Thunder – November 18, 1999

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Thunder
Date:
November 18, 1999
Location: Allen County
War Memorial, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Attendance: 3,283
Commentators: Scott
Hudson, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re three days away
from Mayhem and the interesting thing this week is can they keep up
the wrestling on this show. Thunder has definitely become the
wrestling show, with matches getting more time than Nitro gets most
of the time, but with less star power and more bad interference.
Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.
Jerry
Flynn vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Hardcore
so Bigelow brings out some weapons but Flynn takes him away and nails
Bigelow with a trashcan. Barbarian is out here with Flynn, despite
Jerry beating him in an impromptu boiler room brawl Monday. Norman
Smiley comes out but Hart sends Knobbs and Barbarian after him.
Without noticing what’s going on outside, Bigelow takes Flynn down
with a clothesline. Thankfully he didn’t ruin the mullet.
Time for the cookie
sheet shots followed by the can lids crashing around Flynn’s head
like cymbals. The flying headbutt misses though and Jerry hits
something like a Van Daminator with the trashcan. Barbarian comes in
like a schnook and gets beaten down, followed by a chair to Flynn to
give Bigelow the three count.
Rating:
D.
There was nothing to this one other than Hart and Smiley shouting at
each other a lot. That was the most entertaining part of the match,
which is likely due to the idea of taking two entertaining guys and
letting them entertain. This is different than Flynn who is there
because he knows karate and Bigelow, who could be entertaining but
not in a mess like this.
Disco
can’t get anyone to give him action on a bet for a match tonight.
Bagwell is looking for
Chris Benoit.
Disco Inferno vs.
Prince Iaukea
Non-title
and Iaukea has new gear. Not interesting gear of course but it’s new
with some trunks and boots. Disco goes to the eyes to start but
Iaukea smacks him in the back of the head. I’ll give WCW 1999 this
much: their heels had great hair. After begging off, Disco sends him
into the corner and takes over with all of his usual stuff. A
clothesline and middle rope elbow get two each on the Prince.
Iaukea’s
sunset flip doesn’t work and Disco stays on him with elbows and
chokes, followed by a chinlock to keep the fans bored. Iaukea comes
back with an even less interesting offense (the high spot is a
dropkick) until Disco drops him with a DDT. Thankfully for a change,
we get silly as a messenger brings Disco a package. Inside is…..a
fish? Oh I get it: sleep with the fishes. The distraction lets
Iaukea grab a rollup for the pin.
Rating:
F.
Is it bad that I want to see where the fish story is going? I know
it’s the mafia gambling stuff but it’s more entertaining than most
other stuff going on with this promotion. What isn’t interesting
however is the really dull wrestling in this match as neither guy
knows how to keep an audience. Disco is nothing great but at least
he has something unique with the dancing. Iaukea…..what in the
world do they see in him to keep him on the payroll?
Post match, Disco hits
Iaukea with the fish. Remember that he has a title defense three
days from now.
Evan Karagias says he’s
going to beat Savage for the love of his woman.
Van
Hammer asks Curt Hennig to get counted out tonight and a fight breaks
out. This story is one of the worst in the company and that covers a
lot of ground.
Evan
Karagias vs. The Maestro
The
bubbles in Maestro’s entrance are always odd to see. Maestro grabs a
quick headlock to start and nails a shoulder. Evan comes back with a
cross body but rolls outside to kiss Madusa. The delay works for a
bit but Maestro comes back by raising a boot in the corner. Some
forearms and a belly to back suplex get two on Evan as this is just a
step ahead of the previous match.
More
uppercuts set up a German suplex but Evan flips over the back and
gets two of his own off a snap suplex. Madusa has to play
cheerleader despite looking about 20 years older than she really is
here. A spinebuster puts Evan down but Madusa gets on the apron and
kisses Maestro. Evan kicks him down and checks on Madusa (who didn’t
seem to mind), allowing Maestro to roll him up for the pin.
Rating:
D-.
Boring wrestling, uninteresting characters, Madusa being a focus for
reasons not exactly clear and the #1 contender to the Cruiserweight
Title losing about ten minutes after the champion lost. The
wrestling on this show isn’t great, but the booking continues to be
the real problem dragging this down. I guess they’re setting it up
that Evan is distracted by Madusa, but when the champion loses
earlier in the night and Evan has never really done anything, the
story is a huge mess.
The Revolution talks
about Torrie being a Barbie doll. Shane wants to see Asya rip her
apart, sending Saturn into a rant about taking the limbs off a
Barbie. Shane: “Perry, IT WAS A FIGURE OF SPEECH!” Saturn: “My
point exactly!”
Disco is panicking on
the phone with Tony Marinara.
Benoit
heard that Bagwell is looking for him. He leaves a few seconds
before Bagwell shows up.
Nitro
recap video, complete with Sid’s half the brain line.
La Parka and Kaz
Hayashi have another overdubbed interview with Hayashi sounding like
he’s from rural Georgia. I think these predated Kaientai’s INDEED
promos but they’re around the same time.
Buff and Benoit finally
get together with Bagwell asking Benoit not to use the suplexes or
the Crossface on the bad neck. Benoit says Buff knew what he was
getting into and they brawl.
Kaz Hayashi/La Parka
vs. El Dandy/Silver King
Kaz
has his own chair and even the announcers have to mention the dubbed
voices. Dandy gets flipped around while trying to backslide Kaz so
it’s quickly off to La Parka vs. King. La Parka does his dance so
King dropkicks him in the face and everything quickly breaks down.
King and Dandy are headscissored to the floor and the fans are
actually behind Kaz and Parka here. Dandy comes in and tries a right
hand but hits his partner by mistake. After the calamity calms down,
Kaz gets whipped into a gutbuster as we settle into a more standard
formula.
A
double slam gets two on Kaz but Dandy lets him walk over for the tag
to La Parka. Things speed up with Silver coming in to help Dandy as
the heels take over again. La Parka is sent to the floor so Kaz
comes in, only to get tripped down a few seconds later. The heels
screw up with King hitting Dandy, allowing Kaz to tag La Parka again.
Everything breaks down with La Parka hitting a missile dropkick and
Kaz adding a high cross body to King. La Parka’s kind of Whisper in
the Wind is enough to pin King.
Rating:
C-.
This got messy in the middle but I like the idea of La Parka and Kaz
being these guys who can barely speak English but suddenly have the
dubbed voices. I’m fine with these decent nothing matches on Thunder
though, as they’re clean enough to not make my head hurt and long
enough to quality as a match instead of an angle. It doesn’t mean
anything after the match ends but at least it was decent while it
lasted.
La Parka chairs King
post match.
Bagwell and Hennig get
in a fight over something we don’t hear.
Curt Hennig vs. Van
Hammer
Larry
goes on a rant against the term “Powers That Be”. I kind of
agree as WCW has announced that they’re Russo and Ferrara so why not
just go with that? Curt knees Hammer on the way in but gets thrown
outside for a brawl. To keep up the stupidity of this show, we see a
sign saying “I’m only here for the Nitro Girls.” Maybe Russo is
on to something about the fans being morons. Back in and Hennig
starts in on the leg as Bagwell strolls out to follow up on a five
minute old angle. All the oil on Buff’s arms distracts Hennig so
Hammer can get in a cheap shot and snap his throat across the top
rope.
Curt
goes after Buff but catches Hammer trying to jump him from behind
with a kick to the ribs. Back in and Hennig slams Hammer’s head
against the mat as Buff plays cheerleader for Hammer. Apparently it
works as Hammer comes back with a knee in the corner followed by a
DDT, only to miss a middle rope flip dive. Curt is sent outside for
a brawl with Bagwell, only to have Benoit come out and get sent into
the barricade. Back up and Hammer is accidentally whipped into Buff,
allowing Curt to hit the HennigPlex for the pin.
Rating:
D-.
I need a minute here. Let’s try to figure this out. So the Powers
That Be want to get rid of Hennig by saying he’s gone as soon as he
gets pinned, because a submission isn’t good enough for them for
whatever reason. At the same time, they want to screw with Bagwell
by making him job all the time because wrestling is scripted, but
Bagwell wants to rebel and win his REAL matches.
Now
he’s screwing with Hennig to get rid of him, presumably as a favor to
the Powers That Be to get them off Bagwell’s back? At the same time,
Benoit is involved despite being in the final four of the World Title
tournament because they have nothing better to do with him tonight
and there’s NO ONE else they could throw into this mess? The fact
that I had to write out two paragraphs to understand this story,
ignoring the fact that it completely exposes the business, sums up
Russo’s booking in a nutshell: A stupid midcard feud took that long
to understand and I don’t even care now that I’ve figured it out.
Luger
works out as Chavo sells Liz Amway jewelery. THIS story gets to
continue but we’re not likely to hear any more about La Parka and
Kaz.
Lash Leroux vs.
Kenny Kaos
Leroux
takes him down to start but Kaos kicks him in the ribs and scores
with a butterfly suplex. After a middle rope legdrop gets two, Lash
botches a flip over the back but takes over anyway. Why let
something like a big mishap screw up your quick match right? Kaos
comes back with a boot to the face and a bunch of kicks and punches
in the corner.
A
gutwrench suplex gets two for Kaos but Lash comes back with a Russian
legsweep and stomps of his own. Kaos is sent outside but Lash
baseball slides into his leg to really take over. The leg is fine
enough to catch a diving Cajun though and drive him back first into
the barricade. So he’s generic and doesn’t sell. Back in and Lash
escapes a slam and hits Whiplash for the pin.
Rating:
D.
In the old days, this would be filler on Saturday Night but now it’s
one of the later shows on Thunder. It really is apparent that no one
cared about this show and they were clearly just filling in time.
Again, I’d love to know what someone was high on when they picked
Kaos to be a champion a year ago. That stuff could make me a fortune
on the streets.
The Animals brag about
Torrie being a martial arts expert. I smell an unfunny comedy bit
coming up.
Vampiro wraps a chain
around his hand.
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
vs. Barbarian
Chavo comes out with
his order forms for Barbarian, but Barbarian hits him in the back
with the briefcase, setting up the Kick of Fear for the pin at 8
seconds.
Post
match, Barbarian says he’ll pay Chavo later. Well, at least it’s
something for Chavo to do. Stupid yes but something.
Tournament recap.
Liz and Luger watch
Meng from a monitor.
Meng vs. Vampiro
Vampiro
gets taken down by the hair to start, which you would expect to have
been the other way around. Meng loses a kick-off but Vampiro
stupidly tries a headbutt. Well no one ever accused him of being
smart. Now Meng headbutts the buckle but doesn’t seem to phase it.
A bunch of chops stagger Vampiro and Meng nails a decent dropkick. I
remember Jesse Ventura freaking out when Haku hit those and I can’t
say I disagree.
Vampiro
gets piledriven and sent to the floor for a whip into the barricade.
Back inside and Meng is finally put down by a top rope spinwheel
kick. That’s the extent of Vampiro’s offense though as his
hurricanrana is countered with a powerbomb. Jerry Only of the
Misfits comes in and takes the Tongan Death Grip and that’s the
match, presumably for a no contest.
Rating:
D+.
Meng is one of those guys that is kind of fun to watch, just due to
him no selling almost everything and hurting as many people as he
did. Unfortunately he’s being set up with Luger, which is about as
dull of a program as you can have. The ending here did nothing for
anyone, but that really shouldn’t be surprising.
Liz comes out to
apologize to Meng and the monster is nice enough to stop lunging at
her with the Death Grip as Luger is late with his cue. He finally
shows up and chairs Meng down before crushing his knees with the
chair.
Chris Benoit vs.
Buff Bagwell
Ever
the genius, Buff tries to slide under the ropes and gets stomped
down. Chris takes over with a dropkick and a knee to the ribs but
gets dropped ribs first onto the top rope. They head outside with
Buff dropping Benoit’s throat across the barricade before stomping
away. Back inside and Buff keeps up the stomping motif as this is
actually one of the more entertaining matches of the night due to the
charisma both guys have. Buff wasn’t much in the ring but he had
some energy to him.
A
neckbreaker sets up a chinlock on Chris as I guess Buff is a heel all
of a sudden. They trade punches and chops in the corner before
Benoit takes it to the floor to give Bagwell the beating he deserves.
Back in and Benoit hits the snap suplex and puts on a surfboard
before “accidentally” kicking Buff low. They head outside again
with Buff getting whipped into the barricade but Benoit makes the
same mistake Buff made at the start and lets Bagwell get in some
shops as he comes in.
Buff
hammers away but has to grab the ropes to block a German suplex.
That’s fine with Benoit as he plows through Buff with a clothesline,
only to miss the Swan Dive. Buff goes up for the Blockbuster but
here’s Hennig to break it up, allowing Benoit to slap on the
Crossface for the win.
Rating:
C+.
So to recap, Benoit has gotten two of the longest matches of the
Russo Era and has put in two of the best performances to date. Aside
from Benoit being awesome, a lot of it goes to show that when you
give the guys a chance to show what they can do, you more often than
not get a good match. You can’t do anything with two minutes and
three plot devices at a time.
Benoit stares at Hennig
and leaves, allowing Curt and Buff to brawl to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D.
They had something here with the self contained story of
Bagwell/Benoit/Hennig ending with a match but I can’t imagine this is
going to be a recurring theme. Other than that though, this was your
usual disaster with nonsensical ideas and booking decisions that seem
to be more there for the amusement of Russo and Ferrara than anything
else. I have no desire to see Mayhem more than I did two hours ago
though, so the show was a waste of time.
No show next week due
to Thanksgiving.
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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