PINFALL Magazine » PINFALL Magazine , , WWE » WWE Classics Freeview: Monday Night Wars 5/18/98 Review

WWE Classics Freeview: Monday Night Wars 5/18/98 Review

I thought they would show the complete shows of both Raw and Nitro back to back, but it’s more of a greatest hits deal. This Nitro is only an hour long due to the NBA playoffs, but they show an equal amount of the Raw. They at least cut out Val Venis’ debut, and I can only imagine what else. It’s been over a decade since I’ve seen either episode, but it was a fun trip down memory lane. The WWE Classics Freeview is something I expect to cover throughout October, or at least until I’ve watched all the selections as quickly as possible.

13 year old SPOILERS FOLLOW

WCW: This Nitro begins with PINFALL Magazine (least) favorite, Eric Bischoff in the in ring on a motorcycle wearing a crown. Another ego stroking segment for one of the most pointless acts in wrestling history.

WWF: Opening with Vince, a hilarious Austin vignette, and a Dude Love promo is a win over a Bischoff promo. The post-Goldust Dustin and Dude Love showdown was good stuff.

WCW: Hearing the all-time go-to Special Guest Ref, Roddy Piper, say he’ll never ref again is hilarious. The promo only rises in quality as Macho Man and Bret Hart get involved. Piper’s shtick about not apologizing is the highlight, and Hogan coming down to make a tag match was a decent pay-off.

WWF: Dude Love v Dustin Runnels (**): Lawler coming out with Al Snow as his body guard pre-match was nice to see, but it’s short lived. The match is a short brawl that ends with a mandible claw from the Dude. Runnels written off with a quickness. The cops arresting Austin post-match in the back progressed his “banned” storyline, although it’s uneventful (“put the coffee down”)

WCW: Bill Goldberg v Glacier (**): Goldberg standing in the pyro during his entrance just looks bad ass. Glacier didn’t get an entrance. Goldberg tosses Glacier around, dodges his kicks, and finishes him off with a quickness. The Spear spot would have been epic if Glacier didn’t botch the set-up. Goldberg was hard hitting, which is always fun to watch.

DDP cuts a promo on Hogan. He’s more over than Goldberg at this point.

WWF: Tag Team Championship Match: New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dawg) (C) w/Chyna v The Nation of Domination (The Rock & Owen Hart) (***): Owen’s Enzugiri was as good as it gets. He took a bit out of Road Dawg’s ear and drew a nasty amount of blood. It wasn’t a long match, but it was decent. The ending saved Rock and Owen from losing to NAO clean, as Farooq attacked Rock with a Piledriver. I miss Piledrivers.

WCW: Hogan comes out with NWO doing his fascist dictator thing, it’s good stuff. This was when Dusty Rhodes was even in NWO, which I dug. Hall gets an introduction back into NWO, but this is really just another Sting recruitment segment. This is the beginning of the NWO Wolfpack as Nash comes to save Sting from a beating.

WWF: Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco v Steve Austin w/Special Guest Referee: Sgt. Slaughter (**): Jim Ross says Austin has to “pull a New York Yankee David Wells and pitch a perfect game”. 1998 was a great year for the NYY and wrestling. The match is mostly just Austin beating up old people (Vince included). Dude love adds some youth to the mix (and slips on a beer spill at one point). Jim Ross’ commentary puts the whole thing over, as he was at his peak here.

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The Monday Night Wars were madness. It still feels like WCW had the much deeper roster of the time. Even their throwaway guys were worth listening to and watching. Patterson, Brisco, New Age Outlaws, and Val Venis had nothing on guys like DDP, Randy Savage and the rest of the WCW “mid-card”.

—JPLS

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