Craig Wilson & Jamie Lithgow
‘Monday Night Wars’ continues with the episodes of Raw and Nitro from 20 April 1998. It’s the final Raw before Unforgiven with a main event of Steve Blackman facing Dude Love. While over on Nitro it’s the show after Spring Stampede and Holywood Hogan challenges Macho Man Randy Savage for the WCW title.
All that and more as Monday Night Wars continues.
This is the Raw before Unforgiven. We start with a special report from Kevin Kelly who is standing in a graveyard.
Dude Love has a set on the stage with inflatable couches. It’s called ‘The Love Shack’. Vince McMahon comes out without an introduction. He announces that for his actions on last week’s Raw Dude Love is fined $5,000. Dude Love goes on to talk about how good being tag champions with Stone Cold was for picking up chicks.
A member of the Nation of Domination is up next in a street fight against the former leader Farooq. It’s Kama that gets the nod as the referee sends the rest of the Nation to the back. Kama works on the injured ribs with a hammer of all things as The Rock and the rest of his Nation look on from the stage. Kama goes for the hammer again but Farooq drills him with his boot and hits the Spinebuster for the win.
We see footage again of D-Generation X pissing on the Disciple of Apocalypse’s bikes. The Outlaws appear to be daring Triple H to show his “bazooka” to the world tonight…
A promo airs for Jeff Jarrett’s musical appearance at Unforgiven this weekend.
DX are out as JR worries exactly what we’re going to get from the “most controversial entity in the World Wrestling Federation”. Triple H, ominously wearing a trench coat, cuts a promo on DOA before The Road Dogg introduces the tag champs to the New York Crowd. HHH calls Sunny “Skanky” and encourages the crowd to call the LOD manager that before moving his attention on Owen Hart. He closes by firing a super soaker into the crowd as the LOD’s music hits and they come out with Sunny and Owen Hart. Slaughter sets a six man tag for Raw tonight.
We get the Dan Severn promo video again of him beating the piss out of various UFC opponents.
Singles action next with Mosh being fed to Dan Severn. This won’t last long… At ringside, Thrasher nails Cornette but Severn quickly regains control after Mosh gets a spot of momentum.
JR tells us that something has “gone down” at the cemetery after the arrival of The Undertaker. He grabs Kelly by the throat and demands to know where Kane and Paul Bearer are.
Goldust and Luna come out and Luna cuts a promo on Sable ahead of her evening gown match this coming Sunday. Bradshaw is Goldust’s opponent here and starts with a big boot to the face and some hard chest chops before whipping him with his chaps. Bradshaw sets up the Clothesline from Hell but Club Kamikaze hit the ring and attack him before fleeing through the crowd.
Stone Cold arrives at the building as the crowd go wild.
Raw is War ends with the WWF Champion making his way to the ring. He accuses Vince McMahon and Dude Love of being in cahoots.
We go to the Warzone with some tag team action as Too Cold Scorpio and Terry Funk team up to face NWA Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express in non-title action. Jim Cornette joins JR and Lawler on commentary. Too Cold Scorpio gets the win after a 450 splash on Bob Holly. After the match, Severn applies the armbar submission on Scorpio until Funk throws a steel chair, clearing the ring.
Another Val Venis vignette airs. “Val Venis is coming”. Won’t be the last we hear of innuendo like that.
Sable comes out for an in-ring interview with Michael Cole. She says she can’t wait to get her hands on Luna this Sunday and makes references to being scantily clad, much to the delight of Lawler.
WWF European Champion Triple H teams up with WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws to face Owen Hart and LOD 2000. LOD hit the Doomsday Device on Road Dogg but Chyna grabs Sunny and with Hawk distracted, X-Pac hits Animal with a chair shot and Billy Gunn gets the pinfall win with a piledriver.
Kane and Paul Bearer make their way to the ring with a mud covered casket. Bearer announces that he’s bought the caskets of The Undertaker’s mother and father out as The Undertaker didn’t go to the funeral. The Undertaker’s music hits as the lights go from red to off. Bearer tells Kane to pour the gas over the casket. Kane sets one on fire and chokeslams The Undertaker into the other.
Vince McMahon joins the commentary team for the main event of Dude Love versus Steve Blackman. I’m pretty confident we’ll see Austin here… McMahon announces that he’ll be in close attendance at Unforgiven on Sunday for the Austin v Dude Love match. Dude Love applies an abdominal stretch and the bell rings and he’s announced as the winner to the bemusement of Blackman and the referee. Blackman attacks the time keeper. Stone Cold hits the ring and stomps away on McMahon at ringside before throwing Dude Love into the guard rail. Brisco and Patterson take Stunners before Dude Love attacks Austin and McMahon makes a hasty escape.
* Farooq defeats Kama via pinfall in a street-fight.
* NWA World Champion Dan Severn (Jim Cornette) defeats Mosh (w/ Thrasher) via an armbar submission.
* Too Cold Scorpio & Terry Funk defeat NWA Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette & NWA World Champion Dan Severn) via pinfall in a non-title match.
* WWF European Champion Triple H & WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (w/ Chyna & X-Pac) defeat LOD 2000 (w/ Sunny) & Owen Hart via pinfall after Billy Gunn pins Animal.
* Dude Love defeats Steve Blackman via submission.
With Raw edging ahead in the ratings WCW were looking to hit back, and this week’s Nitro did exactly that. Hot on the heels of Spring Stampede, WCW pulled out all the stops to regain top spot. Before we look at Nitro I best bring you up to speed with significant happenings from an eventful Spring Stampede PPV:
Macho Man Randy Savage is the new WCW Champion after defeating Sting in a no-DQ match riddled with outside interference. Kevin Nash provided the assist. Speaking of Big Sexy, Hollywood Hogan predictably struck him with a baseball bat in the pair’s tag team bat on a pole match against The Giant and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Away from the in-fighting within the nWo, Raven captured the US Title from Diamond Dallas Page, with a little help from The Flock. Speaking of which, Goldberg had his longest and most competitive match to date against Saturn.
That should be you up to speed, let’s head to Nitro…
Colorado Springs, Colorado was our location and the crowd were red hot. Heading into the show the major advertised match was Raven’s first US Title defence, against the undefeated Goldberg.
The show kicked off with a Hogan promo. He called out Macho Man by challenging him to a title match tonight. He also admitted a split within the nWo – up until this point he had been downplaying it as “family business” – and revealed that we would see what side its members lie on later in the show…
A few minutes later Savage came out to cut a promo of his own. Receiving a massive face pop Savage accepted Hogan’s challenge. He also introduced the “new leader of the nWo – Kevin Nash…”
Nash came out to a hero’s welcome – despite screwing top babyface, Sting, the previous night – and cut a heated, yet slightly redundant, promo on Hogan.
Before every ad break we see footage of either Goldberg getting ready or Raven sitting in a dark room talking to the camera. This US Title match certainly got the star treatment…
Chris Jericho, dressed as Prince Iaukea, delivered some good news and some bad news concerning Dean Malenko. The bad news, according to Jericho, was that Dean had retired and would not be returning to WCW. However, his good news was that Malenko had received an interview for a job in Harry’s Hamburgers.
As if we hadn’t been given enough clues that we were about to witness a significant moment in WCW history, Michael Buffer introduced the US Title match – Mike was used occasionally to introduce main events, usually involving Hogan. Having him introduce a US Title match was unheard of.
Goldberg flattened The Flock enroute to his first title in WCW. Fought under ‘Raven’s rules’ (i.e. no DQ), this was a masterful, albeit short, match that served its purpose perfectly. Within the space of 24 hours Goldberg had been tested like never before against Saturn and defeated Raven in a match riddled with chair shots and outside interference.
Booker T saved Chris Benoit from a beating at the hands of Rick Rude and Curt Hennig. Benoit didn’t appreciate the help and ended up brawling with Book – Looks like this feud isn’t over yet…
Roddy Piper then came out and declared that the Hogan v Savage main event would be a no-DQ match. Piper also barred all outside interference and stated that Hogan would not be allowed to run away. The Scotsman also said that he would be around to pick up the scraps left by Savage…
Fellow Flock members Saturn and Hammer had another match – I should also point out that The Flock has yet another new member. The yet to be named Horace Hogan debuted at Spring Stampede.
The Disciple regularly interfered in the main event which was supposed to feature no outside interference. He was by no means alone though. After The Disciple nailed the ref Kevin Nash came out to make the save for Savage, but was slowed down by Eric Bischoff. Nash eventually imposed his will and ended up Jacknife Powerbombing Hogan. Like he did at Spring Stampede, Nash then placed Savage over his opponent for the cover. However, Bret Hart then randomly showed up, nailed Nash with the title belt and draped Hogan over Savage. By this point the ref had started to wake up and counted the three. Roddy Piper then emerged to get answers from Hart, who thumped him too – The term clusterfuck comes to mind for this main event, but the crowd was hot for it so I can’t say it wasn’t entertaining. Our conclusions from this match are that Hogan is the WCW Champion and Bret Hart, who had just started to make some headway as a babyface after his debut a few months ago, is now a heel.
* Konnan def. Chris Adams
* The Barbarian def. Wayne Bloom
* Chris Jericho (c) def. Juventud Guerrera to retain WCW Cruiserweight Title
* Goldberg def. Raven (c) to win WCW US Title
* La Parka def. Ultimo Dragon
* Chris Benoit def. Curt Hennig by DQ
* Hammer v Saturn ended in a double count out
* Buff Bagwell & Scott Steiner def. The Public Enemy
* Booker T (c) def. Psychosis to retain WCW TV Title
* Lex Luger def. Brian Adams
* Hollywood Hogan def. Randy Savage (c) to win WCW Heavyweight Title
Raw: 4.4 Nitro: 5.1