Thunder – June 24, 1998

Thunder
Date:
June 24, 1998
Location:
Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
still closing in on Bash at the Beach where, in case you didn’t hear
it 948 times on Nitro, the main event will have basketball players
wrestling. Nitro was one of the most annoying shows I can remember
in a very long time, meaning things almost have to be better tonight.
Granted I’ve said that before and been very, very wrong. Let’s get
to it.

We
open with, naturally, a video on Malone/Page vs. Hogan/Rodman. It’s
at Bash at the Beach you know.
Here
are Giant and Vincent with something to say. Giant, between puffs,
says that he wants a tag title match tonight but knows Nash isn’t in
the building. Sting has to find a partner and put the belts on the
line for no adequately explored reason. Either way, that appears to
be the main event.
Public
Enemy vs. Raven/Sick Boy
Man
how much were they paying Public Enemy for this many appearances in a
row? Naturally they bring a table to the ring with them. Before the
match, Raven says everyone is looking for the chance to end his
career. The match is under Raven’s Rules, which really isn’t even
worthy of an announcement anymore. Sick Boy pounds on Rocco’s arm to
start as the other two are actually standing on the apron. Off to
Grunge for a double flapjack so Sick Boy tags out to Raven.
A
neckbreaker puts Raven down and it’s back to Rocco for a double
suplex. Everything breaks down as the wrestling nonsense is
completely forgotten. Grunge puts Raven in a sleeper (Heenan: “THEY
KNOW A HOLD!”) but Sick Boy makes the save and things settle down.
Sick Boy stomps Grunge down in the corner but gets caught in a
faceplant to put both guys down.
Raven
points Sick Boy back to the ring instead of tagging and everything
breaks down again. Rocco gets crotched on the top to prevent Sick
Boy from going through the table. Saturn comes out and blasts Raven
in the head with a piece of metal before splashing him through the
table. Back in the ring and the Drive By is enough to put Sick Boy
away.
Rating:
D. The lack of hardcore stuff
(for the most part) was a surprise but there’s a reason why Public
Enemy didn’t do much traditional wrestling. They weren’t horrible
for the most part but the match was nothing much to see. The Saturn
vs. Raven blowoff match should be fun when we get there though.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Hugh Morrus
Guerrero
is still looking over his shoulder for his crazy nephew and Morrus
pounds away on him to start. Eddie finally gets away for a bit and
dropkicks the knee out before hitting a nice headscissors. The fans
chant for Chavo and Eddie freaks out but stays on the knee like a
good villain. Morrus makes his comeback with a quick slam but misses
an elbow off the top. Chavo comes out to a big reaction and the
distraction lets Hugh slam Eddie off the top and hit the moonsault
for the pin. More storyline development though the same thing we got
on Nitro.
Here
are Sting and Konnan with something to say. Konnan does his usual
stuff which still sounds ridiculous. In short, Sting accepts the
challenge and picks Luger as his partner but Luger is nowhere in
sight. Sting goes back to get him which might mean something later
on. Sting in a ponytail doesn’t work for me here.
Mike
Tenay tries to talk to Benoit in the back but gets chased off by Arn
Anderson. The camera picks up Benoit talking about the Horsemen
being alive again but Anderson saying that it’s over.
Stevie
Ray vs. Sumo Fuji
Fuji
might be someone from Dragon Gate but I can’t find much on him. Ray
easily pounds him down into the corner and beats on him with forearms
while talking a lot of trash. While saying sucka a lot, Stevie sends
him to the floor and tells Booker to watch how it’s done. Back in
and a big boot sets up something like Page’s Pancake for the win.
Sumo didn’t get in a single bit of offense.
Here’s
Jericho to jump around the set to start before waving to the crowd
like the condescending jerk that he is. He wants the fans to want
him because he’s the paragon of virtue and the Cruiserweight
Champion. On top of that though, he’s the top legal eagle and knows
all of the loopholes, meaning he’ll defend the title inside of 30
days but not against Malenko. This brings out JJ who says if Jericho
spent as much time defending the title as he did finding ways to not
face the top challengers, there’s no way of telling how great he
would be. JJ says he’s changing the rules and it’s Malenko vs.
Jericho at Bash at the Beach.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon
Tony
wastes no time in ignoring the match to talk about the sports stars
wrestling at the PPV. Dragon takes him down with a quick headlock
but Jericho is quickly back on his feet. A back elbow puts Jericho
down and Dragon does his headstand in the corner. We hit the
chinlock by the challenger but Jericho fights up and we take a break.
Back with Jericho getting two off the arrogant cover and doing the
long strut. Jericho tries the Lionsault but Dragon pops up and
dropkicks him in the ribs.
The
Dragon Sleeper is quickly countered and Chris sends him to the apron,
only to miss a charge and fall to the floor. Asai Moonsault takes
Jericho out and they head back inside to trade rollups for two. A
dragon suplex gets two for Jericho and he hooks the Liontamer but
it’s right next to the ropes. Dragon escapes a powerbomb and fires
off some kicks, only to get caught in a powerslam for a close two.
Jericho loads up a suplex and says it’s for Dean’s dead daddy but
Dragon reverses into the Dragon Sleeper. Before Jericho can submit
though here’s Dean for the DQ.
Rating:
B-. This is the kind of match
that WCW has been missing for the last few weeks. They let two
talented guys go out there and fly around the ring for ten minutes
which hasn’t happened in far too long. People often forget how good
Jericho was in the ring at this point since he’s mainly remembered
for his antics, which is a shame because he could put on good matches
like this at any time.
Dragon
yells at Dean, allowing Jericho to get away.
We
get a sitdown interview with Scott Steiner and Eric Bischoff where
Scott narrates a Steiner Brothers tag match, saying he did all the
work while Rick got the glory.
DDP
and Malone will be on Nitro. Joy.
Jim
Duggan vs. Barbarian
They
slug it out to start with the big, heavy handed punches you would
expect from these two. Barbarian makes a quick comeback and punches
Duggan down before kicking him in the face. The top rope headbutt
misses and Duggan pounds away with ten punches in the corner. Cue
Hugh Morrus to throw the 2×4 to Barbarian, only to have Duggan
clothesline him down and drop a knee for the pin. At least it was
short.
Jericho
tries to get Dragon to get a title shot at the PPV but Malenko chases
Jericho off.
Chris
Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Disco Inferno/Alex Wright
Alex
and Chris get us going with Wright actually taking him down and
stomping away. Benoit comes back with chops to both dancers before
Mongo comes in to clear the ring. We take a break and come back with
Wright tagging in Disco to face the Canadian. Benoit takes him into
the corner and hits the skin ripping chops to the chest. I don’t
know if it’s something about Disco’s chest or just bad luck but he
takes the loudest chops I can remember.
The
fans want Flair but get Mongo instead to pound on Inferno even more.
A tilt-a-whirl powerslam gets two on Disco and it’s back to Benoit as
the announcers talk about Heenan spying on basketball players.
Benoit tries the Crossface on Disco but Wright makes the save,
drawing everyone in at once. Things settle down with Alex hitting a
release belly to belly on Benoit for two. They chop it out until
Alex hits a running clothesline in the corner to take over.
Back
to Disco for a slam and some dancing. Heenan goes into managing mode
by yelling at Disco for not following up like he should. Wright
comes back in to stomp away as Heenan comes up with names for Disco
and Alex, including the Twinkle Toe Twins. Benoit counters a Disco
right hand into a backslide for two but Disco drops some hard elbows
for two. Back up and Benoit hits a great German suplex and makes the
hot tag to Mongo. Everything breaks down with Mongo cleaning house
and spinebusting Disco, setting up the swan dive and Crossface for
the win.
Rating:
C+. Surprisingly good match
here with the Horsemen actually sweating a bit instead of running
over the dancers. Also they used Mongo like they should have here:
don’t let him do much more than just clean house at the end with some
passable power stuff. Maybe that was the solution all along. Or
maybe it was a good match and he was tolerable. You never can tell
with Mongo.
Tag
Titles: Sting/Lex Luger vs. Giant/Brian Adams
Luger
shows up this time. Brian is referred to as the Mack Daddy of the
NWO. Giant lights up a cigarette after the bell but drops it to
start a fourway brawl. Adams is easily sent to the floor because
he’s Brian Adams and the Wolfpack backdrop Giant up and over the top.
Back in and Giant pounds Sting down in the corner before dropping
him with a slam.
Sting
avoids a splash and fires off right hands, only to have Giant run him
over with ease. Giant talks too much trash to Luger and misses an
elbow drop, setting up the double tag. Luger cleans house on Adams
and pops Giant in the face as well. The Torture Rack ends Adams with
ease.
Rating:
D+. This wasn’t horrible but
I’m getting tired of these mix and match tag title partners. Pick a
team and stick with it already. Adams continue to not fit in these
matches at all. Tony called him the power man of the NWO, but when
you have the Giant throwing Sting and Luger around with ease and
Scott Steiner in the group as well, that statement really doesn’t
hold up.
Post
match the Black and White comes out to destroy the Wolfpack. Konnan
comes out as well but gets beaten down to end the show. The fans
chant for Goldberg but he’s nowhere to be seen as Tony plugs the
basketball players on Nitro and ignores the massive beatdown.
Overall
Rating:
C-. This wasn’t a
terrible show and was WAY easier to sit through than Nitro but it was
still dull stuff save for a few bright spots. The basketball hype is
already beyond the point of annoying and has made me want to see the
match even less than I already did. Watchable show here with the
elements they’ve been needing to have showing up again.
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