Thunder – April 22, 1998

Thunder
Date:
April 22, 1998
Location:
Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, South Carolina
Commentators:
Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
just past Spring Stampede but the more interesting show was Monday
Nitro, where two major title changes occurred. Goldberg won the US
Title, but the more interesting change at the moment is Hollywood
Hogan taking the world title from transitional champion Randy Savage
thanks to interference from Bret Hart. This would be the same Bret
Hart who had talked about how much he couldn’t stand Hogan for months
now. Let’s get to it.

This
show is airing on a Wednesday for reasons that haven’t been
explained.
The
announcers can barely talk over the Goldberg chants.
Here
are Hogan, Bischoff and Disciple to open the show. Bischoff says
Hogan is back and Disciple spray paints NWO on the belt again. Eric
goes on a rant about how WCW is trying to keep Hogan out of the NWO
as the fans think Hogan sucks. Hogan talks about all the people in
the back that don’t want him to be world champion.
Everyone
is jealous of him because he’s the man, just like the back of his
shirt says. Now that the NWO is back together, everything is right
again and the ratings prove it. That’s not a joke. Hogan actually
said it. Hollywood says he’s retired Savage because Randy dissed
him. Nothing special here.
We
get more Hogan from Monday for some reason.
We
see Savage accusing Hogan of driving the Viper that ran him over from
Monday.
TV
Title: Disco Inferno vs. Booker T
Booker
is defending of course and takes over with some knees to the ribs and
chops to the chest. A backdrop to Disco is enough to get the
announcers to focus on the match instead of talking about Bret.
Booker kicks Disco down and there’s the ax kick for good measure.
Inferno is sent over the top and an ax handle off the apron keeps him
down. Booker sends him into the steps as this has been one sided so
far.
Back
in and it’s time to talk about Bret some more. Disco hurts his leg
on a leapfrog attempt but he’s goldbricking to take over. An atomic
drop puts Booker down but it’s time to dance before the cover. We
hit the chinlock but Booker counters into a rollup for two. The big
spinebuster puts Disco down again and the Harlem Side Kick sets up
the missile dropkick to retain Booker’s title.
Rating:
C. This was fine. Booker T was
using the most basic formula known to man to get over: he won a bunch
of matches. I don’t get why wrestling companies over think this
today. Booker has won nearly every match he’s had for four months
and the fans are buying into him. It really is that simple but it so
rarely happens.
Clip
of the title match from Nitro.
Prince
Iaukea vs. Barbarian
Did
they pull these names out of a fishbowl or something? Barbarian
jumps Iaukea to start but the Prince comes back with a dropkick. The
fans want Flair but they get a chop block from Barbarian instead.
Iaukes comes back by biting but Barbarian kicks the leg out to keep
control. The Kick of Fear is good for the pin on Prince out of
nowhere. Squash.
Clips
from DDP vs. Raven at the PPV.
Another
Savage vs. Hogan clip. I think we have a theme tonight.
Vicious
and Delicious vs. Rick Steiner/Lex Luger
Rick
and Buff get us going with Rick shoving the posing Bagwell into the
corner. Buff comes back with right hands and a dropkick for the
strutting pose. Rick no sells a suplex and punches Buff down before
a big Steiner Line sets up a belly to belly superplex. Off to Luger
for a middle rope ax handle but Buff comes right back and tags in
Norton. Luger throws Norton around with ease and clotheslines him
down but Bagwell breaks up a Rack attempt.
A
clothesline puts Luger down and it’s back to Buff for some choking.
Norton hits a backbreaker but Luger comes back with a Russian
legsweep to make the tag to Rick. Everything breaks down and Rick
cleans house with backdrops. It’s down to Rick vs. Buff with Rick
going up for the bulldog. The camera misses most of the move as
Scott Steiner is taking a chair from Vincent. After the bulldog
hits, Scott blasts Rick with the chair, giving Buff the “pin”.
Rating:
D. This was a really lame match
with everyone going in first gear the entire time. I lost track of
the amount of clotheslines being used and Buff wouldn’t sell anything
done to him. The Steiner Brothers feud needs to go somewhere already
as they split two months ago and nothing of note has happened since.
Now
for the serious story: that bulldog severely injured Buff’s neck. I
put pin in quotation marks as Buff wasn’t really on top of Rick but
the referee counted anyway. Vincent and Norton try to pull Buff to
the floor but realize something is wrong. Even Rick and Lex check on
him as we go to clips of Nash powerbombing Hogan.
We
come back from the break with Buff being checked on by the trainers.
Buff is moving his left arm as we look at how the injury occurred:
Buff’s head slipped out of the bulldog and it went straight onto
Rick’s back and jacked his neck back. It looks much worse on
replays. Heenan goes to find out what he can as Tony apologizes for
Chris Benoit vs. Psychosis being postponed.
The
announcers talk about the NWO war but it’s clear their minds are
elsewhere so we go to another break.
Back
with Bagwell on the stretcher but still in the ring. The announcers
throw it to more Hogan vs. Savage clips. This goes on for about ten
minutes as they air almost the entire match. They’re filling in time
which is the only thing they can do here. During the clips we’re
told Bagwell can move his legs and looks to be ok long term. There
isn’t much to say here as it’s just the Nitro main event airing
again. Hogan works on the knee a lot, Disciple interferes, Nash and
Hart runs in, Hogan wins the title with Bret’s help.
We
get clips from Raven taking Page’s US Title at Spring Stampede with
shots of Horace as a grip earlier in the match before he cost Page
the belt.
Horace
Boulder vs. Evan Karagis
Tenay
tells us that Horace’s career parallels Raven’s but in Japan instead
of America. Horace pounds away and the fans are immediately chanting
boring. You guys haven’t had a match in about twenty five minutes
and this is your reaction? Karagis gets two off a springboard cross
body. Bagwell is going to be fine but is at a hospital just in case.
After maybe a minute here’s DDP with a Diamond Cutter on Horace for
the DQ.
Karagis
and the referee get Cutters of their own. Page says he’s here to get
his hands on Raven and he wants it right here in the ring. Cue Raven
to the ring but he walks away instead. Page says Raven is walking
away just like he did from his sister when she needed Raven the most.
That turns Raven around but he keeps leaving. Page invokes a
mention of Raven’s mother but that’s still not enough. Page says he
isn’t leaving the ring until Raven gets banged…..right before
leaving through the crowd.
Here’s
Randy Savage with something to say. Savage says he’s not finished
but rather just getting started. The worst kept secret that everyone
knows is that Hogan is scum. If Hogan is scum though, Bret Hart is
nuclear scum. Bret should just join the NWO already because Savage
is sick of listening to him complain about getting screwed. Hart is
the best con man to ever walk the earth and he’s totally overpaid and
unproven.
Video
on Goldberg winning the title.
US
Title: Goldberg vs. Mike Enos
Enos
jumps him from behind and pounds away but Goldberg no sells it and
takes Enos down by the leg. A belly to belly suplex puts Mike down
and a hard clothesline does the same. Enos comes back with a
powerslam for one and it’s time for Heenan to freak out. Spear and
Jackhammer make it 76-0.
Sting
vs. Scott Steiner
Apparently
there won’t be a Thunder until the 14th
of May due to baseball. Steiner jumps Sting to start and ties him up
in the coat. Sting comes back with a pair of clotheslines and a
third sends Steiner out to the floor. Sting throws Scott into the
steps as we’re told Bagwell is moving around which is always good to
hear.
Steiner
hits a low blow to put Sting down before tying Sting up in the Tree
of Woe for a choke. A butterfly powrbomb puts Sting down and Scott
goes to pose, only to jump into Sting’s boot. Another boot in the
corner puts Scott down and Sting pounds away. The Stinger Splash and
Deathlock connect but Konnan comes in for the DQ.
Rating:
D. Egads this show has been
awful from a wrestling standpoint. This was just there to set up the
post match stuff which is almost never a good way to run a wrestling
match. Scott continues to not be over at all because they’ve changed
everything that got him over in the first place. Nothing to see
here, again.
The
NWO comes in but Rick Steiner and the Giant make the save. Post
match Sting gets the mic and says it’s the same old thing every week:
he has to fight off all the bad guys in a bar room brawl. He thinks
all the jokes have been made with Nash being the best. Big Kev
should be a stand up comedian because he’s just too sweet. The
problem is every single joke has a punch line. Sting makes fun of
Nash’s Arn Anderson imitation and asks for a tag title shot against
the Outsiders at Slamboree with Giant as his partner.
Overall
Rating:
D. I’m completely
ignoring the injury stuff as you can’t hold that against WCW. That
left roughly an hour of original TV time (not counting commercials)
and what we got in that time was really dull. It was a night of
squashes and boring matches which isn’t what they needed to do after
the huge Nitro. I guess we’re supposed to wait until Nitro for the
explanation from Bret, even though Nitro is on at 12:30AM this coming
Monday night due to basketball. Horrible show here but Sting’s stuff
at the end was kind of funny.
Remember
Nitro is two shows this coming week and there’s no Thunder for two
weeks.
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