Thunder – January 6, 2000

Thunder
Date:
January 6, 2000
Location:
Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s
a new year and please, for the love of all things good and not made
of Russo, make it be a new Thunder. Almost the only stories coming
out of Nitro are new Tag Team Champions…..who had to run away so we
could get to the NWO stuff, and the new commissioner…..who was
beaten up by the NWO to end the show. Heaven forbid WCW let anyone
new (as new as Commissioner Terry Funk could be) get over. Let’s get
to it.

Clips
from Nitro of the major stories.
The
NWO drags Arn Anderson into the arena. Have they just had him held
hostage for three days now? Why am I still surprised by these
things?
Cruiserweight
Title: Asya vs. Madusa
Well
at least it’s not more man vs. woman. Madusa is defending and has
Spice in her corner as part of a pairing that has never actually been
explained. The interference (and the stupid) start before the match
as Oklahoma comes out to do commentary because we need a four man
booth.
Madusa
grabs the ropes to block a dropkick as Oklahoma is ripping on Madusa
for holding a man’s title when she should be at home cooking for her
husband. So apparently Oklahoma will be portraying Jeff Jarrett in a
feud that is nowhere near as interesting as Jarrett vs. Chyna. The
Revolution distracts the referee so Saturn can jump Asya, allowing
Madusa to hit the German suplex (Oklahoma: “A move originated by a
man!”) to retain.
Madusa
yells at Oklahoma and the Powers That Be and gets a barbecue sauce
bottle broken over her head. Well at least that’s what the other
announcers say happen because we have to see the Filthy Animals run
in to save Asya. Why they’re saving Asya isn’t clear as their teams
were feuding, but it makes as much sense as anything else.
The
announcers run down the card.
Juventud
Guerrera and Psychosis come out with the former doing his Rock
imitation and throwing Schiavone out of the commentary booth.
Here’s
Terry Funk to beat up the luchadors and give Tony his seat back. I’m
so glad they wasted that minute on an angle (if that qualified as an
angle) that was over as soon as it started. Funk says the NWO can do
this the easy way by bringing Arn Anderson out here right now, or the
hard way by making him deal with it himself. Jarrett comes out,
swears a bit, and says they’ll be out here in an hour.
Saturn
tells the Filthy Animals to be, and I quote, “like a midget at a
urinal: on their toes.” Before they get much further, Juventud
runs in and takes over the interview from Gene. So is Juvy just
there to make Russo and Ferrara chuckle at this point?
The
NWO beats up Arn Anderson. This angle would work so much better with
Flair than Funk, but can you blame Flair for not wanting to get
destroyed in the Carolinas all over again for the sake of putting
over the NWO?
Gene
brings out Booker T for a chat about Stevie Ray’s actions. Booker
brings up Stevie’s injury and how he needed someone to watch his
back. The only person that would was Midnight, and Stevie needs to
accept that Midnight is going to be around. Stevie comes out and
says Midnight isn’t ready because she’s cost him four matches. He
wants a match with Midnight tonight, and if Stevie wins, Midnight is
gone. If Midnight wins though, Harlem Heat is back together with
Midnight as a member. You can see the other booking hands getting in
on these stories as this, while not very interesting, is completely
logical.
David
Flair, Crowbar and Daffney are watching on a monitor as the NWO pours
hot coffee on Anderson. At what point are these guys arrested?
Flair looks concerned.
PG-13/Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. 3 Count
That’s
quite the odd pairing. We’re promised a 3 Count concert after the
match. Well I’m sold. Shannon can’t hit a Fameasser on Chavo to
start so it’s off to Shane and JC. Evan gets bored on the apron and
springboards in with a dropkick before decking Chavo and diving onto
Wolfie. Everything breaks down and Chavo hits Shannon’s tornado DDT,
only to have Shane hit him with the green circle for the win.
Nothing match, but what are you expecting from a minute and a half
long six man tag?
We
get the concert, making this by far and away the most entertaining
show of the year so far.
David
walks away from his partners.
Funk
beats up security for not finding Arn. He’s kind of got a point
actually.
The
Wall vs. Jerry Flynn
This
is a shoot fight because that’s what wrestling fans tune in to see:
boring wrestlers pretending to shoot on each other. Tank Abbott
comes out and to watch because he’s still employed for reasons I
don’t understand. Wall dominates to start but Flynn comes back with
his limited assortment of kicks. Jerry takes it outside and whips
him into the barricade before slugging away back inside. Back in and
Jerry strikes even more but stops to yell at Abbott, earning him a
shot to the back of the head, giving Wall the pin. More worthless
stuff as people with no business on TV get pushed.
Abbott
beats up Wall and Doug Dillinger post match.
David
finds Funk.
US
Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Norman Smiley
Bunkhouse
Brawl with Jeff defending. Smiley’s Hardcore Title is off to the
side for reasons unclear but it might have something to do with the
shoulder pads he’s wearing. He bails to the floor to start so Jeff
throws a trashcan at his head to take over. Smiley is sent into a
chair and screams a lot but finally fights back with a trashcan lid
and a kendo stick shot. Norman doesn’t want to cover due to fear and
a guitar shot sets up the Stroke to retain. Another two and a half
minute gimmick match.
Post
match David and Terry come out and choke Jarrett with the crowbar as
Terry demands the NWO get out here. After a break, the NWO brings
out Anderson and Nash has a challenge: a match with Funk at Souled
Out with the Commissioner’s job on the line. Funk agrees if it’s a
one on one hardcore match with the NWO banned from ringside.
On
top of that, he wants a hardcore match against Bret for the title
tonight, even though he cares more about hurting Bret than winning
the belt. Notice how he worded that: he doesn’t say the title is
worthless like Goldberg did to Rick Steiner with the TV Title, but
that there’s something he wants more. Bret agrees and threatens to
kill Funk tonight. That’s so far outside something Bret would
normally say and it doesn’t work coming from him. Hart suggests a
swap of Jarrett for Anderson, but Arn can’t help but get in a shot at
Jarrett, earning him a ball bat shot from Bret.
Disco
sells his Rolex to pay off some of his debt to the Mafia.
Stevie
Ray yells at Funk for no apparent reason.
Midnight
vs. Stevie Ray
No
Booker at ringside. After appearing in the ring, Midnight dropkicks
Stevie into the corner and slugs away, only to eat a clothesline and
some right hands. A slam and elbow get two on Midnight with Stevie
pulling up off the cover. He does the same thing after a back elbow
but stops to stare at the camera in an unintentionally (I think?)
funny spot. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Stevie forearms
Midnight down again.
There’s
a side slam and Stevie loads up the slapjack, but Booker runs out to
say this has to be a fair match. Stevie actually agrees and
powerslams Midnight for no cover as he checks her arm instead.
That’s the mating call of a wacky finish though as Midnight rolls him
up for the surprise pin.
Rating:
D. The match had a goofy finish
but at least it wasn’t the most illogical thing in the world.
Russo’s booking gets annoying when you have stuff come out of nowhere
and doesn’t have any kind of foundation. Stevie letting her up time
after time and then getting caught in his arrogance was set up over
the course of the match and was paid off at the end. That’s far
better storytelling than almost anything else Russo does, which makes
me think he isn’t in charge of this story.
Kidman
and Konnan introduce Okerlund to a good looking blonde, who I believe
is Pamela Paulshock. She immediately gets on my nerves by calling
Gene sexy. Gene Okerlund has never been sexy in his life. Stop
these lies.
Back
from a break with Gene calling out Page for a chat. Page denies
Kimberly cheating with Buff but says Bagwell did hit on her. He’d
like Bagwell out here right now but only gets him to the stage. We
get sex jokes, gay jokes, and low testicular fortitude jokes,
triggering a big brawl.
The
Artist still won’t record. This isn’t going anywhere is it?
Juvy
does the interview with Bam Bam Bigelow as Gene is talking to
Paulshock. Before they get anywhere, Kanyon blasts Bigelow with a
champagne bottle.
Kevin
Nash vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
And
never mind as Bigelow is down on the stage where Steiner and Jarrett
get him into a wheelbarrow. Nash hits Bigelow with a ball bat and
the match (yes this was a match) is over in 22 seconds. I guess the
multiple matches on Monday were enough for Nash this week.
Tag
Team Titles: Konnan/Kidman vs. Crowbar/David Flair
David/Crowbar
won the titles on Monday in the ridiculous tournament. David comes
out with his belt on backwards because he’s crazy you see. Crowbar
hammers on Kidman to start, meaning they’re already wising up by
keeping Flair on the apron. A back elbow to the jaw puts Kidman down
but YOU STILL CAN’T POWERBOMB CROWBAR EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE HAVE DONE IT
AND THIS JOKE IS OLD. Off to David for a suplex as we get the old
standard Schiavone hype for basic moves.
Crowbar
comes in with a springboard missile dropkick and a guillotine legdrop
for two with Konnan making the save. I had forgotten who Kidman’s
partner was until then. Kidman counters another powerbomb (oh come
on now Crowbar. Even you aren’t that crazy) but David breaks up the
shooting star. Crowbar tries a top rope hurricanrana but Rey grabs
Kidman’s leg to make the save. Cue a limping Arn Anderson as Konnan
comes in to clean house. In the melee, Anderson hits Konnan with the
crowbar to give Flair the pin.
Rating:
D+. Totally watchable match
while Kidman and Crowbar were in there but it’s clear that Flair just
isn’t all that good. The Anderson stuff is getting annoying as
they’re beating this story into our heads, but unfortunately they’re
wasting the Tag Team Titles on this. Maybe the Revolution and Filthy
Animals could be fighting over the belts, but we need them on another
team that doesn’t deserve them so we can see David Flair in the ring.
The
Revolution comes out and beats down the Animals again.
Terry
Funk vs. Bret Hart
Non-title
hardcore match.
Bret is in shorts instead
of ring gear and hammers
Funk to the floor early on. Terry
starts throwing in the chairs as is his customs but Bret throws him
face first into one of them and nails Funk with the bat. They
both head outside with Terry taking a chair to the head. All Bret so
far. Back in and Funk gets
in a few left hands and takes it right back outside for a chair to
Bret’s shoulder.
Terry
sends him into the cart of weapons but misses the moonsault onto a
trashcan onto Bret, allowing the champ to blast him in the head with
another chair. Hart
Pillmanizes the leg and knocks the referee down (why?), so let’s cut
to Arn Anderson putting on a referee’s shirt. David Flair comes in
and asks to take the spot instead, which Arn reluctantly allows. Cue
the NWO with the bats to Funk and Nash decks David. Nash
Jackknifes Funk through the stage to end the show.
Rating:
F+. A match? You think this
was a match? I’ll skip complaining about how horrible this was as
you took Bret Hart and Terry Funk and put them in a street fight
instead of anything resembling a wrestling match because ratings are
going to plummet if you don’t have some kind of violence right?
Also, this is twice since Funk has debuted as commissioner that he’s
been beaten down to end the show. Flair had this one right all the
way.
Overall
Rating:
F+. The wrestling still
sucks, but they’re moving tiny steps in the right direction. Look at
the Harlem Heat story for example: there’s finally some logic to it
and you can tell what’s going on without needing to take notes. The
main event makes sense too, as poor as the wrestling has been. We’re
transitioning into the boring period instead of the crazy stuff,
which makes me sigh and wonder what else is on instead of wanting to
steal plutonium to go back in time and
bash Russo’s head in with a pipe wrench. They’re
moving in the right direction, but it’s WAY too late to make things
right at this point.
That’s it for Thunder on Thursdays as Smackdown took about four months to chase them out of their time slot.
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