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Fake Razor/Diesel – Raw has been pretty terrible in the months since Bret Hart went on hiatus and Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left for WCW. So what did they do? Well, after weeks of teasing they literally bought back Diesel and Razor Ramon. Critically, though, not Hall or Nash. The angle quickly fell completely flat, with the blame for the creative misdirection being shifted to Jim Ross, who was turned heel in the process. More on that in a sec.
Giant Turn – Giant, it is not inconceivable, could’ve been WCW’s biggest babyface by about November had they have simply continued on the path they were going down. Giant was the ass kicker that people were beginning to get behind in quite a big way. The problem was that the week before they promised a new member and they wanted to deliver on it. But once it became clear the British Bulldog wasn’t available, they needed a big name.
The angle itself was controversial, with the three members of the NWO coming out and laying waste to the eight collective members of the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom, which begged the question – why did they need a fourth guy? Hogan, Hall and Nash seemed to have things covered. Who caused the angle to play out the way it did? Much love. HH.
Ross Turn – Jim Ross was the harbinger of the news that Razor Ramon and Diesel were in talks about a return to the WWF. The story befuddled almost everyone watching, but Ross on screen steadfastly stood by his sources, repeatedly. By the time came the angle was looking to be so bad the only possible outcome was Ross looking like a prick… so they just turned him heel. In what by any standards was quite an impressive shoot promo, Ross talked us through how he’d been fired, twice, by Vince McMahon.
“B” Sting – It wasn’t even the first “fake” angle of the month. WCW beat them to the line by two weeks with the NWO dressing up Jeff Farmer (aka Cobra) as Sting on September 9th, coming out of the NWO limo and attacking Lex Luger with the rest of the NWO while the rain poured. The angle was quite well received from a “critical” perspective, but the reaction of the viewers was categorical; as 700,000 homes turned out in the fifteen minutes that followed. Still… it seems like WCW were undeterred as they presented the next stage of the angle at the pay per view.
Bret’s Future – By the end of September Bret Hart was actually out of contract with the WWF. Having done his final commitments with the company in South Africa of all places, Bret did at least drop in on Raw with a pre-taped interview, but largely just to quell the falsehoods being spread by Brian Pillman and his brother Owen. He was otherwise quite non-committal about his future, although the seeds of a program with Steve Austin were being started at In Your House.
Stick It – Following the pay per view, where Sting walked out on Team WCW after Luger didn’t trust him, Sting came out and cut a promo with his back facing the hard camera. He came up with a somewhat questionable story trying to fill in the gap about why he didn’t just call Luger a week ago (he said he wanted to lay low, to see what happened). He then said that to all those who believed in him, he still believed in them. But to those who doubted him? To the best friends? “You can all stick it. I consider myself a free agent”.
Sabu Fears Taz – The main part of the ECW “angle” actually took place on the pay per view with Sandman pouring beer all over Savio Vega, but it spilled over to Raw (no pun intended) on the next night in Hershey, PA. Blink and you’ll miss it stuff, but in amongst the commotion Taz vaulted the guardrial and managed to get a sign on Raw that said “Sabu Fears Taz”. They quickly cut to a commercial with what, for now, is the end of the angle.
NWO Monday Nitro – With the bulk of the WCW roster in Japan on September 22nd, WCW decided to dedicate the entire second hour of the show to the NWO. The group held Eric Bischoff hostage on commentary, before presenting an entertaining if pretty telling hour of television that featured almost no good action and a lot of self indulgence. If WCW were considering giving NWO their own regular TV time (and they were, at the time, on Saturday Night) then this was a good a warning as any. Declining second hour ratings back that up.
The “Real Double J” - Mercifully, not another rip of gimmick (just imagine if the WWF had created a fake Jarrett!). Instead, a year after abandoning the angle the WWF and with the hope of pre-empting the debut of Jarrett in WCW, bought back The Roadie, this time as "Jesse James" - and basically restarted the angle with the next step of the program he was going to have with Jarrett. They showed him signing "With My Baby Tonight", although without Jarrett that was a bit of a dead end.
Glacier – FINALLY! And it was, genuinely, excellent. Forget what WWE's version of history tells you, this was great. The entrance, the crowd reaction, the match with Bubba was decent too. Did Glacier start the wrestling boom period?
Cornette/Lothario - The main part of this played out on pay per view (with the sight of Lothario walking out to "Sexy Boy") - but Cornette and Lothario is so, undeniably played out by this stage. It's not even like the Vader and Michaels program is particularly going anywhere much. We actually got an "exhibition" segment with Cornette working holds with a jobber. Awful.
Bischoff Promo – I'm sure it'll make even less sense when Bischoff does join the NWO, but Bischoff thus far has done a great job selling the legitimacy of the NWO and this was clear on the opening of the September 29th Nitro, where he cut an impassioned promo saying that their antics were going to stop. This was probably the best thing Bischoff has done on WCW TV (save the bump from the Great American Bash). The rest of that Nitro was awful, by the way.