Monday Night Raw Report
Change is sometimes a good thing. Change is sometimes a bad thing. But change is always a necessary thing. Within the last week, one announcement has turned the entire wrestling industry upside down, inside out and sideways. None of us, maybe not even Vince himself, is fully aware of the ramifications we are all about to witness. For those of you who have been living on Neptune, I will tell you everything that is publically known: THE REPO MAN AND HILLBILLY JIM RETURN AT WRESTLEMANIA! Man, I can’t wait! Oh, and the fact that tonight officially ends the Monday Night wars. I hereby move we now refer to Vinnie as “The wrestling overlord of the galaxy”
- The show lifts off with Vince watching both WCW and WWF on side by side TV’s. Vince, in character promises to make everything clear to fans and wrestlers alike. He also promises Jeff Jarrett (whose image is on one TV) will be G-O-N-E. There will be a simulcast between the shows.
- Kurt Angle comes to the ring. He bemoans the fact that everyone is talking about the merger and not him. He also expresses anger over the fact that the Gobbledygooker has a Wrestlemania opponent and not him. He says he will keep protesting till he has an opponent…cue Chris Benoit’s entrance theme. Benoit points out neither man has an opponent for the event. Benoit then stated Angle’s voice annoys him, and that he can make Angle tap. Angle accepts the challenge and “No way in hell I’ll ever tap out to the Crowface thing. A brawl erupts, Angle ends up in the “Crowface”, Angle taps, but Edge and Christian stomp Benoit and take Angle away.
- Vince is backstage on the phone, HHH and Stephanie are on holiday, Vince mentions the Lex express is out of gas, and Buff’s not the stuff. It is announced Rock and Steve Austin vs Kane and Undertaker in tonight’s Main Event.
- Tazz is out next, vs Val Venis in a lumberjack match. The rest of RTC, the Acolytes and Jacqueline serve around ringside. This one goes less than a minute, Tazz puts Venis away with a Northern Lights suplex.
- Vince is backstage again, with Trish, asking how Animal feels about the new ownership of WCW. Wonder if Trish would let me lie face down in her dirty bathtub?
- Doink the Clown is wandering thru the crowd. Paul Heyman looks like he wants to die. Regal is in the ring. He mentions WC Fields motto about sleep being a good cure for insomnia, and him not resting till he defeats Chris Jericho. Crash Holly and sweet Molly come out, but Regal winds up wrestling Molly, muscling her down before Crash makes the save, but he ends up in the STF. Doink makes the save…locking in the “Walls of Jericho”. Yep. It was Chris Jericho. Backstage, Vince tells Trish about Goldust wanting breast implants. After a break, Regal books Jericho to wrestle the Big Show. Edge and Christian introduce Kurt Angle to Rhyno (new spelling) Rhyno makes clear he will bleed for Kurt.
- Vince says its time to address the industry. He gets a good luck kiss from Trish first. God, I’m ten seconds away from marking out.
- “No chance” blares over the PA. He gives Lillian Garcia hell, and makes her announce him again.
- Vince begins by saying this broadcast is being broadcast over TNN and TNT. “My God, I’ve bought my competition” he says Time Warner is begging him to buy WCW. He says he will formally sign the purchase agreement at Wrestlemania, when Ted Turner puts the deal in front of him. Vince says that he did it all by himself. “Vince, how do you beat a billionaire? Become one yourself” He says Turner will have a ringside seat for the Shane massacre. He makes reference to Linda being at ringside as well. He asks the crowd for reaction as to what he should do to WCW. He says he can watch tapes of WCW’s mocking of him when Vince was losing. He asks who should join the new empire. He does the thumbs up thumbs down method. Lex Luger’s name is booed. Buff Bagwell is cheered. Booker T is cheered. Scott Steiner is cheered. Goldberg gets a huge pop. He wants all the WCW stars to line up. So he can fire them. Vince is showing frustration at fan reaction. Shane’s music plays, he’s at Nitro. Shane says his dad’s ego has overtaken him. He questions Vince’s audacity at asking Turner. Shane announces HE is the owner. He makes references to WCW kicking Vince’s ass once, and that will happen again. Vince is feigning shock. And so begins the biggest change in wrestling history. Fellow SLAM contributor Sam Halsall is on Yahoo! IM with me, outraged over TSN sportscaster James Duthie’s comment “Shame on Shane, treating his dad like that”.
- Vince is outraged, yelling at attorneys on the phone, trashing the room.
- The Hardys are out next, teaming Chris Benoit vs Edge, Christian and Angle. Hardys double suplex Edge. The heels triple stomp Jeff Hardy in the corner. Christian goes to work with punches. Benoit clotheslines Christian, but Angle hits him from behind. Angle is in the crossface again, Christain breaks it up, and HE ends up in the hold and taps. Rhyno ends up spearing Lita. Pretty short.
- Test kicks off hour two — non title Euro match. Great, it’s versus Xpac. Can we send him to an indy fed in Poland?. Eddy Guerrero is guest referee. Nice Tilt a whirl by Test- and Eddy isn’t counting. Test does a great overhead slam. Xpac does a spinning heel kick-quick count by Eddy. Two clotheslines by Test. Test punches out Eddy. Xpac hits another kick. Pump handle slam by Test, a second ref comes in, But Eddy gets rid of him. Xpac wins when Albert hits the Albert bomb.
- MICK FOLEY IS BACK. As usual he looks like a homeless man. He plugs his new book “Foley Is Good” in bookstores May 8th. He goes for the Cleveland cheap pop. He says Wrestlemania is not the same without him. Vince strolls out, in no mood for this. He threatens to call the police. He mentions Vince leaving to become a “Genetic Jackhammer”, unsuccessfully. Mick mentions a business meeting with Linda around Xmas. He shows Dec. footage, of him and Linda signing contracts. Mick says one stipulated he can referee any Wrestlemania match he likes. Guess which one? He wishes Vince a nice day.
- Next on tap is Jericho vs Big Show. No IC belt on the line. Jericho dropkicks Show off the apron. Show hurls Chris in the corner. Show misses a second rope splash. They battle outside, and Kane assaults Show. Jericho goes for a moonsault, but Regal interferes. Show wins with a chokeslam. Raven jumps on Kanes back, and gets a chokeslam.
- Main event time Rock/Austin vs Kane/’Taker: Kane starts by beating on Rock in the corner. Rock ducks a clothesline, with one of his Own, but Kane sits up. Kane chokes Rock. Flying clothesline by ‘Taker and a big boot by Kane. Kane stomps Rock down. Austin is tagged, and Austin takes a kneelift. Corner clothesline by ‘Taker. Thesz press and punches on ‘Taker by Austin. Attempted stunner by Austin, but ‘Taker rams Rock and Austin together. HHH levels ‘Taker with a chair, and Austin makes the pin. Another short match. Austin goes thru the drinking ritual. Rock sneaks behind him, and Austin is victimized by the stunner. And Rock drinks the Monday night war to a close.
What were you most surprised about last night on RAW and Nitro?
Total Votes for this Question: 2536
27% voted for Shane McMahon ‘owning’ WCW
16% voted for Return of Mick Foley
24% voted for Vince McMahon publicly firing many WCWers
7% voted for Doink The Clown was actually Chris Jericho
26% voted for That the simulcasting actually worked
Monday Night Nitro Report
More often than not, it turns out to be hyperbole when an event is called “historic” before it happens. It’s really only in retrospect that people decide what constitutes a bit of history. Still, it’s safe to say tonight’s Nitro will be talked about for quite some time. Vince McMahon owns WCW – even now, typing it out seems surreal. Rumors are flying about what the new owners might do on the final Nitro on TNT, but there’s only one way to find out what really goes down: come along with me.
- If you bet the under on how soon we’d see Vince, you win. Mr. McMahon kicks off the show by gloating about buying his competition. And just to make sure you absolutely understand what he’s talking about, McMahon says that tonight, in a special simulcast, he holds the fate of WCW in his very hands.
- It’s only fitting that Ric Flair makes his way to the ring to cut one more promo. One more time, the Nature Boy lectures us on the importance of tradition. And while I dig tradition as much as the next cat, I can’t help but wish that one of those attractive ladies at the Academy Awards would come out and cut Flair short. Once he’s done putting over everyone connected with WCW, Flair makes one final challenge to his greatest opponent: Sting.
- Match 1 – Scott Steiner vs. Booker T – World Title Vs. U.S. Title Match An unauthorized website hinted that Scott Steiner might forget how the ending of this match is scripted. Like that’s not always a concern with Big Poppa Pump… Booker’s early offense is stopped by Midajah’s interference, then a lead pipe shot from Steiner just misses Booker’s head. Steiner hits a belly-to-belly for two, then applies a surfboard until Booker powers out. A quick succession of moves sets up Booker’s Harlem Sidekick, but the Bookend is reversed into a Northern Lights suplex that sees Booker just barely kick out. Big Poppa Pump goes for a power bomb, but Booker reverses it into the Bookend to secure the U.S. and World titles.
- Vince has his attorney on the phone, musing about how appropriate it is that the last TNT Nitro is airing from a redneck haven like the Florida panhandle. And for any Floridians out there, those are Vince’s words, not mine.
- Match 2 – Jung Dragons vs. 3 Count vs. Filthy Animals The winner of this one goes on to face Kid Romeo and Elix Skipper for the cruiserweight tag straps later tonight. There’s really no point in trying to recap all the moves, so suffice it to say that springboard moves to the floor are plentiful, as are near falls. Shannon Moore gets a foot up to make a painful stop of a Rey Mysterio Jr. bronco buster attempt, but Mysterio tangles Moore in the ropes and connects with a springboard guillotine legdrop to get the pinfall.
- Trish Stratus interrupts Vince’s phone call to bring some wine for a celebration. McMahon quickly points out that there’s only one way to celebrate, then moves in for a little, uh, action. Can’t argue with that logic.
- Match 3 – Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. “Sugar” Shane Helms – Cruiserweight Title Match Helms hits most of the early offense, though a t-bone suplex puts a stop to that. An exchange of reversals leads to a Northern Lights suplex by Guerrero and a two count. Sugar Shane executes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but misses a Sugar Smack. The second Sugar Smack finds its mark, and a few reversals later, the Vertebreaker seals the deal for Helms.
- As you might expect, Booker T has mixed emotions about this night. He does say that the last chapter has yet to be written in his story and that he will continue to prove himself one of the best in the business.
- I just can’t escape the feeling I’m accidentally hitting the remote. Maybe it’s because I’m watching Michael Cole interrupt Trish and Mr. McMahon, at least until Vince sends him packing.
- Match 4 – Team Canada vs. Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo – Tag Team Title Match This one is short and sweet. The Canadians work well enough to have Palumbo set up for an Awesome Bomb, but he escapes and drops Awesome with a jungle kick. O’Haire follows with a Sean-ton Bomb to retain the tag team straps.
- Match 5 – Shawn Stasiak vs. Bam Bam Bigelow Got to keep the show on schedule for the simulcast, so this match is even shorter than the last. A big missed splash by Stasiak sets up a diving headbutt by Bammer. But even though Bigelow has Stasiak covered for an eternity, the ref is distracted by Stacy’s antics. Stacy helps Shawn escape the Greetings From Asbury Park, setting up a neckbreaker and a three count for the Mecca of Manhood. Hopefully that nickname won’t be following Stasiak to TNN.
- William Regal pays a visit to Mr. McMahon’s locker room, plugging WrestleMania shamelessly. The WWF commissioner is just checking to make sure Vince knows what he’s doing by buying WCW, since he knows from personal experience that it’s a bloody awful place. Nothing like rubbing a little salt in the wound.
- Video footage from earlier today shows DDP thanking the WCW fans and his wife for supporting him during his unlikely trip to the top of sports entertainment. It’s nice and unusually understated for Page. Next up is a video montage paying tribute to WCW’s former world champs, everyone from Goldberg to Ron Simmons to Vader. And before you ask, no, there are no clips of Vince Russo or David Arquette. Back in Cleveland, McMahon says it’s about that time.
- Match 6 – Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo vs. Filthy Animals – Cruiserweight Tag Team Title Match Tony Schiavone is still a little miffed about the Regal segment, but Scott Hudson gets him back on track. Kidman gets worked over until he hits a dropkick to Romeo coming off the top rope. Mysterio gets the hot tag and hits a springboard Thesz press and a tornado DDT. Skipper is set up in the corner to receive a baseball slide kick to the crotch and the dreaded bronco buster. After a couple of near falls, Kidman evades Skipper’s Play of the Day and nails a Kid Crusher to pick up the win.
- Wondering about the Stinger? Wonder no more. Sting wouldn’t miss this night for anything (he said nothing, so I did him the favour of cleaning up his English), and as for the future, the only sure thing about Sting is that nothing is for sure.
- Vince struts down a hallway. Vince eats a bologna sandwich. Vince goes to the bathroom to do a “number two.” For Pete’s sake, just end the ego trip and get on with it already.
- Main Event – Ric Flair vs. Sting You couldn’t really put together a more fitting end to the Turner era of WCW than this, one last match between two old adversaries. These guys may have lost a step (and Flair wears a t-shirt to hide his spare tire), but they clearly enjoy the chance to lock up one more time, as the smiles during the match attest. All the classic spots you would expect are here: Flair’s chops, Sting’s bursts of offense, Flair’s face first fall to the mat. The Nature Boy slaps on the Figure Four, but the Stinger fights off the pain and inverts the hold. Sting rocks Flair with a superplex and makes him tap out to the Scorpion Deathlock. In a touching moment, Sting helps an obviously winded Flair to his feet so the two men can hug, shake hands and hug again.
- Before we can even catch our breath, the feed switches over to Raw. Vince hits the ring in Cleveland to gloat one more time about his final victory over Billionaire Ted. Clearly feeling his oats, Vince says he’ll sign the contract that finalizes the deal only when Ted Turner walks down the aisle at WrestleMania and personally delivers it to him. Then he plans to save a ringside seat for Turner so Ted can watch Vince choke the life out of his own son just as he did to his competition. Ah, but what to do about WCW? Weighing his options, Vince decides he can build his new acquisition up or put it on the shelf and bury it. Then he asks the WWF fans to decide who might be worth keeping in WCW, throwing out names like Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Buff Bagwell, Booker T, Scott Steiner, Sting and Goldberg (who got a pretty big reaction from the Cleveland fans). Vince goes on to say what he’d really like to do is go to Panama City Beach and tell the WCW talent that they are all fired. And he plans to do exactly that, as he reveals his scheme to bury WCW so no one will ever hear from it again. Vince’s moment of triumph is interrupted by Shane’s music, but the younger McMahon is not in Cleveland — he’s in Florida. Shane says Vince’s ego got the best of him, giving away a golden opportunity. The deal to buy WCW is final, and the contract does say McMahon… only it reads Shane McMahon. WCW’s new owner promises that the promotion will rise to kick Vince’s ass just as it has in the past, and just as Shane will do personally at WrestleMania. A surreal night comes to an end with Jim Ross plugging Raw’s main event and a video promo for WrestleMania.
- The Last Word: Closure I certainly never expected to be writing this particular report, the one recapping end of Nitro on TNT. It’s been a wild two and a half years doing the reports for SLAM! Wrestling, and I appreciate those of you who e-mailed me with your thoughts and feedback. I expect Greg and John will find something for me to do until WCW programming begins on TNN, so if I’m fated to be a utility infielder, then I’ll be the best darn utility infielder this world has ever seen. Luis Sojo, eat your heart out! Until we meet again… [Note from Greg Oliver: Look for Nick to appear in my WrestleMania reports this weekend in some fashion — he’ll be in Houston too (as will Aaron ‘Hank’ Henry) and every good reporter needs a Jimmy Olsen to my Superman. LOL ]