Bulldog PPV match. Ugh.

The Godwinns vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri and Tim Patterson

SMELL THE RATINGS! We get clips of the Godwins gawking at Sunny’s ass at the Slammys. Then extensive clips of the Body Donnas vs. Godwinns match at Wrestlemania.

Tajiri is just a jobber here. He gets a standing moonsault in between being beaten up. Sunny comes down and flaunts the title belts. Hillbilly Jim chases her off with his hound. HOG wins with the slop drop. The Body Donnas run in and beat down the Godwins. PIG gets slopped. Huzzah.

Aldo Montoya vs. Mankind

It appears large number of fans are leaving the arena, and you can’t really blame them since this would be about 4 hours into the TV taping and the WWF is busting out a series of squash matches. Mankind runs through his usual offensive as he is getting established with the WWF fan base. This gets a commercial break? No way Nitro could lose to this.

Diesel backstage promo: Kevin Nash doesn’t want the title. He hated being a corporate puppet. With word out that Nash is leaving, they close out RAW by having Nash warn Vince McMahon that he’s coming for him after he finishes off Shawn in 6 days.

April 22nd Nitro

Brian Pillman had taken to spending days on end awake and he would often then drive around in that state. This came back to haunt him when he flew out of his vehicle and was thrown forty feet from the crash. Pillman struck a tree stump after swerving off the road at around 60 to 70 miles per hour. As of this date he is in critical but stable condition.

Hulk Hogan secured a movie deal that will have him out of action until August. He was booked to do a injury angle last week to set up his absence, but vetoed the plan and instead squashed Arn and Sullivan, then beat up the Giant. Some of the booking team were trying to convince him that appearing each week was hurting his drawing power and suggested he become a special attraction. Hogan also reportedly told the booking team he wasn’t going to do any more jobs (any MORE?).

Lanny Poffo, who is under a healthy sized contract, is not being used but is heavily rumored to be coming in with a Gorgeous George gimmick.

Vinny V of Bryan and Vinny fame over at hilariously pointed out that Hulk Hogan’s part of the Nitro intro is superimposed over a building that says “Prescriptions”.

Bischoff gives away the RAW results again.

Bischoff spouted off to the Miami Herald over the past week that Kevin Nash’s contract numbers (700K for 3 years) are not true and WCW has no contract with Nash.

Obviously Eric is keeping kayfabe for the invasion idea.

Eric gives a shout out to Brian Pillman who just suffered serious injuries in a car wreck.

American Males vs. Public Enemy

The heels jump the pretty boys before the bell. Things quickly spill too the floor. Once things settle down, the Males control the action. Public Enemy use roughhouse tactics to regain control. I’m bored and both these teams stink. Mongo talks of the long-term effect all these bumps will have on the guys when they are geriatric. Good thing they’ll die before they are old. The Males are tossed over the top for a lame DQ. Public Enemy drive Riggs through a table after. Heenan tries to set up a punchline but his fellow announcers won’t play along.

Mean Gene and two random women draw some teams for Battle Bowl… Hugh Morrus and Meng vs. Bobby Walker and The Barbarian. Ugh. Then Stevie Ray and Big Bubba vs. Scott Norton and Ice Train…Good lord…this show is going to suck…Ric Flair and Macho Man vs. Arn Anderson and Eddy Guerrero. Good thing the biggest feud WCW has going managed to get placed on the same team.

Eddy Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

Eddy and Chris gently slap each other. Then Benoit runs like a good heel. Once back in the Crippler drives Eddy down with a vicious back suplex. The make it up as we go along cruiserweight tournament has Shinjiro Otani winning in the Japanese portion. Meanwhile in the US Eddy, Brad Armstrong, and Bobby Eaton remain. Smell the ratings!

Benoit delivers another rough back suplex and then he sends Eddy to the floor but Guerrero comes right back with a hurricanrana. When he tries a sunset flip follow up, Benoit grabs the ropes and steals the win.

On WCW Saturday night prior to this show, they had Dean Malenko face Brad Armstrong in a cruiserweight tournament match. Malenko had already lost in the tourney to Mr. JL so they announced the tournament was double elimination. Then they went one step further and declared the champion would not lose the title unless he was beaten twice. Of course both of those things never came to pass as the tournament is a mess and the champ never faced those stips. Armstrong beat Malenko by the way, which makes little sense unless the bookers didn’t yet know that Dean was going to be the champ for a large portion of the summer.

Macho Man comes down for a promo. His angle makes little sense, as it seems Liz has carte blanche over his bank account despite them being divorced. Macho is confronted by a Turner exec about his behavior. Macho declares he is going to blow up Turner headquarters. He calls the exec “a stupid little man” and threatens to slap him before storming off. Macho’s beating Stone Cold to the punch.

WCW being WCW aired a Savage vs. Flair match on Worldwide over the weekend. Macho was wearing the World title since this was taped when he was still champion. The commentators just ignored it. The finish saw Brian Pillman, who is officially “fired” (and now crippled) run in for the DQ and Hogan making the save.

This Saturday night…Sting/Luger vs. Harlem Heat…Alex Wright vs. Benoit and Steve Regal vs. Fit Finley.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Meng

Forearms, punches and headbutts drive Meng from the ring. Then Duggan stomps him out of the ring. Meng chokes away and delivers a plethora of sloppy looking chops. Meng starts to no sell headshots in between locking Duggan in a nerve hold that is so effective that Hacksaw sits in it making faces to the audience.

Duggan rallies but misses the 3-point stance clothesline and crashes into the corner. Duggan tries to uses the 2X4 but the ref gets it away from him. Duggan tapes his fist and knocks out Meng for the win and a shockingly huge reaction. Sloppy match that was only 8 years too late for any sort of relevance.

More teams pulled from the Battle Bowl name pile: Bobby Eaton and Dick Slater vs. Alex Wright and Disco Inferno…ONLY ON PPV!! Steve Regal and Fit Finley vs. VK Wallstreet and Hacksaw. Shocking that more feuding wrestlers got their names pulled as partners. This PPV…OMG….

All titles on the line: World tag team champions Sting and TV Champ Lex Luger vs. World Champion Ric Flair and The Giant

Flair flirts with Debra McMichael in the audience again. Macho Man charges the ring and is swarmed by security. Wayne Fontes of the Detroit Lions wants The Giant to try out for the NFL. The Giant no sells Sting’s opening salvo so he and Lex double team and dump the big man. Flair runs in and is press slammed for his troubles. Sting and Lex then take turns dominating the World champ.

Flair ends up being superplexed by Sting and he scurries to the floor to recover. Sting chases after him but crashes into the railing. Flair suplexes Sting but he no sells it and tags in Lex who blitzes Flair. The Giant comes in and tries to choke slam Lex but Sting delivers a series of chopblocks. Flair is handed hot coffee by his valets but he accidentally blinds the Giant with it. Flair realizes what he’s done and runs for his life.

Flair brings back a towel and begs for forgiveness. The Giant demands a World title match for next week. Flair says he’s going to kick his big ass and then runs away.

Final thoughts:

Nitro is a bit of a mess with Hogan ruining everything he touches (well that problem is done now) a nonsensical top storyline with Savage and Flair, and the botching of what should have been easy and entertaining TV with the cruiserweight tournament. This is all building to a PPV line-up that sounds God awful on paper.
Raw meanwhile is doing some things well but roster depth and marathon TV tapings are certainly hurting the product overall.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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