Thunder – June 4, 1998

Thunder
Date:
June 4, 1998
Location:
Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
After
Monday we have a major development in the form of Sting joining the
Wolfpack as pretty much everyone figured he would. It really doesn’t
change anything as WCW is just standing on the sidelines while the
NWO civil war continues. Hopefully we get some of the Great American
Bash card filled in tonight as the show is in ten days. Let’s get to
it.

We
open with the required recap of Sting joining the Wolfpack from
Monday.
The
announcers talk about the jump a bit.
Chris
Benoit vs. Booker T
This
is match #5 in the best of seven series for a TV Title shot at the
Great American Bash with Benoit leading 3-1. They trade hammerlocks
to start until Booker elbows him in the back to take over. A high
side kick is good for two and the ax kick gets the same for Booker.
Mr. T. stomps away in the corner but he whips Benoit in, only to be
caught in the rolling Germans to give Benoit control.
A
big back elbow to the face puts Booker down again and the Swan Dive
connects for two. Stevie Ray is back at ringside to cheer his
brother on. Benoit can’t get the Crossface and gets taken down by a
spinwheel kick to the face. Booker hits a spinebuster and spins up,
only to have his head taken off by a hard clothesline. Benoit makes
the mistake of jawing with Stevie though and turns into the missile
dropkick to close the gap to 3-2.
Rating:
C+. As usual with this series,
the matches are entertaining but they’re running out of new things to
do. It also doesn’t help that with the series at 3-1, the endings to
the next two matches are pretty obvious. On the other hand though,
these have been by far the best matches on the shows almost every
single night so they’re hardly a bad thing.
Here’s
Giant with both tag belts and something to say. He doesn’t mind
Sting joining the Wolfpack but thinks black and white would have
looked better. However, he can’t live with being bodyslammed on
national television like Sting did to him three days ago. Giant
feels he should be able to pick a partner to be the tag team
champions so here’s Brian Adams, apparently the new partner. Adams
demands praise and says they won’t duck anyone as champions. Giant
issues a challenge to Luger and anyone he can find to a tag title
match tonight. I still want to know what Adams has on WCW to get
this push.
Reese
vs. Van Hammer
Reese
shoves Hammer into the corner but Hammer shoves right back to
frustrate the bigger man. Hammer slugs him into the corner but Reese
comes back by just lifting Hammer into the air and dropping him down
to the mat. A vertical suplex gets two on Hammer and for the first
time ever, Lee Marshall has an interesting idea: could Lodi’s
nonsensical signs be codes from Raven for what he wants the Flock to
do? Hammer clotheslines Reese down but Horace blasts him in the back
of the head, giving Reese the pin via a chokebomb.
Rating:
D. Just a battle of the big men
here as the Flock continues to spin its wheels. Reese was actually
bigger than the Giant but is a great example of size not making a
great wrestler. He’s not bad but there’s nothing more to him other
than his size and that’s why he never went anywhere.
Post
match the Flock beats down Hammer until Juventud Guerrera makes the
save. He clears the ring until there’s just Reese left. Hammer gets
Juvy out of the ring before he gets squashed like a grape.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Alex Wright
Before
the match Eddie tells Chavo that Grandma has said to take time off
and cool down, so Chavo needs to leave for a few months. Alex jumps
Eddie to start but here’s crazy Chavo a few seconds in. Wright
immediately throws him to the floor but the referee calls for the
bell anyway. The match was maybe 30 seconds.
Chavo
stalks Eddie to the back and Wright dances a bit.
Here’s
Luger with something to say. Apparently there’s no point to the
survey because this is clearly a Wolfpack town (based on how quiet
the fans are I’d hate to see them in enemy territory). Luger has
been named head of recruiting for the Wolfpack after all his success
with Sting. The challenge is accepted for tonight and Luger names
DDP as his partner, saying he has a Wolfpack shirt for Page too.
TV
Title: Fit Finlay vs. Psychosis
Psychosis
tries to slide between Finlay’s legs but accidentally dropkicks him
in the knee in a painful looking botch. Finlay comes right back with
some hard forearms to the back as the match immediately slows down.
Psychosis is dropped throat first on the top rope and the fans are
already chanting boring because the idea of a slow paced match
doesn’t work for them. We hit a LONG chinlock and now the chants are
justified. Psychosis finally fights up and tries to get some offense
going, including a top rope Frankensteiner for two. Not that it
matters though as Finlay picks him up and tombstones him to retain.
Rating:
D+. The match wasn’t as bad as
the fans thought it was, but it still wasn’t anything really worth
seeing. The chinlock hurt it a lot and cutting this down by a minute
or so would have helped a lot. Finlay probably won’t hold the title
much longer as I can’t imagine the winner of the series not taking
the title from him.
Clips
of Sting being recruited by and joining the Wolfpack on Monday.
Glacier
vs. Saturn
Glacier
does his full entrance but as he’s warming up, Saturn comes in behind
him and hits a sick German suplex for two. Ice boy bails to the
floor but Saturn hits a great looking plancha to take him down again.
Back in and Glacier gets a boot up in the corner followed by some
rapid kicks to the stomach. Saturn crotches him on the top and hits
a middle rope suplex, meaning he was in the middle of the rope rather
than the corner. A Lodi distraction lets Saturn superkick Glacier
down but the referee goes down in the process. Cue Kanyon dressed as
a referee with a Downward Spiral to Saturn. Glacier hits the
superkick for the pin.
Rating:
C-. This was mainly advancing
the story between Kanyon and Saturn, which is further proof that
Glacier’s whining about kicks isn’t needed at all. Saturn looked
good with his high impact offense and Kanyon was an offensive genius
so he was his usual entertaining self. Still though, Glacier gets on
nerves as always.
Here’s
Hennig to ask the fans if they like Goldberg. Obviously they do, but
surprisingly enough they seem pleased with the idea of Curt beating
him up at the PPV. Unfortunately Curt’s knee won’t be healed by then
so Konnan will be getting Hennig’s US Title shot, as long as Konnan
gives Curt the first shot.
Cruiserweight
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Silver King
Dean
easily takes him down to the mat in a headlock before shifting over
to another variation of one. Silver King fights up and chops away,
only to get caught in a suplex. Dean takes him to the corner but
here’s Jericho with a book. He rings the bell and apparently that’s
enough to throw the match out. Those referees are trigger happy
tonight.
Jericho
says this is an NWA rule book from 1934 that he found in the Library
of Congress. Apparently the Strangler Lewis Rule states that the
champion can refuse to face anyone and since Jericho never agreed to
wrestle Dean, JJ needs to come down here right now and vacate the
title. When that fails completely, Jericho tells Dean to stop
dishonoring his dead pappy and give him the belt right now. The belt
goes upside Jericho’s head, sending him to the floor, swearing
vengeance.
Raven
vs. Disco Inferno
Raven
charges right into the corner to stomp Disco down before raking his
face. Disco gets an elbow up in the corner before choking Raven with
wrist tape. A swinging neckbreaker gets two for Inferno but Raven
easily sends him to the floor. Disco is sent into the steps and
Raven sends both him and a chair back into the ring. Disco blocks a
hiptoss and sends Raven face first into the chair before stomping a
mudhole in the corner. Raven comes right back with the drop toehold
into the chair and the Even Flow ends this easily.
Post
match Raven calls out Kanyon for a one on one showdown, even laying
down on his back to give Kanyon an advantage.
Before
the next match, Tony acknowledges the passing of Junkyard Dog the
previous Tuesday. Glad they worked that in after 90 minutes.
US
Title: Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus
The
announcers aren’t sure if Goldberg can use his power on someone like
Morrus, because WCW announcers have the memories of banana slugs.
Morrus jumps Goldberg to start but the champion pulls in Barbarian to
make himself break a sweat. Jimmy Hart is thrown at both guys and a
double spear puts them down. Barbarian and Morrus both get
Jackhammers to make Goldberg 95-0.
Tag
Titles: Giant/Brian Adams vs. Lex Luger/Diamond Dallas Page
We’re
not sure if Page is going to accept the offer to join Luger or not
but here he is with limited drama, albeit to his own music in a
separate entrance from Luger. Page doesn’t have taped up ribs
anymore. Heenan brings up a good point: neither of these teams have
ever teamed together or at least not in a very long time yet they’re
fighting for the tag titles. Tenay uses this as an opportunity to
talk about the tag match at Great American Bash because why would a
title match here and now be more important than a non-title match ten
days from now?
Luger
shoves Adams into the ropes to start and clotheslines him down before
tagging in Page for a big reaction. A belly to belly suplex gets two
for Page and it’s back to the arm. Back to Luger for a hiptoss as
Tony says he doesn’t think Page would have come out here if a member
of the Wolfpack had come out here, because apparently Tony doesn’t
remember Luger is in the group. Luger misses a charge in the corner
and it’s off to Giant to stand on his chest.
A
Russian legsweep puts Luger down again and it’s back to Adams for a
rake to the eyes and a legdrop for two. Back to Giant to throw Luger
around with ease and plant him with a slam. Adams comes back in with
a bearhug and a backbreaker before bringing Giant in again. The big
man misses an elbow drop and it’s back to DDP via the hot tag. Page
cleans house but Giant breaks up a Diamond Cutter attempt on Adams.
Sting comes out to distract Giant, allowing Page to Diamond Cut Adams
for the pin and the titles.
Rating:
C-. This actually wasn’t
terrible as they worked a basic formula and didn’t have the insanity
that most WCW matches have. Luger and Page worked well enough
together out there and Giant was his usual self. Adams was fine as a
generic power guy which is all he ever should have been. Not bad
here.
Not
that it matters though as JJ calls in and says the title change
doesn’t count because Giant had no authority to make Adams his
partner. Therefore at the Bash, it’s Giant vs. Sting with the winner
getting both belts and the right to pick his new championship
partner.
Overall
Rating:
C+. This was the best
Thunder they’ve had in months. The lack of main event guys until the
last match gave everyone else a chance to shine and we actually got
storyline development on top of the watchable matches. On top of
that, every match seemed to have a purpose, with an insane FOUR title
matches on the B show. Good stuff here actually.
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