WCW Thunder – February 18th, 1999

I was recently reminded of a lost classic match on this show, and it’s not like Scott will be rushing to review an episode of Thunder any time, so I’ve bitten the bullet on this. Although I was on the internet by this point, which was prompting me more than ever to skip certain shows and just read the reports, I did watch this one without any prior knowledge and was in for a pleasant surprise.

Last Monday Night, Hollywood Hogan challenged Ric Flair to come and try and take his title while dressed like a binman, until US champion and commissioner Roddy Piper comes out and books a match between himself and Hogan, which he almost wins until Scott Hall comes out with his taser toy. Everyone seemed to forget how to sell it between the Mountie and Hall, so it was always incredibly shit by this point.

Hosts are Tony, Tenay and Bobby, from Salt Lake City, LIVE! I’ve just realised that the Thunder set looks like it was made out of reject air conditioning units. Before they get to the matches, Goldberg is going to be on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and will lay down a BLOCKBUSTER CHALLENGE! As it was, I believe he just disinterestedly went “Yeah, like, if Stone Cold would like to, like, fight some day, if he’s up for it, then I guess we could, if he wanted to”.

Backstage, Booker T stretches while Stevie Ray pesters him to join the nWo. Booker looked much cooler with short hair and the porno moustache. Disco Inferno comes by to further annoy them in order to win brownie points with the nWo, and asks “What’s this? A brother thing!”, with just enough racial connotations to get lifted up the wall by his throat but with enough plausible denial to get away with “They ARE brothers”.

Then, totally without context, the camera cuts to a really dirty hotel door, with a massive stain on it, and the then-unknown Torrie Wilson opens it in friendly fashion to an anonymous cameraman who starts unzipping his trousers and hands her the taser to play with, with her mentioning “You got this off Scott?”, then teasing him that she bet he’s “never played with something like this before”. Electro-sex, ladies and gentleman. Needless to say that the identity of the cameraman would end up being one of the great damp squibs of wrestling.

Then, we cut to Kanyon approaching a massive house to see “Scotty” while his “mom” heads off to a board meeting. Raven does his infamous Ferris Bueller “What a mark!” deal to the camera and they get in a convertible and head out for a ride. Damn, a hat-trick of shit to get things rolling.

Back in the arena, Disco Inferno heads out to the Wolfpac’s music. The deal here was the incredibly uncool guy trying to buddy up to the supposedly cool bad guys. He brings out “the rowdy Scott” to Piper’s music, which is of course Hall in a kilt, doing a curtsy like a chambermaid. “Everybody’s buzzing”, says Scott, sounded like he’s the one who’s completed buzzed. Disco is sworn in as his underling and he sends a threat on his behalf to Booker T for Superbrawl. Threats are then sent Piper’s way, with Hall seemingly about to whip his dick out, but he just strips the kilt off. He goes to say something else, but the Wolfpac music plays as seemingly somebody decided he was done.

Back to Raven and Kanyon, now at the bank. $20,000 is withdrawn as Raven keeps on mugging to his secret cameraman, even though they can’t decide whether it’s the main camera or an invisible one that isn’t in shot.

Lash LeRoux vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Only eighteen minutes in before the first match. Lash was predominantly a babyface but plays it heel here. Shocking how lean everyone is in the face at this point, but I guess GHB will do that for you. This is a warm-up for Superbrawl for Chavo, who’s challenging Kidman for the cruiserweight belt. They’d been partners in the tag team title tournament, which I’m reminded had weird double elimination rules that they immediately fucked up. We almost immediately cut to outside, with Rey Mysterio Jr. walking from his car to the building, as Lex Luger and Elizabeth drive by and heckle him, so Rey kicks the door in his face when he goes to open it, shouting “Thug life!” at him. Tony then clarifies it was footage from earlier in the day… so, why play it there when you’ve had another half a dozen non-wrestling bits.

Back to the match, Chavo roughs up LeRoux, who has the same problem as Jeff Jarrett with his mirrored initials looking like ‘JL’ on his gear. I could’ve sworn that Chavo was doing the goofy gimmick with the horse head on a stick at this point, but he’s playing it pretty nasty. Face washers in the corner. Lash comes back with his break-dancing offense and a suplex, but gets caught in the tree of woe and Chavo won’t stop attacking him and he gets disqualified. Charles Robinson takes a bump and Kidman makes the save, although Chavo gets it back by whipping Kidman into Lash and getting a tornado DDT on the outside. Just all over the place with the pre-tape inserted and the weird face/heel alignment.

Back to the mall with Raven and Kanyon, who’s never heard of Versace. How deep in the closet was he?

Last Monday night, Ric Flair and his new chauffeur, Eric Bischoff, left the show. Eric drove him and his buddies off to the middle of a field for a beatdown by the nWo. This gives us the surreal experience of Hulk in a balaclava with his yellow moustache poking through trying a deep voice going “Get out of the car! This ain’t about you!” to the passengers before Flair gets beaten down with a (Yappapi?) strap. Looks like a reasonably expensive shoot, but I bet it didn’t draw a penny. Eventually he’s picked up by a guy in a cowboy hat, which I bet Dusty Rhodes was hoping would mean a renewed push for himself as the Midnight Rider.

Live tonight, one of a thousand limousines seemingly arrives with Scott Steiner asking where DDP is.

To Chez Levy, with Raven and Kanyon returning from a night out, including the Gold Club. Well, that was half a waste. Raven’s mom has had a call from WCW for him to return to work, which he “reluctantly” agrees to. I bet Buff’s mom would’ve thought her son’s corner a bit more.

Promo with Horace and Brian Adams. Horace shows that not only did he not have his uncle’s star power but also not his promo ability either. Adams gets a decent line in about Arn currently being a “cigarette boy in a local jail”. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t try sideburns as pointy as he had at this point to celebrate my seventeenth birthday.

Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera

Jericho’s push had stalled by this point because they were just counting down the days until he went to the WWF. Jericho introduces Ralphus in drag as a counterpoint to what Perry Saturn should be looking like at this point. Ralphus has even shaved off his moustache to get more feminine. For Jericho at this point it’s a rare misfire. Juvi had burnt off his goodwill by going heel to join the LWO. As the match gets going, we go to a break, because it’s three quarters of an hour in and we’ve had an entire five minutes of wrestling already.

Back from break, Jericho holds Juvi on the ropes for Ralphus to kiss, so Juvi jumps out and hits him and Ralphus falls like a hoover getting tipped over. Juvi gets a hura that almost ends with Jericho smacking his forehead on the mat. Then the powerbomb/DDT counter for two and a reversal of the Lion Tamer for another two. Juvi tries another hura, which is blocked with the Lion Tamer for the submission. Not one of their better matches, way too short.

Recap video of Scott Steiner harassing Kimberly in order to antagonise DDP, including throwing her out of a moving car. I’d totally forgotten this, although I know at some point later things got legitimately tense between all three.

In the ring, Buff Bagwell, looking like Joe Exotic on steroids, announces he’s heading back to the ring. Even a quick back turn reveals about half a dozen zits ready to pop. He brings out Big Poppa Pump. Peak aesthetic shape for him and Buff at this point. Buff takes the knee to hold the mic for Scott at one point, looking like he’s about to do him some favours. Steiner gets on at “Diamond Dallas Trash” and talks about how Kimberly “likes me not just for my looks but for my personality” in a funny line. He throws out the stipulation for their upcoming match that if he wins then he gets Kimberly for thirty days and thirty nights and talks about how the last girl who went that long with him still calls him three times a day. He then runs through his catchphrases and Bagwell gives a sarcastic introduction for his opponent.

Scott Steiner vs. Bobby Blaze

Blaze is a funny guy, as per the 605 podcast, but here he’s rocking a full mullet and doesn’t even take his t-shirt off. Steiner squashes him with suplexes and then gets the win with the Steiner Recliner, which he passes out in. Can’t fault them for putting the move over, but it looked like shit.

Rey Mysterio Jr. & Konnan vs. Silver King & Hector Garza

Almost at the end of the masked run in WCW for Rey Rey. Silver King and Garza don’t even get an entrance and are already in the ring. They get a double gutbuster early on Rey. Garza is a guy who absolutely should’ve been a bigger star in the US given his look and skill level, but sadly died about a decade ago of lung cancer, which is something someone as healthy as he was shouldn’t have. K-Dog quickly comes in with the rolling clothesline and elevates Rey into a huracanrana on Silver King for the quick win. Damn, that could’ve gone a lot longer.

Backstage, the Horsemen talk about their upcoming match and the nWo standing in their way. Dean does the majority while Benoit stands like a statue.

On Nitro, Scott Hall beat Chris Benoit to become the number one contender to Bret Hart for the US championship. Then, Flair booked Hart to face Piper for the title the same night and an obese Will Sasso cost him the belt to set up Piper against Hall. So fucked up, with so few caring.

Booker T. vs. Jerry Flynn

Did Flynn teach Kevin Sullivan’s son karate or something, then? He has ‘LIGHTNING FOOT’ on his ass, although surely that would be better on his boots than on his gi trousers. It seems like the only notable thing about him is getting caught with a bunch of ecstasy with Juvi. Booker clotheslines him out of the ring but gets run into the railing and a leg sweep back in grounds him as Disco Inferno turns up. Some pretty good karate-based offense. Disco pops up on the apron to offer words of encouragement, but Flynn kicks him off to a big pop and to the Brain’s amusement. Booker comes back with the scissor kick and 110 Street slam, but he runs the ropes as Disco pulls them down and gives him the Chartbuster (Stunner) behind the ref’s back to give Flynn the big upset victory when he rolls him back in. That ended up being far more fun than it had any right to be.

Mean “Whoo, by God!” Gene brings out WCW President Ric Flair in a hushed manner. Flair has about a dozen plasters on his face and shades to sell the beating from the nWo. Flair blames himself for being dumb enough to let himself be led into a trap, then switches to how Hogan had everything given to him while he worked his ass off to be the champion. He then goes mad and runs down the list of names he’s beat and loses his train of thought before hitting the catchphrases. Not one of Flair’s best.

Back to “Samantha”/Torrie Wilson, who teases her mystery man after the electro-sex session. He then presents her with a ticket to Superbrawl.

Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko vs. Brian Adams & Horace

Cage match main event, so the nWo can’t interfere, a semi-final in the tag team championship tournament. This is the match I’m reviewing the show for. Tag rules are adhered to with Malenko and Horace starting. Malenko gets two early with his leg lariat and avoids being run into the cage. Horace accidentally runs himself into the cage, as much with being so tall, so Benoit and Adams tag in. Adams actually takes an armdrag for Benoit and an enzigiri, then chops in the corner, although his face looks more like he’s showing mild discomfort than pain. He catches Benoit with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. No cameraman in the ring, so all the shots are somewhat obscured. Horace comes back in with an elbow for two. Shoulderbreaker follows as Bobby gives him the backhanded compliment of getting better every week. Adams back in with a backbreaker, but Benoit flips out of the second try and almost gets the win with a backslide. Horace back in with a short clothesline. Legdrop gets two, but it’s not his uncle, so it’s never going to win. Adams pulls out a rare bow and arrow submission, but Robinson counts the shoulders, causing Adams to release. Horace gets a sleeper, but Benoit pushes him off into the cage and then German suplexes him for a very impressive bump.

Hot tag to Malenko, who takes care of Adams and almost gets the Texas Cloverleaf. The size difference between the faces and heels is staggering. Double slingshot with Benoit into the cage. Benoit gets the Crippler Crossface on Horace, but it’s the illegal man, and Adams breaks it up. Vincent sneaks down to ringside with a chair. Adams and Horace actually pull out a spike piledriver on Malenko, broken up by Benoit, who then gets rammed into the cage with a battering ram. Malenko’s errant foot takes down Robinson, so Vincent slips the chair in and pulls Benoit out. Horace counts a pin on Malenko, but it’s not legal. Benoit whips Vincent into the stairs and then scales the cage. Horace climbs up to meet him, but he gets kicked down and lands on the ropes balls first. Malenko blocks a chair shot with his feet, knocking Adams down, and Benoit comes flying off the top of the cage with the headbutt, knocking both himself and Adams out, and Malenko scurries over for the pin. No, it’s not a 5* match, but it was still as enjoyable for me now as it was then, even though the finish has later consequences. 5* for an Adams and Horace match, 3* for a Benoit and Malenko match.

The Bottom Line: Pretty much a terrible show, as was the legend of Thunder, but a fantastic main event. Skip the rest and watch that.