Thunder – April 22, 1999

Thunder
Date: April 22, 1999
Location: Orlando
Arena, Orlando, Florida
Attendance: 9,429
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Welcome to the bottom
of the cliff for WCW. On Nitro earlier this week we saw DDP turn
heel for no apparent reason, Nash turn face after being one forever
but then save Goldberg for no apparent reason and then Flair
committed to a mental hospital for reasons of WCW being stupid.
Hopefully a taped Thunder picks things up a bit. Let’s get to it.

The announcers run down
the card, which actually doesn’t sound too bad. A six man between
Benoit/Malenko/Kidman vs. Mysterio/Raven/Saturn sounds very
appealing.
Hardcore Hak vs.
Hugh Morrus
Morrus
takes the kendo stick away and nails Hak to start as Larry is already
ripping on the hardcore stuff. Now it’s trashcan lid time followed
by a mop to Hak’s head. Hak comes back with a trashcan shot as
Chastity starts handing in even more weapons. They head outside
where Morrus reverses a whip into the barricade and nails Hak with
another stick. Back in and Hak sends him face first into a chair
because he doesn’t know how to do many regular wrestling moves. He
draps Morrus over the top rope and drops a leg over his back before
bringing in a table.
That’s not enough so he
brings in a ladder but Morrus grabs a powerslam. No Laughing Matter
connects for no cover. Hart comes in to set up two tables but
Chastity sprays him with a fire extinguisher. The guys actually in
the match climb the ladder with Morrus being shoved through the
tables. Hak’s White Russian legsweep through the pieces of the table
is enough for the pin.
Rating:
N/A.
That’s going to be my standard grade for this stuff going forward for
the simple reason of this isn’t wrestling. Hak got over because of
his entrance in ECW and that’s about the extent of his usefulness.
This was a disaster and I believe Morrus was injured and out for a
few weeks as a result of this. It doesn’t even have the stupid charm
that ECW has half the time.
Video on Nash vs. Page.
We look at the Black
and White attacking Konnan on Nitro.
Konnan vs. Scotty
Riggs
Konnan
hammers away at Riggs, sending him looking for his mirror. The
bulldog and low dropkick have Riggs in even more trouble and Konnan
fires off more punches in the corner. Back in and Scotty fires off
punches of his own followed by an actually awesome dropkick. We hit
the chinlock for a bit before Riggs elbows Konnan down to stop his
comeback bid. After a Rick Rude hip swivel, Riggs suplexes him down
but misses a top rope ax handle. Konnan kicks him in the ribs, hits
the X Factor and hooks the Tequila Sunrise for the win.
Rating:
D.
Riggs’ continued employment astounds me but I’m assuming that
dropkick has something to do with it. Konnan was his usual self
here, even though he’s fallen through the floor ever since getting
thrown out of the NWO. He’s just there anymore and doesn’t do
anything but get on my nerves with his odd language.
Video on Flair vs.
Piper.
Video on the awesome
fourway from Monday.
Vampiro vs. Al
Greene
They
trade armbars to start until Vampiro grabs a full nelson. That goes
nowhere either so Greene shoves him off and nails a shoulder. Greene
takes him down but Vampiro rides him on the mat to send Al out to the
floor. Vampiro hits a plancha and takes him back inside for some
chops. This is already going nowhere. A suplex puts Vampiro down
but he comes back up with a superkick and a high cross body. Instead
of covering off that, Vampiro grabs a rollup for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
The high spots helped a bit but this was only a step or two above the
previous match. Vampiro really doesn’t hold up but at least he’s
somewhat better as a face. On the other hand, it’s hard to hate
someone named Big Al. Seriously, try it sometime. Anyway this was
about what you would expect from this kind of match.
Hotline shill.
TV Title: Booker T.
vs. Bobby Duncum Jr.
Booker
is defending. Tenay offers condolences to Rick Rude’s family as Rick
passed away two days earlier. They trade some headlocks and Booker
gets taken into the corner for some kicks to the ribs. Booker fights
back with some kicks and a clothesline to send Bobby out to the
floor. Duncum pulls him to the floor though and ties Booker’s feet
with his bullrope. Because he’s a cowboy you see, because WCW loves
cowboys.
We
take a break and come back with Bobby holding a chinlock. A big boot
and belly to belly get two on Booker and we’re in the chinlock all
over again. They head outside with Bobby having a pair of chairs
taken away from him. Serves the cheater right. Back in and a top
rope clothesline gets two for Duncum and we’re back to the chinlock.
A clothesline puts Booker down for two more and it’s time for the
bullrope again. Booker ducks a big swing and hits the ax kick and
missile dropkick to retain.
Rating:
C-.
Duncum had a good look but being a cowboy is only going to take him
so far. It gets dull watching a guy just carrying a rope and wearing
a hat as the entirety of his gimmick. Booker is still doing well but
he’s back in the same rut he’s been in for years with just having
random matches that don’t lead anywhere.
Video on Bagwell
calling out Steiner.
Buff Bagwell vs. Fit
Finlay
After
starting a USA chant, Buff takes him down with a quick armdrag to
send Finlay out to the floor. Back in and Finlay nails him in the
face with a European uppercut and slams Buff face first onto the
apron. He tries to bring in a chair ala Duncum and has it taken away
just like Bobby. Back in and Finlay pulls on Buff’s nose (seriously)
but Buff fights up with a jawbreaker. They trade slams and Buff
nails a headbutt but walks into a knee to the ribs. Another European
uppercut staggers Buff and the rolling fireman’s carry gets two.
Buff stops a charging Finlay in the corner with a boot and nails the
Blockbuster for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
They’re firmly in the “here’s wrestling” mode tonight with no
real emotion or energy to anything. Buff’s face run continues to
work well enough, but he’s only a little bit ahead of Scotty Riggs as
far as in ring abilities. Finlay was his usual good self but he
didn’t have much to work with here.
This Week in WCW
Motorsports.
We look at Flair being
committed on Monday.
Disco Inferno vs.
Rick Steiner
After a commercial for
some reason, Rick quickly kicks Disco out to the floor before choking
him down in the corner. More punching and choking ensues as this is
all Steiner so far. Some kicks send Disco running out to the floor
out of fear for this boring match. Back in and Disco nails the
swinging neckbreaker and a middle rope elbow. He goes up again but
dives into a belly to belly suplex. A regular suplex sets up the
Steiner Bulldog followed by a kind of STF to make Disco tap.
Rating:
D-.
Total squash here and the rise of Rick Steiner begins. This is
another one of those things in 1999 that really makes me shake my
head as Rick would get worse and worse in the ring and get higher and
higher on the card as a result. Disco got in almost nothing here and
might as well have been from In The Corner To My Left.
We
look at Page embracing the dark side to end Nitro.
Goldberg
vs. Ernest Miller
Miller
offers him the five count but kicks Goldberg at two. Some kicks have
Goldberg staggered but he just punches Miller in the face. Sonny
Onoo tries to interfere but Goldberg gorilla presses him at Miller
and immediately spears both of them down in a cool looking spot.
Jackhammer ends this quick.
Kidman/Chris
Benoit/Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr./Raven/Saturn
Main
event time and Kidman doesn’t look thrilled with his partners. The
three teams are scheduled for a triangle match at Slamboree which
sounds awesome. Robinson is guest referee of course. Mysterio and
Malenko get things going with Rey hammering away in the corner. An
armdrag takes Malenko down and we get a standoff. Off to Raven vs.
Kidman with the bird enthusiast driving shoulders in the corner.
Raven
crotches him on the top rope and Saturn nails a missile dropkick to
put Kidman on the floor. A plancha nails Kidman on the floor as
Mysterio protests. The argument allows Kidman to tag in Malenko for
a dropkick to Saturn’s knee. Dean chokes away and Kidman is hesitant
to come in under such circumstances. Saturn’s powerbomb attempt is
countered but Raven breaks up a Shooting Star attempt.
That’s
fine with Saturn as he belly to belly superplexes the crotched Kidman
across the ring. Off to Raven for an atomic drop but Kidman sends
him into the corner and tags out to Dean. Raven and Saturn take over
on Malenko just as easily before tagging in Mysterio for a dropkick.
Malenko suplexes Rey down and we take a break.
Back
with everyone in the same spot due to the wonders of taped shows.
Saturn has a red headdress for no apparent reason. Benoit goes after
Rey’s knee, drawing in Saturn for an attempted save. That’s exactly
what the Horsemen want as they switch behind the referee’s back to
keep control. Dean gets two off a suplex and brings in Kidman who
tries to help Rey up.
Benoit
will have none of this compassion stuff and tags himself so he can
throw Kidman to the floor. A superplex drops Rey again as the
Horsemen keep control. Dean throws Mysterio outside and everything
breaks down. That goes nowhere as Malenko takes Rey back inside and
bends Mysterio’s back over his knee.
Rey finally takes
Malenko down with the sitout bulldog and makes the tag to Saturn.
Everything breaks down again with Rey tagging himself back in after a
few seconds. Kidman clotheslines Malenko “by mistake” but
Anderson crotches Rey on the top. The spinebuster plants Rey and
Kidman protests, but Dean dropkicks Kidman onto Mysterio for a fast
count pin.
Rating:
B-.
Take six guys and give them about fifteen minutes to be awesome. It
wasn’t a classic but it blew away everything else on this show. This
likely sets up some tension between the Tag Team Champions as we head
into Slamboree. That match is going to rock given the talent in the
ring. Good main event here.
Overall
Rating:
D+.
The main event brings this up a good bit as everything else was
basic, boring stuff that didn’t need to exist. At the end of the day
though, I’ll take dull, generic wrestling over stuff that insults my
intelligence, making this show a bit more tolerable than the worst of
Nitro. It’s also a step up over some of the worst Thunders they’ve
had over the last few months.
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