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Austin/Pillman - This show deserves it's own piece, which you can read here, but impossible not to lead with one of the most newsworthy Raw's ever. With Raw shifting an hour earlier, the company wanted to start the new timeslot off with a bang and, well, they did everything but that. Steve Austin drove to Brian Pillman's house, Pillman pulled a gun on him, and the show ended with Pillman not-so-accidentally saying "fucking" during a melee in his living room.
Bischoff Turns – Now, as history will tell us, Eric Bischoff was a great heel. Bischoff is one of the few people that, post Austin/McMahon, made the heel authority figure storyline worth watching. That all being said, the nature of his first turn – with the NWO, was a bit shit. After being in a confrontation with Roddy Piper, the NWO came out and attacked Piper, and Bischoff and Hogan simply embraced. It'd get better – but it wasn't a good start.
The Other Side Of Austin/Pillman - The problem with presenting such a wild and whacky show-long story like the Pillman Gun angle is that – this is a wrestling show... and it's also a show that has sponsorship obligations. So imagine the juxtaposition when, immeadiately after pulling a gun out, we cut to a Karate Fighters commercial promoting a toy for kids? That wasn't even the end of it. The show was taped three weeks in advance, so nobody could really even react to what was going on (although it did make sense that talent may not know). But the in ring confrontation between Shawn Michaels and Sid, designed to shock some life into an otherwise flat rivalry, just didn’t work in the shadow.
Bischoff's Ultimatum – Fortunately things did get a bit better where Bischoff was concerned, the last Nitro of the month he cut a mid-ring promo and firmly rammed home his newly heel status. He bragged about his status in both the NWO and WCW, before announcing that WCW talent had 30 days to transfer their contracts from WCW ones to NWO ones. "You're either with us, or you're against us".
A Change In Attitude – A year ago, following losing the title to Bret Hart at Survivor Series, Diesel cut a great promo on Raw with more attitude in five minutes than he'd been able to show in the twelve months prior. Shawn Michaels, eight days after his defeat sat down in Jose Lothario's living room alongside the man himself in front of a camera. Shawn cut an increasingly irate speech bemoaning Sid's actions before saying it was "no more Mr Nice Guy". This was good!
Diamond; Mine? - After WCW seemingly just binned Jeff Jarrett as the lead horse against the NWO, they changed directions by showcasing Diamond Dallas Page in two important promos on Nitro. The story, still ongoing, is Page being courted by the NWO, and how he had history with both Nash and Hall within WCW, but also about his real life friendship with Eric Bischoff (which, for those who can remember, makes no sense given their on-screen history). Still, Page was offended by the fact it had taken so long for Hall and Nash to approach him. For now, he was still undecided.
Rocky Maivia – Yeah, good luck appreciating any of this with an innocent eye. Still, Maivia was clearly seen as a star in the making on his way in, along with his debut victory at Survivor Series he was also given a video package on the Raw prior looking at his heritage. Decent.
1992 – So, on Nitro a bloke walked up to the commentary desk and handed Tony Schiavone a padded envelope containing a VHS video tape (kids: VHS tapes are what we used to use before Youtube came along). The video, as it turned out, featured an incredibly bizarre music video sung by and containing Roddy Piper. The whole thing was incredibly bizarre, clearly filmed some time previously given the shape Piper was in during the video. The only thing of note was a brief clip in the video featuring Piper looking at a billboard saying "Hogan vs Piper" to illustrate how long he'd wanted the match.
Make Your Mind Up – After impressing at Survivor Series, there was talk on Raw about when the team of Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon ("Dan Kroffat" during his excellent ECW run in the months prior) would get a tag team title shot. We cut backstage to a promo including the tag champs and Clarence Mason, where Owen Hart said the team were "fighting champions" and that they'd give them their shot. Literally seconds later, Clarence Mason said the pair needed to earn their title shot. Make up your minds, lads.
World Wide What? - Speaking of new technology, WCW had caught onto the internet fad a within recent months. Launching nwowrestling.com (a site which you can view on archive.org in all it's glory from late 1996) along with wcwwrestling.com. The latter offered, I believe, up to 8,000 slots where people could listen to the pay per view live online – which, harrowing in itself made even less sense given that they only advertised that fact to the pay per view audience. Anyway, on Nitro Tony Schiavone was tasked with promoting the site... "visit wcw dot wrestling com". Nice try, Tone.