The Monday Night Wars: Week 28 – March 11th, 1996


Wrestlemania is a few weeks away, so hopefully we are in for another eventful RAW.

Some kid named Dwayne Johnson has been getting try out matches at the TV tapings this week. He’s in for a Rocky career.

We are LIVE from San Antonio, Texas.

Savio Vega vs. The Ringmaster
“The Ringmaster sure is Stone Cold” says Vince. Then his graphic flat out calls him Steve Austin. Basic stuff to start. Cute spot as Vega “misses” an arm drag and splats on the canvas. Mark Henry gets his first name drop as Vince says Mark is at ringside, taking a break from his WWF sponsored Olympic training.

Austin wears down Savio with forearms and punches. Vega hits a spin heel kick and both men fly over the top rope. They brawl until a double count out is ruled. They continue going at it in the ring until another spin heel kick sends Austin to the floor. Match didn’t exactly make me desire to see them have a rematch at Mania.

We see clips from before the show of Mark Henry press slamming Lawler after Jerry made some disparaging remarks.

Buy your denim Wrestlemania shirt for only 67 dollars!! What a deal!


Roddy Piper and Goldust have a face to face interview. Piper calls him a “fruitcake”. He compares Goldust to Phyllis Diller. Hot Rod jokes about Goldust being a back ally hooker. He praises Goldust’s in ring skills. Roddy declares himself a “lesbian”. Piper rips on the gimmick and says it’s a shame Goldust acts like he does only to try and score ratings.

Goldust gets on his knees and seduces Roddy. He tries to look at Piper’s pecker and they go face to face. He undoes Roddy’s belt and that leads to both men slapping each other. Piper accepts Goldust’s challenge for a back lot brawl at Mania. Good segment and I can’t imagine turning away from it if you jumped over from Nitro.

The Godwins vs. Alex Porteau and Jerry Meade
Fat, old ladies dance with the hillbillies. PIG goes nutty and has to be calmed down by HOG. Porteau is nailed with a Slop drop for the win quickly. Alex would get a mini-push over the summer after being given a amateur wrestler gimmick.


Shawn Michaels is at the Alamo and introduces Jose Lothario as his trainer. Bret Hart is shown in Calgary. Hart says he was trained with toughness and grit and Shawn learned Lucha Libre and those guys aren’t tough, just fliers. Hart hates that people think Shawn is better than him. Shawn has no moves other than his superkick, otherwise he just flops around the ring. Beautiful, bitter smack talk. Another good segment.

Faster than a cheetah, stronger than a grizzly, scarier than a shark…it’s the Ultimate Warrior! Coming to Wrestlemania to face HHH…

HHH vs. Vin Greer
HHH kisses his model of the week and then wipes off his mouth. That made me laugh. Vince and Lawler speculate on Warrior’s body after 3 years off. Pedigree wins it quickly.

Scheme Gene does a spot on Mean Gene PPV pitchman parody. The Huckster throws his back out and needs oxygen. Nacho Man is having his scalp massaged and he has fake hair sprayed on. Silliness.

Yokozuna and The Undertaker vs. Owen Hart and The British Bulldog
Yoko jumps from the gong. A nice call back to the Taker/Yoko feud. The faces get in one another’s grill and then jump the heels and wipe them out. Diesel charges down the aisle and attacks Paul Bearer. Bearer orders Undertaker to go find Nash in the back. Yoko takes a 2-on-1 beat down until Vader joins the fray and this thing completely breaks down. Ahmed Johnson tries to save the day but the numbers get to him as well. Jake Roberts tries to help and he is beaten down as well. The faces finally rally and the heels bail. Fun segment for sure.



Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. The Giant
Duggan jumps The Giant but all his punches are no sold. The Giant stalks Hacksaw and jams him into the ring post. Giant locks on a bear hug. Brian Pillman comes down thru the fans and tries to jump the railing. Bischoff has him arrested. Duggan bites his way out of the Giant’s grasp but is squashed in the corner. Giant misses a follow up charge and Duggan clotheslines him over the top rope. Duggan tries to tape his fist and the Giant tackles him. Another bear hug is locked on. A thrilling bout.

Hacksaw ends up on the floor where Duggan peels the duct tape off the mats and wraps his hand with it. He smashes The Giant three times before the big man goes down. Jimmy Hart distracts Duggan and a chokeslam ends this. Fairly plodding.

The Steiner Brothers roar down the ring on motorcycles. This is their return after a four-year absence. They abruptly replace the Nasty Boyz for…


The Steiner Brothers vs. The Road Warriors

Hawk and Scott have a muscle move competition. Scott loses that, so he just belly-to-belly suplexes him and follows that with a pump handle slam. Hawk roars back but Scott manages a double underhook suplex and both men tag off.

Animal powerslams Rick and no sells a Steinerline. Another clothesline downs him and Rick delivers a belly to back suplex and then a belly-to-belly suplex from the top rope. Scott then tags in and chucks Animal over his head for good measure. The crowd starts a “LOD” chant. Scott and Animal whiff on a dropkick spot. Rick jams forearms into Animal’s face.

Hawk finally tags in and he takes down both Brothers and quickly set up a Doomsday device. Scott saves Rick from taking the 3-count. A four-way skirmish breaks out and the Steiners try a Doomday Device on Hawk. Animal misses his queue and Scott just stands on the top rope as time freezes waiting for Animal to run interference.

Scott wipes out Hawk with a top rope clothesline. Animal hits Scott with a top rope clothesline of his own. Animal takes a Frankensteiner but Hawk saves him. Rick hits a flying bulldog on Hawk, who is on Scott’s shoulders. Animal then whacks Rick with a spike off his shoulder pads and Hawk gets the pin. Hard-hitting and at times ugly match.

This was another example of WCW booking a match that should have been on PPV for the sake of a quarter hour rating. The Steiners want a rematch.

The morning that this show was taped Johnny B. Badd and Eric Bischoff had a heated discussion about Badd’s WCW contract status as Mero was working without a contract and was worried WCW wouldn’t take care of him in the event he was injured. Badd also felt WCW should pay him the $6,000 per week his old contract called for during the negotiations. Things fell apart and Eric told Badd he was leaving WCW on bad terms. Mero had also told Bischoff he wanted out of the DDP/Kimberly storyline because he felt it was in poor taste as a Godly man to be seen on TV with another man’s wife – even if it was just for storyline purposes. Eric told him he didn’t want to have to worry about Jesus getting in the way of story lines. (Funny how within 2 years time Mero would be cashing in on his wife’s giant implants on RAW).

TV Champion Lex Luger vs. Alex Wright
Eric buries Johnny B. Badd on commentary, as he jobbed the TV title to Luger on Saturday and is headed for the WWF. Wright downs Lex with flying dropkicks and then planchas down onto him on the floor. Wright scores a near fall after another aerial attack back in the ring.

Wright is press slammed and driven down onto the turnbuckles with the snake eyes. Wright gets a final flurry of offence, but Jimmy Hart interferes and Luger powerslams Wright for the pin. Meh.

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and The Booty Man vs. Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan and Arn Anderson (6 man, double strap, lumberjack match)

The lumberjacks are dressed in actual flannel lumberjack shirts. Ric and The Giant attack Hogan but Loch Ness accidentally hits The Giant and the big men start to brawl.

All six men scuffle in the ring. The lumberjacks go at it with each other at ringside as well. Hogan is attacked by 4 lumberjacks at once, so of course he fights them all off. Everybody is unloading on each other at once. Hogan big boots and pins World Champ Flair because…why not. Then Hogan chases Flair to the back to further try and kill off Flair’s heat. This was just six minutes of brawling. The stips had been set up over the weekend when the heels had used straps to whip some babyfaces on WCW Saturday Night.

The heels cut a promo to try and salvage their heat. Arn flat out says they have wrestled the same guys every week for 3 months straight. Ric then calls out Savage and Hogan for more actions. Mongo points out that the heels just got their asses kicked and now all they can do is talk because they’ll lose again.

Final thoughts: Raw was a fast paced and built well to Wrestlemania. Nitro had the same stale main event line up that thankfully is about to come to a dramatic end in a few weeks. Even though Nitro had better action, I’m giving RAW the nod thanks to the Hart and Piper promos, which sold me on the upcoming PPV. Nitro meanwhile has a PPV in 2 weeks and haven’t even announced a proper main event, as they are still plugging it as a Hogan vs. Flair, Sullivan, Anderson, Luger four cage match and that was just made on the prior Saturday when Loch Ness was booted out in favor of Luger. I can’t wait to watch that clusterfuck in a few weeks!


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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