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SirSmUgly last won the day on May 1

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  1. Rad Radford, Man Mountain Rock, Freddie Joe Floyd, Waylon Mercy's two-month reign of terror...'95 WWF was sweet.
  2. I've bounced back to 1992 Superstars. One week out from SummerSlam, Vinnie Jr. claims that fans had hoped for "a scientific matchup" in Warrior/Savage, which is an absurd thing to say even for pastel-suited, bombastic color commentator Vinnie Jr. Though I've written about SummerSlam 1992, the final SNME for about fifteen years (on FOX, no less), and the 1993 Royal Rumble elsewhere in this thread, I think it might be worth stopping to write about Survivor Series 1992 when I get there. I think I might run through this six seasons of Superstars off and on over the next couple of years. I have weird nostalgia for 1995 WWF, so a year of TL Hopper and Salvatore Sincere squashes won't be a deterrent to me!
  3. Who needs AI when you can get Ben Garrison to draw this?
  4. IIRC, Tatanka caught a DV case and stepped away.
  5. Steiners against Vader/Hughes is legit one of my favorite matches ever. They caber toss Vader and back bodydrop Hughes into the lights. That is the best possible form of pro wrestling, IMO.
  6. So, wait, Rollins is a face?! He cut a promo on a PBA show a couple years back(the PBA is on Fox and even awards a WWE Championship replica to the winner of the PBA Playoffs event) in this sort of gimmick, and it was basically low-rent Zicky Dice, and Zicky Dice is a(n enjoyable) knockoff of heel DDP in 1995. But uh, both Dice and '95 DDP have zero redeeming qualities. How in the heck is Rollins a face? I don't understand this new generation of WWE fans, why do they like what they like?!, things were different back in my day, rabble rabble rabble.
  7. Show #144 – 01 June 1998 "The one that’s a momentum breaker and that also puts Sting in the nWo, which is nonsense” So, this show opens with a Sting video retrospective that makes me miss Surfer Sting. I kinda wish Sting had pulled a post-Bikertaker move (or come to think of it, a post-Hollywood nWo Hulk Hogan move) and just gone back to Surfer Sting for a little while. Not forever; just for a bit. A limo pulls up. Out pops…J.J. Dillon. That’s boring. Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T., and Goldberg pop out after him. That’s far less boring! I guess these fellas will make their pitch to Sting tonight. Jerry Flynn (w/big scumbag energy) comes to the ring, pulling back on handshakes and ripping up pro-Goldberg signs as he goes. I’m certain he’s wrestled his opponent, Ernest Miller, a bunch of times, including on shows that I’ve reviewed, but I’m not about to go back and find out. I don’t hate this, but the crowd seems pretty lethargic throughout this whole deal. At one point, Flynn does a nice judo toss into an armbar that I think personally the crowd should have enjoyed more. When I’m ruler of the cosmos, I will make it illegal not to politely applaud a fluid judo toss -> armbar. Miller and Flynn fuck up their spacing and blow a sunset flip because they’re in the ropes upon landing. Miller’s not going up top to hit the Feliner anymore – wise! – but I’m not sure he makes anything close to cursory contact with Flynn when he hits is – ugh! Anyway, Miller wins. The crowd probably would have loved one of those high-flying, fast-paced cruiserweight matches that WCW Nitro was known for even though they don’t happen all that often, at least at this point in the show’s existence (Editor's Note: This crowd seems to barely enjoy life itself, so maybe not). Another limo arrives: It’s some nWo Wolfpac dudes. The Wolfpac comes on out after the commercial break. They cut a promo. Nash does his own version of the survey, and I’d say it’s odd that he hasn’t mentioned Hall at all, except that Hall’s probably in rehab/legal trouble and not in a position to really respond. Anyway, Nash wants to see if everyone came for nWo Hollywood (crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOO) or the red-and-black attack (crowd: YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH). They talk some more, basically still pitching Sting. Luger’s blathering on and on, and I tune out a bit, but I do catch that Luger and Nash are challenging any two Hollywood members to a tag match later tonight. Raven and Saturn (w/ riot squad, but no Flock) come to the ring to face Public Enemy, who are still in WCW as of June 1998! What an ECW-ass ECW matchup. Saturn and Raven control early, but take it a bit easy and allow Grunge to fight back. Grunge nails a back elbow on Saturn and then PE goes to work, hitting double-team moves and keeping Saturn cut off from his partner. PE’s double-team stuff is pretty good, including a pseudo-Decapitation Device (the elbowdrop from the ropes was there, but not the positioning of Saturn over Rocco’s knee). Saturn finally gets a tag, but Raven whiffs on a lariat attempt and hits Saturn. Saturn’s peeved, but PE is still coming in waves, and Saturn and Raven immediately have to show some fightback. They look pretty screwed, as PE even hits them with the AFCs old finisher. Rocco even drops a plancha on Raven as Raven lies on a table. Actually, Rocco does it TWICE because the table doesn’t break the first time around. I feel like the crowd should be more interested in this because it’s pretty fun, actually. Anyway, Saturn knocks Grunge into Rocco and then hits Grunge with a DVD; Raven slides into the ring and covers for the win. Saturn’s peeved that Raven stole his cover, but technically Raven was the legal man. Post-match, Raven gets a mic and rambles about how J.J. Dillon is employing Kanyon and it’s all sooooooooo unfair. He tells Saturn that as thanks for having his back, he’s re-hired the Flock to watch Saturn’s back. Also, he somehow signed Saturn up to wrestle Kanyon at GAB, which I didn’t know you were allowed to do? Just, you know, sign for a match for someone else who you don’t have power of attorney over? I have questions about WCW legal and what the heck they’re doing in their offices. Alex Wright is doing something other than dancing his way through a Nitro Girls routine tonight, so yeah, that’s cool. Chavo Guerrero Jr. has new music and a new, weird attitude, and is Wright’s opponent. Wright wrestles this like he’s wrestling the Chavo of six or eight months ago and not the Chavo that has apparently lost his whole mind and become a greater wrestler at the same time. Wright tries to casually administer a beatdown of the type he would give opponents during his TV title run, but Chavo chokes him like Latrell Sprewell finally giving that annoying fuck PJ Carlesimo the business, then hits Wright with a great suicide dive. At that point, Wright is wrestling to get away from Chavo; Chavo remains tenacious and beats down Wright. Back in the ring, Wright begs off and suckers Chavo in. He wraps Chavo in an STF, so Chavo taps immediately. He does so because he wants the ref to break the hold quickly and, in turn, because he can wants to go back to beating the shit out of Wright. The ref tries to back Chavo away, and Eddy comes out and tries to calm Chavo down. Chavo is more interested in fighting Eddy, but Eddy begs off. The crowd is so bored by all of this. This crowd stinks. Tony S. is on in-ring interview duty. He calls down Randy Savage, but Roddy Piper’s music plays. Then, after like a good thirty seconds, it cuts off and the Wolfpac theme plays. Craig Leathers, get your truck in order, you total DIPSHIT. Savage and Liz make it to the ring. Tony S. is like, You know Bret Hart was lying about he and Piper being in cahoots, right? and Savage is like OOOOH YEAH, THAT’S PROBABLY THE CASE AND I’LL STILL TAG WITH PIPER, ALSO, DO YOU WANT TO FUCK RODDY PIPER OR SOMETHING TONY, WHY ARE YOU SO PROTECTIVE OF HIM? which I think is unfair to Tony. Tony’s an asshole, though, so I’m fine with him getting shit on here. Savage calls out Piper, who comes to the ring to *sigh* talk. Piper, fairly enough, is confused about why Savage is so pissed at him. Savage is like YOU REVERSED THE DECISION FROM THAT HART MATCH, BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR ME, I WANT TO FIGHT YOU AT THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH AFTER WE WIN OUR TAG MATCH, WHICH IS ALSO AT THAT VERY PPV, CONTACT YOUR CABLE PROVIDERS. Piper agrees to do it just to get Savage to shut up about it, but he’s still got a lot of consternation over Savage being fucking weird about this whole thing. He also makes a nonsensical Marion Berry reference that the crowd, being from DC, pops for because that’s a name they know. Man, this DC crowd fucking sucks. Piper starts convolutedly ranting about the Washington Capitals (morons in this crowd: WOOOOOOOO) and Savage has to cut him off and force him to make his point directly, which is that Bret hasn’t ever actually worn an nWo shirt and probably is playing Hogan and Savage at the same time. Boy, when the worst person you know makes a good point, it’s troubling, huh? Anyway, Savage is like THE INTERNAL POLITICS OF nWo HOLLYWOOD ARE NOT MY PROBLEM, OOOH NO, I JUST WANT TO REPEATEDLY PUNCH HOGAN, HART, AND YOU ALL IN THE FACE, OOOH YEAH and then he leaves. Tony S. now talks to J.J. Dillon, who I guess is going to lead the pitch to Sting for sticking with WCW. He didn’t even bring out any of the guys he stepped out of the limo with earlier tonight to help him pitch. So nWo Hollywood has the Hitman pitch Sting. The Wolfpac has Luger pitch Sting. WCW has J.J. fucking Dillon pitch Sting. Oh, WCW, you lovable losers. Dillon basically is like Sting, WCW is not popular or effective, but you should stick with us anyway because something something legacy, something something we like you a lot? Oy vey. There’s another limo backstage! How thrilling! There’s a break, and when we come back, it’s just a few nWo Hollywood guys, led by Hogan, Bischoff, and the Giant. The Hitman’s there too, by the way. Larry Z. tries to make a fat joke about Dusty, but it’s bad and doesn’t land, and in fact confuses Tony S. for a second. Oh, WCW! Anyway, those fellas all trundle out to take up valuable TV time with an interview. Hogan talks a ton, and I basically zoned out. He pitches Sting somewhere in there and agrees to the tag match that Luger called for earlier. He also calls out Savage and Piper, and Bret unbuttons his shirt to show that he’s wearing one of those ugly Hollywood Hogan shirts with the skull. Oooh, t-shirt rebuttal! It’s still not an nWo shirt, which would be a nice way to swerve that Bret’s not really nWo Hollywood down the road. Hogan steals Savage’s catchphrase again *sigh*. Konnan’s back out here to wrestle Lenny Lane (w/bronzer). These fellas do some very slow mat sequences before Konnan hits a sit-out facebuster. Konnan transitions through a couple of submissions, takes a finger to the eye, and then eats a small beatdown from Lane. Lane kicks Konnan in the stomach and then promotes his ab bronzer to the corner camera. Konnan hops over a Lenny Lane charge and then gets a pin with a bridge that gets three because Lane doesn’t kick out in time, but Scott Dickinson calls it two anyway. They exchange a few pinning combos done at glacial pace until finally Konnan hits his signature cradle DDT and wraps on a Tequila Sunrise for the win. Well, that match happened. Oh yeah, Curt Hennig was on crutches when he came out for that first Wolfpac interview, and Tony S. reminds me of this fact because he’s interviewing Hennig now. Or not, as Rude rips Tony S.’s mic away and, along with Hennig, gives us some insight into this whole sudden Hennig knee injury. They cut a crappy promo in which they pretend that they can’t say the word “perfect” because they’ll get sued, and then Hennig calls Konnan out to take his place in a bunch of house show matches against Goldberg so that Hennig can rest up for the PPV. Yeah, sure, whatever, I don’t give a fuck. This sucked. Oh wow, wait, I wrote that before Perfect called Goldberg “Bill Goldturd.” Truly an abomination of a segment. Eddy Guerrero creeps on out here, looking to make sure that Chavo’s nowhere around. He’s got a title shot against Fit Finlay, but, uh, he seems a bit distracted. Dr. Harvey Schiller’s daughter is very bored in the front row, by the way. Finlay overpowers Eddy, who is freaking out between worrying about where Chavo is and pretending to hate the weak EDDY SUCKS chant. I should have written that more appropriately because they’re chanting it like this: eddy sucks. What sucks is this crowd, but I repeat myself. Anyway, these fellas wrestle a solid match where Finlay uses his power advantage and Eddy being slightly off to dominate. Eddy fights back and manages to get a sleeper hold on, but Finlay powers Eddy up and hangs him on the top rope in a cool power spot. Eddy dodges again, drops a tope con hilo, and desperately tries to keep Finlay from catching his breath. Eddy loses control when trying to stand and strike with Finlay, but is able to get a back suplex and go back to work. That’s when Chavo runs into the ring and Billy Silverman, uh, immediately throws the match out? Why? Chavo didn’t do anything. He just tells Eddy that he loves him and asks for a match at GAB. What the fuck? Chris Jericho, in a pre-tape, stands on the steps of Congress. He’s got on a blue suit and has a wild hairdo going. Apparently, no one in DC cares about J.J. Dillon or even knows who he is, and also, they want Jericho to leave the premises. So, hilariously, Jericho leaves the SCOTUS building claiming that he left a note with Clarence Thomas, which SHOOT, NOT KAYFABE might have happened considering what we know about Jericho. Anyway, this sketch is far less funny than I remember it. The idea is great even if the execution is mediocre, though. Jericho flips through books at the Library of Congress and bothers people on Capitol Hill in the first whiffed attempt at pro wrestling goodness that he’s made in a long time, though had you asked me before I saw this again, I would have sworn it was a classic cut. Jericho comes to the ring next and calls out J.J. Dillon. Dillon’s super-bored by this and doesn’t bother coming to the ring, so Jericho gets aggy and makes a few Bloom County-level political observations that barely pass as jokes before Juvi Guerrera comes to the ring to wrestle him. Jericho shuts down an early Juvi flurry with power before Juvi gets going and hits a series of moves that end with Juvi dumping himself on the head while he hits a Frankensteiner from the top to a standing Jericho in the ring. Jericho gets a little room with a double-underhook backbreaker and a cocky pin, but gets rana’d into a two-count in short order. Juvi blows a DDT attempt that gets two even though it looked terrible, then hits a Juvi Driver and goes up for a 450. Jericho gets to his feet, crotches Juvi, and then goes through a sequence that ends with him blocking a rana and going for a Lion Tamer that Juvi escapes by grabbing the ropes. Juvi comes back, ducks a Jericho lariat that spills Jericho to the floor, then drops Jericho with a rana from the apron to Jericho standing on the floor. Juvi gets back in the ring while Scott Dickinson faces Jericho at ringside and counts; Reese comes to the ring, hits Juvi from behind, and chokebombs him. Jericho steals a three-count after Reese leaves the ring. Well, that wasn’t very good. Jericho managed to miss both in a skit and in the ring. Juvi having a clear off night in terms of execution didn’t help. We missed one of the matches in the Booker/Benoit Bo7 because I’m not covering WCWSN. We get a review of the three matches so far: Benoit won match one with a Crippler Crossface last Nitro. Booker won match two, which was FANTASTIC, by hitting a missile dropkick on the previous Thunder Interlude. In match three on WCWSN, Benoit found a way to get Booker up and over on a German Suplex with a bridge that earned a three count. Match four is next! If I recall correctly, which is admittedly the likeliest thing, Benoit went up 3-1, lost the next two, the men drew the last match or Benoit won it by DQ or something like that, and they had an eighth match at GAB that Booker won in the same night he beat Finlay for the TV title. Let’s find out if I’m right! Finlay comes out to the ramp to watch as Booker starts the match throwing forearms at Benoit; he catches a charging Benoit in a floatover powerslam for two. Booker continues to control until, in a transition that I usually don’t like, he tosses Benoit back in the ring after having zero issues with him on the outside and Benoit is suddenly just fine and ready to hit a bunch of stomps to take over. This is a slower-paced match, which makes sense as these fellas are both more tentative, having made mistakes against one another in the past that got punished. Booker gets twos off all sorts of forearm-based offense, then goes to the chinlock. Back to standing, Book whiffs on a side kick and gets folded on a release German. The desk bickers about Karl Malone *sigh* while this dead crowd *sigh* does not enhance this perfectly okay match. They pop for a Booker axe kick and raise the roof to boot, so I'm glad to see they're alive out there. Book is rolling until he goes for a vertical suplex, at which point Benoit struggles out of it, locks on a Crippler Crossface, and gets Book to tap out about three or four inches from the ropes. Benoit leads 3-1. This match was solid, but that Thunder match might be the high point of this series. I should go back and watch the third match from SN, though. I think the idea here behind the “Who will Sting join?” angle that they’ve been pushing all night is a good one. It’s analogous to an elite athlete hitting free agency; everyone wants to know where LeBron Sting is taking his talents to. It’s just not very well executed because it’s done in the same style that WCW does to flog everything else they really want to get over as a central angle. The desk even talked about this being like if Michael Jordan hit free agency as an example, as a matter of fact. Good idea, poor execution, down to replaying the Sting video that we saw to start the show after the desk, which has been talking about Sting throughout the other segments and matches, talks about Sting some more. Scotty Riggs (w/Sick Boy) faces off with Diamond Dallas Page, who hasn’t really been on TV much after that big feud-ending win over Raven in a match that was wildly disappointing considering who was in it. The match layout was more the problem than the workers, though. Anyway, this match is short and gives the crowd what they want. Page fends off both men and hits Riggs with a TKO-style Diamond Cutter for an easy three. Post-match, he slips away from Sick Boy after Sick Boy jumps him and hits another Diamond Cutter. The crowd loves it. Really, we all do. Craig Leathers and crew are on top of things tonight! They play some entrance music that isn’t La Parka’s for a good fifteen seconds before playing La Parka’s theme as La Parka comes down. Park’s being fed to Goldberg tonight, which is a definite step up from Goldberg’s usual fodder. Huge GOLDBERG chant even though I don’t really see anyone chanting. Maybe they’re off the hard camera, who knows. Don’t get me wrong, though, Goldberg signs are everywhere. Dude is definitely mad over. So, in a WILD SPOT to start, Parka threatens to hit Goldberg with the chair. Goldberg is like DO IT THEN, and Parka just wallops this dude with an unprotected shot to the head. Goldberg goes RAAAARGH, spears Parka, and Jackhammers him in fifteen seconds for the win. I don’t approve of the chair to the head, but if you’re gonna have an unprotected chair to the head, that seems like the spot you’d reserve that sort of thing for. I need to give Tony S. some credit for seeing that spear, chuckling in disbelief, and saying “It’s over” in a voice filled with nothing but wonder for Goldberg. That definitely enhanced the moment. Buffer’s out to ring announce for the main event with seventeen whole minutes left on the clock! Aw, yeah! So, it’s Hogan and Giant versus Nash and Luger. They pose, they insult each other’s now logos, they preen, and the crowd is into it because this crowd is into the main eventers and maybe a couple midcarders. I mean, they’re not that into it, but I hear a steady noise above a murmur for one of the few times all night. Luger scores first with a tiny shoulderblock that barely touches Hogan. The crowd really wants to see Nash, I think. They definitely want to see Nash wrestle Hogan. Then again, they’re just sort of tepid for this encounter, which you’d think they’d be hot for, right? Is this the first time Nash and Hogan have wrestled one another in this company? Nash and Giant are a good pairing and have a good segment, but TBH the Giant is far and away the best worker in this match, with Nash a distant second, and so when Luger or Hogan are in the ring, the match is just kind of there. I do like Giant trying to beg off Luger, appealing to their past as tag champs, but Luger’s okay with all that. If I’m putting Giant/Big Show’s best opponents on a list, Luger and Nash are in the top four at worst. I contemplate this as Nash goes to work on Giant and Hogan hits him in the back with the World Championship belt for a DQ. Giant and Hogan work Nash over while Sting rappels down from the sky. Sting unhooks himself, walks past Luger, gets in the ring, and unzips his coat to reveal an nWo Hollywood shirt. Sting and Giant celebrate, which allows Sting to jump both of them, rip off his nWo Hollywood shirt (with some difficulty) and reveal an nWo Wolfpac shirt underneath. Luger hugs Sting (aw, that’s nice). Do you think that J.J. Dillon has the kayfabe lucidity to understand just how AWFUL his pitch was? This show wasn’t very good, and that’s not because of Hogan, necessarily, but I note that Hogan came back and we had a weak show for the first time since he left. Also, I’m taking a quarter splash off this final score because I do not approve of Sting wearing an nWo shirt in any colors, dammit! 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
  8. Thunder Interlude – show number eighteen – 28 May 1998 "The WCW Gang’s putting together a string of excellent shows to my surprise” I wanted to squeeze one more show in here before I head out for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend…That last Nitro pulled me back in…I honestly think Hogan being off TV for these last couple of shows has been huge for their quality… Bret Hart opens the show on the stick…He’s not a fan of the fans…This whole schtick was better in 1997…I want babyface Bret Hart…Though heel Bret being a dick is pretty funny…For such a humorless dude, he can be pretty entertaining on the mic…Then again, being acerbic can definitely lead to quality promos…Bret calls out Sting (!!!)…Wow, could WCW maybe possibly make a match that I want to see involving the Hitman?...Actually, Bret sympathizes with Sting being caught in a tough place and having to make a hard decision…Bret promises to help Sting make the best decision possible for his career…IDK, Sting, Bret picked wrong by re-signing with WWF in 1996, maybe be skeptical of his help…Fan’s sign: BRET “THE TRADER” HART…Bret’s like Art Vandelay…He’s an importer/exporter…He imports titles and exports PAIN… Hey, it’s Jim Powers…Heyyyyyyy, it’s Barbarian!...Jimmy Hart and Hugh Morrus are seconding Barbarian…Why did they split up Barb and Meng, anyway?...This match doesn’t give me awesome Barb offense until the Kick of Fear at the end…However, I love the spot where Powers can’t knock Barb down with multiple lariats, so he taps Barb’s sack and then finally drops Barb with a kneelift…Inoffensive, and the crowd likes Barb’s act, which I do as well… Chris Jericho interviews with Tony S….Per the above post, Jericho won his match last Nitro with a Lion Tamer and NOT a Walls of Jericho…Jericho apologizes for insulting J.J. Dillon on Nitro…You don’t really have to dude, it was funny…Jericho calls Dillon out to reason through the Ciclope incident again, but Dillon isn’t here…Jericho makes Tony hold up a CONSPIRACY VICTIM sign that points an arrow at Jericho and then immediately insults Dillon again…Hahahaha, Jericho promises to take his complaints straight to Congress and the White House next week…This is going to be a classic segment...This promo was good, and Jericho was only going half-speed on this one… After lots of Sting/Luger/Giant/Nash/Wolfpac recap, we get DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE…This is one of my favorite underneath tag teams, honestly…They’re jobbing to the British Bulldog and Jim “please spell my name correctly” Neidhart tonight…Nah, put High Voltage over instead…Robbie Rage did zero in his career, really, but as I’ve said many times before, I very much enjoy him in these TV matches…Rage tries a couple of springboards, and eventually one too many…The hot tag that follows leads to Bulldog finishing Kaos with a running powerslam…Also inoffensive… Hey, the Wolfpac finally got their own theme!...Man, these fellas are very over…I can’t really fault the nWo split from a booking perspective precisely because the Wolfpac are so over…It’s promo time…Luger explains why he decided to take the Wolfpac’s deal…Pretty much, he thinks they’re an elite group and he belongs with them…Also, WCW is really dragging ass, and so he decided to move on to a group that might actually finish off the black-and-white…Reasonable points, Luger!...Luger tries to convince Sting to join him…The crowd is like YEAH STING SHOULD TOTALLY JOIN THE WOLFPAC…Poor WCW, it’s so uncool…Not as uncool as nWo Hollywood, but uncool… Glacier versus Van Hammer won’t be good, but it will be entertaining to me...I accept that my anticipation for this match is strange, weird, and possibly ungodly…See, I kind of liked this…after Hammer eats a leg sweep, he locks up Glacier, full nelson slams him, and hits the Daniel LaRussa crane kick taunt…Hammer press slams Glacier from the second rope to the mat…Then, after Glacier bails, Hammer takes the long way around to keep Glacier from leaving and gets caught pursuing Glacier back into the ring…Hammer keeps breaking Glacier’s control, but Glacier hits a big boot and then locks the Rings of Saturn on Hammer… Saturn runs out and superkicks Glacier in disgust before throwing hands at Hammer…Raven runs in to help Saturn and Evenflows Hammer…Saturn drops Glacier with a DVD…Raven grabs a mic, points out that he helped Saturn out again, and wants to be a tag team…So, Saturn points out that he didn’t need Raven’s help, but he acquiesces and says that he’ll be Raven’s regular tag team partner…A paranoid Raven suddenly thinks he sees Kanyon in the distance and he and Saturn run after him…They end up attacking some popcorn guy who they think is Kanyon, but isn’t…Then they attack a set tech who also isn’t Kanyon…Kanyon is off to the side pretending to be a construction dude, and he clobbers Raven from behind with a cookie sheet…That whole thing was fucking WILD, I loved it…And I liked the match that started it all, too…It didn’t reach “charming uniquity” status, but it was fun… Match two in the Benoit/Booker Bo7 is next…We don’t even see the entrances…Booker’s got all the size and explosiveness, and again dominates early…Benoit’s usual “chop the crap out of my opponent” approach is much less effective early on against Book…Booker hits a superkick, but Glacier’s not around to get all aggy about it…Boy, this is pacey…I wonder if they’re a bit behind schedule here…Benoit finally slows the match down and is able to take extended control…Benoit cuts off a Booker comeback with a boot and some chops…A double crossbody starts a standing ten count…Book only gets two off a quick inside cradle when he gets to his feet… Benoit re-takes control and hits a GROSS diving headbutt, FUUUUUCK that had to hurt…That had better get three, but no, it only gets two…Booker fights to a base again from a headlock and hits a flash axe kick that only gets two after Book is too weak to cover…Wow, the crowd thought that was it…Book whiffs on a side kick and hangs himself on the ropes…Benoit gets a series of two counts off some violent offense…Book hits a desperation spinebuster on a rope run…He follows with a high-angled back suplex and a spinaroonie…Then we get a great exchange in which Booker whiffs on another Houston Side Kick, but recovers and finally hits it…Book goes up, hits a missile dropkick, and finagles a three count…That match ruled, man, it was GREAT…Benoit is mad as hell and recovers real quick so he can cut a quick promo...He tells Booker that it was only one match, he’ll fuck Booker up next time around…I fucking loved all of this…WCW is hitting a hot patch that I didn’t foresee post-Slamboree… Fit Finlay is right out here, no entrance, to defend his TV title against perennial loser and dude unable to break the ol’ Armstrong Curse, Brad Armstrong…This is a good cooldown match after those last three segments where the crowd was on fire…It’s a perfectly fine little match in which Finlay throws some nice strikes and wins with a Tombstone…The crowd chants BORING though…I mean, not everything can be a five-star segment, folks…It was probably a shade too long, in fairness…I thought it was solid for what it was, though… I might normally boo this overlong recap of the Savage/Piper/Hart stuff from Nitro, but I’m in a good mood… Barry Darsow’s still hanging around the company and gets a rare runout on something other than a WCW C-Show…Saturn/Darsow actually sounds sort of enticing in a weird way…It’s pretty decent stuff…Darsow plays a pretty good veteran bully (heh)…He works the arm to set up for his armbar finish, called Barely Legal…Saturn gets himself to the ropes and catches Darsow with a superkick when Darsow gets caught up arguing with the ref about the rope break…Saturn follows up with a DVD for the win… Barry Horowitz tries to recapture his big upset magic he conjured up against Bodydonna Skip tonight against Goldberg…Spoiler alert: He does not…Candido’s great, but he’s no Goldberg…I’m out on these nightly Goldberg squashes against jobbers who never win anyway…Maybe they should have gone a different way and had him only wrestle on PPV for a minute…Stretch out the run to 100-0 and make it mean something because he’s beating actual threats and semi-threats to do it on PPV… Bret Hart leads Eric Bischoff, Vincent, and the Giant out to the ring…Bret makes his pitch to Sting, and boy, is it far less convincing than Luger’s pitch…He reminds Sting about that whole thing where he re-started the main event at Starrcade for no reason, if you think about it, because Nick Patrick's count was on time…But I mean, yeah, good point…He also points out the, uh, spotty histories of some of the Wolfpac members…He lets Luger off the hook when he really should have talked about Luger being a dick to Sting in 1992…and 1995…and 1996… The Wolfpac’s music cuts Bret Hart off…Nash disagrees with Bret…Bret disagrees with Nash…Bret is very crochety about it…Anyway, they decide that words are stupid and pointless and brawl in the aisle as the show closes… WCW is good and so was this Thunder…Hooray for happy surprises…WOOOOOOOOOOOO
  9. I could see Montreal making its way down into Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. That's not totally surprising in the way that Georgia running parts of Ohio is, as someone mentioned. There's at least a little cultural fit there for Montreal in New England. Now if you told me Montreal ran farther south in, like, Massachusetts, now that would surprise me.
  10. I would never have guessed that the W(W)WF had gone into West Virginia. I would have been certain that it'd be part of Charlotte's domain. Then again, IIRC Gary Hart talked about booking that promotion and noted that he and two other bookers took a state for themselves (VA/NC/SC). WV is sort of in a weird place location-wise, up against Capitol Sports, JCP, and the Tennessee promotions.
  11. Show #143 – 25 May 1998 "The one where Indiana loves Sting and Luger and Nash, but they especially love the Wolfpac, like WOW, do they love it” We’re back to three hours of fun (?!?) on Nitro. I don’t see Tayo in the ring with the Nitro Girls. Bummer! But at least we didn’t start this show with Bischoff sitting on a Harley, so that’s a win. I’ll take it. Lots of Sting-Giant-Luger recap. So much promise, and it ends with Sting and Luger as nWo Wolfpac, huh? I vaguely remember being into this angle 25 years ago and deflating when it ended up where it ended up. It’s a loooooooong recap – we’re over eight minutes in before they finally play the title opening, in fact, after which we go right to a commercial break. Raven finally comes out here nine minutes in (not counting commercials) to cut a promo, and I love Raven on the stick, but could we get, like, some wrestling first? These shows were known for hot cruiserweight matches to get the crowd going, but that doesn’t actually happen all that often in practice! Anyway, Raven’s got his Flock and his riot squad with him as he threatens Kanyon. Then, he shows that he’s still struggling with respecting Saturn’s boundaries. He shows this by keeping a careful accounting of all the times he’s ever done anything nice for Saturn, but also love-bombing him by firing Kidman, Lodi, and Horace in an attempt to curry favor with his erstwhile buddy. Saturn is unresponsive to Raven’s pleas. I mean, he isn’t even moved by Raven hitting that twerp Lodi with an Evenflow. Glacier cuts a heel promo about how he’s great, and also how his entrance used to be great, but even though it’s not as great anymore, the Cryonic Kick is still really great. He thinks Saturn is a scuzzball move thief, or at least that’s what he intimates in so many words. It’s a fine-enough promo, and honestly, I’m sort of into this Saturn/Glacier match based around superkicks even though the superkick as a move is currently fucking DEAD and should be buried for a couple of decades so that it can mean something again someday. We’ve had two Nitro Girls routines and zero matches as of about fifteen minutes in. I love Kim and Chae, but come on, now. Recap of the Booker/Benoit feud next . Come the fuck on already. Who laid this show out? Anyway, we’re getting that (first) famous best-of-seven series between the two, starting tonight. Finally, a match! And they even got Mike Enos out of mothballs for it! Or maybe Enos has been the king of Worldwide lately; I say this because he’s got a TV title shot against Fit Finlay. The bell rings for our first match at 19:41 of this video, not including commercials. The commentators talk about Fake Sting wrestling a match later tonight for awhile, but Finlay hits a snapmare and I guess that reminds everyone that a wrestling match is currently happening. This is an okay TV match. I would expect these two to have at worst a decent match. Finlay dominates, but he posts himself on a shoulder charge and eats a short-arm clothesline. The crowd is just really into the wrestling here in Evansville, Indiana, just as they were in Cleveland on the previous Thunder. We get a back-and-forth match in which Finlay hits a rolling fireman’s carry slam, but gets countered into a fallaway slam for two. The crowd is strangely into it. Then Enos I think blows a move, maybe? I can’t tell because they work right through it in a logical way; Enos just sells that he lost his grip because his knee gave out, and Finlay drops him with a Tombstone shortly after for the win. That was alright, man, alright. Despite the blown move (or awkward counter?) leading to the finish, it was alright. I stepped out for a quick snack, so I missed Gene Okerlund shilling the hotline. What I’m not missing, at all, not for a second, is Glacier coming to the ring to face Saturn! By the way, Tenay’s insistence on commentary that Saturn is one hundred percent in the right about this whole superkick controversy is one of the small treats of this whole dumb mini-feud. Glacier wins an exchange early, celebrates, and of course gets leg swept to the mat almost immediately after. They trade standing side kicks before Glacier scores with a big boot and some strikes in the corner. Again, Glacier celebrates, and again that gives Saturn a chance to jump him. The story here is that Glacier gets a kick or two in, but Saturn always finds space to counter. Raven comes out to watch from the ramp (a huge RAVEN SUCKS chant commences) as Saturn scores a big suplex, but eats knees on a top-rope splash. Glacier and Saturn wipe out on a dual crossbody attempt, and Raven comes closer to the ring…as Hammer runs up from behind and wipes Raven out to a huge pop. Hammer gets on the apron, where Glacier hits him with a Cryonic Kick and then turns right around into a Saturn DVD that scores three. Weird finish, honestly. You’d think Saturn would win with a superkick of his own considering the story. On the floor, Raven drops Hammer with an Evenflow, then yells WHAT ABOUT MEEEEE at Saturn as Saturn beelines past him in irritation. I mean, I enjoyed all of that, even if I feel like the match itself should have ended in a superkick. I’m super-into the weird internal politics of the Flock and the spurned wrestlers who have been rejected from the Flock, but I know Bischoff and his booking committee, so I have no faith that it ends up somewhere interesting. The Giant, flanked by Crush and Vincent, Virgil, whatever, comes to the ring. Some dude in the crowd keeps yelling SELLOUT at the Giant, but that’s not quite fair. This time around, the Giant didn’t join the nWo for money. He joined them to irritate Kevin Nash. He calls Nash a coward and demands a one-on-one match. In a subtle bit of heeling, he demands that Nash be brave enough to leave Savage and Konnan in the back while also standing around out here with Crush and Vincent backing him up. The crowd is very into the idea of Kevin Nash coming out here right now. Look, say what you want about Nash in general or in WCW specifically, but you can’t deny that the man was very over for most of his nWo-era run there. Nash finally answers the call. He calls the trio in the ring “Hogan’s three fluff boys,” which, uh, problematic, fella. Also, I can’t believe that got on television! Even considering that it’s cable television! So, Nash gets in the ring, wins the brawl initially before being overwhelmed by numbers, and is saved by the rest of the Wolfpac…and Lex Luger, who runs in with a steel chair. This crowd is desperate for Luger to join the Wolfpac. They are fucking HOT for all this. Konnan tosses Luger his red-and-black nWo shirt. Luger considers the offer. He shows the shirt to the crowd. They are like JOIN THE WOLFPAC YOU IDIOT, so he joins the Wolfpac. I mean, I can’t criticize this booking decision… …because now Sting’s two closest buds went nWo, and Sting is whipsawed between them and between being WCW’s defender and champion. That’s a GREAT storyline right there! Bonus: Luger very likely is happy to join the Wolfpac so he can get at Scott Steiner, who he’s been mad at for months because of what Scotty did to Rick. He has a similar motivation to finally going nWo as Giant did for running back to Hogan’s nWo. Do I think Sting should join either nWo group? Absolutely not; he’s WCW. That’s where the story is – that he teases joining both, but reaffirms his WCW allegiance and now has two hot feuds with two former friends who are now reluctantly drawn into gunning for him because they couldn’t let go of their anger at Scott Steiner and Nash, respectively. But it didn’t go that way, to my memory, and that’s a shame. Chris Jericho, WCW Cruiserweight Champion Conspiracy Victim, comes to the ring in a ridiculous (and ridiculously pro-wrestling-awesome) vest. He unloads on his opponent El Dandy. Dandy does get two on a series of rollups, but whiffs on a top rope move that is obviously meant for Dandy to leave his legs free for a Lion Tamer, or a Walls of Jericho, I think I use those names interchangeably at this point. Post-match, Jericho grabs a mic and dedicates the victory to all his Jerichoholics. He looks like he might start sobbing about not being Cruiserweight Champion anymore and then calls out J.J. Dillon again (“Put down the hot dog and the piece of pizza, get off your butt, and waddle on down here”). I mean, he just rips on this guy with a further series of insults, then realizes that Dillon has actually shown up this time; he further realizes that his mic is still on. Jericho immediately goes into disingenuous friendliness mode (“You’re lookin’ GREAT. Did you get a new haircut?”). This dude is killing me. He’s too funny. You can be a little funny as a heel, but if you make people laugh, they’re going to be inclined to like you. Dillon reminds Jericho that Jericho was overjoyed to have the advantage of wrestling a guy who had already wrestled in the battle royal and that battle royals are a little hinky, rules-wise, and often have surprise entrants (fair point, J.J.!). Dillon says that the match decision from Slamboree stands. Jericho goes bananas, calling Dillon a “pretentious idiot” until Dillon walks away, at which point he chases after “Mr. Dillon” desperately begging for his belt back. HOLY SHIT, what a promo from Jericho. This promo is also a perfect example of why grim, suit-wearing Jericho was such a big hit – heel Jericho was always so frantic and fragile that he’d generate a ton of laughs, so him standing there in silence looking like he smelled a fart was an especially effective change of character if you’d been watching him for the eight or ten or twelve years before that. Konnan is repping the Wolfpac in the ring against La Parka. Hey, La Parka! That guy is the best. This match isn’t the best, but you know, Konnan’s involved. La Parka does that wild signature corner bump he does, so that’s cool. Parka’s a great bumper, particularly for his size. Parka gets a little control, but dives off the top rope and into double boots. Konnan follows up with a mule kick and a sit-out facebuster. He does a little call-and-response with the crowd, hits a cradle DDT, and locks on the Tequila Sunrise for the submission victory. The crowd really, really, really loves the Wolfpac, did I mention? Kanyon, who we’re not calling Mortis anymore per his request, cuts a somewhat shitty promo in which he threatens to attack Raven. He’s willing to disguise himself a billion times over to get to Raven and promises to keep coming for him. Let’s just skip to the very good PPV match they will have and dispense with Kanyon trying to cut promos to keep this feud rolling. They show a video recap of Macho Man being confused by the definition of the word “icon” from Thunder, and maybe it’s me, but Liz sure looks like she’s considering corpsing because of all the silliness. I mean, she’d better not because Savage would totally tag her in the face like he did Torrie Wilson. Gene Okerlund interviews Roddy Piper about whether or not Piper and Savage will actually be a working tag team at Great American Bash. Piper: “I’m dribblin’ through more bull here than the Indiana Pacers!” Hey, do me a favor and fuck off, Piper. Oh, speaking of that last remark, it’s time for another Piper Knows Pop Culture: He’s got the Tazmanian Devil wearing a kilt on his t-shirt, calls Savage a “Village People throwback,” and generally fucking SUCKS at talking on the stick. Jesus, he really is gonna drive this “Village People/Macho Man” thing into the ground. He even sings “YMCA.” Savage comes out for a promo battle that sucks on Piper’s part, but on Savage's part is hilarious. Savage is mad that Piper didn’t apologize for a bad call at Slamboree, but he wouldn’t even accept Piper's apology anyway. Piper, who really wants to fuck RuPaul IMO, asks Savage if he’s mad that Piper didn’t give Savage a gift from said drag queen icon. Boy, he is fixated on RuPaul, but you know, who isn’t, if you think about it? Anyway, Bret Hart walks down with a mic and wisely sows dissension between Piper and Savage by pretending that Hart and Piper are in cahoots and that Piper and Hart had planned the whole Slamboree finish out beforehand. Hahaha, the Hitman, in the middle of laying out this false plot, tells Piper, “And by the way, my mother says to say ‘hi’,” and I lost it right there. Hart also calls the previous PPV “THE SLAMBOREE” and basically, I love this dude. He’s the best. He just came out here and saved this awful segment by trolling the fuck out of Piper. Piper, of course, has to respond after Hart leaves and tries to convince Savage to stay a team with him. He *sigh* says that Hart and Hogan have two “H”s like the word 'hemorrhoids,' but hemorrhoids are less annoying." Anyway, so Piper finally promises Savage that if they work together and beat Hogan and Hart, they can settle their differences in the ring after that, which seems to somewhat mollify Savage. I mean, this angle sucks and I don’t care about this tag match at all, but I never want to hear anything about Bret being subpar on the stick ever again because he was great. As was all of his 1997 on the stick. But you know, you can just point to his part of this promo battle on Nitro because it ruled. This crowd loves to boo Kidman and cheer Juventud and his JOOOOOOOCE. These fellas generally work well together, so this’ll be solid at worst. We get some nice early exchanges until Kidman wins a rope-running exchange with a sit-out spinebuster. Juvi fights through a choke, gets back on his feet, and rips off Kidman’s shirt before hitting chops and a nice headscissors that sends Kidman outside. Then, Juvi rips off a sweet suicide dive that pops the crowd. I mean, he got air on that one even for him! Lodi distracts Juvi as the Juiceiest of Ones tries to send the match back to the ring, which allows Kidman to hit a sit-out facebuster for two. Kidman maintains control, and when Juvi eventually fights up to a rising cheer from the crowd, Kidman cuts him off with a vicious lariat that gets an OOH from the fans. This is an exceptionally good crowd tonight. They have made this show better. Finally, Kidman whiffs on a corner charge and is hit with a lariat himself. Both men are down, though Juvi is up first; Kidman again cuts him off with a big powerslam. Kidman controls some more until again Juvi is able to stay on his feet on the apron after Kidman reverse suplexes him over the top rope. Juvi scores with a top rope wheel kick, but only gets two, and Kidman again takes control by reversing an Irish whip and hitting a facebuster for 2.9. This is actually really good, especially for a television match. Juvi fights out of a suplex again and keeps getting cut off by Kidman, this time with a release German that plants Juvi on his face. Kidman goes up top, but eats a dropkick to the gut on his dive. Juvi takes the opening to hit a Juvi Driver, then finally lands a 450 for three. Yeah, that was sweet, and it was a match that fits with the whole “never surrender” gimmick Juvi’s working, which commentary actually goes out of their way to point out! Excellent TV wrestling, folks. Nitro Girls. Video of a Nitro Party full of young girls. They really like the Outsiders and Sting. WCW should position the Outsiders and Sting at the tippy-top. It seems like pretty much all WCW fans across gender, race, and age are agreed on how great the Outsiders and Sting are based on this show, TBH. Scott Steiner hasn’t been on TV lately, nor has Rick Steiner. We get a video recap of that awesome Nitro promo with the brothers Steiner from three Nitros ago on Show #140. Really, Scott was the driving force for all the awesomeness in that promo, but whatever, we needed a fall guy in Rick for Scott’s devious fake crying to work so well. Get Scott back on TV ASAP, though. Eddy Guerrero comes out for a match, with a boisterous Chavo Jr. trailing him. Chavo is Eddy’s biggest fan now, which is making Eddy pretty nervous. Chavo grabs a mic and is excited to do Eddy’s grunt work in the ring. Eddy wants to just wrestle the match himself and threatens to slap Chavo, so Chavo presents a cheek and asks to be hit. Then he starts an ED-DY chant. Hilarious. Eddy gives up and just lets Chavo take his match for the night; Chavo celebrates with arms in the air. Oh hey, Ultimo Dragon is his opponent for the evening. Well, let’s tie a bow on this little feud. Chavo backs away from a lockup to try and start an ED-DY chant again. Everyone is confused. Chavo gets a headlock on and looks to Eddy for approval. Then, these fellas have a fun, fast-paced match! Dragon hits some vicious chops, but gets dropkicked in the stomach on a springboard attempt. Chavo takes control, but eats a dragon screw when he tries a kick. Dragon locks on a cool-looking standing Figure Four leglock. That’s a really neat one. Then he rolls Chavo into a cravat-looking thing, sort of octopus hold-like, but not quite. Dragon pretty much dominates this thing, honestly. Chavo does get a bit of room, so Eddy grabs Chavo’s leg as he tries to suplex Dragon. Dragon is then able to flip behind Chavo and lock on the Dragon Sleeper. Eddy thinks Dragon has won it! He’s even put the towel over his head in anticipation of Chavo losing! But what Eddy doesn’t see is Chavo throw a knee that cracks Dragon in the crown of his head and breaks the hold. Chavo chokes Dragon on the ropes, proudly tells a shocked Eddy HEY EDDY, I’M CHEATING TO WIN, and then drops Dragon with a tornado DDT for three. The crowd kind of pops because they like Chavo, but they’re still not sure what to think about Chavo’s somewhat weird attitude. Chavo wants to wrestle Eddy next and is willing to accept corporal punishment to get a match against his uncle. Eddy says they can have a match later just to calm Chavo down. Okerlund comes to ringside to interview Los Guerreros. Eddy tells Okerlund that Penzer’s dad is a shrink and that maybe he’ll talk to Penzer about arranging a session, HAHAHAHAHA. J.J. Dillon comes down and tells the Guerreros that they’ll face each other in a match at the Great American Bash. Eddy freaks out; Chavo desperately tries to get someone, anyone, even Gene, to slug him in the face. This whole deal was DEE-LIGHTFUL. Lenny Lane oils his abs upon his entrance to the ring. Is there an oil that he can rub on his personality to make him charismatic? Speaking of charisma, here comes Dean Malenko! The desk remembers, on a show weeks ago, when Lane pretended to be Jericho against Malenko and tricked Malenko into thinking that he’d won the Cruiserweight title. Hey, good memory! (That happened on Thunder Interlude, show number ten). This match is decent. Lane is really trying to bust out dynamic offense and really heel it up. I respect the hard work even if he’s not the greatest in the ring. They wrestle a back-and-forth match that is more of a disconnected series of spots than a match that flows, but some of the moves are pretty good! Malenko displays a nice heel hook and hits a sweet leg lariat in there. He also rolls through a Lane diving sunset flip and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf in a pretty good finish. Uh, it’s Johnny Attitude? WCW Power Plant student? Cosplaying as Goldberg before he gets killed by Goldberg in what I am going to hope is absolutely not a U.S. Championship match? And Attitude went on to have a company, Micro Championship Wrestling, which was focused on matches between little person wrestlers? Was my quick Googling of Mr. Attitude, who passed away in 2018, more substantial than this ninety second squash match against a guy with zero chance that probably Goldberg shouldn’t be doing on Nitro so often at this point? Booker T. and Chris Benoit face off in match one of their best-of-seven next. Benoit chops the fuck out of Book on a corner break, and Booker responds with forearms, including a running forearm that knocks Benoit to the floor. I dig the intensity in this thing. We get an early going of switches and counters, but the early story is Booker having the size and explosiveness to halt Benoit’s momentum. Book sends Benoit outside with another lariat, in fact, and back in the ring, Benoit looks for the first chance to wrap a Crippler Crossface on; Book recognizes what’s happening and hits a side kick to escape. Benoit is somewhat desperate here, but he gains space with a boot to the solar plexus and a front suplex than hangs Book on the top rope. That allows Benoit, who is in the rare position of having no edge in explosiveness, to slow the pace and grind Booker down. Booker fights up from a chinlock and gets two on a sunset flip, but Benoit chops Book back down and regains control. Benoit uses strikes and lariats to score a couple of two counts, then goes back to the chinlock. Book fights up, so Benoit simply uses his leverage to trip him. Nice counter there. The desk is more interested in the Sting/Luger/nWo angle, though. It’s a good angle, but also, can we focus on the thing happening in front of us right now, which is also part of a good angle? They regain focus as Benoit works another chinlock, so uh, that’s enough chinlocks for one ten minute match. I guess I can’t blame the desk for losing focus what with all these chinlocks. Booker fights up, but runs right into a backbreaker for two. Benoit goes for the kill, but whiffs on a flying headbutt. Fit Finlay comes onto the ramp to check out the action. Meanwhile, Booker hits a spinebuster in the ring, then a pancake and a Spinaroonie. We go into the finish, in which everyone whiffs on a bunch of strikes until Booker flips behind Benoit and hits an axe kick. Booker follows with a side slam, then goes up for a Harlem Hangover that misses. Both men are down until Benoit makes a move at about the seven count, at which point he covers Booker for only two. Both men get back to their feet, which is when Booker makes the mistake that ends the match; he goes for a short-arm clothesline, but gets reversed into a Crippler Crossface in the middle of the ring and has to submit. Benoit leads the series 1-0. That was solid; you gotta start slow for a seven-match series, right? It was a match that promised us more fuckery to come. The second match of the series will be covered on the next Thunder Interlude. Lots of recap regarding Luger and the Wolfpac leading into the main event tonight, which will involve Real Sting. And Fake Sting, which is a bummer. So, Fake Sting and the Giant are in one corner. In the other corner are Lex Luger and Real Sting. Luger comes out to the nWo theme by himself, wearing the ol’ red-and-black. But what of Real Sting? Well, Real Sting still has his regular music and he’s still backing up his buddy Lex Luger. Actually, (Real) Sting and Luger’s friendship is one of the best long-term stories WCW will tell in this era. Real Sting dumps Fake Sting to the floor right quick and then he and Luger unload on Giant, who ends up bumping over the top rope and to the floor. The crowd is into it. Then we get the match to reset, and Fake Sting wins an exchange with Real Sting, which should never, ever happen. Real Sting gets control really quickly while Lou Ann in the front row, holding her LOU ANN L[heart shape]VES STING” sign between her palms and four of her ten fingers, feverishly takes pictures of Sting beating up this imposter. Luger’s in the ring, then he’s out of the ring, then the Giant big boots him, and then he’s FIP. The crowd chants GIANT SUCKS while Fake Sting does Fake Sting things in the ring. Finally, the Giant, who is really blinded by his hatred for Nash at this point and should re-think the path that he’s taken, tags in and goes to work. Luger takes a beating for a few minutes, including a nice elbowdrop from Giant in there, before Fake Sting loses control of the match on a badly missed Stinger Splash. Read Sting gets the hot tag and destroys Fake Sting with a Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Death Drop for the easy three count. So, the intrigue here is if Sting is joining the Wolfpac or what. In fact, here comes the Wolfpac, ready to induct another member tonight. Luger, who did a tiny little celebration when Sting indeed showed up to stand next to him on the ramp, is certain that Sting’s going to follow him into the Wolfpac. The crowd is like COME ON STING DO IT THE WOLFPAC RULES TRUST US ON THIS DO IT JOIN THEM NOWWWW and Sting is like Meh, I don’t really want to do this and I wish Luger had cleared all this with me before he joined. Luger tosses Real Sting the shirt, and is he going to put it on? I would tell you, but we’re out of time and the feed ends. Look, I could nitpick some of the crap on this show or its very slow start wrestling-wise, but it was overall fun as hell. This was the best Nitro in awhile, in fact. I have to admit that the Wolfpac stuff is actually interesting and has sort of revived the whole nWo angle even if the nWo itself should probably be dead, at least for now. I have no problem with the fragments of the nWo fighting for power or the concept of the Wolfpac in general, though, and I think a main event angle centered around Giant, Luger, and Sting is much better than one centered around Hogan and who-the-fuck ever. Combine that with multiple intriguing mid-card angles, and you’ve got a hot show. 4.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
  12. Thunder Interlude – show number seventeen – 21 May 1998 "The WCW Gang’s wildly inconsistent in quality (and Chavo Jr. is the best)” I’m only seventeen Thunder shows in…I need to pick it up…I’m hoping once we get about halfway through the winter, I can really get it going here…I sort of like Thunder when it’s not nWo-heavy, actually, so I’m interested in seeing what’s on the show…Unless the show is nWo-heavy, of course… We start with a “will Sting join the nWo" recap from Nitro…Sting and Giant had a great match at Slamboree 1996, as I recall, so I think a potential series between them two years later is promising… Tony S. recaps the Sting/Giant deali-o in the ring before calling the Giant down for an interview…This is nWo heavy for an opening, but it’s Giant and not Bischoff or Hogan, so I’m forgiving…Giant thinks the fan’s sign that says THE GIANT IS A BIG FAT GOOFY BACKSTABBING CAVEMAN is a real misrepresentation of this whole situation…Giant’s not even mad, just disappointed, which is what makes it so funny…Giant offers a mea culpa to Sting for beating the shit out of him on Monday, but he looks forward to being nWo tag champs with the man anyway… Lex Luger comes to the ring in lieu of Sting, who is absent…Luger claims he just talked to Sting and Sting’s still not interested in joining the nWo…Luger has chosen to one hundred percent believe Sting, which is smart…Luger’s learning, good for him…Luger throws down a challenge to the Giant for the Thunder main event tonight…Giant is fine with it, but he wants Luger to join the nWo too, or else…Luger spits in Giant’s face, so Giant kills some luchadores…Seriously, that’s what happened…Why are the luchadores out here working security?...I hope they got extra pay for this…Anyway, Giant is glad to meet Luger’s challenge tonight… I want to pause to argue that there is, somewhere in all this, a compelling story…The Giant going back to Hogan because he’s blinded by his hate for Nash is a great hook…The Giant also being friends with Sting and Luger (the latter of whom he was tag champs with) while being desperate to get back at Nash in any way possible is established and is also a good hook…The execution so far has been less than convincing…Part of that is that we don’t see Hogan reel Giant back in…and Hogan should be motivated to do so because he thinks Giant will either get Sting into nWo Hollywood, but as Hogan’s second-in-command, thereby neutralizing his biggest enemy…Or Giant will take Sting out of wrestling for good, thereby neutralizing his biggest enemy…There’s so much room for intrigue and shifting alliances based on a bunch of established relationships and angles from the past two years…It’s a shame that it hasn’t come together just right, but the story beats are there for the booking… Yuji Nagata comes to the ring to wrestle Ernest Miller (!!!) and no one talks about either guy during their entrances…I love the Cat, but they need to let him do his bootleg James Brown gimmick sooner rather than later…This crowd doesn’t care about any of the kicks either guy does, but they love the good ol’ ten punches in the corner spot…Sonny Onoo targets Miller’s knee with kicks outside the ring…Nagata follows up with some okay-ish knee work…Miller tries very hard to sell the injury throughout the comeback…Miller struggles his way to a flash Feliner for three and gets a nice little bit of applause from the crowd…He’s clearly trying to improve and I respect it… We are talking about a non-nWo angle now…How rare…We see the same video of Malenko and Jericho post-match at Slamboree that we saw on Nitro…Jericho walks out holding a CONSPIRACY VICTIM sign…Some fans hold a WE ARE JERICHOHOLICS, RIP UP OUR SIGN sign…Jericho’s basic heel moves aren’t deterring the ol’ Jericho fans…I was one of them at this time, to be fair…Jericho apologizes for his tantrum, then compares his title loss to JFK getting assassinated, which is amazing…Jericho calls out J.J. Dillon, a massive heel move in this household…He’s stepping up his heel game to get as many boos as he can, I see…Jericho calls Dillon a “twisted old fruit,” which, um, I need time to unpack this particular insult…Dillon doesn’t show, so Jericho pulls out an apparently official list of battle royal entrants that didn’t include Dean Malenko’s name…Fairly enough, he notes that this seems a little odd for a legitimate competition…But he’s full on “attack election workers Capitol Police WCW committee members” mode right now, so suffice it to say that he takes his complaints too far… Super Calo comes down to wrestle Jericho…Jericho seems a little (kayfabe) off tonight…He’s distracted with that whole Slamboree loss…Calo dominates until Jericho swings behind Calo and hits a sick release German…Calo avoids a Lionsault, but whiffs (accidentally?) on a moonsault-y wheel kick sort of deal, and Jericho just slaps on the Walls of Jericho for the quick win… Recap of the Raven/Kanyon stuff from the past couple months…Kanyon is good and all, but let’s focus on getting Wrath back on TV…I think WCW should have got behind Mortis and Wrath as a tag team more than they did…Vandenberg was very good in the managerial role, too…I digress…I’d point out that this Mortis/Flock stuff hasn’t been very well defined, either…Lots of stories with potential here that could be much better booked… Raven’s still got a riot squad as his backup…Page is done with you, bud, you don’t need them anymore…Raven grabs a mic and shits on Saturn for turning his back on their friendship and the Flock to secure that U.S. Championship shot that Saturn got at Slamboree…Raven feels like Saturn owes him…Saturn comes to the ring and basically runs down Raven’s whole weirdo cult leader deal…Saturn says he’s not part of the Flock, he’s Raven’s friend, and he wants their friendship to be fifty-fifty…Raven apologizes for being a dick (!) and Tony S. is shocked when Raven just says sorry and lets Saturn walk away…I mean, in fairness, that is an incredibly rare show of maturity for pro wrestling… Next, Raven calls out Mortis…That is absolutely not Mortis…Raven sends the riot squad to attack fake Mortis…Real Mortis, wearing a blond wig and a red bandana and looking a bit like babyface Hulk Hogan, runs in from the crowd and hits Raven with a Flatliner, then runs away…The Saturn part of this segment ruled as a pro wrestling example of setting and maintaining healthy friendship boundaries…The Kanyon part, meh… Jim Neidhart still does not have his name spelled right on the chyron…Get your crew in line, Craig Leathers, you dummy…Fit Finlay is defending the TV title against Neidhart, who I guess has been racking up the wins on SN, Pro, and Worldwide…This match is okay for ‘90s Finlay against ‘90s Neidhart…Neidhart’s array of power moves earn him a couple two counts…However, Neidhart misses a corner charge and Finlay flips him up and into a Tombstone for three… Post-match, Tony S. announces that the WCW Championship Committee has given Booker T. the next TV title shot…Booker’s music plays, but Chris Benoit comes out instead to protest the decision…Benoit demands a meeting with the committee…No committee response tonight, but Booker does come down to respond…He wants his interview time, dammit…Benoit pretends to leave and then attacks Book from behind…Wait, here comes Stevie Ray…Stevie is not pleased with Booker getting knocked down like that…Stevie wants to know where all of Booker's nefarious street fighting Harlem Heat sensibility went…Stevie gets injured, and Book gets all soft…Stevie gathers Booker and demands that they go backstage, find Benoit, and beat his ass…And soon enough, they’ll be feuding over the 21st letter of the alphabet…Ick… We’ve spent a long time not talking about the nWo, at least for a WCW show…Therefore, I can live with the recap of Hogan and Hall joining forces…FIX YOUR LEVELS, LEATHERS, YOU DOLT…I hope that Scott Hall is coming out to this nWo music that needs a sound adjustment…But I get Crush and Virgil…*sigh*…Oh no…That’s Jim Duggan’s music…Why would the booking committee do this to me?...I’d be remiss if I didn’t give Crush at least a bit of credit for trying to bump impressively for Duggan’s crappy strikes and shoulderblocks…This match has some of the shittiest-looking offense around…This ends in a Crush DQ loss after Crush clocks Charles Robinson...Duggan destroys Crush and Vincent while the timekeeper hammers the bell…Too long, make it sixty seconds or fewer if they match up again… You know, as Hammer comes to the ring and taunts Reese, I realize that Raven didn’t give enough of a damn about Hammer to even address him tonight…I guess he’s as done with Hammer as Page is done with him…Anyway, Saturn and Hammer are going to finish up their whole feud here tonight, I guess…Hammer comes out hot and throws a ton of strikes, some of them terrible, at Saturn…Saturn hits a superkick, and Tenay taunts Glacier…Is that whole Saturn/Glacier deal still going on?...I’m moderately interested in it…This is a decent back-and-forth TV match…Hammer hits a gourdbuster and then a spinebuster, but Reese runs a distraction and Raven runs in and drops Hammer with an Evenflow…Saturn is irritated because he had it handled, which he probably did, honestly…Saturn pops off a DVD for three…It’s okay Saturn, keep reinforcing your boundaries… Rick Rude is still hanging around WCW…That man has a huge fucking head…He introduces Curt Hennig…I forgot that Hennig was in the Wolfpac, which is a weird booking choice…Hennig definitely fits better in Hollywood…They cut a dorky promo in which they claim to be buddies for life and demand a U.S. Championship shot for Hennig against Goldberg…Hennig demands said shot at the Great American Bash…He does it in a very dumb way using a Titanic metaphor…That was bad television, but an enjoyable kind of bad… Juventud Guerrera comes to the ring as Tony S. announces Nitro’s return to the Georgia Dome on Monday, July 6th…Hmmm…Juvi’s got a match against Horace Hogan, who gets a jobber entrance…Horace dominates with his size…Juvi finally gets space by backdropping a charging Horace to the floor and hitting a plancha…Horace again uses his size to keep Juvi down…Reese hits Juvi with a massive chokebomb behind the ref’s ack that the ref apparently doesn’t feel or hear somehow…Billy Silverman can only sense things that are directly in front of him, I guess…Horace hits a cursory AXE BOMBAH for three… Throughout the show, we’ve had lots of recaps of the Savage/Piper/Hart/Hogan stuff, and we get a big one here to cap off all those clips…I remember zero about Hart/Hogan vs. Piper/Savage…Like, I didn’t recall that it was ever a match that happened on a WCW PPV… That last video package on said feud leads us into Randy Savage (w/Liz) coming to the ring…He cuts a promo to hype that GAB main event…Savage teases dissension with Piper…Classic Savage-ism: “The apology that you didn’t give me for the mistake that you made was very, very weak”…So was there no apology or a weak apology?...Or does it not matter because Savage can say what he wants pretty much and still be over?...Savage claims not to know what “icon” means and then asks if an icon is a type of bird…LOLOLOLOL…OK, this is also a terrible promo that was terrible in the most enjoyable way possible… Chavo and Eddy are with Eddy’s mom/Chavo’s grandma, who makes remarks in Spanish about the whole Chavo/Eddy thing. So, this segment is hilarious because Eddy pops in to translate and of course, claims that mom was bigging him up…Then mom says “no, no no no” in a way that I have heard from Mexican moms and nanas before, having had more than a few friends of Mexican American heritage…It cracked me up so much…I think I saw a couple of my high school friends’ moms represented in Eddy's mom going “no, no no no”… So anyway, Chavo and Eddy are here, and Chavo’s decided to try a different tack…Eddy forces Chavo to take Eddy's place in his match, but Chavo thanks him and starts an EDDY chant…Dean Malenko is Eddy’s Chavo’s opponent tonight…Huh, why has Eddy given his Cruiserweight Championship shot to Chavo?...Eddy is utterly confused by Chavo hitting some crisp offense and then trying to shut down an EDDY SUCKS chant…Malenko takes control, and Eddy covers his head with the towel in shame…He’s sure to take peeks to make sure that Chavo is still losing, though…Chavo goes for a Tornado DDT, but Malenko spins Chavo out of the move and locks on a Texas Cloverleaf for the win…Post-match, Eddy slaps Chavo…Chavo fires up to hit Eddy, but kisses Eddy on the cheek instead…And THEN Chavo finally slaps Eddy back for good measure…The crowd pops huge…I love this somewhat ridiculous, but always entertaining angle so much… Lex Luger and the Giant are our main event…There’s not really much time for any wrestling, though…This is a truncated match that’s really about the angle…And the angle SUCKS because Fake Sting runs in and Luger ends up eating a chokeslam…The crowd is fucking DEAD…At least Marshall and Schiavone are like Hey, we don’t think that’s Sting at all…FAKE STING ANGLES SUCK (past mid-1996)… What a weird show…It had good stuff, bad stuff that was strangely fun, and boilerplate bad stuff that should never have been booked…I give it a WOOOO because I think I pretty much enjoyed it well enough…
  13. I don't care what anyone says, but by the metric of common sense, Wolf Blitzer is and forever will have the worst Jeopardy! performance of all-time, and they still let dopes who work at CNN on the celebrity specials.
  14. "...and so Vince Russo tells me that he wants me to wrestle a giant mechanical spider. And so, so, I'm at home because Goldberg, who couldn't wrestle y'know, recklessly ended my career, about a year later, and I turn on Nitro, and what do I see? Sting and Lex Luger wrestling Jeff Jarrett and a giant mechanical spider in the main event."
  15. Sorry for the double-post, but Buff was indeed a dreadful heel worker as a singles. You could hide him in a tag team as a heel, but not in singles. I do think there's something to fiery babyface Bagwell in the ring, but the guy was never a face again after he became Buff. I think if WCW turns him face after he comes back from that neck injury instead of teasing it and just having him be a heel instead, he would have been in a better place from an in-ring standpoint.
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