Thunder – May 14, 1998

Thunder
Date: May 14, 1998
Location: Whittemore
Center Arena, Durham, New Hampshire
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the final show
before Slamboree and we have even more drama in the NWO. This time
it’s the Giant joining NWO Hollywood to help protect Hogan and get
his hands on Kevin Nash at the same time. The latter makes little
sense as Giant already has a match with Nash on Sunday but if you try
to think too much about this stuff your head will explode. Let’s get
to it.

The announcers talk for
a bit about the end of Nitro and give us a quick preview of tonight’s
show, including Savage vs. Sting.
We get a new version of
Bischoff’s challenge, this one themed like an NWO announcement.
Basically Bischoff is a martial arts expert and invites Vince to come
break Eric’s limbs and choke him to death, so come to Slamboree.
Expect to see this about a dozen times tonight.
Mando Guerrero, Eddie’s
older brother, is disappointed by Eddie’s recent actions. Chavo has
it tough enough due to being a second generation wrestler without
having to be Eddie’s nephew.
Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Reese
Reese is Eddie’s
handpicked opponent, selected for how similar he is to Chavo. Reese
lumbers at Chavo but the smaller guy speeds around and fires off
chops for no effect. Reese throws Chavo around with ease but
Guerrero comes back with a springboard kick to the chest to stagger
the giant. Chavo goes up but an Eddie distraction allows Reese to
catch Chavo in the chokebomb for the fast pin.
Post match Ultimo
Dragon, Eddie’s opponent on Sunday, comes out to stop Eddie from
berating Chavo. Chavo walks away while Eddie is caught in the Dragon
Sleeper.
We recap the “fan”
attacks (Kanyon) on Raven over the last few weeks.
The announcers talk
about Raven’s challenge for a Bowery Death Match on Sunday.
We also get a clip of
Raven beating Page for the US Title at Spring Stampede and the
ensuing brawls over the next few weeks. They also air Page’s promos
on Raven from Thunder two weeks ago, the fight with the bullrope, JJ
giving Raven a riot squad and the challenge for the Bowery Death
Match. Are they running REALLY short on time tonight? They aired
about seven minutes straight of videos of the feud.
Since that’s not enough
on these two, here are Raven and the riot squad. He’s tired of
hearing about DDP. What about Raven? This isn’t Dodge City and Page
can’t string him up like Josey Wales. If Page wants him, come get
him right now. Here’s Page through the crowd because he was just
waiting at the top of the arena. Page dives over the squad to get at
Raven but the beatdown is on almost immediately. That looks a lot
like Austin diving over the cops to get at Vince a few months after
this aired. Page gets hung by the bullrope.
Goldberg has to defend
the US Title by running a Flock gauntlet on Sunday.
The Outsiders will
actually be here tonight.
TV Title: Kenny Kaos
vs. Fit Finlay
In case you didn’t
think the other High Voltage member getting a title shot was stupid
enough. Finlay grabs a nerve hold to start but Kaos comes back with
a hiptoss before pulling Finlay away from the ropes. Finlay drags
him to the floor by the hair for a quick pounding before taking Kaos
back inside, getting two off a splash. Kaos gets the knees up to
block a Vader Bomb and gets two off an atomic drop. The champion
pounds away but misses a charge into the post, only to take it to the
floor where Rage helps out his partner. Back in and Finlay hits the
rolling senton and the tombstone to retain.
Rating: D.
Nothing match as Finlay didn’t sell anything Kaos did and easily beat
him after getting double teamed. This wasn’t really even a squash
with Kaos getting in some offense but to no effect. I still don’t
get why Finlay was champion anyway as he hadn’t really done anything
significant prior to winning the title.
We see Savage calling
out Bret from a few weeks ago.
Here’s a live action
person dressed as a character from the animated movie Quest For
Camelot to hand out t-shirts. This doesn’t seem to be announced to
anyone in the arena, but why would they need to know who this big
viking looking guy is?
US Title: Sick Boy
vs. Goldberg
Sick Boy goes right for
the champ and actually takes him down with a snapmare. We get a
nerve hold but Goldberg easily fights up. A pair of dropkicks
stagger him but Goldberg comes back with a gorilla press, setting up
a bad looking spear and the Jackhammer to retain the title.
The Flock swarms
Goldberg but he takes down Riggs, scaring everyone else off.
Saturn says he uses a
basic side kick like people have been using for thousands of years.
He didn’t steal it from Glacier or any other reject from a video
game.
Chris Adams vs.
Saturn
Before the match Kidman
asks Adams if he wants to lose to the Rings of Saturn or the Death
Valley Driver. Adams doesn’t say anything so Kidman picks the Death
Valley Driver, which will be set up by the Cryonic Kick and there’s
nothing Glacier can do about it. Security holds Van Hammer back from
getting in the ring. They trade hammerlocks to start as Tony rips
apart the Flock for being a bunch of spoiled brats as children.
Saturn catches an
incoming boot to the ribs but Adams takes him down with an enziguri
for two. Adams misses a top rope knee drop and Kidman hands Saturn a
chair. Saturn gets a springboard into the corner for a clothesline
before sending Chris out to the floor. Adams comes back with some
right hands but gets sent into the ropes, setting up the superkick
and Death Valley Driver for Saturn’s pin.
Rating: C.
Better match than expected here with Adams at least being game out
there. I like the idea of Saturn calling his finish but it would be
better if it was in a feud with ANYONE but Glacier. Was there no one
else out there you could have use a superkick to set up a feud with
Saturn at all? Not a bad match at all though.
This week in WCW
Motorsports because all WCW fans care about car racing.
Robbie Rage vs.
Chris Benoit
Apparently Nitro will
be split in two on Monday with one hour from 7-8 and one hour from
11:30-12:30. Rage no sells some chops to start and gorilla presses
Benoit down with ease. An overhead belly to belly has Benoit in even
more trouble and it’s off to a half crab from Rage. Kaos is nowhere
to be seen for some reason tonight. Rage loads up a powerslam but
rams Benoit back first into the corner instead of slamming him down.
Benoit avoids a top rope splash and there’s the Swan Dive followed by
the Crossface for the submission.
Rating: D+.
Nothing special to see here but Rage got in far more offense than he
should have. This was out of the 1995 Randy Savage playbook: get
destroyed for most of the match and then hit a big move for the win.
It doesn’t do much for Benoit but at least he got the win going into
his title match on Sunday.
Here’s Eric Bischoff
with his fists up and something to say. The announcers talk about
the challenge but aren’t sure if they should support Bischoff or not.
Bischoff talks about Vince sending guys where Vince knows Eric won’t
be, but he’s received a letter from Vince’s lawyers, saying that
Vince will NOT be at the PPV and stop promoting him as such.
Bischoff says ok but Doug Dillinger will still be there to guard the
door and make sure Vince gets to the ring safely. The announcers
still aren’t sure what to say.
Buy the Outsiders
shirt!
Tag Titles:
Outsiders vs. Public Enemy
And there’s no Hall.
Nash complains about politics in the back with Bischoff and Hogan
keeping Hall off live TV. However, they can’t stop him from being at
the PPV for some reason so Hall WILL be at Slamboree. He stops to
talk about how sexy he looks tonight and brings out his replacement
partner for the night: Dusty Rhodes. Rocco starts for the
challengers as Dusty chills on the floor.
Nash throws Rock into
the corner and chokes him with the boot before firing in some elbows
for two. More corner choking ensues before Public Enemy double
suplexes Nash down. Rhodes pulls Grunge to the floor and the
Jackknife to Rocco followed by the Bionic Elbow retains the titles.
Heenan: “DUSTY IS 1-0!”
Rating: D.
This was barely long enough to rate but it was basically a joke
match. The fans popped for Dusty so I guess the Wolfpack is
officially a face group. They’re definitely faces in the NWO but it
wasn’t entirely clear if they were faces overall. It’s nice to see
the belts defended at all though as I don’t think they’ve been on the
line since February.
Sting vs. Randy
Savage
We get a lot of pyro
before the entrances. Savage jumps Sting in the aisle and I don’t
think there was a bell. They head inside with Sting taking over and
backdropping Savage down. Savage rakes the eyes and takes it back to
the floor with Sting sending Randy into the barricade and actually
hitting the Splash against the steel. That might be the only time
I’ve ever seen that connect in WCW. Back in and the Stinger Splash
misses but Sting comes back with an elbow to the jaw. Not that it
matters as here’s Bret Hart with a chair for the fast DQ. Match was
just over two minutes long.
Giant comes in to save
Bret from Savage, only to have Nash come in to save Savage with a
chair shot. Sting hits Nash with the chair, leaving just Sting and
Giant standing. Giant gets a mic and says that once they win the tag
titles, Sting has a decision to make. He throws Sting a black and
white t-shirt and Sting doesn’t immediately say no. Giant leaves so
Luger comes out to try to talk reason into Sting.
The Bischoff challenge
to McMahon ends the show.
Overall Rating: D+.
Well let’s see: we get no explanation from Giant, the only major
story development is for what happens after the tag title match, we
saw two High Voltage matches for some reason, and nothing new was
added to the PPV. This show just didn’t need to happen, which is the
case with almost all of the Thunder shows anymore.
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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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Thunder – April 16, 1998

Thunder
Date: April 16, 1998
Location: Fargodome,
Fargo, North Dakota
Commentators: Lee
Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the final show
before Spring Stampede and by now the news has broken that Nitro lost
in the ratings on Monday for the first time in nearly two years. It
should be interesting to see if things change up at all tonight to
try to right the ship. Other than that tonight is going to be the
final push for the PPV, meaning more NWO whether anyone likes it or
not. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of
the main event from Nitro with Bret Hart cleaning house to save
Sting.
NWO video on Buff
Bagwell, showing him looking in a mirror.
Buff Bagwell vs.
Rick Steiner
Rick throws his collar
around to get Vincent off the apron before scaring Buff to the floor
as well. Buff armdrags him down and poses so Rick punches him in the
face. An atomic drop and a clothesline put Buff on the floor as Lee
wonders who brought Scott Steiner to the NWO. Didn’t we cover that
like months ago? Back in and Buff pounds away at Rick’s head, which
actually has an effect. Buff’s middle rope ax handle is caught in
mid air and Rick throws him around a few times. Rick loads up the
bulldog but here’s Scott Steiner to shove him off the top for the DQ.
Rating: D+.
Nothing to see here with the whole match existing tos et up something
else at Spring Stampede. They’ve been pushing this battle of the
Steiners for months now but there’s no sign of the actual showdown
coming. Then again why bother pursuing a match that could be a big
deal and bring in some money when you can keep pushing Buff Bagwell?
Hogan is amused at
Savage’s injuries and is ready to take the title back from Sting
soon.
Here’s Nash with
something to say. He’s tired of hearing Hogan talking about how
amazing he is because Hogan is afraid. Nash should be champion right
now and would be if not for Hogan and then Hart interfering in his
title shots. Bret made a huge mistake by messing with Nash on Monday
and Hart will be dealt with. Back to Hogan: if he doesn’t do what
he’s supposed to do on Sunday, Nash will drive a stake through his
heart. He’s ready for Giant and Piper and tonight he’s ready for
Sting and Bret with Savage as his partner. Just hyping up the big
tag matches here.
We get the same video
on Goldberg from Nitro.
Goldberg vs. Barry
Darsow
Goldberg vs. Saturn is
official for Sunday. Barry tries to match power with Goldberg and is
easily run over and thrown into the corner. Heenan: “This could be
a very hair raising experience for Barry Darsow.” Darsow is bald
if that clears anything up. Barry sends him over the top and out to
the floor but Goldberg comes right back in with the spear. The
Jackhammer makes it 73 in a row.
We get the same video
on Page vs. Raven from Nitro.
Here’s JJ Dillon to say
that the winner of Page vs. Raven has to defend the US Title against
Goldberg on Monday night. I’m jumping the gun a bit here but that
means that both of Goldberg’s title shots this year have been
announced four days in advance. You would think he’d get more hype
than that.
TV Title: Booker T
vs. Rick Fuller
Booker fires off kicks
and forearms to start, only to run into a powerslam from the much
bigger Fuller. Fuller slams him down again but misses a charge into
the corner and walks into a spinebuster. The ax kick and side kick
set up the missile dropkick to retain Booker’s title. Squash for the
most part.
Recap of Hogan vs.
Nash, despite them not being opponents anytime soon.
Tony announces Scott
Steiner/Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger/Rick Steiner at the PPV. Scott
Steiner comes out to say he and Buff aren’t showing up because his
parents don’t want to see him fight his brother.
Chris Benoit vs.
Scott Norton
Benoit pulls Vincent to
the floor for some chops before going in and being chopped down by
Norton. A few elbow drops have Benoit in trouble and a slam puts him
down again. Benoit comes back with some chops but Norton just
punches him down with no selling at all. A splash in the corner
crushes Benoit and a shoulder sends him all the way to the floor.
Benoit avoids a charge
into the post but Norton is back inside first and still in control
with a powerslam. Chris escapes a shoulder breaker and takes Norton
down with two German suplexes. Norton charges into the post and gets
caught in the Crossface, only to have Vincent come in for the DQ
immediately.
Rating: D+.
What’s the point in Benoit even being out there if Norton won’t sell
a single bit of his offense? Norton went into the post twice, both
off his own power, and still wouldn’t stay down. Also for the
thousandth time or so, WHY CAN SCOTT NORTON NEVER LOSE A CLEAN
FALL??? Benoit is going into a PPV title match but can only get a DQ
win over Norton because…..I’m thinking Scott Norton has photos of
Eric Bischoff smoking crack while wearing women’s lingerie and
shoving an old lady down a flight of stairs.
Post match Booker comes
in for the save but gets shoved down for his efforts.
Here’s Giant with Piper
on his shoulders and something to say. Giant steps over the top rope
with Piper still on his shoulders. That’s rather impressive. Piper
rambles on and on as he is known to do. His odd line of this promo:
“What’s the opposite of Big Sexy? Pee Wee Herman?” Piper gets
off Giant’s shoulders and pretends he’s a tiger that has to be tamed.
He spends the next minute and a half or so saying he and Giant will
win. Piper: “We’ll bring the bat, you bring the balls.” Again,
someone keep Piper away from live mics. Please?
Curt Hennig vs.
Super Calo
Rude is on commentary
as usual. Curt easily takes Calo down and hits a quick Hennig
Necksnap for no cover. Calo avoids a charge in the corner and gets
one off a quick missile dropkick. Curt will have none of that and
stomps Calo down before ending him with the Hennigplex. Squash.
Cruiserweight Title:
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Chris Jericho
During the entrances,
Tony rants about how WCW delivers the matches they promise, in
reference to Austin vs. McMahon not happening. I would say I
remember Ric Flair talking about that last week, but he never showed
up as advertised. Chavo pounds away to start, only to get kicked in
the ribs and suplexed down for two. Jericho charges into a boot in
the corner and gets clotheslined down for two as well as Chavo stays
in it. An atomic drop sets up a rollup for two more on Jericho but
he trips Guerrero up and hooks an early Liontamer. Chavo crawls over
to the ropes but Eddie slaps his hand away twice, forcing Chavo to
tap out.
After the quick match,
Iaukea comes out with the scale from last week to knock Jericho off
of Chavo. They fight to the back, leaving Eddie and Chavo alone in
the ring. Uncle Eddie calms Chavo down and says that if Chavo beats
Jericho on Sunday, he’s free. Chavo is facing Ultimo Dragon on
Sunday but at least there’s a story to the match now.
Here are Hogan,
Bischoff and Disciple with something to say. After Eric sucks up to
Hogan for awhile, he talks about realizing what he had when Hogan
came to WCW in 1994. Hogan runs down Savage and Nash and understands
why they’re both jealous of him. He brags about the 3 Ninjas movie
and being on the Tonight Show before saying he should get the next
world title shot because he’s just that awesome. Nothing much to see
here and he didn’t even mention his opponents for Sunday.
Here’s JJ with
something to say. First of all, Goldberg will receive his first
major title shot this Monday on Nitro. This confirms one of two
things: either the TV Title, which Goldberg had a shot at last year,
isn’t a major title or WCW doesn’t remember matches that happened
five months ago. Also, due to Savage’s injuries, there might have to
be a replacement in the world title match. The options would be
either DDP, Nash or Hogan. JJ says Savage can wrestle on Sunday if
he has a doctor’s clearance, but tonight he just can’t be wearing a
cast.
This brings out Savage
to say that JJ should be outside watching for red and yellow Vipers
that are running over people. JJ says there’s no concrete evidence
as to who attacked Savage so he needs a doctor’s clearance and no
cast on Savage’s arm. Savage says he’s getting the title shot on
Sunday no matter what.
Giant vs. Bryan
Adams
Nothing match as Giant
shrugs off Adams’ offense (including Adams going up top and just
falling off) and kicks him in the face, only to have Vincent run in
to break up the chokeslam and draw the DQ.
Post match the B team
comes in but gets destroyed as well.
Video on Raven.
Silver King vs.
Perry Saturn
Saturn side steps a
fast dropkick and hits a running elbow in the corner, only to get
caught in a tornado DDT. Saturn avoids a charge in the corner and
superplexes King down before the Rings of Saturn gets the submission.
Video on Diamond Dallas
Page.
Page says to say he’s
ready for Raven but thinking about fighting Goldberg gets him even
more jacked up. Goldberg and his buddy Jack Hammer has been running
through WCW and Page wants to know if Goldberg can be banged. He’s
getting his belt back on Sunday, but the fans are oddly silent during
this entire speech.
Sting/Bret Hart vs.
Randy Savage/Kevin Nash
Tony goes off about how
they’ll deliver what they promised no matter what. Savage has the
cast on, despite JJ saying he couldn’t wear one tonight. Bret and
Savage get things going but Nash comes in before any contact is made.
Nash and Bret pound each other into the corner with Nash hammering
Bret in the back to take over. There’s the foot choke in the corner
but Nash charges into a boot in the opposite corner.
Bret clotheslines Nash
down and fires off right hands before bringing in the world champion.
Savage gets the tag and is put in the Scorpion about ten seconds
later. Nash pulls Randy out to the floor for a long stall before
it’s Bret vs. Nash again. Bret escapes Snake Eyes by shoving Kevin
into the corner, only to be punched in the face for his efforts.
There’s the side slam but Hart avoids the elbow, only to have Savage
break up the Sharpshooter.
Nash puts on a sleeper
of all things but Bret suplexes his way to freedom. A double tag
brings in Savage and Sting but Nash breaks up the Stinger Splash as
everything breaks down. Nash and Bret fight to the floor and the
Stinger Splash hits Savage’s cast. Savage goes up for the elbow and
waits forever until Hogan and Disciple run in for the DQ because why
would a world title match need story development?
Rating: D.
This was the usual lazy main event match from all parties involved.
Savage being injured excuses his lack of effort but the other three
guys just looked bored out there. To be fair though Bret has nothing
to do, Sting is the lamest of all lame duck champions and Nash is
Nash so why bother trying at all?
Post match Hogan goes
after Savage’s bad arm but Nash makes the save to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+.
This is a strange one to grade as the show did a good job of building
up to Spring Stampede, but Spring Stampede is one of the least
interesting shows in a long time. Why they don’t just do Nash vs.
Hogan is beyond me, but I’d guess neither guy was willing to do a job
for whatever reason they always gave. The show had its moments but
the NWO drags it down as usual.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books as low as $4 at:
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Thunder – April 9, 1998

Thunder
Date:
April 9, 1998
Location:
Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee, Florida
Commentators:
Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
still rolling through NWO a-go-go here with Hogan, Savage and Nash in
a three way war for control of the team. Sting is still an
afterthought and the midcard guys are still stealing the show most of
the time. You can see them starting to be pulled down into the
downward spiral from here. Tonight’s big draw is a major
announcement from Flair on his future in the sport. Let’s get to it.

We
get the Savage parking lot video from Nitro.
Perry
Saturn vs. Tokyo Magnum
Saturn
takes him hard into the corner to start and slugs him down. A tiger
suplex sends Magnum flying and Saturn keeps pounding away. Saturn
kicks him in the head and puts on a quick Rings of Saturn, only to
let Tokyo go and put the hold on again for the win. Total squash.
Saturn
wants Goldberg so here’s the undefeated one. The Flock pulls Saturn
to the floor so Goldberg beats up everyone else. Saturn and Hammer
are fighting up the ramp. Raven is in the crowd and doesn’t seem to
care.
Prince
Iaukea vs. Yuji Nagata
Nagata
easily takes him down and pounds away with forearms. They trade some
quick belly to back suplexes and Nagata puts on a chinlock. Back up
and Prince goes after the leg as the announcers talk about how
awesome Nagata is. Nagata shrugs it off and kicks Prince’s leg down
before working on the arm. Prince misses an enziguri and gets caught
in a cross armbreaker as the match continues to drag.
Prince
pops up with no sign of damage at all, dropkicking Yuji down for two.
Yuji sends him to the apron where Prince sells the leg for a bit
before coming back in with a Samoan Drop. The announcers aren’t even
pretending to pay attention to the match anymore. Sonny Onoo
interferes so Prince dives on him as well, only to have to escape the
Nagata Lock. The northern lights suplex is enough for the pin by
Iaukea.
Rating:
D. Good grief these two are
boring. I have no idea what the company saw in either of them other
than maybe some of Nagata’s Japan work. Iaukea has been around for
over a year now and is still the same uninteresting guy that he
always was, yet he’s getting a title shot on PPV. Dull match.
Post
match Jericho comes out and declares Iaukea too fat to challenge for
the title. We could have spent the last six minutes listening to
Jericho jokes but we had to sit through the match instead. Lucky us.
We
get clips from weeks ago of Mortis trying to join the Flock but
losing his match to Diamond Dallas Page. Random but still more
interesting than what we’ve seen so far.
Here’s
Raven with something to say. He talks about how Page was the hardest
working man in wrestling….and a fan pulls him out of the ring.
Ever the pro, Raven gets right back in the ring and talks, but his
mic doesn’t work. He doesn’t realize the mic isn’t working but the
camera zooms in enough to hear him talking about wanting Page to get
Bischoff to hire him away from ECW. They finally swap out the mic
and Raven says Page isn’t here to accept a challenge for Raven’s US
Title. At Spring Stampede, Raven is going to kick out of the Diamond
Cutter and win the title with the Even Flow.
Buff
Bagwell hypes his match with Luger on Nitro. Somehow this takes
almost three minutes.
Konnan
vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit
shoves Konnan away to start before firing off chops. Konnan is
backed into the corner and chopped even more, only to have Vincent
interfere, earning him chops of his own. Konnan gets in some cheap
shots to take over but Benoit keeps chopping at Vincent. Finally
Konnan takes Benoit down but Chris chops away even more.
Vincent
interferes for the second time in a minute (how does the referee not
notice that?) and gets kicked in the head, followed by Benoit sending
Konnan to the floor. They chop it out on the floor before going back
inside for a failed Crossface attempt. Konnan hooks a quick DDT for
two but the 187 is countered into a German suplex for two. Benoit
slips around him and throws on the Crossface for the submission.
Rating:
C-. This was better than I
expected and it was very nice to see Benoit getting to look dominant.
One thing I’ve always wondered: why would the NWO keep paying
Vincent? Do they really think he’s doing a good job? Come to think
of it, has he ever done anything right in the ten years he’s been a
bodyguard? Anyway, nice little match here with Benoit getting to
show off.
Jim
Duggan vs. Curt Hennig
Well
at least it’s not Neidhart. Duggan gets caught with a knee lift to
send him into the corner and there’s the Hennig necksnap for a quick
two. Duggan fights up and pounds Hennig with the big lumbering right
hands followed by a few clotheslines. The Three Point Clothesline
connects but Rick Rude grabs Duggan’s arm and cuffs him to the ropes
for a fast DQ.
The
beatdown ensues until Davey Boy and Neidhart make the save.
Lex
Luger vs. Glacier
Who
thought this was a good idea? They should be tied to a chair and
forced to watch this match over and over until dance craze sets in.
Luger easily runs him over before hiptossing Glacier down, setting up
the MUSCULAR POSE! Buff Bagwell is watching from the entrance,
likely trying to pick up tips on what not to do as a wrestler.
Glacier fires off kicks to the ribs and one to the head, sending
Luger down. More kicks set up a kick off the top, only to have Luger
punch him out of the air. The clotheslines set up the Rack for the
submission. More squashification.
Kidman
vs. Psychosis
This
should be good. Kidman takes over with some forearms to the back to
start but Psychosis slams the back of Kidman’s head into the mat for
two. Psychosis sends him to the floor and hits a big dive over the
top rope which almost missed badly. Back in and Kidman hits the
sitout spinebuster but stops to scratch. A sunset flip gets two for
Psychosis but Kidman comes back with a bulldog while climbing the
corner.
Kidman
loads up a superplex and here’s Chris Jericho of all people.
Psychosis shoves Kidman off and hits a spinwheel kick but there’s no
referee. A victory roll still gets no count for Psychosis as Jericho
still has the referee. Psychosis loads up the guillotine legdrop but
here’s La Parka with a weak chair shot to knock him to the mat.
Kidman hits the Seven Year Itch for the pin.
Rating:
C-. This didn’t have time to go
anywhere and it could give Russo a run for his money with the
overbooking, but Psychosis continues to look good. It’s nice to see
him get a story, even one as minor as the Flock fighting for Lodi’s
honor. Nice little match here but the fans didn’t care.
After
a break Jericho is still in the ring with a bathroom scale. Jericho
refuses to answer Schivaone’s questions until Tony refers to him as
the Man of 1004 Holds. He tells Doug Dillinger (head of WCW
security) to keep the fans away from him as he proves that Prince
Mackamackey is over the 225lb Cruiserweight limit. Iaukea comes out
and weighs 218, so Jericho claims improper calibration. Jericho
blasts him in the head with the scale and puts him in the Liontamer.
Jericho continues to be the most entertaining thing in WCW.
Scott
Steiner vs. Disco Inferno
Steiner
dominates to start and shoves Disco around with ease. Disco is
choked against the ropes and an elbow drop gets two. Disco tries a
comeback with a neckbreaker but Steiner suplexes him down faster than
I can finish saying Disco is making a comeback. The Recliner ends
this quick.
TV
Title: Booker T. vs. Chris Jericho
Booker
hits a quick clothesline after a few lockups go nowhere at all. A
second clothesline gets two and Booker peppers him with forearms
before clotheslining Jericho to the floor. Jericho tries to bail but
gets pulled back in by the ponytail. Now that’s just not nice. Back
in and Jericho scores with a quick hot shot before dropping Booker
crotch first on the top.
The
springboard dropkick puts Booker down and a suplex gets two via the
arrogant cover. The Lionsault misses and Booker hits that snap
spinebuster of his to get a breather. Booker hits the ax and side
kicks but the missile dropkick takes out the referee. The guys fight
a bit more until the referee gets up and DQ’s Jericho for apparently
pulling him in front of the dropkick.
Rating:
C. This didn’t have enough time
to go anywhere but it’s nice to see Jericho doing something other
than just cruiserweight stuff. Also, how nice is it to see a
champion vs. champion match where neither guy gets pinned? It’s like
they’re trying to keep the champions looking strong instead of having
them lose half their matches.
Here’s
Tony for the announcement from Flair….but Flair isn’t here due to
“bad weather”, which translates to he’s watching his son wrestle
in an amateur tournament. Instead here are Eric Bischoff and Scott
Steiner to run Flair down, saying that it was Hogan who built WCW.
Bischoff gives us a preview of Hogan’s new Three Ninjas movie which
is as stupid looking as you would imagine it to be.
Steiner
and Bischoff run Flair down so much that Arn Anderson comes out to
defend his friend. Flair may not be a Hollywood actor or have arms
like Scott Steiner, but he left part of himself in every arena around
the country and he is wrestling. Bischoff calls Arn fat so here’s
Lex Luger to defend Flair as well. Lex and Scott get into a brawl
and Rick Steiner comes out to suplex Bischoff.
Rick
Steiner vs. Kevin Nash
Nash
has something to say before the match. He’s seen Hogan running his
mouth out here about how things are all under control. Kevin finds
it interesting that Hogan thinks everything is great when it’s going
his way but loses his cool when he loses control. He had Sting
beaten on Monday but Hogan had to stick his nose into Nash’s
business. At Spring Stampede, they might be in trouble because Piper
is the best switch hitter in the business. He’ll take care of Giant
as well.
Rick
pounds away to start and takes Nash down to the ground for more right
hands. The NWO flunkies distract Rick (it’s not that hard of a job)
and Nash takes over with a shot to the back of the head. There’s the
foot choke in the corner but Nash charges into a boot to the jaw. A
clothesline sets up the Steiner Bulldog but Konnan comes in for the
DQ. Nothing match, as expected.
Post
match the NWO beats Rick down and the Giant makes the save to end the
show.
Overall
Rating:
C+. As is almost always
the case with WCW, when the younger guys get to showcase themselves,
the shows are more entertaining. The stuff at the end with Nash and
Bischoff didn’t do anything for either myself or the live crowd, but
they were WAY into the Jericho vs. Booker match. The signs are on
the wall for what the company should have done, but of course that
wasn’t to be.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
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Thunder – March 26, 1998

Thunder
Date:
March 26, 1998
Location:
Patriot Center, Fairfax, Virginia
Commentators:
Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
getting closer to Spring Stampede and most of the card is pretty
clear. That being said, the picture we’re getting isn’t all that
pretty. The bat match announced on Monday is nothing special and
it’s going to overshadow Sting vs. Savage which has the potential to
be decent. The interesting question for tonight is will we get any
followup on Goldberg’s attack on the NWO last week. Let’s get to it.

Here
are Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero Jr. to open the show. Chavo
has to scratch Eddie’s back on the way to the ring. Eddie says Chavo
has a TV Title shot tonight, but he hasn’t proven himself yet.
Therefore, Eddie will be taking the title shot and Chavo gets this
match.
Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit
immediately chops Chavo down to start and stomps him into the corner.
We cut up the commentary desk where Rick Rude and Eric Bischoff take
over. Now we go back to the ring with Chavo still chopping away.
Some backbreakers put Chavo down as Bischoff compares WCW to Kenneth
Starr, because wrestling fans want to hear about current political
events when they watch wrestling. Chavo comes back with some shots
to the ribs and a dropkick gets no cover. Benoit comes back with a
knee to Chavo’s ribs and drapes Chavo over the top rope. Chavo
sunsets flips him for two but walks into the Crossface for the
submission.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t have time to go
anywhere but Benoit’s yo-yo push continues. He goes from a US Title
shot to jobbing to Norton to drawing with Booker T to being a bishop
(he’s too good to be a pawn) in the Guerrero feud. It’s almost like
WCW isn’t paying attention to what they do with him and just throw
him out there at random.
Here
are Hogan and Bischoff in the ring. Bischoff complains about WCW
having people like Piper out here to cause trouble and says it’s easy
to understand why Hogan has so many disciples. Hogan insists that
there are no rifts in the NWO despite any footage WCW may show. He
and Nash are best friends for life and WCW is just putting them in
matches in hopes that they’ll argue. They’ll win at the PPV, just
like they did on Monday.
This
brings out Nash who says that he knows someone is pulling the NWO’s
strings but no one pulls his. Hogan may claim to lead the NWO but
everyone knows the heart and soul of the NWO is the Wolfpack. If
Hogan is in charge, why is Syxx out of a job and why is Hall never on
live TV? Hogan says Syxx couldn’t cut the mustard but doesn’t know
where Hall is. Hogan: “I thought you knew.” Hollywood blames
Savage for the problems and says they can deal with them at the PPV.
He would partner with Nash anytime but Nash says it would be his
honor brother, which confuses Eric and Hogan.
La
Parka vs. Prince Iaukea
No
entrance for either guy for the sake of time. La Parka does his
dance to start before charging into a boot in the corner. A
spinwheel kick staggers Iaukea but he sends La Parka to the floor for
a flip dive off the apron. Back in and an elbow to the face gets two
on the Prince but he grabs a northern lights suplex for a pn on La
Parka out of nowhere. This was nothing.
Here’s
Lex Luger to say that he and Sting will accept Hogan and Nash’s open
challenge for a tag match tonight. I didn’t exactly hear an open
challenge but whatever gets us to tonight’s run-in palooza is fine.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Disco Inferno
The
crowd LOUDLY tells Jericho that he sucks on the way to the ring.
They trade headlocks to start until Disco takes him down with a
clothesline. Disco stomps him down in the corner and hits a middle
rope fist to the head for two. Jericho takes him down and kicks
Disco in the ribs before getting two off a suplex. Disco runs into a
boot in the corner but comes back with an atomic drop and a
neckbreaker for two each. That’s it for Disco though as he gets
caught in a butterfly backbreaker and the Liontamer retains the
title. Short and not much to this one.
Jericho
takes Disco’s headband for the trophy case.
Goldberg
vs. Jerry Flynn
Tony
does the ads for future shows and actually uses the term house shows.
Goldberg asked for this match after Flynn gave him a test. Flynn
fires off his kicks and takes Goldberg to the mat, only to be caught
in a leg bar. A powerslam puts Jerry down but he grabs an armbar.
Goldberg will have none of that and powerbombs him down before
breaking out of a choke. They trade a few more holds and Flynn
actually scores with some kicks. I don’t even get done typing that
line before the spear and Jackhammer make Goldie 62-0.
Kidman
vs. Psychosis
Psychosis
is now a face apparently. This is a revenge match as Lodi was
injured in his match on Monday so Kidman is out to hurt Psychosis in
turn. Kidman jumps him from behind and sends Psychosis into the
ropes for a very slow motion Tajiri handspring elbow minus the
handspring or the elbow. Instead he rolled and hit the middle rope
and didn’t do any elbowing but it’s the best I’ve got. Psychosis
goes up top but gets shoved to the floor for a big dive from Kidman.

Back
in and Kidman gets two off a sitout spinebuster before putting on a
chinlock with a knee in the back. Psychosis counters a powerbomb and
gets two off a clothesline but charges into an elbow in the corner.
Kidman is dropkicked into the ropes and Psychosis gets two off the
guillotine legdrop with Kidman still in the ropes. Psychosis gets
crotched on the top and superplexed down for no cover. Instead
here’s Sick Boy to miss a springboard dropkick and hit Kidman by
mistake, allowing Psychosis to hit the full guillotine legdrop for
the pin.
Rating:
C-. Psychosis getting a little
push is nice to see, but he was sloppy here. That’s odd to see as he
was usually one of the better fliers in the company. Kidman was
getting better every time he was out there but he still had a way to
go. Also it’s nice to see some continuing stories in the lower card
which is usually one random match after another. Decent stuff here
too.
Here’s
DDP to say he doesn’t want WCW’s help in getting the US Title back.
He talks about being trained by Jake Roberts and is sick of Raven’s
whining. Page is going to bang him soon.
British
Bulldog/Jim Neidhart vs. Curt Hennig/Bryan Adams
It’s
a brawl to start as Rude takes over on commentary from Marshall. We
start with Smith vs. Adams as Davey ducks a big boot and trips Adams
down for two. Off to Neidhart for some lame arm work and a slam
before Hennig comes in with some shots to the back. A big shoulder
runs Hennig over and it’s back to Davey who has to chase Hennig
around the ring, allowing Bryan to get in a cheap shot.
Adams
comes in legally and gets in some shots but Bulldog easily tags
Neidhart back in. This is really dull so far. Neidhart is sent into
the NWO corner and pounded down before walking into an Adams
piledriver for two. A double clothesline gets two on Jim but he gets
to his corner for the tag to Bulldog who cleans part of a house.
Everything breaks down and they all go to the floor, brawling until
the match juts ends in I think a double DQ.
Rating:
D-. I know I said Benoit seemed
to have no direction but it’s even truer with Bulldog and Smith.
They’ve been thrown out there and are kind of fighting on Bret’s
behalf against Hennig but they can’t be associated with him, meaning
they can’t talk about him. The matches are really dull too, making
these segments low points for the shows.
US
Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Saturn
The
war continues as Page still doesn’t have the belt itself. Saturn
jumps Page as he comes in but gets caught in a sunset flip for two.
A rollup gets the same for the champion but he walks into a t-bone
suplex for two. Saturn hooks an abdominal stretch to work on Page’s
bad ribs but Page quickly hip tosses out of it.
Now
Page puts on an abdominal stretch of his own but Saturn counters into
a northern lights suplex for two. We hit the chinlock as the
announcers talk about the NWO. Page fights up and hits a quick belly
to belly for two. Saturn hits a quick jawbreaker but gets crotched
on top. Cue Raven with the belt on the stage so Page catches a
diving Saturn in the Diamond Cutter and goes after Raven for the
countout.
Rating:
C+. The match didn’t last long
but the Diamond Cutter at the end looked great. Saturn is very well
rounded in the ring and there was a nice story going on with him
being able to counter everything Page had but DDP having one big move
to knock Saturn out. The lack of time hurt this one badly.
TV
Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T
Before
the bell, Booker asks Chavo why he’s giving up a title shot so
easily. Eddie answers for his nephew and says this is family
business. Booker says he’ll show Chavo how to deal with a bully but
Eddie has some brass knuckles on his hand. He lays out Booker as the
bell rings but only gets two. Chavo takes the knuckles off Eddie’s
hand and throws them to him, drawing a quick DQ.
Eddie
makes Chavo hit Booker with the knuckles and the stomping begins but
Benoit comes out for the save. Tag match coming up it seems.
Rick
Steiner vs. Scott Norton
A
Buff distraction lets Norton get in a cheap shot for early control.
Scott shoves him into the corner but walks into a belly to belly,
allowing Rick to go after the leg. Back up and Norton no sells an
elbow to the face before taking Steiner down. He stomps away but
Rick bites his leg, only earning himself more stomping. Buff gets in
some choking of his own but gets glared down by DiBiase.
Norton
ducks his head and gets kicked in the face, allowing Rick to hit
another belly to belly. A clothesline puts Norton on the floor but
here’s Scott Steiner with a dog collar. They screw up the ending as
Norton misses a shot with the collar and Rick picks it up. He swings
but stops halfway through, allowing Norton to try a belly to back
suplex. Now the collar to the head is enough to pin Norton.
Rating:
D. Another boring match but at
least Norton lost for a change. The ending here looked terrible as
the referee was obviously looking at what was going on in addition to
the bad timing of the collar shot. This was nothing to see, which is
a running theme on tonight’s show.
Lex
Luger/Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan/Kevin Nash
Nash
is in street clothes. Hogan and Sting get things going with the
champion knocking Hollywood down with ease. Sting shoves him down
and flexes a bit so Hogan takes the bandana off. The champion blocks
a ram into the buckle and pounds away in the corner. Off to Luger
who gets caught by a thumb to the eye, allowing for the tag to Nash.
Kevin runs Luger over and it’s back to Hogan for some choking. Hogan
holds Luger for Nash but Lex avoids the big boot which hits Hogan
instead. There’s the hot tag to Sting as everything breaks down.
Nash takes the Stinger Splash but Savage runs in for the DQ.
Rating:
D. Yep it was about three
minutes long and ended in a run-in. As usual, this was all about the
NWO with the world champion and Luger just filling in spots. Sting’s
momentum is completely gone just a few months after he was the
biggest star in WCW. But hey, at least we’re getting MORE Hogan
right?
Post
match Savage goes after Sting but Hogan goes after Savage for no
apparent reason. Nash pulls Hogan off of Savage so they have a
staredown but the rest of the NWO comes in for the big brawl. Sting
and Luger manage to fight them off with relative ease and Hogan
argues with Nash to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. There’s some decent
wrestling in there but most of the matches were too short to mean
anything. The main event sucked and was angle advancement, which is
ok some of the time but when that’s all the main events are anymore
it’s hard to care. Somehow this was a big improvement over last
week’s show. At least there was some star power this week.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 each at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – March 19, 1998

Thunder
Date: March 19, 1998
Location: Hullman
Center, Terra Haute, Indiana
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re back on dry land
for Thunder now and headed towards Spring Stampede. After both
Uncensored and Nitro two things are clear: the NWO is fighting and no
matter how sick of it we are, there’s no way we’re getting away from
it. Other than that there’s a lot of good stuff going on in the
midcard, but we have to get through all the NWO stuff to get there.
Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of
the end of Nitro.
The announcers talk for
a LONG time, as in like two minutes straight. The only thing to come
out of this is Sting vs. Savage for the title at Spring Stampede.
Cruiserweight Title:
Chris Jericho vs. Super Calo
Jericho says he loves
Terry Hutt Indiana. Calo jumps him from behind to start but Jericho
easily punches him down to get a breather. A clothesline puts
Jericho down for two and Calo hits an ax handle to the back to send
him to the floor. Jericho is back in a few seconds later and hits a
quick vertical suplex for two (arrogantly of course).
A slingshot splash gets
two more on Calo and a spinwheel kick in the corner has Calo in even
more trouble. We hit a quick chinlock but Super is quickly up and
knocking Jericho out to the floor. There’s a big suicide dive which
gets two back inside and a middle rope missile dropkick gets the same
for Calo. Jericho ducks under a cross body and it’s the Liontamer
for the submission.
Rating: D+.
Jericho is awesome at this point but he needs someone better than
Calo to get a good match. Calo was sluggish out there and didn’t
look to be all that interested in the match. Also Jericho didn’t
even steal that stupid hat from Calo for the trophy case so there
isn’t much good out of this.
Kendall Windham vs.
El Dandy
Seriously? Did the
booker owe these guys a favor or something? The match actually
starts during the break with Kendall pounding away. They head to the
outside with Kendall in control but the crowd is looking away.
Here’s Raven with the Flock and the US Title belt. Apparently he
stole it last night on MTV and we’ll get a clip showing what happened
later on. Dandy comes back with some cross bodies but gets
bulldogged down for the pin in a short match.
Hennig and Rude come
out to talk about Curt vs. Rick Steiner later tonight. Hogan has
sent them on a mission to destroy Bret Hart and you don’t see him
here anymore. The town is insulted and they talk about ruling
wrestling for fifteen years. Not much to say here.
Perry Saturn vs. La
Parka
La Parka comes out with
the chair and wearing something that looks like an apron. In a smart
move, Saturn clotheslines La Parka out of his boots during the dance
to take over. A suplex gets two for Saturn and it’s off to a
Fujiwara Armbar. Saturn fires off kicks in the corner but La Parka
comes back with a kind of bulldog for two. The Skeleton guy gets no
elevation on a leapfrog and nearly breaks Saturn’s neck in a cringe
inducing botch.
An enziguri staggers
Saturn and La Parka leverages him to the floor. Lodi goes to help
Saturn up but La Parka dives onto both of them. Back in and a
corkscrew dive takes Saturn down before the chair is brought in.
Saturn dropkicks La Parka in the back, sending him face first into
the chair. The Rings of Saturn go on and we’re done.
Rating: C-.
Saturn nearly being crippled aside this wasn’t much to see. As is
typically the case with WCW, they’re handed someone getting
themselves over like La Parka and they do nothing with it. Saturn
was his usual solid self here but it was just a step above a squash.
Lodi continues to have the most heat of the entire Flock.
We get a clip of Page’s
interview on MTV last night. Raven hijacks the feed on the monitor
they’re watching and wants to know why he isn’t champion. Page says
he banged him and gets some looks from the hosts. Raven’s video gets
some static and he thinks it’s a conspiracy. “The Foo Fighters
don’t get static!” He says he’s going to rip Page off and shows up
on set with a stop sign to knock Page out. The Even Flow puts Page
through a coffee table and Raven takes the belt.
Barry Darsow vs. Ray
Traylor
It’s like a nightmare
from WWF house shows past. Darsow hits a quick knee lift and falls
backwards from the impact before getting punched down by Traylor.
The slide under the rope into the uppercut puts Darsow down again but
he avoids a splash. Barry wraps the arm around the post and stomps
at the shoulder a bit. A belly to back suplex gets two but Darsow
can’t hook an arm hold called Barely Legal. Ray comes back with a
one armed slam and a Boss Man Slam for the pin.
Rating: D.
To recap, we’ve had to sit through Kendall Windham and Barry Darsow
matches tonight. I’m starting to understand the hatred for this show
that so many fans have. As for the match there wasn’t much here but
at least it was more competitive than I was expecting. Why they
needed Barry Darsow here instead of say Vincent is beyond me.
Roddy Piper will be on
Nitro to make a challenge. I think we have our topic for the rest of
the show.
Yuji Nagata vs.
Prince Iaukea
They trade arm holds to
start until Nagata grabs a headscissors. Nagata wins a chop off and
sends Prince to the apron, only to be caught by a springboard flip
attack. Yuji fires off some kicks before cranking on the arm. A
cross armbreaker has Prince in trouble but the announcers are still
wondering what Piper’s announcement will be. Tony thinks it might be
about the NWO. There’s a fresh idea.
Anyway Iaukea gets to
the ropes but a double chop brings him right back down to the mat.
Back to the arm followed by some lame ground and pound and more shots
into the bad arm from Nagata. Another Prince comeback is stopped by
a rake of the eyes and a great looking belly to back from Nagata.
Prince comes back again with a dropkick, drawing Sonny Onoo to the
apron. He accidentally kicks Yuji in the head, allowing Iaukea to
hook a northern lights suplex for the pin.
Rating: D+.
This was fine from a technical standpoint but could they have picked
two less interesting guys? It was generic Polynesian guy vs. generic
Japanese guy and it’s going to wind up being the longest match on the
show tonight (5:20). We’re five matches into this show and a La
Parka match is the only thing remotely decent. That can’t be a good
sign.
We get some clips from
Nash s. Giant on Sunday.
Brian Adams vs.
Marty Jannetty
This sounds like a
reject from a Survivor Series Showdown in 1990. Adams quickly blasts
him to the floor before throwing him back inside with ease. Marty
avoids a charge in the corner but is quickly caught in a bearhug for
a few moments. Jannetty keeps trying to run the ropes but gets
thrown around the ring with ease. A headbutt puts Marty down again
but rolls away from a knee drop. Jannetty makes a quick comeback
with an atomic drop and missile dropkick for two before hooking a
lame sleeper. Adams shrugs him off and hits a very bad looking
tilt-a-whirl powerslam for the pin.
Rating: D.
Dang those connections must be strong for Adams. The guy just isn’t
anything of note but he keeps getting TV time and wins like this one
here. Scott Norton may be pushed way too strong but he’s a lot less
generic than Adams. Nothing to see here as this show continues to
drag along.
Video of Sting’s
entrance from Nitro.
Eddie Guerrero vs.
Psychosis
Mike Tenay has replaced
Lee Marshall. Eddie grabs the arm to start and clotheslines him
down. Psychosis comes back with a quick snapmare as things speed up,
only to be stopped with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Guerrero.
Eddie is taken down by a quick armdrag as the pace picks up again.
Guerrero showboats too much though and gets dropkicked in the back,
setting up the guillotine legdrop in the ropes.
Instead of covering
though Psychosis kicks him to the floor and hits a Whisper in the
Wind off the top. Psychosis slingshots back in with an elbow drop
for two and a tilt-a-whirl slam looks to set up another Whisper but
Eddie sidesteps him. Eddie shoves Psychosis off the top and lays him
out with the frog splash for the pin.
Rating: C.
After the string of bad matches tonight I’d take anything decent
right now. These two were moving well out there and the high spots
looked good. Eddie continues to be one of the top guys who never
gets a title but that’s what you have to expect in WCW. Entertaining
little match here.
Raven vs. Brad
Armstrong
Raven
has the US Title here with him and Tony makes sure to tell us that he
is NOT the champion. Hammer and Reese come in before the bell and
beat Armstrong down which is legal anyway as it’s Raven’s Rules.
Raven says this is Armstrong’s second chance but Page doesn’t deserve
one. Last night on MTV it was Matthew
McConaughey, the Foo Fighters and Page. It should have been Raven as
the star of that show, so he crushed Page’s head with a stop sign.
Raven will grow stronger and Page will grow weaker. There’s the Even
Flow to Armstrong and a bell so I guess this was a match.
Video on Bret Hart.
Scott Norton vs.
Chris Benoit
Benoit fires off chops
in the corner to start but Norton takes him into the other corner
across the ring before clotheslining him down. Now it’s Norton with
chops of his own to knock Benoit off his feet. It’s time for the
generic power offense from Norton, such as forearms to the back, a
headbutt and more clotheslines. A hard clothesline puts Benoit down
and a powerslam gets two.
Norton hits something
resembling a Samoan drop for two more as this is one sided so far.
Back up and Benoit avoids a charge in the corner and takes Norton
down with a German suplex before going up top for the Swan Dive. He
hooks on the Crossface but Vincent gets on the apron, making Benoit
break the hold after a LONG time. The distraction lets Norton pop
up, not sell the hold at all, and lay out Benoit with the shoulder
breaker for the pin.
Rating: D.
SERIOUSLY? You take Benoit out of the hottest feud of the year so
you can have SCOTT NORTON squash him in five minutes? Norton was in
the Crossface for a good ten seconds and didn’t even have his arm
raised, then he gets to pin Benoit clean after his finisher? What in
the world does Norton have on the people that run this company? It
makes even less sense as Norton never went anywhere in WCW, so was
this match only there to bring Benoit down? It certainly seems that
way.
Goldberg vs. Wayne
Bloom
The place EXPLODES for
Goldberg and you can actually seem them all on their feet. For the
first time ever, we get a number for Goldberg’s wins. He’s 55-0
coming into this match which is higher than I expected. A full
nelson has Bloom in early trouble and there’s a pumphandle slam for
good measure. Bloom fires off some right hands but gets caught by
the spear. There’s the Jackhammer to make it 56-0. This is one of
Goldberg’s longer matches, going a full eighty seconds.
Saturn jumps the
railing but just stares at Goldberg.
Rick Steiner vs.
Curt Hennig
That’s not much of a
main event. Rick easily runs Hennig over and hiptosses him down,
sending Curt to the floor for a Rude conference. Rick will have none
of that and pulls Curt back in by the hair. A quick powerslam looks
to set up the Steiner Bulldog but Rude pulls Steiner’s leg and it’s
thrown out after less than a minute and a half.
Steiner fights them off
for as long as he can but the B-Tea comes in to help Curt and Rude.
Ray Traylor comes out and is beaten down as well until GOLDBERG makes
the save, blowing the roof off the place. A double spear takes out
Hennig and Adams and there’s one for Norton as well. Goldberg walks
out, leaving Steiner and Traylor to clean house. The announcers are
THRILLED to end the show.
Overall Rating: D.
This show SUCKED until the end with nothing to see and a lot of
stupid matches. The Norton vs. Benoit match continues to make me
shake my head but that’s life in WCW. Goldberg coming in was a
breath of fresh air for this show and the crowd went nuts for him.
Good ending to a horrible show.

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Thunder – March 12, 1998

Thunder
Date:
March 12, 1998
Location:
Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the final show before Uncensored and we’re limping into the pay per
view. The show on Monday did very little to make me want to see
Sunday’s show but hopefully tonight can pick things up a bit. I
don’t remember anything being announced for tonight on Monday but I’m
guessing it’ll focus on Hogan vs. Savage. Let’s get to it.

Here’s
Giant to open the show. He wants Hogan and Nash but he wants to
fight the entire NWO on his own tonight. Instead he gets Savage and
Liz with Randy saying he likes the idea of Giant taking out Nash
because it leaves Hogan all alone. Once Hogan is done, Savage wants
his chance at the title. Cue Sting to say he’s the champion and
he’ll defend the title tonight if Savage wants the shot. You know
Macho isn’t turning that chance down.
Brad
Armstrong vs. Raven
Raven
offers to let Armstrong get out of the match before the beating
begins. In 1980, Armstrong was rookie of the year and in 1981 he was
half of the world tag team champions. Since then his career has
fallen apart due to the Armstrong Curse. Raven understands
Armstrong’s admiration for his father but thinks the bookers (his
word) were jealous of Bob and are taking it out on Brad. He feels
Brad’s pain and lays him out with the DDT. There’s the bell, Raven
covers him for the pin and we’re done in about four seconds.
Here’s
Chris Jericho with something to say. He’s on such a roll as of late
and is feeling so good that he’s going to give Malenko a title shot
tonight instead of waiting for Sunday. Jericho brags about his
trophies such as Mysterio’s mask and his trophy tonight will be
beating Dean with the Cloverleaf, which will then be named the
Jericholeaf. Also, he knows 1004 holds. Oh it’s coming.
Jim
Duggan vs. Kendall Windham
Duggan
wins a quick slugout and scores with an atomic drop before they head
outside. Kendall sends him into the post and barricade before
heading back inside for a boot to the head. They slug it out again
with Kendall slamming him down and putting on a chinlock, because
THIS MATCH needs to keep going. Duggan fights up but walks into a
clothesline, only to come back with a slam and the three point
clothesline for the win. You know, for all those die hard Jim Duggan
fans in 1998.
Scott
Steiner vs. Johnny Grunge
Grunge
brings a table but gets suckered into a right hand during a
handshake. Johnny comes back with a hiptoss but walks into a belly
to back suplex. Scott puts him in the Tree of Woe and pulls on the
throat before going after the back. A bearhug makes Grunge scream
but Johnny bites his way out of it.
Scott
easily clotheslines him back down but runs into an elbow in the
corner. Grunge gets a surprisingly close two off a neckbreaker but
stops to look at his table from the apron. Johnny comes back by
ramming Scott’s head into the buckle a few times but gets crotched
coming back in. Scott knocks him through the table and puts the
unconscious body in the Recliner for the win.
Rating:
D. This wasn’t very good as you
would expect. Steiner’s push as a heel continues to suck without the
NWO there to make people care about him. It’s not helping him that
Johnny Grunge is getting in offense on him and it takes a cheap shot
for Scott to get the win. Another bad match here as Thunder devolves
before my eyes.
Eddie
Guerrero comes out and says he’ll win the TV Title on Sunday.
However he’d rather talk about his nephew Chavo disgracing the
Guerrero name. This brings out Chavo who wants to know why Eddie is
on him all the time. Didn’t he just explain that? Anyway Chavo
wants a match and Eddie agrees, but if Eddie wins then Chavo has to
start listening to him. That’s fine, but if Chavo wins then Eddie
has to start honoring the Guerrero name. The match is right now.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo
hits a quick clothesline to start and backdrops Eddie down. They’re
moving very fast out there with Eddie taking over via some uppercuts
before throwing Chavo to the apron. Chavo hangs on and Eddie charges
into a headscissors to take him outside. A BIG plancha takes Eddie
down and the fans love it. Back in and Chavo goes up top, only to be
crotched on the ropes. Eddie loads up a superplex but Chavo counters
into a tornado DDT for two. Uncle Eddie gets his foot on the ropes
at two and stops Chavo with a low blow. The brainbuster sets up the
frog splash for the pin. Too short to rate but this was good stuff.
Here
are Bischoff and Hall to introduce Hogan. Bischoff is WAY too
excited over Hogan’s arms. He calls the Giant the highest level of
dumb: mega dumb. Hogan likes the idea of Giant vs. the entire NWO
and they’re all wanting a piece of the big man. Hall, looking “under
the weather” here, says Sting will have his hands full on Sunday
and he’ll be watching the title match tonight. Hogan says the NWO
will win tonight and on Sunday. No one had much to say here.
Konnan
vs. Lizmark Jr.
Lizmark
spins out of a quick snapmare attempt and they hit the mat for some
technical stuff. Konnan gets bored and forearms Lizmark in the face
before pulling on his pants a lot. Lizmark comes back with a shot to
the ribs and a quick missile dropkick for a botched (Lizmark pulled
up before Konnan kicked out or even moved at all) cover. Now the
camera goes wide for some reason. It wasn’t that bad of a botch.
Konnan rams him into the corner and gets a quick German suplex for
two before finishing him with the 187 and the Tequila Sunrise.
Another short match.
Post
match Konnan goes for the mask but Juventud comes out for the save
and takes the beating himself.
Here
are Hennig and Rude with something to say. Rude talks about
collecting a bounty from some people in Connecticut for taking out
Bret Hart but now he’ll do it for free. Hennig admits that Bret is
good, but there’s a big difference between good and great. Rude says
they’ll make Bret sweat on Sunday.
Perry
Saturn vs. Disco Inferno
Good
night how many times did these two fight? Saturn takes him into the
corner and hits some hard right hands to take over. A dropkick sends
Disco to the outside but he decks Lodi instead of getting back
inside. Back in and Inferno gets two on a sunset flip but gets
thrown down with a pumphandle suplex.
A
Falcon’s Arrow puts Disco down but Saturn jumps into a boot to the
face for two. Another boot to the face with feet on the ropes gets
two more but Saturn takes him down with a superkick. Disco reverses
a whip into the corner into a spinebuster followed by a swinging
neckbreaker for two. Not that it matters though as a head and arms
suplex sets up the Rings of Saturn for the submission.
Rating:
C. These two are at the point
where they can have a decent match by familiarity alone. Disco
didn’t look as good as he had recently but his hot streak couldn’t
last forever. Saturn continues to be his odd but still great self.
He’s another guy that had potential but was wasted once he got hot.
The
Giant vs. NWO
It’s
Hogan, Adams, Hennig, Hall, Norton, Konnan, Vincent and Steiner.
Hall starts by throwing the toothpick and gets a headbutt and gorilla
press slam as a result. Hennig comes in and tries to stick and move
but gets thrown to the floor. Konnan comes in and gets powerbombed,
meaning Giant is arrested to end the match. Nothing to see here.
Nash
pops up as Giant is being led away. He throws coffee on Giant,
causing the bigger man to break the chains and chase Nah off.
Cruiserweight
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho
is in the Juvy mask and jumps Dean before the bell. He pounds on
Dean in the corner and hits a delayed vertical for the arrogant cover
minus the COME ON BABY! Dean comes back with some right hands and a
leg lariat for two. A belly to back suplex sets up the Texas
Cloverleaf for the submission in less than three minutes.
Dean
keeps pounding away and takes off the mask….and it’s Lenny Lane.
Jericho comes in from behind and hits Dean with the belt before
knocking out Lane as well. Malenko is put in the Liontamer for good
measure.
Lex
Luger vs. Scott Norton
Norton
gets in a cheap shot on the way in and knocks Luger to the floor.
Luger is sent into the barricade and the side of the ring before
Norton takes him back inside for a flying shoulder block. A
clothesline puts Luger down for two but here’s the comeback with the
forearms and atomic drops. He loads up the Rack but Scott Steiner
comes in for the fast DQ.
Rick
Steiner makes the save and the WCW guys stand tall.
WCW
World Title: Sting vs. Randy Savage
Savage
jumps him to start and they slug it out with Sting still in the
trench coat. Sting hits a quick atomic drop and drops Savage across
the top rope. There’s the Scorpion but Hall comes in for the quick
DQ.
Hogan
comes in as well but leaves a few seconds later to bring in the
troops. The good guys fight off the goons and Sting calls for
something. A cable comes down from the ceiling and they hook up to
fly into the rafters to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. This was hit and
miss all night long. The main matches combining to be about five
minutes long didn’t help but we covered a lot of stuff for Sunday.
It still comes off as a total filler pay per view but after all the
big shows we’ve had lately they have to take a breather at some
point. The NWO stuff was really dull though as it was like a teaser
trailer instead of a full on preview for you movie people out there.
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Thunder – March 5, 1998

Thunder
Date:
March 5, 1998
Location: Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, Ohio
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
WCW
is in an interesting little groove right now as they’re not taking
their shows seriously at all other than the main event and it’s
making things much easier to get through. We’re ten days from
Uncensored and the show is shaping up pretty well which means the TV
has been good lately. Tonight’s main event is Page defending the US
Title against Raven, assuming we don’t get more NWO drama instead.
Let’s get to it.

We
open with a video of Randy Savage receiving the Harvard Lampoon’s Man
of the Year award. It’s used as a promo for Hogan vs. Savage.
Here’s
a lot of the NWO led by Hogan and Bischoff to get us going. Bischoff
talks about how Savage doesn’t deserve the award because he isn’t a
real man. A real man wouldn’t walk in Hollywood Hogan’s shadows all
these years and Savage is the second most delusional man in the
world. Hogan talks about having the NWO watching his back and taking
care of Savage and Sting on Monday. Savage winning Man of the Year
is a joke and if you want to know how much of a man Hollywood is,
just look at Liz’s skinny legs. Uh….sure.
Anyway
Hogan is going to need another opponent after the beating he gave
Savage on Monday and if Savage is here tonight Hogan will beat him up
again tonight. Brian Adams says everyone knows Hollywood is the real
icon and Savage is scared of him. It would be an honor for Adams to
take Hogan’s place against Savage tonight if he actually shows up.
Hollywood is all cool with that and that’s that.
Bill
Goldberg vs. Vincent
Heenan
has assigned Tenay to find out how many matches Goldberg has won in a
row. The spear and Jackhammer end this before I can finish typing
that sentence.
We
look at This Week in WCW Motorsports. I’ll leave you to figure out
how pointless this is.
Prince
Iaukea vs. Eddie Guerrero
Feeling
out process to start with Prince snapmaring Eddie down, causing
Guerrero to complain of a hair pull. Eddie tries to drop down but
gets a headbutt in the back to send him to the floor. A dive over
the top rope takes Eddie out but back inside, Prince has to put his
springboard on hold because Eddie pulls the referee in his path.
Eddie goes after the knee to take over and puts on a spinning toe
hold. Iaukea rolls him up for a quick two and gets the same off a
superkick. He loads up another springboard but Eddie dropkicks his
leg out and the frog splash is good for the pin.
Rating:
C. This was by far the most
entertaining Prince Iaukea match I can remember seeing. Based on his
track record though, I’m going to give Eddie about 97% of the credit
for the match succeeding. This was an easy win for Guerrero to set
up Guerrero’s title shot at the PPV and little more.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. El Dandy
Dandy
throws him down by the hair to start and fires off some kicks to the
chest. The Flock arrives late as always. A pair of headscissors
puts Dandy down and Juvy pounds away in the corner. Dandy is sent to
the floor for a BIG Air Juvy dive to fire up the crowd. Guerrera
can’t suplex him back in though and gets caught by a belly to back
for two. Juvy comes right back with a quick DDT and counters what
looked like a powerbomb attempt into a rollup. They speed things up
a bit with some near falls each but Dandy goes up top, only to get
slammed face first onto the mat. The 450 finishes this a few seconds
later.
Rating:
D+. Not bad here but Dandy
never was anything more than a Bret Hart punchline. Juvy is gearing
up for his showdown against Konnan which should be entertaining if
they wrestle the kind of match they’re capable of having. The Air
Juvy dive looked great here but there wasn’t much else to talk about.
Post
match Konnan comes out to ramble on in broken Spanish and says Juvy
has lost his identity. Juvy says he never surrenders, other than
when he surrendered away his mask.
Here’s
Randy Savage with something to say. He wants Hogan and Adams out
here right now and gets his wish plus a bonus Easy E. Savage says
the rest of the NWO wants to stab Hogan in the back the first chance
they get. The NWO’s main goal is to get rid of Hogan because he’s
like a horse with a broken leg. At Uncensored, Savage is going to
send Hogan to the glue factory. Brian Adams is betting his career on
Hulk Hogan, so Savage will raise the bet: after Savage takes care of
Brian he wants Hogan TONIGHT. Hogan says Savage should be a comedian
and he’ll be in Adams’ corner tonight.
Video
on Steiner vs. Luger for Uncensored.
Chase
Tatum vs. Scott Steiner
Chase
is well built but you know what’s coming here: suplex, forearms to
the back, whip into the steps, more pounding in the corner, butterfly
powerbomb and the Recliner for the submission. Total squash.
Video
on Nash vs. Giant including Giant’s powerbomb from Monday.
Curt
Hennig vs. Jim Neidhart
You
can see the dilemma of Neidhart at this point: he’s being used to put
over the Bret vs. Hennig feud but that legal stipulation kept
Neidhart and Bret from associating on TV. Hennig stalls on the apron
to start, gets shoved into the corner, and stalls yet again. Back in
and Neidhart runs him over before putting on a headlock.
Lee
Marshall buries the Hart vs. Hennig feud, saying they sound like a
couple of three year olds fighting on a playground. Curt bails to
the floor for a chat with Rude before Neidhart pounds him down and
puts on a chinlock. With Curt distracting the referee, Rude pulls
out a 2×4 from under the ring and knocks Neidhart silly with it,
setting up the HennigPlex for the pin.
Rating:
F. So we have Marshall burying
the feud, a stupid ending, and about a minute of “action” in a
three and a half minute match. This was a disaster in just a few
short minutes which is quite impressive. I’m guessing Curt was,
ahem, under the weather for this one as he barely did anything at
all.
Bulldog
runs out for the save.
Raven
comes to the ring to talk about labyrinths and corridors. He helped
DDP back in the day but Page never thanked him. Raven spent three
years in Barbed Wire City and was so scarred he no longer feels the
pain. Tonight is Page’s Waterloo and when Raven wins the title, he
isn’t defending it at Uncensored. The challengers will have to wait
until his pain is gone.
Jericho
talks about being loved by the fans and how they should put him on a
pedestal for everything he’s done for them. He’s nailing this
character to perfection.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Ciclope
Before
the match, Jericho tells us all to Wang Chung tonight. Also he’s
been counting and knows 1004 holds, meaning he’s better than Malenko.
More on that in a few days. Jericho takes him into the corner to
start and grabs the arm but Ciclope trips his leg. A kick to the
ribs sets up a brainbuster from Ciclope and Jericho is sent to the
floor. Ciclope tries a dive but Jericho casually sidesteps him and
stomps away. Back in and Jericho counters a quick victory roll into
the Liontamer for the submission. Not much to see here.
Jericho
won’t let go of the hold until Malenko comes out for the save and
puts Chris in the Cloverleaf.
Scott
Norton vs. Renegade
I’ve
sat through El Dandy and Prince Iaukea tonight and this is my reward.
Norton shoves him into the corner and hits a LONG string of knees
and forearms. As in he goes on for well over a minute doing nothing
more than those two moves. Presumably out of boredom, here’s Giant
to lay out both guys. Norton gets a Jackknife and Renegade is
chokeslammed to the amusement of the crowd.
Giant
is handcuffed but the cuffs don’t fit. Instead Doug Dillinger puts
chains around Giant’s wrists.
US
Title: Raven vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Raven
insists on No DQ, which I thought was always the case for him. Page
wants no referee, which is a great way to guarantee you keep the
belt. He knocks Raven to the floor and hits a big plancha before
sending Raven into the barricade. Raven comes back with a whip of
his own and they head up to the stage. Benoit comes out and jumps
both guys to make it a threeway fight. They fight in the aisle and
then inside the ring with Benoit missing the Swan Dive on Raven. The
7’2 Reese debuts to distract Page and the Flock comes in for the
double beatdown. Both guys get DDTs onto a piece of guardrail to end
this non-match.
Randy
Savage vs. Brian Adams
Hogan
comes out with Adams so we’re guaranteed a run-in palooza to end the
show. Before the match, Savage says it’s true that Liz managed the
both of them, but Liz says Savage is clearly the real man between the
two of them. Adams has to hold Hogan back but Savage says if Hogan
wants to know who the real man is, ask Hogan’s wife. It’s a big
brawl to start with Savage having to fight both guys.
Lee
Marshall continues his brilliant commentary with this gem: “We’re
going to find out who is the kahuna and who is the kahu-not.”
Savage whips Hogan with the belt and gets in a shot on Adams as well.
They head back in and Liz gets in a cheap shot on Adams. Savage
saves her from Hogan but Disciple comes in for the DQ. This was a
match?
The
NWO destroys Savage and Sting makes the save to end the show (no belt
of course).
Overall
Rating:
D. This didn’t do it
for me. The matches were all either really short, really bad or not
matches at all. Savage had some good lines, but the focus being
entirely on Hogan vs. Savage and the NWO split is getting really
tiresome. The world title was mentioned in a single throwaway line
which led to another Hogan discussion. Also, did WCW really think we
would care about Brian Adams this much? This was a bad show and one
of the worst in the series so far.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – February 26, 1998

Thunder
Date:
February 26, 1998
Location:
Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
After
a weak Nitro we’re here in Iowa to hopefully get things back on the
right track. Sting is the world champion again but Hogan and the NWO
destroyed him on Monday like he was any other guy. WCW is finally
starting to unite against the NWO though with Flair, Hart, Luger,
Sting and maybe even Savage coming together to fight back. Let’s get
to it.
Dean
Malenko/Booker T. vs. Chris Jericho/Eddie Guerrero
The
fans immediately go off on Guerrero and it’s Booker elbowing Jericho
down to start. A spinebuster puts him down again and we take an
early break. Back with Guerrero missing the slingshot hilo and being
backdropped out to the floor. Tony tells us that these four will be
in singles title matches at the PPV with Dean challenging Jericho and
Eddie challenging Booker. Jericho pulls Dean to the floor for a snap
suplex and now the fans are all over the Canadian.
Eddie
and Chris hit a double shoulder for two on Malenko as this crowd is
very hot. Tony tells us that the over the top DQ rule has been
abolished. I never liked that rule so good for it being gone.
Jericho hooks an abdominal stretch but Dean quickly hiptosses out of
it. Malenko goes for the tag but Eddie dropkicks him into a
Liontamer attempt to break it up. Dean kicks Chris away and makes
the hot tag so Booker can clean house.
Guerrero
slows him down with a dropkick but Booker hits the side kick for two.
Everything breaks down and Booker hits the ax kick on Eddie but
Jericho makes the save. Eddie hits a brainbuster on Booker, waits
for Dean to have Jericho in the Cloverleaf, and hits the frog splash
on Booker for the pin.
Rating:
C+. This wasn’t quite up to the
level of the matches with Benoit instead of Booker but it was fine.
The thing I want to focus on is Eddie waiting those few seconds to
hit the frog splash. If he had done it immediately it would have
looked stupid that Dean wouldn’t break up the hold. By waiting for
Malenko to put on the Cloverleaf and turn his back to the cover,
Eddie made the whole sequence much more realistic. I love little
things like that.
Tenay
brings out DDP for a chat. Page praises Benoit for giving him the
best match of his career and says they respect each other. They also
agree that Raven is a piece of garbage, which brings out Raven and
the Flock. Raven wants his US Title shot and Page says anytime, so
Raven picks next week.
Brad
Armstrong vs. Fit Finlay
Finlay
quickly takes him to the mat to work on the ankle for a bit. Back up
and Brad grabs Finlay’s leg, only to get caught by an enziguri.
After doing nothing of note on the floor we head back inside for a
beating from Finlay with uppercuts and right hands. Armstrong grabs
an arm but Finlay whips him into the corner for an easy escape.
Finlay looks like he’s toying with Brad here. Finlay charges into a
boot in the corner and gets caught by a middle rope crossbody for
two. Brad gets two more off a belly to back suplex but Finlay gets
bored of being beaten on and tombstones him for the pin.
Rating:
D+. This was an odd pairing but
they would actually five three times on this show before the end of
the summer. I don’t know where they’re going with this Armstrong
Curse idea but I’m surprised they’re giving Brad Armstrong of all
people a continued story like this. It’s not a major story but
Armstrong is one of the last people you would expect to get a story
at all.
Davey
Boy Smith vs. Dave Taylor
Bulldog
hits a quick shoulder and a clothesline to send Taylor out to the
floor. Back in and the crowd is already booing Taylor despite
Bulldog not being the nicest guy in the world in his WCW run. Tony
tells us (he’s a chatterbox tonight) that Mongo will be out for a few
weeks because of his broken arm. A suplex gets two on Smith but he
pops up, hits the real vertical suplex and powerslams Taylor down for
the pin.
Tenay
brings out Hennig to talk about his match with Bret at Uncensored.
Mike talks about Bret turning the NWO down, which Hennig says makes
Bret stupid. Hennig is the man Hogan picked to deal with Bret and
actually uses the my dad beat up his dad line. He’s got Neidhart
tonight but isn’t worried at all. I can’t say I blame him on that.
Goldberg
vs. Rick Fuller
Fuller
is a big guy with a decent look. The NWO music comes on for a few
seconds during Fuller’s entrance in a production error. The place
goes NUTS for Goldberg who is definitely a big deal now. Heenan
wants to know how many matches Goldberg has won in a row. Tony: “All
of them.” Goldberg takes him to the mat with ease and no sells a
big boot before hitting the two moves for the pin. This was about a
minute long.
The
Flock comes to ringside.
Yuji
Nagata vs. La Parka
Parka
swings the chair and does the Karate Kid crane kick to start. Nagata
will have none of this foolishness and kicks Parka in the leg and
side to take over. A sidekick puts La Parka down but he kicks Nagata
in the back of the head to stagger him. Nagata is out in the Tree of
Woe for a running spin kick to send him to the floor.
The
masked man brings the chair into the ring as a launchpad to jump to
the top rope and dive down onto Nagata in a nice move. Yuji is sent
into the chair (no DQ on that for some reason) and then back inside
for a corkscrew dive from the top. Cue Disco Inferno to give Sonny
Onoo the Chartbuster for no apparent reason, allowing Yuji to kick
the chair into La Parka’s face and get the win via the Nagata Lock.
Rating:
C-. It wasn’t dull but I’m not
sure what was going on here. Wasn’t Disco fighting with La Parka as
recently as the last PPV? The match was one of Nagata’s more
interesting ones but that might have been due to La Parka showing off
a lot. Also it would have been better for Nagata to pin him off the
chair kick instead of a leg lock which hadn’t been set up at all but
that’s nitpicking.
Hall
comes out for the survey with the boys in black taking another one.
He gets his shot at Sting in two weeks and is clearly the favorite.
He’s been in the ring every night for two years and all Sting has is
a cool entrance. Sting has to prove how good he is at Uncensored so
bring it on. Nice and simple promo to build up the title match.
Buff
Bagwell does Scott Steiner’s entrance ala Michael Buffer. Scott is
now known as White Thunder which never got over as a nickname. Scott
talks about having breakfast with Luger, Sting and Rick on Sunday
morning but the next night Luger was challenging him to a fight.
Steiner accepts but doesn’t get why Luger thinks he’s the Total
Package. Luger went to college and is an educated man, but he didn’t
go to Michigan. Michigan wanted Scott Steiner because he’s a better
athlete, so Scott sings part of Michigan’s fight song. And they
wonder why it took so long for him to get over.
Scott
Steiner vs. Marty Jannetty
Steiner
destroys him as Tony talks about Sting/Savage vs. Hogan/Hall on
Monday. The announcers think it’s a trap and Sting would have to be
crazy to agree to that match. Well Sting may be the dumbest man in
the history of wrestling so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s being
trapped. The match is a total squash with Scott hitting a gorilla
press, belly to belly and the top rope Frankensteiner for the pin in
about 90 seconds.
Curt
Hennig vs. Jim Neidhart
Neidhart
easily shoves him across the ring and Hennig bails to the floor.
He’s pulled back in by the hair (“OWWWWWWW!”) as Scott Steiner
comes in to the announcers’ desk. He says the door is still open for
Rick to join the team and it’s the best decision he’ll ever make.
Neidhart puts on a bearhug but here are Vincent and Adams for the DQ.
Davey
Boy makes the save for his brother in law.
Raven
vs. Kevin Nash
Now
that’s an interesting pairing. Before the match, Raven says this is
going to be a battle royal with the rest of the Flock being the other
participants. Raven sits down in the corner as the Flock charges at
Nash (one at a time of course) and is easily elimination. Nash
powerbombs Lodi twice to a big pop, sending Nash to prison and
costing him $100,000. Raven wins by default.
US
Title: Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Page
is defending. They trade wristlocks to start with Page taking him
down in an armbar. Benoit reverses into a chinlock as we hear what
sounds like a canned DDP chant. Page rolls out of the chinlock into
a stalemate which turns into a fight. They lock up and fall out to
the floor before going into the crowd. Page hits a hard right hand
to knock Benoit back to ringside and gets two off a swinging
neckbreaker.
Benoit
goes after the big bandages on the ribs with a kick to the stomach
and a front suplex onto the ropes to put Page down. Page is whipped
hard into the corner and Benoit grabs him for a northern lights
suplex but just drops him on the ribs for two. Benoit stomps him
down in the corner but Page comes back with right hands. We’re on a
wide shot now as it appears Page is busted open. Raven comes in for
the DQ a few seconds later.
Rating:
C. This didn’t have the time to
go anywhere but it set up the main event next week a bit better.
Three way feuds like this are almost always interesting because there
are so many different ways they can go. Benoit is getting a solid
rub out of this as he can hang with higher level talent, but a title
win would be nice.
Benoit
and Raven fight to the floor and Page dives on them to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C+. This was a really
light show and I mean that in a good way. We got some good wrestling
and angle advancement but there wasn’t any heavy lifting to make the
show hard to sit through. That’s a really nice thing to have as an
alternative to the story heavy Nitro. Uncensored is looking good
other than the main event, which could sum up almost any WCW PPV from
this era.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – February 19, 1998

Thunder
Date: February 19, 1998
Location:
Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Lee
Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the go home show
for SuperBrawl and things are really taking shape around here. We
have the NWO falling apart and Sting vs. Hogan on a collision course
for the world title. The midcard is on fire as well with a three way
feud for the TV Title between Martel, Saturn and Booker T and Page
and Benoit feuding with each other over the US Title as well as with
Raven and the Flock. Let’s get to it.

We open with a clip of
the end of Nitro with WCW clearing the ring of the NWO.
Sting vs. Savage is the
main event.
Earlier today we were
about to hear from Chris Jericho but instead the NWO runs by and
jumps Savage who was talking to Luger. Don’t they hate each other?
Both guys are beaten down and Randy is dragged away while Luger is
left on the curb.
Goldberg vs. Fit
Finley
The announcers think
Savage isn’t into the NWO at the moment. You can’t buy crack
reporting like that. Finley jumps him with that metal shoulder pad
of his but Goldberg kicks him in the chest and hits a gorilla press
slam like Finley isn’t even there. The rolling leg lock takes Finley
down again and the Irishman backs into the corner. Goldberg easily
breaks a sleeper with something resembling a snapmare and it’s the
spear and Jackhammer for another win. He has to be pushing 40 now.
Psychosis vs. Chavo
Guerrero Jr.
Feeling out process to
start as the announcers talk about the Savage/Luger segment. Chavo
hits a flying forearm to take over and avoids a hard charge, sending
Psychosis into the post and out to the floor. Guerrero hits a big
flip dive over the top to take him out again and pop the crowd.
Back in and Psychosis
takes Chavo’s head off with a lariat before dropkicking Chavo to the
floor. Psychosis dives into a dropkick to the chest and Chavo starts
his comeback with chops and a springboard bulldog for two. A missile
dropkick to the back puts Psychosis down but Guerrero charges into a
knee, setting up the guillotine legdrop for the pin.
Rating: C-.
Pretty basic cruiserweight match here with both guys looking fine.
Psychosis wasn’t a guy who got the spotlight all that often but he
could shine rather well when he had the chance. Chavo was rising up
the card but was still several months away from reaching his
potential. This was fine for a quick match.
Here are Hogan and
Bischoff with something to say. Hogan says that Savage has seen the
NWO light and is for life again, everything is cool once again. He
just hopes that Savage doesn’t destroy Sting tonight because he wants
a little piece of Sting at SuperBrawl. There won’t be any
controversy on Sunday because Hogan will defeat Sting once and for
all. He still wants Nick Patrick to be the referee and prays to God
that it will happen.
Riggs vs. Booker T
Booker is debuting a
new move tonight called the 110th Street Slam. That’s
likely the only good reporting Lee Marshall will do tonight. Riggs
jumps Booker which is Tony’s cue to talk about Savage and Luger some
more. Booker kicks Riggs in the face and hits a big spinebuster for
no cover.
They head to the floor
where Riggs is sent into the barricade and Lodi gets dropped with a
clothesline. The distraction lets Riggs hit a plancha to take T out
and we head back inside. A running knee to the chest takes Booker
down again but Riggs misses a middle rope elbow. Booker hits his
kicks….and gets the win with an ax kick, thereby making Marshall
look like an idiot again.
Rating: D+.
Not much to see here but it keeps Booker looking strong going into
the title match on Sunday. Booker looks so smooth in the ring and is
getting better every time he’s out there. Riggs wasn’t much to see
but he was far better in this role than he was as the American Male.
Mike Teny tries to talk
to Luger as his ribs are being taped but Mike gets run off. Tony and
Heenan think Luger is hiding something.
Kidman vs. Juventud
Guerrera
These two had a great
match a few weeks ago so there’s good potential here. Kidman charges
into two boots in the corner and Juvy hooks a headscissors to take
over. Guerrera hits a top rope hurricanrana for two but his victory
roll is countered into a wheelbarrow suplex to change control.
Heenan wants Juvy to lose his mask on Sunday to see his ugly mug.
Heenan the insensitive jerk is always great stuff. Juvy sends him to
the floor but Lodi breaks up a dive attempt, only to be taken out by
a missed Kidman dive. Guerrera escapes a German suplex and hits the
Juvy Driver followed by the 450 for the pin.
Rating: C+.
This was the cruiserweight version of Booker T vs. Riggs with the
Flock member being the jobber in both instances. Juvy was one of the
better cruiserweights around and Kidman was no slouch either so this
was quite an action packed three minute match. The 450 was a great
finisher with the high impact and the fans always went nuts for it.
Post match Jericho
comes in to beat up Juvy and actually gets the mask off…..revealing
another mask underneath. Smart man that Guerrera, who comes back
with a missile dropkick to send Jericho running.
WCW/NASCAR stuff.
Outsiders vs. Mike
Enos/Wayne Bloom
WCW wins the survey in
a landslide. Nash says Giant needs to be at the PPV and does a shout
out to Syxx about being some rubber thing. Hall pounds on Enos to
start and hits a quick chokeslam to work in his Giant pose. Enos
comes back with a powerslam for two and it’s off to Bloom but Nash
gets in a cheap shot to take over. Nash comes in and destroys Wayne,
decks the referee and powerbombs Bloom for a $50,000 fine and a DQ
loss.
Nash is arrested again.
We see the Bret Hart
attack from Nitro.
Here are Hennig, Brian
Adams and Rick Rude with something to say. Rude makes fun of Bret’s
catchphrase and says Hennig proved that wrong on Nitro. Hart is a
quitter and Hennig is the best, but here are Neidhart and Bulldog to
argue. Anvil yells a lot and we get a bell.
Jim Neidhart/British
Bulldog vs. Curt Hennig/Brian Adams
This is a wild brawl
and has no semblance of rules at all. Rude interferes early to give
the NWO the advantage but Bulldog hits an atomic drop to send Hennig
into the corner. Adams clotheslines Smith to the floor where Rude
can send him into the steps. Anvil gets double teamed for a few
moments and Rude throws in some choking as the referee throws the
match out. It was entertaining while it lasted.
Back from a break and
the fight is just now being broken up.
The Steiners say
they’ll keep the titles on Sunday. Heenan yells at Tenay for
interviewing them instead of finding out what’s going on with Savage
and Luger.
Super Calo vs. La
Parka
They shove each other
around to start until Calo hits a quick backbreaker and a slam to
send La Parka into the corner. La Parka misses a charge into the
other corner but comes back with a clothesline to take over. Calo is
put in the Tree of Woe for a spin kick to the chest but eventually
gets a boot up to stop a charging skeleton man. Calo lifts him into
a powerbomb position but sits him on the top for the ankle scissors
back to the mat. La Parka rolls to the floor and gets caught by a
dive as Disco Inferno comes out. He crotches Calo for no apparent
reason before running across the ring. La Parka hits a corkscrew
splash for the pin.
Rating: D.
The ending was a mess and I have no idea why Disco was running across
the ring after the interference or why he helped Calo. Either it was
botched or it’s going to be explained later, but everyone seemed a
bit confused and the match ended abruptly. Again, at least the crowd
favorite is getting some featured time.
Cruiserweight Title:
Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko
Jericho quotes Cheap
Trick before the match (“I want you to want me”) before talking
about how ugly Juventud Guerrera is, claiming he looks like
Quasimodo. He might even let Juvy keep the mask after the match to
save us from his ugliness. The champion refuses to take the belt off
so Malenko attacks him in the corner. He whips Jericho across the
ring and stomps away in the corner with the belt falling off in the
process. A Jericho monkey flip is blocked and Dean goes to town on
him even more with Jericho barely covering up.
Dean tries a suplex but
gets countered into a reverse suplex followed by a regular suplex for
two. After a quick chinlock, Jericho clotheslines Dean down for the
arrogant cover. The fans get on Jericho and he’s nearly hopping mad
in shock. Jericho fires off chops in the corner and hooks a
backbreaker, bending Dean’s back over his knee for a few seconds.
The Lionsault misses and Dean sends him out to the floor.
Back in and Malenko
fires off forearms to the head before going for the Cloverleaf but
Jericho is right next to the ropes. A rollup gets two for Dean and
he loads up the tiger bomb, only to have Jericho backdrop him out.
The Liontamer goes on and Malenko taps out in a completely clean
submission.
Rating: C+.
This was your usual good match between these two and it was
interesting to see Jericho get the clean win. The overall story is
rather interesting as Malenko would seem to be the big fish for
Jericho but the PPV match is against Juventud Guerrera instead of
Dean. Still though, nice match here as you would expect from these
two.
Chris Benoit/Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Perry Saturn/Raven
Raven starts with Page
but it’s off to Saturn before any contact is made. Page takes him
down with a quick belly to belly as everything breaks down with
Benoit and Page clearing the ring. We settle down with Benoit
clotheslining Raven down but walking into a superkick from Saturn as
we take a break. Back with Saturn ramming forearms into Benoit’s
head before getting two off an overhead belly to belly.
Benoit counters a
suplex into the Crossface but Raven makes a quick save. The hot tag
brings in Page who comes in off the top with a clothesline to Saturn.
Page cleans house but Riggs hits him in the ribs with a chair to
break up the Diamond Cutter. Saturn can only get two so he brings in
Raven who gets two more off a clothesline. Saturn comes back in with
a springboard legdrop and puts on a front facelock.
Kidman gets on the
apron so the referee misses the tag to Benoit and Raven comes in to
stomp on the bad ribs even more. Raven brings in a chair and hits
the drop toehold into the chair but Saturn’s top rope moonsault
misses Page completely. Now the hot tag brings in Benoit who punches
the chair into Saturn’s face. A snap suplex onto the chair gets two
on Raven and it’s time for Rolling Germans on Saturn. Everything
breaks down and Benoit is sent into Raven. Saturn kicks Page low but
Benoit’s swan dive breaks up the Rings of Saturn on Page. The
Diamond Cutter takes out Raven and Benoit Crossfaces Saturn for the
win.
Rating: B.
This was short but they all looked great out there with Benoit being
a highlight. It’s also a great example of how weapons can be used to
make a match better. This match had a chair involved but the focus
was on the action instead of the weapons. The chair enhanced the
match and made things all the more entertaining.
It’s time for Savage
vs. Sting but the NWO carries out an unconscious Savage who is
covered in spraypaint and wearing a Sting mask. Hogan says Savage is
NWO for life and since Hogan wants all of Sting on Sunday, Savage
doesn’t get to face him tonight. Hollywood knows Sting isn’t coming
out here tonight and you know what that means. Sting runs out and
fights off the NWO but they finally get the better of him. Luger
comes out to even the odds a bit and stand over the fallen Savage to
end the show.
Overall Rating: B.
This is probably the best show they’ve had in the series so far with
good action and a solid build towards Sunday. The main event was
great and we have a genuine mystery as to the Savage/Luger
relationship heading into their match on Sunday. WCW is rolling
right now and things should be capped off by Sting winning the world
title on Sunday and sending the NWO into their fatal tailspin.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – February 12, 1998

Thunder
Date: February 12, 1998
Location: Myriad Convention Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
closing in on SuperBrawl and things are getting very interesting in
WCW. Hogan and the NWO have basically thrown Savage out but Randy still
wants to fight. The NWO also got a rare jump on Sting with the help of a
net dropping from the ceiling. As for tonight Ric Flair is back and
he’s facing one of his most famous rivals in Lex Luger. Let’s get to it.

Here
are Hogan and Bischoff to open the show. Bischoff says it’s time to get
serious because things are getting out of control. The NWO is declaring
war on anyone associated with WCW. They’re going to start in
alphabetical order and go from Anyone associated with WCW, from Ted
Turner to the guys to mow the lawn at Turner headquarters. Hogan says
even the fans are fair game, but let’s get to the B’s (were any A’s
mentioned?). The number one B on Hogan’s list is Bret Hart, who is to
blame for Hogan not holding the belt. He doesn’t know where, but Hogan
is going to beat up Bret Hart somewhere.
On
a lighter note, Hogan wants to talk to Randy Savage face to face right
now. Macho comes out and Hogan says he knows when he’s right but he’s
wrong in this whole thing. It’s time to look Savage eye to eye and let
everyone know that an apology is necessary. Before we get to that
though, this coming Monday it’s going to be Hogan/Savage vs.
Luger/Sting. Hogan says Savage should thank Bischoff for the match but
now it’s time for the apology. However it’s Savage who needs to
apologize and that’s exactly what he does, right before decking Hogan
and Bischoff with right hands.
The announcers are thrilled.
We talk about WCW Motorsports for a few moments.
Kidman vs. Prince Iaukea
Louie
Spicolli has chased Lee Marshall off commentary. Kidman and Lodi taunt
Iaukea into a chase, allowing Kidman to get in a shot as they get back
inside. The Prince snapmares Kidman to the floor as Louie talks about
eating pizza with Larry Zbyszko. Kidman dropkicks Iaukea into the apron
but runs into a foot in the corner back inside. We cut to the back to
see Raven sending Riggs off to get Van Hammer. Mortis comes up to Raven,
apparently wanting to join the Flock. Raven asks why Mortis dresses in
these clown costumes and says if he wants to be in the Flock, Mortis has
to be himself. Oh and beat DDP as well.
Back
in the ring Iaukea breaks out of a chinlock but gets taken down by a
jawbreaker. A superkick doesn’t drop Kidman so Prince fires off some
chops. Kidman clotheslines him down and goes up but dives into a belly
to belly suplex for two. A guillotine legdrop misses and Kidman hits a
quick Shooting Star Press for the pin.
Rating: D+.
Based on what we saw this wasn’t much. Kidman was talented but he
needed someone better than Prince Iaukea to have a good match. The Raven
thing stopped the match in its tracks but that was a common idea for
WCW: make it look like anything could happen at anytime. There is
something to be said about that idea instead of having segments happen
right after a match ends.
Meng vs. Hugh Morrus
Hugh
jumps Meng before the bell and pounds on him in the corner but a splash
has no effect. Meng comes back with chops to the chest and punches to
the ribs followed by some choking on the ropes. A top rope splash gets
two for Meng as Louie asks if Heenan used to manage him which shocks the
Brain. Morrus comes back with a spinwheel kick and loads up No Laughing
Matter, but Jimmy Hart rolls Meng out of the way. Tony informs us that
we’ll have the Steiners vs. Outsiders again at SuperBrawl along with
Louie vs. Zbyszko. Meng kicks Morrus in the face and the Deathgrip ends
this pretty quickly.
Post match Barbarian comes down to break up the hold but gets put in the Deathgrip as well.
US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mortis
Vandenberg
shouts that he owns Mortis on the way to the ring. Mortis gets caught
in a quick tilt-a-whirl side slam but bails to the corner to avoid the
Diamond Cutter. Page misses a charge into the post and Mortis takes
over, allowing Vandenberg to choke in the corner. The champ pops up and
pounds away on Mortis, only to get kicked in the face and hits with a
neckbreaker out of the corner for two. We hit the chinlock as Tony
announces Page vs. Benoit II at SuperBrawl. Page suplexes his way to
freedom and hits a discus lariat followed by a running Diamond Cutter to
retain.
Rating: C-.
Just a simple title defense here with Page hitting another version of
the Diamond Cutter to fire up the crowd. Mortis’ offense continues to
change almost on a weekly basis with new moves coming out all the time. I
miss midcard champions having matches against some random opponent like
this. It doesn’t hurt Mortis to lose because he’s in over his head, so
why not do matches like this more often?
Post
match the Flock minus Raven comes out and carries Mortis from the ring
ala Riggs when he joined the team. Raven appears at the entrance and
DDTs Mortis on the ramp.
We recap British Bulldog vs. Steve McMichael. I keep forgetting this feud is happening.
Steve McMichael vs. Jim Neidhart
Neidhart
shoulder blocks him down to start and a forearm smash sends Mongo to
the floor. Mongo is sent into the steps but comes back with a three
point shoulder block inside to take over. McMichael goes to the floor
and picks up the steps, but the Bulldog runs in for the save and the DQ
win for Mongo.
After the break we get a video of them brawling through the commercial.
Chris Adams vs. Buff Bagwell
Adams
hits two quick slams to start but walks into a backdrop so Buff can
pose. They shove and slap each other a few times until Chris takes over
with some clotheslines. Adams misses a charge and clotheslines himself
on the ropes to give Bagwell control. Buff gets two off a neckbreaker
but a splash hits knees. Adams makes a comeback with basic stuff
followed by a terrible looking piledriver for two. Vincent gets
superkicked down but the distraction lets Bagwell drill Adams from
behind and finish him with the Blockbuster.
Rating: D.
This really didn’t work. Adams was trying but the lack of chemistry
crippled any chance they had. He was 43 years old at this point and long
past his best days but he could still do basic stuff well enough.
Bagwell never was much in the ring but the Blockbuster looked as good as
ever.
Video on Juventud Guerrera and how important his mask is to him.
Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Jericho
has to be threatened with a DQ to take the belt off. Chavo chops him
down but Jericho hits a running forearm to knock Chavo outside. A suplex
back in allows Jericho to pose for the crowd, only to be SHOCKED by the
booing. Jericho hits the butterfly backbreaker for the arrogant cover,
only to miss a charge in the corner a few seconds later. He jumps over
Chavo in the corner but gets caught by a back elbow to the face. Chavo’s
tornado DDT is easily countered into the Liontamer for the submission
to retain Jericho’s title.
Jericho
won’t let go of the hold so here’s Juvy for the save. Chris goes for
the mask but Juvy knocks him to the floor, sending the champion running
away.
British Bulldog vs. Sick Boy
What
an odd pairing. Eric Bischoff kicks Lee Marshall out of commentary and
wants to know who is behind the conspiracy against the NWO, namely
because They Live (a Roddy Piper movie) is playing right after Thunder.
Bulldog hits a powerslam (not the powerslam) sets up a delayed vertical
suplex but Sick Boy hits a springboard back elbow to take over. Sick Boy
pounds away and Bischoff storms off. We hit the chinlock as Tony says
They Live as many times as he can. Bulldog avoids a charge in the corner
and catches Sick Boy in the powerslam for the pin. This was a
commercial for the movie, not the match.
Post match Mongo hits the ring to attack Bulldog again.
Chris Benoit vs. Raven
Raven’s
Rules of course.  Raven jumps Benoit on the way to the ring and sends
him head first into the steps. They head inside with a chair for the
drop toehold but Raven is sent twice into the chair wedged between the
top and middle rope. Benoit stomps a mudhole in the corner but Sick Boy
pulls Raven out of the way, sending Chris into the chair. Benoit comes
right back with rolling Germans but Kidman comes in for the save via a
springboard…..right into the Crossface for a tap out, which is good for
the submission win? I want to see a copy of Raven’s rules.
Rating: C.
This was intense while it lasted but they needed more time to make the
match work. The ending didn’t make a ton of sense but then again neither
did the Flock in general. Raven didn’t wrestle often in WCW but when he
did it was usually something good if not great.
The
Flock comes in for the post match beatdown but DDP comes in through the
crowd to make the save. He finally gets rid of Saturn to break up the
Rings of Saturn. Benoit insists he didn’t need Page’s help but Page
disagrees.
Glacier vs. Goldberg
Glacier’s
entrance nearly takes as long as the match. Goldberg does a standing
backflip to avoid a leg sweep, spear and Jackhammer make Goldberg
30something-0.
Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
It’s
almost strange for this to not be for the world title. Luger starts
with a gorilla press and Flair begs off into the corner, only to come
out with the poke to the eye. Lex shoves him across the ring and flexes
before slamming Flair off the top rope. Flair rolls to the apron and
snaps Luger’s throat across the top rope followed by a low blow. The
chops have no effect on Luger so he comes back with a clothesline and a
superplex to put Flair down. Luger loads up the Rack but the referee
goes down, allowing Flair to hit a chop block to set up the Figure Four.
Luger turns it over but Savage runs in for the DQ.
Rating: C.
This was the abbreviated paint by numbers version of Luger vs. Flair,
which still makes it more entertaining than most matches you’ll find. At
this point these two could have a decent match just on muscle memory
alone. Savage running in makes sense given how insane he’s been lately,
plus it keeps either guy from having to job here.
Flair
tries to save Luger but Hogan comes in to take Savage out. The NWO
beats down everyone in sight but Sting runs in to clear the NWO out of
the ring to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+.
The show did a good job of setting up the PPV, but the focus was on the
main event stuff instead of the midcard like Thunder has been focusing
on so far. The Raven vs. Benoit vs. Page stuff is interesting and the
matches should be very fun. There’s also the Cruiserweight Title stuff
with Jericho being amazing at this point, so WCW continues to have a
bright future. Good show here but nothing memorable.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – February 5, 1998

Thunder
Date:
February 5, 1998
Location:
Beaumont Civic Center, Beaumont, Texas
Attendance:
4,900
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Tonight
the main event is the kind of match that Thunder needs to focus on:
the US Title match between Benoit and Diamond Dallas Page with Benoit
FINALLY getting the recognition he deserves. Other than that we have
the NWO in shambles with Savage and Hogan on the verge of coming to
blows. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of the Steiners arguing on Monday.
Hugh
Morrus vs. La Parka
Morrus
slugs him down but gets caught by a dropkick followed by the LA PARKA
DANCE! The fans are into it but Morrus comes back with a hard
clothesline to take over. Hugh charges into a pair of boots in the
corner but La Parka runs into a powerslam for two. Morrus chops him
down in the corner and hits a quick splash but La Parka comes back
with a spin kick Not that it matters as Morrus elbows him down and
hits No Laughing Matter to complete the squash.
Post
match La Parka hits Morrus with the chair and does the dance on top
of it. So why squash him?
Video
on Goldberg’s dominance.
Jim
Powers vs. Bill Goldberg
Goldberg
takes him down with something like an STO followed by a quickly
broken leg lock. Powers’ knee lift is no sold and it’s the spear and
Jackhammer for the win.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Kidman
Juvy
takes over with a quick headscissors but an attempt at a second is
countered into a reverse sitout powerbomb. The fans yell at Lodi as
Kidman stops Juvy’s speed with shots to the back. Kidman reverse
supelxes Guerrera onto the apron but Juvy comes back with a
springboard missile dropkick to put Kidman on the floor. A rana
takes Kidman off the apron and back to the floor but Juvy might have
hurt his knee in the process.
The
knee is fine enough to try a springboard legdrop but Juvy only hits
canvas. Kidman goes to the middle rope but gets caught by a
Frankensteiner for two. A nothern light suplex gets the same for
Guerrera and the Juvy Driver looks to set up the 450. Juvy has to
dropkick Lodi down instead though and Kidman hits a quick bulldog and
the Shooting Star for the pin.
Rating:
B-. That’s probably high but
given how fast paced this was in the short amount of time it’s
impossible to not be impressed. Kidman was great in the ring when he
had someone who could go move for move with him and Juvy certainly
fits that bill. For five minutes this was some high level stuff.
DDP
is ready for Benoit and knows the fans are too.
Silver
King/Villano IV/Villano V vs. Super Calo/Lizmark Jr./Chavo Guerrero
Jr.
We
start with Lizmark vs. Villano IV in a nice technical sequence until
Lizmark hits a springboard missile dropkick to take over. The
Villanos switch but Calo gets a blind tag and comes in with a kind of
top rope Hart Attack for two. Back to IV but Calo sends him straight
to the outside so it’s off to Chavo vs. Silver King. Chavo lands on
his feet out of a monkey flip and dropkicks King down for two.
V
comes back in with a DDT on Chavo but Guerrero rolls outside,
allowing Calo to walk into a superkick from King. Everything breaks
down and Lizmark hits a great dive to take out IV. Chavo hits the
tornado DDT on Silver but Psychosis sneaks in and hits the guillotine
legdrop on Chavo to give King the pin.
Rating:
C. This was a slower version of
the six man lucha formula and with far less time to develop. That
being said, the dives were very good and Lizmark looked good out
there. It’s also nice to see Chavo have his first feud start up as
he’s too talented to be stuck in these random six man tags.
Video
on Savage having problems with the NWO over the last few weeks.
Dusty
comes to the announcers’ desk and throws out Lee Marshall. He yells
at Tony and Bobby about how he’ll speak the truth. Heenan
immediately starts sucking up to him.
Buff
Bagwell/Konnan vs. Steiner Brothers
The
NWO jumps the Brothers as they come in but get caught in belly to
belly suplexes for their efforts. After a breather on the floor we
start with Rick vs. Konnan but Konnan tags out before there’s any
contact. Buff tags right back out and we have Konnan vs. Rick for
real this time. Rick pounds away before we can get another tag and a
powerslam gets two on Konnan. Buff breaks up the pin and Rick is in
trouble.
Bagwell
comes in legally for a DDT, drawing in Scott which allows the NWO to
double team Rick. Buff sends him to the floor for a beating from
Konnan and Vincent. I’ll give Vincent this: he was able to keep a
job for a long time despite being nothing more than a low level
enforcer. Back in and Buff’s splash hits Rick’s knees and it’s
finally the hot tag to Scott. House is cleaned but Vincent and
DiBiase get in a fight on the floor as Hall comes in, drawing a DQ
win for the Steiners.
Rating:
D+. Not much to see here but
that’s becoming the norm for Steiner Brothers matches. At least Hall
is getting involved in the story again though, meaning we could get
the Steiners back to the title scene very soon. Seeing DiBiase and
Vincent brawl always brings a nostalgic smile to my face as well.
Post
match Scott Steiner doesn’t realize the match is over and loads up
the Steiner Bulldog. Hall shoves Rick off the top into Scott and the
Steiners are about to come to blows. Scott Steiner never saw Hall
get involved and thinks Rick either screwed up or jumped him.
Raven
vs. Marty Jannetty
Lee
Marshall is back on commentary as Heenan explains that he was sucking
up to Dusty to protect Tony and Lee. Raven comes through the
entrance and sits down on the set instead of walking to the ring.
Now he gets up and looks at his video as he walks towards the ring.
Jannetty is tired of waiting and jumps Raven in the aisle with
forearms to the back and a superkick. Lodi gets a superkick as well,
pops back up so he can raise the sign and gets superkicked again.
They
get in the ring as Tony rants about Dusty. Marty hits a dropkick for
three straight two counts but Raven comes back with a clothesline to
take over. Jannetty is sent back to the floor and Raven drops an
elbow off the apron to keep Marty down. Raven throws Marty and a
chair into the ring for the bulldog onto said chair.
Raven
puts Marty in the Crippler Crossface while shouting BEWARE OF THE
DDT. He lets the hold go and drives a knee into Marty’s face but a
Vader Bomb onto a chair only hits steel. Raven gets crotched on the
top rope and dropkicked out to the floor as Lodi is still out cold in
the aisle. Marty sends Raven into the steps but back inside the
Rocker Dropper is countered into the Even Flow for the pin.
Rating:
C. Marty has been solid looking
in his few matches in WCW which is all you can expect from him at
this point. Raven continues to be bizarre in the ring and Heenan
freaking out over the odd things that he does is always good for a
laugh. This match was a way to set up Benoit vs. Raven II on
Saturday Night which is a setup for a later match in its own right.
Video
on Giant being injured at Souled Out.
Disco
Inferno vs. Perry Saturn
These
guys fought an awful lot. The announcers ignore the match to talk
about Hogan paying Nash’s fines in the hopes that Nash will have his
back at Super Brawl. They trade basic holds for control to start but
Saturn takes it to the mat, sending Disco running to the floor. Back
in and Disco takes over with an armbar before they seem to screw up a
running the ropes sequence.
We
take a break and come back with Saturn pounding on Disco in the
corner. Saturn whips him across the ring and Disco seems ready to
jump over Perry but there’s no one there. Saturn pounds him down
some more and whips him into the corner again so Disco can try to
jump over him, only to get crotched. Inferno comes back with a knee
lift and swinging neckbreaker for two but he dives into a Tazplex for
two. A Falcon’s Arrow puts Disco down but a guillotine legdrop
misses.
Disco
hits the Chartbuster (Stunner) but can’t immediately cover. After
the referee counts both guys to eight, Disco puts an arm over but
Kidman puts Saturn’s foot on the rope. Saturn superkicks him down
for two but Disco counters a belly to back superplex into a cross
body for two. Kidman shoves Saturn into Disco, knocking both guys
out. Saturn is on Disco’s back though and puts on the Rings of
Saturn for the submission.
Rating:
C+. I’m liking this serious
Disco Inferno. He’s like a lower level Terry Taylor: a guy who is
only remembered for his gimmick, instead of how good he was in the
ring. Saturn was in a fight here and it made for an entertaining
match to continue a good trend tonight. Now can we please move these
two apart for a very long time?
Post
match Saturn won’t let go until Booker T makes the save.
Here’s
Nick Patrick who says he’s ready for his second chance. He wants the
fans to look at the tape from Starrcade and see that he did nothing
wrong. He’ll be back on Nitro because JJ Dillon has no leg to stand
on.
Raven
rants about Benoit, Woman and TBS being too corporate.
Scott
Hall vs. Jim Neidhart
Hall
and Spicolli come out out for the Survey with WCW winning by a mile.
He complains about not having the title shot at the PPV because of
Piper and says that the Steiners can have a title shot on Nitro. As
for Spicolli, tonight he gets to face Neidhart instead.
Jim
Neidhart vs. Louie Spicolli
Neidhart
destroys Louie as you would expect and knocks him out to the floor.
Louie is catapulted back into the ring and Hall gets blasted in the
face as well. Anvil puts the nerve hold on Spicolli but Hall comes
in for the DQ. This barely lasted a minute.
Davey
Boy Smith runs out for the save but Mongo comes out to go after him.
Due to Mongo’s high levels of suck, Smith easily knocks him back to
the floor.
US
Title: Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page
We
take a break before the bell and come back with Tony saying the bell
has sounded but no one has moved from the corners. The arena is full
of smoke from Page’s entrance. They circle each other and have a
very rough tieup before falling to the floor for another staredown.
Back in and the champion takes Benoit down with a tilt-a-whirl side
slam for no cover. A gutbuster puts Benoit down again and Page
stomps away. Back up and Benoit snaps on the Crossface but Page is
next to the ropes.
A
belly to belly gets two on Benoit but he bails away from a Diamond
Cutter attempt. They stare each other down for the third time before
going face to face and slugging it out. Benoit gets in some forearms
to the kidneys and Page is in trouble. Lee Marshall takes the time
to tell us that the Crossface is a submission hold while the Cutter
is a move to knock you out. Benoit hits a snap suplex for two and
stomps on Page in the corner, only to have Page come back with right
hands. Page hits a running tornado DDT out of nowhere to put both
guys down but here’s the Flock to jump both guys for the double DQ.
Rating:
C. This is one of those matches
that had a big fight feel but they only had six minutes. The Raven
run in sets up another match down the road between these two, likely
at Super Brawl where they’ll have more time. It was nice to see
Benoit treated as an equal with a big name and hopefully he gets to
do this kind of thing more often.
Raven
hits the Even Flow on Benoit but Page Diamond Cuts every other member
of the Flock. Raven bails as Benoit and Page stare each other down
to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C+. Thunder continues
its roll with a solid string of matches tonight. The lack of big
stars is very refreshing as the show can breathe for a minute and not
subject us to a bunch of two minute nothing matches to fill time.
Good show this week as Super Brawl is taking shape and should be a
well built show.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – January 29, 1998

These will be posted on Saturday from now on.
Thunder
Date:
January 29, 1998
Location:
Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Back
to Thursday nights here with the fourth episode of the series. The
main story continues to be the destruction of the NWO as Nitro ended
with Hall and Hogan standing around while Sting beat up Savage. The
main event tonight is the Steiners challenging for the tag titles in
a match we haven’t seen before. That shouldn’t make sense so let’s
get to it.

The
intro has changed to a thunderstorm theme which doesn’t work as well.
The
set is now a traditional one with a regular entrance and the Thunder
logo on top of it.
US
Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Sick Boy
Page
takes it to the mat but gets caught in an armbar. Sick Boy bails to
the floor and the stalling begins. Back in and Page pulls him down
but Sick Boy nips up. The discus lariat misses so Page goes to a
tilt-a-whirl side slam for no cover. Sick Boy goes back to the apron
for a springboard missile dropkick to take over. A spinning belly to
belly suplex gets two on Page but Sick Boy misses a kick to the ribs.
The discus lariat looks to set up the Diamond Cutter but Sick Boy
takes out the knee. Not that it matters much as Page throws him up
for a flapjack but pulls him down into the Cutter for the pin.
Rating:
C+. This was much better than I
expected which is what I’ve said for both Sick Boy matches I’ve seen.
He looks good in the ring and can fly through the air for a guy of
his size. The Diamond Cutter to end it looked great as Sick Boy’s
head bounced off the mat to knock him out cold.
The
Flock decides not to jump Page.
Here’s
JJ Dillon with an announcement: Nash is being fined $50,000 for his
powerbomb on Monday and if he does it again, the fines will grow.
Meng
vs. Jim Duggan
Duggan
wins a quick slugout and takes it to the floor where he whips Meng
into the steps and beats on him with Jimmy Hart’s jacket. Back
inside and Meng does what he does best: hit Duggan in the head. It
has little effect on the thickheaded Duggan so Meng keeps pounding
away. They slug it out until Duggan misses a charge into the corner,
allowing Meng to put on a nerve hold. Back up and a double
clothesline puts both guys down, allowing Hart to get up on the apron
with the 2×4. Duggan intercepts the throw and cracks it over Meng’s
back but chases after Hart instead. Back in and the Tongan Death
Grip ends Jim.
Rating:
C. This was far better than I
was expecting it to be with Duggan looking much better than I would
have expected him to. Meng continues to get small pushes every now
and then, which is likely to build him up for a feeding to a bigger
name later on. Both guys were working hard here and it was better
than it should have been.
Raven
vs. Marty Jannetty
Anything
goes again and Marty’s music still doesn’t fit him at all. Jannetty
takes him into the corner to start and dropkicks Raven to the
outside. He pounds on Raven on the floor but gets sent hard into the
post to change momentum. Raven throws in a chair for the drop
toehold and Marty is in big trouble. Marty hits a quick bulldog and
slams Raven’s head into the mat a few times for two but Raven is
smiling. A superkick puts Raven down and the top rope fist gets two,
but Raven dropkicks the chair into Marty’s face to knock him silly.
The Evenflow DDT is good for the pin for Raven.
Rating:
C-. Another decent match here
with Marty looking decent in defeat. Raven smiling while he’s in
pain is still very creepy and fits his character perfectly. The
Raven’s Rules all the time stuff isn’t a problem because the weapons
and violence aren’t the focus of the matches. That DDT looked great
too.
Jerry
Lee Lewis is here.
Bill
Goldberg vs. Yuji Nagata
The
pops are getting louder and louder. Nagata goes straight at him but
Goldberg chokes him down. Goldberg takes him down with a quick
leglock but Nagata makes the ropes. Yuji’s slam is countered into a
spinning neckbreaker and it’s the spear and Jackhammer for another
fast pin.
Goldberg
vs. Meng is announced for Saturday Night. There’s the bigger name
Meng was being set up for.
We
recap Savage’s rant against Hogan, Bischoff and the rest of the NWO
from Nitro.
Here’s
Hall for the survey with the NWO taking the crowd tonight. Hall
wants to know when he gets his title shot from World War III but now
it’s time to bring out Dusty Rhodes. Dusty talks about corporate
America tearing down what he built in 1991 and taking away the
tradition of professional wrestling. He lived on the 12th
floor and got tired of dealing with the suits every day. Now he’s
tired of carrying Tony Schiavone for the last four years.
Then
Dusty started hearing from Eric Bischoff and realized that the NWO is
why you’re here tonight. Dusty says the NWO is the future and
they’ve gotten Dusty the biggest checks of his career. This time,
WCW isn’t going to make any comeback with anybody because the NWO is
going to crush them all. “You hear that marks on the internet?”
Also, the powerbomb should be reinstated because a 500lb man
shouldn’t be in the ring if he can’t protect himself. Dusty Rhodes
ladies and gentlemen.
Scott
Hall vs. Disco Inferno
Hall
slaps Disco around to start and does the Giant mocking bit. A quick
attempt at the Outsider’s Edge is countered and Disco hits the
Chartbuster out of nowhere. Dusty puts the foot on the ropes and
brings Hall out to the floor for a chat. Back in and Hall pounds
away on Disco before hitting the fallaway slam and the Edge for the
pin.
Here’s
Nick Patrick for the first time since he was suspended. Patrick
insists that the count at Starrcade was a normal count and that Bret
should be suspended, not him. He’s going to have his lawyers look
into this and wants to referee the rematch to prove how awesome he
is.
TV
Title: Booker T vs. Perry Saturn
Booker
is defending and is in blue Harlem Heat attire instead of his usual
singles tights. Saturn pounds him down in the corner to start but
Booker comes back with right hands of his own. Apparently Saturn is
getting this show because Martel has a concussion. A powerslam gets
two for the champion and they head to the outside with Saturn being
sent into the barricade. Back inside and Saturn gets two off a
brainbuster but crotches himself on the middle rope. Booker hits the
side kick and ax kick but has to fight off the Flock. Martel comes
out to help but Booker sends Saturn into him and rolls Saturn up to
retain.
Rating:
C. This was your usual fast
paced match between the two as the three way feud is starting to
develop. Booker is nailing the singles push now and has transitioned
from the tag team ranks with ease. I’m also surprised at how well
Martel has fit into this feud as I didn’t remember him being anything
at all in his return push.
We
see the end of Nitro with Hall and Hogan turning their backs on
Savage.
Eddie
Guerrero/Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit
This
should be awesome. Jericho and Malenko get things going but the fans
are all over Eddie. Dean quickly takes him down to start but it’s
off to Eddie to send Dean into the corner. A rollup gets two for
Eddie but he walks into a powerslam for two. Off to Benoit vs.
Jericho with Benoit hitting a hard clothesline to take over. Jericho
comes right back with a delayed vertical suplex and some chops in the
corner. You know Benoit is cool with that and takes over with chops
of his own.
Jericho
comes right back with a German suplex and the Lionsault for two
before Guerrero comes back in. Benoit tries the Crossface but
Jericho makes the save as everything breaks down. Dean throws
Guerrero into a northern lights suplex but Jericho breaks up the
Cloverleaf attempt. Jericho hits a missile dropkick on Dean but
Malenko reverses the Liontamer into a rollup for two. Dean hooks a
superplex on Jericho and Benoit adds the Swan Dive. Eddie tries a
Frog Splash on Malenko but only hits feet, allowing Benoit to hook
the Crossface on Jericho for the win.
Rating:
B. This was a six and a half
minute match with the action of a match twice that long. These guys
were arguably the most valuable guys in WCW for a long time as you
could just throw them out there in any combination and get a good
match. Benoit and Malenko looked very good together as a team.
Post
match Benoit says his chapter with Raven has come to an end. Tenay
asks Benoit why he’s never had a title shot but Benoit says he
doesn’t need one. DDP pops up in the crowd (Marshall: “is that
Scott Hall?”) and says that the promoters don’t see Benoit as a
main eventer. They didn’t see Page as a main eventer either, but
Page is interested in the idea. If Benoit wants a shot at the US
Title, all he has to do is ask. Benoit agrees to the title match a
week from tonight.
Tag
Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Kevin Nash/Konnan
Konnan
gets to defend the belts because of Wolfpack Rules. Rick starts off
with Konnan with Steiner pounding him down into the mat and hooking
an STF of all things. Konnan makes the rope but gets caught in a
release German suplex to send him over to Nash. The Steiners knock
Nash to the floor and do their signature pose.
They
head back inside and Nash pounds on Rick in the corner with the knee
lifts and elbows to the head. Konnan comes in for a stump puller of
all things but Scott breaks it up. Kevin gets the tag and gets
caught by a Steiner Line but here’s Buff Bagwell to challenge Scott
to a posedown. Back in the ring, Nash hits Rick with the belt for a
DQ.
Rating:
D. This didn’t have time to go
anywhere and was mainly storyline stuff anyway. The Scott vs. Buff
posedown stuff is fine as a catalyst for the Steiner Brothers’ split
which had to happen at some point. I’m not wild on the Wolfpack
Rules idea as those usually only work when there are two members of a
team, but the NWO could pretty much make up whatever rules they
wanted around this time.
Post
match Nash powerbombs the referee and is taken away by security.
Nash: “Make sure Jack Ruby isn’t out there. That’s how Oswald got
it.”
Overall
Rating:
C+. This was the same
formula as last week and it still works quite well. They’re using
Thunder to focus on the midcard and it offers a nice contrast to the
storyline heavy Nitro. The lack of Hogan and Sting allows the show
to build on other stories which makes for a more interesting show.
Good stuff again this week.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – January 22, 1998

Thunder
Date:
January 22, 1998
Location:
Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the go home show for Souled Out and things are actually cooking for
WCW. We still don’t know anything about the world title situation
other than Hall has to fight somebody for the title at SuperBrawl.
As for Saturday, it looks like the main event is going to be Hart vs.
Flair in a really well built showdown for respect. Tonight we have
Giant vs. Hall in the main event which brings two major matches for
Saturday together. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers tell us that we’ll get an announcement on the world title
situation on Saturday as well as an appearance from Roddy Piper.
Scott
Steiner vs. Konnan
Scott
overpowers him to start and shoves Konnan down to the floor with
ease. Back in and Vincent earns his paycheck by tripping Steiner up
to give Konnan control. Scott comes right back with a gorilla press
and a gorilla press as we’re in squash territory here. The top rope
Frankensteiner is loaded up but Buff and Norton hit the ring for the
quick DQ.
Rick
Steiner and Ray Traylor run out for the save but Scott walks out to
pose at Bagwell.
Here’s
Nash to say that in 90 minutes, he’s going to be $1.5 million richer.
Giant wants Nash more than a lap dance after being at sea for 20
years but Nash isn’t afraid of him at all. Saturday is about the
physical torture but tonight is all about the psychological. Good
promo here as Nash keeps it simple.
Super
Calo/Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Silver King/La Parka
This
is Lucha Libre rules, meaning you can change with your partner if you
go to the floor. Chavo starts out with Silver King and takes over
with a quick headscissors on Silver. Everything quickly breaks down
with Calo pounding on La Parka but getting caught in a powerslam.
Raven comes through the crowd sans Flock as La Parka dives over the
top to land on Calo’s stretched out back.
Back
in the ring Silver King powerbombs Calo down for two before La Parka
comes in for a double enziguri on Calo. La Parka and King allow Calo
to make the tag as everything breaks down again. Chavo dives to the
floor to take out La Parka as Super Calo hits a top rope hurricanrana
on King for the pin.
Rating:
C-. This was an entertaining
mess with the emphasis on mess. The match didn’t get anywhere near
the excitement that these matches are capable of reaching and none of
these guys did anything to set themselves apart from the others. La
Parka was the only guy in the match who was a big deal at this point
but he was barely in the match at all.
Post
match La Parka blasts everyone with the chair until Juventud and
Lizmark Jr. run out for the save. Psychosis and El Dandy run in as
well and it’s a big brawl. Nearly everyone gets to hit a big dive to
make up for the so-so match.
Nick
Patrick wants to talk about something but Rick Martel walks in behind
him. Kidman comes in to yell at Martel for the fight on Nitro.
Saturn runs in and throws Martel through a glass door. It’s as out
of nowhere as it sounds.
Dean
Malenko vs. Marty Jannetty
They
start with an armbar each with Marty actually taking over on the mat.
Dean escapes and goes after Marty’s knee, only to be put in a front
facelock. The technical exhibition continues with Dean going after
Jannetty’s knee again, only to be countered into a catapult into the
corner for two. We hit a chinlock on Dean for a few moments before
Malenko fights up with a belly to back suplex.
A
regular suplex gets two for Malenko but Marty comes back with a
clothesline for two of his own. Jannetty goes after the leg….and
now the arm a few seconds later. I guess all that cocaine made the
limbs look the same. Dean fights up again but gets caught in a
faceplant for two. In a rare botch in a Malenko match, Marty loads
up a snapmare but Dean falls like a neckbreaker, making it look more
like a Stunner. A few seconds later Marty tries the Rocker Dropper
but is countered into the tiger bomb and the Cloverleaf for the
submission.
Rating:
C-. This was slow paced and
methodical but it wasn’t bad at all. Jannetty didn’t look as good as
he did on Nitro but his WCW run isn’t going badly at all. Malenko
has been left out in the cold since Starrcade due to Mysterio and
Jericho taking the focus on the Cruiserweight Title.
Goldberg
vs. Kendall Windham
Goldberg
takes him to the mat with a leg lock but Kendall makes a rope. A
clothesline gets two for Windham but it’s spear/Jackhammer for the
pin. The reactions are getting louder and louder.
Here’s
Hall for his survey with WCW taking the night. Hall is looking
forward to Saturday so he can shut Zbyszko up once and for all. Cue
Louie Spicolli with Larry’s golf clubs which are rapidly bent and
broken. Larry comes out and is ready to fight Hall but Spicolli
wants a piece of him instead. Zbyszko immediately takes him down
with a guillotine choke but has to avoid an elbow drop from Hall.
Larry bails and says he’ll have backup at Souled Out.
We
get some clips of Piper on Walker Texas Ranger. When Chuck Norris is
the best actor ina scene, you know you’re in trouble.
Cruiserweight
Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey
has a bad knee. Eddie is challenging and charges right at Rey, only
to be taken down by an armdrag. A hurricanrana sends Eddie most of
the way to the apron as his leg is caught in the apron on the way
down. Back in and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker puts Rey down for two
as it’s all Eddie so far. A brainbuster looks to set up the frog
splash but Rey gets up top for a superplex to put both guys down.
Eddie is dropkicked out to the floor and Rey hits a dive over the
top, reinjuring his knee again in the process. With Eddie down on
the floor, Jericho runs to attack Rey for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t have the time
to go anywhere but it was angle advancement anyway. Rey’s knee is
very banged up thanks to Jericho’s recent attacks and this match
didn’t do it any favors. Eddie is in the same spot that Malenko is
in at the moment: just floating around waiting on something to do.
Eddie
and Jericho stomp Mysterio down but Eddie is mad at Jericho costing
him a match. Benoit sneaks in behind Jericho for their upcoming
match as Eddie bails. The look on Jericho’s face when he sees Benoit
is priceless.
Chris
Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Benoit
sends him into the corner as Dean Malenko and referee Mickie Jay
carry Mysterio to the back. Jericho bails to the floor as we take a
break. Back with Jericho continuing to run but getting caught by a
suicide dive. They head back inside and Jericho hits a quick
dropkick to take over. A spinebuster looks to set up the Liontamer
but Benoit chops his way out of it. Jericho runs some more but gets
caught in a dragon screw leg whip.
Benoit
is taken down by a back elbow for the ARROGANT COVER for two. The
Lionsault connects but Jericho waits for the fans to cheer him
instead of covering. Instead a superplex gets two on Benoit and it’s
off to a chinlock. Benoit fights up with a belly to back suplex
followed by a German and a whip to send Jericho into the Tree of Woe.
There’s the Crossface but Jericho taps out before the hold is even
on. That’s a smart move given his title shot in two days.
Rating:
C+. These two have a natural
chemistry that few other pairs can rival. The ending shows thinking
as well which isn’t something you often get in wrestling. It’s also
nice to see actual stories develop and intertwine with each other
with all people involved being elevated. It’s like the company is
planning for the future or something like that.
Here
are Hogan and Bischoff with something to say. Hogan says it’s going
to be a big party when he gets the title back on Saturday because he
never lost it in the first place. Bischoff and Hogan praise each
other and Hogan poses to end things.
Rick
Martel vs. Perry Saturn
Martel
charges at the ring and runs Saturn over as the bell rings. Saturn
is sent to the floor and into the steps for good measure. Back in
and Martel pounds on Saturn in the corner but the Flock comes out for
a distraction. Martel is crotched on the top rope before getting
suplexed down for two. The Flock leaves and Martel misses a charge
into the post. Saturn puts on an armbar and then a cross armbreaker
but Martel counters into a quickly broken STF.
We
take a break and come back with Martel pounding away in the corner
but getting caught with a swinging neckbreaker. Saturn gets some
quick rollups for two before going to the middle rope. A sunset flip
gets two on Rick but he rolls through into the Quebec Crab to make
Saturn submit in a hurry.
Rating:
C-. Martel has only been back
for a few months but I’m starting to buy into him here in WCW. He
looks very smooth in the ring and has more than enough experience to
back it up. The window stuff from earlier added nothing to this so
the fans weren’t caring at all, but they got an ok match out of it.
Post
match the Flock runs in but Martel rolls away to let Kidman hit
Saturn.
Scott
Hall vs. The Giant
Hall
gets in Giant’s face and is launched across the ring as he should be.
A front chancery gets Hall placed on the top rope and he dives into
the bearhug. Giant headbutts Hall down but here are Hogan and Nash
to ringside. Nash gets in a cheap shot with some kind of a weapon as
Hogan gets in the ring for the DQ in less than two minutes.
Savage
tries to intervene but Luger runs out and Racks him. Nash looks at
Savage in the Rack down and does nothing about it. Instead Nash
comes in and pounds on Giant but Giant doesn’t touch him. Instead
Giant goes to the floor, grabs the post, and BREAKS THE RING to end
the show.
Overall
Rating:
C+. This was the kind
of show Thunder was designed to be: focus on the midcard feuds and
have the main event guys do some stuff to close the show. It built
up the Souled Out matches that we didn’t get to focus on Monday while
giving us some solid action tonight. Good show here and I want to
see Souled Out.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – January 15, 1998

Thunder
Date:
January 15, 1998
Location:
Jenkins Center, Lakeland, Florida
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the second episode of the show and as of Nitro, the NWO is in
shambles again. The main problem seems to stem from Nash and Savage
over Savage accidentally hitting Bischoff two weeks ago on Nitro. As
luck would have it, the main event tonight is Nash/Savage vs. Diamond
Dallas Page/Lex Luger. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a video from Nitro of DDP hyping up the tag match tonight.
The
announcers talk about the NWO’s problems. It’s strange to not have
Schiavone doing commentary on a WCW show.
We
get video from Nitro about the $1.5 million bonds put up by WCW and
the NWO to ensure Nash vs. Giant actually happens at Souled Out.
Here’s
Giant in the ring for a chat with Schiavone. Giant says that he’s a
patient man and will be ready for Nash at Souled Out. He’ll be
bringing the chokeslam to the PPV but first he has to rip up one of
Lodi’s signs. Lodi is pulled into the ring via a chokeslam and the
Flock swarms the Giant. The big man swats them all away and
literally throws Kidman into the front row. This brings out Nash but
Giant isn’t allowed to touch him, even after Nash throws coffee in
his face.
Back
to Nitro again to look at the issues between Nash and Savage. We get
some exclusive footage from after Nitro went off the air of Savage
slapping Nash and running off.
Black
Cat/Ohara/Gedo vs. Steiner Brothers/Ray Traylor
Tenay
tells us that DDP has been mugged in a parking lot and has a knee
injury which might keep him out of the main event tonight. Traylor
and Ohara start with Ohara firing off kicks to the knee. Ray comes
back with some uppercuts before Black Cat comes in to be pounded down
by Rick. A series of elbows get two for Rick as the fans chant USA.
Back to Traylor as we take a break.
We
come back with Rick clotheslining Gedo and Ohara down before ripping
away at Gedo’s face. Scott finally tags himself in and explodes on
Black Cat with clotheslines and right hands. An overhead suplex
sends Ohara flying and Scott puts him in the Tree of Woe for some
choking. Rick and Ray have their arms out for tags but Scott isn’t
paying any attention to them. A move Tenay calls the Steiner
Screwdriver (this was more like a sitout powerslam) is good for the
pin on Gedo.
Rating:
D+. This was more storytelling
than a match which is a good idea. Scott’s slow burn heel turn is
going well here as you can see why Rick would get upset and why Scott
would think he doesn’t need to tag out. Traylor doesn’t need to be
here but what else are they going to do with him?
Post
match Rick, Ray and DiBiase leave Scott to celebrate by himself.
Ernest
Miller vs. Yuji Nagata
This
is a preview match for a proposed martial arts division held under
pro wrestling rules. Miller immediately kicks Yuji down for two but
Nagata’s manager kicks Ernest in the back to give Nagata control.
Yuji hits a quick suplex and cranks on the arm for a bit before
shifting over to a leg lock. Another kick to the chest gets two for
Yuji but Ernest hits a spin kick to the face to take over. Nagata
chokes in the corner and gets in an argument with the referee,
allowing Miller to pull himself to the top for a great looking spin
kick to the face for the pin.
Rating:
D. That finish looked great but
the rest of the match was pretty dull stuff. The idea of a martial
arts division under pro wrestling rules adds nothing at all as these
guys do little more than kick each other for three minutes anyway.
You can only be so interesting as that kind of a character and
putting the same kind of guys against each other isn’t going to do
them any favors.
JJ
is here to talk about Page’s injury but the mic goes out. Page comes
out on a crutch and says he’s going to do it. JJ says there are
liability issues and Page might sue him. Page says he’ll sign
whatever paper he has to and he’ll take WCW off the hook.
Louie
Spicolli vs. Scott Hall
Before
the match, Hall asks Spicolli who he is and how old he is. Spicolli
is 26 but will be 27 next month. This brings out Larry Zbyszko to
give Spicolli some advice. Hall challenges Larry to a fight so here
comes Zbyszko, but Spicolli jumps Larry from behind. Larry clears
the ring with ease.
We
recap Jericho snapping again on Nitro and beating up Mysterio before
Mysterio’s Cruiserweight Title shot.
Chris
Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
The
winner gets a Cruiserweight Title shot at Souled Out. Before the
match, Jericho claims that Mysterio was making disparaging remarks
about his family on Nitro to trigger the beatdown. Jericho offers a
handshake to start but Eddie clotheslines him down instead. A
jumping back elbow puts Chris down again but Jericho blocks an
O’Connor roll and throws Eddie throat first onto the top rope.
Eddie
backdrops out of a belly to back suplex and dropkicks Jericho’s knee
out to keep control. Off to an abdominal stretch with Eddie grabbing
the middle rope to cheat. Would you expect anything less of him?
Jericho comes back by launching Eddie into the air and letting him
crash to the mat.
Eddie
rolls through a powerbomb for two before clotheslining Jericho down
for two. Off to a chinlock with two knees in Jericho’s back with
Jericho bent backwards. Eddie tries an upside down Gory Stretch but
drops Jericho on the top of his head in a scary landing. Jericho
sends him into the corner with Eddie jumping up to try a
hurricanrana, only to have Jericho counter into the Liontamer for the
win.
Rating:
C+. This could have been
something special with another five minutes. The lack of time and
Jericho being dropped on his head hurt things though as the match
never had the chance to really get going. Jericho is starting to
look like a future star though instead of just a talented smiling
good guy.
We
get the Ric Flair/Jim Neidhart segment from Nitro which led to Flair
and Bret brawling.
Somehow
that causes the announcers to talk about the world title situation
for a bit.
Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Bill Goldberg
Before
Goldberg’s entrance, here’s the Disco Inferno to interrupt. I don’t
know if it’s my video or something from the broadcast but the audio
is way off as it sounds like the announcers are shouting into
megaphones. Disco says people are here to see him dance instead of
seeing Chavo wrestle. Chavo says Disco can’t dance and that this
isn’t even his time. They keep arguing and the video feed cuts out,
going to a still shot of the arena with “Lakeland, Florida”
written on the bottom. Based on the audio, Disco hits the
Chartbuster on Chavo before Goldberg comes out for the spear and
Jackhammer on Inferno.
Back
from a break with Tenay apologizing for the technical issues. The
audio and video are fixed now.
We
look at a clip from last week of JJ stripping Sting of the title.
Here
are Hogan and Bischoff with something to say….and there go the
video and audio again. It’s back to the graphic this time with the
audio cutting in and out as well. Bischoff thanks Hogan for putting
up the $1.5 million which Hogan says was no big deal. What is
however a big deal is the NWO having problems. Hogan talks about
taking a palm tree and a hippie in each hand and talking to the big
NWOite in the sky.
Apparently
they’ve gone to federal court where a judge said Hogan is the world
champion. JJ can either give him the belt tonight or on Nitro
because Hogan is getting it back one way or another. Hogan brags
about being the man that wrestling revolves around and says the NWO
is intact. The audio and video kept cutting up every thirty seconds
or so during this.
Cruiserweight
Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Juventud Guerrera
This
is a rematch from Nitro where Guerrera successfully defended the
title thanks to a prematch beatdown by Jericho. Mysterio fires off
some forearms to start but Juvy backflips out of a German suplex. A
headscissors sends the champion to the floor and Rey hits a flip dive
to take him down again, possibly injuring his knee in the process.
Back in and Juvy rolls through a springboard sunset flip and
slingshots Rey back to the floor. A BIG dive….might have hit as
the video cut out again.
Juvy
is up first and chops away before hitting a slingshot legdrop back
inside. Guerrera loads up something similar to a Muscle Buster but
drops down onto his knees to drive Rey’s neck into Juvy’s shoulder.
A brainbuster gets two for the champion before they head to the
apron, only to have Rey launch Juvy over his head and face first into
the post. It has next to no effect though as Juvy rams him into the
apron and drops a slingshot legdrop to the floor. Back in and a
springboard dropkick gets two but Rey sidesteps a regular version a
second later. Juvy sends him face first into the middle buckle and
flicks his tongue a lot.
They
slug it out and Rey hits a Killswitch (called a modified DDT by
Tenay) for two. A pinfall reversal sequence gets a pair of two
counts each before Rey has to pound his way out of a powerbomb
attempt. Juvy counters a top rope rana attempt into a powerbomb and
Rey is in trouble. Mysterio avoids the 450 though and hooks a quick
rana for the pin and the title.
Rating:
B-. This was pretty solid stuff
but Juvy didn’t sell much of anything throughout the match. There
was a good story of Rey hanging on and trying to hit one quick move
to win the title while Juvy was hitting him with everything he had.
This is the third title change in about two and a half weeks, which
makes me wonder why they didn’t just put the title on Rey the night
after Starrcade in the first place and cut out Dragon and Guerrera.
Buy
the NWO shirt!
We
see the end of Nitro with Liz distracting Luger so Savage could jump
him. Page made the save to set up the tag match tonight.
Diamond
Dallas Page/Lex Luger vs. Kevin Nash/Randy Savage
The
audio and video go out again before the entrances are done. Back
from a break and it’s the Lakeland graphic again as Luger’s music is
playing. Page is limping on the bad knee during his entrance so
Luger volunteers to go it alone. Hogan sneaks up on Page and breaks
Page’s crutch over the bad knee. Savage jumps off the top with an ax
handle to Luger and beats up the trainer looking at Page’s knee.
Nash wants a tag but Savage doesn’t seem all that interested.
Hogan
yells at Savage to make him tag, but once Nash comes in he throws
Savage to the floor. For some reason this earns Savage more yelling
from Hogan as the video cuts out yet again. Nash hits a knee to
Luger’s ribs in the corner before going back to Savage and slapping
him in the face. Savage goes up top to dive on Nash but Hogan gets
in the way. Luger gets back up and hits the forearm on Nash as Hogan
comes in for the DQ.
Rating:
N/A. The match was only about
three and a half minutes long and about a minute of that was spent
looking at a graphic of the arena so it’s not fair to rate the little
I saw. This was all about drama as Page was on the floor for the
entire match and a lot of the “action” was spent on Nash and
Savage’s problems.
Post
match Luger puts Hogan and Nash in the Rack but Savage makes the save
(it’s not clear if he was aiming for Luger or Nash). Savage holds
Luger for a shot from Hogan but Hollywood kicks savage in the ribs
instead. They go nose to nose as Giant comes out to chokeslam Hogan
(in theory as the video went out again) before getting in Nash’s
face. The NWO comes out for the beatdown but Sting and Luger clean
house to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C+. Really annoying
technical difficulties aside, this did a good job of advancing the
NWO stories leading up to Souled Out. Also unlike last week, this
show actually built on what we saw on Nitro rather than starting
something new. There’s decent wrestling and good angle advancement
here so there isn’t much to complain about on the second episode.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Thunder – January 8, 1998 (Debut Episode)

Thunder

Date: January 8, 1998
Location: Ocean Center, Daytona Beach,
Florida
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan 
Reviewed by Tommy Hall 
Due
to the success of 1997, WCW decided to add another show to it’s TV
schedule so here’s their new idea. Tonight is a souped up show as
debuts often are, as we have a Cruiserweight Title match, an update
on the world title situation after the debacle at Starrcade, and the
Larry Zbyszko vs. Eric Bischoff match from Starrcade in full, which
I’m sure wouldn’t get on the nerves of the fans who paid for the
show. Let’s get to it.

The
announcers talk about how they’re sure Sting is the world champion.
Randy
Savage is supposed to be in the opening match but he isn’t here yet.
Instead, here’s a clip from Nitro of the NWO arriving in two
different limos. We also get Bischoff saying there are no problems.
Tony
shows us a clip of the attorney from Nitro (a week ago according to
him, which is Tony speak for three days ago) saying that anyone,
either WCW or NWO, who violates a WCW policy will be fined and/or
suspended. Nick Patrick was suspended at least until tonight to show
us that WCW was serious.
Now
we see the end of Nitro with the NWO getting in a fight to end the
show.
Chris
Adams vs. Randy Savage
Adams
is a British guy who trained Steve Austin and brought the superkick
to America. That’s more or less the extent of his major
accomplishments but he’s in the first match ever on Thunder for some
reason. Savage jumps him from behind as we hear about WCW never
losing Nitro in the first place. Adams is sent to the outside so
Savage can drop him on the barricade. Chris comes back with a whip
into the post and gets back in which distracts the referee, allowing
Luger to come out and cave in Savage’s head with a chair. Adams gets
the pin to open the show with a huge upset.
JJ
Dillon comes out but we go to a break before anything can happen.
Here
are Hogan and Bischoff with something to say. Something I forgot to
mention earlier: the set is a big stone wall that had an opening
broken into it by some lightning earlier. Shouldn’t the show be
called WCW Lightning then? Actually Thunder is perfect: it’s a bunch
of noise with nothing of substance. It’s perfect for WCW at this
point.
Hogan
and Bischoff take forever to get to the ring where Bischoff
introduces Hogan as the world champion. Apparently every good
looking woman on the beach said that Hogan was the real world
champion and tonight we’ll see the tape proving it. Hollywood is the
only heavyweight champion in the world and he’s just too big and too
tanned.
Here’s
JJ again to say that Randy Savage wins the match because of Luger’s
interference. Luger comes out and rants against JJ because only now
is WCW doing anything after a year and a half of the NWO doing
whatever they want. He says that WCW is going to band together and
do whatever they want. Point for keeping continuity at least.
Louis
Spicolli vs. Rick Martel
Louis
cranks on the arm to start but is quickly sent to the floor with a
clothesline. Back in and a few dropkicks send Spicolli right back to
the floor. They get back in again and Spicolli pounds him down as
the Flock heads to their seats. Martel fires off a cross body for
two and a left hand to the ribs to stagger Louis. Another dropkick
misses but Martel punches Spicolli down and hooks the Quebec Crab for
the win.
Rating:
D+. For a guy who hasn’t been
around in years, Martel really does look smooth out there. At first
I wasn’t wild on him coming back as he was just Rick Martel: guy in
leather jacket, but they’re pushing him as someone with ring
experience who can beat guys with relative ease, which is actually
working for him.
We
get a clip from Starrcade of Hall saying Nash wouldn’t be there,
earning a beating from Giant in the process. I still don’t get why
they didn’t just have Hall be a replacement as he would be more than
adequate to fill in.
Tenzan
vs. Ohara
Tenzan
is a guy from Japan who is apparently part of the NWO. Tenay talks
about how Ohara is like Ray Traylor as he was thrown out of the
Japanese NWO and is now a freedom fighter. He pounds away on Tenzan
to start but gets slammed down. The fans don’t seem pleased as
Tenzan hits a spinwheel kick for no cover. Ohara comes back with a
clothesline and powerbomb for two but gets caught in a middle rope
chop. Tenzan hits a swan dive to end a quick match.
We
get another clip from Nitro of the very good Bret and Flair segment
where they argue over who is better and say each others’
catchphrases.
Ric
Flair vs. Chris Jericho
Before
the match, Jericho apologizes for his recent behavior and to present
Penzer with another new suit jacket. Flair takes him into the corner
to start and there’s our first WOO. Jericho takes it to the mat with
a headlock and a monkey flip sends Flair down. Chris takes too much
time though and gets poked in the eye by the master, giving Flair
control.
A
clothesline puts Flair back down though and there’s the Flair Flip in
the corner. Jericho dropkicks him off the apron before Flair can run
to the top but the Lionsault misses as Flair gets back in. Flair
asks for the time and hits a low blow before stomping away a bit.
Jericho hits a quick backdrop and a top rope elbow for two but a
missile dropkick misses. Figure Four ends Jericho quick.
Rating:
C-. This was a glorified squash
for Flair but he looked very smooth out there which is a good thing
for Jericho. At this point, Jericho was nowhere near what he would
become so a match with Flair was one of the best things that could
happen to him. That’s what veterans are supposed to do and Flair did
it more than almost anyone.
Jericho
freaks out again post match.
Giant
vs. Meng
As
Meng comes out, Tony announces Flair vs. Bret for Souled Out and yes,
he says it might be the biggest announcement in the history of our
sport. Meng hits a clothesline but gets caught in a powerslam to put
him down. A backdrop puts Meng down and Giant vs. Nash is announced
for the PPV as well. Tony basically says that it’ll actually happen
this time, which is a pretty pathetic way to push a match. “Remember
last time when we said it would happen and it didn’t? Well this is
nothing like that and we’ll actually do what we say!” Meng avoids
a splash and fires off some strikes, only to be chokeslammed down for
the fast pin.
Goldberg
vs. Steve McMichael
It’s
just Goldberg now. Mongo goes after him on the floor to start and
whips Goldberg into the steps before heading in to be stomped. A
gorilla press powerslam puts Mongo down and there’s a rolling leg
lock for good measure. Mongo gets to the rope and goes after the leg
as well before hitting a middle rope clothesline for two. McMichael
calls for the tombstone but gets caught in the spear and Jackhammer
for the pin. Heenan points out that Goldberg is undefeated.
Tag
Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Buff Bagwell/Konnan
Scott
and Buff start things off and it’s time to pose. Buff takes him down
with a hiptoss but Scott drills him with some clothesline and a tiger
bomb. Konnan is knocked to the floor as well and it’s time to stall.
Off to Konnan vs. Rick with Konnan being rammed stomach first into
the buckle, only to take Rick down with a clothesline. Back to Buff
who jumps right into a belly to belly and it’s a double tag to bring
Scott back in. Everything breaks down and Rick loads up the bulldog,
but Scott goes to the other corner for the Frankensteiner for the pin
to retain.
Rating:
D+. Nothing to see here but the
main idea is the Steiners having issues. That’s probably the best
move as the Steiners had been a big deal for about nine years at this
point, so there wasn’t much else that could be done with the team.
Scott had been the one WCW wanted to push for years anyway so it
really isn’t surprising when you think about it.
Here’s
Larry Zbyszko vs. Eric Bischoff from Starrcade to tick off the fans
and fill in time, because if there’s one thing WCW doesn’t have, it’s
a roster big enough to fill in a full show.
Bret Hart comes out to
be guest referee. There’s no pyro, there’s no big entrance, there’s
nothing but generic music and Bret casually walking to the ring. The
theory is that he’s in the NWO but that’s never been confirmed yet.
Eric
Bischoff vs. Larry Zbyszko
This should have been
Hall vs. Larry, as those two had been talking trash to each other for
months. However, Larry only gets Hall if he beats Eric here tonight.
If Eric wins, the NWO controls Nitro. Larry is in good shape here
considering he’s 46 and hasn’t wrestled regularly in about five
years. Bret checks them for weapons and we’re ready to go. Bischoff
has the body of a 15 year old girl. He is however a black belt in
karate so you can expect a lot of striking.
Bischoff hits a quick
shot to Larry’s head and immediately celebrates. More strikes follow
and Eric heads out to the floor for consultation with Hall. Back in
and Larry hits some shots of his own and Eric is scared. Larry goes
after him again and Eric hits a spin kick to the side of the head
that knocks Larry down. That’s enough for Zbyszko and he charges at
Eric and takes him down to the mat. Bret admonishes him for pulling
Eric’s hair, so Larry puts on a sleeper and a headscissors, both of
which are broken up for being chokes.
Off to a standing
figure four but Eric quickly makes a rope. The damage is done though
and Larry goes after the leg. Makes sense against a karate guy.
Bret keeps Larry away from Eric and the announcers PANIC. Imagine
that: a referee following the rules. Eric is sent into the steps and
takes a brief walk around the ring. Back in and Bret blocks a right
hand from Larry, allowing Eric to get in a kick to the head.
Bischoff fires more kicks with Larry on the ropes, although Bret is
fine with them.
Eric is starting to
kick himself out though as the kicks are getting weaker and weaker
each time. Now he fires rights and lefts in the corner as Larry is
just covering up. Eric can barely move now and Larry shakes
everything off. A suplex puts Bischoff down and Larry ties him in
the Tree of Woe. Hall pulls something out of his pocket and loads it
into Eric’s shoe, WITH BRET LOOKING RIGHT AT THEM. I mean, he knows
what’s going on so why not LOOK THE OTHER WAY???
Anyway, Eric kicks him
in the head with the loaded foot and the piece of metal goes flying.
Bret isn’t supposed to see it, despite watching it fly through the
air. Eric celebrates, so Bret hits both Bischoff and Hall before
putting Hall in the Sharpshooter, which is Bret’s version of the
Scorpion Deathlock. Larry chokes Eric for a bit and is declared the
winner, presumably by DQ.
Rating:
F. This was in the second to
last spot on the biggest show of the year and featured the boss of
the company who has no skill whatsoever in the ring. Larry did fine
all things considered, but to waste this spot on this match and to
waste BRET HART’s in ring debut on this match is absolutely
ridiculous in every sense of the word.
Back
on Thunder now here’s Larry to talk about his match with Hall at
Souled Out. Larry talks about how he understands why Hall hates his
guts after Larry took Hall so far ten years ago. Now instead of
being a world champion, Hall is on the ship of fools heading towards
Larry Land. Larry can still bench press 405lbs, drive to the golf
course and shoot a 73 and then beat Hall from one side of the ring to
the other. He’s wrestled in front of royalty around the world and
just like he did in 1980, he’ll change the NWO at Souled Out. This
was actually a pretty decent promo and I remembered it from when I
watched this live.
We
recap Ray Traylor being thrown out of the NWO and beaten down by
Hogan.
Ray
Traylor vs. Scott Hall
Traylor
shoves him down to start but Hall comes back with the driving
shoulder blocks. He slaps Ray in the back of the head and gets sent
into the corner and pounding away for his efforts. A corner splash
crushes Hall and it’s off to a bearhug to waste some time. The
referee takes a shot to the eye so we head to the floor for a bit
with Hall hitting Traylor in the face with his NWO tag title belt.
That’s only good for two and the middle rope bulldog gets the same
for Hall. Scott heads to the floor to grab a chair but Larry comes
out to stop him. The distraction lets Traylor hit the Boss Man Slam
for the upset pin.
Rating:
D+. The match was barely
anything but it did advance the Larry vs. Hall feud so I can’t
complain all that much. I’m not sure how many people wanted to see
Zbyszko vs. Hall but at least it was a feud that had the time to
build up for a few months. Speaking of having the time, can we get a
match to last five minutes tonight?
Cruiserweight
Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon
Dragon
is defending. Apparently Scott Steiner has been fined $5000 for
hitting the referee during the tag match. The announcers didn’t even
notice it so it’s likely a bit extreme. Feeling out process to start
with both guys hitting some quick strikes until Juvy hits a
springboard spinwheel kick for two. Guerrera misses a splash in the
corner and gets stomped down as we actually talk about the match for
a bit. Actually scratch that as it’s time to talk about Starrcade a
bit more.
Dragon
misses a handspring elbow in the corner as the fans think this is
boring. Juvy loads up a top rope rana but gets crotched to the floor
instead. Dragon hits a moonsault to the floor but injures his knee
in the process. They head back in and Dragon hits a release German
suplex for two but the top rope rana is countered again. Juvy knocks
him to the mat but dives into a dropkick fro Dragon, only to come
back with a quick DDT. The Juvy Driver sets up the 450 for the pin
and a new champion.
Rating:
C. Pretty slow paced stuff here
as their high spots weren’t connecting all that well. Dragon only
held the belt for about eight days here so it’s kind of hard to care
about the title changing this fast. It’s not a bad match but again
at just under five minutes we didn’t have time to get invested in it
at all.
Here’s
Bret Hart for a chat. Bret says that he’s called himself the best
there is, was and ever will be and he means it and he’s meant it
every time. He’s accomplished a lot over his career but now he has
to prove himself all over again. Bret isn’t going to stop calling
himself the best ever….and here’s Flair with a rebuttal. Ric talks
about how he’s heard from a thousand people since last week (what’s
with that? It was three days ago, not last week but people have been
saying it all show long) that they want to hear Bret say his
catchphrase to Flair’s face.
Bret
does just that, sending Flair into a rant about how Bret used to sit
in the front row with a box of popcorn wanting to be like Ric Flair.
Bret has been a five time WWF Champion, but while he was doing that,
Flair was wrestling Brody in Singapore for an hour. Not exactly but
Flair is on a roll so I can forgive him. Flair yells about how he’s
been around the world but Bret says he’ll have to beat the man to
prove that he’s the man. Ric says it’s not just beating the man, but
it’s staying the man. More good stuff here, questionable history
aside.
Lex
Luger vs. Scott Norton
Norton
jumps him on the floor to start before heading inside for a
clothesline. A backbreaker puts Luger down but a splash misses in
the corner. Luger vs. Savage is announced for the PPV and here’s
Buff for a distraction. Norton hits the shoulder breaker for two but
Luger comes back with the forearm. The Rack ends Norton quick in a
rare loss for him.
Bagwell
gets Racked too as Savage comes in, only to be chased off by Luger as
well.
We
get the video from Starrcade of the “fast count” and it’s just
not fast no matter how they look at it.
We
get the long awaited footage from Nitro, which shows the referee
going down and being replaced by Nick Patrick (who was suspended
earlier on Nitro), who counts three on Sting as Hogan rolls him up
with a handful of tights. Hogan and Sting keep fighting because
that’s just what they do, so Sting makes Hogan give up in the
Scorpion, which counts now because the original referee never called
for the bell, which is the exact same thing that happened at
Starrcade but this is almost over so I’m not going to think about it
that hard. JJ comes out and gets decked by Bischoff, causing a huge
brawl between WCW and the NWO.
Back
live again with JJ in the ring for his decision. Before the decision
is announced we need Hogan in the ring. Naturally he brings out
about five guys (to no music for some reason) for the big meeting.
JJ also asks Sting to come to the ring and bring the belt. The
official decision is that the title is vacant until they can make an
official decision. Sting says JJ has no guts and that Hogan is a
dead man, which is the first thing he’s said in a year (ignoring what
he said at Starrcade of course). Heenan swears this is a victory for
the NWO because that’s what you do when anything happens in WCW.
US
Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kevin Nash
Hogan
comes out with Nash (despite both guys being in the ring for the
previous segment) as Tony swears that we’ll stay with the show no
matter what, a mere ten minutes after we saw footage from a match
that ended after Nitro went off the air. Page cranks on the arm to
start but Nash elbows him down. The champ gets two off a swinging
neckbreaker but Nash goes to Page’s eternally injured ribs to take
over.
A
clothesline in the corner has Page down again and the side slam gets
two. Nash pounds on him in the corner and sends Page outside for
more very slow pounding. Page is sent into the steps as Hogan tells
him to give up. Back in and Nash hits Snake Eyes and an elbow drop
for two. Page fights out of another Snake Eyes attempt and loads up
the Diamond Cutter but Hogan hits him in the ribs for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. We were clearly just
killing time until the DQ here which is the case in almost all WCW
main events anymore. Hogan being out there was kind of surprising as
it could have been any WCW goon for the same ending. Also any bets
on there being no mention of a fine to Hogan for doing the same thing
Luger did earlier?
Post
match Giant comes out to break up a Jackknife and brawls with Nash to
end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. Take everything
that was good about Nitro from this week and throw it out the window.
Let’s see: short and mostly meaningless matches, the title situation
is a mess (and will get messier) and the NWO’s problems aren’t even
mentioned. In other words, the focus is all back on the NWO being
some kind of a threat and WCW needing to pull together, which is
exactly what it’s been since like March. This show wasn’t terrible,
but man was it frustrating.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book o the History of Starrcade from Amazon at:
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