Luke Owen reviews the second episode of The Monday Night War on the WWE Network…
Read the previous episode review here.
The first episode of The Monday Night War felt like a Frankenstein creation of a show as interviews and commentaries from previously released DVDs were merged together to tell the early beginnings of the ratings war. But the second episode, which focuses on the rise (but not the fall) of the New World Order, feels like a show that was made specifically for the Network. It features (mostly) all new interviews with only the Eric Bischoff bits and a few soundbites from Big Show are rehashed from old documentaries.
What’s also better this week is that the show doesn’t always feel like your Granddad telling you the same stories he’s been telling you for years but you sit and listen politely too. They of course tread some of the same water as they talk about Scott Hall and Kevin Nash making the jump to WCW from WWF but it feels more in depth. Interviews with Hall and Nash talk about the contract negotiations, not wanting to leave and the plans Bischoff had when bringing them in. Nash also talks very openly about the horrible gimmicks he had during his early run in WCW and how that made him apprehensive for jumping ship and there is some great archive footage of each one of the terrible characters. You can’t say it’s all new as you have heard all these stories before, but occasionally there will be some gems like Nash talking about WCW’s reactions to the news that “Diesel” and “Razor Ramon” were heading back to WWF and how the decision came about to turn Hogan heel and join the nWo.
Perhaps a more funny side to this episode is how it goes out of its way to tell the audience that the only reason Hall and Nash got over in WCW as The Outsiders was because WWF fans wanted to see WCW get beaten up and that the story was a success because WWF was the bigger and better brand. This is something that happens in all WWE made productions about WCW, but it seems particularly odd here as they spend the rest of the episode talking about how no one was watching WWF and their product was becoming stale and uninteresting while WCW was hip and cool. It’s an odd balance and a very bizarre theory as to why The Outsiders became so popular as it’s fairly obvious to anyone outside of the wrestling bubble?
There are also some humorous production edits and removals that longtime fans will notice, like Bobby Heenan shouting “whose side is he on” at Bash at the Beach and Nash’s flub on live TV where he describes the word “play” as an adjective missing from footage.
The Hogan turn takes up a good portion of the episode, but it’s again frustrating there are no comments from Sting. However, this is perhaps the best telling of Hogan joining the nWo that they’ve ever produced. Hogan doesn’t quite open up about how his career had come to the end of its time with the prayers and vitamins, but everyone else does. There’s even some great footage of him getting booed while he’s in the red and yellow. However, there is again some discrepancies between stories on who really made the call for Hogan to turn heel, but the story is told pretty well.
Episode 2 of The Monday Night War was a vast improvement on the first episode and it feels less like a mishmash mess. The next episode appears to be looking at The Attitude Era so it will be interesting to see what stories they pick to tell here or if they rehash the Attitude Era documentary that is, funnily enough, also available on the WWE Network. It’s also interesting that the episode only touched on the nWo being oversaturated as perhaps a full look at that will be saved for a future episode.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.