MONDAY NIGHT WAR CLASSICS – Week 4: Triple Header Leads to Double Wins (09/25/95)
By Octavio Fierros, firstname.lastname@example.org
The WWE came back in a strong way with a second consecutive win over WCW (2.7 to 1.8) in the famous television ratings war. The WWE was coming off a pay-per-view that featured Diesel & Shawn Michaels capturing the tag team titles from Owen Hart & Yokozuna. The match ended in some sort of controversy, but this angle was used to simply defeat Nitro in the ratings. Over in WCW, the storyline development between Lex Luger and Randy Savage continued and the match has been set for next week. More details below in the highlight of the night. (Please make sure to read my new feature debuting this week: Monday Night War News Flash, featuring news that was impacted during this era.)
Monday Night Raw Highlight of the Night
Diesel & Shawn Michaels won the WWE tag team titles from Owen Hart & Yokozuna in the main event of the In Your House PPV the night before. The Bulldog replaced Owen during the match because he was nowhere to be found. All of a sudden, during the last minutes of the match, Owen appeared and got pinned by Diesel to win the belts. The show ended with Diesel and Michaels holding three belts (Owen’s belt was not there, of course). The match ended in controversy because the wrong wrestler got pinned.
During the beginning of Monday Night Raw, WWE President Gorilla Monsoon overruled the finish of last night’s tag match. Monsoon gave the titles back to Owen Hart & Yokozuna because Owen was never part of the match. As a result, Diesel and Michaels still hold their singles titles and Owen & Yoko must defend the tag team titles against the number one contenders, The Smoking Gunns (Bart & Billy Gunn). Later in the night, Owen & Yoko lost the tag titles to the Gunns. The booking of this angle has a lot to do with The Clique “running the show”. All year, the Clique (Michaels, Diesel, Razor, 123 Kid, and Hunter Hearst Helmsley) have been putting themselves over other wrestlers such as Dean Douglas, Psycho Sid, Tatanka, and others. Diesel and Michaels couldn’t afford to get pinned at the IYH main event. They were too valuable and with the power they had backstage, no wonder they didn’t drop the belts on Raw in a match. Instead, they were stripped of the belts (this was the second time Diesel & Michaels were stripped of the tag titles. In 1994, when they broke up, the titles were declared vacant).
Monday Nitro Highlight of the Night
Lex Luger’s character development continues on Monday Nitro with his feud with Randy Savage. It’s becoming clear every week that Luger is being utilized better in his first days in WCW than his last days with the WWE. To make things interesting, the match was made for next week’s (October 2nd) with Luger adding the stipulation that if he loses the match, he will quit WCW. Even if it appears highly unlikely that Luger will leave WCW, it will spark some kind of interest from fans to tune in to that match. It will be interesting to see how WCW fares in the ratings in that department.
Monday Night War News Flash
(This section is debuting this week and will take place the last week of the month)
- Eric Bischoff fired Steve Austin via a telephone call. At the time, this was news but it would become bigger news in years to come. In any event, Austin was injured throughout the year and Bischoff felt that he wasn’t needed anymore. Austin was promised a push in WCW after separating from Brian Pillman, his tag team partner and best friend. Since Hogan arrived, Austin never got his shot and was stuck in mid-card division. (As we progress in the Monday Night War Classics, we will learn that Austin becomes the most influenced person in Monday Night War history).
- Goldust is set to debut with the WWE in a controversial gimmick. Goldust played Dustin Rhodes in WCW (more information will be given in coming weeks in the “key players” section) and won the US Title there.
- Sabu is working without a WCW contract, which means he can leave anytime he wants. Sabu fits in the growing cruiserweight division, but he’s too hardcore. He fits better in ECW at this point of his career.
- The upcoming WWE-WCW pay-per-views: WWE In Your House 4 (main event: Diesel vs. British Bulldog with Bret Hart as special announcer) and WCW Halloween Havoc ’95 (main event: Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant in a monster truck match.)
- List of Champions: WWE Champion: Diesel, IC Champion: Shawn Michaels, Tag Team Champions: Smoking Gunns (defeated Owen Hart & Yokozuna on September 25, 1995); WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan, US Champion: Ric Flair, Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (defeated Scott Riggs & Marcus Bagwell on September 27, 1995)
- Key storylines and feuds: Hulk Hogan continues his feud with The Giant and their first one-on-one encounter will not be in the ring. It’s going to be in a monster truck match. Interesting how that will develop… The Luger-Savage feud is the best feud in WCW right now due Luger’s lack of trust…Diesel is currently feuding with the British Bulldog. Bulldog turned heel on Diesel in a tag team match in August 1995 and now Bulldog is set to get his first WWE Title shot of his career…Shawn Michaels is feuding with Dean Douglas, which promises to put on very good matches in the ring.
- Where Are They Now? – The Undertaker has spent the entire year trying to restore his urn that The Million Dollar Corporation stole. The urn has been tossed around between the wrestlers in that stable. Kama turned the urn into a gold chain. Mabel now has the urn and they are currently feuding right now.
Monday Night War Key Players
The following wrestlers wrestled on WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro this particular week (September 25, 1995). Somehow, these wrestlers made an impact on the Monday Night Wars: (They signed with the rival company during this era)
This week, Marty Jannetty made his second (or third) return to the WWE. He came in as a mid-carder and jobbed for most of this tenure. He went back to the tag team division with Al Snow (named Leif Cassidy) as the New Rockers. The tag team didn’t even get close to the original Rockers and the tag team split up during mid-1996. Marty and Shawn Michaels wrestled in a one-on-one encounter on Monday Night Raw when Jannetty played a heel. That was during Michaels’ quest to win his first WWE Title.
Meng wrestled for the WWE in the early 80s through 90s as Haku. He won the WWE Tag Team titles with Andre the Giant in late-1989. He also won the crown from Harley Race for a short period of time. He left the WWE and made his debut in WCW in 1995. He teamed up with his WWE tag team partner, The Barbarian as the Faces of Fear (part of the Dungeon of Doom). Meng didn’t last long as he went back to the WWE in 2001 for a one-match deal (at the Royal Rumble 2001).
This Week in Monday Night War History
(April 10-16, 2011)
- April 13, 1998 – The WWE finally defeated WCW in the ratings war for the first time in 83 weeks. Raw featured Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin for the first time ever, while Nitro featured Bret Hart’s first heel turn in his WCW career.
- April 12, 1999 – Jim Ross returns to full-time commentary for the first time since late-1998 when he suffered Bell’s palsy. Ross missed almost five months and Michael Cole filled in for him. Ross had returned to announce the main event of WrestleMania XV (Steve Austin vs. The Rock).
- April 15, 1996 – WCW copied WWE’s version of the triple header match featuring tag team champions Sting & Lex Luger vs. World Champion Ric Flair & The Giant.
- April 10, 2000 – A tournament was held to determine the number one contender for the WCW World Title. Diamond Dallas Page won the match and will face Jeff Jarrett for the World Title at the Spring Stampede PPV.
Monday Night War Scoreboard
WCW Monday Nitro 1, WWE Monday Night Raw 2
That’s it for this week in Monday Night War Classics. Tune in next week for Monday Night War Classics Week 5 – A War Declared a Draw (10/02/95)