May 6, 2011
Octavio Fierros

MONDAY NIGHT WAR CLASSICS – Week 7: Change of Plans (10/16/95)


Ratings War After two weeks of being declared a draw, finally we had a winner this week (October 16, 1995) as WWE Raw posted a 2.6 rating versus WCW Nitro, which posted a 2.2 rating. The WWE is preparing for their next pay-per-view, In Your House 4 (main event: Diesel vs. British Bulldog with the winner facing Bret Hart at Survivor Series ’95 for the WWE Title) so this was a must-win for the WWE. Also, Raw will be live next week so it will be interesting to see how the aftermath of the PPV will shape up. The main event of this edition of Raw featured a rematch from SummerSlam ’95 between Bret Hart and Isaac Yankem DDS, this time in a steel cage. Jerry Lawler, who brought Yankem to the WWE to feud with Bret, was above the cage so he won’t interfere. On Nitro, the road to their traditional fall event, Halloween Havoc (main event: Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant in a monster truck match for the WCW World Title) continues. Sting and Ric Flair teamed up to face Brian Pillman and Arn Anderson. Flair is still feuding with best friend Arn while Sting just found a new friend.


Monday Night Raw Highlight of the Night
Even though this didn’t happen on Monday Night Raw, it is worth noting that there was an incident during the weekend prior to this show. Shawn Michaels was attacked by “nine thugs” outside a Syracuse nightclub. Michaels was hanging around with The 123 Kid and British Bulldog that night. Michaels was seriously hurt. As of the October 16th Raw, the match is still on between Michaels and Dean Douglas for the IC Title at In Your House 4. The WWE did announce this incident on Raw and made a big deal about Michaels being resilient. As weeks progress, you will notice that Michaels will be the focal point of Raw for the last weeks of 1995 and all 1996.

The Undertaker injured his eye in a house show two weeks ago. To explain the injury, Mabel took care of him by splashing him numerous times last week on Raw in that six-man tag match dominated by heels. “Fan-friendly” President Gorilla Monsoon added a match between two heels: Mabel vs. Yokozuna at In Your House 4. Keep in mind that we are in 1995 in a time when it was rare to see two heels go at it.

Ahmed Johnson started to come out in vignettes. He’s going to make his debut soon.

Bret Hart finally settled the score with Isaac Yankem DDS and finally with Jerry Lawler. The Bret-Lawler feud goes back to June 1993 when Lawler “crowned” (attacked) Bret in the King of the Ring ceremony. This also gives you a hint that Bret is starting to re-focus on recapturing the WWE Title. He will face the winner of the Diesel-Bulldog match at Survivor Series ’95.

IYH 4 matches: Diesel vs. British Bulldog (WWE Title match), Shawn Michaels vs. Dean Douglas (IC Title match), Smoking Gunns vs. 123 Kid & Razor Ramon (Tag Team Title match), Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Fatu, Goldust (PPV and WWE debut) vs. Marty Jannetty, and Yokozuna vs. Mabel.


Monday Nitro Highlight of the Night
Chris Benoit made his WCW debut on Monday Nitro, facing his best friend Eddy Guerrero. Actually, Guerrero made his Nitro debut as well. Benoit is being billed as “The Canadian Crippler”. Credit goes to WCW for making Benoit’s debut a big deal. Announcer Bobby Heenan put him over by saying that Benoit can beat anyone in WCW. I think he can, in a wrestling match of course. Benoit won his first WCW match.

When wrestling newsletters were very limited and there was no internet access, hotlines were the primary source for wrestling information. Sometimes if you call WWE and WCW hotlines, they share news from the “other wrestling organization” as well. Since the Monday Night Wars began already, WCW officials (Eric Bischoff) had this habit of using WWE news as a shot at them. In this episode of Nitro, Gene Okerlund (charge of the hotline) announced that an “official from the WWF is history” (referring to Bill Watts). He also made reference to “one of their top superstars got attacked by a fan in a parking lot.” Okerlund didn’t have his facts straight, though. Bischoff and company are not afraid of saying the letters, “WWF” on their TV show.

Hulk Hogan’s “new character” is not really taking off as expected. He’s been coming off as a heel even though he is still claiming to be the top babyface in the business. The Giant is doing a great job as a heel, but Hogan looks confused in this new role.

Sting has been lost in the shuffle since Nitro’s debut seven weeks ago. Now he has aligned with Ric Flair in his feud with Arn Anderson. Fans already suspect Flair to turn on Sting at one point and rejoin his best friends Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Sting and Flair defeated Pillman and Anderson in the main event of this week’s Nitro.


This Week in Monday Night War History
(May 1-7, 2011)

May 4, 1998 – Fit Finlay defeated Booker T to win the TV Title. Even though the TV title was not really valuable, Booker T and Chris Benoit made it seem important in a best of seven match series between both men. Classic matches between both men followed after Booker lost the title to Finlay. (Booker won the title back a few days later.)

May 1, 2000 – In one of the few matches as WCW World Champion, David Arquette defeated Tank Abbott to retain the belt.

May 6, 1996 – Ray Stevens, who passed away a day before, was acknowledged by both WWE and WCW on their respective TV shows.

May 5, 1997 – In one of the most interesting “shoot” interviews on Raw is War, Jim Ross interviewed Dustin Runnels and his wife Terri. Dustin broke character and stated that he really missed his father Dusty Rhodes, whom he has not talked to in years.


Monday Night War Key Players The following wrestlers wrestled on WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro this particular week (October 16, 1995). Somehow, these wrestlers made an impact on the Monday Night Wars: (They signed with the rival company during this era)

Bret Hart is considered one of the top ten wrestlers in WWE history. After the Montreal Screwjob (more details on this story as we progress), Bret made his debut for WCW and was quickly established as one of the top stars in WCW. That run didn’t last long, though as WCW didn’t know what to do with Bret. Yes, he had classic matches with Benoit, but was known for getting inserted in mid-card matches with Flair, DDP, Sting, and others. It was said that Hulk Hogan was responsible for Bret’s demise in WCW. In 2000, Goldberg faced Bret Hart on PPV and he kicked him on the head. The effects of Goldberg’s kick took a toll on Bret that he was forced to quit wrestling. Bret retired in 2001 and returned to the place that made him famous, the WWE, in 2009.

Eddy Guerrero (changed name to Eddie when he jumped to WWE) made his debut in WCW a few weeks before Monday Nitro made its debut. He didn’t make it big as a babyface so he turned heel and became one of the most underutilized wrestlers during the NWO era. At one point, Eddy and Eric Bischoff had a dispute backstage and their real heat carried on to live television. Guerrero was given the mic to cut a shoot promo on Bischoff and that raised a couple of eyebrows. Guerrero realized that he was going nowhere in WCW and wanted out of his contract a couple of times. Finally, he jumped to the WWE in early 2000 as part of the Radicalz with friends Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko. During his Raw debut, Guerrero and his crew attacked the New Age Outlaws and setting up a feud with them. Unfortunately, Guerrero suffered an elbow injury in his first TV match during his signature move, the frog splash. Guerrero spent the next five years and a half with the WWE, winning multiple tag titles and the WWE Title. Sadly, Guerrero passed away in November 2005.

Chris Benoit was almost similar to Eddy Guerrero, except that he did win the WCW World Title. He had very good matches with Bret Hart, including a TV classic in memory of Owen Hart on Monday Nitro. Benoit’s title run was cut short as he was also getting buried at the same time. Even though he was pushed, management didn’t know what to do with Benoit. He let his contract run out and made his debut in the WWE as part of the Radicalz (see Eddy Guerrero for details). Benoit was pushed first before Saturn, Guerrero, and Malenko. Benoit passed away in 2007 after killing his wife and child, followed by suicide.


Monday Night War Scoreboard
WCW Monday Nitro 1, WWE Monday Night Raw 3 (2 ties)


Thank you for reading this week’s edition of Monday Night War Classics. E-mail me your feedback on this week or anything related to the Monday Night War to – See you next week for Monday Night War Classics – Week 8: New Attitude.


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