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Thunder – October 28, 1999

Thunder
Date:
October 28, 1999
Location:
Cox Arena, San Diego, California
Attendance:
5,091
Commentators:
Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
company has been turned upside down in the last week and a half as
suddenly there’s a World Title tournament for the vacant belt,
wrestling doesn’t matter, and the Filthy Animals are ALL OVER THE
PLACE. Now to be fair that means Torrie on TV a lot more so maybe
this isn’t all bad. Heaven help us with whatever Thunder is going to
become. Let’s get to it.

Opening
montage.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Evan Karagias
This
is a rematch from when Bret interrupted their match on Nitro a few
weeks back. Evan misses an early dropkick and gets headscissored
down but Juvy stops to pose. He spends too long though and gets sent
into the buckle so Evan can hammer away in the corner. A spinwheel
kick drops Evan but he reverses a suplex into one of his own.
They’re starting to pick things up a bit. Juvy nails a dropkick and
a headbutt before yelling at the fans…..and here’s Sid so never
mind.
Sid
actually doesn’t destroy them and lets Juvy leave. He says he’s
undefeated and has proof that Goldberg didn’t beat him. Sid throws
out an open challenge to anyone in the back and Juvy comes back in to
sit on the ropes. Thankfully that’s just a red herring as Benoit
comes out to accept the challenge. Sid promises to cripple Benoit
tonight and chokeslam the cruiserweights to restore our faith in him.
The
announcers chatter about Benoit.
The
Maestro is in the back and talks about being the star of the show.
This character is as much of a disaster as Berlyn.
Chavo
Guerrero is looking for Goldberg because he wants TV time.
Prince
Iaukea vs. The Maestro
Good
grief end this show already. Iaukea dropkicks Maestro as he turns
around so Maestro points a finger at him. THE DEVASTATION! We get
into some basic stuff with both guys trading wristlocks until Maestro
slugs him into the corner. A whip sends Prince across the ring and
Maestro follows him up with even more punches. Prince chops and
backdrops for two but eats a knee lift and gets caught in an STF (the
Encore) for the submission. Short, bad and the Maestro vs. Prince
Iaukea. I think that sums the whole thing up.
Quick
recap of the Revolution vs. the Filthy Animals with Torrie being
kidnapped on Monday.
Perry
Saturn/Dean Malenko vs. Silver King/El Dandy
Shane
says Asya is keeping Torrie wherever the Revolution wants her.
Malenko threatens to break Benoit’s legs on Monday in their
tournament match. The Revolution throws their victims to the floor
but Silver King comes back in for something like a running DDT to
Saturn. Dandy comes in for a double drop toehold and a double kick
to the chest to keep Saturn in trouble.
Back
to King but Dean offers a distraction and Saturn kicks Silver in the
face. It’s off to Dean for a basement dropkick and a lot of
spitting, setting up Saturn’s top rope knee. The Revolution takes
King outside for some choking before a suplex/high cross body combo
gets two. King gets in a few shots for the tag to Dandy for a
missile dropkick to Dean. A plancha takes Saturn down as well
(barely touching him but the dive looked good) but Dean nails Dandy
with a chair, setting up the Cloverleaf for the win.
Rating:
D+. Another squash here and a
bit better performance from the luchadors than I was expecting. That
being said, we’re two days into the Revolution vs. Animals feud and
I’m already sick of both teams. Neither is likeable in the slightest
and the Revolution has gone completely against their original idea.
This was acceptable but at
least it didn’t involve the Animals.
Chavo
searches for Goldberg.
Long
recap of Nitro. This felt like filler.
Harlem
Heat is ready for Curly Bill tonight but Chavo interrupts to talk
about looking for Goldberg.
The
Revolution gets in a car.
Curly
Bill says there are no problems in the Rednecks and he needs to go
back and tend to the moose on his ranch. Gene doesn’t think ranches
have moose and Curly goes off on him about being the real cowboy
here. Ok that wasn’t bad.
Stevie
Ray vs. Curly Bill
Oh…..joy.
Stevie jumps him at the bell and stomps away in the corner as Booker
is on commentary, talking about facing Jeff Jarrett in the
tournament. Stevie misses a middle rope elbow but no sells Curly’s
shoulders and kicks him in the face. They head outside with Curly
going face first onto the announcers’ table (Booker: “ARE YOU OK?”,
followed by a right hand to the face). Back in and Stevie gets two
off a side slam but the referee gets bumped. Dear goodness enough
with that nonsense. Curly hits him with the boot but Booker comes in
for a hard Harlem side kick, setting up the Slap Jack for the pin.
Rating:
D-. This
ref bump stuff has to stop. There’s one on almost every show now and
they’re not even in the main events. This was a three and a half
minute squash but the squasher needed a ref bump to win. That
doesn’t make sense and misses the entire point of basic wrestling
booking.
Konnan/Kidman/Eddie
Guerrero vs. Steven Regal/Chris Adams/Dave Taylor
Before
the match, all of the Animals talk about wanting to do various things
to the Revolution, including playing them like marks. Rey jumps in
on the announcers’ table to talk about the Revolution. Taylor goes
right after Eddie to start and avoids an early dropkick before taking
Eddie down with European uppercuts and a basement dropkick of his
own.
Off
to Adams, who gets caught by a rolling clothesline from a crotch
grabbing (his own at least) Konnan. As Rey tries to get money out of
Zbyzsko, Konnan jumps over Adams in the corner but eats a European
uppercut from Regal. Off to Kidman who sends Regal into the ropes,
nearly knocking Adams off by mistake. Kidman throws Regal down but
charges into a hot shot to change control again.
The
Brits start stomping away until Kidman blocks a powerbomb. Konnan,
ever adherent to the rules, comes in to nail Adams without tagging.
Kidman charges into Regal’s elbow in the corner and it’s off to
Adams, who goes up and tries…..something resembling a Superman
Punch but crashes down. The hot tag brings in Guerrero to clean
house as everything breaks down. Eddie hits a quick suplex on Taylor
and a big frog splash is enough for the pin.
Rating:
C. Not the worst match in the
world, Filthy Animals annoyance aside. They’re
just unlikeable people who ramble on with lingo that ranges from
sounding stupid to making no sense while seemingly want to rape every
member of the Revolution. Somehow, one of the most likeable
wrestlers of all time in Rey Mysterio is associated with this group
and WCW seems to think the fans will find them to be the good guys.
Oh
and the Filthy Animals steal the losers’ robes for good measure.
Chavo
is on the phone, saying he’s going to get himself over since Goldberg
isn’t here to do it for him. Wrestlers using this lingo today would
appeal to an extremely niche audience. In 1999, this might as well
be Martian.
Berlyn
speaks English to say that his master plan is in effect and we will
all serve him one day. His plan is to lose to Brad Armstrong?
Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Lash Leroux
Lash
says he’s going to win the tournament and be the younger World
Champion ever. I think Giant still has his beat even if he wins.
Chavo comes out and reminds us that he’s looking for Goldberg for no
apparent reason. Lash goes right after him to start and does his
splits but misses a clothesline, allowing Chavo to hook a
headscissors.
A
belly to back gets two for Chavo and he slugs away in the corner.
Lash jawbreaks out of a chinlock and gets two of his own off a
supelx. That goes nowhere so Chavo takes him into the corner for a
stomping but gets forearmed in the head, setting up a chinlock. We
get a very sudden BORING chant which almost feels piped in.
I
would ask why a company would do that, but this is one of the least
stupid things WCW has done in recent weeks. More really basic stuff
changes control a few times until Chavo gets a positive reaction and
a near fall off a dropkick. Guerrero scores with a clothesline and
some chops in the corner, only to get caught in Whiplash for the pin
out of nowhere.
Rating:
D+. So Chavo wants to find
Goldberg, gets cheered by the fans and then loses to Lash Leroux.
Somehow they’ve managed to fit that much plot into about 75 minutes
after Chavo having almost nothing to do for weeks. If they could
find a happy middle ground, I’d be curious to see where some of these
ideas went. As it is, I barely remember them by the end of the show
because of how fast they come and go.
Kidman
records Buff Bagwell and Scotty Riggs talking about the finish of a
match. I think I know where this is going and I can feel the
headache coming.
Ernest
Miller, flanked by three women, gets out of a white limo. So he’s
the Godfather now? I’ve heard worse ideas.
Berlyn
vs. Jerry Flynn
Just
cut the cord already. During the entrances, we hear that WCW is
filming a movie in Los Angeles. My goodness it’s Ready to Rumble
time isn’t it? Berlyn goes right at him and hits a kind of floatover
DDT before cranking on a wristlock. Shouldn’t that be the other way
around? They trade kicks before Berlyn sends him into the ropes for
a kick to the face, a nipup and another dropkick for the best looking
sequence he’s done in years.
More
kicks to Jerry set up a belly to back but Flynn avoids a charge
against the ropes. Jerry fires off his usual array of strikes but
throws in some right hands to show his versatility. The Bodyguard
intercepts Jimmy Hart (who is the face here anyway?) and nails Flynn
for missing a charge, giving Berlyn an easy victory.
Rating:
D. He’s evil, German and
apparently athletic when he wants to be. This character is dead in
the water though and they need to find something else for him to do.
That’s one area where Russo truly was excellent: finding a new
character for someone. The words “creative has nothing for you”
do not exist on his watch. The gimmick might be insane and
ridiculous, but he would have something.
Chavo
is still looking for Goldberg but finds Sid instead. “YOU WANT TV
TIME?” A chokeslam leaves Chavo on a cart, end scene.
Here’s
Ernest Miller with the three good looking women. After telling the
rednecks to sit down, he informs us that he’ll be in the tournament
on Monday against doctor’s orders. THIS warranted coming to the ring
and talking?
Benoit
thinks Sid is running his mouth too much. I’d say it’s more that
he’s wrestling too much but that’s just me. Benoit isn’t done with
Malenko either.
Scotty
Riggs vs. Buff Bagwell
Some
things never change. We recap Buff’s kayfabe murdering story about
not wanting to job ever again because he doesn’t care for the Powers
That Be. This would be the REAL part in the middle of all the fake
stuff you’re seeing. I have no idea if Bagwell is a face or a heel
here and I think that’s the point. Riggs doesn’t have the mirror
anymore. They trade full nelsons to start until Buff breaks out and
just stands in the corner.
Tenay
promises us eight more tournament matches on Monday. Be still my
beating heart. Riggs gets taken down in a headlock but walks into a
dropkick to send him into the ropes for more staring. Some leg work
keeps Bagwell down and a high cross body gets two. Riggs looks
stunned because, I kid you not, that was supposed to be the finish.
The referee yells at Bagwell but he small packages Riggs for the pin
with the referee slowly counting it. Bagwell’s music doesn’t play
and THAT WAS A SHOOT. BECAUSE FANS KNOW WHAT THAT IS!
Rating:
F. “Come see Buff Bagwell!
He’s bored and not trying because he doesn’t agree to our scripted
finishes! By paying us your money, you’ll get to see him stand
around and not care and barely put any effort into his matches!”
Vince Russo was paid to think of this idea and then asked you to pay
money to watch it play out on pay per view. Russo somehow convinced
people he was a genius by doing this. Maybe he’s smarter than we all
are and we just can’t keep up with him.
Mayhem
ad.
Chris
Benoit vs. Sid Vicious
Please….be
gentle? Sid shoves him
around to start and fires off some kicks to the ribs (Daniel Bryan
has nothing to worry about) followed
by a right hand to the jaw. Benoit
comes back with strikes of his own and a middle
rope dropkick for two but
the kickout sends him flying out to the floor. Back
in and Benoit flashes back to Fall Brawl by going after the leg. Why
he thinks Sid will sell now is anyone’s guess.
A
few cannonballs down onto the leg look to set up the Figure Four but
Sid kicks him right back to the floor. This time the big man follows
him out and drops Benoit across the barricade before
taking him back in for choking, choking, forearms to the chest and
more choking.
Benoit’s
comeback is stopped cold by a big boot and we hit the camel clutch so
Sid can rest after his hard day in the ring. A
few slams get two each on Benoit but he pops up and grabs a German
suplex. The Swan Dive misses but Sid is too spent to follow up,
allowing Benoit to slap on the Crossface. You know Sid isn’t tapping
though so here are Saturn and Malenko for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. So to clarity, Benoit is
now the guy that puts up a good fight against the bigger names but is
never allowed to be on their level. Thanks for wasting our time with
the Bret tribute match and the US Title reigns, because it’s pretty
clear that none of it means anything just a few weeks later.
Sid
powerbombs everyone to make it clear that no one is on his level.
The Filthy Animals run out to beat up the pieces of the Revolution to
end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D. I
can’t believe I’m saying this but Nitro was more entertaining than
this. Thunder continues to be almost nothing beyond average and
makes us sit through a ref bump in a Curly Bill vs. Stevie Ray match.
The wrestling is bad, the
stories range from nonsensical to previews for a Nitro way too
complicated to keep track of. Yet somehow, I’d take this over the
recent episodes. At least this is so insane that it’s fascinating to
watch in a way while the
recent ones were a way to cure my sleepless nights.

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