Brett Mix’s- WWE “The Monday Night Wars” Review:
“If you go back and compare the Raw’s in 95 and 96 and compare them to 97 and 98 there is no doubt that it was COMPETITION that brought out the best in our Industry.” –Mick Foley
-The Monday Night Wars was put together with a Documentary and some rare and memorable matches from both Raw and Nitro including some significant segments.
-This is a Single-Disc DVD set and was one of the very first put out by the company.
-This DVD has recieved some negative reviews from critics due to them believing in company bias.
-This set features commentary and opinions from a lot of people which is perhaps its biggest strength. (Mean Gene, Eddie Guerrero, Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Gerald Brisco, etc)
Disc 1 Documentary:
-We begin appropriately where we should. The beginning of the Monday Night television production.
WWF Raw began before Nitro in January of 1993.
Raw was Prime-Time of course.
Vince and Turner grew their businesses but never really saw eye to eye.
Cornette and Bischoff talk about when Turner bought the company from Crockett it had been doing bad business.
Eric Bischoff came in and turned it around. Ross left around this time and went to work for Vince for a lot less money.
The concept for Raw was to be a live show from smaller venue’s and Bischoff made it known he wanted better staging, audio and presentation and Bischoff ran into Hogan.
The rest is history.
The Mega Powers were off to work for Turner. Gene came along as did The Brain and Jimmy Hart among others.
A big blow to Vince at the time in need of star power but he wanted a New Generation lead by the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart. Yet they slapped the title on Bob Backlund in 1994 who was extremely old school. That’s a different story for a different day. If this DVD weren’t biased they’d maybe question that?
Okerlund said “Get ready for the ride of your lives!” How right he’d turn out to be.
Savage’s debut is shown, a clip of his entrance and his interview with Okerlund.
Bischoff said his goal was to make money, Turner had never made profit while he ran it, so Bischoff cut costs where he figured they needed to be and he increased PPV’s.
The Federation did the same. Vince followed in the same direction.
Turner asked Bischoff what they needed to compete with Vince and Bischoff asked for Prime Time, and he got it. Nitro is here. On TNT. Bischoff loves it and Cornette thought they were insane for putting it up against Vince’s time-slot. Vince figured he did it to put him out of business. Vince would know. He did this a ton of times to all the bookers of the 80’s territories.
Next we hear about Bischoff’s opinion on Luger and he showed up on Nitro. The first big jump of the Monday Night war’s. Sting was a helping hand in getting Lex to the company even though Bischoff didn’t like the idea seeing as he never cared for him on any level.
Bischoff spoiled the results of the competition’s show before they even went on the air.
Vince says he didn’t paticularly appreciate to say the least. Bischoff knew he got a lot of people talking so it worked, ethically he had no problem doing this.
They show Madusa dropping the title in the garbage in the trash can.
Dominating ratings since mid 96.
Vince says his philosophy of business his pay attention to himself, not hurt the other guy.
Uhhhhh…okay…I stopped listening right THERE Vince. Ask the Gagne’s if they feel the same way.
Anyways they don’t show enough of the greatness wcw had in this time.
So Cornette said nobody knew how to use Austin but Austin.
Let him be himself.
Cornette says that’s how most major talent gets over by being themself. Bingo.
Ross said the more HEELish Austin got, the more attention and thus grew the 3:16 juggernaut and the biggest draw in wwf history.
The first stunner on McMahon is of course shown and discussed.
Foley talked about the Bret-Austin match at Mania 13 being a turning appoint earlier in the year as well.
Austin’s popularity continued to go up but Bischoff ruled because of the mixture of talent.
Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero, Mysterio and Jericho in wcw for instance along with the nwo.
Of course the screwjob is discussed making McMahon a major heel.
I’m not going to go into this, it’s been done to death.
They show the rise of The Rock.
Tyson and Austin! Tyson and Austin!
Austin-McMahon is covered as is Foley’s bumping and DX’s skits.
Flair-Eric Bischoff’s problems are covered.
Back-Bone, Eddie and Rey. Mysterio wondered why they couldn’t push new stars like in the wwf.
Then the night the industry changed forever.
Foley wins the title on Jan 4th 99 Raw over Rock with Austin’s help to the loudest pop I’ve ever heard and that’s a cliche but I really mean it.
The same night the Finger Poke of Doom did in Turner and they never went over wwf again. The fact they insulted Foley in the process has been done to death and Foley discussed it here.
Now with Russo, the company became a bigger mess then with Bischoff.
Arquette as Champion to produce a medicore film at best to capitalize on the popularity of Pro-wrestling was not the best idea.
Benoit and more go over about how sick they were, Jericho, Eddie, Malenko, Show, all of them wanted to jump and eventually did.
Flair talked about how much of a mess it was as did Okerlund.
They showed more of the bad and less of the good which is something I didn’t paticularly liked.
Goldberg is one guy they talked about but that’s still not good enough.
Vince’s purchase of the promotion closes this Documentary out.
Gerald Brisco can stop kissing Vince’s ass anytime…
“And in the end you could say Vince McMahon won, but the real winners were all of the fans that experienced weekly….The Monday Night wars!”
Disc 1 Extra’s:
1) Stone Cold Steve Austin and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels vs The “British Bulldog” and Owen Hart (c)for the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship -WWF Raw Is War May 26th 1997
This is Shawn Michaels’s first TV match since he lost his smile and there was no ring rust which shows signs of a true great.
They don’t show the entrances to this match but they do on Austin’s set that also has this classic.
Stone Cold talked in his DVD about how Austin and HBK had unique and very different styles which made for good stories in the ring.
Austin also mentioned it being a difficult task to keep up with Michaels, and I know that’s right because this match is insanely quick.
The Chemistry is there.
The in-ring action is very crisp and it looks all so well, which comes as no shock since it’s safe to assume all four men were in there prime during this contest. 1997 was just a good time because so many big stars in the wrestling world were arguably in there prime or at least near it.
Owen and Bulldog came down to Bret’s theme as the stable stood at the top of the ramp and then the Champs came towards the ring. These two happen to be my favourite team ever and I’d put them in a top ten tag team list for best as well. I really liked there contrast in styles as well.
The match began when Michaels and Austin dodged out of the ring and attacked the Champions on the outside until Austin caught Owen with a knee to the mid-section after an irish whip and then he dropped the elbow to Owen’s face. Austin went for a sharpshooter then knocked down Davey Boy Smith when he tried to run in.
Austin slammed Owen hard to the mat and then dropped an elbow to his chest. Austin twisted Owen’s wrist and then tagged in Shawn Michaels who jumped off the top and drove a double axehandle to Owen and then gave him a wrist lock until Owen did his usual flip over and tagged in the Bulldog.
Davey Boy took down Shawn with a hard forearm, then Shawn hit a shoulder block, neither men moved, he ducked a clothesline and then gave Bulldog a leapfrog and a thumb to the eye. Shawn then gave Bulldog a hurricanrana and a series of fists to the face as the girls in attendance screamed and Ross pointed out there was no ring rust.
Bulldog bag to his vertical base shoved Michaels off of him and then irish whipped Shawn Michaels but he came off the ropes caught Bulldog’s leg and hit a spinning heel kick.
HBK then twisted the arm of Davey Boy Smith and then tagged in Austin and he hit him down with a forearm shot.
Austin kicked at the groin of Bulldog.
Austin had Davey Boy down and he then choked him out.
Davey Boy Smith had his arm twisted and Austin stomped to the canvas hard and then Bulldog over powered Austin and irish whipped him to the corner where Owen hit Austin from behind and then behind the official’s back Owen dropped Austin on the steel gaurd rail.
The Hart Foundation then came towards the ring and teased interfering.
Back in the ring Owen tagged in and had Austin in a headlock until Austin hit a shoulder block and Owen stood there then Austin stunnered Owen after he had a headlock.
Steve was down at the same time as Owen due to the punishment from Owen on the outside which was logical and allowed Owen time to tag in Bulldog.
Davey Boy Smith and Shawn Michaels both got tagged in at the same time and he hit some flying forearms to Davey Boy Smith until he picked him up with his great power and dropped Shawn on the outside. Owen then rammed Shawn’s back into the ring post on the outside. Owen then threw Shawn back in the ring.
Interesting to note that Austin and Michaels would always distract the ref why Owen attacked the other member of that team.
Bulldog catapolted Shawn into the top turnbuckle and got a two count from the official.
Davey Boy Smith then sent Shawn hard into the corner and he flipped upside down and then Bulldog hit a running powerslam until Austin broke up the count. Austin then with a ton of energy in his tank attacked Owen in the gorner.
A gut wrench into a suplex by Owen to Michaels and then a leg drop. Owen then with a side headlock to Michaels.
This is UNBELIEVABLE ACTION. Seriously some of the best wrestling to ever see Raw television, that is FOR SURE.
Michaels fought out of the side headlock and then hit a shoulder block, went to the ropes but Owen hit back with a tremendous belly to belly suplex! Owen pushed Austin on the apron which got Earl Hebner to warn Austin not to come in, which helped Bulldog choke out Shawn behind his back.
Owen then cornered Shawn and stomped on him. McMahon says “No team has ever been better then the Bulldog and Owen!” Owen distracted the referee while Michaels hit a sunsetflip on Michaels and then when the ref turned around he irish whipped Michaels into the corner and he flipped again, hitting hard into the buckle with serious impact.
Davey Boy Smith with a front facelock to Michaels but he was able to tag in Austin.
It was a BLIND tag as Hebner had his back turned. The ref didn’t see it, a typical Wrestling Cliche.
Owen then tagged in and dropped Michaels on the top turnbuckle and locked on a suplex from the top but it was only an attempt as Shawn pushed him back first and then HBK flied off the top with a crossbody, but Owen then hit a spinning heel kick to Shawn Michaels.
This is what put HBK on the shelf screamed Ross! A year ago! Michaels then sent in the corner but able to tag in Austin, and Owen at the same time taggged in Bulldog.
What an unbelievable pace.
Austin went insane when tagged in and attacked OWen and Bulldog. Austin went for the Stunner on Bulldog but OWen broke it up, and then Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music on Bulldog and then Austin covered him, when Hebner turned around he counted the three and we had new tag team champions!
I don’t think you’ll get more BANG for your BUCK, especially for a TV match.
This was as good of a tag team match as these four could have ever produced on RAW. After the match Austin speared Bret on the top of the ramp and then hammered on his injured leg and went for a Sharpshooter until Owen hit him from behind.
Every BIT as good as I remembered. A classic, a top 10-15 Raw match ever.
2) Stone Cold Stuns McMahon
-Everyone remembers this. Everyone knew it was an incredible moment.
Austin changed the business.
3) Cornette Shoots
-Tremendous shoot by Cornette on the business at the time.
Classic lines like “Randy Savage is a legend but how many albums DID Frank Sinatra sell last year?”
“Hogan is a legend but like trash, it stinks when it gets old too.”
Then he claims Bret and Shawn are both amazingly talented but have amazing ego’s, and Flair, Austin and Taker are the true legends.
4) Vince McMahon Interview – “Bret screwed Bret”
-Pretty good job considering it happened so quickly by Vince.
Even though everything he is saying I don’t agree with in the slightest. If this helped him sleep better, so be it.
5) Shawn Michaels and Triple H vs the Legion of Doom -Raw December 1997
Michaels and Hunter set to take on the LOD.
Animal takes down Shawn to start. Ross and Cornette are on commentary. A side headlock and then he runs into a shoulder block.
Michaels face raked and not going to win a power battle tags in Hunter. Ross speculated that Hunter could use his technique to overpower the raw strength of Animal.
Animal hits a shoulder block but Helmsley with an arm-ringer. A tag back into Michaels who torks the arm of Animal and as he escapes Hawk clotheslines him.
Shawn does his usual bumping and crawls up the ramp with Hunter exposing his ass for the 800th time.
HHH helps Shawn but Hunter comes in the ring. Hawk tags in and then he clotheslines Hunter and chops him. Hawk over-powering Hunter. Hawk runs into a high knee by Hunter as Ross puts him over on commentary. Michaels choked out Hawk in the corner.
Hunter with a tag back into Shawn and Hunter hit a drop toe-hold on Hawk and Michaels delivered an elbow to a vulneable Road warrior Hawk. Nice tag-team tandem offense.
Micahels taunts Animal as DX isolated Hawk in their corner.
A snapmare by Michaels and Hunter hits a running knee-drop onto Hawk. HHH put Hawk in the corner and both members of DX beat on Hawk.
Back from a commercial break and we see Michaels holding a front facelock on Hawk but he eventually had the will to throw him aside. A collision in the corner knocks both men down.
Animal in on the hot tag andhe goes to work on DX cleaning house with charging clothesline’s.
Out run the Outlaws and Animal on the outside runs into a cloth and liquid by Road Dogg. Chyna hit a lowblow on Animal at 7:25 as LOD win by DQ.
This match is actually not bad at all but it was more to show a rare match between to legendary teams and DX’s heel antics of shaving Hawk’s head after the match.
6) DX invades WCW
-Ahhh yes. This was one of the more clever shots Vince took to Turner and Bischoff in 1998.
7) The Last Nitro
-A good piece they put together of the last Nitro including commentary from many superstars sharing there thoughts.
8 ) nWo in the WCW Production truck
-Some early innovative Work from the creative mind of Eric Bischoff having an anti-authority group
9) Eric Bischoff challenges Vince McMahon -Nitro May 11th 1998
-Bischoff getting nervous from the Federation’s popularity at the time challenged Vince to help boost his ratings.
Bischoff basically responding to the DX invading wcw. Bischoff said he’d knock Vince out.
Vince elected not to go.
10) Match #4 in a Best of Seven Series- Chris Benoit vs Booker T -WCW Monday Night Nitro: June 1st 1998
Booker up 2-1 in the series at this point.
In WCW these two put on a clinic seven times in a row with the final match at the Great American Bash at 1998 which I rate four stars.
It’s time for a match on Monday Night Nitro.
Chris Benoit and Booker T tie-up and Benoit is pushed off. Booker slams Benoit on the canvas. Benoit runs into a reverse elbow off the ropes.
Finlay stood on the apron with the TV Title and looked on. Booker chopped at Benoit in the corner. Chris fights back and delivered an elbow but Benoit ran into a powerslam. Booker with an armbar on Benoit. Booker hit a side suplex on Benoit.
Booker T goes to the top rope and hit a crossbody. Booker sent Benoit to the outside and dropped a double axehandle on Benoit. Booker T comes back in but now Benoit tunes up his game.
Benoit cornered Booker and stomped on him in the corner.
Benoit viciously taking it to T. The Crippler with a hard right and then a chop. Benoit again lets a reverse chop go and a kick to the mid-section of the bigger man. Benoit with a textbook, snapshot vertical suplex.
Nobody did that better.
After a move like that Benoit kicked at Booker a couple of times grounding him.
Benoit had Booker in a sleeper.
Booker got up and hit a scissors kick to Benoit.
Booker then in control all of the sudden tries to slow Benoit down with a headlock.
Trying to slow down his momentum. Booker hit a powerful clothesline on Benoit. Booker with a kick to the mid-section and Benoit bounced back with shots of his own. Booker hit a big kick but Benoit kicked out.
Booker again with a rear chinlock.
Schiavone talked about the Chicago Bulls meanwhile Benoit hit a release German and then couldn’t bridge him for a pinfall.
Benoit with shots to Booker and he kicked at Benoit until landing an axe kick to Benoit.
Booker hesitated and then picked up Benoit and hit a back suplex. Booker T went for a suplex but Benoit countered into the Crippler Crossface.
Booker tapped at 8:27 with no commercials.
This was a great little TV match on Nitro in their best of seven series.
11) Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) vs Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship -WCW Monday Night Nitro July 6, 1998
I remember that Summer and everyone talking about the big Hogan-Goldberg match to take place TONIGHT on Nitro. It didn’t matter if you were into Austin or DX, this mattered to everyone in the wrestling world.
The Georgia Dome is packed for this one to see there hometown.
By this time Goldberg is now second in popularity to Austin in the business, but in this company he`s beyond over it`s scary.
Never before had an undefeated wrestler become Champion. Goldberg at the time was Us Champ and 106-0.
Again here on the Monday Night wars dvd they don’t show the long and full-complete entrances to this huge match which is a nice touch on the world title dvd. They learn as they go I guess.
The stage was set as the bell rings. The fans erupt at the bell and the chants are loud playing mind games with Hollywood.
The two tie-up.
Goldberg immediately uses the power with a side headlock. Goldberg delivered a shoulder block to Hulk Hogan. Goldberg in a front facelock by Hogan until Bill backs him into the corner.
Goldberg won a test of strength battle.
Hulk then raked the face and back of Goldberg to a chorus of boo’s.
Hogan gave more shots to Bad Bill.
Goldberg retaliated by taking the belt of Hogan for himself and threw it away. He wanted to earn this win. Hogan with a lowblow behind Robinson, two illegal moves and the match continues. Hogan choking Goldberg out down on the mat.
Hogan on the outside tried to weardown Berg with some chairshots. Hogan slammed Goldberg to the mat and landed a legdrop. Then another but finally Tenay sells it and Berg kicked out. Hogan is stunned.
Hennig comes out and then he is taken out by a Diamond Cutter!
Goldberg spears Hogan!
Heenan is just great here like always.
In the end Goldberg became the new Champion after a Jackhammer and Spear at a tv time of 8:10 with no breaks.
This match is very basic but significant. Good stuff.
One of the best moments in company history.
12) Ric Flair returns to WCW
-The emotional return of Naitch When Double A helps him return and Flair shoots on Bischoff.
13) Rick Rude Appears on Nitro and Raw on the Same Night
-The Final extra of the DVD consists of Rick Rude appearing on Nitro and Raw on the same night after the Montreal Screwjob.
This is which he did for Bret Hart.
Final Rating for “The Monday Night Wars” = 7/10
This Single Disc DVD covers a lot of ground and does it in an entertaining fashion.
Yes, this DVD is biased for being hypocritical in areas but it’s still a good look at the top moments from both companies during one of the most exciting periods in the industry and for that reason alone it’s worth picking up if you want to see some of the most important moments of the 90’s.
It’s not a big deal, just something I had to re-read a couple of times to try to understand. I guess that with WWE DVDs first being produced in 1999, and having amounted a hefty collection by the time this was released (in 2004), I’d just never considered this as one of the very first DVDs.
Alan, relatively speaking up to 2011 it would be considered an earlier production, and also comporable to all the multi-disc releases we see these days I pointed out both. I can definitely see your point but its truly not too big a deal.
“This is a Single-Disc DVD set and was one of the very first put out by the company.”
What’s this supposed to mean? That it was one of the first DVDs put out by the company? One of the first single-disc DVDs to be put out by the company? Which? In any case, neither is correct. Just a very odd comment.
Gerald Briscoe’s ass kissing almost ruins this DVD! In my personal opinion the transitional time was the most exciting because everthing was new and exciting. Its just disappointing that they settled for the style of product that they did. Nitro has not been given enough credit for changing wrestling. Raw was pretty dull in comparison before Nitro came along and wrestling has generally sucked for the last 10 years. Its lucky that they own all this footage because the DVDs are the only thing worth watching now. “Don’t mess with Mr. Mac-Mahon”.
They could of given the title to a much more deserving (at the time) Owen at Summerslam or given him a short reign which was better then nothing.
Backlund was out of the blue.
“Yet they slapped the title on Bob Backlund in 1994 who was extremely old school. That’s a different story for a different day. If this DVD weren’t biased they’d maybe question that?”
I’d just like to point Backlund only had the title for 3 days and the sole purpose was to transition the belt from Bret onto Diesel