Thunder – October 8, 1998

Thunder
Date:
October 8, 1998
Location:
Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators:
Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
main stories coming into this week are Bret Hart and Sting having a
big old fight in the back to close out Nitro and Eric Bischoff
apparently going completely insane because he’s the only person that
didn’t see Warrior in Hollywood Hogan’s mirror. We’re still on what
feels like an eternal road to Halloween Havoc so let’s get to it.

We
open with the laughter and Tony trying to find out what it is.
Mike
Tenay is going to a bar forty miles away from the arena tonight to
meet with Scott Hall. We go to the bar where Hall says Nash knows
where he is tonight and can come find him if he wants. They used to
hang out at a place called the Meridian and Nash can come down here
anytime. Hall implies that Nash should drop the Wolfpack and just be
the Outsiders again.
A
limo is seen leaving the arena, presumably with Nash inside.
Kanyon
vs. Prince Iaukea
Kanyon
does his Who Better Than Kanyon bit and complains when the crowd
doesn’t say no one. The Prince is quickly sent down but Kanyon bails
to the ropes when he comes back up. Iaukea hits a spin kick to send
Kanyon to the floor and hits another one off the apron in a nice
spot. Back in and the Prince gets crotched on the top, setting up a
neckbreaker out of the corner for two.
Something
resembling a Fameasser gets two more, followed by another neckbreaker
and a fireman’s carry pancake. All Kanyon for the most part as the
announcers ignore the match and talk about Nash chasing Hall. We hit
the chinlock for a bit before the Prince grabs a dragon screw leg
whip to take Kanyon down. Iaukea goes up top but jumps onto Kanyon’s
back and gets slammed back first onto the mat. The Flatliner ends it
a few seconds later.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t do it for me
but I’ve seen worse. Iaukea continues to be one of the least
interesting wrestlers I’ve ever seen as there’s just nothing special
about him. Kanyon is kind of all over the place anymore as he’ll
squash a jobber one week, then get crushed by Goldberg, then be
Raven’s lackey. I’m surprised he hasn’t gone towards a midcard title
yet.
Chris
Jericho is outside a locker room yelling for Goldberg.
Scott
Steiner video.
Here
are Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell with something to say. Buff
doesn’t want to live there so the fans need to sit down and shut up.
The Halloween Havoc match against Rick isn’t happening because Rick
is scared. That’s quite the announcement. Scott grabs the mic and
yells at Buff for allowing his mom to show up and embarrass the NWO
on Monday. Buff gets in Scott’s face and blames his neck injury on
Steiner. He’s tired of it always being about Scott and walks out.
Peyton
Manning is here.
Jerry
Flynn vs. Meng
What
do you expect here? Meng no sells everything and pounds Jerry down
in the corner until Flynn comes back with a kick and cross body for
two. Another kick is blocked and the Tongan Death Grip is good for
the easy win.
Jericho
yells at Goldberg and hides behind security. Goldberg isn’t on
camera.
Meng
hasn’t gotten out of the ring yet when Chris Adams comes out for his
match and gets destroyed for his efforts. This brings out Wrath to
pull Meng off and the monsters brawl. They head outside with Meng
getting hit by a chair but throwing Wrath over the barricade. That
could be a good blowoff match.
The
Horsemen are here and immediately handed restraining orders. Dean
isn’t given one so here’s JJ Dillon to say that if Dean stays then
all of the Horsemen stay. The Horsemen leave and Dean stays as the
Horsemen continue to look worthless half the time.
Tokyo
Magnum vs. El Dandy
Dandy
grabs an armbar to start but gets taken down by a sunset flip for
two. The fans aren’t exactly thrilled by this. A hard slap puts
Tokyo down but Magnum comes
back with a dropkick. Dandy suplexes him down and the laughter
starts up again. Dandy hammers away and they chop each other a lot
as this is going nowhere. Cue Scott Norton to destroy both guys and
the match is thrown out.
Post
break Eddie Guerrero and his LWO lackeys are in the ring. Eddie
accuses Bischoff of sending Norton out there and asks El Dandy to
join the team. Magnum tries to get in on this too but is shot down
because he’s Japanese. Dandy agree and puts on the LWO shirt.
Saturn
vs. Scott Putski
They
trade armbars to start until Saturn takes him to the mat with amateur
stuff. Putski stis out in a nice move and blasts Saturn in the ribs
with a kick to take over. Saturn pops back up and runs Putski over
before firing off some nice kicks to the ribs and head. Back to the
armbar but Putski sends him
into the corner and clotheslines him out to the floor. Saturn goes
into the barricade and Putski stomps away back inside.
Scott
hammers away again with another clothesline and puts on a sleeper.
Saturn quickly breaks it up with a jawbreaker and goes off on Putski
with kicks and a quick suplex. A top rope knee drop gets two on
Scott but he comes back with a nice powerslam for a near fall of his
own. Saturn ducks an ax handle and suplexes Putski down again. The
Death Valley Driver ends Putski with far less ease than expected.
Rating:
C. Better match than I was
expecting here but like Kanyon, why was Saturn never allowed to go
after the US Title or something like that? He was having good
matches and interesting stories, but I guess there was no interest
because he wasn’t in an NWO shirt. Putski had a decent look and
wasn’t half bad in the ring actually.
Here’s
Disciple with something to say. He goes on a horrible rambling
speech about Hogan not making his career and how Hogan has turned WCW
into his playground. Disciple calls out Horace Hogan, saying Horace
doesn’t deserve a job. Cue Horace for a match. Oh joy.
Horace
vs. Disciple
Horace
jumps him but gets his eyes raked to slow him down. A neckbreaker
puts Horace down for two but he comes back with a belly to belly
suplex. Disciple no sells it and comes back with a ridiculously slow
Stunner for the pin. To clarify, they’re fighting over whose career
Hogan made less, but guys like Juvy, Kidman and about 30 other
talented guys can’t get a two minute match.
Horace
jumps him post match.
Long
video for Warrior vs. Hogan.
Here’s
Jericho in the ring to call out Goldberg. First off, Jericho says
get well Brian and come back soon, referring to Brian Hildebrand,
more commonly known as referee Mark Curtis, who is fighting cancer.
Jericho says Goldberg is more green than gold, so get out here right
now. There’s no Goldberg so Jericho says start counting and declares
himself the winner by countout.
Bret
Hart comes out and tells Tony he can take care of this by himself.
He’s been waiting a long time to face Sting and wants a match with
him at Halloween Havoc. Sting better bring everything he’s
got….and that’s it.
Horsemen
montage.
Here’s
Dean Malenko to sit in a chair in the middle of the ring. Bischoff
seems to have forgotten about him but he’s not leaving until he gets
a match. Cue Eric who gives Dean the Barbarian. On the way to the
ring, Eric asks Jimmy Hart what Barbarian makes. Jimmy says $500,000
(!) and Eric offers to double it if Barbarian wins.
Dean
Malenko vs. Barbarian
Barbarian
goes right after Dean and Eric sits in on commentary. All monster to
start with stomps, slams and punches. Dean’s comeback is easily
stymied as he’s rammed into the corner to block a suplex attempt.
Barbarian’s superplex is countered as well and Dean scores with a
missile dropkick. Jimmy tries to interfere but Barbarian
accidentally runs him over, setting up the Cloverleaf for the quick
submission. Bischoff freaks
out and beats on Schiavone with some papers.
Goldberg
vs. Page video.
The
laughter starts up again as Raven comes out with something to say.
He wants to know why DDP gets all this attention and no one worries
about him. Page pops up and says he’ll bang Raven.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Raven
Raven
chokes Page to start and blocks an early Diamond Cutter attempt. A
suplex gets two and Page is sent into the buckle for a stomping.
We’re already in the chinlock and Raven actually gets a two count off
the hold. Page fights up but gets kneed in the ribs and sent outside
where Raven grabs a chair.
Raven
tries to wrap Page’s legs around the post but gets pulled face first
into the steel in the most common counter. Inside again and Raven
comes back with the drop toehold onto the chair. Cue Lodi but Page
rams Raven into him and gets two off a clothesline. A chair to
Raven’s back sets up a suplex but Raven comes right back with a drop
toehold into the buckle. Raven throws on a sleeper but Page counters
into a quick Diamond Cutter for the pin.
Rating:
C-. Not bad here but it doesn’t
work as well without the backstory that made their earlier matches
great. Raven’s free fall continues which is a shame as we have to
sit through Disciple getting a push because he used to be a midcard
star nine years ago. The match was fine for five minutes but at this
point I’d give a passing grade to anything decent.
Stevie
Ray vs. Lex Luger
Here’s
your main event people and it’s already after 10pm. Tony tells us
that a MAJOR Hollywood star will appear on Nitro. They pose at each
other to start before hitting each other with a basic move and posing
some more. Luger takes over with a quick slam and a clothesline but
walks into an elbow and kick to the face. Vincent gets in a few
cheap shots on the floor and Stevie hooks a chinlock.
Luger
quickly fights out and scores with a suplex, only to get caught in a
quick jawbreaker. The Slap
Jack is countered with a backdrop and Luger goes into the same
sequence he’s used for ten years. He loads up the Rack but here’s
Hall to jump him. Lex fires back with right hands but Stevie hits
him with the slap jack (weapon) for the DQ.
Rating:
D. I’ve got nothing left and
this was a dull match with a lame ending.
Konnan
tries to come out for the save but gets laid out. Hall says he
fooled Nash and does the
Survey to finally end this show.
Overall
Rating:
F. This was AWFUL and
one of the biggest waste of time I can remember in years. The most
interesting thing all night was Meng fighting with Wrath. Think
about that. MENG was the highlight of a show. The Horsemen look
like nothing, there was almost no star power doing anything of note
and the wrestling was so uninteresting I could barely sit through the
show. This had me longing for a Hogan promo so I could at least have
something to laugh at. It’s a terrible show and Havoc needs to get
here so we can move on to ANYTHING else.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – October 1, 1998

Thunder
Date:
October 1, 1998
Location:
The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Attendance:
8,858
Commentators:
Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Back
to the weather show with the big story being Bret Hart turning on
Sting after their long friendship of two weeks. The Black and White
is reunited again as we very slowly make our way towards Halloween
Havoc and the EPIC rematch between Hogan and Warrior. Hopefully
Thunder continues its tradition of focusing on everything except that
match. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers run down the main events, including Raven vs. Goldberg for
the World Title.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Lodi
Lodi
gets to talk before the match, saying that Page brought Saturn into
WCW and Saturn ruined Lodi’s life, so Lodi is going to ruin Page’s
life. “YOU’RE NEXT!” Page is fine with the threat and dives
over the top to take Lodi out as we get going. Back in and Lodi gets
a few cheap shots on Page followed by some choking, only to walk into
right hands and a discus lariat. Page calls for the Diamond Cutter
and we’re done quick.
The
announcers tell us to stay tuned for Jerry Flynn and Mike Enos.
Seriously.
Jerry
Flynn vs. Mike Enos
Feeling
out process to start until Flynn gets in some of his kicks in the
corner to take over. The announcers talk about Hogan vs. Warrior in
one of the rare occasions where that’s far more interesting. Enos
takes over with an enziguri and a hot shot sends Flynn to the floor.
We get a quick chase ending with Jerry dropping knees back inside as
this just keeps going. Enos catches a leapfrog in a powerslam in the
only nice move of the match and here’s a drunk Scott Hall to
interrupt things. The match stops and I’ll call it a no contest.
Rating:
D-. I really don’t think this
needs an explanation.
Hall
beats up both guys and does the survey. He talks about all of the
bosses he has but Kevin Nash isn’t one of them. They’ll fight but
it’s going to be on his terms.
Kanyon
vs. Scotty Riggs
Before
the match Kanyon says that he’s the Innovator of Offense and no one
is going to prove him wrong, especially not Riggs. He calls Riggs a
pirate and wants to know where’s his peg leg. Tony can be heard
covering a laugh. Kanyon tries to get Riggs to rejoin Raven but
gets punched in the face to get things going. Riggs hits his nice
dropkick for two and throws Kanyon out to the floor before ramming
his shoulder into the post.
Back
in and the arm goes around the post again but Riggs misses a charge
and hits the buckle. Kanyon comes back with a middle rope Fameasser
and a swinging neckbreaker for two of his own. The fireman’s carry
into a pancake gets another near fall on Riggs but he counters
another Fameasser attempt into a powerbomb. Riggs drives him into
the corner but is sent face first into the buckle, setting up the
Flatliner to give Kanyon the pin.
Rating:
C. The same problems that
plagued Riggs over the years plagued him here: he has no character to
speak of and his offense looked like he’s been in the ring six
months. He had a nice dropkick but there are a dozen people that can
make that move look good. There was never a reason to care about him
and this match didn’t change things. Kanyon was his usual awesome
self.
Raven
talks about how there’s no reason to get attached to anything because
everything goes away. Those are good words for Goldberg, because
tonight his world title is
going away.
Wrath
vs. Ciclope
Heenan
thinks Riggs and Ciclope are the same person in a funny bit. Total
dominance to start with Ciclope being thrown into the post and then
the corner, followed by kicks to the ribs and a belly to back suplex.
They head outside with Ciclope being thrown around like he’s a rag
doll. Back in and Ciclope gets in a few headbutts but slips while
trying a missile dropkick. A running shoulder block sets up the
Meltdown to end the dominance.
Rating:
D+. Wrath is good in this role
and would make a nice one night challenger for Goldberg on a Nitro
with another big main event. It’s also nice to see WCW mixing up
their jobbers like they do. That drives me crazy in WWE where they
have a huge roster but have the same handful of guys do all their
squash jobs.
The
creepy laughter is heard again.
Cruiserweight
Title: Billy Kidman vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
The
bell rings and Chavo goes straight to the corner to pick up Pepe.
Back up and Chavo grabs a headlock followed by a shoulder but we need
more horse. The champion comes back with a nice flying headscissors
to send Chavo outside, setting up a pescado to the floor. The
announcers are actually into this and thankfully haven’t mentioned
Hall squashing Kidman on Nitro. Back in and Chavo throws Kidman
right back to the floor before diving off the top with a cross body
for two inside.
Billy
elbows him in the face gets two off a dropkick but
gets kicked away and taken down by a top rope bulldog for two. We
hit the chinlock for a bit but Billy suplexes out of it and heads up,
only to get crotched as we go to a break.
Back with everyone in the same place (the joys of taped shows) and
it’s Chavo dancing around with Pepe before we hit the chinlock again.

Kidman
fights up but misses a dropkick and gets caught in a camel clutch.
That goes nowhere as Kidman fights up and avoids a splash in the
corner, only to go up top and hit knees with a splash. Chavo puts
him back up top for a superplex for two but Kidman grabs a quick
short powerbomb and goes up for the Shooting Star to retain.
Rating:
C+. This was really good while
the action was going but they stopped for chinlocks and camel
clutches. Kidman is back on track after that annoying loss on Monday
where it was made clear that the cruiserweights are secondary to the
heavyweights. Chavo continues to show that he can wrestle well
instead of just being insane all the time.
Lenny
Lane vs. Van Hammer
Hammer
is a hippie now. Lane shoves him away and celebrates like he just
won the world title but Hammer shoves him down much harder. Another
shove puts Lenny down and it’s off to a powerful armbar. Hammer runs
into a charge and gets rammed into the buckle for Lane’s period of
false hope. Lenny spends too much time posing and gets taken up top
for a superplex, followed by an Alabama Slam to give Hammer the pin.
Rating:
D. The match was nothing to see
but I was a big Van Hammer fan when I was a kid so it’s always cool
to see him. Lane was a funny guy but the fact that he looked so much
like Jericho didn’t help him. Just a squash here but Van Hammer as a
hippie was only going to take him so far.
Raven
talks about crying looking like laughing and about how no one has
ever taken it to Goldberg like he or Saturn have.
Damien
vs. Disco Inferno
Disco
bails to the corner to start before getting caught in a headlock.
They run the ropes a bit before a crossbody sends Disco running
again. Disco charges into a boot but still rolls away from a top
rope splash. The neckbreaker and a bunch of stomps in the corner
have Damien in trouble and a middle rope ax handle gets two. Damien
makes a very quick comeback but charges into a boot as well, setting
up the piledriver to give Disco the pin.
Rating:
D+. Disco is likeable even as a
heel and that piledriver has looked great in the last few weeks.
Again, it’s nice to see them mix up the jobbers and build up someone
like Disco so that a bigger midcarder can beat him later. The good
thing here though was they kept the match at about three and a half
minutes so he didn’t wear out his welcome. Simple yet effective.
Konnan
vs. Stevie Ray
After
his LONG schtick, Konnan scores with an early rolling lariat and the
seated dropkick. Unfortunately the match doesn’t end ten seconds
later as Stevie comes back with his heavy forearms and punches in the
corner. A clothesline puts Konnan down and we hit a quickly broken
chinlock. Ray hits a nice high knee and gets two off a slam as we’re
just waiting on the screwy finish. Vincent gets in some choking but
Konnan is able to stop a charging Stevie with a boot (popular move
tonight). The X-Factor sets up the Sunrise but Vincent gets on the
apron, allowing Stevie to hit Konnan with the slapjack (object, not
move) for the DQ.
Rating:
D. Nothing to this one but
again they kept it short to take away some of the pain. It seems
like these guys have been fighting for months and as always the
question is where is this leading? There’s no end game for the NWO
war and the matches just keep going and going without anything really
changing.
The
beatdown ensues until Nash makes the save. Hall comes out to the
stage but doesn’t get past the aisle.
Video
on Hogan vs. Warrior. I’m fine with it being limited to one segment
per show.
WCW
World Title: Raven vs. Goldberg
DDP
comes out to do commentary. We get the long Buffer entrances to fill
in some time. The match is under Raven’s Rules, which Buffer
describes as “No time limit, pinfalls or submissions, no DQ or
countouts.” Goldberg shoves him down to start as Page says he’d
rather face Goldbeg at Halloween Havoc. A
powerslam puts Raven down but Goldberg misses a running knee in the
corner and falls out to the floor.
Raven
rams him into the steps and puts Goldberg on a table, only to miss a
dive over the top and go through a table. Page: “He’s like a big
cat. Like Ernest Ladd. Er Miller. What the heck was his name?”
Back in and the spear connects but it takes out the referee as well.
Kanyon comes in with a chair to knock Goldberg into the Even Flow but
Page will have none of that. He runs down and lays out Kanyon with
the Diamond Cutter as Goldberg gets up and Jackhammers Raven for the
win.
Rating:
C+. I liked this more than I
was expecting to. They actually made Goldberg seem a little bit
vulnerable here and Page saving him helped even more. Raven had no
chance of course but it was nice to see Goldberg have to break a
sweat to win for a change. For a Thunder main event that’s more than
you would expect to get.
Goldberg
and Page growl at each other to end the show, I believe in their
first face to face encounter.
Overall
Rating:
C+.
This is a tough one to grade as most of the matches weren’t very good
but they were almost all short so the pain wasn’t that bad. The two
title matches were both solid though and seeing Goldberg vs. Page get
some focus was a very nice change of pace. It never ceases to amaze
me how much easier WCW is to sit through when there’s no Hogan
involved. Best Thunder in awhile.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – September 24, 1998

Thunder
Date:
September 24, 1998
Location:
Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Attendance:
8,858
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
main story tonight is the Horsemen being back in Horsemen country
despite Bischoff ordering them not to show up. Other than that the
big deal from Monday is Warrior turning Disciple to his side which is
big because it involves Hogan and the lack of the story making sense
is just a detail. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers welcome us to the show and run down the highlights
tonight, including Goldberg vs. Kanyon. Bischoff is in Japan
tonight. Heenan thinks a WE WANT FLAIR chant is for Goldberg. What
exactly is in that cup?
Rick
Steiner vs. Hugh Morrus
Morrus
has hacked off most of his hair since we last saw him. Steiner
quickly slams him down and decks Jimmy Hart for fun. A clothesline
puts Hugh on the floor and Hart gets chased because that’s what he’s
around for. Morrus gets in a few shots from behind to take over and
scores a slam of his own, only to miss a Macho Elbow. Rick goes
straight up and the bulldog is good for the fast pin.
LONG
recap of the Hogan vs. Warrior nonsense from Nitro. Nonsense is the
right word for it. The story was about a man talking about a
revolution and kidnapping and brainwashing a former barber now known
as a disciple through the use of magic smoke that sometimes puts
everyone to sleep but sometimes doesn’t and babbling incoherently.
Ernest
Miller vs. Nick Dinsmore
Miller
holds up three fingers and Marshall points out that it’s not the sign
of the Horsemen. He does the five seconds deal for Dinsmore but Nick
fires off forearms and gets two off a northern lights suplex. Miller
comes back with a variety of kicks and stomps before the superkick
and Feliner are good for the pin.
Psychosis
vs. Saturn
Feeling
out process to start with Saturn trying to take it to the mat but
Psychosis fighting him off with a dropkick and some chops. A cross
armbreaker from Saturn doesn’t last long and Psychosis drops him with
a clothesline, only to walk into a superkick a few seconds later.
Cue Lodi with a “Saturn Ruined My Life” sign, triggering a
discussion about Saturn’s honor. Marshall says the fans in Norfolk
must understand what that means due to Saturn being a former Army
ranger. I’d hope no one in the arena heard that as Norfolk is a Navy
town.
Saturn
goes after Lodi and the distraction lets Psychosis hit a nice dive to
the floor followed by a missile dropkick back inside for two. A
regular dropkick works as well but Saturn comes back by dropping him
ribs first on the ropes. Psychosis comes right back and clips the
knee before sending Saturn outside again. He tries the guillotine
legdrop to the floor but Saturn gets out of the way and throws him
back inside. Saturn goes up and hits a frog splash for what didn’t
seem to be the planned pin but ends the match anyway. Psychosis
appeared to kick out but the referee counted the pin and Saturn
looked confused.
Rating:
C-. Saturn is in a weird place
right now as he doesn’t have much to do after the Flock broke up but
he’s on fire with the crowd. The smart thing would be to send him
after a midcard title and I have no idea why he isn’t going after
Jericho. Saturn vs. Bret would be a very interesting match but it
would mean putting someone new near the top of the card and that’s
just not going to happen in WCW. To be fair though, that would be
quite a jump for anyone to make.
Tony
brings out Alex Wright for an interview but Alex only speaks German.
Schiavone doesn’t understand him so Alex throws out “the pig of a
man” and insults the crowd. Europeans are far better than
Americans but Alex puts all of them to shame. He lists off the other
European wrestlers on the roster and rips them apart, particularly
focusing on British Bulldog, who is old and lazy after living with
Americans for so long.
Video
on the Horsemen.
Finlay
vs. Barbarian
The
bell rings and Scott Hall stumbles out of the entrance and heads over
to the announce table. The camera stays on him so there’s no match
to talk about right now. We switch back to the ring to see the guys
pounding on each other with forearms as Hall rants about Nash not
being his boss and being mean when he drinks.
Barbarian
slams him down and puts on a chinlock as Hall vomits on the
announcers’ desk. Back in the ring Finlay comes back with some knees
to the ribs but walks into a spinebuster followed by a gutbuster for
two. Barbarian takes way too much time walking around though and
charges into a boot, setting up the tombstone for the pin.
Rating:
D-. As you could probably tell,
the match was just there for background noise while Hall did his
thing. They’re making his issues seem very real which is what
bothers me the most about the story. At least we didn’t have to see
what he was doing for the most part. The match was bad even for a
power brawling match.
Video
on Goldberg vs. Page.
Page
comes out for a chat about Halloween Havoc. There’s no hatred
between he and Goldberg but there is the World Title. Page has been
chasing his dream for years and now he has to beat a phenom to
achieve that dream. Goldberg may be the odds on favorite and Page
wouldn’t want it any other way. Goldberg may be unbeatable, but
maybe he’ll feel the BANG. Very simple but it got the point across.
Raven
vs. Villano V
Raven
says he’s going to hurt Villano (pronounced Villain-O) just like he
hurt his brother on Monday. V tries to get in some early offense but
Raven shrugs it off and hits a knee lift to put him down. An early
attempt to get a chair is stopped
by Villano but his bulldog
and atomic drop are shrugged off. Raven
sets up the chair, hits the drop toehold and the Evenflow is good for
the pin.
Even
more Hogan vs. Warrior stuff.
Disco
Inferno vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo
hammers away to start and sends Disco to the floor before playing
with Pepe. Disco fires back with his usual stuff including a running
knee and a neckbreaker. The announcers ignore the match to talk
about Scott Norton winning the IWGP Championship as Chavo hooks a
chinlodk. Inferno comes back with a hot shot and we take a break.
Back
with Disco coming off the top but only hitting mat. Chavo comes back
with a nice springboard bulldog for two but takes too much time
playing with Pepe, allowing Disco to come back with a slam. Chavo
dropkicks him in the back and gets two off a rollup, only to have
Disco score a quick piledriver for the pin. Apparently this was for
the #1 contendership to the Cruiserweight Title, which the announcers
forgot to mention until now.
Rating:
C-. The ending was really
abrupt but it was good enough while it lasted. Both guys got to get
in the air and jump around which actually works for Disco. Chavo’s
Pepe thing is getting a bit repetitive but at least he isn’t acting
as crazy as he was before. Knowing WCW, he’ll be even more insane on
Nitro.
Post
match Juventud Guerrera comes out with a piece of paper, followed by
Nick Patrick with a scale. It
seems that Disco was over the Cruiserweight limit of 230lbs. He has
to weigh in again right now and comes in at 231, meaning he’s
ineligible, making Chavo the winner by DQ and the #1 contender.
Disco blasts Guerrera out of
frustration and is the only one standing tall (in boots, which
probably weigh more than two pounds). In
other words: heavyweights are better than cruiserweights but Chavo is
the best loser we can find to challenge Juvy.
Norman
Smiley vs. Alex Wright
Norman
gets in Alex’s face over what was said earlier. Alex gets on one
knee and begs for mercy with an offer of a handshake, only to take a
swing. Norman will have none of that and clotheslines him, followed
by a nice swinging slam. Wright bails to the floor before coming in
to crank on the arm, drawing a USA chant.
The
fans chant boring so Alex monkey flips Smiley down and nips up into a
nice dropkick to calm them down. A backbreaker gets two on Norman
and Wright sends him outside. They chop it out for a bit until
Wright throws him back in for a stomping. Alex misses a charge and
Norman comes back with right hands and an elbow drop for two, only to
get caught in a neckbreaker for the pin.
Rating:
D+. Pretty dull and slow match
here but Norman was smooth in the ring and fun to watch. Alex
fighting against the rest of the European wrestlers on the roster is
at least something for him to do for awhile that isn’t dancing with
Disco Inferno. The match was better than some of the drek we’ve seen
on this show lately at least.
Here’s
Stevie Ray for a talk. The people here can scream for the Horsemen
all night long, but Eric Bischoff has called him up and said to keep
the Horsemen out of the building tonight. Stevie is officially the
NWO enforcer and the Horsemen won’t be here tonight. Flair and the
Horsemen are in the back and Doug Dillinger lets them walk past.
They come through the entrance and Stevie steps to the side, still
talking trash as he leaves. Stevie goes through a curtain and is
knocked down to the floor. Arn Anderson walks through the curtain
with a tire iron, bringing a smile to the fans’ faces.
Anderson
gets in the ring and says unless there are 15,000 people missing a
thumb, this is a Horsemen town. The Horsemen don’t care what
Bischoff has to say and last Thursday was his lone free day. They’re
a thinking man’s organization and they pick their spots after
calculating. Despite what Bischoff thinks, this company belongs to
the Horsemen.
Malenko
says he hasn’t had the chance to thank Anderson for his faith in him.
Anderson put his faith in another man by the name in Curt Hennig but
unlike him, Dean is a real Horseman. Benoit says Eric needs to
change the first half of his last name. As for Liz, the invitation
to ride Space Mountain comes with an invitation to all the other E
rides. Just let Benoit be the strong and silent one from now on.
Mongo threatens to beat up Bischoff’s entire family.
Flair
calls Schiavone Antonio and says it’s his turn to talk in Norfolk.
The Horsemen are reunited and it feels so good. Flair hasn’t saved
his money over the years and Norfolk is one reason why. The Horsemen
are going to play while Bischoff is away and own Norfolk all night
long. Liz is back at their hotel, and tonight Malenko is going to
get to prove that he’s the man of 1000 positions. “I mean holds!”
Video
on the Diamond Cutter.
WCW
World Title: Kanyon vs. Goldberg
Raven
sits in on commentary and asks what about him during the long
entrance. Kanyon does his
catchphrase and Goldberg spears him down before the bell. The
Jackhammer is the only move of the match.
Overall
Rating:
D+. This wasn’t a good
show but it was miles better than the mess we had to sit through last
week. Tonight took the
focus away from Hogan and his nonsense and put it on everything else,
which is what we’ve been needing for a long time now. The
wrestling was tolerable tonight and at least some of the bigger names
were on the card. I can live with a night of squashes if the winners
are guys I actually care about. Far better show this week but it
still wasn’t great.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – September 17, 1998

Thunder
Date:
September 17, 1998
Location:
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Attendance:
10,620
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This
was the second taping of the night and the interesting thing is how
many people left. I’m not sure if the second taping wasn’t clear or
what but probably half of the audience left before the second episode
started. The main story coming into tonight is the return of Flair,
whose in ring career rides on Arn Anderson beating Eric Bischoff in
an arm wrestling match. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers talk about the arm wrestling match tonight and of course
don’t say a word about Flair returning as it hasn’t happened yet.
Wrath
vs. Bobby Eaton
I
think you can figure this one out. Wrath pounds away in the corner
and hits a hard running clothesline as the announcers now talk about
Nitro, meaning the commentary was done later. So do the commentators
just leave during the second taping? Wrath kicks him to the floor
and rams Eaton’s back into the post before taking it back inside. A
top rope fist and a shoulder block set up the Meltdown to complete
the squash as expected.
The
announcers talk about Hogan vs. Warrior at Halloween Havoc and how
amazing it will be. Man it must be hard to keep a straight face at
times.
Mike
Enos vs. Lenny Lane
Lane
slaps him to start and is LAUNCHED across the ring for his efforts.
A nice gorilla press and some elbows have Enos in control but Lane
dropkicks him down to the floor. Lane dives down onto Mike to try
and wake the crowd up before getting two off a bulldog. Enos
powerslams him to counter a leap frog as the announcers talk about
ANYTHING but this match. A neckbreaker and stun gun get two for Enos
and he finally ends Lane with a spinning fireman’s carry slam (think
an airplane spin with Lane facing up).
Rating:
D+. There were some nice spots
in there but who in the world thought this match needed to happen? I
still want to know what the thinking process is to have this match.
Is is just picking two names out of a hat full of names that haven’t
been on TV in awhile? I can understand why most of the fans left at
this point.
Buff
and Scott Steiner come to the ring with Gene yelling at the two of
them for what they did at Fall Brawl. Both guys laugh at Okerlund
and Buff brags about the size of his arms. They fight again at
Halloween Havoc and Buff will be barred from ringside. Buff has
another idea.
We
look at Jericho bringing out the fake Goldberg and beating him at
Fall Brawl.
We
get some classic Flair clips with him beating up some jobbers. This
is the most entertaining part of ths show.
Vincent
vs. Steve Armstrong
Oh
they’re not even trying now. Steve starts with a quick dropkick and
some right hands before running into a boot in the corner. Vincent
goes after the arm over and over again and finally makes Armstrong
tap to a Fujiwara Armbar.
Post
match we get the evil laughter again. This is going to be a mess
whenever it happens. I don’t know what’s coming, but it’s going to
be a disaster.
Rick
Fuller vs. Ernest Miller
Miller
doesn’t mention being arrested on Monday, making the segment all the
less interesting. He offers Fuller three seconds to leave but Rick
doesn’t move. Miller knocks him to the floor and chokes with a
camera cable but can’t get in a chair shot. Back in and Fuller slugs
him down before showing off the power with a big slam. Miller avoids
a cross body and the Feliner is good for the pin.
Rating:
D-. This show is testing my
sanity very severely. Fuller’s potential is being wasted for the
sake of a guy who talks about how great he is at karate. The match
was barely long enough to rate and the brawling on the floor went
nowhere at all. Miller continues to be a waste of space that isn’t
doing anything interesting.
More
Flair clips, including him talking in the 80s and returning in 1993.
Curt
Hennig vs. Norman Smiley
Feeling
out process to start as they trade standing switches. Smiley takes
over and outwrestles Curt to start as the fans chant Magic, which is
half of Norman’s nickname of Black Magic. I remember standing in
front of those guys and not getting the reference at all. Norman
takes him down to the mat but Curt grabs his leg to take over. He
stomps on the leg and Crunches it before taking Smiley into the
corner for some kicks the bad leg. Smiley fights back with some
right hands but ducks his
head on an Irish whip attempt, setting up the PerfectPlex for the
pin.
Rating:
D+. Match of the night here
which should tell you everything you need to know about this episode.
Smiley at least got in some offense to start which is more than I
was expecting. I feel like I’m watching an episode of Superstars
from mid 1988 with all these worthless matches.
Hall
and Stevie Ray come out for the main event and the survey with the
NWO dominating the response.
Konnan/Kevin
Nash vs. Stevie Ray/Scott Hall
Stevie
and Konnan get things going as Hall can’t stand still on the apron.
Big Kev talks trash from the apron which only seems to fire Ray up as
he pounds away on Konnan in the corner. Hall still can’t stand
still. Konnan comes back with a clothesline and the low dropkick but
walks into another big right hand. The announcers ignore the match
to talk about Hogan vs. Warrior, even mentioning that they’ve met
before.
Off
to Hall who is easily taken down by a drop toehold. It’s not that
big of an accomplishment as he was almost down when he came through
the ropes. No mention on Hall improving at all since the mess on
Monday. Off to Stevie but Hall doesn’t leave the ring, further
ticking off the sober Black and White member.
Hall
stays in for some reason as the announcers talk about Disciple being
kidnapped. Apparently he got time off for good behavior though as he
worked a dark match before this taping. Again, you have a stable
with like ten members and you send Disciple out a jobber. That’s
poor thinking at least and incompetence at worst.
Anyway
back to the angle disguised as a match. Konnan trips Hall down again
and puts on a camel clutch which only seems to make Hall look ill. A
few rollups get two each on Scott and it’s time for a drink. Konnan
isn’t sure what to think but apparently the booze makes Hall a better
wrestler as he takes over. We even get an Outsider’s Edge attempt
but Konnan easily backdrops him down and rubs Scott’s face in the
mat. Hall falls through the ropes and can’t stand up, which is too
much for Stevie who walks out. Hall never makes it back in and it’s
a countout.
Rating:
F. Like I said, this was an
angle disguised as a match. I’m not a fan of the story here when
it’s this based on real life either. This wasn’t even a match as it
was about two minutes of Stevie vs. Konnan then the Scott Hall Show.
Also, nice to see Nash earning his paycheck out there tonight. He
never even tagged in.
We
look back at Flair returning on Monday. My goodness that was
amazing.
It’s
time for the arm wrestling between Bischoff and Anderson. Bagwell
and Malenko are here as seconds. Anderson gets his right arm ready
(naturally left handed) but Bischoff says make it left handed.
Remember that Anderson had surgery a year or so prior to this and his
arm isn’t what it used to be. Bischoff of course is up to his old
tricks and swaps out for Buff because Bischoff was never specified.
Buff says it’s fair because they both had neck injuries. Anderson
threatens Bischoff and gets beaten in a second to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
F-. Three days. It
took them three days after the best moment Nitro has ever had to make
sure the NWO went over the Horsemen by outsmarting them. You want to
get excited about something in this company? Well it better not be
the Horsemen because we don’t care how many times the WE WANT FLAIR
chants come up. This is the NWO company and screw you if you think
anyone is going to get one up on them.
Also
let’s look at this card. Who is the most entertaining guy on this
show? Wrath? Miller maybe? I guess it’s Konnan but the fact that
those two guys are as close to second and third as they are tells you
everything you need to know about this show. Tonight took everything
that was good on Monday and just wasted it on a boring episode.
Yeah
this was taped in advance and they didn’t know how good Nitro was
going to be, but how could anyone look at this card and think it
would be an entertaining two hours? What here makes me want to watch
the next show? This was as bad as Thunder has been, and that covers
A LOT of ground.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – September 10, 1998

Thunder
Date:
September 10, 1998
Location:
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Attendance:
10,620
Commentators:
Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This
is an interesting show for me as I was in the audience that night. I
barely remember anything at all of the show but I know they taped two
weeks worth of shows and there was an arm wrestling match at some
point in here. If I remember correctly I was sitting opposite the
cameras. I also vaguely remember Hogan making an appearance but I’m
not sure. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers promise that tonight is going to be an excellent show.
I’m sure.
Here
are Hogan, Bischoff and company to open things up. Bischoff says the
most beautiful people in the world are right here in the ring with
him. Hogan says his fans know he rules the wrestling world and know
he’ll get the world title back very soon. All the plans are in place
for WarGames with Roddy Piper and DDP concerned with each other and
Warrior not having the guts to face Hollywood on his own. As for
Bret Hart, Hogan has Stevie Ray watching his back (Jack) and he isn’t
worried about the Wolfpack either.
Before
the first match we cut to the back and see Jericho saying he’s the
champion of all those with televisions. Since they’re a TV company,
he’s the highest ranking champion in all of WCW. He has a cameraman
following him around for tonight only.
Cruiserweight
Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Silver King
Silver
King is challenging. They get in a shoving match to start until
Silver King takes him into the corner. Juvy avoids a splash but is
whipped into the corner, only to flip out of a belly to back suplex.
Silver King throws him into the ropes and throws Juvy into the air
for a dropkick to the ribs. He misses a Lionsault minus the running
start and we get a chase on the floor, leading to Juvy picking up a
chair, only to have Silver King dropkick it into his face. The bell
rings once as Silver King hits an Eye of the Storm for two. The bell
rings again and it’s finally announced as a DQ. Odd ending.
Juvy
is laid out with a belt shot post match.
JJ
Dillon makes Konnan vs. Scott Hall for Fall Brawl because Bischoff
isn’t making Hall get into the ring enough.
TV
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Wrath
We
go to the back with Jericho walking to the ring, flanked by Jericho
Personal Security Guard and the Jericoholic Ninja. Jericho is all
fired up but walks into a broom closet and a wall. This is so
strange for me as I walked through those same halls when I was
graduating high school and college. He walks outside as Wrath is
getting angry in the ring. Jericho is locked out so Wrath goes up
the entrance and kicks the door to outside open so he can chase
Jericho through the parking lot. The match is a countout.
We
go to a clip from WCW Saturday Night with Jim Duggan talking about
how important his career has been over the last 20 years, but he was
recently diagnosed with cancer. Duggan is scheduled for surgery
later this week and says we should all hug our children closer
because you never know when you might not see them anymore. He
thanks us all for our support and tries not to cry.
Kanyon
vs. Nick Dinsmore
Dinsmore
is more famous as Eugene. Kanyon says that he’s too good to face a
rookie like Dinsmore so Lodi can order Saturn to fight him in his
place. Saturn comes out with a Lodi Rulz sign before swapping it out
for a Lodi Is Not Here sign. Kanyon panics and eats a clothesline
before Saturn takes his hand over to the buckle and breaks his thumb.
Saturn goes for another finger, shouting that Kanyon has nine more
to go. Raven comes out and sends the Flock after Saturn who easily
dispatches them. Saturn says that on Sunday, he’s saving the Flock
and his own career. More awesome.
Curt
Hennig vs. Steve McMichael
Luger
vs. Bulldog was scheduled for later but due to the attack it’s now a
tag with Luger needing to find a partner against Bulldog and
Neidhart. Mongo kicks away in the corner to start and follows up
with a big running clothesline. A WE WANT FLAIR chant starts up as
Mongo hits the buckle while trying a running knee. Hennig wraps the
knee around the post before kicking at the leg back inside. Curt
charges but walks into a belly to back suplex as Mongo makes a low
speed comeback. Stevie Ray comes in and slips Hennig a slap jack
which is good for the DQ.
Rating:
D. Nothing of note here but
thankfully these two wouldn’t fight each other anymore. I like that
they’re following up on the NWO vs. Horsemen idea, though I was
hoping they wouldn’t have waited as many months as they did in
between. At least Mongo didn’t pop right back up after the knee
work.
Post
match Bagwell comes out with a chair to crush Mongo’s throat but Dean
Malenko makes the save. The NWO is about to swarm him when Arn
Anderson makes the save with a 2×4 to a big pop. I remember the fans
going absolutely nuts for that and it was a great moment live.
After
a break Mongo is being taken out on a stretcher and Arn is with Tony
in the ring. Arn says Dean shouldn’t have asked for this because
he’s about to get it. If it were up to Anderson, Dean Malenko would
be a Horseman. This brings out Eric Bischoff who says the Horsemen
are dead because of Anderson’s neck and the book he recently wrote.
Back
when Bischoff took over the company, the Horsemen put 1,200 people in
a 15,000 seat arena before Bischoff made WCW the #1 wrestling company
in the world. Bischoff says to forget about Flair but Anderson grabs
him by the throat before Eric can go on. Malenko pulls him off and
Bischoff has an offer: If Anderson wants the Horsemen back, he’ll arm
wrestle Bischoff next week. Another great segment in this story.
Lodi
shows up at the announcers’ desk covered in moss and seaweed,
complete with a fish in his hand. He says Saturn threw him in a
river (there isn’t one near Lexington) but Tony cuts him off and says
go ask Kanyon about his fingers.
Lex
Luger vs. British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart
Luger
goes it alone to start and cleans house before starting with
Neidhart. A nice running elbow and slam put the Anvil down before
it’s off to Bulldog for some right hands in the corner. There’s an
atomic drop but Neidhart gets in a cheap shot from the apron. Cue
Bret Hart in wrestling gear to make it 3-1 with Neidhart getting that
evil grin on his face. Instead Bret goes after Bulldog and then
Neidhart before getting on the apron for a tag. Luger isn’t sure
what to do but he tags Luger in for a face pop to work over Anvil.
Everything breaks down and the Torture Rack ends Neidhart.
Rating:
D+. This was more of an angle
than a match as a good chunk of it was spent with Bret looking at
Neidhart and Bulldog. I don’t buy Bret turning face as this is WCW
where face turns are measured in seconds, but I’m interested in where
it’s going if nothing else. The fans were into the idea as well so
it was a successto start at least.
We
look at JJ ordering Hall vs. Konnan from earlier.
Konnan
vs. Disco Inferno
After
Konnan does his stuff, Disco takes the mic and says he and Wright are
ready to join the Wolfpack tonight. Konnan tells them to go to a
prison and toss salads so Disco jumps him to get things going. The
dancers double team Konnan for a few moments before he fights back,
hits his signature stuff on Disco and wins with the Tequila Sunrise
in about a minute.
The
Armstrong Brothers were being interviewed for WCW International
Television (no show mentioned, just International Television) when
Ernest Miller interrupts. He kicks both guys in the face but Norman
Smiley interrupts. This was filmed at the same doors Jericho got
locked out of earlier.
Here’s
Roddy Piper with something to say. Piper talks about being a wildcat
from birth and isn’t sure about WarGames. He isn’t crazy about being
in the ring with the Wolfpack but loves the idea of being in there
with Hogan. This brings him to Team WCW with its captain Diamond
Dallas Page. Piper isn’t one to listen to a captain but he turns
around when Page yells at him from the crowd. Page says he earned
the captain’s spot and Piper volunteered to be on the team. Warrior
is here to mess with Hogan’s head, but Page has no problem making
Warrior or Piper feel the BANG inside the cage.
WCW
World Title: Rick Fuller vs. Goldberg
Goldberg
slugs him down to start but Fuller comes back with a few kicks. Not
that they matter as the spear crushes Fuller but here are Disciple
and Hogan for the DQ. Goldberg fights them both off and spears
Disciple before Jackhammering Fuller…for the pin? Wait the referee
didn’t see that? Disciple shoved Goldberg into the referee WHILE THE
REFEREE WAS WITH FULLER. But we’re supposed to buy that he didn’t
see that? That’s a stretch even for WCW.
Kevin
Nash vs. Stevie Ray
After
some catchphrases, Nash shoves Ray into the corner but gets his eyes
raked to give Ray a breather. Some big right hands don’t get Stevie
anywhere as Nash clotheslines him and does the usual stuff in the
corner, only to run into an elbow in the corner. A superkick puts
Nash down and we get to the slow, power offense from Stevie. Nash
fights out of a chinlock and kicks Stevie in the face to set up the
Jackknife, drawing in Vincent for the DQ.
Rating:
D. Another match there to
advance stories and set up Sunday which is fine. Stevie isn’t bad in
the ring but he’s nothing the NWO didn’t have a ton of already. Nash
was his usual lumbering self here but the fans were into him for the
most part. Also it’s good that they kept this short instead of
letting this drag down into oblivion.
Post
match Nash stays on Stevie until Scott Hall returns to knock out Nash
with the slap jack. The Black and White comes out to praise Hall as
Nash keeps trying to get back up. Remember earlier when Mongo took
the same shot and was taken out on a stretcher? Neither do I.
Anyway, the NWO goes to the back and sees Warrior spraypaint on the
wall to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C-. This was good for a
Thunder with some decent angle advancement and promos, even though
the wrestling didn’t do much for me. The Horsemen, Flock and Jericho
stuff continues to own the show and I dread what’s coming after Fall
Brawl, but this is still an entertaining promotion at this point.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – September 3, 1998

Thunder
Date:
September 3, 1998
Location:
Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Attendance:
7,128
Commentators:
Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
a taped show this week, meaning odds are there isn’t going to be much
in the way of storyline advancement. Then again this is Thunder so
it’s not like anything ever really happens here anyway. We’re
closing in on Fall Brawl with just ten days to go, meaning we can
start to fill in the rest of the card. Let’s get to it.

 

The
announcers talk about WarGames for a bit. The main event tonight is
Konnan/DDP vs. Stevie Ray/Giant.
Rick
Fuller vs. Marty Jannetty
Fuller
shoves him against the ropes to start but gets rolled up for a quick
two. Marty takes him to the mat for a front chancery before
dropkicking Fuller into the corner. Fuller comes back with some hard
chops in the corner and a big beal sends Marty flying. A hard chop
puts Marty down again but he avoids a charge to send Rick shoulder
first into the post, setting up the Showstopper (Rocker Dropper) for
the pin.
Rating:
D+. Not much to this one but a
basic power vs. speed match is almost always going to work. Jannetty
hasn’t looked bad at all when he’s given the right kind of opponent
to bounce off of and a monster like Fuller works well in that role.
However, when you reach the point where Marty Jannetty is getting
singles victories, you’re in for a long night.
We
get some stills from the main event of Nitro.
We
look back at Saturn saying he would work for Lodi because it was what
he agreed to do. We also get a clip from their tag match on Monday.
Kaz
Hayashi vs. Lenny Lane
Feeling
out process to start as the announcers say Lane looks and acts more
and more like Chris Jericho every week. Feeling out process to start
until Kaz takes him down with a spinwheel kick. Lane comes right
back by sending Kaz’s head into the buckle four times in a row and
does the Hogan hand to his ear. The fans are all over Lenny here as
he chops away on Hayashi.
Lane’s
bulldog in the corner is countered but he still rolls through a high
cross body for two of his own. Kaz sends him out to the floor and
hits a nice Asai Moonsault to send Lane into the barricade, knocking
the steel back a few feet. Back inside Lane grabs a powerslam for
two and a suplex gets the same. A sunset flip gets two for Kaz but
Lane elbows him in the face and puts Kaz up top. Hayashi comes back
with a quick hurricanrana and a top rope senton backsplash is good
for the pin.
Rating:
C. Basic idea of taking two
guys and letting them fly around the ring for six minutes. Hayashi
was an entertaining guy and Lane as a Jericho clone was about as good
as you could get for a midcard heel in the division. The fact that
there are tiers to a midcard division is astounding when you look at
the same kind of divisions in modern wrestling.
We
look at Konnan saving DDP last week.
Disorderly
Conduct vs. High Voltage
Tough
Tom starts with Kaos as Heenan makes fun of the University of
Kentucky, making him a true heel. Rage slingshots in with a legdrop
before it’s back to Kaos for some arm cranking. Rage hits a nice
spinning belly to belly suplex for two as Mean Mike comes in for the
save. A double suplex gets two as the fans are completely
uninterested in this. Disorderly Conduct puts Kaos down with double
teaming as well with Mike getting two off an elbow drop. Kaos avoids
a flying shoulder that hits Mike instead, allowing for the hot tag to
Rage. Everything breaks down and a springboard Doomsday Device pins
Tom.
Rating:
D-. The good match streak ends
at two. It wasn’t so much that the match was bad but it was totally
uninteresting. Disorderly Conduct was as boring of a team as I’ve
seen in a very long time. High Voltage wasn’t bad but it was clear
that they were there for the size of their muscles and little more.
Wrath
vs. Barry Horowitz
Wrath
shoves him down to start and they head to the floor for chops.
Horowitz is getting treated like the jobber that he is as Wrath
throws him back inside for a slingshot elbow to the jaw. A rollup
gets one for Barry but Wrath runs him over with a shoulder block and
the Meltdown ends this quick.
We
get a “sitdown interview” (read as Saturn sitting in the dark and
talking) with Saturn where he talks about being
tired of bullies like Raven and wanting to take the Flock apart.
Raven
vs. Meng
This
should be interesting, which is why it’s not happening. Raven says
it’s Riggs and Sick Boy instead because Raven’s Rules means a
handicap match. The goons are easily dispatched so Raven offers
Horace his spot back in the Flock if he fights Meng. A stop sign
shot has almost no effect and it’s a Death Grip for Meng. Sick Boy
comes in again and gets a Grip of his own. Raven finally gives up
and tells the referee to count Sick Boy out.
Raven
tells Lodi to order Saturn to get in there
and get some. Saturn has a bit of luck and even staggers Meng with a
superkick but Kanyon kicks Saturn in the back of the head, allowing
Meng to Death Grip him as well.
Kanyon
vs. Saturn
This
starts after a break with Saturn still feeling the effects of the
Death Grip. Kanyon hits his quick electric chair faceplant but stops
to hold up one of Lodi’s signs. Raven gets up on the apron and the
distraction lets Saturn get two off a small package but he’s too weak
to follow up. A spinning wheelbarrow suplex puts Saturn down again
before Kanyon tosses him outside for trash talk from Raven. Back in
and Kanyon gets a neckbreaker out of the corner but won’t cover.
Instead he hooks a crucifix for two and frustration begins to set in.

A
bridging Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza gets two for
Kanyon and a spinning northern lights suplex snapped forward into a
spinebuster gets another two. Kanyon isn’t sure what to try now and
the delay lets Saturn hit a quick overhead belly to belly. There’s a
second one followed by a
t-bone suplex but Lodi gets up on the apron and says he wants to see
Saturn lose. Lodi wants to see the Flatliner and since Saturn has to
do what Lodi says, he takes the Flatliner to give Kanyon the pin.
Rating:
C+. Mainly storytelling here as
the feud is finally leading up to something. There’s a good idea
here and the matches being good are a bonus. Saturn finally getting
his hands on Raven at the PPV is going to be something well worth
seeing as this might be the best thing going in WCW at the moment.
Dean
Malenko vs. Brian Adams
No
match as Curt Hennig jumps Malenko from behind during his entrance.
Rude, Adams and Hennig give Malenko a big beatdown including a Rude
Awakening, complete with hip swivel, to stop a comeback attempt.
Curt asks for a trainer to check on Malenko before referencing
slamming a door on Ric Flair’s head a year ago. He talks about
Malenko wanting a cage match with Hennig but says the Horsemen are
finished and no one can beat him in a cage. Rude brings in a piece
of a cage and lays it over Malenko’s body.
Norman
Smiley vs. Riggs
Riggs
is still banged up from the Tongan Death Grip from earlier but he
still pounds away on Norman to start. The injuries seem to be an act
which could be a new career path for Riggs since wrestling doesn’t
seem to be his strong suit. Norman quickly escapes a sleeper and
headbutts Riggs in the corner as Malenko vs. Hennig in a cage is
announced for this coming Monday. A slam puts Riggs down and Norman
drops a leg, backflips to his feet and drops an elbow for two.
Off
to an armbar with a leg around Riggs’ neck for a bit in a nice
looking hold. Riggs gets up and rams a charging Norman into the
corner to take over. Smiley is sent outside and might have injured
his knee on the landing. Back in and Riggs puts a knee in the back
and cranks on the arms because an opponent holding his knee is a bit
too complicated for him. Norman avoids a middle rope knee drop and
grabs a leg bar for a surprising submission.
Rating:
C+. Riggs not being able to use
basic psychology aside, this was a rather entertaining match. Smiley
is a guy who could always give a good performance if he wasn’t being
over the top with his comedy. It’s always fun to see a relative
unknown get an upset win over a name, even one as lowly as Riggs.
Armstrong
Brothers vs. Disco Inferno/Alex Wright
The
Armstrongs are Steve and Scott (referee in WWE). Alex takes Steve
down with an armdrag to start and scores with a nice dropkick before
bringing in Disco. Steve doesn’t notice though, allowing Disco to
come in off the middle rope to break up a cover. Off to Scott who
walks right into a slam as the announcers talk about the Armstrong
Curse Inferno dances a bit and drops a fist on Scott for two but the
Brothers both come in, allowing Scott to hit a nice clothesline for
no cover.
Scott
and Steve stomp away in the corner until the referee finally breaks
it up, though it keeps him from seeing Disco backslide Steve. Disco
and Steve collide and everything breaks down. Scott accidentally
dropkicks Steve and a Disco facebuster into a Wright neckbreaker is
enough for the pin.
Rating:
D. Much like the other tag
match, this was was much more uninteresting than it was bad. The
Armstrongs are nothing without Brad and even then they’re nothing of
note. Disco and Alex aren’t bad for a low level tag team but they’re
nothing higher than that. Not much to see here.
Konnan/Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Stevie Ray/Giant
It’s
Konnan being kicked down by Ray to start before Stevie pulls on his
pants. The most interesting part of the opening segment: Tony says
WCW is different from the Wolfpack because WCW cares about tradition.
That’s the first explanation I’ve heard from the announcers. Off to
Page vs. Giant with the big man countering an Irish whip into a
clothesline to take over.
A
choke into a backbreaker works on Page’s bad ribs but DDP comes back
with a running DDT to put both guys down. Page finally covers but
the kickout launches him into the air and spins him around. Konnan
and Stevie come in off tags with Ray taking over and knocking Page
off the apron. An X Factor puts Ray down and the hot tag brings in
Page to clean house. Ray walks into a Diamond Cutter but Giant
breaks up the pin as the NWO comes in for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. This was your usual main
event tag match for WCW with nothing happening and the NWO running in
before anyone has to do a job. To be fair though that’s probably the
right idea with WarGames less than two weeks away. I’m still not
sure why Stevie Ray of all people is getting this push.
The
NWO beats up our heroes until Goldberg makes the save and stares down
the Giant to set up the dark match main event.
Overall
Rating:
C-. Better than average
Thunder here but that doesn’t make it a good show. There was some
solid action here but all of the tag matches dragged things back
down. It’s amazing how much easier this is when the main event
stories get less than twelve minutes of screen time and no talking.
Not a good show but it was far easier to sit through than most
Thunders.
Remember to pick up my new book on the History of Summerslam for just $4 from Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HY4NV7Y
Also check out my Amazon author page with other wrestling books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – August 26, 1998

Thunder
Date:
August 26, 1998
Location:
Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Attendance:
7,128
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
For
once in a very long time we’re coming off a strong ending to a Nitro.
We’re heading into Fall Brawl and WarGames with Team WCW fully in
place and two members of the Black and White set. The Wolfpack
hasn’t been announced yet but with only four members it’s not like
they have a lot of options. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a chat about WarGames with Lee Marshall saying Hogan has
never pinned Piper or Page because Lee Marshall is bad at history.
Wrath
vs. Scott Putski
Total
squash with Wrath winning in less than a minute with a top rope
clothesline and the Meltdown, though he didn’t turn Putski all the
way and it was more of a Dominator. I was always kind of a Wrath fan
as long as he didn’t talk.
Here’s
Stevie Ray for his first interview since joining the NWO. He owes
Hogan and Bischoff a debt of gratitude (for costing him the TV
Title?) for standing up for him three years ago and will serve them
up DDP tonight, as per Hogan’s orders.
Mike
Enos vs. Bull Pain
Bull
Pain has been kicking around the indies and smaller promotions for
years now. Enos starts fast and pounds away before hitting a nice
side slam. Lots of walking around and posing by Enos. Pain comes
back with some right hands and kicks to the ribs but that’s about it
for him. A middle rope fall away slam is enough to finish Pain and
gets Enos the only pop of his WCW career.
Rating:
D. The fall away slam was good
but we’re seriously having Mike Enos squashes now? This is how far
Thunder has fallen? Bull Pain is a good name for someone but when
you get a jobber’s entrance to face Mike Enos, it might be time to
look for a new line of work. Nothing to see here.
Disco
Inferno vs. The Cat
Disco
says everyone is here to see him dance but he turns around into a
spinning kick to the face for the pin in 12 seconds.
Post
match Miller complains about WCW trying to make him a wrestler
because he’s a three time world karate champion and there’s nothing
we can do about it. So he turns heel by attacking a heel?
Konnan
vs. Silver King
Somehow
this sounds better than anything we’ve seen all night. Konnan starts
fast with the nicest hurricanrana I’ve ever seen him use to send
Silver King out to the floor. Back in and Konnan works on the knee
to set up the Tequila Sunrise before going to his signature stuff.
After the rolling clothesline and X Factor, it’s the 187 and Tequila
Sunrise for the win.
Rating:
D. Just a squash but it’s nice
to have something to rate tonight. Silver King is yet another name
on the list of jobbers with more talent than they’re given credit
for. Konnan got the crowd into the match which was his main job in
the Wolfpack. It wasn’t anything to see but that hurricanrana was
nice.
Post
match Rude and Hennig come out to make fun of Konnan before asking
who he’d rather get his beating from. Konnan calls out the rest of
the Black and White but runs away and laughs on his way out. Nothing
to see here again.
Here’s
DDP to talk a bit about WarGames. After running down Bischoff, Page
praises the Warrior for helping him take down Hollywood SCUM Hogan.
Page says we’ll find out who the third man for Team WCW is on Nitro.
Wasn’t that covered already? He’ll make Stevie Ray feel the Bang
soon enough.
Hour
#2 begins.
Kaz
Hayashi vs. Evan Karagias
Hayashi
starts fast with a cross body and kick to the jaw. Before
we get very far, here’s Sonny Onoo to give advise to Kaz. The
distraction lets Evan take over with a quick suplex followed by a
slam. Not that it matters
though as Karagias spends the time Hayashi is down yelling at Onoo
instead of following up. He finally goes up for a
top rope splash but hits
Kaz’s knees. Hayashi yells
at Onoo as well before going
up top for a senton backsplash for the pin.
Rating:
C-. Well I guess rehashing
Sonno Onoo’s Japanese team is better than no story at all. The
high spots here were decent but they didn’t do enough to carry the
match into good territory. Karagais was a good example of someone
with the right look but no substance to him for the most par.
Lodi
comes to the ring and says that Saturn broke his fingers (it was
Raven) so he wants a piece of Saturn right now. This brings out
Saturn who points out that it was Raven, but Lodi says Raven would
never hurt him because they’re friends. Raven even bought him a new
rubber ducky. Lodi even sweetens the pot a bit: if Saturn beats him,
he’ll leave the Flock, but if Lodi wins then Saturn has to be Lodi’s
slave until Fall Brawl. Saturn jumps him and it’s on.
Lodi
vs. Saturn
Saturn
pounds away to start and destroys Lodi like the sign carrying goof
that he is. A suplex and
short arm clothesline have Lodi in big trouble but here are Sick Boy,
Riggs and Raven for the save. It’s Raven’s Rules so the match keeps
going with Saturn cleaning house. The Death Valley Driver looks to
end Lodi but here’s Kanyon to hit the Flatliner on Saturn. Kanyon
shakes Raven’s hand as Lodi is able to pin Saturn in a huge upset.
Rating:
D+. This was all about the
storyline instead of the match which is fine as this story is FINALLY
going somewhere. Now to be fair it doesn’t make much sense and is
taking out one of the most interesting characters on the roster but
at least it’s something instead of what we’ve been seeing for months
now.
Scott
Norton vs. Jim Neidhart
Norton
runs Jim over with a shoulder to send Neidhart out to the floor. Jim
goes after Vincent instead of getting his head handed to him by
Norton, but Scott just goes to the floor and lays him out. Back in
and Jim tries a second rope shoulder but just bounces off of Norton.
That was impressive. Norton powerbombs him half to death for the
pin.
Rating:
D. They’re doing a good job of
making Norton look like a killer before he’s fed to Goldberg. They
did the same thing with Meng a few weeks back and the result was far
better than I was expecting. I can’t remember the last time he lost
a singles match and that powerbomb is awesome.
The
announcers talk a bit.
TV
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Alex Wright
This
has to be good right? Jericho is defending of course. Both guys
play to the crowd for a bit before we’re ready to go. They fight
into the corner before being separated with Wright complaining of a
hair pull. Alex bails to the ropes to get out of a wristlock and
Jericho does the same to avoid a German suplex. Chris complains
about a hair pull and Alex heads outside for a breather. Back in and
Alex clotheslines him down before stomping Jericho out to the floor.
Chris
is whipped into the barricade but comes back up with chops before
sending Alex into the barricade as well. Back
in with Wright hitting some European uppercuts. Heenan: “Tony do
you know why that is called a European uppercut?” Tony: “I’m
scared to ask this but why?” Heenan: “I was hoping you knew.”
Alex hits a nice overhead belly to belly suplex for a near fall but
Jericho kicks him in the chest to take over again. The champion gets
two off a suplex as the announcers talk about the good Hennig vs.
Jericho match from Monday.
Wright
snapmares Jericho down before
throwing him to the outside. An ax handle off the apron has Jericho
staggering but he grabs a quick chinlock back inside. Jericho shifts
over to a stump puller before rolling backwards so Wright is on
Jericho’s stomach. It doesn’t last long and I think the hold would
be more effective on the mat. The Lionsault connects but Jericho
does the long walk around the ring instead of covering. Alex comes
back with an elbow to the jaw and a backbreaker for two.
A
spinwheel kick gets the same and there’s a chinlock on the champion.
Jericho fights up with a jawbreaker to put both guys down but it’s
Wright with another spinwheel kick to take over. They seem to botch
a spot with both guys coming off the ropes but Jericho hits a
butterfly backbreaker, only to have Wright come back with a
backbreaker of his own. Wright misses a top rope ax handle but goes
right back up for a sunset flip. It’s all for naught though as
Jericho rolls through into the Liontamer to retain.
Rating:
C+. This
was good but it’s nowhere near enough to save the show at this point.
Wright was trying here and Jericho has been on a roll as of late
with the Hennig match being a high point. Alex continues to be a guy
that could have been something special if he was treated seriously
for a longer stretch.
Curt
Hennig vs. Van Hammer
Haven’t
seen Van Hammer in awhile. Hammer grabs a very quick rollup for two
and Hennig is frustrated on
the floor. He comes back in and just blasts Hammer in the face with
a right hand to put him down. Rude gets in some choking from the
floor like any good heel manager would. Hammer ducks a clothesline
and fires off some sloppy right hands of his own but misses a knee in
the corner. Curt kicks at the knee a bit before getting bored and
hitting the PerfectPlex for the pin.
Rating:
D. Hammer looked lost out there
and could barely throw a decent right hand. It’s pretty clear why we
hadn’t seen him in a few months. Rude was the highlight of the match
as he punched Hammer in the face and then checked to make sure his
nails were still clean. I miss managers that were actually
effective.
Stevie
Ray vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Tony
calls this a bounty match, whatever that means. Ray shoves Page
around to start and Page gives him a wry smile. Page comes back with
right hands and the driving shoulder blocks to send Ray outside. DDP
follows but Vincent grabs the leg to let Stevie take over. Back
inside and Ray hits a nice backbreaker before choking a lot. We hit
the nerve hold and bearhug for a bit but Page is quickly in the
ropes. The Slapjack is countered with a backdrop and Page scores
with a neckbreaker. He calls for the Diamond Cutter but hits it on
an interfering Vincent, drawing the DQ.
Rating:
D+. For a Stevie Ray match this
wasn’t completely terrible. They backed themselves into a corner on
the ending though as Page isn’t getting pinned and you don’t want Ray
getting beaten clean in his first match wearing the Black and White.
When all else fails, call for Vincent and the DQ.
Giant
comes out to help Stevie with the beatdown but Konnan makes a save to
end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. Another below
average show as Thunder gets less and less important every week. The
main story tonight was focused on Stevie Ray which isn’t something
that is going to draw in an audience. There was a lot of talk about
WarGames, but why say Piper isn’t confirmed as a member of the team
when he and Page agreed to an alliance on Nitro? Bad show for the
most part but there were a few bright spots sprinkled here and there.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – August 20, 1998

Thunder
Date:
August 20, 1998
Location:
Fargodome, Fargo, North Dakota
Attendance:
9,721
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This
is a rare taped show, meaning we’re not likely to get anything new on
the stories from Monday. Actually that could be a good thing as we
don’t have to hear about Warrior for the better part of two hours.
Hopefully the show is more entertaining than it has been recently as
it’s become nothing more than a set of worthless matches and next to
no angle advancement at all. Let’s get to it.

Cruiserweight
Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Psychosis
Unfortunately
the announcers are already talking about the Warrior. They shake
hands to start with Psychosis pulling the champion into a majistral
cradle for two before getting caught in an early headlock. Psychosis
fights out and elbows Juvy a few times as the announcers keep talking
about WarGames. A cross body gets two for the champion and he puts
Psychosis down again with headscissors and spinwheel kicks.
The
450 is broken up and Psychosis gets two off a rollup as we go to a
break. Back and they’re in the same places they were before the
break with Psychosis putting Juvy down with a backbreaker. The
guiilotine legdrop actually connects but Psychosis takes forever to
cover and Juvy gets up at two. Juvy flips out of a release German
suplex and the Juvy Driver retains the title.
Rating:
C. Simple, high flying
cruiserweight match to open things up and there’s nothing wrong with
that. I was really hoping the announcers wouldn’t spend the entire
match talking about the Warrior but it was false hope at best. These
two fought each other enough times that they could probably have a
good match in their sleep.
Video
on the Wolfpack.
Stevie
Ray is going to take care of the Giant tonight and no one needs to
worry about Booker T’s condition.
Quick
look at Warrior debuting.
Jim
Duggan vs. Barry Darsow
It’s
a power slugout as you would expect with Darsow hammering away to no
effect. Duggan fires back with those big right hands and they fall
to the floor with Duggan still in control. Back in and the
announcers discuss Warrior’s contract situation and promise an update
on Monday. Darsow catches Duggan with a knee to the ribs and puts on
a neck crank but misses an elbow drop. Jim makes his comeback with a
variety of punches and the three point clothesline sets up the Old
Glory knee drop for the pin.
Rating:
D. Duggan is another guy that’s
good at firing up a live crowd but he doesn’t do much for anyone
watching on TV. Darsow continues to be on television for reasons I
don’t quite get. He’s not terrible or anything but who is going to
stop flipping through channels because he’s on Thunder?
Very
nice video history of WarGames which fills in some time. This is the
kind of stuff you don’t get enough of from WCW. They never were one
to talk about their history.
Bret
Hart says he’s part of Hogan’s WarGames team before saying how great
it is to be US Champion. He knows he can beat Goldberg too.
Mongo
wants a piece of Curt Hennig tonight…..for what he did to Flair.
Wasn’t that a year ago?
Dean
Malenko vs. Brian Adams
Nice
to see Dean getting to work with a more main event guy. Dean tries
to take Adams down but Brian just knocks him away with pure power. A
jawbreaker staggers Adams but he puts Dean down with a backbreaker
for two. Malenko goes for the arm but is thrown away again before
being thrown to the floor for some shots from Vincent.
Back
inside and Adams kicks Dean in the face and hits a gutbuster for two.
Dean avoids an elbow but jumps into a bearhug, only to counter it
into a nice DDT. It’s Cloverleaf time but a Vincent distraction lets
Hennig run in with a cheap shot, allowing Adams to hit the
tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for the win.
Rating:
C. Surprisingly good match here
with Dean playing David to Adams’ Goliath quite well. The ending is
all you can expect from an NWO match but it’s nice to see Dean
getting a chance to move up the card a little bit. Malenko vs.
Hennig could be a great match if they give it more than four minutes.
Video
on NWO Hollywood.
We
look at Steiner and Bagwell’s segment from Nitro with Steiner
claiming various injuries.
Saturn
vs. Horace vs. Raven vs. Kanyon
Four
corners match here and you have to tag. Raven and Saturn start but
Raven tags in Horace before there’s any contact. Horace takes Saturn
down with a quick slam and sends him into the corner, only to have
Saturn come back with kicks to the head and an elbow to the jaw to
take over. Saturn blasts Kanyon in the face for a tag and it’s
Kanyon firing off forearms to keep the big man Horace in trouble. A
swinging neckbreaker gets two for Kanyon and it’s Raven’s turn to get
a piece of Horace.
Raven
immediately tries to boss Horace around but goes to the eyes when
that fails miserably. Horace fights back but gets tagged by Kanyon,
only to have Horace help Raven put Kanyon down. Raven works over
Kanyon with a knee lift before bringing Horace back in for a slam.
It’s quickly back to Raven for three straight Russian legsweeps
before he brings in Saturn for the first time. A big belly to belly
suplex puts Kanyon down again and it’s off to Horace who walks into a
suplex from Kanyon. This is moving faster than it sounds.
Horace
comes right back with a splash for two but is tired of the wrestling
and gets the stop sign. He misses Saturn and hits Raven in the head
though to put Raven and Kanyon down. Both guys crawl over to Saturn
but he won’t tag. Instead he smacks Kanyon in the face for a tag and
beats on Raven like he stole something.
A
pair of belly to belly suplexes sets up a top rope splash for two
before hitting Kanyon in the face again for a tag. Kanyon picks up
Saturn and throws him on Raven to get himself a two count but walks
into a t-bone suplex from Saturn for two. The Flatliner gets two on
Horace but the goons pull Kanyon to the floor. Saturn joins in the
fight, allowing Raven to DDT Horace for the pin.
Rating:
B-. Wild but fun match here
with everyone getting to show off a bit. It’s nice to see someone
getting elevated out of this story, even if there’s no end in sight.
Raven getting a win is nice for a change as Saturn has been
dominating the feud for a good while now. Best match on Thunder in
awhile.
Giant
promises to close the gap, and he doesn’t mean the one between Stevie
Ray’s teeth.
Steve
McMichael vs. Curt Hennig
Tony
actually has some insight for us: if one man wins WarGames and gets a
title shot as a result, what’s the point of having teams? Hennig is
tossed around and out to the floor to start before going after the
knee back inside. Mongo gets tired of selling and beats Curt up some
more before laying him out with a neckbreaker. A pair of shoulder
blocks look to set up the tombstone but Rude hits Mongo in the back
with a chair, drawing out Dean Malenko for the DQ. Thankfully this
was short.
Mongo
and Malenko get beaten down with ease.
The
Giant vs. Stevie Ray
Giant
is in street clothes for some reason. He taunts Stevie to start so
Stevie kicks him in the face (nice looking one too) and Giant goes
down. This brings in Hall to jump Stevie, but the bell doesn’t ring
until Giant picks Stevie up for the chokeslam.
The
Black and White surround Stevie before a Warrior montage takes us
out.
Overall
Rating:
D+. Let’s see: the show
sucks without the star power, but the star power isn’t interesting
either. Is it any wonder why the company was on its very last legs
as far as being competitive? The main event and the main story of
this show makes my head spin. With all of the talented people on the
roster, they pick STEVIE RAY to push? I mean it’s not like it
matters because he’s getting beaten down by the NWO so he’ll join
them before the month is out, but why is this not Jericho or even
Eddie? The rest of the show, save for the fourway, wasn’t
interesting at all.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – August 13, 1998

Thunder
Date:
August 13, 1998
Location:
Fargodome, Fargo, North Dakota
Attendance:
9,721
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
coming off the Nitro that should have been Road Wild with the biggest
stories being a new US Champion and Goldberg thinking Nash hit him in
the back with a chair. I have a problem believing WCW is capable of
planning a feud that far in advance so we’ll chalk it up to whatever
random idea they’re throwing at us which will likely end up
benefiting Hogan. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers run down the card for a bit until Scott Hall interrupts.
We get the survey with the Wolfpack winning before we go to a break
less than five minutes into the broadcast.
Konnan
vs. Scott Hall
We
start with the stalling and a toothpick throw until Konnan slaps him
in the face. Hall drives his shoulder into Konnan over and over
before they trade paintbrush slaps to the back of the head. This
match already has more energy than almost any match on Thunder in
weeks. Hall fakes him out on a test of strength and pops Konnan in
the jaw to take over. The fallaway slam gets two and Hall fires off
some chops in the corner. This has been one sided so far.
There’s
the abdominal stretch with Hall grabbing the ropes like a villain
should. Hall finally gets caught and Konnan comes back with the
X-Factor but Hall doesn’t even go down. Konnan rams him into the
buckle but Scott kicks him low. That doesn’t have much of an effect
as Konnan gets two off a small package, only to get caught in the
Outsider’s Edge for the pin.
Rating:
D+. This was just a step above
a squash which is surprising with two bigger names. It’s also
strange to see a match ending by pinfall instead of the constant
run-ins and inconclusive finishes. While it wasn’t a good match, it
was nice to have something definitive for a change around here.
The
announcers hype up War Games and wonder how Goldberg will be
involved.
Horace
vs. Raven
Raven
says insubordination will not be tolerated and Horace costing him the
triangle match on Saturday was the last straw. He jumps Horace to
start and pounds him down in the corner before grabbing the stop
sign. Lodi shows a spine and takes it away from him, allowing Horace
to kick it into Raven’s face for two. A slam onto the sign and a
middle rope splash get two for Horace but he misses a charge into the
sign in the corner. Raven throws him to the floor and hits the
Russian legsweep into the barricade.
Lodi
and Raven head back inside with Raven slapping Lodi in the face.
Riggs, Kidman and Sick Boy run in for the beatdown as the bell rings,
even though this is Raven’s Rules. Saturn runs in to get the three
goons off of Horace but the big man jumps Saturn, setting up a four
on one beatdown. Kanyon comes in for the real save and a good pop.
I’m assuming the match was thrown out.
Rating:
C-. The more I see of guys like
Saturn, Horace and especially Kanyon the more impressed I am. The
match was too short and had too strange of an ending (Raven’s Rules
meaning no DQ remember) to be worth anything but I’m interested in
where the story is going so there’s something good there.
Saturn
goes after Kanyon for no apparent reason before suplexing Horace
down.
Stevie
Ray doesn’t want to talk about the TV Title but challenges the Giant
to a match next week. That’s quite the step up.
TV
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Jericho
is defending of course. Pepe is taped together after being broken in
half on Nitro. Feeling out process to start with Jericho taking
Chavo up against the ropes and grabbing the wrist, only to be
armdragged down. They trade leapfrogs until Chavo bites Jericho to
send him outside. We take a break and come back with a shot of Pepe
in the corner as Jericho gets two off the Lionsault.
A
suplex sets up the arrogant cover for another two before we hit a
surfboard hold on Chavo. Back up and Jericho gets his third straight
near fall off a spinwheel kick. Chavo comes back with a running
clothesline and a forearm in the corner. A bulldog gets a close two
and a rollup gets an even closer one but Jericho goes after Pepe.
Chavo freaks out and gets an even thicker Pepe (Tony: “That looks
like a Clydesdale!”) to blast Jericho for the DQ.
Rating:
C-. This was more about Chavo’s
insanity and most of the match felt like it was just killing time
until we got to the ending. It’s a good sign for Chavo that his
character is working against people other than Eddie. Jericho is his
usual good self and his glee in breaking Pepe was very amusing.
After
some stills from Hart vs. Luger from Monday, Bret says he’s the best
there is, was and ever will be even though the fans are all against
him. The only reason Luger beat him was because he caught Bret off
guard.
Dancing
Fools vs. Public Enemy
Tokyo
Magnum is with Disco and Alex. Rocco cranks on Alex’s arm to start
as the announcers debate whether the match on Saturday was a street
fight or a Sturgis street fight. Rock gets sent to the floor and
sent into the barricade with a baseball slide. Back in and Rocco
blocks a middle rope ax handle, only to be suplexed down again.
Wright
of course stops to dance, allowing Rocco to get his knees up to stop
a splash. Off to Disco vs. Grunge but Johnny quickly brings Rocco
back in for a double flapjack. Everything breaks down and Rocco is
thrown into Disco. A table is brought in but Tokyo Magnum takes the
bullet for Alex, allowing Wright to pin Grunge off a neckbreaker.
Rating:
D+. This is becoming one of
those matches that I do not need to see ever again. We’ve pretty
much gotten the same story every single times these four have gone at
it and there’s no reason to see them tell that story one more time.
The matches aren’t horrible but they’re rapidly losing the limited
interest I had in them.
Post
match Meng runs in to destroy the dancers. Barbarian comes out to
make the save but Meng shrugs him off and death grips Barbarian down.
Public Enemy gets taken down as well.
Here’s
Big Kev to spout catchphrases and invite Goldberg to join the
Wolfpack whenever he feels like it.
Kevin
Nash vs. Curt Hennig
Nash
takes him into the corner for the heavy knees and a hiptoss across
the ring. Hennig twists around in the air as is his custom. There’s
the choke with the boot but Hennig avoids a charge, sending Nash’s
leg into the ropes. Curt goes after the weakened leg but Nash gets
right back up and hits Snake Eyes, thankfully using the ropes to
support the injured leg. Nash looks for the Jackknife but Rude comes
in to deck the referee for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. Not enough time to go
anywhere but much like Konnan vs. Hall, it was nice to see Nash have
a singles match for a change. Also I was relieved by him holding the
ropes on the Snake Eyes. I love little things like that which are
unfortunately rare anymore as it helps to keep the fans in the match.
The ending was expected because Heaven forbid a veteran job or
anything like that, but not terrible while it lasted.
Rude
squares off with Nash so Hall can come in for the beatdown. The fans
want Goldberg but get Luger for the save instead.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Stevie Ray
Stevie
shoves Eddie away and stands in the middle of the ring for a bit.
Eddie literally jumps at Stevie and spins around while Stevie stands
still. An armdrag and dropkick to the ribs put Ray down but Stevie
just kicks him in the face to take over. Scott Hall and the Giant
are watching from the stage.
The
camera keeps cutting back to them but thankfully we can see the match
on the video screen. Stevie gorilla press drops Eddie down and
bicycle kicks him off the apron. Eddie comes back with something I
can’t make out because the camera is focusing on the NWO guys but
Stevie breaks up a belly to belly attempt. Eddie goes up top but
dives into a big boot. The Slapjack is enough to pin Eddie
completely clean.
Rating:
N/A. I can’t rate a match when
I missed long portions due to putting the camera on Hall and Giant
every few seconds. On top of that, Stevie Ray just beat Eddie
Guerrero clean in about four minutes. This is the Eddie Guerrero
that had possibly the best match in WCW history less than a year
before. Is it any wonder that he wanted out?
US
Title: Lex Luger vs. Bret Hart
Luger
won the title on Monday and this is the rematch. He shoves Bret
around a few times before grabbing a headlock. Bret hiptosses him
down and drops an elbow for two, only to have Luger take him into the
corner and stomp away. Bret comes back with some stomps of his own
before hitting the headbutt to the abdomen. Luger is catapulted
throat first into the middle rope for two as Bret doesn’t seem
interested in being out there.
The
middle rope elbow only hits mat and Luger makes his comeback with the
clotheslines and forearm. Luger clotheslines him to the floor
instead of Racking him though, allowing Bret to get a chair. Another
clothesline drops Hart and now it’s Luger with the chair. The
referee tries to take it away and gets knocked down, allowing Bret to
DDT Luger on the chair for two. Not that it matters though as Bret
puts on the Sharpshooter and Luger passes out to change the title
back.
Rating:
D-. They clearly didn’t care
and the ending was nothing interesting. Nitro’s match is basically
erased and Bret has another meaningless title reign. Again, this is
more and more like the Alliance every day: these title changes don’t
make a difference and just prolong an already uninteresting feud.
Overall
Rating:
C-. This is an
interesting show as it erases almost everything that happened on
Nitro, but Nitro was so horribly dull that taking it all away is a
good thing. Yeah Goldberg doesn’t resolve anything with Nash, but
there’s nothing to resolve in the first place. In theory Goldberg
should be fine after spearing Nash and Big Kev doesn’t seem mad at
Goldberg at all. The wrestling was kept quick for the most part
tonight and only the main event was bad. This show benefits from all
the other shows around it being so uninteresting that even a mediocre
show like this comes out looking great.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – August 5, 1998

Thunder
Date: August 5, 1998
Location: Casper Events
Center, Casper, Wyoming
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the go home show
for Road Wild which means we’re probably in line for about 174
Tonight Show clips in the next two hours. We might even get to hear
some new matches announced for the show as I think we have three at
the moment. I’m so glad Thunder came back for such a great occasion.
Let’s get to it.

This is the first
episode since mid-July if you’re trying to read these in order.
We open on the
announcers talking about the big tag match. Also you get to see a
Travis Tritt concert if you buy the show. There might even be some
wrestling on the side.
Goldberg is officially
in the battle royal.
We look at Sting in the
white paint as he’s back to what he was in 1997.
We also look at the NWO
shouting at Kimberly while Page got beaten up. That’s still a little
disturbing.
Giant vs. Lizmark
Jr.
The match is over
before I finish writing the names via the chokeslam.
Giant thinks Goldberg
is on a roll and has won the title but Giant is the real future of
wrestling. He wants a piece of Goldberg at some point in the future.
Video package on
Goldberg.
Here’s Luger, rocking
that sweet wolf’s head shirt, with something to say. After some
sucking up to the crowd, he says that Wolfpack is more than just for
life; it’s forever. For the first time since probably 1993, we get a
LUGER chant. We get the answer to the question that people were
supposed to be asking since Monday: who attacked him in the back.
The only face Luger saw before he went down was Scott Hall, so he’s
not leaving until there’s an NWO battle tonight. Sting (in red and
black like he was before Monday) and Konnan come out and stand beside
their stablemate and it’s posing all around.
Dean Malenko comes out
to referee the next match but Jericho cuts him off. He knows Dean
must have sucked up to a lot of people to get the job on Sunday but
Jericho knows Malenko doesn’t have the integrity to call a fair match
at Road Wild. Dean better call the next match fair or else.
Juventud Guerrera
vs. Psychosis
Juvy takes over early
by going up top for a flying headscissors and a clothesline to drop
the masked man for two. Psychosis comes back with a clothesline of
his own and gets a boot up in the corner to drop Juvy. Guerrera
grabs a Juvy Driver out of nowhere for a near fall as Dean hasn’t
been a factor so far. Something resembling a powerbomb gets two for
Psychosis but Juvy monkeyflips him out to the floor because selling
isn’t allowed in most cruiserweight matches. While Dean checks on
Psychosis on the floor, Jericho comes in to blast Juvy with the title
belt. A guillotine legdrop forces Dean to count a reluctant pin.
Rating: C-.
Some nice highspots aside, would anyone like to explain to me the
logic of having your #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Title lose
back to back TV matches the week before his title shot? If you want
Dean to cost Jericho the title, why not just have him take the title
himself?
And now…..oh good
grief they’re doing NWO Nightcap on Thunder now. Let’s make this
quick: Leno jokes, Eubanks jokes, Kimberly is a whore…..and here’s
DDP to DIVE at Bischoff and choke him until the set is destroyed.
Cops pull Page off and Giant carries Bischoff’s carcass to the back.
At least they kept it under ten minutes this time and that dive was
great.
Let’s take a breather
here and talk about something: how are these Nightcap segments
supposed to make me want to buy a show? The idea is simple of
course: Bischoff makes fun of Leno, Leno should want to get revenge.
That’s where the good idea (a stretch on its own) stops. How many
people are going to want to pay to see that and how many people are
going to think that’s the dumbest idea they’ve ever heard? They
might watch it for free on the Tonight Show, but asking them to pay
$30 and pay for something they know will be goofy?
Hogan isn’t here but
saw what happened and is coming. With his biker buddies. Oh dear.
Just oh dear. Wait if he wasn’t at the show, why was he in Casper?
Meng vs. Jim Duggan
They slug it out with
Duggan throwing his big overblown right hands and Meng looking like
he’s having a seizure. A kick to the chest puts Duggan down but he
pops back to his feet for a double clothesline. Not that it matters
as Hugh Morrus and Barbarian come in for the no contest.
Duggan cleans house
with the 2×4 and Meng chases Morrus and Barbarian to the back.
Here’s the NWO Black
and White (read as Hall and goons) with something to say. Hall makes
jokes about the Nitro Girls before turning his attention to the
Wolfpack. Luger likes to get beaten up, Konnan is a jumping bean
that will get squashed like a cockroach and Sting can’t decide what
color to paint his face. The challenge for tonight is accepted.
TV Title: Steve
McMichael vs. Stevie Ray
Ray is defending.
Mongo is all ticked off and storms the ring, only to get choked down
into the corner. A jumping kick to the chest puts McMichael down but
he comes back with a belly to back suplex. Mongo hits a few three
point charges to put Ray down again, only to charge into an elbow in
the corner. Here’s Chavo with a piece of paper saying he’s made
himself the champion just like Stevie. Ray goes after him for the
countout. Mongo was basically squashed here but he still doesn’t get
why Arn doesn’t want the Horsemen back.
Chavo clocks Stevie
with the belt and Mongo gets in some cheap shots. Ray whips Mongo
into the barricade to make sure McMichael doesn’t look good at all
and chases after Guerrero.
Tony brings out Rick
Steiner to talk about what happened on Monday. Rick wants to beat up
Scott and Buff so badly that he yells until Tony has to bring him
back to reality. This time it’s personal and Rick wants to fight
Scott man to man on Saturday.
Raven talks about
controlling Kanyon and how this Sunday will be a handicap match
against Saturn. Instead of a triple threat tonight, Saturn gets a
handicap match.
Saturn vs.
Riggs/Sick Boy
Saturn beats both guys
up like the jobbers they are and stomps on Lodi’s broken fingers.
The Flock members finally get it together and double team Saturn
down. Riggs hits a nice side slam and brings in Sick Boy, only to
have Saturn superkick him in the jaw. Riggs is knocked off the apron
and Saturn ends Sick Boy quick with the Death Valley Driver.
Buy some motorcycle!
Disco Inferno vs.
Eddie Guerrero
Tokyo is with Disco and
comes out to Alex Wright’s music. Eddie gets in a cheap shot to
start and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two. Disco comes right
back with an early piledriver and a spinning neckbreaker for two
each. A middle rope fist drop misses Eddie though and he takes
Disco’s head off with an elbow to the jaw. Guerrero botches
something resembling a shoulder breaker but plants Disco with a
brainbuster. In a nice ending, Eddie goes up for the Frog Splash but
Tokyo shoves him off, only to have Eddie land right on Disco with the
splash anyway. Too short to rate but it’s another nothing match in a
series tonight.
Buff Bagwell calls in
and says Rick Steiner is stupid until Rick comes to the announcers’
table. Apparently that chair shot on Monday injured Scott so badly
that he can’t wrestle at Road Wild. Rick offers to fight both of
them anyway.
Clip from the Tonight
Show.
Here are Hogan,
Disciple and Bischoff for their final rant before Sunday. This show
has sapped every ounce of energy I have so we’ll make this quick:
Hogan knows a bunch of bikers, Kimberly was on the back of his bike
coming here, he’s going to break every bone in Leno and Page’s
bodies, Bischoff is going to take over the late night scene and he’s
ordered the caskets for Sunday. That somehow took over five minutes.
Oh and Hogan had no bikers with him, unless Disciple counts.
NWO Wolfpack vs. NWO
Black and White
It’s Hall/Adams/Hennig
vs. Sting/Luger/Konnan. We come back from a break and the brawl is
on quickly. Everyone fights on the floor with the Wolfpack taking
over. Luger and Hall finally get in the ring to get things going
with Lex hitting his array of atomic drops. Off to Hennig who gets
shoved into the corner over and over so all three members of the
Wolfpack can get in some cheap shots.
Konnan comes in to face
Adams and walks into a backbreaker for two. The Black and White
triple teams Konnan for a bit, resulting in a tag off to Hennig for
some knee lifts. The fans chant for the Wolfpack and Sting gets the
hot tag to clean house. Everything breaks down and Konnan gets a
Tequila Sunrise on Adams but Hennig makes a save. Not that it
matters though as Konnan rolls Adams up for the pin a second later.
Rating: D.
Just a match here to set up the battle royal on Saturday, even though
it leaves out the people of interest in the battle royal. They did a
decent job about making the match feel like a melee but that doesn’t
mean it’s an interesting match. This was your usual throw everybody
else into the main event to close out the show match.
Overall Rating: D.
This company is dreadful right now with the Hogan vs. Hollywood stuff
dragging everything else down. Thankfully the story isn’t going to
last much longer, but it’s made the last few weeks nearly
unwatchable. The PPV is a two match show at best, even though one of
the matches is a battle royal to combine two feuds into one. Why
that’s needed on a PPV as empty as Road Wild is beyond me but I’m
sure it somehow makes Hogan a bigger star or something like that.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – July 16, 1998

Thunder
Date:
July 16, 1998
Location:
Oakland Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance:
13,393
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I
can’t believe I’m saying this but Hogan is one of the best things
about WCW right now. He was evil again on Monday instead of being
the guy who takes nothing seriously. That being said, he really
doesn’t seem to mind that he’s lost the world title. His reaction on
Monday was basically “Eh, I’ll get back to that when I have time.”
That doesn’t do anything for the title but that never seemed to be a
priority in WCW. Let’s get to it.

Apparently
this is a three hour show. Oh freaking joy.
Speaking
of three hours, weren’t we supposed to see Hogan vs. Goldberg in its
entirety again on Monday? I guess not being able to remember a
promise you made five days earlier is a universal problem in
wrestling.
We
open with a Nash interview from after Nitro went off the air Monday.
He says he isn’t pleased with what Hall did and calls it strike two.
It’s all Hogan’s fault of course, but Nash is going to have to knock
some sense into Hall. Tenay is conducting the interview and spends
most of it sucking up to the Outsiders because WCW now supports the
Wolfpack I guess.
Konnan
vs. El Dandy
Konnan
raps on the way to the ring and sucks up to the Oakland crowd. Dandy
is quickly taken down and stomped on a bit before he comes back with
a clothesline. An abdominal stretch has Konnan in trouble but he
dares to doubt El Dandy. Konnan flapjacks him down and it’s the 187
into the Tequila Sunrise for the easy win.
Road
Wild ad.
Ultimo
Dragon vs. Lizmark Jr.
This
is going to be a long three hours. Dragon fires off the kicks to
start and does his headstand in the corner before kicking Lizmark in
the chest. Lizmark chops him a bit and gets a nice belly to back
suplex to set up an abdominal stretch on the mat. Back up and a
tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two for Lizmark. The nitwit fans are
booing this. A rollup and fallaway slam get two each on Dragon as
this has almost been one sided. Lizmark’s Lionsault hits legs though
and both guys are down. Back up and Lizmark tries a Samoan drop of
all things, only to have Dragon land on his feet and hook the Dragon
Sleeper for the win.
Rating:
C. Better match than I expected
here as Lizmark got to show off. Dragon is on his way out of the
company at this point so maybe that’s why he was on defense so long
out there. It wasn’t anything that was going to set the world on
fire but I can think of worse ways to spend four and a half minutes.
The
announcers talk about DDP and Hennig not happening last week but
they’ll try to do it tonight instead.
Here’s
Page to talk about how much he hates Hogan and his ego. He’s right
here if Hogan wants to jump him, but tonight it’s Hennig that will
feel the BANG. Short stuff from Page tonight.
The
next Thunder isn’t for three weeks. I think that’s a Christmas
miracle.
Public
Enemy vs. Alex Wright/Disco Inferno
Rock
cranks on Wright’s arm to start but gets backdropped out to the
floor. He doesn’t seem all that hurt but Wright sends him back
inside anyway. Rocco’s superplex attempt is countered into a front
suplex off the top for two as Rocco still doesn’t seem that bothered.
Off to Disco vs. Grunge with Inferno getting punched all over the
ring. Wright walks into a tilt-a-whirl slam as Public Enemy throws
in a table. Tokyo Magnum tries to come in for a save but gets
crushed against the table. Alex uses the distraction to grab a
neckbreaker on Grunge for the pin.
Rating:
D+. Believe it or not this
hasn’t been a horrible feud. There’s a nice idea with the goofy guys
facing the brawlers and it’s actually working. The matches haven’t
been anything of note but I haven’t been bored when watching them.
That’s more than I can say about a lot of WCW matches and feuds.
Post
match Meng comes out and destroys everyone in sight. Barbarian comes
out to try and stop Meng but gets a Death Grip for his efforts. Meng
destroys even more people.
Dean
Malenko vows to get his hands on Jericho soon enough. Tony asks him
about Arn Anderson helping him out at Bash at the Beach. Dean says
he’ll talk to Arn before he leaves tonight.
Jim
Duggan vs. Roadblock
A
quick (work with me here) clothesline put the 400lb+ Roadblock on the
floor but he elbows Duggan in the jaw back inside. The big man hits
some forearms to the back like any good clubbing monster would before
Duggan clotheslines him out again. Back in and the ten right hands
in the corner have Roadblock in trouble but he grabs a bearhug to
slow Duggan down. Jim breaks free, hits the Three Point Clothesline
and drops Old Glory (knee drop) for the pin.
Rating:
D. Shockingly watchable match
but again, why did they need to have this match? Was there no one on
the roster that needed a TV win? It’s like they just pick these
names out of a hat like at Lethal Lottery. The match wasn’t even bad
but it doesn’t need to exist given some of the people on this roster.
Bret
Hart says he doesn’t mind if the fans don’t like him. They don’t
matter and he’s already taken care of Flair, Benoit and Booker
(complete with making fun of the way Booker speaks). No one is safe
around here and he’ll take out anyone he wants.
Saturn
vs. Kanyon
This
should be good. Kanyon grabs two quick rollups for two each but
Saturn grabs a quick belly to back suplex. Schiavone of course brags
about the basketball match instead of talking about ANYTHING going on
during the match. Lee Marshall of all people gets him back on track.
Saturn fires off some kicks in the corner but gets caught in a
neckbreaker to put both guys down.
We
hit the chinlock from Kanyon followed by a hotshot for two more. A
PerfectPlex gets two for Kanyon as does a slingshot elbow drop from
the apron. Kanyon drives shoulders into Saturn’s ribs in the corner
but misses a charging shoulder and gets rolled up for two. The fans
want Arn and go WOO a lot. Saturn scores with a great looking
superkick for two but walks into the Flatliner for the same result.
The Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza gets yet another two
for Kanyon but Saturn pops up and hits the Death Valley Driver for
the pin.
Rating:
C. This was more of a spot fest
with both guys hitting one big move after another. As usual the
story hasn’t gone anywhere yet but it was still entertaining stuff
which is what this dull show has needed. Why couldn’t these guys get
another five minutes and Roadblock’s match been cut?
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Psychosis
The
Chavo chants before the match already get on Eddie’s nerves and
Psychosis uses the distraction to get a quick rollup for two. They
trade rollups and counters to start until Eddie grabs a quick suplex
to take over. Psychosis pops back up and kicks Guerrero in the head
to send him outside. A nice plancha from the top takes Eddie out
again and he’s kind enough to just stand there and wait on Psychosis
to go up. Back in and Eddie grabs a quick shoulder breaker and
starts in on the arm.
We
get an actual hammerlock in a cruiserweight match. I don’t remember
the last time I saw that. Eddie stays on the arm but misses a charge
in the corner. Psychosis goes up and here’s Chavo, dressed like the
Lone Ranger. Psychosis dives on him for no apparent reason before
Eddie dives on both of them for a slightly more adequately explored
reason. Back in and Psychosis hits a top rope hurricanrana and a
gordbuster, only to have Chavo hit him with the stick horse. Eddie’s
frog splash is good for the pin.
Rating:
C. Chavo continues to entertain
but I’m not sure where they’re going with the story at this point.
They’ve kind of hit a wall as Eddie has taken his hair but Chavo
doesn’t seem to mind. At least it’s fun stuff though which is more
than Chavo had been doing before this whole thing started. Eddie is
getting a nice push out of it too.
We
get the Nash interview from earlier which leads us into Scott Hall
with something to say. No survey since California is clearly Black
and White country, so on to Nash. Apparently Nash is a big goof who
wouldn’t help Hall when he had money troubles, so Hall turned to
Hogan and Bischoff. Hall declares himself Medium Sexy the Nash
Killer and that he’s sexier than ten movie stars. Again, not much
here.
Scott
Norton vs. Ciclope
Norton,
officially in black and white, powerbombs him for the pin in 15
seconds.
Stevie
Ray is here to explain why he has the TV Title. Apparently Booker
was in his hospital bed and looked up at Stevie (“With those big
brown eyes”) and told Stevie how great of a champion he was.
Booker gave Stevie power of attorney and Ray has a hand written note
to prove it. Booker even picked the opponent tonight.
TV
Title: Stevie Ray vs. Damien
Another
total squash with Ray just mauling him. A powerslam gets no cover
and Damien makes the jobber comeback with chops and a dropkick.
Stevie clotheslines him down and the Slap Jack retains the title.
Here
are Hennig, Rude and Hall with something to say. Rude thinks Page is
nothing more than a flash in the pan. Hennig things DDP stands for
Dirtball Dallas Punk and complains that his bird is too sick to
relieve himself on a picture of DDP. Konnan comes out for Wolfpack
reasons, calls Hall a mark, slaps Hennig, and runs.
Rey
Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera
In
a funny bit, Tenay talks about some Oakland A’s being here. Heenan:
“Gehrig is here.” Tony: “Lou?” Heenan: “Al. He parks
cars.” Feeling out process to start with Rey taking control of the
arm and ducking an enziguri. Juvy chops away until Rey goes for a
springboard dropkick but gets dropkicked out of the air. A suplex
gets two for Guerrera and we hit the chinlock.
Back
up and Mysterio gets two off a rollup before kicking Juvy in the back
to take over. Now it’s Juvy heading to the apron and connecting with
his springboard missile dropkick for two. They head up top with Juvy
being punched out to the floor, setting up a BIG dive from Mysterio.
Back in and Rey hits the ropes, only to get caught in the Juvy Driver
for a very close two. The 450 is broken up and Rey sets for the West
Coast Pop, only to have Bret Hart of all people come out with a chair
for the DQ.
Rating:
C+. Surprising ending aside,
what else were you expecting from Guerrera vs. Mysterio? It’s good
to see Rey getting to test his knee out against someone who can give
him a run for his money. Juvy continues to be awesome but never
seems to go anywhere as a result. Some things never change around
here.
Both
small guys are beaten down with the chair. Juvy gets a Sharpshooter
and Mysterio is put in the figure four around the post. This is
really the best thing they can come up with for Bret Hart?
Hugh
Morrus/Barbarian vs. Marty Jannetty/Chris Adams
Oh
you have got to be kidding me. Adams pounds on Morrus to start
before bringing Marty in for a superkick. The crowd is clearly
heading to the concourse during this. Everything quickly breaks down
and Adams is sent to the floor, allowing Morrus to moonsault Jannetty
for the pin. Another nothing match.
Post
match Meng comes out and destroys people. They’re so strapped for
ideas that they did the same low level angle twice in one night.
Here’s
Dean Malenko who demands to see Arn Anderson face to face. Here’s
Arn to the awesome Horsemen music but Mongo comes out before Dean can
say anything. A LOUD We Want Flair starts up as Dean talks about
Benoit being a close friend. Malenko talks about being in New Japan
and getting to talk to Arn while he was on a tour. They got to know
each other pretty well back then and they have a common work ethic.
Anderson got Dean a job in WCW and Malenko never got a chance to
thank him.
Dean
says Benoit and Mongo believe in Anderson and Dean thinks Arn’s
guidance could be what they all need. Malenko holds up the four
fingers and that’s enough for Arn. He’s told them this once before
and now he’s going to do it with some bass in his voice. You don’t
just join the Horsemen. It’s a team you’re chosen for. Being a
Horseman means wrestling all the time even when you don’t want to.
It means wrestling when you bury your grandmother in the morning and
when your son has burned a hole in his foot that you can fit your
thumb in.
Dean
hasn’t earned the right to hold up four fingers because he doesn’t
understand it. Nobody has the fire in them like Arn does and he
takes off his shirt. He wants to be out here but his neck won’t let
him do it anymore. The Horsemen are over, so let them be over.
Amazing stuff here from Anderson, even by his standards.
Curt
Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Hall,
Rude and Vincent come out with Hennig. Page goes into the crowd as
usual but here’s Konnan before Page gets to the ring. We take a
break and indeed it’s a tag match.
Diamond
Dallas Page/Konnan vs. Curt Hennig/Scott Hall
Hennig
starts with Konnan but it’s off to Page before any contact. They
lock up and fight to the floor where Hennig slaps him in the back of
the head. Back in and Page grabs a swinging neckbreaker. A second
attempt sends Hennig running to the floor and it’s off to Hall vs.
Konnan. Hall grabs the arm for the driving shoulders before slapping
Konnan in the back of the head. That must be an AWA move.
Konnan
fights up and shoves Hall down to slow the pace. Back up and Konnan
grabs a quick X Factor before Hall gets punched back and forth like a
pinball. Page comes in but can’t hit the Diamond Cutter but
clotheslines Hall down to set up a Konnan chinlock. They get up
again and Hall can’t catch a cross body. Instead he lifts Konnan up
for a fallaway slam to take over. Off to Hennig for a knee lift
before he suckers Page in.
Hall
breaks up a hot tag attempt with an elbow to the back and puts on a
reverse chinlock. Scott lets go of the hold and lets Konnan up
before a double clothesline puts both guys down. Now it’s the hot
tag to Page who punches both Hall and Hennig from corner to corner.
Hall gets in a cheap shot though and Hennig drops Page with a right
hand for two. A great dropkick and right hand both get the same and
we take a break.
Back
with Page pounding on Hennig in the corner before Hall sneaks in
behind him for the fall away slam. Off to the abdominal stretch on
Page’s bad ribs before it’s back to Hennig for more stomping. Hall
comes back in for a clothesline and sleeper but Page counters into
one of his own. Scott suplexes his way to freedom and both guys are
down again. The double tag brings in Konnan vs. Hennig as everything
breaks down. Rude gets in a cheap shot on Konnan and it’s a
PerfectPlex for the pin as Page Diamond Cuts Hall on the floor.
Rating:
C+. The match was fine but it
was at the end of a very long show. They did the formula stuff here
and that’s a good idea for old school guys like Hall and Hennig. It
doesn’t really advance anything but it’s nice to see the factions at
war actually in a match for a change. Decent enough stuff.
Overall
Rating:
D. This had its moments
but it’s just WAY too long. Like I said, they had two Meng vs.
Barbarian segments in the same show. Let that sink in for a minute.
The show wasn’t completely horrible but there was no reason for this
to be a three hour episode. It would have been much better had they
given some of the matches more time, but for some reason they flew
through everything instead of letting anything other than the main
event develop.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – July 8, 1998

Thunder
Date:
July 8, 1998
Location:
Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hal
The
main story here of course is Goldberg winning the world title two
days before in the Georgia Dome. We’re heading into Bash at the
Beach on Sunday and the question is how does this change the PPV card
on Sunday. Goldberg had been scheduled for a tag match but the world
title wasn’t scheduled to be defended anyway. Hopefully we get the
announcement tonight but it’s WCW so they probably haven’t thought
that far ahead. Let’s get to it.

This
is on a Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday.
The
announcers talk about Goldberg to open the show with Heenan almost on
the verge of standing and applauding.
Here’s
JJ Dillon with a major announcement. Apparently Goldberg has
accepted a challenge for a title match from Curt Hennig and will face
him on Sunday. Giant and Kevin Greene, who were scheduled to be in a
tag match with Hennig and Goldberg, will have a singles match
instead. Also we’ll find out about the US Title eventually.
Now
here’s Hennig to hype up his match on Sunday. Curt is sure he can’t
wrestle DDP tonight because it might interfere with his world title
shot and all the Black and White fans here wouldn’t want that of
course. The fans apparently are all psychics as they’re chanting
Goldberg without opening their mouths. Hennig wants Rude to lawyer
up to get out of the match with Page and promises to win the title
for Hogan. Heaven forbid he do it to be world champion of course.
Public
Enemy vs. Shiima Nabunaga/Tokyo Magnum
I
hate to admit it, but Public Enemy had one of the catchiest themes I
can remember in WCW. The Dragon Gate guys jump Public Enemy to start
but are quickly clotheslined down and out to the floor. We start
with Tokyo vs. Johnny with Magnum being put down with a pancake. Off
to Rocco who misses a springboard moonsault, giving Shiima a two
count. Shimma gets crotched on the top and everything breaks down.
Tokyo gets caught in a double gutbuster and Shiima is put through the
double stack of tables for the academic pin. Basically a squash.
Tokyo
tries to dance with Public Enemy and gets punched in the face,
drawing in Disco Inferno and Alex Wright to beat Public Enemy up.
Video
on the basketball match.
Villano
IV vs. The Cat
It
sounds better than Ernest Miller if nothing else. Villano gets in a
cheap shot to start which fits the whole villain gimmick. He stomps
away in the corner but Cat comes back with a quick sunset flip for
two and a kick to the head, living up to the whole karate guy
gimmick. The other Villano tries to sneak in but gets kicked down as
well, allowing Cat to hit his top rope kick to the face for the pin
on V.
Rating:
D+. There wasn’t much to see
here other than the finish but at least Cat is starting to show some
charisma out there. It also doesn’t help that he was doing some
basic stuff besides just kicking all the time. It’s still not
interesting or anything but it was a big step up over what he’s done
before.
Here’s
Eddie Guerrero to talk about the hair vs. hair match with Chavo on
Sunday. He was happy to see Goldberg win the title on Monday because
Goldberg got it all together. On Sunday, Eddie is going to get it
together against Chavo. Eddie has spent the last few months building
Chavo up but somewhere along the way a screw came loose and Chavo has
lost it. “We’re talking wacko here.” Eddie gets real serious
and promises to humiliate and degrade Chavo by shaving him bald,
because no one likes bald people. Just remember that he’s doing it
because he loves Chavo. Very solid promo here to hype up a good
feud.
Here’s
DDP for even more talking. He’s proud of Goldberg as well, “and
that’s a shoot.” Page fumbles his words a bit while trying to talk
about Hogan and Rodman before talking about how awesome Malone is.
Apparently Malone has been training over five hours a day every day
to get ready for the match. Sunday is going to end the worst year of
Hogan’s life and that’s about it. As for Hennig, he isn’t getting
out of the match tonight and will feel the BANG.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Judo Suwa
They
trade chops to start with Suwa getting the better of it. Juvy gets a
boot up to stop a charge in the corner and a headscissors sends Suwa
out to the floor. A big dive takes Judo out and fires up the crowd a
bit after all that talking put them to sleep. Back in and Suwa
stomps on Juvy and hits a Vader Bomb for two. They run the ropes a
bit with Juvy being sent out to the apron but he comes back in with a
springboard missile dropkick to the back of the head. Kidman strolls
out to ringside as Juvy hits two Juvy Drivers in a row for the pin.
Rating:
C. Some nice high spots in
there but not much else. This is another one of those matches just
thrown out there to fill in some time and fire up the crowd a bit but
it wasn’t one of the better versions. Kidman didn’t do anything in
the match but it tied into Juvy vs. Reese on Sunday.
Post
match here’s the Flock to beat up Guerrera again with Kidman hitting
the Seven Year Itch.
Bash
at the Beach ad.
Here’s
Mongo for another interview. He talks about bringing back the
Horsemen and we get a promo from Arn in 1995 right before his match
with Flair at Fall Brawl. In it, Arn talks about giving Flair all he
has and being able to look at himself in the mirror the next morning
because of it. Mongo again asks to bring back the Horsemen and name
drops Flair a bit.
The
announcers talk about Sunday.
Another
Bash at the Beach promo.
Stevie
Ray vs. Konnan
Before
the match, Ray talks about how Booker isn’t here because he’s getting
ready for his match on Sunday. Konnan makes noises on the way to the
ring which I think were supposed to be English but I could only make
out words like Flexy and Mach. Stevie tries to pound some grammar
into him to start and gets two off a forearm. A World’s Strongest
Slam puts Konnan down but he pops back up with the rolling lariat and
an X-Factor for two. They head to the floor for a bit with Stevie
kicking Konnan in the face before hitting him with a chair for the
DQ.
The
beating with the chair continues until Booker comes out in street
clothes to stop his brother.
Video
on Bret vs. Booker.
Hennig
is on the phone with Rude and talks about sending a fax to the bosses
which guarantees that the match doesn’t happen tonight.
Raven/Horace
vs. Saturn/Kanyon
Apparently
we’re going to see Hogan vs. Goldberg again on Monday. Not a
rematch, but a rebroadcast. Saturn works on Horace’s arm to start
before handing him off to Kanyon for a crucifix. A swinging
neckbreaker puts Horace down but Kanyon goes to the floor to fight
Raven. Horace busts out a suicide dive of all things to take Kanyon
down as the Flock takes over. Raven comes in with a running
clothesline and a knee lift to put Kanyon back outside.
A
Russian legsweep sends Kanyon into the barricade for two back inside
and it’s back to Horace. This has been rather physical so far.
Horace gets two off a top rope splash and we hit the headlock on the
mat. Kanyon comes back with the fireman’s carry pancake and it’s a
hot tag to Saturn. Everything breaks down with Saturn taking Horace
down with a hurricanrana. A chair is thrown in as Saturn sets up a
table on the floor.
Kanyon
catches Horace with an electric chair faceplant and heads outside to
put Raven on the table. Saturn goes up top but Lodi throws powder in
his eyes, meaning Saturn can’t see that Raven has put Kanyon on the
table instead. The top rope elbow tries to put Saturn through the
table but it’s more of Saturn bouncing off Kanyon with the table not
breaking at all. Raven gets the easy pin on Kanyon back inside.
Rating:
B-. This was a WILD five minute
match. Again, Kanyon and Saturn steal the show whenever they’re out
there which makes me curious to see how WCW manages to screw them up.
Horace is someone else that is better than I remember and was more
than adequate in the role of the agile power man here.
Steve
McMichael vs. Rick Fuller
As
mentioned almost every time, Fuller is a guy who could have been
excellent as a bodyguard for some cowardly heel. Fuller chops away
to start but Mongo takes out the leg to put Fuller down. A very
early tombstone attempt is broken up with a knee to the face but
Mongo keeps pounding away in the corner. Mongo runs into a boot in
the corner and Fuller pounds away before a legdrop gets two.
McMichael comes back with a kick to the face of his own and the
tombstone ends Fuller.
The
announcers tell us that Malenko has been suspended for his actions on
Nitro and will NOT be at the PPV on Sunday. They also talk about
Jericho insinuating that Dean’s brother Joe was the product of an
affair. Heenan: “Well they don’t look alike.”
Jericho
is here with a bandaged noggin and says he can’t wrestle Dean due to
what happened on Monday. He wants a credible opponent but JJ doesn’t
come out to give him one. Jericho says he’ll put on a top hat and
tap shoes and read poetry if he can’t get an opponent named.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon
Jericho
grabs a headlock to start but they speed things up by running the
ropes. A back elbow puts Jericho down and he bails to the floor.
Dragon drokicks him through the ropes and things slow down a bit.
Back inside and Jericho kicks him in the ribs and snaps Dragon’s
throat across the top rope. Dragon is down in the corner but Jericho
does his long stride instead of following up. He bends Dragon’s back
over his knee to work on the back a bit as things stay slow.
Dragon
fights up and hits a spinning kick to the chest, only to be caught in
a German suplex for two. Chris gets crotched on top but the super
hurricanrana is broken up. Jericho’s superplex is countered into a
front superplex by Dragon for two but Jericho puts him right back
down with a backbreaker. Dragon hits a Lionsault to a standing
Jericho into the Dragon Sleeper but Chris is quickly into the ropes.
The Liontamer is countered into a small package and Dragon counters a
powerbomb into a cradle, only to be caught in the Liontamer for the
submission.
Rating:
C+. Good match as usual here
with Jericho looking great out there. Dragon was more than keeping
up with him as well, but he wouldn’t be around much longer to do
follow up. The cruiserweight division is awesome at the moment with
Jericho being a much more skilled Honky Tonk Man as everyone wants to
see him get what’s coming to him.
Here’s
Kevin Greene with something to say and the place gets almost eerily
quiet. As always he mentions Goldberg to try to get the fans to care
but it doesn’t work as well this time. He talks about how great a
football player he is before talking about Giant not being here
tonight….and that’s about it.
Video
on Rodman.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Curt Hennig
Curt
comes out in street clothes and seems to be taking as long as he can.
He slowly takes off his shirt until a guy comes up with some papers
for him. Apparently due to his title match on Sunday he’s under no
obligation to have his match tonight, causing Page to roll his eyes.
Vincent tries to jump Page but gets laid out with the Diamond Cutter.
Hennig goes after Page but Goldberg’s music comes on to end the show
(Goldberg didn’t appear).
Overall
Rating:
C+. This was an
entertaining show that set up Bash at the Beach rather well. What
more can you ask for out of a go home show, especially when the show
it’s promoting isn’t very interesting? The midcard is awesome at
this point but they need to actually get somewhere with the stories.
Good show here though as the midcard bails out the non-main event
again.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6