Thunder – May 27, 1999

Thunder
Date: May 27, 1999
Location: North
Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, South Carolina
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Believe it or not
things are looking up just a bit in WCW. The most recent Nitro was
just a disaster instead of the worst show ever. There is an
interesting story coming up with the old guard not being happy with
the lack of respect they’ve been getting from the younger crowd,
which led to Benoit and Malenko turning on Flair earlier this week.
Let’s get to it.

We open with a video of
Savage’s recent path of destruction, even though his girls have done
most of the work.
The announcers do their
thing. It’s Sting vs. Rick Steiner in a cage on Nitro.
Lash Leroux vs. Kaz
Hayashi
Leroux
takes him down to start and works on the arm before putting Kaz on
the mat again with an armdrag. Back up and Kaz offers a handshake,
only to kick Leroux in the ribs instead. A dropkick puts Leroux down
again but he avoids a spinwheel kick, only to get caught in a
backslide for two. Things slow down a bit as Kaz gets into kick and
chop mode before dropping an elbow.
We cut to the back to
see Savage and the girls because this is his company now. Savage is
looking for Bagwell but beats up Disco Inferno and Scotty Riggs
instead. Back to the match happening in the background, Leroux
hammers away in the corner with right hands. We get more kicks from
Kaz because he’s from Japan, meaning he only knows how to kick you
see. He mixes things up by going to the eyes, only to have the fans
chant that both guys suck.
Leroux comes back with
some very basic offense before a kind of sitout Dominator for two.
The Whiplash is countered and Kaz kicks him in the ribs again,
followed by a quick hurricanrana. Lash crotches him on top but gets
shoved right down, only to dropkick a diving Hayashi out of the air.
Now it’s Lash going up but getting superplexed down, setting up a top
rope senton splash to give Kaz the pin.
Rating:
C-.
This wasn’t bad but the Savage thing put a big halt in the middle of
it. These are the kind of guys that WCW could use to help flesh out
the cruiserweight division a bit and thankfully they were able to
have a match without Hugh Morrus interfering and eliminating them
both. This is what Thunder should be about: showcasing guys that
don’t get time on Nitro.
Van Hammer vs.
Prince Iaukea
Time
for more of Hammer’s latest push that won’t go anywhere. Iaukea
tries to speed things up to start and actually hits an enziguri to
stagger the big man before dropping him with a springboard dropkick.
Not that it matters as Hammer kicks Iaukea’s head off to put him on
the floor. The beating continues outside until Hammer launches him
back inside. We cut to UFC fighter Tank Abbott in the front row.
UFC wasn’t a huge thing yet as they had only had nineteen shows at
this point. Abbott had fought for them as recently as October 1998.

Iaukea
gets sent into the apron a few times and goes head first into the
steps. Back in and we hit the bearug for a bit with Iaukea saving
himself using the power of a hard head. He tries to slam Hammer and
gets crushed for two for his efforts. Iaukea goes back up and gets
crotched, setting up a superplex (same sequence from the first match)
followed by the cobra clutch slam for the pin.
Rating:
D.
When I was talking about showcasing talent that doesn’t get the
spotlight on Nitro, I meant guys that you would want to see getting
spotlight like that. Instead here we had two guys who either aren’t
interesting or haven’t been interesting in years. Thankfully it was
a pretty short match but anytime Iaukea is out there it gets painful.
Video on Nash vs.
Savage.
Buy this shirt!
Video from Nitro of
Savage attacking Nash and lipsticking him.
Gene brings out Savage
and the girls for a chat. Savage thinks Nash fears him, that Bagwell
disrespected him, and that he’ll take the title at the Bash. The
girls all think Savage rocks and that’s about it. This really didn’t
need to be an in ring segment.
The Cat vs. Vampiro
This
is the result of an open challenge after Cat ripped on Scott Norton,
calling him Yogi Bearer for some reason. Sonny Onoo offers Vampiro
money to leave, allowing Miller to get in some cheap shots from
behind. Vampiro comes back with kicks to the ribs and ducks a kick
that winds up hitting Sonny. More shots to the face have Miller in
trouble but he nails Vampiro low to escape. It doesn’t seem to have
a long lasting effect though as Vampiro keeps kicking and nails a
Rock Bottom. Onoo knees him in the back though and Miller finishes
Vampiro quick with the Feliner.
Benoit
goes into Flair’s office to yell at him but Page jumps Chris from
behind and beats him down.
Here’s
Brian Knobs with something to say. He brags about being hardcore and
all that jazz until Jimmy Hart interrupts. Jimmy says he managed
Brian in the past and wants him back for the First Family. Brian
isn’t sure but will think about it.
Clip from Nitro of
Flair and Piper fighting.
Clip from Nitro of
Hennig and Konnan fighting.
Konnan vs. Kenny
Kaos
We
get a bunch of catchphrases from Konnan followed by him praising all
of his friends. Feeling out process to start until Kaos’ wristlock
is countered with an armdrag. Kaos drops him again with a a
clothesline and elbow before we hit the way too early chinlock. Back
up and Konnan hits his wrap around bulldog and the low dropkick
followed by some right hands in the corner.
A
few clotheslines and a suplex get two on Konnan and we hit another
chinlock. Kaos shouts at the crowd a lot and gets caught in a DDT
for a quick two. We get the usual from Konnan but he charges into a
powerslam. Kaos goes up, misses a guillotine legdrop and gets caught
in the Tequila Sunrise for the submission.
Rating:
D.
Gah these matches can be dull. Kaos is a guy that doesn’t have
anything going for him and Konnan is suddenly all cool with Nash
again despite having issues with him just a few months back. This
was just wrestling to fill in space on a card which can be the least
interesting things imaginable when there’s no motivation.
This Week In WCW
Motorsports.
Video on Nash.
Lenny Lane vs. Evan
Karagias
Evan hammers away to
start and grabs a hammerlock before dropkicking him down. A
clothesline puts Lane on the floor and here’s Lodi to watch they
match. Lane sends Evan into the apron and then the steps before they
head back inside for an elbow from Lenny. He sees Lodi
and….doesn’t seem to mind. Evan jumps over him in the corner and
drives in ten right hands. A springboard clothesline gets two on
Lenny but he grabs an airplane spin of all things.
Evan
gets dropped with a gutbuster as Lodi seems very pleased. Back up
and Karagias gets two off a cross body. Lodi: “Looking really,
really good.” Evan pops back to his feet and floats around into a
faceplant. A cross body gets a delayed two but Lane gets Karagias
onto his shoulders for an electric chair slam for two. Not that it
matters as Evan slams him down and hits a corkscrew splash for the
pin.
Rating:
D+.
This could have been worse and was somehow a breath of fresh air
after all of the boring stuff we’ve sat through for the last hour or
so. That being said, I have a bad feeling about where the Lodi stuff
is going as it’s likely going to be yet another big embarrassment for
the company.
From Nitro: Piper yells
about Flair a lot.
Video on Sting/Luger
vs. the Steiners.
Gene talks to Tank
Abbott at ringside and Tank doesn’t seem to be all that happy with
what he’s seen so far. This hardcore division is a joke and the
wrestlers all look pathetic. Gene says there’s going to be a “shoot”
cage match on Monday between Sting and Rick Steiner, which Tank of
course laughs off. This brings out Rick Steiner to yell, start a
fight, and get pulled away. He wants Abbott to come to Nitro as Tank
is taken out by security.
Recap of Flair giving
the Jersey boys the Tag Team Title shot and the Horsemen quitting as
a result.
Chris Benoit vs.
Diamond Dallas Page
This
has potential. Benoit comes out to what used to be Dean’s theme for
some reason. They immediately slug it out to start and Benoit has
him in the Crossface fifteen seconds in. Page gets to the ropes and
bails to the floor, only to have Chris take him out with a dive. He
sends Page head first into the post but walks into a knee back
inside. A belly to back suplex puts the Canadian down but Benoit
just chops him into the corner and stomps him in the chest.
Page
gets back up and counters a whip with an elbow to the jaw to put both
guys down. They roll outside with Page being sent into various steel
objects, only to send Benoit into the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Benoit catching Page coming in but his right hands in the
corner are countered with a low blow and hot shot. A stomping puts
Benoit on the floor before a big gutbuster has him in trouble back
inside.
Benoit
gets tied up in the Tree of Woe for another stomping. We hit the
chinlock, complete with something like a chinlock slam for two. Off
to a sleeper on Benoit but he jawbreaks his way to freedom. Some
running right hands put Page down and a bridging German suplex gets
two. That’s not enough for Benoit so he rolls some more Germans
until Page breaks it up with a low blow. A big sitout powerbomb
gives Page a near fall but Benoit counters the Cutter and puts on the
Crossface in the middle of the ring. Since we can’t have someone
lose clean around here though, Bigelow runs out for the DQ.
Rating:
B-.
This took its time to get going but once they got to the trading big
moves section, they really started to cook. The ending was
inevitable though as they couldn’t put Benoit over because Page has a
title shot coming up and you don’t want to put Page over because
Benoit is coming off a big turn. Good match though and a nice pick
up after the bad show so far.
Flair,
Bigelow and Page beat down Benoit and no one makes the save.
Another video on Nash
vs. Savage.
Randy Savage vs.
Buff Bagwell
After
some jawing from both guys and a few Nash insults from Savage, the
girls shove Bagwell to give Macho the early advantage. Savage busts
out a wide variety of choking before taking it outside to drop Buff’s
throat on the barricade. Back in and Miss Madness nails a top rope
missile dropkick to prove her worth. Savage ties Bagwell in the Tree
of Woe before choking even more. Off to a neck hold as Patrick yells
at two of the girls, allowing George to use her shoe on Buff’s
throat. Savage yells at Patrick so he actually gets a chair to
defend himself. That’s fine with Randy, who takes the chair away and
nails Buff for the DQ.
Rating:
D.
If this is supposed to get Bagwell over, they’re doing a horrible job
of going about it. This was a total squash until Bagwell won on a DQ
due to stealing a referee’s weapon. Again, the girls help him out
WAY too much as well, even though in this case he could have won on
his own pretty easily.
Overall
Rating:
D.
Somehow this was an upgrade over some of the recent shows. Above all
else, there was nowhere near as much talking on this show. That
being said, it meant that we had a lot more time for wrestling, and
that has rarely been Thunder’s strong point. The Benoit vs. Page
match was good and a very nice break from the norm, but this old vs.
new thing has a big hole to dig them out of.
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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