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Smelly watches every Nitro-era Nitro, Thunder, Clash, and PPV while sitting and sometimes maybe standing


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On 7/29/2023 at 3:49 PM, SirSmUgly said:

I think the consensus is that Nitro was generally very good/great from '95 through '97, shaky (but still with pockets of goodness) through '98, bad in '99 (as all major American pro wrestling was, IMO) and most of '00, and then slowly coming along and pretty fun from around the last three months of '00 all the way through its death in early '01. 

I watched a lot of, but not all of Nitro, on first run. I watched a chunk of it on re-watch maybe a decade or so back. My take was in line with the consensus both times, and it seems to be holding for me on this re-watch as well. 

Generally, the midcard is pretty much good enough to carry these shows by 1996 until it gets gutted once Vince Russo shows up and decides that wrestling matches with actual wrestling in them are for chumps. Eddy, Benoit, Malenko, Saturn, and Jericho leaving for the dub doesn't help, either. 

i would agree on the consensus as well.

on my original viewing, i LOVED '96-'97, but my interest waned hard in '98 and i watched most, but not all, weeks. By Spring of '99, i was fully tuned out and migrated to WWF. 

On the reviewing 8(ish?) years ago, i could feel that happening as well but stuck with it.  I feel like 2000 gets better earlier than that though. I can't remember when Booker T wins the World Title, but i really viewed that as a turning point, and my enjoyment went up significantly after that happened. Hell, i was even interested in the 'relaunch' and New Blood vs. Millionaires Club when that started.

so much of '99-'00 were just so.... uninteresting. There can still be some good matches and even some fun angles, but so much of it goes nowhere that i just started divesting myself from caring. Nothing seemed to have any legitimate stakes or consequences. and don't get me started on heel/face alignment and allegiances!

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Booker wins it at BatB '00, if I recall correctly. As I remember, I was VERY into that, having been a fan of the guy for years, but I was not into all the title switches with Jarrett and Nash that happened after that. 

The New Blood thing didn't grab me, but I also wasn't fiending for Billy Kidman versus Hulk Hogan. There was a way to do that feud, but it needed a) the Hogan types to lose matches cleanly and b) not to lead with guys like Billy fucking Kidman. 

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51 minutes ago, SirSmUgly said:

 I also wasn't fiending for Billy Kidman versus Hulk Hogan. There was a way to do that feud, but it needed a) the Hogan types to lose matches cleanly and b) not to lead with guys like Billy fucking Kidman. 

i just wanted to quote this to tell you that i agree 10,000%.

nothing against Kidman, but you can't just drop an above average (in-ring, yet subpar on the mic) cruiserweight into a program with [the guy continuously pushed as] the greatest of all time, have him get one or two complete bullshit wins, and then bitch that the new guys "aren't getting over". Hell, Eddie Guerrero couldn't have made that feud work as it was booked, and he is fucking great at everything he does and constantly could get stuff over that otherwise wouldn't have.

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Show #131 – 09 March 1998

"The one that Konnan unexpectedly saves from complete oblivion”

  • This is the last Nitro before Uncensored, which Bischoff is getting out of the way like two weeks before WM XIV, give or take a couple of days.


  • We start with lots of nWo intrigue recap, but I just want said intrigue to get resolved already.


  • Ernest Miller works a faux-kickboxing match against Damian 666. Larry Z. thinks that unstability is a word. I’m not against coining new words. Language is ever evolving. However, we already have a good word for what Larry is describing – instability. Now, if you want to codify words like whelmed or gruntled in Webster’s, that’s a whole other thing. Get on this bandwagon with me. Damian gets a good run of offense, but gets kicked out of the air and then Feliner’d for three. That was too short to be offensive, but it was also too short to be any good.


  • Do you like wastes of time? If you do, Hogan and Bischoff are here. If not, thumb through a book or maybe go get the dishes you left in the sink rinsed and put away in the dishwasher because they’re starting to stink up the kitchen. Nobody says anything of note except for Hogan saying that the locker room ran through Liz, but even that’s not really of note because that’s just wrestler dudes talking shit about other wrestler dudes’ women, which is basically par for the course at this point in wrestling time. Anyway, if Mach was okay with it, let them live, and if he wasn’t, uh, well, that would have been better discussed in the counseling sessions that I know Macho, being an award-winning Real Man, would absolutely not have agreed to go to.


  • Yet another Nitro Party, this time in Durham, North Carolina. Poor Kimberly got booed over this thing back on Thunder. Some kid holds up a STEPH 3:16 sign in the back, and another dude has a KRZYZEWSKI 3:16 sign. Wrong show, fellas!


  • Sick Boy comes to the ring followed by a few Flock members. Lodi makes fun of Wake Forest only getting an NIT bid. No one has rooted for the Deacons since Tim Duncan left, Lodi, and no one cares. Sick Boy wrestles future Lodi partner Lenny Lane. Lane does a senton to the floor that hits Lodi and Sick Boy because he’s really trying whatever he can to get over. He busts his ass every time he gets TV time. Then he busts out the worst missile dropkick I’ve ever seen with my own eyes, so maybe he should try harder. Sick Boy is probably so disgusted by that dropkick that he's fueled to take over and hits some mediocre offense for the next couple of minutes. He whiffs on a top-rope elbow and we go into the finishing run, which includes awful full-nelson face crusher from Lane, and after that, he blows a springboard moonsault and generally looks awful today. Sick Boy eventually catches Lane on a duck down and hits him with the Cure for three. Nah, fuck you, it’s a Pedigree. When Stevie Ray does it, it’s a Slapjack. When Sick Boy does it, it’s a Pedigree.


  • The Giant cuts an interview with Mike Tenay in the ring. The Giant thinks Nash is ducking him in the back tonight. Nash probably just had a wine tasting that conflicted with the opening of this show. Giant also calls down Sting and Randy Savage, who he apparently has parlayed with in the back. They have a challenge for Hogan and two of his friends. Savage says that the three men in the ring are “the bomb, brotha.” OK, Savage. Stop sounding like the refrain in a Something for the People song and talk like you would normally talk instead. Savage wants Hogan to find two dudes who don't secretly want to depose him as head of the nWo and have a six-man tag with them in the main event tonight.


  • I’m not quite sure why Sting and Luger are so open to helping Savage, who merely wants a regime change in the nWo and not to tear the nWo down. Is this just me being too logical for a fucking pro wrestling show, or am I onto identifying something here that keeps this angle from working?


  • Repo Man Blacktop Bully Smash Krusher Kruschev oops, no, just plain ol’ Barry Darsow comes to the ring to get murdered by GOLDBERG. This match isn’t particularly competitive, obviously. Goldberg hits a nice gutwrench suplex. Tony S. calls Goldberg a “phenom,” which Larry Z. scoffs at. I agree with Larry – has Goldberg ever used his zombie powers to sit up from a severe beating? I didn’t think so. This is a little longer than a typical Goldberg squash as it goes to the floor, where Goldberg’s beating of Darsow is only interrupted by Goldberg swinging for the fences and hitting the ring post. That’s a nice wrinkle so we get Goldberg in a bit of trouble, ostensibly, but also Goldberg almost immediately shrugs off a turnbuckle bump to spear, Jackhammer, and splat Darsow with little actual trouble.


  • Gene shills the WCW Hotline. I think he teases a Paul Orndorff interview, but more importantly, here’s Kimberly! She shills the Nitro Girls having a pictorial in bikinis on WCW's website. Yeah, I’m more interested in that last one? The bikini one? The one that Kimberly says will show the Nitro Girls wearing “not much more than a tan?” Sometimes I think the internet was a mistake, but then I’m reminded that there are good elements to this crazy world wide web, too.


  • Scott Hall enters the ring and talks for a bit. He eschews the weekly survey to defend Hogan from Savage’s spurious claims of being better than Hogan. Hall agrees to be one of Hogan’s trios tag members tonight. Then, Hall has a few words for Sting of the insulting kind.


  • Kevin Nash enters the ring and talks for a bit. He eschews the jokes and offhand current event references to defend Hogan from Savage’s spurious claims of being better than Hogan. Nash agrees to be one of Hogan’s trios tag members tonight. Then, Nash has a few words for the Giant of the insulting kind.


  • Might Billy Kidman and Dean Malenko make this show at least somewhat entertaining? Eh, kinda. They work with some pace early on and Malenko is a nice base who does powerslams and launches Kidman into the air so that Kidman can counter-dropkick him. Then the middle of this match is slow and full of mediocre strikes. Kidman gets two off a guillotine legdrop and goes back to languid mudhole stomping and rope-assisted chokes. This is a real low-energy Nitro so far. The pick up the pace a bit and after a series of counters, Kidman gets two off a springboard bulldog. Chris Jericho comes to ringside to check the action out; Kidman scores a couple more two-counts. The crowd, bored by everything mid-match, focuses on chanting about how much Jericho sucks for a bit. Finally, Malenko busts out that dope top-rope super gutbuster that we haven’t seen in awhile. That almost made this match worth it, honestly. Malenko gets the win with the Texas Cloverleaf while Jericho tries to rally the Flock to help him jump Malenko. It goes poorly for old Jericho, and he has to escape after the Flock punches him around for a bit.


  • Hogan and Bischoff are back out here to start hour number two! What the fuck? Am I gonna have to break out a Stinger Splash score below 2/5 again? I think I’ve only done it once so far, but by God, I’ll do it again! I was hoping that we’d have no more than one of those before 1999, but Bischoff is really trying my patience tonight. These dudes waste another fucking segment cutting a shitty promo.


  • In a hilarious segment, a couple of black dudes in the Nitro Party crowd start rubbing Gene’s bald head, and then everyone does it, and then Gene accuses everyone of being pickpockets. I mean, look, there are so many reasons that this is funny, I can’t go through all of them. I bet anyone reading this understands.


  • Crush strolls to the ring. He’s facing off with one of the High Voltage members. Rage is clearly better than Kaos, so of course, it’s Kaos that Crush faces. Well, Crush hits a piledriver, so there’s that. I mean, piledrivers are cool. Otherwise, this is a boring squash, just dull as the lighting in a bomb shelter. I should appreciate Adams gorilla pressing Kaos for a good ten seconds more than I do. Kaos has a comeback due to Rage’s interference. Rage yells at some ham-‘n-egger in the crowd, then tries to intervene again. It doesn’t work, and Kaos eats a tilt-a-whirl slam for three. Crush does the same to Rage after the match.


  • So Juvi comes to the ring to wrestle some guy Konnan picked for him, I guess, except the way Konnan made it sound, Konnan was going to fight some dude who is roughly Juvi’s size to prepare for his match against Juvi at Uncensored. Anyway, this is dumb. Scott Norton comes down. I think if the show were better and/or Konnan’s promo was a bit clearer, I’d be more open to what is a smaller dude trying to persevere against a bigger dude. As it is, I am not interested in watching Juvi sell a Norton bearhug or a Norton full nelson. Usually, what happens is that these Nitros have a fun undercard that generates my goodwill enough to get me hyped for a main event that invariably fails to live up to expectations. In this case, the show has been so bad that what is objectively a reasonable idea for a match to build to Juvi/Konnan doesn’t do anything for me…and even less when Norton basically rolls to a win. Uh, Juvi needed to win that with a flash pin or through guile and a 450 to make this whole thing work. Him beating Norton would put a scare into Konnan and build Juvi as a guy that might have lost the Cruiserweight Championship, but is a dangerous competitor who never gives up and can pull out a victory on anyone at any time. Having him get rolled with little resistance doesn’t build him as a serious competitor for Konnan.


  • I mean, maybe I’m overreacting a bit, but I think this Nitro has been very bad.


  • The U.S. Championship Triple Threat Jeopardy match set for Uncensored gets a video package that uses the same stock music that the Nitro Girls usually jam out to.


  • DDP and Benoit tag up against Raven and Saturn. There’s some good intensity here as Benoit and Page mostly work well together, with maybe an aggressive blind tag thrown in there, into the break. We come back to Page as FIP. Saturn and Raven divert the ref to keep Nick Patrick from catching Page making legal tags or getting flash covers that get visual threes. This is all fine, though these fellas work a long bearhug spot in there for some reason. We just had a long bearhug spot in the last match. Saturn, do something more interesting than a bearhug. The problem is that as much as the people in the bearhug sell pain nicely, the dudes doing them don’t work them well enough to make them look painful. Norton especially could have been more active in shaking Juvi around and cinching it in and stuff.


  • Anyway, Saturn gets some height on a guillotine legdrop and that looks great! He whiffs on a moonsault, though. We get a hot tag to Benoit that the crowd is WAY into, and good for them that they have something to get hot for. Benoit hits Raven with two rolling Germans, but Raven nut-shots his way out of it. Raven goes for an Evenflow, but Benoit turns it into a Crossface. Meanwhile, Saturn goes up top to dive onto Benoit, but Page stops him and hits an avalanche Diamond Cutter. Unfortunately, they both crash into Benoit on landing, and Benoit gets up and fights to the back with Page, giving Raven and Saturn (laid out in the ring) the victory by count-out. Well, it was certainly hot! There’s that!


  • I should note that we’re back in Winston-Salem for the first big show since Fall Brawl ’97. I wonder if Ric Flair will do something tonight. I also wonder if he’ll get some shine if he does.


  • Konnan’s back out (w/Vincent) to wrestle the British Bulldog. Well, I guess the benefit of this is that we get a Nitro-ass Nitro match. I guess Bulldog and Max Moon didn’t cross paths in late ‘92/early’93 WWF since Bulldog had his first ill-fated WCW run at that time. I am going to give Konnan some credit for selling a Bulldog headlock in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen before. He coughs violently, trying to sell it as a choke, and reaches desperately out for the ref’s hand to place it under Bulldog’s elbow, trying to get the ref to understand that he's coughing because it's a choke. That’s pretty good! I appreciate the little things, like a dude making a regular ol’ headlock visually interesting. We also get a decent finishing sequence in which Bulldog leapfrogs over an onrushing Konnan and then powerslams him off the rebound. It was short and these fellas tried, particularly Konnan. This was approaching charming uniquity status (tm Twiztor).


  • Well hey, Ric Flair will do something tonight! He comes to the ring to a huge pop and cuts an interview before he wrestles Curt Hennig tonight. Oh please, oh please let Flair annihilate Hennig. That’s the only move to possibly make. Come on, Bischoff. Flair cuts a promo promising revenge for the last time he and Hennig were in Winston-Salem. There’s only one viable option here, Bisch. You know what to do.


  • Disco Inferno against Chris Jericho is a match that I’m interested in. Disco continues wrestling with a little bit of desperation since he’s basically a babyface now. He became a babyface through perseverance, actually. He might have had the best executed push/character growth of any of the undercard guys from ’95 through ’97, all told. Disco tosses Jericho over the top rope so that the desk can tell everyone who doesn't watch Thunder that the over-the-top rule is dead. Jericho gets control shortly after that to a cacophony of JERICHO SUCKS chants. Disco finally breaks that control with a pop-up spinebuster. These fellas just go-go-go, wisely contrasting their pace with the pace of almost every other match on this show. A Disco swinging neckbreaker gets 2.9, and that’s as close as he gets to a win. Jericho floats over on a rope run and hits a double-underhook backbreaker, then locks on the Walls of Jericho for the submission. That was fun stuff, worked at double-speed, and this show needed that change of pace badly.


  • Gene’s completely done with the college kids at this point in the night. It’s pretty funny.


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. comes down to wrestle Booker T. for the TV title. Eddy’s still trying to get his cousin to break bad, which Chavo sort of did on Thunder last week. Eddy comes down to get in Chavo’s face and gets excited when Chavo jumps Booker and works him over. Eddy’s notably less excited when Book turns it around with a roundhouse kick, an axe kick, a spinebuster, and a sweet-looking missile dropkick in short order, the last move of which gets three. Eddy sneaks up behind Booker, but ends up taking his wrath out on Chavo when Booker leaves the ring without incident. It was like two minutes, but I liked what I saw. Maybe give these guys eight minutes or even ten minutes next time?


  • While Curt Hennig (w/ Rick Rude) comes to the ring, a savvy fan uses his erasable whiteboard to get on TV by quickly writing out WE ❤️ THE CAMERAMAN in black Expo marker. Flair comes out hot and dominates until Hennig finagles a back body drop and throws a bunch of chops in the corner. Flair does his signature corner bump and Rude follows up by posting Flair. Flair just sort of turns around the match, wins a chopfest, and takes over. Hennig really struggles, whiffs on chops and punches, and then whiffs on a dropkick. Flair points the ref over to Rude so that he can pummel Hennig’s junk. Flair decides to say fuck it all and grab a chair, then in true ECW style, he puts the chair over Hennig’s face with Hennig in the tree of woe position and thrusts his junk at Rude. Before we get whatever’s going to happen, though, the nWo runs in *sigh* and beat down Flair until Bret Hart hits the ring late to stop Hennig from his own chair-pummeling of Flair. Well, at least the Hitman gets a nice pop for saving Flair. But you know what would get a nicer pop? Flair destroying Hennig finally, fuck.


  • With seventeen minutes left, the nWo's music hits and I think we’ll finally get ample time for a Nitro main event! Then I see two of the three nWo Scotts (Steiner and Norton) come out and remember that oh yeah, there was supposed to be a match between these guys and Lex Luger/Rick Steiner tonight, and they mentioned this back when Norton came out to wrestle Juvi. Rick Steiner drags out a dog that does NOT want to be here in this arena. I hate this whole thing already. Rick dominates Norton early as Scotty avoids Rick like the plague. Well, Scotty avoids Rick like the plague until Norton finally gets the drop on Rick a couple minutes in. Rick comes back and Scotty tags out frantically to Norton. The Rick/Norton stuff is at least good for beefy elbowdrops and slams, but they rush through all their spots – how is two hours and twenty minutes of airtime not enough to fit in everything you need to fit in? Oh yeah, Hogan and Bischoff give themselves TWO SEGMENTS to shit up the screen with bad talking. Anyway, this ends in a double countout as everyone fights to the back.


  • The trios tag main event begins without taking shape or form. Giant’s kayfabe uncleared, but he comes out here in street clothes and a neck collar, headbutts Nash out of the ring, and strolls around the apron like a boss. Everyone else? Having wild fistfights. Giant? Strolling around like an aforementioned boss because it only took one headbutt to dump Nash. Giant should have been a bigger star than he was, dammit. Eventually, Hogan dominates Sting for a few minutes until Sting makes a comeback. Sting gets two after smashing Hogan’s head into the buckles. Winston-Salem is such a good wrestling town because they’ve stayed hot through what has been a doo-doo show. So Giant gets in and Hogan stumbles backward into Nash, which is a tag. Hall and Hogan jump in as a diversion and get double-bearhugged (the only good bearhug in this whole fucking show) before Nash jumps Giant from behind.


  • The nWo throws a bunch of blows to Giant’s neck. I want to see the Giant kill dudes and not to see him work as FIP, but whatever. It makes perfect sense. It’s just not what I want out of this match. It doesn’t help that the neck work is boring and involves lots of Hogan headlocks in which he does work them, but in a goofy way. He shakes cartoonishly from side to side as a way to show how much he’s cranking this thing. Just cinch up on it and crank it a bit, you clown! Finally, Giant explodes out of the corner and gets a hot tag to Randy Savage, who faces off with Hulk Hogan while Kevin Nash runs away. The face-off quiets a crowd that was READY for Savage popping off. Anyway, Giant stalks Nash to the back while everyone else left behind fights it out. Savage and Hogan are left in the ring alone, which is when the Disciple hits the ring and drops Savage with the Apocalypse for three. Nah, fuck you, it’s a Stone Cold Stunner. When Disco does it, it's a Chartbuster. When the Disciple does it, it's a Stone Cold Stunner. Hogan covers Savage for three.


  • That was complete ass. Fuck off trying to get Ed Leslie over in 1998, and double fuck off for doing it with a move Leslie stole from Steve fucking Austin.


  • I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but Konnan/Bulldog kicked off a small patch of wrestling action that saved this thing from a sub-2/5 score. What in sweet fuck? 2 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.



Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number ten – 12 March 1998

"The WCW Gang should consider retiring those Sting harness spots”

  • We go into an Uncensored that is shaky on paper…We come out of a Nitro that was more than shaky…My hopes that maybe one of these Uncensored shows breaks out and is genuinely good (or better) are falling…


  • The capital of Louisiana is ready for some hot wrestling action…The commentary desk’s opening spiel is interrupted by the Giant strolling down… He cuts a dorky promo calling out Kevin Nash…then he pledges to fight the whole-ass nWo by himself, which would be cool in gauntlet form, but not in typical nWo mob beatdown form…


  • Macho Man comes down and joins Giant in the ring…Savage is still nWo, remember, but he’s not here to fight Giant…He actually appreciates the possibility of Giant beating up (the rest of) the nWo so he can get some room to take out Hogan…Then he wants to get the big gold…That brings Sting out…Sting’s all like This big gold is mine and Savage is like Don’t make me get all mad with the madness and Sting is like I’ll fight you right now for it, chump and Savage is like OH YEAH but not literally, he just says “let’s do it” instead…The Giant stood around watching these dudes yap during his TV time, just standing in the background like a doofus…He should have served a main course of chokeslams for these dudes cutting in on him…


  • Brad Armstrong faces Raven…Raven’s like I don’t want to beat your ass tonight, Brad, you’re a sad little guy…Raven reels off all of Brad’s successes before calling him mediocre in '98…It’s nice of Raven not to remind Armstrong that he beat him for the Light Heavyweight Championship on top of all that…Raven goes inside baseball and says that WCW’s bookers hate Brad’s dad and have stalled Brad’s career as a result…It’s basically a pitch for Brad to join the Flock, except that Raven just boots BA and hits the Evenflow for a quick three instead…A visibly thirsty woman in the crowd has a sign about feeling Raven’s pain…and by “pain,” I think she means “penis,” maybe…


  • Chris Jericho cuts an interview with Tony S. at ringside…Jericho wears Juvi’s mask during the interview…Jericho goofily offers Dean Malenko a Cruiserweight Championship shot tonight instead of making him wait until Uncensored…Jericho wants Malenko to put up a prize against his title…He says that when he wins this match with Malenko’s own finishing move, Malenko will have to change the name of that move to the Canadian Jericholeaf…So yeah, it’s 1998 in WCW and Chris Jericho is on one, basically…


  • Kendall Windham comes to the ring looking like the third Blu Brother…I guess we’re going to watch this dude wrestle Hacksaw…This is an ugly match with one of the worse attempts at a beal toss you’ll ever see…It’s really Windham’s fault there, I think…Hacksaw ends it with a clothesline and a kneedrop…Baton Rouge digs this guy, remembering him fondly from his Mid-South days, I’d imagine…


  • Scott Steiner’s still working out how to mash up his Superstar Graham tribute act with a vile Attitude era persona…I’m going to enjoy watching him work this out (and push corporate’s boundaries)…Johnny Grunge faces Steiner in singles action tonight…This is about as good as you can get from this one…Both guys try hard…Grunge gets going in the match until Steiner hangs him up on the ropes and knocks him through his own table on the outside of the ring…Steiner rolls Grunge back in the ring and scores a win with the Steiner Recliner…


  • Eddy Guerrero is next up to interview with Tony S….Eddy doesn’t even have time to talk shit about Booker, he’s so sure he’s going to win at the PPV…Eddy’s more interested in shitting on Chavo…Chavo is displeased with said shitting and comes out to face off with Eddy…This has been a really slow burn, this feud, come to think of it…Has it been going on since 1996 in some form, maybe?...I need to check back as I do final edits to these entries and see…Eddy challenges Chavo to a match and says that when he wins, Chavo’s gotta lie, cheat, and steal like he does…Chavo agrees as long as Eddy has to follow Chavo’s less dishonest way of wrestling life if Chavo wins…Eddy agrees and Chavo’s ready to have that match now…


  • Eddy and Chavo have a nice little TV bout… Both men stop early on with the punching and chopping and commence with the bomb-throwing…Chavo skins the cat and hits Eddy with a headscissors, then hits a sweet plancha to Eddy on the floor…Chavo gets 2.9 on a lovely-looking Tornado DDT, but Eddy grabs the ropes…Eddy cheats his way out of trouble and hits a brainbuster and a Frog Splash for the three…Chavo’s gonna try to learn the ways of scumbaggery without descending into insanity, and I’m here for it...


  • Well, we got 37 minutes into this thing before Bisch and Hogan decided to cut their typical shitty promo for the show…Hall’s here with them, so this could be less bad than it normally is…Bisch holds up a McMAHON WORSHIPS BISCHOFF sign that someone brought in the crowd…Stone Cold’s about to become champ and Vince is the biggest heel in his company, so maybe not so much…They accept the Giant’s challenge from earlier tonight…They talk for a longer time than they need to, but Hall at least made some of this not annoying…


  • Konnan (w/Vincent) matches up with Lizmark Jr….Sign: GOLDBERG IS A NO LIMIT SOLDIER…No, I think you’ve got him mixed up with Swoll…Konnan’s one of those guys who I think is pretty shitty mechanically, but is always doing something like working the ref or making interesting facial expressions…He can have a shit match, but he can also make a match that should be shit kind of fun…This match is the first type, though, as these fellas have very little chemistry…We get a weird crowd cut that makes me think someone is bleeding, but probably they just fucked up in the truck…Konnan wins with the cradle DDT and the Tequila Sunrise…Konnan tries to unmask Lizmark and is kicked from the ring by an onrushing Juvi…Konnan circles around the ring and knocks Juvi down…Konnan hits a muscle buster-ish sort of deal and commences with a beatdown…


  • Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) swaggers to a ringside interview…Tony S. looks like the kinda dude these two stuffed into lockers in high school together…Rude claims that he showed up in WCW originally to “collect a bounty on [Bret Hart’s] head from some chumps up in Connecticut”…OK, I’ve decided that it’s now canon that Rude came to WCW to finish off the Hitman at the behest of his old employers in DX…Rude says it’s more fun to make money in the nWo and to pal around with Hennig…Rude actually cuts a pretty engaging promo on Bret…Well, that made me want to see Rude/Hitman...Unfortunately, that’s not the match at Uncensored…


  • Saturn and Disco Inferno consistently have awesome bouts together, so I’m here for another one tonight…Saturn just beats the fuck out of Disco in the corner…Saturn dropkicks Disco to the floor, where Lodi stomps him…Disco strikes back with a clothesline to Lodi and summarily eats a dive from Saturn…Back in the ring, Disco finally gets an offensive move in on a sunset flip, but misses an elbowdrop and gets overhead pumphandled into the lights…Saturn hits a Falcon Arrow, but goes up top instead of covering and eats a boot and a roll-up on a dive…The roll-up only gets two, but Disco is now desperate to get out alive and gets two on a roll-up with his feet on the ropes…Disco follows up with an inverted atomic drop and a lariat for two…Saturn gets a small package for two, a superkick for two, and eats a spinebuster and a swinging neckbreaker in return for a Disco two-count…These fellas trade control one more time, as Saturn shrugs off a jawbreaker and drapes Disco’s throat on the ropes…an overhead suplex and the Rings of Saturn end a very pacey match that fits right in with the rest of the good matches these two have had…


  • A handful of nWo members come to the ring…The Giant still doesn’t have any entrance music…This is nonsense, they’re not even trying with my dude Giant…Hall’s in with the Giant first and gets bullied…This is a tag match, I guess…Hennig’s in next, with Hall, Crush, Konnan, Norton, Scott Steiner, Vincent, and Hogan as team members…Now everyone’s in the ring…Giant fights them all off, powerbombs Konnan, and sends the rest of the nWo scattering…OK, maybe they’re trying a little bit with my dude Giant, but give him some dope entrance music, at least…the nWo exhorts Doug Dellinger to chain up the Giant and frog march him out of the arena, which Dellinger does…Now Kevin Nash chooses to show up and throw some coffee in Giant’s face…Giant breaks the chains and chases Nash to the back…Giant rules, man, book him like a beast more often…


  • Jericho wrestles Dean Malenko…Jericho’s still masked up…Jericho is on top early, but stops to sell the JERICHO SUCKS chants…This gives Malenko an opening to hit strikes and a leg lariat…Jericho screams shrilly as Malenko grabs him, suplexes him, and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf for the quick Cruiserweight Championship victory…Too quick, as you might guess…Malenko rips off Jericho’s mask, but actually, it was Lenny Lane under the mask…I really should have noticed the misdirection earlier, honestly…Anyway, Lane is a walking decoy so that Jericho can jump Malenko with a belt shot and lock him in the Walls…I thoroughly enjoyed this fuckery…I remember being overjoyed when Malenko finally fucked this dude Jericho up and am looking forward to feeling those feelings again in the next months…


  • Lex Luger faces Scott Norton…Typical Luger TV bout in which he’s dominated, but comes back in a flurry late…Norton does some solid offense, at least, and a big blocky man doing a diving clothesline is always fun…Luger hits a total of three forearms before deciding to go for the Rack…Those three forearms are his sum total of offense in this whole thing…Scott Steiner comes down to draw the DQ win for Luger…Rick Steiner runs down for the save…All four men end up mixing it up as the timekeeper hammers the bell…The babyfaces win that battle…


  • Well, considering that we’re five minutes out and Sting/Savage hasn’t even had entrances, I’m just going to guess that this main event barely/doesn’t happen…I really wish WCW would stop with the big TV main event matchups that don’t even go longer than six minutes most of the time…I get that you don’t want to give away clean finishes to money matches on free TV, but get creative with the booking at the very fucking least…Tony S. insinuates that his wife refuses to STFU like the total dickhead that he is…Tony S. is one of the biggest heels on these shows, I reiterate…


  • The match starts with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the telecast, so I’m just bored by everything except the rapidly approaching finish…Even money odds on the nWo running down and commencing a beatdown on everyone…Sting locks on the Scorpion Deathlock, which is when Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan enter the ring and spark a DQ win for Sting since Hall attacks Sting first…Hogan and Hall call for reinforcements…Sting wrestled this whole match and the aftermath in his longcoat…Sting and Savage zipline the fuck out of here…It takes forever for Sting to clip them both in while Hogan and the nWo just stand around watching them do it instead of attacking…That was very dumb, par for the course for the WCW main event scene…


  • I liked parts of this show, and even most of the crappy parts were weirdly entertaining…except for the putrid main event feuds…I give it a WOOO
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Uncensored ‘98 Notes:

  • When you have a PPV that looks like it might stink, it’s a good idea to give viewers a bit of hope by leading with something good. On that note, Eddy Guerrero (w/ a bummed out Chavo who is now Eddy’s weird wrestling mindslave or something) faces Booker T. for the TV title in the opener. Eddy seems tentative early on for a guy who was sure he was going to win. He ducks in and out and tries to get the jump on Booker, but it doesn’t work, and we commence with lots of pace and explosive offense. Stalling doesn’t work, so Eddy tries suckering Booker in with a handshake. That also doesn’t work. More explosive offense happens. Eddy decides to bug off. That gets him slammed in the aisle. We get powerslams and press slams and side slams that Booker spins around on before dropping Eddy.


  • Eddy finally gets control when Booker tries to kill him off with a Harlem Hangover early and gets caught. This doesn’t last at all, though. Booker tries an axe kick for the kill next, but Eddy ducks that and goes after Book’s knee, which Booker sells as hyperextended after that whiff. Eddy does some dynamic knee work, mockingly raises the roof, lectures Chavo at ringside, and then does somewhat less dynamic knee work. Booker makes his comeback with a front slam and throws an axe kick while hobbling. Booker hits a spinebuster, is able to land on his feet after Eddy dives out of the way of a missile kick, and gets crotched on a jumping side kick. Eddy goes up top and tries to hit a superplex, but Booker shoves him off the ropes and drills a picture-perfect missile dropkick for three. That was a pretty good match, but I do think that Eddy should have won his control segments through far more overt cheating since he had Chavo out there to show him how things are really done.


  • Post-match, Chavo and Eddy shove each other, and Eddy pretends to let it go. He doesn’t let it go. He beats up Chavo for awhile in the aisle.


  • Juventud Guerrera and Konnan are next up. This match is fine. It’s reminiscent of Konnan’s match against Rey Misterio Jr. from Road Wild ’97, in that he bullies and smothers a smaller high-flyer. Konnan tries to make things interesting; he even has a weird neck wrench from a fireman’s carry position that I haven’t really seen used. The crowd is very quiet, desperate to burst when Juvi gets any control and starts throwing offense at lightning speed. Juvy avoids another submission and hits a face crusher, but can’t hit the 450. Konnan hits a cradle DDT, but makes a lax cover and only gets two. That comes back into play a few seconds later, as Konnan hits a Samoan drop and makes the same lax cover; Juvi rolls him backwards over onto his shoulders for three. Juvi’s triumphant! And by “triumphant,” I mean that Konnan beats the shit out of him almost immediately after the bell. That’s a bummer.


  • J.J. Dillon is here to announce that the powerbomb is LEGAL for Nash/Giant tonight. He tells us the whole fucking procedure of how it became legal instead of just saying that it’s legal and leaving to a rousing cheer. Ten seconds, that’s all the time you needed to talk, Dillon.


  • Dean Malenko/Chris Jericho is the other match besides Booker/Eddy that I was really looking forward to on this show. Heels ripping up signs is great, and it never gets old for me. Jericho kindly takes a JERICHO RULES sign from a front-row fan, pretends to admire it, rips it apart, and then yells I’M TOO GOOD TO BE THAT GUY’S ROLE MODEL. I appreciate the embarrassed reaction of the fan, who weakly gestures at Jericho as the people around him laugh at him. In 2023, that fan would be more likely to appreciatively applaud this dastardly act.


  • Jericho is especially chatty tonight. Examples: I’M THE MAN OF A THOUSAND-AND-FOUR HOLDS, (applies armbar) THIS IS HOLD NUMBER SIX FORTY-THREE, and general yelling at the crowd and the ref. The dude’s even got 1,004 written on the seat of his tights. That’s dedication to a bit. Jericho struggles to get a foothold in the match, and the contrast of a grim Malenko silently beating down an overly loquacious Jericho is striking. Jericho finally catches Malenko with a spinebuster on a leapfrog and commences a slow control segment with lots of mugging and chattering. Jericho gets two on an Asai moonsault, then throws a tantrum when the ref tells him that Malenko’s boot was on the ropes. The crowd explodes when Malenko explodes on a comeback, but Jericho goes back to his kicks, chokes, and disrespectful slaps-based offense. I get the idea here, which is that Jericho keeps cutting off Malenko comebacks – he does this a couple minutes later with a nice gourdbuster – but he’s got to turn up the ostentatious heeling and jawing at the crowd if he’s going to have a slow-paced control segment like this.


  • Malenko gets a couple 2.9s off reversals into pinfalls in there. Jericho dodges a dropkick and tries for a Lion Tamer, but Malenko gets into the ropes to a solid pop. Shortly after, Malenko counters a super Frankensteiner with the super gutbuster, a move that absolutely rules. It gets 2.9. Malenko tries a leg lariat, but Jericho catches him, dumps him, and locks on the Walls of Jericho/Lion Tamer (I’ll just use them interchangeably). Malenko almost gets to the ropes, but Jericho drags Malenko back to the center of the ring and kneels down on the hold, inducing a Malenko tap out. The finishing run was very good, and the hot start for Malenko was very good, but Jericho’s still working out how to effectively heel while slowing a match down, I think.


  • Anyway, Jericho’s excited to boast about how much he rules to an advancing Gene Okerlund, but Okerlund ignores him to go into the ring and tell Malenko how badly Malenko choked away what should have been a sure victory, HAHAHAHAHA. This guy’s a total piece of shit. Okerlund and Schiavone: top heels. Okerlund just pops off at this dude, notes that he’s 0-4 in his last four PPVs, and says YOU ARE A BONAFIDE LOSER. Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Malenko, who has been emotionally beaten down by Okerlund after that physical beatdown from Jericho, declares that he’s going home and Okerlund scoffs: HOME? HOME?!


  • Seriously, this guy Okerlund is a mega-heel. Truly an awful guy in WCW kayfabe lore.


  • Lex Luger and Scott Steiner are next up. Steiner commences with a beatdown, which is no surprise in a match where Luger's the babyface, but at least Steiner throws a couple suplexes in there. Lex makes a quick comeback and goes for the Torture Rack, but Steiner throws a back kick into Luger’s junk and puts the Steiner Recliner on while half of Luger’s body is underneath the ropes. For some reason, head referee Nick Patrick fails entirely to notice this ostentatiously illegal positioning and just lets Steiner leave the move on. So, the finish is Scott getting a chair, Rick Steiner coming down and distracting him, and Luger hitting Scott with the metal forearm for three while Scott Norton jumps Rick outside the ring. Then, Rick comes in and backdrops Scotty Steiner out of the ring after Scotty charges him with a chair. Meh.


  • I actually think the triple jeopardy match could be solid, but I do think it’s hard to have good triple threats already, and I also don’t think that DDP and Benoit have exactly had great singles matches together. Adding Raven might be what this match needs to liven it up. Then again, the match type is just so hard to get right. I think the first one of these matches in a major company, the triple threat in 1994 ECW, is still one of the best ones just because of the challenge in getting this right. This one is okay, but it has the unfortunate trope in which one wrestler lays around so two wrestlers can have a one-on-one match, which is sort of the modern WWE approach (or was; maybe that approach has changed in the last seven-ish years).


  • Now, it would be unfair to say that how the match gets to that point is illogical! It actually makes a ton of sense. After all three guys break up pinfall attempts and switch control of the match rapidly, Raven and Benoit decide to just get rid of the champ and fight it out themselves. They destroy Page and toss him through the lit-up Uncensored sign, which is a cool visual. So the narrative by which we get a one-on-one match for most of the middle of this thing makes perfect sense. What’s happened is that I’ve seen enough of these matches in WWE style that I retroactively am bored by that trope and demand more creativity. And in truth, specifically putting the popular defending champ in peril by yeeting him into a bunch of light boxes is more creative than “put one guy through the announce table and spend the next eight minutes having a one-on-one match,” especially in 1998. But yeah, I didn’t love the match that much even though I understand that at the time, this was an interesting layout.


  • Still, there are cool spots, like the header DDP took through the Uncensored sign, or when Raven grabs Lodi’s sign that says USE MY SIGN on the front. He obliges with the sign’s directions and then rips off the signboard to reveal that it’s actually a stop sign underneath. The stop sign gets used liberally after that. The finish sees Page knock Benoit to ringside as Benoit sets up to superplex Raven through a table; Page then hits a super Diamond Cutter through the table. Well, more like onto it because it barely breaks. That gets three and was another nice visual. This match had some nice visuals and cool spots, but it wasn’t much more than that. Benoit shows respect to Page post-match.


  • I think Kevin Nash versus the Giant holds intrigue, but I’ve watched enough WCW in this era that once we get to the semi-mains, I assume that the booked finish will involve some fuckery that I hate. I think the repetitive Nitro and Thunder mains that never end clean (or have endings at all) have really gotten to me. That and the Sting/Hogan booking for Starrcade and SuperBrawl, I should say. My argument is that Giant is very over as a face, got dumped on his neck at Souled Out, and should score a clean victory here to get revenge and give him a boost/have him win the feud against a shithead heel who cheats and throws coffee in people's eyes and does mock crane kicks in the ring to show how agile he is (that last one, he does early in this match).


  • The match itself stinks because Kevin Nash has a dull control segment. Everyone wants to see more of the Giant exploding with offense, but we get like one cool lariat before Nash settles in and bores me to death. Well, that’s not fair entirely, as when Nash wants to be entertaining, he is. He headbutts Giant and sells it as more harmful to himself in a nice spot. I like Nash in-ring, which doesn’t seem to be the consensus online, so I have expectations for him that maybe others don’t. Meanwhile, Giant sets Nash up for a powerbomb and, oh look, Crush comes down and hits Giant with a foam baseball bat for the DQ. Fuck off. Giant chokeslams Crush and the two other nWo members who run in, but Nash catches Giant with a second baseball bat. The Giant has a freakout and the nWo bails. This sucked. How about a clean finish, you fucks?


  • I guess we’ll probably get a clean finish in Bret Hart/Curt Hennig (the latter with Rick Rude at his side), but that’s just a midcard feud that no one asked for. Ric Flair should be on this show against Hennig, dominating him in a no-DQ match that closes that feud off entirely. Bret could and should be doing something else. Anything else.


  • Speaking of the Hitman, he comes down in one of those dope Calgary Hitmen jerseys. Hockey jerseys are some of my favorite jerseys, aesthetically. Those and basketball jerseys are the best-looking jerseys, IMO. I guess this is okay? You’re not getting KotR 1993 or SummerSlam 1991 out of this, of course, but it’s fine. Bret locks on a Sharpshooter early, but Rick Rude breaks it up with a right hand. Hennig works the knee after that, with some light cheating from Rick Rude outside the ring sprinkled in. Bret turns it around, locks on the Sharpshooter for the submission victory, and then gets attacked by Rude and Hennig post-match. Rude hits a swinging Rude Awakening and then Hennig drops the chair on Bret while trying to hit him with it. Actually, I’m revising this: The match was kinda shit. Hennig's leg work to nowhere + the aftermath of this match = kinda shit.


  • Dusty Rhodes seconding Scott Hall gives me Jose Lothario seconding Shawn Michaels vibes. Hall and Sting for the WCW Championship is second from the top. Hey, this match should get a clean finish; Hall is clearly here to lose and doesn’t need to be protected. This match is decent enough, though Sting sells way too much and needs to look more explosive after struggling against Hogan twice in two PPVs. He even has to kick out at 2.9 on a Dusty Rhodes elbowdrop at one point. Whatever. We get a ref bump on a Sting comeback so that Hall can use a loaded fist or another 2.9. Heck, the crowd’s into it, so who am I to complain? Sting drops out of a Razor’s Edge attempt and hits a Scorpion Death Drop for three. Then he crotch chops Dusty Rhodes. I’m not sure it needed all the gaga; just have Sting win a match in which he is clearly a level or two above Hall without all the misdirection.


  • The Being Hulk Hogan champ, Hulk Hogan, comes out to take his rightful place in the main event, as the Being Hulk Hogan champ should receive. He’s up against Randy Savage in a cage. I’m going to argue that Hogan’s clearly having a physical breakdown at this point and isn't able to maintain the level of main event work that he was showing in 1996. He can’t go long anymore without a lot of woo woo or an electric atmosphere (a la the Rock match at WM 18). Savage is doing his best to be the Savage of ten or even five years ago, but yeah, these fellas need to be special attractions at this point. It’s a dull, plodding affair in the cage, though I appreciate the weight belt being used. That’s one of my favorite illegal weapons in pro wrestling.


  • I’ll also give Savage a ton of love for coming of the top of the cage with a double axehandle. That was a great visual. But the rest of this match besides that and the weight belt is a low-energy bore-fest. Even worse than that, the finish involves the Disciple running in. Sting rappels down for the save. *sigh* well, at least Sting’s in the main event, I guess. Oh, wait, he’s here to get jumped by Savage and piledriven. Then, Savage leaves. WCW’s faces look like complete assholes all the time. I said in a recent show review that Sting and Luger helping Savage out doesn’t make sense because he’s not opposing Hogan to support WCW, he just wants to run the nWo…and oppose WCW as its leader rather than as Hogan’s second. Could maybe WCW’s top faces also realize this very obvious flaw in supporting Savage and look like they have some brains for once? Oops, no, I guess not.


  • This show was bad, but not bad in an entertaining way. Avoid it EXCEPT for Jericho/Malenko and the post-match, the latter of which elevated a mildly disappointing, but still pretty good bout into something nearing transcendence and a textbook example of how to be a mega-heel.



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Show #132 – 16 March 1998

"The one that uses a swimming pool better than it does Sting”

  • SPRING BREAK(out)!!!


  • So, I watched Uncensored, then watched WM XIV, then watched Austin/Dude Love at Unforgiven, and now I kinda would rather be watching 1998 RAWs. Oops!


  • Uncensored main event recap. The main was not good!


  • The nWo, except for Savage, comes down to crow about how they’re still together. Bischoff and Hogan don’t shut the fuck up. You know how it is. Hall and Nash are wearing magnificent beachwear, though. So, Savage jumped Sting at Uncensored, and now Hogan’s hoping that Savage was just, uh, faking his anger at Hogan? Testing him? Who cares. Hogan’s gone so far as to get Hogan/Savage vs. Sting/Luger made for tonight. That will probably go poorly for him and also extend this FRICKIN’ nWo breakup angle for even longer.


  • Lodi plugs RF Video on his way to the ring with the rest of the Flock. Goldberg comes out to kill him off. Lodi wore an inflatable tube to the ring, and I was hoping that Goldberg would violently deflate it like Uncle Phil did to Carlton in Will’s courtroom retelling of the pool party incident. Goldberg takes about 45 seconds to win this sucker. Riggs, Sick Boy, and Kidman try a run-in after the match, but it’s not particularly effective. Saturn steps onto the apron, but he’s not stupid enough to go in there and get his ass beat. He just mean mugs Goldberg safely from where he’s at.


  • Mega-heel Gene Okerlund shills some NEWZ about some WCW wrestler quitting pro wrestling. I wouldn’t pay for a hot dog from this scumbag, much less some NEWZ.


  • Fit Finlay wrestles Ultimo Dragon, who I’m glad to see back. Was Dragon hurt or just touring elsewhere? It’s a coin toss. This is a match worked around a style clash, which for me is interesting enough at its core to make for a decent TV match. Dragon comes out hot early, gets caught, and gets ground down by Finlay with strikes, finger stomps, and liberal use of the ring apron as a weapon, among other strategies. Dragon tries to make his comeback, but is rusty athletically. He doesn’t quite stick a flip out of a backdrop and botches a kip-up. Finlay regains control and hits a double stomp to the solar plexus since Kevin Sullivan’s finally off TV. Dragon almost locks on a Dragon Sleeper; Finlay avoids it once, but gets caught in another Dragon Sleeper to end the match after Dragon flips behind him on a vertical suplex attempt.


  • Vicious and Delicious come to the ring, but Scott Norton is the person wrestling a singles match against Chris Adams. Adams is game, but struggles with Norton’s power. Adams gets pushed around and slammed to begin the match, and he immediately goes to the superkick and high-risk moves to try and be competitive. He tries, sure, but doesn’t have much luck. Norton has a cool spot where he stands on Adams’s wrist with one foot and uses the other to stomp his hand. Someone should steal that spot and use it regularly today if no one’s using it. Adams tries another high-risk flurry, but whiffs on a top-rope jumping kick and suffers a Norton shoulderbreaker for three.


  • WCW Spring Break (sponsored by Cinnaburst ™) gets a video package. Ladies dance and chew Cinnaburst ™ brand chewing gum. Dude bros climb rock walls and chew Cinnaburst ™ brand chewing gum. Cinnaburst ™! Now with Chewing Crystals!


  • The Beverly Brothers come to the ring to face the remnants of the Hart Foundation (Bulldog and Neidhart). I like Bloom and Enos, and so I figure this’ll be perfectly okay TV wrestling. It’s pleasant enough watching Bloom and Enos wrestle as heels. Enos misses a middle-rope headbutt and Neidhart hot tags Bulldog to end the heel control segment. All four men end up fighting one another, and Bulldog hits Bloom with a walking powerslam for three. I won’t remember it tomorrow, but at least I won't be remembering it because it sucked! 


  • They let Tayo uncover her natural hair and let me tell you, she is something, man, she is something.


  • I have many opinions about the Nitro Girls that I spare you from, but I’ll say this: Tayo, Chae, and Kimberly should break away from the other four like USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon breaking away from the Pac-12.


  • Bischoff is back out here with Savage and Elizabeth *sigh*. Bischoff’s all like WELCOME BACK TO THE nWo, BUDDY, but Savage is not interested in hugs and welcomes and shit. Savage reinforces that he’s always been nWo, but he just wants to beat Sting for the big gold so that he can leverage that into pushing Hogan out of nWo leadership. Which is what Sting and Luger should have figured in the first place, but, oh, nevermind, they’re WCW babyfaces.


  • Raven comes to the ring to complain, as usual. This time, though, he complains about Chris Benoit getting in the way of his chance to beat DDP for the United States Championship. Raven thinks that the U.S. Championship is his destiny, which is true, but in the most hilarious, cursed monkey’s paw sort of way. Raven’s also still mad that Page ditched him and made him feel bad and shit, but I didn’t see Page forcing Raven to become disaffected by the relative wealth that Raven grew up in; nor did I see Page force Raven to move him to Philly, start wearing a leather jacket, and mope a lot. 


  • Chris Benoit is Raven’s opponent next, and the winner of this match gets a shot at Page’s gold at Spring Stampede. Benoit beats the piss out of Raven for the first four or five minutes of this sucker. He beats him in the ring, he beats him out of the ring, and then he beats him in the ring some more. I mean, this dude is whooping Raven’s ass pretty much into the commercial break.


  • I get a small kick out of this “Only on Peacock” hype video ending with footage of a WWE wrestler followed by footage of an AEW wrestler.


  • Back from the break, Benoit is beating the shit out of Raven outside of the ring, but near the entrance this time. Benoit whips Raven into the WCW standee, then walks him back down the narrow ramp over the pool. Hey, that narrow ramp over a pool is a cool little visual oddity. They go back into the ring where, and you won’t believe this, Benoit beats Raven half to death. He’s gone for covers here and there and gets two on a nice Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge. Benoit rips Raven’s shirt off so the chops hit harder. Benoit loses control after Raven ducks a lariat and hits a mean uppercut – no, sorry, that didn’t happen. What did happen was Benoit continued to punch, slap, and kick Raven. This is getting to the point where I think Benoit’s offense must be kayfabe shit if he hasn’t put this guy away by now. The issue is that Benoit's supposed to be having too much fun punching Raven to just beat him, but he's gone for pinfall attempts. This would be a more effective narrative if he never bothered with trying to get three. 


  • Benoit hits rolling verticals and finally signals for the flying headbutt. He goes up and misses it after taking his sweet-ass time getting up there. Raven rolls out and grabs a chair, then hits a chair-assisted bulldog to score what is his first significant offensive move of this match. Raven has more plans for the chair, but Benoit fights an Irish whip and reverses it into a Crippler Crossface. Unfortunately for Benoit, he forgets about the chair, sitting right there, just waiting for Benoit to bonk into it as he drops down. Raven gets up, hits a quick Evenflow DDT on the chair, and gets a three that he only gets due to his own perseverance and Benoit’s desire to keep punching Raven rather than getting a three and getting out of dodge. That structure was interesting (and commentary knew what these fellas were trying and got over the story/structure on commentary). I’m not sure it was that fun to watch, but I appreciate the artistry in the structure.


  • I would like Ernest Miller to stop with the kickboxing gimmick and start with the James Brown gimmick. Instead, he keeps on with the kickboxing gimmick and wrestles Yuji Nagata, and mmmmm NO, this is not what I want. The match is actually inoffensive, though. There’s some faux-MMA stuff in this sucker, but also Nagata hits a capture suplex, so that’s good. It’s not the match that I want, but that doesn’t make it horrible. The crowd chants BORING, but I just think that’s because of the lack of personality in the ring because the work is just fine. Well, okay, Miller botches a leapfrog spot, but still. I think the top-rope Feliner is cool. That’s what Miller uses to get three.


  • Scotty Steiner hits the ring to face Ray Traylor, who OMG is still in WCW! Well, I’ll never forget when Traylor left WCW this time around because I am so surprised about how long he stuck around on re-watch. Look, here’s my assessment of this match: It’s not very good, but then Traylor clotheslines Steiner into the pool, so actually this match IS very good. Traylor also hits a top rope crossbody. Look, let’s go with this: This match was whatever until the pool spot, at which point it became very cool. Traylor goes up top again while Scotty signals for a time out, and Buff runs down and hangs Traylor up top. Steiner gets up, hits Traylor with a super Frankensteiner, and then locks on the Steiner Recliner for three. Buff hits Traylor with a strap after the match, then uses the strap to measure Steiner’s arms. This went from meh to pretty damned fun in a jiffy. Thank you, swimming pool.


  • Chavo comes to the ring. Wait, Eddy stops him before he comes to the ring. Eddy has Chavo under his command, so Eddy wants Chavo to wear a SWEET t-shirt with CHEAT TO WIN on it. It’s airbrushed and everything. Chavo doesn’t want to wear it, maybe because he’s style-impaired. Oh, it says MY FAVORITE WRESTLER IS EDDY GUERRERO on the front! I would like to acquire that t-shirt in real life.


  • Booker T. defends the TV Championship against Chavo up next. Booker tries to talk some sense into Chavo, who doesn’t want to hear it. Chavo shoves Book in rebuttal, and Book counters Chavo’s point with a lariat. Booker controls early with a bunch of strikes and a powerslam. He loses control when, after pummeling Chavo outside the ring, he stops to point at what I’d assume is a bonny lass in the crowd and yell THIS IS FOR YOU, BABY. Chavo kicks the rope that Book is stepping between as he does this, crotching him. The ladies are nice, Book, but you gotta stay focused! Chavo hits some nice offense, including a good-looking dropkick. Booker gets a sunset flip in there for two, but Chavo gets up and slows Book with a basement dropkick to Book’s knee.


  • Book fights up from a Chavo chinlock and hits a spin kick followed by an axe kick. He follows with a spinebuster and a missile dropkick for three. Chavo did his best, but is a level or two beneath Booker based on this match. He really only had control when Book was distracted. Decent TV bout.


  • Do you want to Bite the Burst ™? The young people at WCW Spring Breakout sure do!


  • I’m sorry, but Reese wearing cutoff blue jeans and a flannel shirt tied around his waist looks absurd. This dude would wear the flannel and blue jeans, but in a “chops his own wood” sort of way, not a “disaffected Gen-Xer” sort of way. I’d believe this more if he wore a full pair of jeans rather than cutoffs, put the flannel on properly, and came in the ring looking like Ron Swanson on a weekend camping trip. So yeah, Reese wrestles Diamond Dallas Page next, and he uses his size to pummel Page for most of this thing. So, I dig this spot: Reese breaks a Page standing chokehold, applies one of his own, and double-handed chokeslams Page. Then, he yells IT’S OVER, I KILLED ‘IM, I KILLED PAGE and celebrates like an over-excited lunk. It made me laugh and I enjoyed it. Page’s first effective offensive move of the night is the one that wins him the match: a floatover Diamond Cutter.


  • Juventud Guerrera gets a shot at Chris Jericho. They had a pretty dope SuperBrawl match, so I’m excited for this one. Jericho grabs a mic to run through his big wins – he destroyed Rey’s knee and Malenko’s dignity and took Juvi’s mask and the Cruiserweight Championship. He thinks his mom is very proud and he plans to add more moves to his arsenal to up the count from 1,004 real soon. Juvi, don’t just stand there and shake your head while Jericho gabs – kick him in the mush! After trading disrespectful slaps, Juvi wins out on an early exchange with a back kick, and he continues to stay a step ahead of Jericho. It isn’t until Jericho stops trying to match speed with Juvi and asserts his power and size advantage that he gets control. Juvi tries a springboard crossbody and Jericho catches and Tombstones (!) him for two.


  • That move leads to Jericho controlling the match with a series of crisp moves, ending in a Tiger Driver ’91 – no, sorry, that didn’t happen either. What actually happened is that Jericho stomped around throwing a tantrum while the crowd chanted JERICHO SUCKS. Jericho controls with kicks, suplexes, and slams. Jericho thinks he got a submission off a backbreaker and celebrates, but he didn’t get no submission. He shakes his head and yells YOU PEOPLE THINK THAT’S FUNNY? at the young college ham-and-eggers in the crowd. Finally, Juvi flips out of a back suplex attempt and hits a rana for 2.9. Juvi catches Jericho on a leap over and hits a Juvi Driver, but he’s caught at the top on the 450 attempt. Juvi fights Jericho off and hits a top-rope leg lariat for two. Jericho tries a powerbomb, but that gets countered into a Juvi DDT for another two. That’s about where Jericho checks out of this one, as he grabs his title, whacks Juvi with it for the DQ loss, and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf Canadian Maple Leaf while the timekeeper hammers the bell. Jericho's decided that this move isn’t good enough to become move number 1,005, then is upset about the college kids being at a wrestling show instead of at home studying during Spring Break like he did. It’s ’98 Jericho, he’s gold. He and Juvi have very good in-ring chemistry to boot.


  • The Outsiders are out here with a mic, and probably they’re sauced. Hall does a survey, and I’m particularly sure he was shotgunning beers right before this. Nash suggests that the fellas in the crowd don’t forget to fuck some of the thiccest ladies at Spring Break(that’s how I’m putting it) and then, oh yeah, it’s time for a Kevin Nash is well-informed check: Mentions Mark McGwire as a comparison to himself w/r/t showing prodigious power. They call out the Giant. The Giant hears said callout and walks to the ring. The Outsiders vacate the premises, and when the Giant stalks toward them, Nash does a cannonball into the pool to get away. The Giant has to settle for giving Hall a wedgie and press-slamming him into the pool. Then the Giant saunters away like a dude in a Western, dropping a “Score one for the good guys” as he goes back up the ramp. Heh heh, that was pretty good, man. These dudes are all entertaining.


  • Hollywood Hogan, Randy Savage, Liz, and Bisch all come to the ring for the tag match. Hogan and Savage get in the ring and immediately start bickering. Hogan grabs the mic so that he can steal/iterate upon Savage’s catchphrase. Do I even need to signify the sound I made? Oh, heck, why not: *sigh*. Luger comes out by himself to Sting’s music. It looks weird. Sting doesn’t make it out, and Bischoff grabs the mic to crow about Sting not making it. I guess they mixed up Sting’s plane tickets or something? Anyway, Sting shows up in a helicopter. That copter is sending gale-force winds around this ring. Sting rappels down from the copter, which I would absolutely never have agreed to do, and I think Sting is a madman.


  • So, the match begins, and we have a surprisingly pacey tag match with all four men brawling around the set. Sting hits a jumping piledriver on Hogan into the pool—no, sorry, you should know I’m just fucking with you by now. What happened was that the Disciple came out and he and Hogan threw Savage to the wolves inside the ring. Savage eats a ponderous beatdown from Sting and Luger for awhile. Savage eventually force tags Hogan and Hogan of course gets the first offense for their whole team while the Disciple more than holds his own against Savage on the outside. What is the purpose of this angle? Is it to get Ed fucking Leslie over? Because he’s looked like a killer the last few weeks. Luger actually has to make a hot tag to Sting, who honestly I almost forgot is the champ because this Hogan/Savage drama that has no meaning and is never-ending is what's showcased.


  • Luger racks Hogan; Disciple clocks Luger and drags Hogan out of the ring. Savage eats a beatdown until the rest of the nWo runs in. Luger and Sting fight off the nWo while Hogan beats up Savage outside of the ring. And if that ain’t the capper, as I cancel the autoplay, I see the screencap for the next Nitro, and Roddy Piper is in it. Fine, you basically are letting me know that you think I should get fucked, WCW. Whatever. You can’t hurt me anymore.


  • Everything except the main event is fun, the main event stinks, the world turns on its axis, yada yada yada, nothing changes. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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2 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

I know he had money and that had to have something to do with it, but I still don't get how a butt-ugly bastard like DDP ever got ladies like Kimberly. Must've had a good rap. 

he managed a night club (strip club? i don't remember) and seems full of enthusiasm and pretty likable. i think it's fair to say he's good at running game.

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Yeah, I've seen enough dudes with wives who are better-looking than them to know that it's not hard to compensate for your mug.

Hell, my wife is definitely better-looking than me (and better-smelling than me, thus my OG name). 

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Thunder Interlude – show number eleven – 19 March 1998

"The WCW Gang finally gives Goldberg more interesting things to do”

  • The fellas at the desk recap the never-ending nWo drama…We’re indoors in Indiana tonight…


  • Chris Jericho defends the Cruiserweight Championship against Super Calo…Jericho's got an airbrushed picture of his own face on the back of his shiny vest…He has to ask Penzer where he is before declaring on the mic that “Terry Hut” is his favorite town…That "what town am I in" gag’s an oldie, but goodie…This might be a weird comp, but in terms of characterization, ’98 Jericho reminds me strongly of heel New Day-era Xavier Woods…They have the same deal where they get under your skin enough that even if you laugh at their antics, it's hard to root for them…Though I freely admit to rooting for heel New Day, actually…The match is entertaining…The crowd is into Calo during the shine segment…They’re into his comeback after Jericho’s control segment…Calo gets 2.9 off a missile dropkick, but Jericho turns what looks like a rana attempt into a Lion Tamer for the win…Solid opener…Haha, the look of irritation on Mark Curtis’s face when Jericho makes him raise his arm in victory again…


  • Kendall Windham versus El Dandy is certainly a WCW-ass matchup…Dandy’s working babyface tonight…This is inoffensive, and I won’t remember it for being good or bad or at all, really, by this time tomorrow…Windham wins with a bulldog…


  • Curt Hennig and Rick Rude cut a promo in which they crow about beating up Bret Hart at Uncensored…Rude cuts a semi-corny promo, but I can’t hate him too much…Aw hell, let's be honest...It’s totally corny and uses pimple puns as insults, let’s be honest…Oh man, Hennig stinks it up too…Their contrived “too sweet” joke is a textbook "lame dad joke"…This was pretty bad television, but maybe for some of you, this promo would be so bad, it’s good…


  • La Parka’s back on TV, hooray…He faces Saturn in another unique matchup…Parka dances, Saturn takes the opportunity to throw lariats…Saturn dominates, culminating in a two-count off a wheelbarrow suplex…Parka hits his own lariat and control shifts back and forth for the next minute or two…Lodi has KILROY WUZ HERE written on his chest and Kilroy peeking over a fence drawn on his back…Vonnegut rules and is one of the best things about Indiana in general, so that’s a nice touch…After a successful dive, Parka grabs a chair, but Saturn dropkicks him into it…A suplex and a Rings of Saturn later, Saturn is the winner…fun little TV jaunt…


  • The Raven/DDP/TRL incident that twiztor posted last page is played in full…It rules and I love it…Raven and Page sliding around on the hardwood floor because they wore the wrong shoes for this kerfuffle makes me chuckle…This was the coolest pop culture thing WCW did during this era by FAR…


  • Barry Darsow comes to the ring…Lodi’s BRAD – YOU BETTER CALL SOMEBODY! sign makes me laugh, and actually, the back-and-forth on t-shirts and signs across TV shows about the relative success of various Armstrong family wrestlers has been delightful…Ray Traylor is Darsow’s opponent…They have a match that’s not very good, but it’s Big Boss Man vs. Demolition Smash…Or Ray Traylor ’85 vs. Krusher Kruschev…The point is that the nostalgia gets me through it…It’s not abjectly terrible or anything, though…Traylor catches Darsow with a Boss Man Slam for three…


  • Tony S. warns us all that Roddy Piper will be on Nitro…I’ve steeled myself already after seeing him pop up on the autoplay…In seriousness, they got a surprising amount out of Piper with the first one, maybe two Hogan matchups, but at the point that he put on one of the worst segments of all time with the Piper’s Family tryouts, it was time to cut bait…


  • Yuji Nagata and Prince Iaukea have a match that’s watchable enough…I find Iaukea to be a decent TV wrestler, but Nagata typically bores me…Nagata's heel control segments are typically plodding and boring, a nice suplex or kick aside…Sonny Onoo hops up on the apron to intervene, but his kick hits Nagata…Iaukea takes advantage with a Northern Lights Suplex and a bridge for three…


  • Lots of Giant vs. Nash recap…Hall and Nash definitely reacted to X-Pac showing up on RAW by going out there oiled up on Nitro…I’ll have to track down what Nash and Bischoff might have said about that Nitro specifically w/r/t Waltman’s firing…


  • Crush vs. Marty Jannetty almost certainly happened on a random Superstars in 1993, right?...Huh, not in 1993 or 1994…I didn't fully realize just how much Jannetty was in and out of the company at that point...We did get Demolition/Rockers at one point, though…I talk about that instead because this match is a lot of Jannetty selling for Crush, which is bo-ring…Marty fights back with his agility, but eats a tilt-a-whirl slam for three…Again, not terrible, but not much going on here…


  • Eddy Guerrero and Psicosis will hopefully pick things up here…They do, with lots of pace and counter-wrestling…I’m into clubbering, y’all know that…But clubbering is a skill like anything else…Crush doesn’t have it and Darsow once had it, but is past his prime…Psicosis hit a guillotine legdrop with Eddy draped over the middle rope…The setup was contrived, but it looked cool, so I forgive it…Psicosis hits a corkscrew moonsault to the floor, and I again wish they’d push Psicosis…Back in the ring, Eddy dumps Psicosis to reverse a superplex attempt…Eddy hits the Frog Splash and gets out of dodge with a tough win…That was a fun TV sprint, of course…


  • Brad Armstrong comes to the ring for another match with Raven…Raven’s too bored for a match, though…Reese and Hammer beat Armstrong down while Raven sits there…Raven has a mic and speaks about BA not taking his offer last week to join the Flock…He didn’t really have much of a chance to, in fairness…Raven’s still mad that MTV invited Page to be on their network since he’s the U.S. champ…Raven wants to be a star, dammit…For some reason, the match isn’t cancelled or thrown out, and Raven DDTs Armstrong for three…This is nonsense, you can throw out a match before it begins because of shenanigans, regardless of what commentary says…


  • This Bret Hart video package reminds me of how poorly Bret Hart has been used since he got here…How do you have this guy and waste him in a feud with Curt Hennig in 1998?...


  • Scott Norton and Chris Benoit are probably going to hit each other pretty hard…Yeah, we get the requisite chopfest…Norton uses his size to do some clubbering that is beneath his standard…Norton’s often good with forearms and lariats and slams…I do like his powerslam and cover for two, though…But I’ve seen him do better…He hits a nice Samoan drop in there, too…Benoit dodges a corner charge and hits a release German…Benoit hits the flying headbutt and locks on the Crippler Crossface…Norton survives in it for twenty seconds or so until Benoit breaks it to chase down Vincent on the apron…Norton gets back up, stuffs a Crossface attempt an a suplex attempt, and hits the shoulderbreaker for three…I think the ultimate winner makes sense…Norton, like Meng, is the kind of gatekeeper status that needs wins like this sometimes…I’m not sure he should have survived in the Crossface that long, though…


  • Goldberg steamrolls Wayne Bloom…I think probably Goldberg should have won a title by now, or at least killed a higher caliber of opponent…I know that he’s in for the U.S. Championship the night after Spring Stampede, IIRC…Still, only killing jobbers for like three months after the Mongo feud isn’t great use of him…Goldberg throws a nice pumphandle slam in the mix…Goldberg takes a whip to the corner and rebounds with a spear…then Jackhammer…and SPLAT…I guess WCW has decided that Goldberg is 56-0 after this one…Well, look, Saturn wants to challenge Goldberg…They should have done this a month ago to give Goldberg more to do…


  • Curt Hennig’s back out (w/ Rick Rude) to wrestle…Rick Steiner is Hennig’s opponent…Can Scotty Steiner be far behind?...IDK how Sonny Onoo won Worst Manager in the Observer when he’s not even the worst manager in the company…Ted DiBiase is pointless in this role and has the charisma of a jar of mud in it…


  • Rude trips Rick when Rick goes up top for the bulldog about two or three minutes in…Rude and DiBiase mix it up, but Hennig helps dispatch DiBiase…Rick makes a comeback on Hennig and Rude…the nWo B-teamers run in…Traylor runs in for a failed save…Vincent taking the chance to choke out DiBiase on the floor is a quality spot, but this mostly sucks…It’s an nWo B-team beatdown…Zzzzzzzz…Hey, Goldberg finally comes out for the actual save…That rules…Goldberg kills off the whole nWo B-Team because he rules…Then he walks out like a boss after he’s done…Well, okay, this lame beatdown was worth it just for that…Traylor and Steiner finish off the remnants of the B-teamers…Scotty Steiner didn’t even think it was worth it to show up for this…


  • This show was mostly boring except for Goldberg (who got elevated into more interesting possible feuds tonight) and the guys who wrestle in the Cruiser division + Saturn…It gets a WOOO


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Show #133 – 23 March 1998

"The one that, through comparison to a close competitor, proves that the last impression that one leaves is often as important as the first impression”

  • We get a cold open with Roddy Piper and Gene Okerlund. I’m in hell.


  • But you can’t say Piper isn’t mega-over! The people love this man. Piper’s shirt has Taz wearing a kilt (the Tasmanian Devil of WB fame, not the short orange dude from ECW/Red Hook) on it. Piper name drops Harry Caray and says that he’s a consultant to WCW and he’s laying down some more laws. Piper then name drops Michael Jordan and talks about banning baseball bats until Spring Stampede, at which point he will have a baseball bat tag match in which he’s tagging with the Giant against Nash and Hogan. I clearly was so scarred by this that I don’t remember it happening. Well, that, or I was too busy watching RAW at the time to clock any of this.


  • Piper continues crapping on Nash and makes a Nash/Giant match for tonight. He finishes up by declaring that Savage and Hogan are gay for one another and then booking himself in a match against Savage, also for tonight. It was a dreadful promo for the most part, but I expect as much from ‘90s Piper and thus was able to brace myself in advance.


  • Larry Z. is also over enough here in Louisville that he gets up from the desk to bask in their adulation while Tony S. hypes the show. Hey, Tony announces a Sting/DDP World Championship match later tonight. That’s interesting!


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. is fired up by Eddy on his way to the ring. Actually, Chavo brushes Eddy’s arm away, so maybe he’s not that fired up at all. Chavo’s wrestling Ultimo Dragon next. Chavo always comes out with fire, but Dragon takes control until Chavo sends a weak boot to his gut on a dive. Chavo just can’t keep Dragon down though, and Dragon gets two off an Asai moonsault. These dudes basically wrestle at full speed and trade two counts, actually. Chavo gets close a couple of times, but he tries to vertical suplex Dragon in from the apron, and Dragon twists over the top and applies the Dragon Sleeper for the tap. Man, these dudes pinballed around in the four-ish minutes they had.


  • Post-match, Gene Okerlund tries to stir up more problems between Chavo and Eddy. Honestly, they don’t even need him to do it because Eddy’s already stirring shit up enough. Eddy apologizes to the crowd and the Guerrero family. Then, he demands that Chavo apologizes to their grandma, and Chavo, irritated, mutters a quick “Sorry, Grandma.” This was hilarious. I love these two.


  • It's Bischoff and Hogan, who we didn’t have wasting any of our time on the last Thunder, which was nice. Well, that little break is over, though I’m excited for the point at which Hogan permanently decides that he’s too big and important for Thunder. Maybe we’ll get a few good Thunders between then and when Nash starts booking. These fellas cut another shitty promo in a sea full of them. Hogan bites a line from the goddam RIDDLER, the Jim Carrey one from Batman Forever. Holy shit. This guy SUCKS and is the WORST. Then he references a fucking song about yellow polka dot bikinis from *googles* 1960. How current! He talks about his relationship with Rupert Murdoch that probably, yeah, I bet they get along. I mean, this is worse than the awful Piper promo from earlier. Truly putrid. Anyway, Hogan wants to wrestle Giant alongside Nash tonight or whatever.


  • These lame fucks have made about eighty million baseball references in their promos because we’re in Louisville. Fuck off twice.


  • I’m genuinely wondering if the Russo era’s promos will at least be batshit insane and bad instead of dorky, out of touch, and bad.


  • Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell are the perfect bro duo. They genuinely complement one another. Steiner’s now calling himself Big Poppa Pump, which is airbrushed on the back of his singlet. He’s also got SUPERSTAR airbrushed on the front, which is extremely on the nose. He’s going to reignite the hot January 1993 WWF matchup with Wayne Bloom, except without tag partners this time around. Bloom is one of those guys who is deceptively big. He didn’t look this big in WWF, but that’s the land of the monsters. He spent a lot of his time wrestling the Road Warriors and the Natural Disasters, looking smaller than he was. Steiner dominates until Bloom throws a flurry of punches and hits a suplex for two. However, he gets caught on a duck down and double-underhook suplexed by Steiner shortly after. That leads to a super Samoan Drop and a Steiner Recliner for the win. Buff hypes Steiner as we fade out to commercial. That act feels so contemporary, in sharp contrast to what came before it.


  • Tony S. kicks us down to Gene, but he’s wrong about Gene being next, for which I am thankful. Instead we get Lodi, who thinks he’s a luchador or something. That’s way better than getting Gene. Psicosis, who is now one of my favorite luchadores/wrestlers in general after re-watching over two years of major WCW shows, is his opponent. Lodi’s back advertises support for either Rush Limbaugh (in which case, ew, said support is dumb and bad) or Rush, the Canadian band of such hits as “Tom Sawyer” and “YYZ” (in which case, said support is correct thinking). I assume the former because Lodi's a heel. Lodi’s very into his heel schtick, which Psicosis unfortunately has to work around. I’m okay with heel schtick, but Lodi comes off a bit try-hard. Anyway, Psicosis hits a GORGEOUS twisting Tsukahara to the floor. Back in the ring, he hits a Falcon Arrow and a guillotine legdrop for three. It was short and sweet, and Psicosis got to show off some sick offense.


  • Diamond Dallas Page, sans U.S. Championship (Raven showed up on TRL with a stop sign and stole it, remember) faces off against Sting for the WCW World Championship only forty minutes into this show. This Nitro is loaded, which maybe is because Bischoff is feeling a little heat from the burgeoning Austin/McMahon program over on RAW. The initial collar-and-elbow spills through the ropes and to the floor before Nick Patrick can break it up. OK, I get it, we’re setting a tone here. Both fellas get in the ring and eye one another. Sting gets a quick roll-up for a two, then kicks Page’s wheels out twice, going for the Scorpion Death Lock each time. Page escapes both times. I’m into this; they’ve sold me on the intensity and competitiveness of this thing. Page is so shook by those last couple of near escapes that he uncharacteristically bitches at the ref.


  • Back to standing, Page gets a swinging neckbreaker for two and tries a Diamond Cutter, but Sting shoves away quickly. Page goes back to work, wins an exchange, and gets two on a DDPancake. This match is an economy of action. It all happens in bursts, after which there’s a calm period where tension can re-build to the next burst. Very effective pacing, I think.


  • After a DDP headlock to release and then re-build tension, there’s another flurry that ends with Page getting dropped over the turnbuckle headfirst, then clotheslined for two. Sting works a headlock to calm things down, then back to standing, he and Page counter one another, including a nice spot where Sting tries to elbow out of a waistlock, so Page ducks an elbow and lets Sting’s momentum turn him around into position for an overhead belly-to-belly. They end up having a punch-out, which Sting wins. Sting goes with the face crusher (times three) and then eats knees on a top-rope splash attempt.


  • Once again standing, Page punches Sting back into the corner, then tries to hit a Diamond Cutter out of the corner. Sting blocks it once, then twice, and finally ducks out and grabs Page’s head, then slips him into a Scorpion Death Drop for the clean three count. Wow, that fucking RULED, man, this was great. Sting gives Page some props for that performance and the men hug post-match. Great booking, great layout, Page looks like a future World Champ with a little more seasoning, and best of all – A CLEAN FINISH TO A BIG MATCH!


  • It's a random Rick Fuller sighting. Luger’s going to rack him, probably after taking a bog-standard beating. Well, Luger actually takes some offense for the first thirty seconds of the match before the bog-standard beating happens. I think Luger might be at the point where he needs a heel turn to refresh himself. He cooled off – or, IMO, was cooled off by the booking – and is now directionless in the upper-midcard. I feel like Luger realizes it on some level, too. His work always becomes languid when he’s directionless. Luger makes a comeback with some forearms/clotheslines after a ponderous beatdown and gets the rack for the submission victory. Yeah, Luger’s cooked as a babyface and is acting like it, turn him.


  • Eddy Guerrero, still in the process of driving poor Chavo insane, wrestles Kaz Hayashi tonight. Eddy shows Chavo how it’s done. He has no time for handshakes and shit like that; he only has time for punches and leg lariats and exploder suplexes and other varied and impactful offensive moves. Kaz fights back and hits a wild flipping suicide dive…oh wait, a tope suicida, yeah, okay, thanks Tenay. Kaz follows up with a missile dropkick back in the ring that gets two; he goes up top again after a back suplex, but gets dumped into a backbreaker on the dive. Eddy hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to double the damage. They have a fight over a vertical suplex that Eddy wins.


  • Eddy takes some time to beat Kaz down in front of Chavo as an instructional approach, then gets two off a pumphandle backbreaker. One superplex and a Frog Splash later, and I both love the finish and believe that the work to Kaz’s back set him up logically for it. This was cool because Eddy’s a prick, but he really did take Kaz apart surgically, so you can’t deny that Chavo could learn something from watching him. Since all Japanese people are friends with one another by the infallible logic of pro wrestling, Ultimo Dragon comes down to check on Kaz and bumps shoulders with Eddy, setting up a conflict for later. Eddy makes Chavo hold the ropes open for him on the way out of the ring like the aforementioned prick that Eddy is.


  • We get another Bret Hart promo package. How about doing something interesting with him instead, you chumps? Fuck me, man.


  • The nWo music hits, and we strangely cut to a video package for Konnan in the middle of it. After it plays, Konnan locks up with Prince Iaukea. I enjoy Iaukea’s basic, but explosive offense. He’s not the most explosive wrestler around, don’t get me wrong, but he puts some energy into his moves. Konnan takes over and slows this match down, then keeps Iaukea down however possible. Konnan is such a weird wrestler. This is another match that I don’t think is good, but Konnan is weirdly compelling in spite of his shaky work. He struggles to lock on a standing Figure Four, then hits a nice release German after that. I don’t know, it’s all dualities. Anyway, here's something I’m not expecting: Konnan goes for the cradle piledriver, but Iaukea fights out of it and counters with a Northern Lights suplex that he bridges over on for three. What, did Konnan only agree to do the job if he got a video package beforehand or something? This whole thing was random.


  • Chris Jericho (w/ Cruiserweight Championship and fantastic-looking Monday Night Jericho t-shirt). He grabs a mic and shares his support for Stanford athletics, which could certainly use it here in the Year of Our Lord Twenty and Twenty-Three. Lenny Lane comes out and interrupts him. If you’ll recall, they wrestled one another Nitro in Show #130, and then on Thunder in show number ten, Jericho thought back to Show #130 and recruited the similar looking, similarly-built Lane to pull a fake-out on Dean Malenko. Lane’s here because he’s still awaiting payment for participating in said fake-out. Lane wants his thousand bucks. Jericho, being a conspiracist both in kayfabe and IRL, imagines that actually what had happen was that Lane stole his gear and his Loverboy tape (I had to look up what the fuck Loverboy even was).


  • Jericho then pretends to be a character in a Looney Tunes short: He demands his gear back by yelling LET ME HAVE IT and then, as the Daffy to Lane’s Bugs, re-affirms that he wants Lane to LET ME HAVE IT. Lane lets him have it, “it” being a slap, and he controls their now-match until Jericho is able to dodge a leapfrog and hit a leg lariat. Jericho hits a backbreaker and goes for the Lion Tamer, but Lane rolls him up for two, then hits a Breakdown for two. Jericho files that move away in the recesses of his mind. Lane is all fired up, but he gets flapjacked out of another leapover and put in the Lion Tamer for the loss. That was alright, man, alright indeed.


  • Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Eric Bischoff come to the ring for what I guess is a handicap match now. Is Piper just going to let Hogan interject himself into this thing? Maybe the Giant went and got a partner to even things up, which would be a nice twist. Well, no, doesn’t look like it. He comes out here by his lonesome. 


  • Hogan’s in the ring first, but his weak offense is ineffective. He tries a body slam, but gets body slammed instead. Hogan doesn’t get any offense in, really, which is a rarity. I’m wondering what the catch is. Finally, Hogan rolls out of the ring while the Giant steals a Scott Hall taunt, which is fair considering how much Hogan steals from everybody else.


  • Back in the ring, it’s more of the same until Giant side slams Hogan, at which point Hogan rolls out of the ring again. It could just be me, but I think Hogan is physically shot almost completely at this point. He was actually pretty limber and could go when he needed to at the point of his heel turn in 1996. He held that standard up for about a year, which is impressive for a guy entering his mid-forties. But yeah, he’s totally washed here in 1998.


  • Nash tags in and struggles until Hogan just says Fuck it and jumps in to double-team the Giant. Even that doesn’t work, so the Disciple runs down and tries to hit a Stone Cold Stunner, but he’s not Stone Cold Steve Austin or even close, so Giant easily blocks it. Bischoff tries to interject and gets a chokeslam for his troubles. The Giant came out alone, faced tough odds, and now looks strong, so that worked out in the moment, but I have reservations. I mean, if we were headed for Giant definitively killing off Hogan and Hogan being off TV for a few months before a re-package, this would be more encouraging, but we know the Giant will somehow end up back in the nWo because Bischoff is a damn mess.


  • Chris Benoit and Booker T. are going to have a best of thirty-five or so over the WCW TV Championship at some point soon, so maybe that starts tonight? A feud with 1998 Benoit over the gold with back-and-forth victories sounds way better than one with 1998 Rick Martel (and I like Martel). Booker wins the early going with a shoulderblock. Benoit responds with, you guessed it, open-hand chops. Benoit stomps a mudhole in the corner. They pick up the pace; Booker powerslams Benoit. These two are talking shit to one another during the beatdown, which is nice. It feels like competitive athletes shit-talking in a more legitimate sporting competition.


  • The men fight over a knuckle lock, which ends with Booker hitting a roundhouse kick and then a lariat. Benoit ducks another roundhouse and there’s a standoff, after which Booker gets FOLDED on a release German, ooh, that one was NASTY. Benoit’s up first and gets two off an elbow. I think these fellas are a good pairing because they can match speed and physicality.


  • Benoit controls, but gets pancaked. Booker follows with a Spinaroonie and a side kick, but Benoit catches him when he goes up top and superplexes him.  Another series of counters ends in Benoit hitting rolling Germans. Benoit tries to follow up, but Booker ducks out of an Irish whip attempt and hits a spinebuster. When both men get to standing, Booker crotches himself on a jumping side kick attempt, and Benoit takes advantage with a Northern Lights and a bridge, but it gets two. We get one more series of moves, a strikefest that ends in a time limit draw, and the crowd boos because this was good and it should have gotten more than ten minutes. Yeah, this certainly made me want to see a rematch. Though actually, I had totally forgotten about the time limit as this match happened. I’m not sure I’ve seen a time-limit draw for this belt in a few months on any of the TV I’ve watched.


  • Curt Hennig and British Bulldog wrestle while Rick Rude jacks Tenay’s headset and joins the desk. Rude blathers on (with Heenan interjecting favorably toward Rude) while this match happens. Thankfully, it’s not long. Rude leaves to go help Hennig out (Heenan: “I’m glad he’s gone, that jerk”) as we go to break.


  • Back from break, Rude tries to stop Bulldog from hitting the running powerslam. Bulldog stomps him away and hits it. He then confronts Rude, who is armed with handcuffs. Rude cuffs Bulldog to the ropes and commences a beatdown along with Hennig. The Hitman runs out for the save, and the best thing to happen so far occurs: Bret hits an inverted atomic drop and Rude sells it exquisitely. Bret locks Hennig in the Sharpshooter until corny-ass Crush comes out. Hart breaks the hold and fends off Crush, then Vincent, Konnan, and Scott Norton to a huge pop. Yeah, maybe give this man more to do? But also, don’t give him a mic so that he can complain about getting screwed. Aw man, he's got a mic and is complaining about getting screwed. This whole act is sad Bret, and I don’t like sad Bret. WCW Bret = sad Bret. It bums me out. 


  • On Thunder, Goldberg rolled some nWo B-Teamers because he could. He comes out to roll Renegade for like the second or third time. Renegade himself notes this and declares on his way to the ring that he’s solved the Goldberg puzzle. I like the confidence! I don’t like his chances, however. So, this is funny: Renegade successfully diagnoses and then reverses an Irish whip and follows up with his cartwheel back elbow! I mean, he did learn something. Unfortunately, what he failed to learn is that his cartwheel back elbow is a weak move, so Goldberg just eats it for a light snack, then spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT.


  • Randy Savage and Liz head to the ring for the main event against Roddy Piper. I wish they’d flipped this match position with the Sting/Page match because it would have been nice for Nitro to end on a good match with a clean finish and a mutual respect spot. It’d just be nice to have something a little different. Liz interjects early on to try and hold Piper back, but she's generally ineffective. Wow, I wonder who would choose watching a match that was a billion times better in 1985 instead of watching Steve Austin do whatever fuckery Steve Austin does. I feel an intense desire to flip the channel. Holy shit, the main on RAW was Austin/Rock! Oh man, that sounds fantastic. Well, I’m stuck with this lukewarm arena brawl.


  • Liz back rakes Piper before Piper can hit a piledriver onto concrete. Piper stalks Liz and then sexually assaults her in response. I mean, hey, this is a show where everyone assaults everyone! Everyone can get it! I guess! Piper tries a sleeper, and Savage knocks Piper into Liz as he tries to escape. Mickey Jay checks on Liz. Hogan uses the opportunity to run down and jump Jay and then, alongside Nash, enter the ring. Nash wants to clock Piper with a baseball bat, but Hogan wants Nash to hit Savage. They have totally unearned intense and sudden heat over this minor disagreement. Sting runs down with his own bat and I don’t give a FUCK. Are we really going to get Nash and Hogan splitting over that?! That’s it?! That’s the catalyst?! Anyway, the Giant comes down to even the odds and the babyfaces clear the ring.


  • BONUS COVERAGE: Kama Mustafa, D’Lo Brown, and Mark Henry lead the WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock to the ring for the 3/23/98 RAW main event. Earlier in the night, the Rock clobbered Faarooq with an unprotected chair shot to the head because he’s a dick, man, a real dick. This is just before WM XIV, so Stone Cold Steve Austin is not yet the WWF World Champion. Give it a week or so. Jim Ross makes sure to claim that Steve Austin is the most popular WWF wrestler OF ALL TIME (and that Shawn Michaels is the greatest WWF Champ of all time), take that Piper, Savage, and Hogan who are all involved in the main event on the other channel!


  • Austin breaks a collar-and-elbow in the corner and hits the double bird. They fight over a wristlock, so Austin says Fuck all that and hits a back elbow. We see DX and Mike Tyson watching this match on a tiny television in the back. The Rock takes over for a sec and tries to flick Austin off, but Austin just gets pissed off and punches him. The Rock fights back and hits a lariat and a few punches. They have a punchfest before running the ropes. Rock wins a shoulderblock, but Austin gets up and catches Rock with a Thesz Press and then goes for the Stunner after that. The Rock escapes and rolls outside, but Austin decides to dive off the apron and hit Mark Henry with a clothesline, then grabs the Rock’s head and smashes it into the steps.


  • Back in the ring, the Rock begs off and gets mudhole stomped in response. We get another rope run, and Rock ducks a wild swing and heads back out of the ring to get some space. Austin, irritated at having to chase this guy, grabs a chair, but the NoD members distract Austin and Rock sneaks back around and jumps him from behind. The Rock throws punches and bashes Austin into various ringside fixtures. Pressing his advantage, Rock gets Austin back in the ring and stomps him down in the corner, then boot chokes him. Rock draws the ref’s attention so Henry can get a choke in from ringside. I mean, Austin deserved that last one.


  • We go into a commercial break, and when we get back, Austin grabs a sleeper hold off a rope run, but Rock breaks it, slams Austin, and hits a People’s Elbow for two. Rock sinks in a chinlock, but I’ve been entertained enough that I’m fine with this. Austin works right out of it anyway; he scores a few punches and a shoulderblock, but Rock counters with a knee to the gut and slams Austin. He throws double birds at Austin and goes for another People’s Elbow, but Austin rolls out of the way. Rock pursues and scores a few punches, but Austin fights back with punches and lariats. Austin ducks down on a rope run and catches a boot, but when Rock tries to follow up with a punch, he leaves himself open for a boot to the stomach and a Stone Cold Stunner that gets three.


  • D’Lo runs in with a chair and eats a Stunner. DX comes out to the top of the ramp. Shawn Michaels cuts a corny-ass promo promising to beat Austin with the SCM at WrestleMania. Austin flicks him off – wow, didn’t see that coming – and calls Michaels down to the ring. Michaels takes his jacket off and walks down to the ring, but Hunter holds him back. You don’t get any more of that matchup unless you buy the PPV!


  • I GUARANTEE you that I remember nothing about this latest Piper return because I watched RAW first and then caught Nitro on replay at some point, but probably I was half-distracted and still charged up about all the stuff happening on RAW. Look, I did this to see just how different the show’s main events felt, and honestly, they were both very similar: arena brawls with some outside interference. It’s just that one show’s main event felt tired and lame, centered around a major storyline that both has been going on forever and yet still hasn't taken time to develop key aspects (are you really telling me that Nash and Hogan are going to beef over whom to hit with a bat first?!). The other show’s main event felt like progresssion toward something, a changing of the guard was on the way, fuckery was afoot.


  • This Nitro was very good except for the main event. I’ve said that so many times before in so many past reviews, but I wanted to see if I could demonstrate it more clearly with a little comparison. Sting/Page should have ended this show. And you know, it’s a shame because I think perception matters. There was some GREAT work on this show, but you have to think about the lasting impression that you leave. The main events on these WCW shows consistently leave a poor lasting impression, and at the time, RAW's endings generally left the impression that something exciting was ACTUALLY just around the corner because it paid stuff off regularly (even when the payoff sucked, like the Higher Power payoff).


  • This is a show worth an easy 4.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes, but it bums me out to see the rot settling in like this.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number twelve – 26 March 1998

"The WCW Gang really speeds up the progress of the major angle, like they strap a rocket to it"


  • Bischoff is back in the truck terrorizing Craig Leathers’s crew…He’s doing the whole “suppress bad stuff that happens to nWo” shtick, but this time, Doug Dellinger comes in and carts him out. Leathers’s truck is like, Fuck it, we roll it I guess.


  • And what is so shocking that we are seeing?...Just a hastily-conceived spot to get Nash and Hogan to have beef that comes out of nowhere because, and get this, they can’t agree on which of their enemies to hit with a bat first…Could they not have brought two bats and avoided such a dumb argument entirely?...I’m sorry, I do tend to pick at poorly-conceived plot points…


  • Eddy Guerrero continues to show his cousin Chavo the way of Lie, Cheat, and Steal…This will pay off eventually…2003-2004-ish, y’all will finally be on the same page…Chavo’s got another title shot against Booker even though he’s lost two of them in the last couple weeks already…Eddy flips opponents with Chavo to take that title shot and to leave Chavo with a match against Chris Benoit…Benoit has one of the best mudhole-stomping spots in the business…Rude and Bisch chase the desk off…Oh joy…Benoit just beats the piss out of poor Chavo…Bisch takes thirty seconds to hype Eddy before yammering on about that stupid-ass angle from the end of last Nitro…If this motherfucker heels by supporting the Clintons in the face of Ken Starr's special counsel one more time, I’ll have to hit mute…Benoit pounding Chavo into the mat is entertaining, but these dudes on commentary are just awful…Chavo tries his best, but Benoit controls most of the match and maneuvers Chavo into the Crippler Crossface for the win…


  • Well, I never thought I’d welcome a commentary desk that includes Lee Marshall, but I’m so glad he, Tony, and Bobby are back and that Bisch and Rude are gone…Bischoff is now out with Hogan to hit the ring and to blah blah blah…These corny fucks do their Baghdad Bob impression for much longer than they need to…Nash comes to the ring…Nash shows his pop culture acumen by mentioning David Copperfield (magician, not Dickens character)…Nash pretty much says the Wolfpac is the true nWo and calls out Hogan and Bischoff for firing Syxx…I have noticed that Hall hasn’t been around, probably due to being a drunken prick, and Nash blames that on Hogan and Bischoff, too…Hogan’s like Syxx is a bum and you’re Hall’s best friend, you tell me where he’s at…They talk out their issues w/r/t trusting one another…Hogan suggests that he and Nash tag together tonight to reinforce their trust…This was somewhat interesting, but because I don’t buy into the gravity of the incident that sparked the discord between these two, I’m not really invested in the angle yet…


  • La Parka and Prince Iaukea is one of the random WCW matchups that I’m here for…This isn’t anything super-awesome, but it’s fun…I continue to think that Iaukea is an enjoyable TV wrestler…Actually, he probably is at a great point in his development to actually be TV champ now…I think I’d enjoy him against Booker, Benoit, Eddy, and Chavo…Iaukea wins it clean with a Northern Lights and a bridge…


  • Tony S. interviews Lex Luger…Luger is asked about the nWo, and cheekily responds, “This interview was supposed to be about me”…NOT IN BISCHOFF’S WCW, LUGER, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE nWo…But yeah, Luger comes out and accepts the Hogan and Nash tag challenge on behalf of himself and Sting


  • Hey, it’s Disco Inferno, haven’t seen him in a minute…He’s matched up against Chris Jericho…Jericho wrestles while wearing Juvi’s mask on a necklace…I love this character development of Disco being intense in every match because he really wants another title…Jericho has a nice stalling vertical suplex in there that, along with a cocky pin, gets a two-count…Disco hits a nice pop-up spinebuster to counter a running lariat…Disco tries his best to get a two count, getting close on a swinging neckbreaker…Jericho pops off a double-underhook backbreaker and fights to put Disco into the Lion Tamer for the win…Fun, fun, fun television match…Jericho takes Disco’s headband as a trophy…


  • Goldberg comes to the ring to kill Jerry Flynn off, which maybe he’s done once or twice before…They’re now counting Goldberg’s streak numbers, and I refuse to even pay attention to how the number grows or why…Apparently Goldberg beat Flynn, but it was closer than normal, so Goldberg wants a rematch…Goldberg turns an ankle lock attempt into a legbar…Goldberg’s overhead belly-to-belly and powerslam are so explosive…Goldberg powers out of an arm breaker attempt with a powerbomb…Goldberg looks great and gets huge chants for it…They do some mat wrestling that is unnecessary because everyone wants to see Goldberg toss this dude and splat him…Flynn gets way more offense than he really should before it’s spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT…Tony S. does a Castrol GTX plug during the sponsored replay about Castrol standing up to all conditions by noting that Goldberg is not a condition that even Castrol can stand up to…Heh, pretty good, Tony…


  • Most of the Flock wanders out…Lodi blew out his ankle trying to catch Psicosis’s twisting Tsukahara in their Nitro match and will be out with injury…Billy Kidman takes on one of my personal favorites, the aforementioned Psicosis…Psicosis fucks up a rebound off the ropes…Eh, they can't all be successes…Kidman shoves Psicosis off the ropes when he tries the Tsukahara and then hits a Shooting Star from the apron to the floor…Kidman scores a couple of two counts…These fellas are kinda struggling out here with the more intricate spots…Psicosis looks off, especially…Kidman gets the advantage and celebrates, which ends with him hung in the ropes and guillotine legdropped for two…Kidman cuts Psicosis off and hits a suplex, but calls for help from Sick Boy…Sick Boy botches the help, hitting Kidman with a springboard dropkick meant for Psicosis…Psicosis drops another guillotine legdrop for three…Not nearly Psicosis’s best work, but it wasn’t bad or anything…


  • Tony S. interviews Diamond Dallas Page…The cameraperson does a zoom-in when Page hits the BANG! taunt...Leathers, who told you that you could try new things?...Page doesn’t want J.J. Dillon’s help in getting his rightfully-owned U.S. Championship back from Raven…Page gives respect to Sting for their match on Monday…It was a quality bout…Page tells Raven that Jake Roberts was the guy who helped Page’s career, not Raven…Page is pretty much tired of Raven in general…Stop zooming in suddenly when Page goes BANG! you idiot cameraperson…


  • British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart (NEIDHART’S NAME IS STILL SPELLED INCORRECTLY) are a tag team tonight…They face Curt Hennig and Crush (w/Rick Rude)…Well, I guess every show needs a snack/bathroom break segment…Rude sends Marshall packing on commentary…Rude made me laugh a couple shows ago with a dorky-ass promo, but he has pretty much sucked every time he’s been given a microphone besides…Bulldog and Crush have a spot that I’m not sure what it was supposed to be, but Bulldog eventually ends up getting two out of it…I realize that everyone in this match, including the manager doing guest commentary, is dead…Tony S. is the only survivor if you include the desk…That thought actually depresses me quite a bit…It’s been 25 years, but other than Heenan and Marshall, everyone in this segment died before the median age listed on the actuary tables…I contemplate my own mortality instead of really paying attention to this very dull and below-average match…it ends in a double count-out as they all have a shitty brawl toward the back…


  • Perry Saturn faces Diamond Dallas Page in an enticing matchup…They get right into it…Saturn controls throughout the opening, getting two off a wheelbarrow suplex…Page doesn’t really do much other than lock on an abdominal stretch for five seconds…WCW main eventers working TV matches in which they get eaten up is a weird thing…Almost every other company has the main eventers guzzle the guys underneath them on the card on television…In mid-to-late ‘90s WCW, it’s the reverse for a number of guys…Page makes his comeback, but his Diamond Cutter attempt is cut off with a jawbreaker…Page crotches Saturn up top, but before he can follow up, Raven calls Page out on the ramp…Saturn tries to get the drop pn DDP with a dive from the top, but Page hits him with a mid-air Diamond Cutter and chases Raven down instead of covering...Page ends up taking a count-out loss…


  • Eddy Guerrero (w/ Chavo Jr.) is back out to take his shot at Booker T.’s TV Championship…Book comes to the ring and calls out Chavo for being a punk bitch and giving Eddy the shot…Booker wants to know what this whole deal is with the Guerreros…Eddy interjects, but Booker shoves him away…Book tells Chavo that he’ll show Chavo how to deal with a bully as Chavo tries to warn that Eddy loaded his fist…Book doesn’t pay attention and gets hit with the loaded fist…Book kicks out at 2.9 anyway…Chavo tosses the knucks back into the ring, where the ref sees Eddy fumbling with them…Eddy gets a DQ, but he uses his position of power to command that Chavo hit Booker with the knucks…Chavo does, under duress…Eddy makes Chavo put the boots to Book, but Chris Benoit comes down wearing a Hitmen jersey and runs them off…More an angle than a match, but I like this angle and enjoyed the segment…


  • Scott Norton (w/Buff Bagwell) has a beefy dude brawl with Rick Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase)…This is perfectly acceptable televised wrestling with a sprinkling of suplexes and lariats and stuff that I like to see these big dudes do…Buff is very active around ringside…His consistent cheating is a nice addition to the match…Norton tries to bean Steiner with Steiner’s own dog collar…He whiffs and Steiner grabs the collar and punches his way out of a back suplex while wearing it…Rick lands on top of Norton and gets the three…Scotty Steiner is there at ringside because he’s the guy who tossed the collar in from off camera…Scotty runs away before Rick can get to him…I hope Scott vs. Rick gets blown off at Spring Stampede so we can move on to new things for Scott…


  • It’s main event tag match time…Sting and Luger come to the ring side by side, but Hogan and Nash do not…WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!...Nash didn’t even exchange his blue jeans for tights to wrestle this thing…Nash makes Hogan start and ostentatiously puts his hand out just in case Hogan already needs a tag…Hogan controls on Sting with some laconic offense for a bit…Sting turns it around…Luger is in and controls next…Hogan finally gets space and tags a goofily-smiling Nash in…Luger is FIP…The work isn’t any good, and really I just want to get to the end and see if we get any progression in the angle…Nash whiffs on a big boot and hits Hogan when Luger ducks…Sting gets the hot tag and hits the Stinger Splash on Nash…Savage runs in to jump Sting and causes a no contest…There’s a donnybrook, and in the midst of it, Hogan goes after Savage, but Nash pulls him off…The rest of the nWo runs out to jump Luger, but Sting fights them off…Nash and Hogan chirp at one another while the nWo separates them…


  • It's so strange in that this whole nWo breakup tease started months ago in the middle of 1997, got abruptly put aside, and then got re-started with Savage and went almost nowhere for weeks…Then all of a sudden, Nash is involved in this thing (for the first time since the middle of ’97) across two shows in one week…Tension out of nowhere after all this slow-playing of a breakup is some very poor pacing…This is a side effect of Bischoff struggling to know where to go with the bulk of the big angles he ran, IMO…I might listen to him chat with Conrad about this week of shows to see what he says he was thinking regarding this angle…


  • Some of the spots were sloppy, and I’m not entirely sure where some of these angles are headed, but this was an enjoyable show…I dig the Eddy/Chavo/Booker/Benoit crossover conflicts, especially…I give it a WOOOOO…
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Show #134 – 30 March 1998

"The one that has too many old washed dudes getting multiple segments (okay, this isn’t really descriptive enough, I know)”

  • I’ve finally come back around to watch Nitro, and it starts with a reminder that Nash and Hogan suddenly don’t like each other. I’m hoping that we move the split along quickly and get to the point. Maybe tonight?


  • We are in Chicago tonight.


  • There is a world in which an nWo split is a worthy angle to compete with Austin/McMahon over on the other channel. I’m not sure entirely what that angle looks like – and it’s not the one we got – but this should theoretically be workable.


  • The Beverly Brothers come to the ring to face High Voltage in a match that I should probbaly be far less excited about than I am. I legit enjoy High Voltage and am a fan of the Beverlys, especially on free TV. They’ve had good PPV matches (vs. the Natural Disasters at SummerSlam ’92, vs. the Steiners at Royal Rumble ’93), but I think both Bloom and Enos’s best skill is in having fun, eight-ish minute TV matches. They're also elite squash match workers for my money. 


  • Rage, who is the interesting prospect in the High Voltage team, has a pretty fun exchange centered around an armbar with Mike Enos. It’s a smidge awkward, but the spots are creative and Enos lifts Rage up into the air on his shoulder, which is impressive. Rage struggles with a deadlift overhead suplex, but clears it. Enos and Bloom work Rage over; Enos hits an overhead pumphandle suplex from the second rope. This is really fun stuff, so of course they send the Giant down to chokeslam everyone for a no contest. I am a huge fan of the Giant, but I genuinely was having fun with this opener, so Fuck you, WCW. I forget which one of you who reads this (has read this before, but not now?) was a fan of the one where Savage tossed out the opening competitors and refused to leave the ring, but at this point, I see this trope as diminishing returns by 1998. It was objectively cool the first time (even if it didn’t age well for me personally), but man, I just wanted to see a quality bout with a finish. The Giant yells about/to Roddy Piper and leaves.


  • Speaking of Roddy Piper, here he comes to talk with Gene Okerlund. The Giant is alongside him. Oh yeah, there’s a bat match at Spring Stampede that I have ZERO recollection of. I forgot about that, or about the Giant being Piper’s partner for that bat match. Piper shouts out Harry Caray for the cheap pop almost immediately. I bet the White Sox fans in that crowd were peeved, though. So yeah, Piper cuts an atrocious promo, you know how it is. He declares that Nash must wrestle a tag match against Sting and Luger tonight, but he’s not allowed to pick Hogan as his partner. Why would he? They suddenly hate each other. I bet he picks Savage because Hogan will be big mad about it.


  • Heh, okay, so it’s kinda funny that Piper has to read off the notes he took on his taped wrist to remind himself of all the former names that Brutus Beefcake Zodiac Booty Man E. Harrison Leslie has had. Piper books himself against Hogan tonight. How can he do this? He’s the commissioner again, is how. He was upgraded from consultant in the last week or two, I guess.


  • They play the whole argument/discussion from Thunder between Hogan and Nash. It’s not compelling even though they try to work a shoot regarding Sean Waltman and Scott Hall’s whereabouts. This should be more exciting an angle than it is!


  • Saturn, flanked by Raven and most of the Flock, comes to the ring to face off with Fit Finlay. Saturn’s hair is a damn mess. Just go bald, dude. This is another interesting matchup that I hope doesn’t get interrupted by the Giant chokeslamming everyone again. These fellas really go for pace early. Finlay pops a lariat off and gets some control, but not much. Neither guy really controls for very long. They hit each other with nice strikes, though, and the occasional sweet suplex. Finlay’s throwing some sick lariats, too. He hits a lariat and a flipping forward slam for two, but Saturn gets to standing and is able to find a capture suplex and the Rings of Saturn for the submission. That was definitely a “last guy to land a bomb will win it” match. They could have a best of 21, and I’d gladly watch it.


  • Hey, Scott Hudson is now on the road report, and the road report now has a sponsor! Also, it’s not call-in! There are no shitty weasel jokes! This is acceptable. Oh, yeah, WCW will be in Hulk Hogan’s hometown of Tampa next week.


  • Speak of the devil: Hogan and most of his nWo-ITES, DUDES come to the ring. Let’s summarize this shitty-ass promo: He’s glad to fight Piper tonight, he’s mad that Piper is being mean about Nash not getting along with him, the Disciple is pretty good actually and a great bodyguard, and Nash is acting like a lil’ bitch right now and the rest of the nWo won’t be teaming with him either.


  • Nash comes out to respond to Hogan’s nearly-endless stream of chatter. He’s basically just like Savage wasn’t lying that most people in the nWo want to stab you in the back, but I’ll stab you in the face, and also you’re acting like a lil’ bitch, not me. That’s a paraphrase. Hogan’s like Whateva brah, you still ain’t got no partner for tonight and Nash is like Yes I do, you lil’ bitch, but I ain’t telling you who it is. Again, all paraphrase.


  • In 1998, WCW put on a Real Audio pay-per-stream in Auburn Hills called Malice at the Palace. Unfortunately for them, it would only be the second-most famous event called the Malice at the Palace to take place in this venue.


  • Chris Jericho comes out holding a plastic cup of vodka, since it is odorless and can pass for water water. He’s also got a print-out under his arm…hmmm. He rips up a fan’s sign that is in praise of him, but the camera shows that there are actually a lot of fans’ signs in praise of him. Uh-oh, you’re getting over as a face Jericho, figure out how to tamp that down. He runs Dean Malenko down on the mic before the match. He also invokes the memory of Dean’s dead dad (which is a thing that happens sometimes in Malenko feuds) and quotes "Mmmmmmbop." Yeah, that’s how you heel. Marty Jannetty, who I have enjoyed a whole lot in this WCW run, is Jericho’s opponent. Jannetty runs through some nice offense while Jericho screams for mercy. Jannetty hits a facebuster and sets up for the Rocker Dropper, but Jericho back suplexes his way out of it and quickly locks on the Lion Tamer for the win.


  • So yeah, this is the CLASSIC post-match incident in which Jericho reads off all 1,004 moves he knows. Wrestling moves that Jericho claims to have mastered: Moss-covered Three-handled Family Gredunza, Saskatchewan Spinning Nerve Hold, Shooting Star Staple Superplex, **commercial break here**, like fifty or sixty armbars, **hour two starts with fireworks here**, Jericho Screwdriver Twist **his mic cuts out**


  • I’m fucking DYING. Which isn’t the point, but this gag was TOO well executed. People started laughing the second he started it. This gag would have been perfect in front of a JCP crowd in the studio; they would have started in with WE DON’T WANNA HEAR IT immediately. It kind of works because Prince Iaukea comes down and confronts Jericho, defending the honor of his trainer Dean Malenko’s Dad Boris, and the crowd does give a cheer for the interruption. However, I think Jericho just made a bunch of new fans, which is too bad as he is clearly trying to be the most annoying shithead heel he possibly can.


  • Iaukea runs Jericho off. Jericho yells GIVE ME MY HOLDS as the ref tosses all that printer paper at him. He walks back to the locker despondently, screaming I STILL HAVE TWO HUNDRED MORE HOLDS! There’s a weak Jericho sucks chant, but that was actually a masterpiece of wrestling comedy. It’s hard to hate someone who's that funny, even if they are a dick.


  • Glacier comes to the ring as Iaukea’s opponent. Glacier’s not very good, but Iaukea’s a whole lot of fun. Glacier uses his size advantage to control the match early, but he gets caught celebrating in the corner and slammed from the chair position. Glacier take back over with kicks, but he whiffs on a kick and gets dropkicked in the hammy. That injury helps Iaukea get some control, though Glacier catches a springboard and turns it into a powerslam. Glacier tries to follow up from the top, but he’s caught on a dive and gets Northern Lights suplexed into a bridge for the loss. It was an action-packed four minutes! I liked it!


  • It's the undoubtable El Dandy against the unmasked Juventud Guerrera tonight. This is an interesting matchup, and I’m here for it. Dandy does a great job of being the heavy and grounding the speedy Juvi. He uses Juvi’s hair to swing him around and crotches Juvi on the ropes by dumping him when Juvi tries a springboard. Dandy is a really good base for these lighter, flippy cruisers and should have been deployed better in the style of Dean Malenko. I’m not sure why they didn’t do that with Dandy, maybe push him a bit more in that role. Juvi gets killed for most of this, but ducks a lariat and hits the Juvi Driver for a quick three.


  • Kaz Hayashi is a lunatic who takes wild bumps and generally wrestles as if the very act of being healthy and alive isn’t important to him, so yeah, more Kaz Hayashi on my television, please! The General Thread for this month was talking about the Kaz/Raven match from Worldwide 1999, and if you haven’t seen that, you should watch it just because Kaz takes a flat back bump over the ropes and onto hard floor that, uh, is NUTS. So Kaz is here to wrestle Chavo Guerrero Jr. Kaz is a bit quicker, so Chavo only gets control when he asserts his size and hits a back suplex. Chavo runs through some nice offense, but can only get two counts. Kaz tries to speed things up, and of course, he takes risks. In the process of increasing the pace, Kaz misses a springboard crossbody and eats another back suplex for two. Chavo tries a third back suplex, but Kaz flips out of it. They blow a rana spot, but Kaz just moves right along to the next spot and hits a missile dropkick, then scores two with a bridging German suplex of his own. Kaz tries to follow up, but Chavo dodges him and then grabs him for a tornado DDT that gets three. Eddy’s not here tonight, so Chavo helps Kaz up and shakes his hand before leaving. I’m sure Eddy has a VCR, Chavo! I bet he’s taping this! Maybe he’ll see the replay! He won't be happy!


  • Raven lumbers through the crowd with DDP’s U.S. Championship, sits in the corner, and laments the lack of literacy amongst the WCW faithful (he really did do that, I'm paraphrasing). He asserts that he will speak the language of violence tonight as that is most WCW fans’ first (and only) language. But instead of doing that, he keeps talking! He talks a lot about his former friendship with Page for like another few minutes! Basically, Raven feels as though his former friendship with Page was not reciprocal, and that’s what has him so upset. This is actually a pretty good promo if you’re inclined to listen to it, but the crowd just wants Raven to shut up, get a fucking chair, and start swinging it. Buff Bagwell (w/Scott Norton) is Raven’s opponent. Now, Raven’s Flock beefing with the nWo has potential. Buff gets a face pop when he comes out. I thought it might be because Raven is a very talky and whiny heel, but I think they just like Buff a lot. I think it’s 80/20 liking Buff to hating Raven. Maybe 70/30.


  • Buff gets the early advantage and poses to a pop, so Raven takes a walk. He gets in Norton’s face, but then sees Page running down the stairs in the crowd. Raven grabs the gold and runs off, ending this match prematurely. Buff doesn’t care: HE WAS SCARED, Buff yells while smiling lasciviously into the camera. This ruled! This is the kind of entertaining ga-ga that I love. Page walks over to the desk after Raven escapes and takes Heenan’s seat. Page can’t figure out the headset, though, so he just grabs a mic. Page asserts that his past friendship with Raven was in fact reciprocal, but Raven is a gaslighting jerk who ignores that he comes from a wealthy family. While I understand Page’s response, money does not equal happiness. As Page notes, Raven’s relationship with his father was apparently troubling. Then, Page shares TOO MUCH INFORMATION about his childhood in a worked-shootish way that I personally find somewhat uncomfortable and a bummer, but he pulls it all back thematically. Page cuts a Dollar Tree HARD TIMES promo that is easily the worst thing about this whole segment, but it’s ultimately fine, I guess. The rest of it ruled, though.


  • Disco Inferno and his very loud shirt dance it out against Billy Kidman. The cameraperson gets a kick out of someone holding a sign that says I’M SICK OF ALL THESE DUMB SIGNS. I mean, it’s not bad. It’s like a dad joke, but on a wrestling sign. Kidman opens up on Disco with forearms, but Disco launches him in the air and hits a lariat for two. This is another back-and-forth match with quick switches in control. Kidman uses a headscissors to get some actual control for awhile and scores a handful of two counts, though Disco gets a desperation two count of his own in there with a sunset flip. Kidman regains control and tries a Frog Splash, but whiffs. Disco makes his comeback and scores a flurry of two counts, but whiffs on a double-axehandle from the second rope. This feels like a match that stands on a knife’s edge; both men counter one another and look for the killing blow. The killing blow is a Disco piledriver (!!!) that does keep Kidman down for three. Man, I love a good piledriver.


  • Curt Hennig and Rick Rude have been sort of a bummer these last couple months. It hurts me to say that. I think one of the issues is that they feel very early ‘90s, but it’s 1998. Randy Savage has the otherworldly charisma to get away with that. Rick Rude is charismatic, to be sure, but it ain’t that Randy Savage charisma. Rude takes Tenay’s spot at the desk while Hennig wrestles Jim “WCW Still Can’t Spell My Name Right” Neidhart.


  • They try to spice things up with a little ringside brawling, but this match is what it is. Hennig bumps while Neidhart calls Rude out in between attacks. I sure would hope that Rick Rude’s comeback feud would be against someone other than 1998 Jim Neidhart. Henig finally makes a comeback that goes…into a Neidhart bearhug. Rude takes off to intercede and gets put in a bearhug of his own before both nWo members double-team Neidhart. *sigh*. Rude busts out the handcuffs and cuffs Neidhart to the ropes, but Davey Boy Smith comes down for the save. I can’t believe that Neidhart and Bulldog have consistently been given more to do than Bret Hart. Crush helps the nWo members regain the advantage, but Bret Hart finally makes it down to the ring for the save. The crowd is hot for the Hitman – give him some cool shit to do! Bret grabs the mic and whines about getting screwed AGAIN, and I wish he’d stop the pity party and just kick some ass.


  • Tony S. reminds us that, in fact, the TV Championship is still on a ten-minute time limit when it’s defended on free TV. Even I forgot that last week. Booker comes to the ring to defend against Chris Benoit again after last week’s time-limit draw. Benoit only knows one way to wrestle, with the intensity of a feral cat who has missed the last three mealtimes, which I think Booker responds well to. They’re cagier with one another for this rematch, testing one another out for the first minute or so. They try an intricate roll-up that doesn’t go that smoothly; the narrative throughline is that this match is going to build off the last one, with two guys who know they might have to pull out a surprise to get the win.


  • The match is strike heavy. Benoit lays them in because it’s what he does; Booker lays them in to press his size advantage. The pace is so much slower than you’d expect, but I’ll refrain from complaining because I get that it fits better with the idea that these guys are tentative about being caught out by one another. Benoit finally gets enough control after suffering through a beatdown to hit two rolling Germans, but Booker elbows out of it; they run the ropes and hit hard on a crossbody/forearm double-attempt. There’s a ten-count, and Booker pops up first with a Spinaroonie and a jumping side kick. Book goes up top, but Benoit catches him. They fight over control; Book knocks Benoit to the mat, but Benoit sidesteps a missile dropkick and goes for the Crippler Crossface. Book immediately grabs the ropes, and they get to standing and throw bows until the bell rings. They keep throwing them after the bell rings, for that matter. The crowd wants to see a finish, dammit! They got into that last three or four minutes, which ramped up in intensity nicely.


  • Psicosis and Ultimo Dragon resume their rivalry from a few months ago. They have an iffy rope-running spot early. Dragon looks physically diminished from where he was before this last injury layoff. Psicosis does hit a nice suicide dive in there, which is when a few of Raven’s Flock come down to attack Psicosis – remember, Lodi caught Psicosis on a dive a couple shows ago, and Lodi’s ankle didn’t like it. Dragon and Psicosis band together to fight off the Flock in what was not a good match, but at least wasn’t very long.


  • Ray Traylor finally isn’t long for this company. Really, he's finally not! He’s going to be another victim of Goldberg and decide that he’d rather move to the other company…and be a victim of Steve Austin. Well, you know, sometimes you gotta suffer for that paycheck. Traylor, who didn’t get anywhere near to vanquishing Hulk Hogan on his mission to get revenge on the nWo, tries to get Goldberg into a shoulderblock war. Goldberg just says Fuck it and hits him with a lariat instead, haha. Goldberg eats a spinebuster for a light snack and then it’s spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT.


  • Kevin Nash comes out first for the big tag match, but he’s alone. Sting and Lex Luger, who haven’t had any TV time at all leading up to this match even though , Hogan and Nash have been all up in the videos through recaps and live promos, come to the ring. Now, you might not have guessed this – it took tons of brainpower for me to come up with the possibility – but Randy Savage runs out as Kevin Nash’s partner and jumps Sting.


  • This is a messy arena brawl in which tags are merely a suggestion most of the time. The crowd is definitely hot for it, and I think it’s entertaining. The heels start out hot, so when Savage and Luger make a comeback, it’s earned. A few minutes in, Hogan comes out and attacks Sting even though Savage is standing right there. Sting knocks Hogan away and Stinger Splashes Savage on the railing. In the ring, Luger racks Nash, but the Booty Man runs in and hits the Stone Cold Stunner on Luger, than rolls Nash onto Luger for three. Meanwhile, Roddy Piper runs out and starts the match with Hogan, I guess, and Zodiac runs over to help Hogan fight off Piper as we go into break.


  • All three of those last dudes I mentioned fight back out into the aisle after we come back from break. Hold on, what’s on RAW right now? Ah, it’s the New Age Outlaws defeating Cactus and Funk for the tag titles. Yeah, that sounds WAY cooler than watching these three old fucks have a lukewarm brawl. Terry Funk is older than all these guys, possibly older than all of them combined if my math is right (and it always is), but he was born having fun brawls and will die in that condition.


  • This crowd is kind of into it? Maybe it’s more that they want to be, but it’s such a weak brawl. They chant HOGAN SUCKS at one point, but not connected to anything Hogan’s really doing at the time. I’m ready to declare Hogan completely washed. He had a last burst of very good work at the start of his heel turn and for about a year after that, but man, he’s awful at this point. At least when he’s in WWE four years from now, he’ll be supported by awesome match layouts and doing some of what he does best at his age and athleticism (dying as an underneath babyface in big matches). Piper finally gets a sleeper locked onto Hogan, so Dizzy Hogan runs in again and hits Piper with a Stone Cold Stunner to draw the DQ. The baddies beat up Piper while Kevin Nash jogs down. Nash gets in the ring, signals that he’s here in friendship, and holds Piper so Hogan can hit Piper in the face. You can guess what happens next. So, as Nash squares off with Hogan, Giant stomps down again and runs everyone off.


  • Every week that passes, it becomes more apparent that Bischoff needed more urgency in elevating new faces to the main event. Nash, Sting, and Bret are a good veteran base, and Goldberg is an obvious candidate for elevation, but the crowds are also begging for Benoit to be there. I personally think Benoit’s more of a gatekeeper type, but WCW crowds see a main event guy. He has Horsemen cred, too. They should pair Benoit with Flair again and let Flair talk for him. It’s also obvious to me that Eddy, Booker, and Jericho are guys who can at least be spot main eventers in the next six months, and that Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell are at worst lining up to be popular upper-midcard fixtures. There is zero reason to have Piper, Hogan, and Savage dominating your main event in 1998. I think there is room for them on these shows, but not in that position. They should be transitioning to special attraction status. Yeah, it's nothing that people haven't already said, I know. 


  • But even though this show really struggled whenever it had to deal with main event plotting, and even though Sting is so sidelined that I forget that he’s the World Champ sometimes, I still enjoyed most of it. The mid-card stuff is very good, and not just the matches. I think the Raven/Page angle is good, the budding competition between Booker and Benoit looks promising, and Jericho is single-handedly carrying this feud with Malenko. Eddy didn't show up tonight, but the Eddy/Chavo angle is very good, too. There are some compelling storylines on this show!


  • There’s no Thunder interlude during this week’s set of WCW shows, so until the next Nitro, I leave you with the score for this Nitro: 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes
Edited by SirSmUgly
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On 8/19/2023 at 9:15 PM, SirSmUgly said:

Show #135 – 30 March 1998

I forget which one of you who reads this (has read this before, but not now?) was a fan of the one where Savage tossed out the opening competitors and refused to leave the ring, but at this point, I see this trope as diminishing returns by 1998. It was objectively cool the first time (even if it didn’t age well for me personally), but man, I just wanted to see a quality bout with a finish. The Giant yells about/to Roddy Piper and leaves.

that was me, and i agree that it is WAY overplayed by this point. IIRC, it only gets worse too. Once the Giant turns heel again and re-joins the nWo, i think that's when he just starts decimating cruiserweight matches for no real reason. gross. 

the Jericho 1,004 Holds skit is one of the best ever. just absolutely perfect.

this is not related to your WCW/Nitro watch, but it thematically fits (and i have nowhere else to post it). i was watching some 2004 TNA today, and a Raven/La Parka feud was teased. i got SUPER excited for this. it was a fake-out, as Chris Harris was under the hood. so i had to check my archives, and couldn't find a Raven vs. La Parka match, and now i am completely disappointed. 

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Show #135 – 06 April 1998

"The one where Savage lays on concrete and we see it all the time, just see it and see it over and over, all the time”

  • Cold open. An ambulance pulls up. It’s here to attend to Randy Savage, who has been laid out on the concrete just outside the building. But who could have possibly done this? Actually, a lot of people could have. Savage seems to make a new enemy every show.


  • We spend quite a bit of time watching Savage get carted into said ambulance. Hot start!


  • Trios tag time! Psicosis, who vacillates from babyface to heel with no warning, is here to team with other heels El Dandy and La Parka. Already in the ring are their opponents: Three East Asian dudes. These dudes don’t get a chyron. Hold on, let me look this up: They’re Judo Suwa, Tokyo Magnum, and Nobunaga. It took me so much time to find this info that I almost miss the sweet missile dropkick that Psicosis lands. I’ve heard of Tokyo Magnum, but my extremely spotty Japanese wrestling knowledge has failed me with the other two fellas on his team. Nobunaga sounds familiar, but I can’t be certain. I am ashamed of my ignorance. These guys run through a bunch of high-risk moves and do some contrived team spots. This is a perfect opener, full of action. Psicosis gets three with a guillotine legdrop. Post-match, Parka lays Psicosis out with a legdrop because Parka is a real asshole, and also there was some miscommunication between Park and Psicosis during the match.


  • More ambulance stuff! I lied about watching Savage get carted into the ambulance earlier on. They had just brought out the backboard. Then we had a trios match. Now, we’ve cut back to them strapping Savage into the backboard. Riveting television!


  • NOW we get the actual intro to Nitro, which honestly is kind of a cool deviation from the norm. Miami is hot for some pro wrestling action tonight!


  • Disco Inferno comes out and points at his crotch a ton. Either he’s got a title shot tonight, or he’s propositioning a whole crowd of people at once. No, wait, it’s the first one. Booker T. is Disco’s opponent tonight, with the TV title on the line. Disco turns his back on Booker and points at his crotch some more, so Book clobbers him from behind in what is the rare “Wrestler A jumps Wrestler B from behind” babyface spot.


  • There’s a narrative to this match, and it’s that Disco was so excited about maybe getting that TV title back that he forgot to actually, like, do some scouting or focus on his opponent. Disco does get some space by catching Booker and dropping his throat across the ropes, and he does get two on a swinging neckbreaker and another two on a clothesline, but Booker never feels like he’s in much danger. Disco’s offense is sandwiched between Booker killing him in the opening and Booker hitting a Spinaroonie after flapjacking Disco, then hitting an axe kick, spinebuster, and missile dropkick for the three count.


  • Kimberly came out here dancing an admittedly terrible flamenco, but she damn near knocked me out. Had me clutching at my heart, sweating bullets, and looking to the sky like Fred Sanford.


  • Lenny Lane and Billy Kidman have a decent bout. The crowd is exhausted after being white hot for a twenty-minute stretch, and though this match is worked at a fast pace and with lots of counters, it’s comparatively worked at a much slower and less counter-filled pace than the trios match from fifteen minutes ago. Lane goes up and barely touches Kidman on a somersaulting body press; Lane is very much a guy who will miss big moves roughly as often as he hits them. Kidman hits a sit-out spinebuster and an SSP (currently called the Seven-Year Itch, which is pretty, pretty, pretty good!) for the win after about five minutes of back-and-forth action.


  • Mean Gene shills the hotline, but I was too busy getting some of these Albanese sour gummi worms to catch what NEWZ he was shilling. After that, J.J. Dillon is unfortunately out here to talk about Randy Savage getting his ass beat earlier tonight. What drama!


  • NORMAN F’N SMILEY is on my streaming device! Yessssss! He’s gonna job to some nWo member, though. Konnan (w/Vincent), as it turns out. I just watched a Vincent/Virgil squash on a 1992 Superstars in which he dumped a guy right on his head on a wicked back suplex. That was the nastiest/hurtiest shit I’ve ever seen him do. Anyway, this match on 1998 Nitro could be weird and fun. It could also be dog poo. I actually think it trends toward weird and fun. There’s some aimless, but enjoyable chain wrestling. Konnan grabs a dude’s sombrero, puts it on, and yells ORALE into the camera. That was random and funny to me. That cradle DDT looked extra-gross tonight. Don’t get me wrong, this match wasn’t good, but it wasn’t unpleasant to watch, even with Konnan moving at quarter speed. Konnan wraps on the Tequila Sunrise and wins it.


  • If I was more into this Savage tweener run, I’d probably be less annoyed with the continuous discussions of, videos about, and segments on Savage being attacked at the start of the show.


  • Wow, finally a replay that has nothing to do with Savage on a stretcher. This one is for that awesome Raven/Buff/DDP stuff from the previous Nitro. Page is defending the U.S. Championship that he doesn’t currently possess against Buff Bagwell tonight. Buff’s dudebro gimmick is hilarious, and I unabashedly enjoy it when he’s on my television. Now, as I recall, he is going to get badly hurt in 1998 on one of these weekly shows, and maybe I should look that up before I get to it. I don’t want to have my viewing of that incident catch me by surprise.


  • Page is down here in blue jeans with permanent sunburn, looking like a regular trashy everyman. The General Thread was talking about why Page got over, and yeah, it’s his sincerity and that he’s a very good worker, but also that he probably has a bit of the Stone Cold thing going on in that he speaks specifically to working class white dudes who have dreams they want to one day realize. Buff gets a couple of beal tosses early, but he’s too busy posing to press an advantage, and Page jumps on him.


  • Page hits a swinging neckbreaker and goes for punches in the corner, so Buff forearms Page in the nuts and takes over. Buff’s not a very good heel control worker, unfortunately, though his intangibles like posing and smack talking at least make his control segment bearable. Page tries to fight out, but Buff flips out of a Page powerbomb attempt and hits a terrible swinging neckbreaker of his own for two. Page comes back shortly, wins a punch-out, and hits an inverted atomic drop and a lariat. Page hits a pancake and sets up for the Diamon…oh hey, it’s Raven in the stands! Raven invites Page to come up there and settle a few beefs, and Page obliges. Buff Bagwell has now defeated the current holder of the U.S. Championship, and also the other, more legal current holder of the U.S. Championship in the last two weeks. Sure, he’s defeated both by countout, but okay. Buff demands the physical belt from Penzer considering his recent victories, so Page comes back in the ring and hits him with a Diamond Cutter for good measure. Buff’s pretty entertaining! I mean, unless he’s the heel in control.


  • It's more footage of the Savage incident! A muscle car speeds off while the Disciple and Vincent wander around and threaten Liz. Quite the nailbiter!


  • Hulk Hogan is back at the arena after speeding off in his muscle car earli—I mean, hey, it’s Hulk Hogan. Here at the arena for the first time all night, I’m sure. Actually, I guess it could be Kevin Nash in that tiny muscle car, but honestly, the real swerve would be Lex Luger, though they haven’t set up Luger going Wolfpac at all, so whatever. This whole thing is not worth the thought or the words that I’m giving it. Anyway, Hogan talks so much. So, so much. He pretty much admits that he jumped Savage in the middle of all that jibber jabber. He also backs Kevin Nash to beat Sting tonight – oh yeah, Sting’s defending the WCW Championship against Nash later on – and then he basically expects Nash to just hand the belt over to him. Not yet, Hogan; you’ll have to wait until January 1999 for that. He insults Piper and the Giant before mercifully leaving the ring.


  • This might be a weird take, but I enjoy Van Hammer. He doesn’t wrestle much and just acts as muscle, which he’s good at. When he does wrestle, he’s pretty fun, especially if he’s in there with Page. Tonight, he gets murked by Goldberg, which has good squash match potential. I was right, too! This indeed was a fun little squash match. Goldberg counters Hammer a couple times before Hammer hits a jawbreaker and a nice flapjack. Hammer tries to come off the second rope with an axehandle, but gets speared in mid-air and Jackhammered for three. Then, Goldberg scares away a circling Flock. That was a fun way to spend three minutes! Saturn is mad about all the failure from the Flock members who rank beneath him, so he puts Hammer in the Rings of Saturn and shoves Kidman.


  • Well, at least they split up a segment with Hogan talking and a segment with Piper talking by having that cool squash/Saturn getting all mad in the middle. Piper talks about beating the cross-dressing Goldust with a bat to un-sissify him or whatever and claims that’s where he got the idea for this bat match. He then makes a tired Bill Clinton reference. Random homophobia and random Bill Clinton references – yep, it’s 1998! Man, Piper is obsessed with cross dressers – he says that he’ll beat Hogan until Hogan is auditioning for RuPaul. First of all, has “Drag Race” been on that long?! Second of all, what is it about men dressed as women that sets Piper off so much? Third of all, I don’t need an answer to the second one, but I Googled the first one, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has only been on since 2009, so I have no idea what the heck this guy Piper is even talking about. Neither does he, probably.


  • Eddy Guerrero has his cornerman/enslaved cousin Chavo with him. Chavo gives Eddy a massage and holds the ropes for him. Eddy grabs a mic and declares that grandma called him sobbing because she got kicked out of the Potluck Club because the other grandmas don’t let people with loser grandsons like Chavo in the club. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This piece of shit! He declares the same about Mando getting kicked out of the Lowrider Club. This has caused Eddy to decide that Chavo will take his place in this upcoming match against Ultimo Guerrero. Eddy forces Chavo to say “I’m sorry, Grandma. I’ll do my best.” Yo, this is killing me.


  • Chavo’s out here wrestling in jeans and tennis shoes because he had no idea that he’d be wrestling tonight, LOL. This poor guy. Chavo definitely tries his best! Grandma Guerrero, there’s no need to worry about that. Chavo takes over and has a long control segment, but all he can collect are a bunch of two counts. Brain: “[Chavo] has to keep his word, or else grandma and her menudo’ll be out in the parking lot again.” I don’t know why the visual of an elder lady Guerrero sadly standing alone and holding her good pot (all cooks have a “good pot”) outside of some half-deserted community center where the Potluck Club meets is so funny to me, but it is. This match is very good, and they go into a counter-filled finishing run in which the last counter is Dragon leaping behind Chavo on a suplex attempt and locking on the Dragon Sleeper for the win. Seriously, Chavo tried real hard! Eddy beats Chavo with a towel until Chavo finally gets sick of it and steps up in Eddy’s face. That was good television!


  • We get some video of Gene Okerlund heeling on Dean Malenko after Malenko lost a match against Chris Jericho at Uncensored. The only way this would have been better is if Madusa had come out of the crowd and jumped Okerlund in revenge after Malenko walked away. Okerlund calls Malenko, who is 0 for his last 4 in PPV matchups, a “bonafide loser,” and I mean, Malenko was too sad to even throw a lariat and lock on the Texas Cloverleaf. Heenan blames Okerlund for running Malenko off, and he is 100% correct. I hope, by the way, that Malenko is getting this month off or however long it is as a make-good because he had to fly in to job at Starrcade on short notice instead of spending time with his wife and new child.


  • Repo Man is up against the Narcissist…no, wait, Barry Darsow is up against Lex Luger. Sorry, I’ve been watching some ’92-’93 WWF lately. I actually started writing “Repo Man” before catching myself, so I figured I might as well go all the way and lampshade it. Luger actually wins an early exchange before eating a back suplex and taking the requisite mediocre beatdown from Darsow. Luger makes a lukewarm comeback that ZERO people care about. Man, Bisch and company booked Luger’s face turn into the ground before it would have naturally expired if they had done even some semi-competent post-Souled Out booking for him. Miami pops for the Torture Rack, at least. Anyway, you’ve seen one babyface Luger TV match, you’ve seen ‘em all.


  • The remnants of the Hart Foundation are having a feud with a bunch of washed ‘90s WWF heels, which we are reminded of through a video clip. Tony S., who apparently hates us all like the heel that he is, is excited to present a return tag match from Thunder two weeks ago between all these midcarders this week on Nitro. Heenan makes a tasteless Melendez Brothers reference – it’s the ‘90s! – and Rude takes Tenay’s place at the desk again. Jim Neidhart’s name is still misspelled on the chyron, and now I’m sorta wondering if I’m misspelling it even though I know that I’m not.


  • The crowd starts a RICK RUDE SUCKS chant because he’s easily the most interesting guy in this thing even though he’s not in the ring. So yeah, Bulldog and Neidhart have a boring tag match with Crush and Curt Hennig. It goes through a commercial break. Rude finally leaves so that Tenay can rejoin commentary after the break. I will give Crush credit for doing that awesome gorilla press with multiple reps, though. That spot rules. Then, Hennig comes in and does a spinning toehold because he thought the match was in danger of being entertaining. Good way to calm things down, Hennig.


  • Finally, after about fifty-two years, Rude puts a knee in Neidhart’s kidney when the ref isn’t looking, which allows Hennig to apply the Perfect Plex for three. The Hitman comes down to clear the ring, which I think has happened the last three times he’s been on TV now. Great build, Bischoff! Bret grabs a mic and says the SAME SHIT HE SAID THE LAST TWO TIMES HE SAVED BULLDOG AND NEIDHART. Man, Bischoff paid Bret three million dollars a year to book him like this?! That makes spending a cool million dollars on the KISS Demon seem like prudent financial planning.


  • Chris Jericho is defending his Cruiserweight Championship against Juventud Guerrera; Jericho comes to the ring, grabs a mic, and dedicates this episode of Monday Night Jericho to Dean Malenko. He says this about Malenko making an eventual comeback: “C’mon, little trooper! I know you can do it!” He then calls Prince Iaukea “Prince Nakamaki” and says that Iaukea shouldn’t get a shot and is barely a wrestler considering that he doesn’t even own a pair of wrestling boots. Then he quotes a song about the Brixton riots as a way to indicate that he will beat the shit out of Juvi at a level never before seen. More Jericho on the mic, less Hogan, please.


  • Juvi comes out hot because he’s understandably pissed at this jackass Jericho. Juvi’s one step ahead of Jericho at every point, flipping out of a back suplex and hitting a lariat for an early two-count. When Jericho gets control, he tries to keep Juvi grounded by leaning on his power advantage. Jericho blatantly calls for a reversal that ends up being Juvi getting a victory roll, but Jericho gets out of it and hits a second-rope elbowdrop a la Steve Austin that gets two. This match is not as good as I’d hoped it would be, unfortunately. I didn’t expect one as good as the SuperBrawl match or anything, but something about this match is just a bit off. I can’t put my finger on it. Juvi’s fiery in his approach and his offense looks great; maybe it’s Jericho’s control work?


  • Juvi hits a counter tornado DDT and gets a 2.9 that the crowd thinks is a winner; they boo when Nick Patrick says it only got two. Juvi hits his Juvi Driver, but Jericho catches him as he goes up for the 450. There’s a counter segment that goes like this: Juvi shoves Jericho away, tries a crossbody, gets caught, flips up into rana position, and gets his rana blocked and turned into a Lion Tamer. Juvi looks like he taps, but he didn’t tap, and so Iaukea’s dumb ass runs out here and throws in the towel, which I guess you can do even if you’re not the guy’s manager? Stupid finish, somewhat disappointing match, but Juvi rules.


  • Scott Steiner (w/Vincent and shiny trophy) and Sick Boy (w/no one because the Flock barely likes one another) have a match next. Scotty beats Sick Boy down and poses. He poses and beats down Sick Boy. He’s working in some of his eventual signature moves like the elbowdrop-and-pushups spot. He yells at some dude in the crowd YOU GET IN THE RING AND I’LL BEAT YER BUTT and the dude yells back YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’ PUMP and that was my favorite spot of this whole match. It ruled. Sick Boy gets zero offensive moves in, I'm pretty sure; Steiner locks on the Steiner Recliner, get the win, and…poses.


  • Michael Buffer’s been making mad cheese lately. He’s here every Nitro and PPV to announce the main event. Not gonna lie, I prefer Gary Michael Cappetta. Whither hast thou gone, Gary Michael Cappetta? Kevin Nash (w/Konnan and Randy Savage t-shirt, hmmm) faces off against Sting (w/Big Gold Belt and sour look on his face). Nash grabs a mic and rebuts Hogan’s yammering from earlier. He says some boring stuff, but asserts that when he wins the Big Gold Belt, he’ll be keeping it for himself. Well, this time, at least.


  • Nash opens up early with knees and soupbones. Sting makes a comeback, hits a flying lariat from the top rope, and dropkicks Nash to the floor. Nash pulls Sting outside and Konnan throws a bunch of forearms while Nash distracts the ref. Nash takes control again and pursues a choke-based offense for a bit. Nash gets two off a short-arm clothesline. It’s no Jake Roberts short-arm clothesline. Man, Jake’s signature moves ruled. Or, more accurately, Jake being the one to hit those signature moves ruled. Nash does the dullest offense alive. We get an okay backbreaker and a neck vise that goes on longer than it should.


  • Sting fights up, but eats a knee to the solar plexus. I love the idea of this match, with Sting trying to explode for big offensive moves while Nash tries to ground him, but Nash’s choice of grounding offense is a bummer. Man, the heels on this show were almost all boring as fuck tonight. Sting finally makes a comeback and wraps Nash in the Scorpion Deathlock. Boy, is it an ugly Scorpion Deathlock. Nash gets the ropes with a bit of help from Konnan.


  • Nash regains control after the rope break and gets two on a sidewalk slam, then two on an elbowdrop. He goes back to the neck vise. Sting fights up after his arm drops twice. Konnan comes in and, in a bit of TERRIBLE positioning, has to figure out how to stumble behind Nash to take a Stinger Splash sandwich. I read that maybe he was trying to save Nash by lessening the impact? If that's a wrestling psychology thing? Anyway, Nash gets control AGAIN and sets up for the Jackknife, but remembers that it’s still illegal – oh yeah, it is! – and as he tries to figure out what to do instead, Hogan runs in and attacks Sting, drawing a DQ. Nash is mad that Hogan blew up his spot. Most of the nWo runs in to beat down Sting, but Nash and Konnan chillax in the corner. Piper and the Giant eventually do run down for the save. The crowd is hot for this, but I think except for Sting’s performance, it stunk real, real bad.


  • This Nitro in general was mostly sweaty ass crack, but Eddy and Jericho’s mic work (and also Kimberly’s terrible-yet-awesome flamenco) save this from a sub-3 score for me. 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes







Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number thirteen – 09 April 1998

"The WCW Gang is carried by Chris Jericho” 

  • After a short break for real life, I’m have more time to spend watching fantasy fisticuffs with another Thunder…


  • I blanked out for the recap of the Randy Savage stuff from Nitro and instead focused on participating in a pointless internet argument about basketball…I only snapped back when Generic East Asian Theme #38 played to bring down a wrestler…It’s Tokyo Magnum, up against Perry Saturn…This is a solid opener…Saturn brings so much intensity…Nice spot where Magnum backflips a charge, but gets his arms trapped on a strike attempt and suplexed…Saturn survives a sunset flip attempt and locks Magnum in the Rings of Saturn for the swift victory…


  • Saturn tells the Flock to stay seated while he challenges Goldberg…I mean, yes please, I want to see that…Instead, the Flock does in fact run in and get murdered…Hammer pulled Saturn from the ring to protect him, and Saturn gets irritated and starts swinging on Hammer…That was pretty good fuckery…


  • Prince Iaukea is an alright TV worker, but I’m not expecting much from his match with Yuji Nagata…Iaukea badly botches a reverse rana…This match has the double-whammy of not being very good and also being long-ish for a TV match…Sonny Onoo interjects himself to help Nagata…It doesn’t matter, as Iaukea kicks away from a Nagata Lock and hits a Northern Lights with a bridge for three…Chris Jericho comes out to try and save this by threatening to weigh Iaukea and show that he’s too heavy to fight for the Cruiserweight Championship…Jericho goes full-on Mean Girls, and yeah, it’s pretty funny…


  • Raven still has DDP’s United States title…Wait, is this where some fan runs in and grabs Raven’s hair?…Yep, and I’m sorry, but Raven’s yelp as he gets dragged out of the ring unexpectedly is hilarious…I shouldn’t encourage these dumbass Florida Men to do stupid shit like that, but that was genuinely (and first time I saw it, unexpectedly) funny…Then poor Raven’s mic stops working…Raven’s shook and flubs a line about Page helping him get a job…This is a total dumpster fire of a segment, but it’s easily the most entertaining dumpster fire I’ve seen in awhile…Some other Florida Folk tomahawk chop in the background while Raven finally gets a working mic and finishes his promo…This was the most Florida shit ever…


  • Tony S. interviews Buff Bagwell…Buff’s got his own face airbrushed onto the back of his nWo shirt…Fantastic…Buff Bagwell is still beefing with Lex Luger…He points out his exemplary record against Luger and promises to improve upon that record when they face off on the next Nitro…No offense to Buff, but they really have no ideas for Lex Luger if they're rehashing that feud…Turn Luger heel already…


  • Konnan (w/Vincent) is extra spicy tonight…Chris Benoit is his opponent…Benoit and Jericho were both wearing Calgary Hitmen jerseys tonight, by the way…Haha, Konnan tries to pretend that Benoit pulled his hair on a hip toss, remembers that he’s bald, and then claims that Benoit hooked his earring…Konnan is a pretty clever dude in the ring, even if he’s not particularly great w/r/t WERKRATE…Konnan’s goofiness and Vincent’s involvement just irritate Benoit, who unloads on both of them…The numbers game gives Konnan space to gain control, but not for long…Benoit hooks on a Crippler Crossface, but Konnan gets a rope break…Konnan gets a bit of control after the rope break, but Benoit flips out of a suplex attempt and into another Crossface for the win…


  • I’m so sad about how disappointed I am to see Curt Hennig and Rick Rude…WCW has somehow ruined these two for me…Rude goes to the desk again…Oh no, Hennig’s wrestling Jim Duggan…This match would have been iffy in 1989, and it’s 1998…Hennig unloads, and Duggan Hacksaws Up and ignores all of that offense…This nutbar crowd is into Duggan’s act because of course they are…Rude comes down and cuffs Duggan to the rope so there can be another beatdown…Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith run down for the save…Please please PLEASE end this surprisingly awful feud that I didn’t remember until this re-watch…Probably because I worked hard to erase it from my memory…


  • Glacier versus Lex Luger definitely rates as a WCW-ass WCW matchup…Buff Bagwell comes out to watch the match…Luger takes less of a beatdown than he normally does before it’s all forearms and Torture Racks for the win…


  • Billy Kidman hops a ride on Reese’s back for his trip to the ring…Ooh, a match against Psicosis!...Good opening counter-fest that ends with a Psicosis lariat for two…Psicosis hits a wild plancha…Psicosis brings it to Kidman, who takes a beating until he hooks Psicosis on a punch attempt and hits a springboard bulldog for two…Psicosis fights back, but the ref is distracted by Chris Jericho (w/digital scale) coming out and getting on the apron…Psicosis gets a visual pinfall, but the ref doesn’t see it…Nor does the ref see La Parka hammering Psicosis with a chair…Mark Curtis does turn around to see Kidman drop an SSP for the win, though…


  • Tony Skee-a-vone comes down to figure out what Jericho’s up to…Jericho wants to weigh Iaukea…Tony S. is like This isn’t an official weigh-in, and Jericho’s like Uh, um, J.J. Dillon said it was, he told me so, ask him and he’ll back me up…Iaukea comes down and steps on the scale…He’s 218, so Jericho claims that the scale’s calibration is off and then beats the fuck out of Iaukea with the scale…Someone figured out that Jericho is on a heater and had him do multiple segments, and rightly so…Jericho hooks on the Lion Tamer and yells YOU’RE FAT, C’MON, FATTY…I repeat, on a heater…


  • Disco Inferno is so bummed when the nWo theme cuts his theme off in the middle of his dancing…Scott Steiner (w/Buff Bagwell and trophy) has been booked somewhat aimlessly since his turn…Steiner hits a violent-looking takedown to escape a headlock…Disco fights with Buff over the trophy while Steiner loads up to clubber Disco…Disco makes a comeback and tries to speed things up, but gets caught and overhead belly-to-belly’d…Steiner hits a double-underhook suplex and locks on the Steiner Recliner for the win…


  • Chris Jericho is back out here one more time…He’s got a chance to become a double champ tonight…Booker T. is Jericho’s opponent…Jericho has probably been the larger man in the match too often in his recent contests because he tries to match strikes with Booker and gets easily overpowered…Jericho takes a beating, tries to escape, begs off, and finally pokes Book in the eyes…Jericho hits a Stun Gun to get some extended control…Book makes a comeback when Jericho whiffs on an Asai moonsault…Booker hits a pancake and Spinaroonies up into a side kick…Jericho pulls Mickey Jay in front of him and Jay takes the brunt of a Booker missile dropkick…Booker dumps Jericho outside, and Jay gets back up and calls for the bell since Jericho grabbed him and fed him two boots to the face…Jericho had an MVP performance tonight…


  • Ric Flair was supposed to be on Thunder tonight, but Tony S. claims that Flair’s nowhere in the arena…Scott Steiner and Eric Bischoff crash Tony’s interview time to claim that Flair didn't show up because he's scared…Bischoff cuts a mid promo on Flair and how much better Hogan is than Flair…I mean, he just repeats himself like twenty times about Flair wishing he was the best, but Hogan actually being the best…Even the video stream gets tired and craps out for a few seconds…Finally, Scotty Steiner talks and I guess is now feuding with Ric Flair…Steiner calls Flair a coward, and Arn Anderson comes down to rebut Bischoff in Flair’s absence…This segment is just dire…All you need to know is that Scott Steiner and Ric Flair are feuding now, I guess…No, wait, Luger comes down to scrap with Scotty, so yeah, that also happens…Rick Steiner comes out and suplexes Eric Bischoff on the floor to end the segment…What a mess…Bischoff clearly has no consistent plan for like three-quarters of the roster…


  • Kevin Nash (w/Konnan) runs down Hogan before tonight’s main event…He also promotes the baseball bat match at Spring Stampede…Nash calls Piper gay…Well, really, he calls Piper bisexual…I really, really, REALLY hate this main event angle…So, Nash is up against Rick Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase)…Nash proudly tells Rick that Nash convinced Scotty to go nWo…a bunch of B-Teamers come down and surround the ring…This truncated three-minute match is actually decent, but it ends in an nWo beatdown…the powerbombis still banned, but Scotty Steiner and the B-Teamers get in the ring and convince Nash to hit one anyway…the B-Teamers beat up Doug Dellinger’s mall cops when they come down to arrest Nash…the Giant comes out for the save as the cameras stop rolling…


  • Every storyline that avoids nWo involvement is pretty fun…Chris Jericho’s MVP performance (tm Gorman) tonight saved what was otherwise a below average show…It’s a WOOOO for me…


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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #136 – 13 April 1998

"The one where Bret Hart finally gets something interesting to do”

  • So, the last time we were watching Nitro, Roddy Piper challenged Hulk Hogan to a match on Nitro, and we see video of Piper’s challenge (with requisite out-of-place RuPaul mention). I am reminded of how much I am not feeling the main event scene.


  • We’re in the home of Prince Rogers and Sean Waltman tonight. About the latter, it’s too bad he’s not here! He really was a noticeable loss to the nWo as much as he was a key addition to DeGeneration-X.


  • At least this week, I understand why the crowd chants for Larry Z.


  • I’m super into Fit Finlay/Scott Steiner. Finlay’s not on TV enough for my tastes. Vincent’s here too as Scotty’s hype man/second. Weirdly, Larry Z. argued that Scotty has changed because before he joined the nWo, he didn’t need to rely on anyone. Odd, since he was part of a famous tag team in which he absolutely needed to rely on someone. There are a bunch of nWo fans facing the hard camera who are VERY into Scotty’s act. Scotty storms out of the ring to yell at Larry Hennig, which sure is something considering that Curt’s in the nWo with him! It does help establish Scotty’s hair-trigger temper as a defining character trait, though. Scott hits a nice belly-to-belly early and then a great wheelbarrow suplex from the second rope before locking on the Steiner Recliner in what is essentially a squash victory.


  • Oh no, it’s a Bret Hart outro where he talks about getting SCREWED and how he’s the sheriff of not gettin’ SCREWED in WCW now. I don’t like whiny, mopey Bret Hart in WCW. Make him excellent, crafty pro wrestler in the main event Bret Hart instead. 


  • Gene Okerlund shills the ol’ hotline. He, like Larry Z., notes his connection to the area. Zbyszko follows up by talking fondly of the old AWA while Lenny Lane and Ultimo Dragon come to the ring before a match. Lane’s heeling tonight. He’s got a lot of energy, even if he’s bang average as a worker. It goes a long way. Lane gets heel control after an opening Dragon flurry and, after a flash pin attempt from Dragon gets two, reasserts control by dropping Dragon across the top rope. This is a solid heel work from Lane, who actually draws a LENNY SUCKS chant from the crowd because he’s making sure to do typical heel stuff like celebrating after moves and squawking at the fans. Good for him, honestly. This crowd is excited for wrestling, but I’ve seen hot crowds take a breather during matches like this before.


  • Lane does his pre-requisite high-risk move that looks terrible, but Dragon saves the spot by booting Lane in the gut. This is actually a fun little match that’s broken out here, with the structure being that Lane keeps stuffing Dragon’s counter attempts and hitting high-impact moves. Lane gets two on a powerslam and two on a face crusher, but Dragon hops out of a vertical suplex attempt and locks on the Dragon Sleeper for the win. Attention, wrestlers: Don’t try to hit Dragon with a vertical suplex! It’s not quite “don’t try to hit Kidman with a powerbomb,” but it’s not that far off.


  • We get another Bret outro/interview in which he is tired of not getting world title shots and would prefer that someone give him a freaking world title shot already.


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Roddy Piper, the latter of whom makes a Nash/Hogan match for later tonight. He threatens Hogan, who jumps him midway through the interview. The Disciple tags along and hits a shitty Stone Cold Stunner on Piper to end the interview.


  • Did I mention that this show's use of main eventers bums me way out?


  • The Giant comes to the ring to interview with Gene Okerlund next. Giant calls Disciple a Grizzly Adams wannabe. That’s more of a Piper or Hogan-level reference, buddy. The Giant is irritated that Piper got his ass beat, but he is undeterred by said ass-beating. He threatens to stick a baseball bat up someone’s ass at Spring Stampede, but in a PG way. Specifically, It's Nash. He wants to stick the bat up Nash’s ass, I think. Man, get back to the wrestling please because these interviews have been a struggle on everyone’s parts.


  • Next up: Public Enemy. Aw, come on, man. No wait, it’s just Johnny Grunge. Chavo Guerrero Jr. is out to face him, and he’s unexpectedly alone tonight as well. This is actually pretty solid as a match because they work it simply, based around Chavo’s speed against Grunge’s bulk. Chavo’s speed is enough for him to physically dominate Grunge a bit, too. Chavo hammers Grunge’s head into the buckles, puts him on the mat, and goes up top for a sunset flip. Unfortunately for Chavo, Grunge has the size to resist it, then drop down on Chavo’s shoulders for three. That was alright.


  • Bret outro. He hopes Nash and Hogan destroy one another. I disagree because I need Hogan to stick around long enough for that long-awaited match against the Hitman. I know that’s getting booked ASAP!


  • Kevin Nash is going to cut an interview now. Oh man, too many interviews. The wrestling has been fun so far! Let’s have more of that instead! If I’m wary of Nash cutting a promo, I think it says something about how done with all these promos that I am. Nash claims that Hogan left the arena after beating up Piper just to duck Nash, which the crowd appears to believe based on their roaring approval. Nash claims that Piper is GAY like "Faith" singer George Michael is GAY, pretty much, in what is a lame Piper-esque attempt at an insult. Then, he runs down Randy Savage for not being at the show. Nash wants a rematch for Sting’s World Championship tonight after last week’s match was spoiled by Hogan. Sting jogs down with a baseball bat to meet the challenge, but now J.J. Dillon is out here to stop us having our fun. Sting grabs the mic and seems excited about bashing Nash’s head in for a title match tonight. Sting even gives Nash the bat just so that he can beat Nash up and take it back by force. Dillon says it’ll have to wait for the main event. Then Sting says, and I quote: “I’m tired of you bitching about that STUPID powerbomb!” Badass, Sting! Sting wants the powerbomb reinstated, and Dillon allows it to be legal for tonight’s title match. Sting crotch chops at Nash and stalks out.


  • Now, Sting needs to get a clean win over someone else in the main event at this point because DDP doesn't really count yet, so if it were me booking this, I’d have Sting win it clean. Of course, I’m not sure I’d have made this match for this Nitro or the previous one in the first place.


  • Glacier does his whole gymnastics routine, but that ain’t gonna prepare him for a beatdown from Chris Benoit tonight. This match poses the question of whether Benoit or Glacier has the more devastating strikes. Well, you won’t be surprised by the answer! Anyway, Glacier is pretty bad! His control segment stinks and he barely clears a leapfrog. Benoit hits a release German to end that segment. Glacier gets control after ducking a strike and hitting a leg sweep, but a comparison of his heel work to Lenny Lane’s earlier heel work isn't kind. This match stinks, but thankfully, it’s not much longer because Benoit snaps on a Crippler Crossface out of nowhere when Glacier tries to bring Benoit to standing. This match should have been three minutes of Benoit guzzling Glacier instead of three minutes of Benoit mostly selling for Glacier’s offense.


  • We get recaps of Buff Bagwell challenging Lex Luger and Luger, Rick Steiner, and Arn Anderson facing off with Eric Bischoff and Scott Steiner, all from the previous week’s Thunder. Rick Steiner suplexed Bisch on the floor in what felt like a random-ass segment.


  • Buff is here (w/Eric Bischoff and Eric Bischoff’s injured back) to have that match with Lex Luger. Buff cuts a pre-match promo in which he wishes that he’d challenged Rick Steiner instead of Lex Luger considering Rick’s attack on Bisch that occurred after his initial challenge to Luger. This means we’re going into that Buff/Rick Steiner feud that’s going to end with Buff catching a bad neck injury. Oh man, I need to remind myself the exact date of that show so I can mentally prep for it. That injury and the Sid injury are the ones that I’m gonna need prep time for before I watch them again. I am praying that Sin and the Nitro/Thunder after Sin have had the video of said injury excised on the Network.


  • Buff opens up on Luger when Luger finally gets to the ring; he keeps early control, using his speed advantage to stay on top of Luger. Luger finally catches Buff, which is bad news for Bagwell as Luger uses atomic drops to control. Luger then clotheslines Buff to the floor, and in a great spot, Buff asks Bischoff who the fuck hit him while in a fog of concussed confusion. Buff is such a good comical cocky heel. Luger does the shittiest version of Buff’s dance that I’ve ever seen, which is also funny.


  • Back in the ring, Buff stuffs a Luger set of punches in the corner and gets control once again. Here’s where Buff badly needs work – he’s just not good in control for very long. He’s pretty quickly got a terrible looking chinlock on. He tries to do some interesting stuff, like yanking at Luger’s eyes, but he’s just not an interesting heel control wrestler. Luger explodes back into control with lariats, a back body drop, and a bionic elbow. Luger racks Buff, and Bisch jumps in and kicks Luger to draw a DQ, which leads to Luger racking Bischoff. Scotty Steiner runs in to save Bischoff, and eventually, Scotty and Buff double up on Luger until Rick Steiner runs in to save the babyface. This was ultimately entertaining, but Bischoff is on TV way too much at this point.


  • Outro: Bret Hart suggests to Randy Savage that he leave the nWo entirely because the nWo are total dicks, man, total dicks.


  • Nutty-ass Super Calo comes to the ring, and while he sort of stinks, he also does at least one wild thing a match, typically. Calo does some iffy dancing before the match. Hey, it’s Chris Jericho! It’s well into hour number two before Jericho showed up, which is a mistake as he is EASILY the best thing on Nitro right now, even beyond Goldberg squashing dudes. He rips signs, blows kisses to the crowd, and generally acts like a jackass. He grabs a mic before the match and claims that Super Calo is actually “Prince Nakamaki” wearing a Calo costume. Jericho demands that Calo have his mask removed to prove that he’s actually (not) Calo, and then goes so far as to insult Calo’s “pidgin Spanish,” Basically, Jericho is a raging asshole.


  • Jericho jumps an upset Calo from behind and gets two off an arrogant pin. The crowd chants JERICHO SUCKS; Jericho responds by pleading C’MON, DON’T DO THIS TO ME and then asking Scott Dickinson to shut the fans up. Calo gets two off a flash pinfall attempt, but Jericho re-takes control with a mafia kick and wraps on a chinlock. That doesn’t last long, as Jericho hits a series of moves, culminating in a gutwrench suplex. Jercho pins with his knee on Calo’s throat, which is a choke, so the ref won’t count the pinfall. Jericho throws a tantrum, and maybe that throws him off because Calo makes a comeback immediately after. Calo runs up the ropes and almost blows it before hitting a missile dropkick that seemed to absolutely stick Jericho, whew. Calo hits a crossbody from the top rope to the floor, then goes up one more time after tossing Jericho into the ring. Jericho cuts him off, but Calo dumps him to the mat and…whiffs on a headscissors attempt. Oops. Jericho locks on the Walls for the win and only takes it off when Prince Iaukea runs him off. Jericho, pretending to be astonished that Calo is not Iaukea: I DIDN’T KNOW PRINCE NAKAMAKI HAD A TWIN BROTHER. What a DICK.


  • Outro: Bret respects some WCW dudes. Chris Benoit, the Giant, and especially Sting. If Sting ever needs some help, Bret says he’ll be there to help him.


  • Van Hammer and Saturn had some beef last Thunder, IIRC, and no, I’m not going back to check. It was one of the previous week’s shows. They’re going to fight it out in an official match next. Kidman tries to stop them, but he gets punched. I think that somewhere in Hammer is a decent, if not good, big man, but he never quite put it all together for one reason or another. This match is sort of messy, but I genuinely like it. Hammer hits Saturn with a high-angled back suplex that looks pretty nasty! Hammer also airplane spins Saturn out of a backslide attempt and then hits him with a lariat. I mean, there’s some neat stuff in here! Saturn hits a mafia kick, hits a Gargoyleplex (it’s the capture suplex he does, but apparently it has a weird name according to Tenay), and then locks on the Rings of Saturn to settle that score.


  • Rocco Rock is going to wrestle a singles match of his own against Goldberg. I suspect that Rocco won’t be as successful as his tag partner was earlier in the night. Rocco is frustrated at not being able to use his bulk effectively. There’s a cool spot where Goldberg wins a shoulderblock; Rocco gets up and demands that he try him with a shoulderblock again. Goldberg looks at him for a beat and then just slugs him, hahaha. Goldberg doesn’t have time for your silly shoulderblock stalemate shit. Rocco gets some control after Goldberg really badly telegraphs a haymaker, and in a cool spot, Rocco dropkicks Goldberg into the stairs at ringside. In the ring, Rocco stands a table up in the corner, and OF COURSE, Goldberg is up and in the ring, where he spears Rocco through the table – it rules – and then Jackhammer and SPLAT, and that’s it. Fun squash match! Goldberg gets up and faces off with Saturn, who stalks to the ring, but Raven runs out and restrains Saturn. Kidman and Sick Boy run in on Goldberg and get utterly destroyed. Goldberg declares that Saturn is officially next. This ruled.


  • Lots of commentary talking the main event angle into the ground, lots of dancing, lots of Nitro party video stuff, etc., etc.


  • Sonny Onoo walks Yuji Nagata out to the ring; Nagata will face Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude). Ick. Rude wanders over to commentary as usual, though just to point out that there’s a special guest in the arena. That guest: Rick Rude’s dad is here, sitting next to Larry Hennig and looking like a cross between his son and Dr. Jerry Buss. But actually, this match is alright because Hennig and Nagata are trying a bit harder since the dads are in the front row. Nagata gets a wheelbarrow suplex in there, but Rude runs a distraction and Hennig gets right back on top. Hennig hits a big elbow a la his pops, then sets up for a PerfectPlex. Instead, he dumps Nagata, outside and holds him up in front of Larry H., who doesn’t bother to even throw a punch. Pops just rips off his sweater to show a HENNIG RULES shirt. After that, yeah, that’s when Curt H. drops Nagata with a PerfectPlex for the win. There’s a post-match handcuffing of Nagata with a requisite beatdown before Jim Neidhart runs the nWo members off. This whole feud stinks, but that was the least offensive of any of the Rude/Hennig/Hart Foundation segments in many weeks.


  • La Parka (w/chair) takes on Booker T. for the Television Championship. Parka tries his best to control with strikes, but Booker basically explodes through Parka’s striking with explosive moves like flying forearms and side kicks. That leads Parka to just taking shortcuts – he kicks the rope into Booker’s gonads when Book is re-entering the ring – but again, Booker hits a flying forearm to stuff Parka’s momentum. Then, Booker hits a spinebuster that breaks off part of Parka’s mask, which is a cool visual. Parka tries to fight, but Booker hits an axe kick, a flapjack, and a Spinaroonie. He follows up with a Harlem Side Kick and ends the match with a missile dropkick for three. Solid semi-squash there! I’m looking forward to his match with Chris Benoit at Spring Stampede. Speaking of Benoit, he cuts Parka off as Parka sneaks up on Booker with a chair after the match. Booker appreciates it and extends his hand, but Benoit is a nutter and shoves Booker because he is INTENSE, fellas, he’s got the profile of a family annihilator after all!


  • We get a very good video package that sums up the Raven/DDP feud. This is a really good feud that probably doesn’t get enough TV time as it is.


  • Robbie Rage, the good member of High Voltage, comes to the ring with his tag partner in tow. I have ZERO clue why he’s getting a shot at the number two title in the company, but okay! DDP still doesn’t have the physical belt in his possession, but he’s got the Diamond Cutter, and that’s pretty much all he needs. Page gets two off a flash rollup off the jump and smiles, like he did that just to get into Rage’s head that the finish is coming out of nowhere. Rage gets some good offense in – a flying forearm, a powerslam, and a SWEET springboard splash, like Rage got some HEIGHT on that last one. Page takes a beating, per the typical upper-card babyface match on Nitro, but he gets in a swinging neckbreaker and then a rebound Diamond Cutter for the three. Of course, Immediately after the match ends Raven has a mic in the stands on the ramp (Raven yells OVER HERE, YOU IDIOT at Page, but I feel like he meant that insult for me as well). Raven challenges Page to come get the gold, but of course, most of the Flock forms a wall between Raven and Page. DDP dives at the Flock members and is tackled and hauled away by security while Raven takes off.


  • Konnan (w/Vincent) faces Rick Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase). Maybe we’ll get some more Vincent/DiBiase interaction, which I look forward to every time. Yeah, I grew up on WWF. They kind of mix it up early on, and the match itself is alright, too. Rick Steiner’s out here hitting power moves on Konnan, who sells exquisitely. The nWo members trap Rick and drag him outside, where Vincent throws forearms at Rick, and DiBiase comes over and hauls him off, haha. Konnan does his awkward, yet compelling offense. He pretends to be a dog pissing on Rick after hitting a basement dropkick. Something about heel Konnan settles well with me even if he’s kind of shit as a worker. Rick eventually gets back on top, sets up for a top-rope bulldog, and hits it. DiBiase comes over to cut off Vincent one more time and keep him from shoving Rick off the top rope. Yeah, this was a TV match that wasn’t particularly great or anything, but I found everything about it satisfying and enjoyable.


  • Oh my, I haven’t kept up with this thread because of life – it was the previous Nitro that the Savage parking lot attack happened? Man, feels like months ago that I watched it. Anyway, we see footage someone who may or may not actually be Randy Savage getting loaded onto the ambulance again. Savage will be out for awhile with a legit knee injury and also a kayfabe concussion and neck injury. There’s a whole video package on top of this replayed footage summing up the last two months of fuckery in that main event angle. It’s a bit much.


  • Michael Buffer ring announces the Sting/Kevin Nash WCW World Championship match. Sting unloads on early with a whole bunch of punches. Nash catches Sting on a leapfrog and hits Snake Eyes, then starts his own offensive. The crowd’s about 50/50 for these two. Some yutz in the crowd has written THE DISCIPLE on a plain white tee. There’s a fucking Disciple stan out here. Fuck me. Nash hits a bunch of moves at a very slow speed. Sting tries to make an energetic comeback, but Nash shifts his weight on a Sting bodyslam attempt, topples onto Sting, and gets two. A Nash elbowdrop gets two. Nash locks on a chinlock. I like Nash in the ring more than most, but man, he’s about a trillion times better working tags. He can get very ponderous with his control segments sometimes, especially in this era of his career.


  • Nash hits a gutwrench suplex for two, then a side slam for two. Nash has Sting set up for the Jackknife, so he obviously hits it and gets three puts Sting in a bearhug and tries to get a submission. Sting fights out and hits two Stinger Splashes, then dropkicks a stumbling Nash into the corner and hits a third Stinger Splash. Sting locks on the Scorpion Deathlock, but Randy Savage comes down with Liz. Liz distracts the ref and Savage batters Sting in the head with the cast on his hand. Nash covers…and gets only 2.9. Minnesotans in the stands launch trash into the ring as Nash powerbombs Sting for…2.9 because Bret Hart comes out and yanks the ref out of the ring. Hey, that’s not a bad payoff for all those Bret outros! Bret noted that he’d be around to help Sting, after all! Bret beats down Nash and locks him in the Sharpshooter, then releases it to fight off some nWo B-Teamers before there are too many numbers. Nash Jackknifes Sting again and leaves while Bret recovers and fights off the nWo members who have him out-numbered.


  • FINALLY, Bret’s in a main event angle worth his time and energy! I’m even okay with Sting getting his ass beat again because at least he had the match won before Savage interjected himself. But yeah, I’m jazzed about Bret being elevated into a main event angle, even if I know this high won’t last. I can’t grade on what I haven’t watched yet, though!


  • The show wasn’t great with the talking, but I did like most of the in-ring stuff, though I wish there were more time given to Jericho, Raven, and Page. Still, this was a solid bounce back show after the previous Nitro. 4 out of 5 Stinger Splashes


Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number fourteen – 16 April 1998

"The WCW Gang never tires of outros, video packages, or nWo segments in general”

  • I’m not sure how I feel about Spring Stampede, which comes up after this Thunder…Some of the midcard looks pretty good…Bret Hart being elevated to the main event is great, even if he's not currently on the card itself…On the other hand, that main event scene is a mess…Largely, it’s because the nWo isn’t particularly compelling…And of course, Piper is wrestling at that show…I’m not sure the bat match stipulation is going to do much to save that tag match…


  • Randy Savage and Kevin Nash versus Sting and Bret Hart is the main event…Is Savage actually going to work on a busted knee?...


  • Buff Bagwell gets a video package…Buff pulls a “Narcissist” Lex Luger with a full-length mirror…He’s in love with himself, obviously…My head canon is that this feud between Buff and Luger is because they’re so alike, they’re naturally competitive with one another…When they finally figure out they should have been friends all along, we get Totally Buff…That’s long-term character development that I think accidentally exists…


  • Buff comes to the ring with Vincent…He picks up his rivalry with Rick Steiner…We’re one week out from a return match in which Rick shoot breaks Buff’s neck…I’m dreading that episode…Besides it obviously being terrible that Buff gets hurt, I also think it’s sort of a shame that this feud got cut short…Buff needs work in his control segments, as good as he is at general heeling…It’s weird to think Bagwell’s been on TV for about seven years, but still needs quite a bit of seasoning…He was only, what 21 when he first got on TV?...He’s still not even thirty in 1998 (and isn’t even 55 today), which is weird to think about…This match is more entertaining because Rick stays on offense for most of it…Scotty comes down and attacks Rick to keep him from hitting the top-rope bulldog…Luger comes out for the save, setting up next week’s fateful bout…


  • Hulk Hogan cuts a shitty over-the-top promo in the outro about how much Randy Savage and Sting stink and are bad…


  • Kevin Nash promos about Hulk Hogan…He calls Hogan a “turd”…Nash has been sort of a bummer on the mic lately…Nash thinks he should be WCW World Champion right now…He blames Hogan for his not being champ…He is also not a fan of the Hitman nosing his way into the picture…Nash drops the old Jim Croce quote about spitting in the wind, tugging on Superman’s cape, etc., with one addition about not messing with Nash…Nash puts Hogan on notice that if the bat match goes wonky, the nWo as we know it is over…We can all only hope…Nash plans to put the beats on Piper and Giant at Spring Stampede no matter what Hogan does….


  • I’m still not buying the Hogan/Nash friction…I have said this before, but the reason for Nash shifting his support from Hogan to Savage was a mild disagreement about which of their shared enemies to beat up first…I still think that having a weak core for this part of the angle is having a negative effect on this whole, long, drawn-out nWo split…


  • We get a minute-long Goldberg video package…Let’s see if the Goldberg match directly after is shorter or longer than the video package that preceded it…Barry Darsow is tonight’s victim…I think he might have been a victim once before, but I don’t care to look back right now and see…Tenay notes that Goldberg and Kevin Greene know one another and were very into the idea of doing some pro graps…I’m all for more ex- (or current) football players getting into professional wrestling…Goldberg probably takes about fifteen seconds longer than the video package lasted, but he has zero issues with Darsow…


  • Ew, Hogan’s on the outros this show…Definite downgrade from even those somewhat mopey Hitman outros from Nitro…Hogan’s mad at Nash’s promo from earlier…


  • Video package for Raven/DDP…Man, this feud needed more promos and fuckery on Nitro and Thunder…I’ve really, really enjoyed it, but I could go for more promos from both guys…


  • Tony S. talks to J.J. Dillon…Dillon is the worst guy to make announcements because he’s so fucking boring as a personality…I know he’s working as an executive mouthpiece, but still, have some charisma…Anyway, he announces that the winner of DDP/Raven at Spring Stampede will have to defend the U.S. Championship against Goldberg on Nitro the next night…On cue, and in contrast to the appearance of Goldberg himself earlier on, it gets a shockingly subdued pop…Dillon fucking sucks in this role…


  • Booker T. defends the WCW Television Title against…Rick Fuller?!...Fuller does press his size advantage a bit…Booker isn’t ever in too much danger, even though Fuller sneaks a two-count off a powerslam…I still probably would have had Booker do a smidge less selling, though…Booker lands a nasty spinebuster, which spells the start of a series of offensive moves that ends in a missile dropkick and a three…


  • Hogan’s on the outro again…He repeats most of the same stuff he said before about Savage and Sting…I cannot believe they’ve got the Disciple all up in the videos standing in the back, arms crossed, like he’s some kind of badass…


  • Now we get a Nash/Hogan video package…This is overkill and it’s not going to do much to help bolster a weak feud…Tony S. is in the interview spot again to announce a newly-signed Spring Stampede match…Lex Luger and Rick Steiner versus Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner…Buff and Scotty are unhappy about this and crash Tony’s announcement…Buff would like to see legal papers that show this match is happening, or he refuses to show up for it…Scotty claims that Tony and a few other WCW folks have poisoned Rick’s mind against him…Buff: “What would [Scotty’s] parents say about this?!”…They declare that they won’t be participating in this match…Tony’s like Don’t get mad at me, I just announce the matches, I don’t make ‘em


  • Scott Norton shows up, Vincent at his side, to face Chris Benoit…Benoit warms up the ol’ chop machine on Vincent at ringside before hopping in to tackle Norton…Norton’s forehead is busted open early…These dudes just do everything with intensity…Norton just beats the shit out of Benoit…He and Benoit chop each other furiously just for the heck of it…Norton dominates this match, basically, until finally Benoit ducks a lariat and Norton’s arm hits the ringpost…No, wait, Norton gets back in the ring and dominates some more without selling the arm or missing a beat…Benoit finally hits the triple Germans for what is the first move that Norton sells all match…Norton tries a shoulderblock, but eats the ringpost again…Benoit locks on the Crossface…Vincent hops up and Benoit breaks it to punch him…Benoit gets Norton back in the Crossface…Vincent finally hops in and spurs a DQ…The nWo members leave when Booker runs out to clear them off…Benoit shoves Booker away again because Benoit’s a dick…Uh, what was the point of Benoit getting killed like this?...The point of a gatekeeper like Norton is that he eats up the guys beneath him so it means more when he shows vulnerability to an opponent whom the booker is giving an actual push...


  • Oh no…Tony S. is in the ring to interview Roddy Piper…Piper rides the Giant’s shoulders to the ring…OK, Piper has a decent line where he calls his team with the Giant a modern-day David and Goliath, except that they've traded in the slingshot for a baseball bat…I mean, sure, David and Goliath contested their feud against one another, but it still worked…It’s almost all downhill from there…Another tortured Pee-Wee Herman reference/shitty insult…Piper claims that the Stone Cold Stunner he ate on Nitro was merely a mild chiropractic adjustment…That’s because Ed Leslie hit you with it and not Steve Austin…Austin might’ve killed you with his superior version, you creaky old fuck…Piper bookends the promo with another decent line…”We’ll bring the bats, you bring the balls”…Look, when graded on a curve, this was a decent promo for Piper…


  • Super Calo versus Curt Hennig is theoretically a Thunder-ass Thunder match with some unique matchup promise…But in practice, Hennig is a total bummer at this point…Rude’s doing his whole “go over and crash commentary" thing again…I’m over all this…Oh no, Hennig’s got Davey Boy in a match at Spring Stampede…That sounds like the wrestling match version of Sominex…This match exists and ends with a Hennig PerfectPlex...


  • Hogan’s hating on DDP in the outro now…Hey, Page is soon moving on from the U.S. Championship, and I, for one, am ready to see him move up a level…


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. is flanked by Eddy once more…Chavo's up against Chris Jericho…Chris Jericho and Eddy Guerrero in the same place, at the same time, both heeling it up?...That’s the kind of television that I do these reviews for…Eddy yells at Chavo for struggling early…Chavo hits a hot streak of offense…Jericho rolls through a Chavo victory roll attempt and locks on the Lion Tamer…Chavo crawls to the ropes, but Eddy slaps Chavo’s hand away from the ropes twice…Haha, he did that like Chavo was trying to reach for the last cookie on the plate…Chavo is forced to tap…Eddy puts his towel over his head in shame and embarrassment…Jericho won’t break the Lion Tamer until Prince Iaukea runs out and clobbers him over the head with a scale (it makes sense in context)…Iaukea batters Jericho all the way to the back while Eddy runs Chavo down on the mic back in the ring…Chavo thinks he could have won that match…Eddy’s response to that claim: *hits Chavo in the head with the mic twice* HELLLOOOOOO…Eddy offers to let Chavo out of their deal if Chavo beats Ultimo Dragon at Spring Stampede…However, Eddy promises to be even more of a dick, if that’s possible, if Chavo loses…


  • Bleh…Bischoff, Hogan, and Disciple come to the ring because we haven’t had enough of Hogan’s blathering already…He calls Nash a “big spoon”…The fuck?!...He basically flips the “one more chance” thing around on Nash…Hogan brags about being on Jay Leno…Oh no, is the Leno thing going to happen soon?...


  • We’ve had a couple of those Bret Hart outros from Nitro mixed in as well…I like outros, but Nitro never utilized them as well as they did in the early months of the show…


  • Oh goodness, now J.J. Dillon is back out here to re-announce the Goldberg title shot thing, and no one pops at all…It didn’t work again...What could possibly be the common denominator?…Now, he’s reassuring everyone that the Buff/Scotty vs. Rick/Luger tag match set for Stampede will happen…Finally, he announces that Page, Nash, and Hogan could possibly be subbed in for the injured Randy Savage in the title match at Spring Stampede…Dillon demands a doctor’s release from Savage…This is kinda dumb…Savage has a cast on, which is what apparently worries Dillon and the executive committee…But he’s clearly limping badly whenever he walks…I get that the cast gives a visual notice to the crowd, but just put him on crutches and, you know, milk the injury he actually has…He can still use a crutch as a weapon...Savage yells at Dillon about having better parking lot security instead of taking his title shot away…Dillon says that if Savage doesn’t have the release and/or still has the cast on at Spring Stampede, he’s out of the match…Savage chooses to disagree…He’s still over as a tweener rebel, by the way…This injury came at an awful time for him…


  • The Giant is back here to wrestle…Piper’s at his side…The Giant's wrestling Crush tonight…Uninspired clubbering by Crush…Giant takes this thing over and beats down Crush…Vincent jumps in for about the fifteenth time tonight and draws a DQ…the B-Teamers run down, but Giant fights them all off…He gets no help from Piper…Ric Flair could tell you a little something about expecting help from Roddy Piper when the nWo runs in…


  • Short Raven video package…How about if the man shows up and cuts a lengthy promo tonight on top of this?...


  • Perry Saturn, with Billy Kidman tagging along, comes to the ring to squash Silver King…Nice DDT counter from King when Saturn ducks down…King tries a moonsault and lands on his feet when Saturn steps aside…Saturn then clobbers the slightly disoriented King with a clothesline…Saturn hits a super capture suplex (!!!) and transitions that into the Rings of Saturn for the win…Fun minute-long squash!...


  • Short DDP video package…How about if the man shows up and cuts a lengthy promo tonight on top of this?...Oh wow, we actually get that, as Tony S. is in the ring to interview Page…Page is distracted by the possibility of facing Goldberg and doesn’t even want to address Raven right now…My head canon says that Page loses the Raven match because he’s looking ahead…Note that he’s got a potential Goldberg match for the U.S. title AND a possible substitution into the Spring Stampede main event against Sting taking up space in his head…Page wants to know if Goldberg can get banged (probably pretty easily considering that he's a strapping, successful gentleman)…Page answers my above point by saying that he’s not looking past Raven…You can SAY that, Page, but I don’t know if I believe you…Page plans to take his gold back from Raven at Spring Stampede…


  • The tag main event is next…Well, Savage gets in the ring to start, but he immediately tags out to Nash…Nash and Hart throw fists at one another…This is some quality intense clubbering from these two…Now Nash slows it down with elbows and chokes…Bret makes a comeback with a diving clothesline…He tags in Sting…Nash works out of a jam and tags Savage…Huh, maybe Savage didn’t totally bust his knee. I thought he blew an ACL at some point, but maybe this was a less-severe knee injury that he could work through for a couple months…I’d put off surgery, too, were I in his spot right now…Savage spends about thirty seconds in the ring before he escapes the Scorpion Deathlock and tags out again…


  • Nash wants the Hitman back in the ring, which, yeah, that matchup is always excellent…They mix it up again…It’s pretty fun…Bret dodges an elbowdrop and wraps Nash in the Sharpshooter…Nash goes to the eyes and Savage gets in a blow from his spot on the apron…Nash gets Bret in a sleeper, but Bret turns out of it quickly and hits a back suplex…Bret gets the hot tag to Sting…Sting goes bananas and hits the legal man Savage with a Stinger Splash before Nash drops him with a lariat…Nash dispatches Hart, but Sting dropkicks Nash over the top and to the apron…Sting tries to hit Savage with another Stinger Splash, but Savage clocks Sting with his cast as Sting leaps in…Savage goes up top for the Savage Elbow, but Hogan and Disciple run down and shove him off the top…Nash gets in Hogan’s face and the nWo runs down to break up their little tiff…Good match, even with the fuck finish…I winced at Savage landing almost flat-footed on the mat after he was shoved from behind, though…


  • If this Thunder had done a bit more to center the midcarders and a bit less Hogan/Nash-focused stuff, it would have been great…It was still a decent show, though…It gets a WOOOO from me…
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Spring Stampede '98 notes:

  • This is a tumultuous time for WCW. The go-home Nitro for this show was beaten by RAW in the ratings for the first time in months. Ric Flair was advertised for that Nitro on the previous Thunder, but didn’t show up because he was at Reid’s wrestling meet, and now Bisch and Flair are in conflict behind the scenes. Randy Savage was getting way over as a rebel tweener and got hurt. Things are a mess!


  • From that perspective, I’m interested to see how this show turns out. I’m going in with pretty low expectations, and I’m guessing that this show ends up having a pretty fun midcard and a baffling main event scene, as is the rep for WCW PPVs from this era.


  • There was an angle about Savage being possibly taken out of the main event match because of kayfabe injuries that are covering for legit injuries. The desk announces that this will not happen, but they also note that the Sting/Savage match is now no DQ, which doesn’t surprise me. We’re getting a lot of safe-ish wandering brawling in the main, I bet, and a bit of end-of-match gaga to boot.


  • Saturn (w/Billy Kidman) has been itching to try Goldberg for the last few weeks, and he gets his chance in the opener. This has potential if Saturn poses at least a little bit of a threat. These two are a bit awkward, but there are lots of explosive suplexes, mostly from Goldberg, so that’s okay. Goldberg flings an interfering Kidman into Saturn with what can only be described as “reckless abandon.” Saturn hits a leg sweep, a springboard legdrop, and a second-rope elbowdrop…and gets one. Yeah, that boy’s fucked.


  • This part of the match is fun because Saturn is just unloading at high pace as much as he can, and everyone knows it’s not enough. The crowd just wants to explode when Goldberg makes his comeback. Goldberg indeed reverses and hits a gorilla press into a front slam. Kidman runs enough of a distraction to give Saturn one more stint in control. He hits a nice capture suplex and dropkicks Goldberg into the steps; then, he bashes the stairs into Goldberg and hits a Frankensteiner from the apron to Goldberg standing on the floor. He botches a springboard back elbow, but hits a kick from the top rope and moves things along.


  • The problem is that the air is so thin and that Saturn kayfabe (and probably shoot) tires quickly. Saturn can’t keep moving forever and shifts to limb work. The second Saturn tries to keep Goldberg on the mat, Goldberg has time to work his way up and eventually get back into control. Both guys are a little sloppy here, and I can see why people cracked on Goldberg for not being able to look good for more than about three minutes at a time. Still, Goldberg retakes control in short order, and it’s spear, Jackha—no, Saturn low blow to escape the Jackhammer when Kidman draws interference.


  • Goldberg blocks a top-rope rana and press slams Saturn from the second rope. The Flock runs down, but Goldberg handles them all. Nick Patrick doesn’t call it for that reason. Saturn jumps Goldberg from behind and locks on the Rings of Saturn, but Goldberg raises to standing and shifts Saturn into Jackhammer position, then nails it for three. That was an enjoyable opener, even if these fells had timing and chemistry issues.


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. desperately needs a win over Ultimo Dragon to escape Uncle Eddy’s clutches. It’s probably not good that Uncle Eddy a) doesn’t want to give up his control of Chavo’s career and b) Eddy is out here at ringside, stationed in the perfect place to fuck up Chavo’s chances of winning. After a bit of opening mat work, it becomes clear that Dragon has the advantage when they’re standing. He out-strikes Chavo and out-maneuvers him. Even when on the mat, Dragon shifts between holds rather than just sitting in one.


  • The men trade submissions, and when they’re back to standing, Chavo finds a way to win a speedy exchange for one of the few times in the last two or three matches Chavo has had with Eddy. Chavo sinks in a chinlock, then transitions into a headscissors. One of the strengths of this match is that both guys are trying different things; when one hold doesn’t seem to be getting a submission, they shift to another one. The mat game is pretty fun because it’s worked in a weirdly pacey way, as far as mat work can be done with pace.


  • So, again, both guys shift back and forth in submission moves until they’re standing again. We get another pacey exchange that Dragon wins with speed; Chavo realizes that he has to maybe use his power a bit more and lands a lariat for two, but his struggle is that Dragon is just so fast and so liable to counter his opponent to death. Chavo comes off in this match as desperately trying to keep up with Dragon. He can do it at points, and he’s good enough to maybe catch Dragon with a move or a flash pin that can win it for him, but Dragon always feels a step or two ahead.


  • Dragon ends up hitting an Asai moonsault to Chavo on the floor; Eddy motivates Chavo by reminding him that if he loses, Eddy is going to absolutely ruin his life. This apparently works because Chavo hits a fucking WILD Twisting Tsukahara over the ropes and to the floor. Wow, it’s easy to forget how athletic Chavo was in his twenties. I can’t possibly describe every counter and counter-to-a-counter here. Suffice it to say that Chavo accidentally hits a counter dropkick to Dragon’s balls when Dragon dives off the top. Charles Robinson backs Chavo off while Dragon clutches his pearls, and Chavo complies. This enrages Eddy, who jumps on the apron and slaps Chavo around for not pressing the advantage. Chavo thinks he’s done right, though! I mean, it’s certainly a moral victory. It’s not a competitive victory, though, which Dragon gets when he blocks a tornado DDT attempt and twists it into a Dragon Sleeper for the submission. Eddy pretends to be upset about this, but we all know inside that he’s gleeful about being able to crap on Chavo for the next few months.


  • DDP does a backstage interview with Lee Marshall for the folks listening through Real Audio. He’s not thinking about wrestling Goldberg on Monday, or so he says. He might as well not bother thinking about him, though!


  • Chris Benoit and Booker T. face off for the WCW Television Championship. Basically, both guys are explosive athletes, so the question is whether or not Booker’s power will win out over Benoit’s unsettling family annihilator-level focus on violence and also, I guess, his technical wrestling ability.


  • As it turns out, Booker’s power wins out early and Book sends Benoit tumbling to the mat, so Benoit tries to take Book’s wheels out. As I watch Booker and Benoit do some crisp counter-wrestling that ends with a Booker lariat, I am reminded why people loved WCW cards in 1997 and 1998 up until about the semi-main. These first three matches have had explosive athlete after explosive athlete working crisp, hard-hitting matches. Even when a guy like Goldberg is still learning the ropes and is awkward, his sheer physical charisma makes up for it. Man, the WCW midcard in 1998 might have the biggest collection of physically charismatic individuals of any American company before WWF/E killed all the competition and became the only game in town (NWA-TNA doesn’t count as competition and never did).


  • So, yeah, these fellas again do a bunch of counter-wrestling, and Benoit hits a big counter when he front suplexes Booker across the ropes and knocks him to the floor. From that point on, Benoit starts to grind down Booker, moving between limb work and impact moves. Benoit senses blood and hits a back suplex, then follows up with a flying headbutt. The headbutt knocks Benoit loopy, and while he’s selling it, Booker rolls away. When Benoit finally covers, Booker puts his foot on the ropes at two.


  • Book gets out of immediate danger with a suplex of his own, but Benoit is back up first and gets two off a back elbow. Benoit gets a series of two counts beyond that, then finally hits the rolling German suplexes. Rather than going for a cover, Benoit hits a super back suplex…and sells another head injury after he lands. If I were looking at this from a kayfabe point of view, I’d ask why Benoit never tried a flash Crippler Crossface, which he’d been having success with on television, and instead hit so many high risk moves that he borked his chance of winning. It seems like the pressure to finally win his first WCW title made him overthink his strategy in this match. That I thought about this from a kayfabe strategy standpoint means that the match layout is successful, at least by my measurements.


  • Benoit only gets two on the big suplex because he took so long to cover. Booker fights back with a spinebuster, and both men hit each other on a running clothesline attempt. Book is first up to his feet, though; he hits a flapjack and Spinaroonies up. Book goes for an axe kick, but Benoit ducks and Book crashes into Mickey Jay. While Book checks on the ref, Benoit sneaks up behind and gets Book in the Crossface.


  • OK, so here’s the deal that’s going to get us a best-of-seven…err, best-of-eight…between these two. Booker moves toward the ropes, and his hand slaps the mat twice before grabbing the rope. Was he tapping out or was he just reaching for the rope and missing? It didn’t look like a tap, but commentary isn’t sure what they just saw. Still, we get controversy! And a reason for a best-of-eight series! Benoit unlocks the Crossface, then realizes that he didn’t win and the ref is out. He tries to revive Jay, and Booker flies in from nowhere, right over the hunched-up Jay and into Benoit with a Harlem Side Kick that gets a three count out of the injured ref. This was another solid match, and what’s important to note is that from entrances to the ending, both guys got big face pops for everything they did. It’s blatantly obvious that they should push these two to the main event ASAP. The crowd sees them as their guys and as big-time pro wrestlers.


  • All this good pro wrestling has me energized, but I can almost hear a needle skidding to a stop on a record player because the British Bulldog (w/Jim Neidhart) wrestles Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) next. I guess there’s a stip where Rude and Neidhart are handcuffed to one another now? OK. I guess that we have to pay off all the Rick Rude handcuffing spots from the past few weeks.


  • Henig is working a knee injury, and Bulldog attacks it. There’s a lot of uninspired clubbering and generally, this feels like a sluggish match from the middle of a 1990 WWF PPV. Bulldog dominates and goes for the Sharpshooter, but outside, Vincent is dressed in a cop outfit and I guess he feeds the handcuffs key to Rude. Rude uncuffs himself and cuffs Neidhart to the buckle; meanwhile, Hennig got out of the Sharpshooter and bashes Bulldog’s face into the post for a quick three. This sucked ass. We get a post-match beatdown on Bulldog. It’s like they got a bunch of over-the-hill workers from 1990 WWF to really drive home how good I had it with all the workers that showed up before this match.


  • And we’re back to life, back to reality, as the quite decent Prince Iaukea wrestles the red-hot Chris Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. He does some delusional heeling on the mic and shits on Dean Malenko just to remind us about that whole budding feud. Iaukea controls early with a headlock, but yet again, the bigger wrestler works out of it and hits a shoulderblock. Man, the smaller wrestlers are struggling a bit tonight. Still, Iaukea controls, dropkicks Jericho as Jericho tries to skin the cat, and then hits a running senton from the apron to the floor.


  • Iaukea goes right back to the headlock, which maybe is a mistake in kayfabe because Jericho almost immediately powers to his feet and starts striking Iaukea; the opening Jericho creates with his strikes allows him to end up drop-toeholding Iaukea right into the ropes. Jericho works his power advantage; he clubbers and hits a stalling vertical suplex for one (he only covered with a wimpy pinfall). If Jericho merely pressed his advantage, he might have made things easier for himself. Alas, he went for a top rope move, blew kisses to everyone before attempting said move, and gave Iaukea plenty of time to stick the feet up for a counter.


  • Iaukea rips off some offense and tries for a victory roll, but Jericho blocks it and locks on the Lion Tamer. Iaukea makes the ropes, but Jericho thinks Iaukea tapped. That leaves space for Iaukea to come back, and he gets 2.9 when he sits down on a top rope sunset flip attempt. Iaukea goes up top, but Jericho catches him, and both guys clatter from the top to the floor. Both guys make it back to the ring and throw punches, but when Iaukea tries for a back suplex, Jericho rolls through it into a Walls attempt. Iaukea flips over on the attempt and rolls Jericho up for two. The crowd thought he had that one. Iaukea blocks a Jericho DDT attempt (Jericho yells C’MON BAYBAY before trying to hit it instead of just, you know, hitting the move) and gets two on a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge. Jericho has underestimated Iaukea badly, and just barely escapes when Iaukea tries his own diving sunset flip and Jericho rolls through into a Lion Tamer that he’s able to sink in dead center of the ring.


  • This was a weird match. The pacing was odd, but the crowd was into the nearfalls, and I enjoyed it. At first, I didn’t understand the layout, but as it turns out, the layout was that Jericho kayfabe wrestled like he was breezing to victory in a WCWSN competitive squash where he was the obvious victor, but he was actually kayfabe wrestling in a tightly contested title match on PPV. That’s what made all the Iaukea 2.9s work so well; it really felt like Iaukea might catch Jericho sleeping. Anyway, Jericho steals Iaukea’s, um, is it a sarong? His floral dress. Jericho steals that as yet another trophy that he’s taken from a defeated victim.


  • Raven talks right over Lee Marshall’s dumb ass, which is what I’d want to hear if I were listening to this interview on Real Audio!


  • Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner come to the ring; Buff’s been paying attention to J.J. Dillon’s insistence on only booking fully healthy wrestlers who aren't wearing casts for this show. He comes out with a cast-ish sort of deal on his wrist and declares that he can’t wrestle because of both that and the lack of a doctor’s release; after all, J.J. said so. I mean, it’s barely a cast. They just hastily put some Ace wrap on his wrist two minutes before coming out here. Hilarious. Buff sells his non-existent injury. Dillon comes out and says that it’s just Buff’s luck that there’s a legit doctor here who was checking up on Randy Savage before the main event, and he’ll ask the doctor to check Buff right now. Buff threatens Dillon with the “injured” wrist, and the doctor immediately declares it healed! OK, that was pretty funny weaselly heel shit.


  • Immediately, Lex Luger and Rick Steiner come down along with Ted DiBiase. Luger lays into Scotty outside the ring while Rick and Buff go at it in the ring. Buff eventually controls Rick and then tags Scotty in. The simple heel story here is that Scott beats up Rick as much as possible, but if Rick even seems like he might come back, Scotty tags out immediately. Rick plays FIP, but finally gets a tag to Luger, who is just here to throw forearms, signal for the rack, and actually rack folks. Luger does rack Buff, but Scotty hits Luger. Rick gets in the ring and clocks Buff, then faces off with Scotty…who runs. Rick chases Scotty off, then comes back to the ring and shoves Buff off the ropes when Buff goes up for a Blockbuster. Luger’s follow-up Torture Rack coaxes an quick submission out of Buff immediately after. That was short, it was full of action, and the heels did a bunch of awesome heeling and then got their comeuppance at the end. I dug it!


  • La Parka wrestles Psicosis in a decent little comedown match. They slap the shit out of one another. It rules. If you’re going to open-hand slap each other, at least be wearing padding like Parka is. Psicosis hits that sick suicide dive he does. They counter-wrestle a bit and trade two counts. Park hits a seated springboard senton sort of deal to Psicosis. The spot was really contrived, as was the setup, but hey, I like these guys and will allow it. Parka kicks Psicosis off the ropes and then dances on the middle rope. Psicosis takes that chance to hit a shaky springboard rana from the top to the mat that he probably shouldn’t have bothered to do, it took him such care to simply not blow it. Psicosis hits a much better looking corkscrew splash to Parka on the floor, but whiffs on a top rope splash. Parka hits a nasty flapjack for two, but pulls Psicosis up instead of getting three. By the rules of heel pro wrestling in America, this should come back to bite him. It does; Psicosis catches Parka while Parka's dancing, kicks his wheels out from under him, and drills a guillotine legdrop for the win.


  • Bobby Heenan runs down the (then) sorry-ass Denver Nuggets. It only took them a quarter-century to prove Bobby wrong!


  • There is an hour left for three matches. Commentary spends time talking about what might happen in the main event. It’s not that compelling, fellas. So, the bat match is next. They put the bat on a pole. Tony S. promises "Voodoo Child" for Hogan’s entrance, but nope, licensing fees and all that, so we don’t even get Hendrix. Man, that sucks.


  • What also sucks is the Giant floating around the upper-midcard in what I think are feuds and angles that are beneath him. The Nash feud was the one exception, but that’s been subsumed in this Piper/Hogan deal. I just wanted a powerbomb match between Giant and Nash that Giant won to end the angle, that’s all. That’s what we should have gotten. Instead, these two have Piper and Hogan attached to this deal. Meh.


  • So, Piper runs for the bat while Hogan and Nash attempt to have healthy communication. It doesn’t work, but it’s a nice try. Meanwhile, I never want to see Piper work Hogan again. Hogan throws the weakest boots I’ve seen in awhile at Piper in the corner. Are we sure that Hogan doesn’t also have a debilitating knee injury? While I’m complaining, this match is under regular tag match rules even though a bat can be used. Why not do a tornado tag instead? There’s a fucking bat that will be entered into the match, let’s get a four-way brawl going immediately and keep it that way. Bischoff really has something against tornado tags, I guess.


  • Stuff happens that the crowd is HOT for, so I can’t get that mad, even if the Giant tosses Hogan over his knee and spanks him and Piper does shitty strikes and butts and I've changed my mind; I’m judging everyone in Denver right now because I don’t think this warrants anything but silent derision. So, we finally get Nash against the Giant about five minutes in or so. This is the best part of the match because Giant goes at Nash with intensity and Nash does his part selling the work. Nash comes back and Giant plays a solid FIP before we get a hot tag. Hogan and Piper do their thing. There have been so few attempts at the bat; if I recall, actually, the only one was at the very start when Piper scrambled up after it.


  • So, the match breaks down. The Giant dropkicks Nash over the top rope and to the floor in a sweet-looking spot. Piper puts Hogan to sleep. The Giant boosts Piper up so that Piper can grab the bat. Nash and Hogan jump Giant and Piper; Hogan seizes the bat, but tosses it away. The Disciple comes to ringside packing a bat of his own; he tosses it to Hogan, who unloads it on the Giant’s back. Nash holds Piper up for a shot to Piper’s hip, but Piper moves and Nash takes the bat to the solar plexus. Whoops! Piper takes the bat and whales away on both guys, but the Disciple retrieves the second bat and tosses it to Hogan, then rips Piper’s bat away from behind. Hogan clobbers Piper with the bat and covers for three. Nash is back up and still heated about Hogan whiffing on the home run shot to Piper’s hip. Hogan convinces Nash to powerbomb the Giant instead just so he can clobber Nash with the bat, then run away from an incensed Giant.


  • This whole thing was an angle ensconced in a crappy tag match instead of the actual thing that I wanted, which was Nash/Giant working a match around teased powerbombs. Please please PLEASE stop booking Piper in high-profile PPV matches already, Bischoff. PLEASE. Stop booking Hogan in these too, for that matter.


  • Hey, it’s DDP/Raven! I remember the broad strokes of what happens – Page loses the U.S. Championship to Raven, who loses it to Goldberg the very next night – but I don’t remember anything about this match and how we got the belt onto Raven. This match starts with fuckery, as Sick Boy grabs Page from behind and tries to set Page up for a Raven belt shot. Page ducks and then unloads on Raven, calling his next move (whip into the corner, rebound back suplex) like he’s a Pokemon trainer. I thought Page planned everything out ahead of time?


  • Page mixes it up with Sick Boy again, which gives Raven the space to turn the match in his favor. Raven can’t keep control for long because Page is furious, but focused; DDP blocks an Evenflow attempt and tries a Diamond Cutter that Raven bails on. Page pursues Raven down the aisle, and Raven tries to get away by climbing the stagecoach near the stage entrance. Page rips him backward into the bales of hay sitting next to the coach, then dives off the coach and onto Raven. This section of the match fucking RULES because Page just murders Raven, tossing him into the wooden fence that makes up the mock corral on the stage, then bashing Raven with a trash can lid. This shit is awesome. Page is bringing that intensity. Page dumps Raven onto the WCWWrestling.com table while the crowd chants for him. See, the match is cool, but I'm thinking more broadly, its quality is a problem because it’s Raven Rules, but the match after this is also a brawl and this match has already shown up whatever is happening after it.


  • Raven desperately kicks Page away into the WCWWrestling.com standee and then breaks something over Page’s head. Raven launches Page into what Tony S. calls the VIP booth. He sets Page on the table in this area and dives from the railed section right above it onto Page’s ribs below. Raven grabs a cowbell and beats Page with it. Next, Raven grabs a trash can and, uh, beats Page with it. This feels so heated and has been the best feud in the company for a long time. I get that Sting/Hogan is iconic and had all that setup, but this has been quite the satisfying feud that also doesn’t end in a complete wet fart.


  • Back in the ring, Raven gets two after hitting Page with a literal kitchen sink. He goes to the cowbell rope and chokes Page, but Page gets real aggy and fights up out of it. Page drop-toeholds Raven face-first into the sink. Tony S. calls it “the ol’ Drano maneuver,” and I admit, I chuckled sensibly. Page looks like he’s on the verge of victory, which is when the Flock decides to get involved. Kidman whiffs on a splash attempt and clatters into Raven, but Page has to take time to dispose of Kidman, and Raven kicks out. Sick Boy shows back up and clobbers Page with a crutch, but Page kicks out at 2.9. Raven tries an actual wrestling move – a vertical suplex – and Page reverses into a small package for 2.9. Raven gets up and signals Hammer to help, but Hammer whiffs on a diving clothesline and then eats a sink shot. Page only gets two, though, again because of the delay he took in getting rid of Hammer.


  • Raven hits a nut shot and calls for more assistance. OK, let’s see if Reese can help! Reese actually hits a chokeslam – success! – but Raven only gets two on the cover. Raven waves to Lodi sitting in the crowd and Lodi tosses in his stop sign, which is the weapon that really amped up this whole feud. Page cuts Raven off, clobbers a bunch of Flock members with the sign, and hits a Diamond Cutter on Kidman when Kidman jumps onto his back. It rules, but then some dude in a crew member shirt whom I don’t recognize jumps in and whacks Page with the stop sign, which allows Raven to quickly hit an Evenflow DDT onto the sink for a quick three (I did a quick Google and it was Horace Hogan, which makes me the opposite of excited that more of Hogan and Friends will be hitting WCW television). That match was exhilarating. I loved it. Raven sold desperation to survive, and Page sold righteous fury all the way through.


  • Buffer’s ring announcing includes some nonsense – he says that Sting and Savage are “two men who respect each other,” which is absolutely an untruth – and here, I think might be the first example of Buffer sounding like he’s just cashing a check. Maybe I’m being too harsh? I’ve said this before, but I would love to get that Macho Man “Macho behind bars” nWo t-shirt. That’s a quality shirt. Sting is out next, and he’s been having a nightmare of a title reign in my opinion. Buffer claims that Sting reps no organization, but I’m pretty sure he’s repping WCW again. Anyway, Savage jumps Sting as soon as Sting enters the ring, and off we go.


  • They get to the wandering brawl pretty quickly, but the crowd doesn’t pop as loudly for all the set destruction because they just saw it. I am staggered that they booked the last two matches back to back like this. Sting hits Savage with a bale of hay, and Tony S. makes this argument, paraphrased: The hay is very abrasive, and you combine that with the thin air in Denver, wow, it’s a tough attack to endure. I mean, you could have just said nothing, Tony.


  • Sting rolls for awhile, but misses a Stinger Splash with Savage draped against the rail. Sting never successfully hits the splash in that particular situation and should really stop trying them when in that situation. This match isn’t the worst in a vacuum, but it is a markedly worse version of the previous match, so that’s unfortunate. Savage tries to press his advantage, but eventually gets launched over the top rope by Sting. Sting dominates for once in one of these PPV main events.


  • Sting’s domination unfortunately involves a lot of dull boot chokes. This match is really not connecting with me; I just want to hurry up to the finish already. Savage uses a nut shot to get some control and gets two after dropping Sting ballsack-first over the ropes. Savage tries a double-axehandle, but Sting is right up and puts a fist into a diving Savage’s gut. Sting tries another Stinger Splash, but Savage pulls the ref in front. Sting stops himself before impact, but Savage bashes into him from behind and sandwiches the ref, knocking the poor zebra out.


  • Now, the gaga begins. Liz comes in and whacks Sting in the back with a chair; after matters progress, she ends up getting hit with a Stinger Splash. Savage takes advantage, jumps Sting and goes up for a Savage Elbow, but Hogan runs down and pushes him off the top. Savage gets back up and tries to press his advantage, but Sting flips behind Savage and hits a Scorpion Death Drop. The ref is out, so Nash comes down and clobbers Sting, then hits him with a Jackknife and rolls Savage on top of him. Nash tosses the ref over toward the cover, and Savage gets a three-count for the win and the gold.


  • Well, Savage lost all of his world titles to either Hogan or Flair, and Flair is on the outs with Bisch, so either Hogan’s winning the gold in a few days/weeks or this win is getting overturned somehow. But let’s talk about this Sting reign. It was, and I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic, a massive fucking failure from beginning to end. It was such a botched piece of business that maybe it would have been better had it never happened at all. Sting was overmatched in every PPV title match he had, and in the one where he finally looked dominant, he lost. Heck, he was overmatched in all the TV matches he defend the gold in, too, barring the DDP match that was the one shining success of this feud. I don’t give a fuck if Sting is mainlining downers in the back, you book him better than this or you take the gold off him via some sort of insane fuckery a month in and reset things. Bischoff is a total idiot.


  • This show was good, but anything involving Piper, Hogan, or (sadly) Nash was shit. Excise that stuff and end the show on DDP/Raven, and you have a really good one. Unfortunately, that’s not the show we got.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Show #137 – 20 April 1998

"The one where there are dualities, man, dualities, when it comes to new champions”

  • We’re headed for Goldberg as U.S. Champion! 😊


  • We’re headed for Hogan as World Champion.


  • All I know is the thought of Hogan as World Champion again makes me instinctively reach for a remote so I can switch over to RAW, regardless of what else is on this show.


  • We get exclusive footage from Spring Stampede of Hogan and Disciple jumping Nash and Savage after the main event. Scott Norton comes out to yell at Hogan. OK, whatever.


  • I genuinely don’t remember this world title switch, by the way. I obviously remembered Savage’s two WWF Championships, and I even fondly remembered his tumultuous, short WCW Championship run in 1995. I didn’t remember, however, any of the other three WCW Championships that Savage won. I’m pretty sure one of those title wins is on the Randy Savage collection, too. Nope, I remember zero about them. All I know is that each one will portend a Hogan or Flair reign shortly after, as I mentioned in the previous post.


  • Hogan, Disciple, and and Bischoff come down for promo time, and boy, am I fucking SICK of Hogan. Go away. I’m sick of all these dudes. There is zero need for Hogan and Ed Leslie opening a flagship TV wrestling show in 1998. Hogan wants a title shot tonight, shocker. He hates Kevin Nash, too. Hogan announces that the nWo is splitting. This feels like it goes on FOREVER.


  • Goldberg looks like he might be tweaking in the back, but that’s just him being super-intense while preparing to murder Raven.


  • Randy Savage comes out to a decent pop. So, it’s pretty clear that the fans dig what will eventually be the Wolfpac quite a lot. Savage cuts a promo, which isn’t the worst thing in the world on its own, but wait, Savage says THAT’S THA BOMB, BROTHA, so no, it’s pretty bad. I just want a wrestling match, man. We’re fifteen minutes in. Savage claims that he didn’t want to lead the nWo; he just wanted to depose Hogan because they always beef. That’s their state in life (and death, according to Savage): beefing, or just about to beef. Savage declares that Kevin Nash is the new leader of the nWo, and Nash comes down to graciously accept that role. Nash claims that Savage will finish Hogan tonight and the crowd seems to believe that this might possibly be true. Nash promises to hand out Jackknifes like Jehovah’s Witnesses hand out Watchtowers if Disciple or Bischoff try to get involved in tonight’s match. He didn’t say exactly that, but he intimated as much.


  • Raven cuts a promo in a dark restroom somewhere in the arena. He’s thinking that he’s going to beat Goldberg later tonight. He seems to believe that this might possibly be true.


  • Holy fuck, now Gene Okerlund is out here to shill the hotline. Are you kidding me? We’re 23 minutes in, and there hasn’t been any wrestling. Fuck off, WCW.


  • Wow, a wrestling match! Konnan is in the wrestling match, which might be a downer for some people, but I’m fine with that. He’s wrestling Chris Adams of all people. I find that WCW’s rep for consistently opening their shows with hot cruiserweight matches is maybe not earned. I’m pretty certain that this a truism that isn't actually true, at least as of 1998. Adams stays ahead of Konnan to start with two arm drags and a dropkick. Konnan bails, gets back in, stomps Adams’s foot, and starts in with his signature offense. Adams tries to fight back and gets two on a rollup, but he hangs himself on the ropes. Konnan follows up with a DDT and a Tequila Sunrise to end it.


  • Goldberg is still tweaking in the back.


  • A Nitro Party happened last week at Clemson, which explains why Kimberly and Chae weren’t around and Tayo had to carry the whole team. I hope her back is in recovery.


  • Jimmy Hart walks the much-missed Barbarian down to face Wayne Bloom. Barbarian kills Bloom, no sells Bloom’s attempt at a comeback, and jumps Bloom when Jimmy Hart runs a distraction. Big boot, three, and sure, I like Barb a whole lot. This wasn’t his best sixty-second squash, though.


  • Bischoff is feeling pressed by WWF right now and immediately goes to free TV title switches and shitloads of promo time, huh?


  • Case in point, Raven cuts another outro promo from the same darkened restroom about beating Goldberg.


  • Thirty-four minutes in, we’ve had about four minutes of work and thirty minutes of generally mediocre promos and shilling, so it’s probably for the best that they send Jericho out here to do at least one, and maybe both, of these things well for once on this how. Jericho comes down wearing Iaukea’s skirt and holding a Dean Malenko picture. He pops the picture on a stand and cuts a stupid-ass promo where he claims that Malenko is quitting wrestling, but has an interview at Harry’s Burgers in Tampa. He promises to let us know if Malenko gets the job or not. I’m not even going to Google whether or not Harry’s Burgers exists. Juventud THA JOOCY ONE Guerrera is out to maybe get some revenge for Jericho unmasking him a few months back. That angle and match was fairly well-executed, and then the whole Juvi push petered right the fuck out with a mid Konnan feud and then few, if any Nitro or Thunder matches after that.


  • Juvi comes out and unloads on Jericho, hitting an aesthetically pleasing Frankensteiner from the top rope to Jericho standing in the ring. Jericho is getting worked and has to block a Juvi rana attempt by flinging Juvi over his head and across the ropes in desperation. Juvi fights up, but Jericho hits a lariat. Jericho celebrates after every move and immediately gets punished for it; Juvi ducks his springboard dropkick and goes to the air, getting two off a springboard back kick. He gets 2.9 off a DDT. I’ve bought into the idea that Juvi might win this thing because of his energy, but Jericho blocks a rana attempt and maneuvers Juvi into a Lion Tamer. Juvi, who never gives up except for that one time in the mask vs. title match, hangs on for a long time in this move and tries to turn it, but passes out in the attempt. Jericho celebrates like this: OH GOD, I KILLED JUVI *fake sobbing*. Hey, this match was the first thing I’ve liked on this show.


  • Yep, Goldberg is tweaked as FUCK backstage. Seriously, dude is giving off Ultimate Warrior vibes with all the snarling.


  • We start hour number two with Buffer introducing the Raven/Goldberg U.S. Championship match. Raven wanders out alone, no Flock members at his side. Goldberg also wanders out alone unless you count the general air of inevitability in this arena as his companion. Buffer announces Goldberg’s weight and hometown as UNKNOWN, which doesn’t seem right. Who wrote that card for him?


  • Raven lays the belt down in the center of the ring as a challenge to Goldberg, then decides to try and unload early, but shockingly, Goldberg endures it and starts flinging Raven into the railing at ringside. This is a Raven’s Rules match, mind you, which honestly is not great for Raven since any other heel would maybe just get himself disqualified if he were in trouble. Goldberg hits a roundhouse kick and the commentary desk is HYPED about it. Raven smartly grabs a chair and swings for the fences when Goldberg follows up. Raven barely gets two after hitting a drop toehold that smacks Goldberg’s head into the chair. He tries to keep Goldberg down by sinking in a chinlock that is more choke than chinlock; when Goldberg works back to his feet, Raven hits a lariat that just pisses the big man off. Goldberg responds with a spear, which is when the Flock runs in. Goldberg dispatches them, no-sells a stop sign shot in the process, and Jackhammers Reese. Raven tries to leave through the crowd, and a bunch of plants toss Raven back over the guardrail to meet his end. We get another spear, a Jackhammer on the stop sign, and that is one of the better SPLATS I’ve seen. Now that was some dope pro wrestling!


  • Ultimo Dragon is coming off a win at Spring Stampede; his opponent, La Parka, is coming off a loss at that same show. Parka is very focused on turning his fortunes around and goes right at Dragon, hitting a Space Flying Tiger Drop. Oops, no, he shoos Dragon out of his way so he can dance before they lock up. My bad.


  • I’m a big fan of Dragon’s go-go-go style, and as someone who is often not a fan of that style, I’ve tried to think about why. I think it’s because a lot of those go-go-go styles are predicated mostly around dives and high-impact moves that used to be finishers but that now get one-counts. For example, I recently saw a clip of an AEW match in which Pentagon and Orange Cassidy traded multiple Canadian Destroyers in a row. I’m not saying those two don’t know how to work because, as awful a bit of professional wrestling as I thought it was, it was the right type of work for the crowd, which thought it was amazing. I believe that crowd has awful taste in pro wrestling and values utter video game nonsense over anything decent about the pro graps. The point, though, is that Dragon certainly hits pacey dives and impact moves, but also strikes and even working multiple holds on the mat, transitioning from one to the other to try and find his opponent’s pressure point. That’s interesting to me, and it feels like movement for something other than the sake of working a match that looks straight out of the WWE All-Stars game. It feels like a guy using his pace to try out as many strategies as he can to win the match or set up for a match-winning move down the road.


  • I ended up writing about what I like about Dragon’s ring work and omitted a lot of this match, but note that Parka’s love of dancing gets him into trouble yet again. He dances multiple times and Dragon immediately uses it as a way to counter Parka’s control each time. Parka is only saved by outside forces; Eddy Guerrero drags Chavo out and forces him to shove Dragon from the top rope while the ref isn’t looking. Chavo does what Eddy orders, and Parka follows up with a somersault body press for the three-count. Hey, if this gets me more Chavo/Dragon, I’m into it. Those two have really wonderful chemistry together.


  • Chris Benoit still can’t quite acquire any gold in WCW, even though at this point, I wouldn’t blink an eye if he somehow won the big gold. They’ve really built this guy as a machine a la Meng or Scott Norton, but he’s younger and has the feel of a guy who's on the rise rather than one who is leveling out at upper-card gatekeeper.


  • Curt Hennig comes to the ring to wrestle Benoit; Rick Rude boots Tenay off commentary. Tony S. tries to ask about which side Hennig and Rude are taking in this whole nWo split, but Rude deflects. In the ring, Hennig can’t deflect any of Benoit’s strikes. Benoit goes to town on him and attacks Hennig’s right knee, which is packing a brace. Hennig only gets control when Benoit stops to yell a challenge at Rude, the latter of whom leaves the desk. Hennig finds a way to dump Benoit outside so Rude can attack; Benoit once again struggles to control his rage and gets caught for it. Hennig immediately tries a Perfect Plex, but Benoit reverses it into a Crippler Crossface. Rude jumps in, drawing a DQ win for Benoit. We get a two-on-one beatdown until Booker T. jogs out and runs the nWo members off. Booker doesn’t stick around to get shoved again, so Benoit chases him down instead. Benoit demands that Booker stop helping him out. Book tries to play it off, but Benoit grabs him, Booker starts throwing punches and Benoit responds.


  • I must note that this show improved exponentially when a) there were more wrestling matches and b) all the midcarders and upper-midcarders who aren’t involved in feuds with nWo members got involved.


  • Just as I say that, Gene Okerlund calls Roddy Piper to the ring for an interview. Well, all good things must end. OK, here we go. Cheap pop attempt: Denver Broncos mention. Cheap pop attempt: University of Colorado mention. Gene pop culture mention: Kathy Bates. Piper surprisingly didn’t call anyone RuPaul or Pee-Wee Herman or Dennis Rodman. This was a mediocre promo, but it was passable for late-era Piper. Basically, he’s still commish (I forgot about this), and Savage/Hogan for the gold tonight is no disqualification, which sure seems to benefit Hogan no matter how much Piper thinks it benefits Savage.


  • I guess Saturn and Hammer are still mad at each other from when Hammer got involved in Saturn’s mini-feud with Goldberg against Saturn’s request. They run at each other in the aisle and start brawling, and I think to myself that I wish there was more focus on Raven’s Flock falling apart. Or, if it’s not falling apart, the psychology of Raven’s Flock and its inability to show cohesiveness for very long. This is a pretty good brawl, though Hammer has inconsistent strikes. Maybe it’s just that they look weak as soon as the producer goes to close-up. Hammer hits a nice flapjack to get out of a jam, but he’s been beaten down and takes too long to try a corner splash. A Saturn lariat spills them both outside, where they bash one another into the rails and the stairs. Saturn targets Hammer’s wrist, smashing it between the steps and the post, and both men end up brawling back up the aisle and earning themselves a double-countout. The bell doesn’t stop these fellas, though, and they whale away on one another into the break.


  • Public Enemy is still in WCW as of April 1998! I see they’ve put their names on their table so that no one accidentally takes it. I love the idea that you have to go beyond, say, putting your name on your tuna salad in the community fridge so that no one eats it here in WCW. You’d better mark your tables and chairs, too. Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell are their opponents tonight and they enter and do the spot that someone GIF’d either way earlier in this thread or in the WWE Network Convo thread where they both jump in front of one another to pose and then argue about it. It’s hilarious, and I love this tag team, and I’m bummed that Buff is about to be seriously injured in another couple of days.


  • Buff and Grunge have a dance/pose off, and Buff does the funniest fucking cabbage patch ever. The look on this dummy’s face cracks me up. Buff is the best. Well, except at heel control segments, but I repeat myself. Luckily, he’s protected by being in a tag team, and Scotty Steiner is an exceptional tag worker, so I enjoy their control segment. Rocco tries a sleeper hold, but Scotty spins him around front and hits a belly-to-belly in a creative spot. As I’ve written before, Buff at least does the little stuff like jawing at the ref and stuff.


  • PE finally makes a comeback and gets a pop when they clear the ring and Grunge signals that he wants to put someone through a table. They try a team table sandwich splash (that’s my name for it), but Buff is able to roll away and put Rocco back in the ring, where Scotty locks on the Steiner Recl—no, wait, Buff wants to get a win with the Blockbuster. Scotty, who couldn’t stand his partner Rick winning a match with a bulldog two months ago, finds it in himself to graciously step out of the way and let Buff hit his move for the win. Then they point at one another’s giant muscles in celebration.


  • Psicosis has actually been doing pretty well in the W/L column lately, so it makes sense that he gets a TV title shot tonight. Rick Fuller, who I didn’t know was still in the company? No. Psicosis? Yes, that makes sense. Booker’s still amped from tangling with Benoit earlier in the night and gets right up in Psicosis’s face. Heenan exhorts Tony S. to understand that the TV title time limit is a rule made by the WCW Committee, and therefore, there is no logical reason to insult an athlete who tries to work the time limit in the defense of their title and their bank account. If I clipped this video and put it on YouTube, I’d title it something like BOBBY HEENAN **DESTROYS** TONY SCHIAVONE ABOUT THE TV TITLE TIME LIMIT to get the clicks. Tony S. calls Heenan “turnbuckle breath” because he’s hurt. Sorry, buddy, Heenan DESTROYED you.


  • Booker uses his size and leverage to either grind down Psicosis in holds or to hit Psicosis with power moves, including a series of lariats. The last one of those sends Psicosis outside. Booker continues to hammer Psicosis outside and finds the camera to say BENOIT, THIS GONNA BE YOU, SUCKA, and maybe that little lapse in concentration explains why Psicosis is up and on the attack as soon as Book rolls him in the ring. Psicosis hits a basement dropkick to Booker’s knee and then a top-rope spinning back kick that gets two. Psicosis tries a surfboard, but doesn’t have the size to keep Booker down. Back to standing, Psicosis survives an exchange with a chop block to that same knee.


  • The issue for Psicosis is that he doesn’t have the size or power to stay on top for long. Booker fights back and hits a side slam, but whiffs on a kneedrop. Psicosis goes back to the knee, wrapping it around a pole. Psicosis works the knee some more, but then goes to a chinlock, which he doesn’t have the size to work. Booker gets back up again, hits a nasty flapjack, follows up with a flying forearm, and hits a pancake. Once he Spinaroonies up after the pancake, it’s pretty clearly over for Psicosis. Axe kick, missile dropkick, and it’s lights out. Solid TV match, as really all of them outside of the first have been tonight.


  • Unfortunately, that consistently solid match record is coming to an end because Lex Luger versus Crush is our next matchup. Tony S. has been reasserting that WCW and the nWo are the two biggest and most important wrestling companies in the country an awful lot lately, like more than usual. I wonder what could have spurred that?


  • Honestly, Luger feels more and more in a holding pattern as a worker now, too. I would gladly argue that for a year’s period between 1996 and 1997, from about September to September, Luger was an excellent worker. Now? He’s coasting most nights, and with the way he’s been directionless for the last few months, I can’t blame him. Crush has just about one good move, which is the impressive gorilla press slam, so that is a neat part of this. The Torture Rack is also a neat move. I guess maybe there’s more Luger offense than normal, a bit more energy from Luger than usual on television, and Vincent and Konnan get racked on run-ins, so it’s a better match than I expected. Luger uses the metal forearm for the win.


  • Wow, Buffer’s back out here 22 minutes before the end of the show. I didn’t expect the title match to get this much time. Of course, it could be ten minutes of wrestling and twelve minutes of ga-ga and chatter. Hogan grabs a mic and threatens to run Savage over with his car after beating him tonight. It’s okay, you can stop fucking talking, Hogan. The Disciple is total nonsense. Ed Leslie grew a beard and suddenly hits Stone Cold Stunners that kill everyone dead. Fuck off. I was watching the BatB 2000 episode of Dark Side of the Ring, and I think having watched so much Hogan and Bischoff lately threw me out of whack because I spent about that whole show agreeing with and believing serial dipshit liar Vince Russo.


  • Randy Savage is out with the gold. I do realize that we’re getting to the end of the road with Savage, and it’s got me feeling a little sad. Savage will be gone, come back as an immobile, abusive misogynist, and then be gone again. I just watched the last match Savage was ever in, which is on an early TNA PPV, and Savage comes out at the end of the match, gets the creakiest flash pin I’ve ever seen in my life as his only move, and that’s it. I’ve decided that I would be glad to put up with rappin’ Macho Man awkwardly using AAVE slang if only he could have the working knees and hips to put in good matches from the end of 1998 through like 2001 or 2002 or something. This man should have got an honorary WM match in which he beats the shit out of Vince McMahon just like Hart and Hogan got.


  • The match itself is what you’d expect. Hogan dominates early with weak offense. There are a couple decent open-hand chops in there, actually, but most of it is whatever. The Disciple tosses Savage around a bit outside. This is no-DQ, remember, so the ref is powerless. Hogan takes a chair to Savage’s knee and head. Savage finally gets an elbow to the gut and a few punches in after four or five minutes of being killed. He can’t sustain offense with that gimpy knee, though. Basically, Savage has rare bursts of offense in between long, dull Hogan control segments.


  • I can’t be entirely negative because the weight belt, my favorite of all foreign objects, gets used. Hogan even does a bit of mean stuff like stomping Savage’s fingers. But yeah, this could have been shorter. Hogan whiffs on a legdrop, and Savage grabs the belt and swings for the fences. Savage hits a scoop slam and drops the Savage Elbow, but lands on his knee and can’t cover. Hogan gets back up and goes full Terry Funk by stabbing Savage with a flaming branding iron putting on a spinning toehold, after which he transitions into a Figure Four. Savage gets to the ropes, but this is no DQ, so I’m not sure why Hogan broke the hold. Anyway, it’s clear that Hogan is winning just because he’s trying harder than normal. He’s broken down and throws weak strikes, but he’s trying! Savage chokes Hogan, so Disciple comes in and hits the ref with a neckbreaker; after that, it’s the start of end-match gaga and a two-on-one beatdown. It’s odd that Kevin Nash wouldn’t be here to back Savage up, right? On cue, a WE WANT NASH chant starts.


  • The Disciple hits a belt-assisted Stone Cold Stunner on Savage, and Nash actually does make his way out. Bischoff grabs Nash’s ankle and Hogan goes for a belt shot, but Nash ducks and Hogan hits the Disciple. Nash sets hogan up for a Jackknife, fights Bischoff off, and then hits it. He drags Savage on top of Nash and tries to revive the ref, but now Bret Hart comes out and clobbers Nash with the belt – which draws boos – and then pulls Hogan on top of Savage – which gets MORE boos – as the ref counts three. Roddy Piper runs down all upset and my excitement over Bret Hart being in the main event is dampened immeasurably by this booking. Piper tries to talk some sense into Bret, and this is meaningful if you know their history from the WM VIII feud. Bret tries to ignore Piper, who stays all in his face, and eventually just slugs the dude.


  • I can’t express how much I hated this. What the fuck? I don’t want to even think about booing the Hitman. I must have blocked this out entirely for my own love of of the faux graps. Anyway, the half-hour opening full of mediocre promos and the main event booking was so bad that not even a genuinely good middle of the show can save the score for me. 2.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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damn Smelly, you take a couple weeks off and then just start cranking these babies out. 

I remember watching Spring Stampede '98 at my neighbor's house. i don't even know why or how, as he wasn't a close friend and didn't follow wrestling, but we convinced him to order the PPV. i was hyped for Savage in a title match. i only remember the main and the US title match. The most important thing on TV that night, however, was South Park. It was the episode where they were going to reveal who Cartman's father was. (spoiler: it was his mother). i remember that leading to a lot of confusion in the house, which culminated in a big fight. Needless to say, we never watched wrestling there again.

(let me take this moment to point out that i looked up said South Park episode, and it is said to have first aired April 22, 1998..... three days after the PPV. So i don't know how my timeline works out, but that is definitely how i remember it. Maybe a replay? Or maybe i'm just losing my mind).

i remember the 4/20 (heh) Nitro for Savage losing the belt. I was sure he was done due to the knee injury, but somehow he holds on another 2 months (!) until the Great American Bash. GAB ended up being the last WCW PPV any of my friends bought, as we all fully switched to WWF. It's just a coincidence really- my small town cable finally got USA Network at this time, and we all unanimously wanted to watch Steve Austin and/or DX. I taped Nitro for a few weeks/months after that and would watch it after getting home from Raw, but my interest waned pretty quickly. 

i remember the Disciple because at one point he hit his Stunner ("the Apocalypse") but had just a completely dead face. I attributed that to him being a stone cold killer (no pun intended...honest!), but after seeing him do it dozens of other times and not having that same expression, i realize it must have just been boredom or disinterest. Still, there was a second there that i thought he was interesting. Better than i ever gave him credit for as Booty Man, or Zodiac, or any of his other WCW personas.

never been a Goldberg fan. Had high hopes that Raven would finally see a push and some success after winning the US title. guess not. relegated back to his Flock midcard role. Interesting that both the Flock and the nWo are going through breakup angles at the same time. Well, interesting is probably the wrong word. Curious, i guess? Poor booking? probably.

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Raven was so compelling, and the Flock angle was, too, but they really dropped the focus on Raven as this svengali about three months in. The Flock was sadly directionless for such an interesting concept, and yeah, that's because the nWo is sucking the air out of the room when it comes to factions. The Four Horsemen got sidelined, too, even before Arn had to retire. 

I'm not sure that the Flock is breaking up right now; they have all this undefined internal dissension that could be very interesting if there were a narrative focus to it. As it is, it's just Raven, Saturn, and some interesting lower-midcarders doing endless run-ins on Raven matches. 

One of the most striking things for me on this re-watch is how utterly directionless almost every angle is under Bischoff, and that includes the main event ones, which peter out after a few months without having come to a resolution. Right now, he's got a clear bead on pushing Goldberg to the BGB, and Jericho's heel run is a heck of a bit of storytelling that will actually have a successful resolution. Eddy/Chavo goes pretty well, IIRC. I'm not sure Bisch and the committee have a bead on anything else, and that includes the nWo breakup. 

I cannot stress enough that WCW's use of a red-hot Bret Hart should be criminal malpractice. Someone should go to jail for this. You can call me a Hitman stan, which I totally am, but I think even considering my extreme bias toward Bret, I'm still right about this. 

Edited by SirSmUgly
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