Thunder – January 7, 1999

Thunder
Date:
January 7, 1999
Location:
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Attendance:
8,597
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
a new year but somehow it feels like we’re still in 1997. Hogan is
World Champion again and he has the full NWO behind him including Lex
Luger and the Outsiders. This is the first show after the Fingerpoke
of Doom, which is kind of uncharted territory. So many people
remember the Fingerpoke of Doom, but after that you barely hear any
TV talked about until Russo came in. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Flair vs. Bischoff which earned Ric control of
the company ten days earlier. You would think this would be a
montage of what happened Monday, not ten days ago. There is a clip
from Monday, though it’s about what Flair did on his first night in
power. This eats up nearly five minutes.
The
announcers talk about Bischoff a bit before we talk about the World
Title situation from Monday. Tony: “Words cannot describe what
happened on Monday.” You mean when Nash laid down to give Hogan
the title and the NWO reunited? That’s something you can’t describe?
We see the ending segment again, plus some bonus footage from after
the show went off the air. Goldberg wanted to fight Nash but I
believe the Atlanta Falcons got in the ring instead. Nash didn’t
come out so this really doesn’t mean much.
Gene
brings out Flair for a chat. He asks Ric about what happened on
Monday and Flair is very serious. Flair talks about the tradition in
this building and wrestling Harley Race here eighteen years ago.
They were two men fighting to be the World Heavyweight Champion.
That brings him to Hogan and Nash. Flair has spent his entire career
walking behind Hulk Hogan and ten years from now, they’re going to
look at their kids and have to explain what they’ve done.
Flair
lays down and demands that Gene count him. He demands to know why
Nash gave the World Title to Hulk Hogan. Flair shook his hand on
Nitro and gave him the match so this is all on the President. He
lists off every member of the new NWO and singles out Luger for
having no leadership.
As
for Bischoff, he spent hours sitting there silently before erupting
at the end. Bischoff will be in a meeting with Harvey Schiller, Ted
Turner and Flair to figure out what to do about Hogan and Nash this
coming Monday. Flair lists off a bunch of legends and says they all
used to be World Champions. Hogan and Nash are not taking away what
that title means.
We
see the clip of Jericho talking to referee Scott Dickinson on Nitro.
Ernest
Miller vs. Perry Saturn
Starrcade
rematch. Miller holds him off with kicks to the air before taking
Saturn into the corner. A superkick puts Saturn down as the fans are
trying to care about this show at all. Saturn tries a sunset flip,
gets punched in the face, and then pulls Miller down after some
posing anyway. Miller gets caught by a head and arms suplex for two
but a Sonny distraction lets Cat get in another kick. Falcon’s Arrow
gets two on Miller but Jericho pulls the referee to the floor. Tony:
“The world has turned upside down.” Miller rolls Saturn up and
Dickinson runs in, counts a one, and gives Miller the match.
Rating:
D. Saturn is now feuding with a
referee. How long ago was he at war with Raven in a hot feud? Four
months? This was a waste of time and I can’t blame Saturn for
wanting to get out of the company as fast as he could. Do Jericho
and Saturn even have an issue? Jericho started stuff with Miller
after Starrcade and now he’s feuding with Saturn because…..WCW?
Both
NWO camps arrive with Hogan in a Red and Black shirt with a flannel
shirt over it, complete with a red
and black Harley-Davidson toboggan.
Giant is the biggest star in Black and White and asks Hogan what’s
up with this. Hogan says give him five minutes and they’ll have a
meeting. Hogan looks like an idiot. We follow the Red and Black
into their dressing room….and that’s all for this shot.
We
look at Luger turning heel. Thankfully Tony brings up Scott Steiner
recruiting him, so there is at least a backstory for it, even though
it could have just been part of the NWO merger.
Cruiserweight
Title: Kidman vs. Psychosis
Kidman
is defending. They stall to start until Psychosis cranks on a
wristlock into a hammerlock. Kidman rolls him out to the floor and
hits a nice plancha as we go to a break. Back with….an ad for the
Nitro Girls calendar. Now we’re back with both guys down on the
floor. Apparently Psychosis hit a big top rope backsplash to the
floor to get them in that position. Not that we get to see it or
anything, but Tenay seemed to think it was rather spiffy.
Back
in and the BK Bomb gets two on Psychosis before he tries a powerbomb
of his own. You know what that means, but Juventud Guerrera runs in
for the DQ before we get the Shooting Star. No rating due to the
commercial but we didn’t get to see many of the high spots anyway.
Rey
Mysterio comes out for the save but here’s the Red and Black. The
cruiserweights get destroyed but Mysterio is allowed to leave. Nash
talks about the match of the century on Monday where Hogan took the
title. Hogan says Flair can’t handle the fact that tradition has
been taken to a new level. He promises to take back the wrestling
business and rips on Goldberg for having police and Atlanta Falcons
protecting him. On Monday, we’ll see what backup is all about.
Cue
the Black and White who aren’t looking very pleased. You can see
Psychosis being taken out as they hit the ring. Giant wants to know
why Hogan didn’t come talk to him but Hollywood says it was just bad
timing. Hogan loves all the Black and White guys but thinks there’s
a problem. It was Giant that got suckered in by the Macho Man (who
hasn’t been seen since the night after Starrcade) and it’s time to
trim some fat around here.
The
Red and Black are all cool, but Giant is jumping in Hogan’s face.
There’s only room for one giant in the NWO, and Kevin Nash has never
dropped the ball. Giant says he’s the giant, because his name says
he is. Hogan respects that and declares love for the Black and
White. Since this is business, how about Nash vs. Giant on Monday
for the giant spot on the team? Giant agrees.
This
Week in WCW Motorsports. There are too many jokes to pick from.
Ad
for the WCW/NWO Thunder game for Playstation.
We
go to Raven’s house where his family and Kanyon are trying to get him
to go back to therapy. He’s sitting there in ring gear and all of
the women say the same things over and over. Raven says he doesn’t
want to go back and everyone talks over each other. Raven finally
walks off. His sister is being played by ECW’s Chastity.
Jerry
Flynn vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Neither
guy has music. Twenty six seconds and Greetings From Asbury Park
ends Jerry.
Tony
wants to know where Konnan was on Monday. That’s a fair question
actually.
Gene
brings out Curt Hennig and Barry Windham for a chat. They talk about
Ric sending his son to a slaughter, even though Ric’s career is
already over. Hennig says not only will it be a handicap match, but
Flair will have a handicapped kid.
Juventud
Guerrera is trying to leave but Gene flags him down because Gene is
an annoying man. Juvy rants about someone getting to Eddie before
switching to Spanish. Gene: “You don’t have to talk to me in
Mexican. You can talk to me in English.” Juvy looks terrified and
escapes while talking about the Wolfpack.
Disco
Inferno vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
No
NWO shirt for Disco anymore. Pepe has a neck brace after what
happened to him on Monday. Disco doesn’t know what to make of it so
he grabs a wristlock instead. A shoulder puts Disco down and it’s
time to dance. Some clotheslines put Inferno down again as they’re
barely past the first month of wrestling school so far. Disco bails
to the floor and Pepe rides Chavo around the ring a bit.
Back
in and Chavo fires off some chops as we hear about the Tag Team
Titles being vacated due to Rick Steiner’s injury. Flair has
announced a tournament, but Tony is cut off by Norman Smiley coming
out to do the Big Wiggle with Pepe included. Chavo goes to save the
horse and gets caught by the Chartbuster for the pin.
Rating:
D. The match didn’t have time
to do anything as it was more about continuing Chavo vs. Smiley
rather than anything with Disco. I’m glad Smiley has a feud now but
couldn’t they do more for him than have something about dancing with
a wooden horse? Well in theory they could, but it might take
something away from 87 NWO segments a show.
Tag
Team Title Tournament First Round: Fit Finlay/Dave Taylor vs. Super
Calo/Lizmark Jr.
Finlay
and Calo get things going as Tony talks about seeing Jimmy Snuka and
Paul Orndorff winning the World Tag Team Titles back in the 70s. A
headlock annoys Calo so Finlay sends him flying with a shoulder
instead. Taylor gets in a
kick from the apron and Finlay scores with a clothesline. Lizmark
and Taylor come in with the masked man nailing a dropkick and
stopping for what looked like a dance. Finlay comes back in to clean
house and then hand it back to Taylor. Lizmark misses a moonsault
press and a floatover butterfly suplex sends Finlay and Taylor to the
next round.
Rating:
D+. The match wasn’t horrible
but these matches not even getting to five minutes is getting very
annoying. I get that it’s a special kind of show, but usually you
get a long match to fill in some of the time. This is the fifth
match of the night and the only one that got more than five minutes
had a commercial in it. It doesn’t help that it’s not even anything
interesting, though paying some attention to the tag division is a
nice idea.
Not
that the match matters as the NWO comes in to clean house. Hall says
tradition bites and there’s no tag wrestling around here because the
Outsiders were undefeated. The tournament isn’t going to happen.
Booker
T. vs. La Parka
La
Parka dances a bit but gets forearmed for his efforts. Booker easily
sends him outside but gets caught in a chase, allowing La Parka to
hit some chops in the corner. Time to dance! La Parka fires off
some right hands in the corner as Tony says there’s no way Booker is
getting a World Title shot anytime soon. Booker easily comes back
with the ax kick for two and the whip spinebuster. Tony is of course
talking about some meeting with human resources. La Parka
clotheslines Booker out to the floor and brings the chair in, only to
have Booker kick it into his face for the pin.
Rating:
C-. The match probably wasn’t
that good but after this show I’ll take anything. La Parka wasn’t
the best in the world but he was having a decent match here and
actually trying. Booker continues to look like someone capable of
getting a rocket push at the drop of a hat, but like Tony said, that
simply wasn’t in the cards at this point.
Back
to Raven’s house with him sitting by the pool and Kanyon cleaning. A
man with blond hair named Jim shows up and throws Kanyon in.
Apparently the man is related to the family and gets into a chat with
them as Raven goes inside. You might know Jim better by his ring
name: the Sandman.
We
see Konnan beating Chris Jericho for the TV Title back in November.
Chris
Jericho vs. Konnan
We
cut to the back to see La Parka laid out with the NWO circle of spray
paint around him. Konnan (still
in a Konnan Red and Black shirt)
does the catchphrases and finally gets jumped while he talks forever.
Why did no one ever figure that out before? Konnan
fights back with a shoulder but walks into a spinwheel kick. Another
clothesline puts Jericho on the floor and it’s right back inside for
a chinlock.
That
goes nowhere so a release hot shot puts Konnan down instead. Back up
and Konnan spins around into a bulldog for two followed by the
rolling lariat. Scott Dickinson is bumped and Jericho pulls out a
foreign object for two but Saturn pulls Dickinson out. Back in and
Konnan gets in a cheap shot and Saturn counts a fast three because
why not.
Rating:
D+. This show is rapidly
killing me as this referee nonsense is such a waste of Saturn’s
skills. They tried to throw in something about them coming from the
same wrestling school but at the end of the day, it’s Saturn feuding
with a referee and Jericho by proxy. Why am I supposed to be
interested?
Tony
and Tenay brag about doing commentary in the Thunder game. Heenan:
“Why wasn’t I invited?” Tony: “You’re very obnoxious.”
Chris
Benoit vs. Barry Windham
Apparently
Tony gave human resources a very bad report on Eric Bischoff’s
commentary Monday. They
fight against the ropes to start as Tony lists off a bunch of people
Bischoff has treated horribly over the years. Benoit and Windham
fight to the floor as the announcers still ignore them.
Back
in and Benoit backdrops Barry and chops away in the corner. Windham
nails a quick low blow to take over but gets caught in the release
German. Back to the floor with Benoit being rammed into the
barricade but coming back with a clothesline inside. The
referee goes down again as Benoit hits another German but Hennig
comes in. He gets caught in the Crossface but Barry is back up to
kick Benoit in the head for the pin.
Rating:
D. Think back to all the
battles and matches Benoit has had. Think back to the wars with
Kevin Sullivan. Now imagine a single kick to the back of the head
being enough to pin him. It’s just a way to cap this awful show with
another stupid moment that doesn’t make sense or please any fan.
Mongo
comes out for the save to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
F. This looks to be the
start of a really bad time for WCW. We had terrible matches (none of
which seemed like anyone was even trying save for maybe Booker T. vs.
La Parka) and WAY too much NWO stuff. I see no reason whatsoever for
the LWO to have to be destroyed. Did we really need to prove that
the guys who just destroyed GOLDBERG could beat people up? It’s
clear that there was no thought put into this save for the main event
angles and that’s not a good thing. The main event was just there
and the announcers spent half the time talking about Tony and human
resources. REALLY bad sign here.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
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