WCW Spring Stampede 1998

The Netcop Rant for WCW/nWo Spring Stampede 1998. (Movin’ right along with 98 WCW…this was written in 1998 and probably deserves a redo someday, but for now that’s what we have to work with, so we’ll deal with it.) Live from Denver, Colorado. Your hosts are some guy, another guy, and his dog Spot. Opening match: Saturn v. Goldberg. Lodi is at ringside again! Yeah! Odd choice for an opener, but whatever. (You’d think the guy getting rocketed up the card would actually be, you know, up the card.)  Saturn actually weathers the first minute of offense and survives. Wow. Goldberg even takes some bumps outside the ring. Fans are so into Goldberg it’s frightening. (They would get even more into him soon.)  Saturn actually gets the majority of the offense in, as most of Goldberg’s stuff is quick, high-impact moves which have no long-term effect (ie that powerslam looks cool, but it’s no more devastating than a regular slam, dig?). (Word.)  Saturn fucks up an Asai moonsault, badly. Goldberg is sucking wind five minutes in, likely due to the altitude. Goldberg comeback, spear, but Saturn blocks the Jackhammer by hitting him in the nads. ‘Bout time someone thought of that. Flock runs in, Goldberg fights them off, but gets caught in the Rings. He powers out, however (with much help from Saturn) and improvises a Jackhammer for the win. Not bad, all things considered. *** (Nice setup for the next night on Nitro, too.)  Chavo Guerrero v. Ultimo Dragon. Just your basic lucha match, with lots of the usual flipping and flopping but no real offense. Eddy is entertaining outside as he freaks out, though. Couple of glaring resthold spots ruin it in the middle. They mess up an another nice suicide dive. Dragon gets it in the groin accidentally (this is becoming a theme tonight…) but Chavo is a Nice Person so he won’t capitalize. Just ask Barry Windham what *that* got him at Starrcade 87. It gets Chavo the same thing, as Dragon comes back with the dragon sleeper for the win. *** Eddy reems out Chavo afterwards. Poor guy. WCW TV title: Booker T v. Chris Benoit. Really slow match compared to their Nitro ones. Must be the altitude again. Benoit controls most of the match before a double-KO situation allows a Booker comeback. Spinebuster, pancake, Axe Kick, but the ref gets bumped. Benoit comes back with the Crossface, but the ref is out. Oh, fuck, I don’t like the looks of this. Benoit goes over to revive him, Axe Kick, see ya. GOD DAMMIT MOTHER FUCKING SHIT! ** (Tell us what you really think.)  I hope you burn in hell, Eric Bischoff, you lowlife motherfucker. (Pretty sure that’ll be Benoit.)  The match wasn’t even that great, only going about 12 minutes. (I’m sure it was fine.)  British Bulldog v. Curt Hennig. Now I’m pissed off. (Thank you Captain Obvious.)  Rick Rude is handcuffed to Jim Neidhart here. Horrible, terrible, awful, atrocious piece of shit match. Vincent comes out dressed as a policeman and unlocks the cuffs, and Rude nails Bulldog, Hennig gets the pin. DUD, maybe bordering on negative stars for the overbooking. The nWo wipes the mat with Smith and Neidhart…uh, here’s someone getting SCREWED in a gross INJUSTICE…shouldn’t someone be coming out to save them? No? Oh, well… (Interesting point about that, which we didn’t know at the time:  WCW was legally bound, as a part of the settlement to get Bulldog and Anvil released from WWF, not to have any association between Bret and them.  They couldn’t do a “Hart Foundation” type team or I believe even mention their relationship with him.)  Prince Wanalaya v. Chris Jericho. Jericho dedicates the match to Dean Malenko. I wish it was Malenko that was wrestling because the Prince starts it out with an extended side headlock and it goes downhill from there. Very slow, stalling match. They keep teasing a Prince upset as he blocks the Liontamer twice and hits some near fall situations. Dear god this match sucks. The Prince is not anywhere near Jericho’s level and Jericho looks to be dogging it to begin with. Finally, I’mokaya-Yourokaya is forced to tap out to the third Liontamer. Thank god. Now I never want to hear from this putz again. 1/2* Jericho steals the Hawaiian towel thingie for his trophy. (That was a fun gimmick Jericho had going, actually, and it’s well worth someone else ripping it off today.)  BUFF~! & Scott Steiner v. Lex Luger & Rick Steiner. Buff comes out with a cast on his arm, and says he can’t wrestle, so JJ Dillon brings out a doctor to check it himself and they proceed to do this little angle right there. Do we have *that* much extra time to waste on this show? Couldn’t this have been filled with, say, wrestling? Of course, Buff is fine, and the match goes on, unfortunately. Chinlock, punch, kick, you get the picture. Luger cleans house, then a big fight erupts and Scott runs for the hills from Rick. The Rack is academic as Buff submits. DUD. Why do they keep making Buff into the fall guy if they want to push him?  (More importantly, why are the babyfaces even going over in the first place if the goal is to build up Scott Steiner?  This would mark two straight PPVs where he does the job!)  Mean Gene hypes the fact that a certain individual is in the dressing room, which might lead one to believe that another certain individual in the nWo might be coming back soon. Dusty Rhodes in the lockerroom is “too hot for TV?”  (Kayfab!)  Special Added Bonus Time-Wasting Match: La Parka v. Psychosis. Under normal circumstances I’d be delighted to see this. But it sucks. Badly. Spot, rest, spot. La Parka picks up Psychosis one too many times and he ends up getting the legdrop and jobbing again. This was so bad it was embarrassing at times. 1/4*  (They must have had some serious time-management issues on this show.)  And now the announcers are wasting time by making some ridiculous analogy about a dog that uses up five more minutes. Was Booker-Benoit supposed to go really long or something? Am I missing something here? Baseball bat match: Kevin Nash & Hulk Hogan v. Giant & Roddy Piper. Piper starts out for his side, thus sending this one down the crapper right away. Crowd is hot for this one, poor souls. Giant actually puts Hogan over his knee and SPANKS him at one point. And he SELLS it! I kid you not. The match was that embarrassing. There’s exactly two wrestling moves in this fiasco: A Giant dropkick and Piper’s sleeper. Piper gets the bat, but Hogan knocks it out of his hands. The Disciple comes down to ringside with a different bat (was something wrong with the first one?) and lots of dumb bat shots ensue. Then for some reason Disciple switches the first bat for the second one again, Hogan nails Piper with it, and the nWo wins. -** Hogan hits Nash with the bat and leaves him laying afterwards. I’m sure we’ll hear about this on Nitro for the next six months.  (Did that actually go anywhere?  Wolfpac was months after this, right?)  US Title match: DDP v. Raven. This is almost exactly like the three-way match from Uncensored, except without Benoit to keep it rooted within reality. It starts out good enough, but then suddenly they end up by the entranceway with all the breakaway props you could ask for. Then it’s the usual WCW garbage match, with no blood or intensity as Raven and DDP trade goofy spots, throwing each other into tables and balsa wood barriers and jumping into bales of hay. I’m surprised they didn’t use the huge cow that was set up, it was just begging to be used. Back in the ring, and Sick Boy brings a kitchen sink in. Ah, Kevin Sullivan is booking tonight, I see. Then the Flock interferes one by one, every one fucking it up while introducing new objects. DDP keeps kicking out, of course, until yet another new Flock member (Mortis? Horace Boulder? Horshu?) manages to connect with a Stop sign and Raven DDT’s DDP on the kitchen sink for the pin and the US title. I’m thoroughly sick of WCW’s attempts to be “hardcore”. **  (That actually sounds like a pretty good fucking brawl.  But then 98 Scott was pretty sick of ECW and the whole style in general.)  WCW World title: Sting v. Randy Savage. Again, they start out good enough, but then it degenerates into another mindless brawl. Back out to the OK Corral for more foreign objects, including a stupid spot where Sting hits Savage with a bale of hay. A BALE OF HAY??? Tony: “That can be very abrasive.” (We milked that one for YEARS afterwards in our little group.)  Quick, someone get this man a moisturizing cream, stat! Back to the ring for more weak brawling, and of course the ref gets bumped. Liz comes in and nails Sting with a chair, which he shrugs off (rightly so). But Savage pulls her in the way of a Stinger splash and she gets splashed by mistake. Savage hits Sting with the chair himself, and goes for the elbow, but now Hulk Hogan runs in and pushes him off. Good lord, can this get any more overdone? Sting with the slopdrop, but now Kevin Nash interjects himself, powerbombing Sting and putting Savage on top. I’d say barring anything else, we’re going to have a new champion. And that’s just what happens, as Randy Savage wins his 5th World title. Good for him, he deserves it. BUT, why put it on him if he’s out with knee problems for months? I smell Hogan’s ninth title reign starting tomorrow night… *1/2 (High five to me!)  Hogan and Booty Disciple protest from the entranceway as we’re outta time. At 8:40? The Bottom Line: This nWo hyper-booking has gotta stop. (HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA)  I don’t need four or five people running in on the main event, especially when I’ve already seen them earlier in the card. It completely ruined the World title match by putting the focus on Hogan and Nash’s issue rather than on Sting and Savage. (Yeah, but they draw the real money!)  They were almost incidental. Everyone else seemed to have it in neutral, with the exception of Goldberg. He tried damn hard tonight, I’ll give him that. Nothing else on the card did anything for me, however. I wasn’t interested in the storylines coming in, and they didn’t win me over going out. The Jericho match advanced nothing, the Hennig match advanced nothing, Sting-Savage was a clusterfuck, the bat match was crap, DDP-Raven was just mutual masturbation and we all know it, and there was a couple of meaningless subpar cruiserweight matches stuck on there with no fanfare. All in all, a card to make one say “so what?” Wait for Nitro, I guess. Same as it ever was. Thumbs down. (Probably a lot better than I’m giving it credit for.)