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Thunder Interlude – show number fifteen – 23 April 1998

"The WCW Gang’s Bummed About Buff’s Terrible Injury”

  • It’s Thunder time, and I regret wishing that they’d do something different with Bret Hart right now…

 

  • The nWo theme makes me wince whenever it comes on at this point…I blame Hogan and Bischoff…and Disciple, I guess…They come to the ring to gloat…They spray paint the belt…Lots of pointless jibber jabber that bores the fuck out of me…You know the drill…If I weren’t doing this as a project and I was just watching from week to week, I think this is probably where I’d tap out and watch RAW live instead...I'd go back and try to catch some of the Jericho/Eddy/Chavo/Booker stuff on the replay…Which, wait a minute, I think is what I was doing IRL at this point in the past anyway…Hogan keeps blathering on, and every time he gets to what I think is finally the end of a sentence, he loops in a “because” and keeps it going…This man is making me question the utility of conjunctions…Finally, this windbag fuckhead ends the promo…

 

  • Now on the outro, they show, oh no…They show thirty seconds of a Hogan promo from the previous Nitro…FUCK OFF, WCW…

 

  • I regret writing this already, but I am sort of pining for the absurd nonsense of the Russo era or the sloppy booking of the Nash era…Anything but this….

 

  • Intro from commercial is…fifteen seconds of a Savage promo from Nitro…

 

  • Well, look, we at least got to a match after only twelve-plus minutes of talking…And Disco’s out here, so that’s cool…And he’s getting another shot at the Television Championship tonight, so I have some hope that I’ll be entertained…Disco tries hard, but Booker’s continually one step ahead of him…We get an axe kick after only about ninety seconds…Rather than putting Disco away, Booker decides to play with his food, though, colloquially speaking…Not that it ever really puts him in danger…Disco feigns a leg injury, lures Booker in, and hits a nice jumping piledriver, but he dances instead of going for a cover…That’s about the closest he gets to a win…These fans are into it whenever someone hits an explosive move…Or a Spinaroonie…Book wins with the missile dropkick…Yep, that was certainly entertaining…

 

  • Barbarian goes right at his opponent Prince Iaukea to start the match…The crowd chants for Flair for a bit…Well, uh, about that…Jimmy Hart runs a distraction to help out Barb…Let’s get Meng back on these shows, too…I miss the hell out of that dude…Iaukea realizes he’s in a fight and starts gnawing on Barb’s forehead…See, I think there’s something there in Iaukea that didn’t fully develop for whatever reason…That’s a nice little bit of escalation and mood-setting for a throwaway Thunder match…Barb destroys Iaukea’s leg and takes a limping Iaukea’s head off with the Kick of Fear for three…

 

  • Outro…promo…intro…and then the nWo theme back in the arena…and Buff Bagwell is getting badly hurt tonight…Buff and Norton are out here…Rick Steiner and Lex Luger are their opponents…This match is fine in and of itself…The injury is somewhat innocuous-looking in real time…Poor Buff gets flipped over on his back so Rick can cover him and get clattered in the back by Scott Steiner…Buff is clearly hurt, as Luger and Rick both check on him and DiBiase gestures at Mark Curtis for help…Commentary doesn’t seem to notice how strange everything in the ring is as we go into break…

 

  • We come back and they finally get some medical help for Buff…They show Buff get spiked against Rick in slow motion, and there ain’t shit innocuous about it there…Oof…They have to wait for the ambulance to get there to move him because, as Bobby tells us, Craig Leathers reports that Buff’s got a cervical injury…

 

  • They end up showing Hogan/Savage from Nitro because they’ve got a man down in the ring who they need to transport…We see that match again, clipped…You can read the previous post on Nitro (Show #138) for a review of that sucker…Tony S. lets us know that Buff’s regaining some movement in his extremities during this review…

 

  • As an aside, I think Bret coming out and being a heel or whatever when no one wants that is a harbinger for Buff coming back and turning heel almost immediately…Russo turned dudes face and heel nonsensically every show, but none of those IIRC had quite the WTF factor of Buff coming back from a serious neck injury with a lot of crowd support and turning heel again…

 

  • We also have gotten snippets of Raven/DDP from Spring Stampede, including the finish…the Hulkster’s giving Leslie and Horace prominent spots on TV…hooray…

 

  • They’ve cleared the ring and now we’re ready for a return to in-ring action…unfortunately, that in-ring action is a Horace Hogan/Boulder match against…Hey, Evan Karagias!...The crowd chants BORING, and, okay, I get it, but also, give the show a bit of a break in this instance…They stop the chant when Karagias hits a springboard crossbody…Evan Karagias is fun…DDP runs down and hits Horace with a Diamond Cutter…He hits Karagias with one too just because…He even drops the ref on some true scumbag shit…It all gets DDP chants, of course…He gets a mic and cuts a fiery promo in which he expresses his desire to throttle Raven

 

  • Raven comes down and feigns a fight, but walks away…Page is like WALK AWAY LIKE YOU DID FROM YOUR SISTER AND YOUR MOMMA…Some dude in the crowd yells HE SAID YOUR MOMMA, which actually enhances it…Raven finally decides to dip despite Page’s pejoratives…Page says he’s not leaving the ring, then promptly leaves the ring and hustles through the crowd…Oh, DDP…

 

  • Randy Savage walks out for an interview with Tony S….His promo can be summed up as NO U, HOGAN…And also he hates Bret Hart and Roddy Piper…I have to agree with Savage that I never want to hear Bret Hart complain about getting screwed ever again...At least until he gets a vanity feud with Mr. McMahon in a decade or so…We’re getting a Savage/Bret feud about, oh, five years too late…

 

  • Hype video for Goldberg beating Raven to win the United States Championship…Goldberg’s here to murk Mike Enos…Why is Mike Enos getting a shot at the secondary title in the company?...You know, I’ll probably be typing a sentence something like that quite a lot in the months ahead…It only takes about two minutes before the spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT…

 

  • Ooh, weird Nitro scheduling this week…a one-hour “Monday” Nitro on early Tuesday morning, then a Tuesday night Nitro after that…And this is the last Thunder for a couple of weeks, too…the end of the NBA season and the start of the Braves season are bumping the pro wrestling around…It’s that time of year…

 

  • Scott Steiner and Sting wrestle one another in the main event…I like that Scott hooks Sting’s duster over Sting’s shoulders and then starts throwing strikes…Sting makes a quick comeback…We get a hopeful update on Buff’s health/limb movement…Sting is on fire, and Scotty has to hit a low blow to get some room…Scotty doesn’t get that long to press his advantage…Sting comes back, hits a Stinger Splash, and locks on the Scorpion Deathlock…Konnan runs in and draws a DQ…A couple other B-Teamers run in…Rick Steiner runs in and chases Scotty off...The Giant comes down to help Sting and clear the rest of the ring…

 

  • Sting grabs a mic…Every week, his matches end in barroom brawls…He thinks he should buy everyone a round…The drunks in Columbia cheer…Sting offers Nash a spot and runs through the dumb Arn Anderson “spot” thing…It wasn’t all that funny the first time, Stinger…Anyway, the gist of it is that he challenges the Outsiders to a tag title match against him and Giant…Holy shit, I forgot the Outsiders were the tag champs right now…

 

  • Buff’s injury, besides being awful, really fucked up the booking sheet for the night…For that reason, I won’t score this one…But in general, the wrestling was good and the talking was not particularly good…I feel like a broken record here…
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Show #138 – 27 April 1998

"The one where there are two, two, two Nitros in one!”

  • So, this looks like the folks running the Network took the one-hour Nitro and the two-hour Nitro and sewed them together in one continuous video, which bums me out as I wanted to watch a short show and then another, less-short show, instead of being here for over two hours because three-hour weekly shows absolutely suck. (Editor’s Note: I brainstormed, did some deep thinking, and seized upon the ingenious solution to just pause the video after the first hour of the show and come back to finish this later. I’m brilliant.)

 

  • Alex Wright a) is back and b) heels it up big-time because I’m here watching a close-up of Kimberly while she skips rope, just really enjoying my life in this moment, and Wright dances out and kills the whole routine. Doug Dellinger is once again late to the ball and drags Wright away, but that’s not going to get the camera back on a jump-roping Kimberly, now is it?! FUCK

 

  • The nWo music hits. I get hives. Wait, it’s Nash and Savage, so my skin doesn’t itch quite as much as if it were Hogan and Bischoff. Nash does survey time in Hall’s stead. Hall being ill all the time is a real crushing bummer for his life, obviously, but secondarily, it’s a crushing bummer for this show. I’m going to plant my flag on the nWo being more bad than good specifically when Hall’s in and out of rehab and Waltman’s off TV. Even when they added a bunch of lame dudes, Bischoff started taking more TV time, and Hogan was on top forever, that core of Hall-Nash-Waltman made things fun.

 

  • Nash accepts the tag title challenge from Sting and the Giant made on the previous Thunder, then announces the nWo Wolfpac as a going concern and announces Savage as a member of said nWo chapter. Nash also relates his plans to beat up Bret Hart after Randy Savage gets done beating up Bret Hart. Savage threatens Hart for awhile; then, Nash announces another defector to the Wolfpac – it’s Konnan, who is low-key one of the most prominent social climbers in the history of WCW. Konnan runs through the catchphrases of a bunch of No Limit rappers and basically belongs in WWF right now, which as I’ve said a few times before is pretty much the story of his whole WCW run after he initially turns heel.

 

  • We get a little video package/interview with Juventud Guerrera. His English has vastly improved, but I also worry that it’s not quite good enough to have him cut boilerplate face promos against the very talky, very persuasive Chris Jericho, as he does in this particular segment.

 

  • Speaking of the very talky, very persuasive Jericho, he comes to the ring and insults Juvi effectively. He also makes me laugh. He then interviews that picture of Dean Malenko he’s lugging around. It’s like Clint Eastwood interviewing Ghost POTUS Obama and Ghost POTUS Obama’s chair, but funny instead of sad.

 

  • Eddy Guerrero marches Chavo Jr. out to face off with the ever-boastful Jericho. Chavo comes out hot and hits a nice back suplex that gets two. Jericho gets some room by hitting a stun gun on Chavo, and what I’m loving about Jericho’s work is that, while he’s remembered for all his promos, he’s pretty great in the ring. He’s quick to get desperate, quick to celebrate a bit too much when he is on top, and always looking to create space in any way possible on the guy pressuring him in the ring.

 

  • This is a very cool TV match. At one point, Jericho has Chavo in the corner, and Eddy jumps up on the apron and starts berating Chavo, pointing at him in anger. Jericho also starts berating Chavo and pointing at him in anger. The spot after that, where Chavo reverses an Irish whip into the corner and Jericho stops himself before he can run into Eddy on the apron, followed by Chavo dropkicking Jericho right into Eddy and getting 2.9 off a schoolboy, is PERFECT. If someone asked me what is an example of perfect pro wrestling, that would be one I’d show. Everything about that series of spots is so good and gets the desired effect from the very hot crowd.

 

  • Chavo gets another two count, but gets caught trying to leapfrog a charging Jericho, who grabs Chavo’s legs, dumps him, and twists him into the Walls for the win. Eddy jumps in the ring and is mad at Jericho, who begs off and explains that Chavo was the one to dropkick Jericho into him. Then, Eddy slaps Chavo and Jericho and Eddy both berate him. The crowd boos lustily. I am reminded of how fun pro wrestling can be.

 

  • Jericho is carrying two-to-three feuds at once and frankly, while it’s too bad that this is his peak as a complete package, it’s a heck of a peak!

 

  • Buff Bagwell update – He went through surgery and his condition will be updated on the next Nitro, which is just later in this whole video, I think.

 

  • Hogan, Bischoff, and Disciple are here to talk and talk and talk and talk and...anyway, I’ll refrain from the usual comments. Oh, wait, Hogan says that the Disciple can drive his truck around Van Nuys because “there are forty hobos like K-Dogg that I can pick up and they can pick my orange groves.” Well, that’s unfortunate! I mean, even if you rightly argue that he’s heeling, it’s still unfortunate!

 

  • United States Champion Goldberg comes to the ring to face an actual reasonable contender for his title: Scott Norton. Norton has killed a lot of dudes. I guess it’s finally time for Goldberg to beat someone of worth and for Norton to actually use his gatekeeper status to positive effect. This match is pretty cool because it’s two beefy dudes being intense and doing shoulderblocks and stuff. Norton gets an early one count and hits a shoulderbreaker for two. It’s sort of a weird spot because Goldberg successfully hits a shoulder charge in the corner, but Norton just ignores it to catch Goldberg in that spot and hit a shoulderbreaker. Strange. Norton goes for a second shoulderbreaker, but Goldberg flips out of it and hits a spear, a Jackhammer, and there’s an audible splat. Fun stuff despite the awkward first shoulderbreaker spot.

 

  • Will we finally get a response from Bret Hart tonight? Probably, but I hate it. I’m going to keep writing about how much I hate it. OK, so let me guess, he just wants to be the one to beat Hogan for the gold because he never got that chance in 1993. Am I right?

 

  • Hart says part of the classic Hunter S. Thompson quote about Hollywood being a shallow money trench, but w/r/t pro wrestling. Then, he basically stalls and says he won’t say shit until he can say it directly to Hogan in the ring. So yeah, I’m probably right.

 

  • Bret heels some more. I continue to hope that Bischoff gets fired soon even if that means Nash and then Russo running the show. Well, that’s the end of the first hour. We got two matches and entirely too much talking.

 

  • Welcome to Nitrooooooooooooooo oh wait, we’ve done this bit already.

 

  • Roanoke is still in fine form. They sure love them some live pro wrestling.

 

  • Live pro wrestling is sort of a rare thing around here, though. We get another video recap of matches that already happened to set up angles that are buttressed by too much talking. We are 45 minutes into this show, minus commercials. We’ve had two short matches. I sense that we’re going to get a little preview of how unpopular wrestling becomes on weekly wrestling programs in 1999 here in 1998.

 

  • Disco got his ass beat by Booker T. on the previous Thunder, so I guess the bookers figured why not have him get his ass beat by the guy trying to win Booker T.’s TV title? Anyway, Chris Benoit comes down and pretty much tears through Disco. Benoit unloads with chops and kicks and kicks and chops. Benoit is never really in trouble – did I write that sentence before? – though Benoit decides to play with his food, colloquially speaking. Wait, that also reads as familiar. Anyway, Benoit tries rolling verticals, but that’s Eddy’s specialty, so Disco escapes and gets a couple of two counts off a flurry of offense. Disco gets two off a trapped jawbreaker, and it looks nice, but that’s as close as he gets to a victory. Benoit hits a nice German Suplex and drops a flying headbutt that only gets two. Disco whips his arm up to pull his shoulder off the mat, actually, on that two-count, and Benoit grabs it and transitions into the Crippler Crossface for the victory. Well, that was certainly entertaining…

 

  • There’s a Chris Jericho video package that runs down his taking of artifacts from other wrestlers. Someone noticed all the signs declaring themselves to be Jerichoholics, and according to Tony S., it was Jericho himself because he produced and paid to run this video, which cracks me up.

 

  • Dean Malenko’s music plays immediately after this package, but it’s just Jericho cosplaying Malenko. Sorry, Jericho, you have far too much hair to do that. Oh no, Jericho’s got a mic: “My name is Dean Malenko **sobs** AND I WANNA GO HOOOOOOOME.” OK, that got me. I’m pretty excited about this matchup with Psicosis, who is awesome. Jericho and Psicosis then proceed to have a solid TV bout. Jericho tries to kill a headscissors by grabbing Psicosis’s legs and locking on the Walls, but Psicosis rolls through and gets, maybe not a 2.9, maybe a 2.5 or 2.7. Jericho leverages his size by hitting a stalling vertical suplex and locking on a backbreaker. Jericho tries to submit for Psicosis, but apparently Scott Dickinson isn’t buying that one. Jericho whiffs on a corner splash so that Psicosis can hit a gorgeous dive. Psicosis eats a release German in the finishing run, but is able to play possum, cut Jericho off on an Asai moonsault attempt, and hit a guillotine legdrop that gets a legit 2.9. Psicosis tries to follow up with a super Frankensteiner, but Jericho hangs on in the seated position, grabs Psicosis’s leg, and hops down and into the Walls of Jericho for the win. I’d love these two to have a longer PPV match for the gold.

 

  • Barbarian/Rocco Rock is sort of WCW-ass WCW stuff, but then again, I think they wrestled each other in tags quite a bit. Does this being a singles match make this novel enough to be WCW-ass WCW? I think through this watch of Nitro, I’ve felt like there actually aren't many strange and novel Nitro matchups. I should probably be watching the tertiary shows for more of that. This is a surprisingly decent short match. Rocco trying double axehandles and failing with them before just resorting to a basement dropkick to get Barbarian down was a neat spot. Eventually, Hugh Morrus, who I didn’t even register was off TV until just now, runs down to attack Rocco, and Johnny Grunge runs down with a trash can after that so the ref is just like FUCK IT, IT’S A TAG MATCH NOW, which seems a bit of radical move for a company that usually depends on the conservative WCW Matchmaking Committee to do this sort of thing!

 

  • We then get a garbage match in which Jimmy Hart takes off his belt and whips Grunge with it. That only pisses off Grunge, and basically PE tries to send Hart through the table, but Barb saves him and Morrus and Rocco go through the table. Grunge stalks Hart with a trash can, but Hart leads Grunge into Barbarian’s path; Barb hits the Kick of Fear into the trash can that Grunge is holding an inch from his face for three. OK, that was weird and fun and very WCW-ass WCW in terms of odd TV match shenanigans, if not in terms of the matchup.

 

  • Billy Kidman and THA JOOOOOOOOOOCY ONE go at it next. A young lady in the crowd would like to get THA JOOOOOOCE according to her sign. Tony S. quotes that bum George Karl, what a dope that guy is, fuck George Karl, and the wrestlers in the ring have a pacey match while the commentators talk about not giving up and never surrendering and such. Kidman kills Juvi’s ten punches in the corner and hits a sit-out super-spinebuster as a counter! Nice, real nice. This match is full of solid counter-wrestling, and I can’t cover it all. Juvi gets two on a springboard crossbody after a series of counters; Juvi hits a rana after crotching Kidman on the top rope after another counter. This crowd is into Juvi because they have refined tastes, and they enjoy the Juvi Driver/450 combo that comes shortly after the rana and that gets three. Post-match, Juvi fights off a couple onrushing Flock members, but Horace Hogan and Reese get to him and maul him.

 

  • Alex Wright comes dancing back out to interview with Gene Okerlund, which is a shame because Okerlund always shits on Wright’s English. Actually, Wright’s English has definitely improved since the last time Okerlund talked to him, which I’m pleased with. I don’t like it when WCW sends these dudes who are still picking up the grammar and learning American English idioms out to die and then lets Okerlund mock them besides. Wright cuts a solid boilerplate heel promo, then dances. Dellinger comes back out to drag him away, hahahahaha.

 

  • Eddy Guerrero comes to the ring as Chavo seconds him. Booker T.’s his opponent, with the TV title on the line. Eddy tries to match power with Booker to start. It fails. Eddy claims that Booker surreptitiously pulled his hair, which is why he ended up getting blown away on a shoulder block. Quite the absurd claim! Mark Curtis is having fun tonight; he rolls his eyes at Eddy’s complaint, but cuts an obviously half-hearted warning about watching the hair at Booker. Then, Booker hits a spin kick and Curtis makes a pained face and works his jaw in unconscious sympathy with Eddy. Eddy gets control and does whatever he can to keep it, including finger stomps and eye pokes, but Booker explodes with a flying forearm. Book and Eddy counter, counter, counter, and Eddy ends up rolling through and scooping Book into a pinning position. He puts his feet on the ropes and Chavo Jr. points it out to the ref. Eddy looks disbelievingly at Chavo and fails to see Booker Spinaroonie up behind him like it’s a monster movie. Harlem Side Kick, missile dropkick, and it’s over for Eddy. Post-match, Eddy abuses Chavo, and the fans want to see Chavo make Eddy cut that sort of treatment out right now!

 

  • Bret called Savage “half-troll and half-lizard” in the first hour. I forgot to note that. I think that’s an unfair assessment of Randy Savage in general.

 

  • Marty Jannetty hasn’t been fired yet?! Ooh, and he’s wrestling Saturn! Saturn is aggressive, as usual, and he combines that with his strong ring awareness to cut off Jannetty at almost every point. He wins a side kick when Jannetty tries a duckdown and traps Jannetty’s arm on an arm drag attempt and suplexes him. Jannetty gets a superkick and a fist drop in there somewhere, but Saturn quickly regains control and hits a Death Valley Driver (no Video Review) for three.

 

  • It's interview time with Diamond Dallas Page. He’s still unhappy with Raven, but Raven’s buddies Sick Boy and Kidman come to the ring and announce that Raven’s not in the building, but he sent a video. The video involves Raven sitting in a dark hallway and talking about how Page’s mama didn’t love him, basically. Also, Raven’s good with any future matches since he won the one at Spring Stampede. In summary, Raven’s like, Fuck you, fuck your stinkin’ neglectful momma, no more matches between us, deuces. Page hits Sick Boy with a Diamond Cutter out of anger and Kidman runs away. OK, sure, I guess. Haha, Kidman runs back to the ring when Page leaves through the stands and is like LEMME AT ‘IM, and Chris Kanyon (not Mortis, important to note) runs in from the crowd and attacks Kidman before security smothers him.

 

  • Jerry Flynn, who is one of my favorite underneath guys – weird kickboxing style, the look of a scumbag good, needs to shave his body – comes to the ring to get a fucking title shot at Goldberg?! Nonsense. Look, you could feed anyone to Goldberg, not just heels, and the crowd would be into it. At least send, like, British Bulldog out here to take the L as someone who has actually won quite a lot over the months. Or hey, Hennig! Flynn gets clipped on a jumping spin kick and falls to the mat, but the botch looks cool because Goldberg just looks at him like he’s a dope, then picks him up and double-underhook suplexes him. Spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT. Man, I wrote this a post ago, but I am not looking forward to Goldberg versus Jerry Flynn for the WCW World Championship midway through a random Nitro card (I don’t know if that specific match actually happens, but if it does, I resolve to give myself credit for calling it).

 

  • We’ll get the main event for the night before we get the Bret/Hogan segment that they’ve been incessantly building to all show(s). Michael Buffer is back out here to announce the teams. He says that Konnan is representing for La Raza, and he nails the pronunciation, the consummate professional that he is. So, the nWo team is Konnan, Crush, and Scott Steiner. Some fan has a BUFF PACKS HIS STUFF sign. Not while he’s in traction, he doesn’t. He can’t reach far enough to do it. I kid because I care.

 

  • So, Sting, Lex Luger, and the Giant are the nWo team’s opponents. I’m not seeing how the nWo team wins this. Anyway, this is not exactly a matchup I was fiending for, but I do think six-man tags are generally fun if at least one or two of the guys in there are interesting. Konnan is interesting, even if he’s not particularly good, and he jumps in and tries to mad dog the Giant. It’s hilarious and goes about as well as you’d expect. He keeps trying to match power with the Giant and failing; he then tries to go up top, but he’s selling a back injury from trying to overpower his very large opponent, and the Giant just meets him over there and bear hugs him.

 

  • The crowd is also VERY into Luger/Scotty. They pop huge when those guys tag in and face off. Scotty tries to negotiate a pose-down, but instead, these two try each other with shoulderblocks. Luger wins definitively, and Konnan has to distract Luger so that Scotty can hit a suplex and then celebrate like early-aughts Kurt Angle after hitting it. Luger clears both Steiner and Konnan out with a clothesline, and Crush decides that it’s all not really worth it, man, it’s all good. He walks out. Vincent jumps in and gets chokeslammed, and Konnan and Scotty take their leave. Look, all I’m saying is that if the Wolfpac gets Scotty and Konnan and Hollywood gets Crush, that’s an absurd win for the Wolfpac. I mean, not even close.

 

  • Bret’s back out here at the end of the show to talk to Hogan. Everything about this bums me out: Bret’s shitty theme, Bret being obviously bored by/unhappy with this impromptu heel turn, Bret not even trying that hard on the mic. It only gets worse because Hogan, Bischoff, and Disciple come to the ring to meet him. Bret basically butters Hogan up a lot so that he can challenge…no, wait, Savage comes out to fight Bret before Bret can say anything else. Oh great, Tony S. notes that Bret never got to explain himself! We get another week of speculation on what he was going to say! I can’t wait! Anyway, Savage gets beat the fuck up, show over.

 

  • You know what I’m going to say about this show, so I don’t need to say it to you. I will say that I’m glad the folks at the Network stitched the two shows together because hour one was a mess, but hours two and three really balanced out all the talking in the first hour with a good match-to-gab ratio. 4 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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  • 4 weeks later...

Show #139 – 04 May 1998

"The one where the Flock shows why they deserve way more TV time”

  • It’s a very busy time in my life and career, and I regret not being able to sit down and NITROOOOOOOOOO until December, and even then, probably not much. Then again. I’m only seven months out from 1999 WCW, so is it really that sad?

 

  • It’s a two-hour NITROOOOOOOOOOO and not a three-hour one, thanks be to the wrestling gods (and the NBA playoffs). So, last we left off, the nWo was in the middle of a breakup, Goldberg was on a rampage, and Chris Jericho was kind of on what could certainly be called a rampage of his own, actually.

 

  • The Nitro Girls dance. Tony S. accidentally pronounces Zbyszko’s first name as “Lori.” BREAKING NEWS: Crush is nWo Hollywood. Oh yeah, Crush exists in this company at this time. I forgot [Ed. note: WCW would certainly remind me of this about fifty-eleven times tonight].

 

  • We get a video recap of Konnan joining the nWo Wolfpac for the second time since this show started four minutes ago. I forgot that Bret Hart was a heel, or a heelish tweener now. Oh man, I am kind of remembering why I wasn’t rushing to follow upon the last Nitro. Still, I persevere. They can’t avoid showing me all the guys in the midcard I like for the whole night!

 

  • On cue, Eddy Guerrero, seconded by his loser cousin Chavo, saunters to the ring. Eddy grabs the mic before this match and promises to set a good example of how to be a winning Guerrero in this next match. Eddy’s picked his own opponent…and it’s Scott Norton, who he calls out awkwardly (he wanted to ask Norton to get his finger out of his ass and get down here, but obviously had to self-censor that jibe, and it sort of threw him off). Huh. OK, what’s the play here, Eddy?

 

  • The play is that Eddy “tweaks his knee” right before he can lock up with Norton and sends Chavo in there as his replacement. Heh, that was pretty good.  Tenay’s never seen a legit sporting event because he claims that he’s never seen someone blow out a knee without any contact. Even back in the ‘90s, non-contact ACL/MCL/PCL injuries were common enough in the NFL that I knew you could have a non-contact knee injury. Not super-common, but common enough. I digress. Norton is briefly distracted when he goes after Eddy on the outside, and Chavo clips Norton’s knee, but it really doesn’t do much to deter Norton from murdering Chavo anyway. One shoulderbreaker later, and Norton walks out an easy victor as Ultimo Dragon comes to the ring to check on Chavo and argue with Eddy.

 

  • Scott Putski joins the group of “second-generation wrestler that never did much” guys to randomly show up on a Nitro. Billy Kidman’s his opponent. Putski controls early with some basic offense, but Kidman backflips out of a suplex attempt, hits a springboard bulldog, and goes to work. Putski fires back with a sitout slam, but the Wolfpac ends this match early; they walk through the crowd and powerbomb Putski because they’re badass and they do what they want. Hey, are we still arresting dudes for powerbombs, or at least arresting Nash and Nash’s opponents for powerbombs?

 

  • Anyway, the Wolfpac is over as an edgy tweener stable. Nash gabs for a bit, shouts out Scott Hall, and blames Bischoff and Hogan for keeping Hall off TV. It’s more like Bartles and Jaymes are the reason that Hall’s not on TV, but whatever. The Wolfpac shows off their spiffy new black-and-red nWo shirts while Nash threatens all the people he’s currently feuding with, which is like six or seven people actually. Savage tries to cut a promo appropriate for 1998 and, eh, mixed results. Savage hates on Bret for a bit and then the trio call out their newest Wolfpac member…Curt Hennig. Crush is big mad and tries to convince Hennig not to join them, but Hennig is charmed by the modern edginess of Konnan and Nash cosplaying as vatos, I think. Konnan challenges Crush to a match tonight; Nash challenges Luger.

 

  • Raven cuts a promo. He hates his parents. Yeah, he’s a Gen-Xer.

 

  • Video recap: Jericho is being a complete fucking asshole. I love that the crowd starts chanting JERICHO SUCKS in this recording of a Jericho promo from a couple Nitros ago or whatever, and rather than going insane like Eddy does, Jericho sincerely says “Thank you” to the crowd as if they were rapturously cheering him before going back to running down Dean Malenko.

 

  • Chris Jericho (w/framed Dean Malenko poster) tears up what I’m pretty sure is a plant’s pro-Jericho sign on his way to the ring. I say it’s a plant because when Jericho does it to an actual fan, they either a) laugh or b) applaud him for doing it. Dean Malenko loves getting heat off his dead dad; he did it with Syxx in their feud, and now Jericho mocks Dean for failing dead old Boris. It’s a pretty good promo on Jericho’s part! I’m just an old cynic who doesn’t go for the “heel runs down dead family member” deal.

 

  • I mean, Jericho goes in on Malenko here. He calls down “Bore-Us Malenko,” which is some jobber who acts like Dean. The guy has a (1) on his tights to indicate the number of holds that he knows (“one more than [Dean does],” says Jericho). The jobber works a wristlock as Jericho yells OH MY GOODNESS in mock pain. Jericho dominates, but does stuff like pulls his beaten opponent on top of him so that he can kick out at 2.9 and then appear to be shocked in what is the now-modern WWE style of over-emoting like a dickhead heel, but in all sincerity rather than to garner heat. Jericho finally gets pretty bored with all this and locks on a Walls of Jericho for what was maybe not the hardest-fought victory he’s ever had.

 

  • Alex Wright dances his way into the middle of an in-ring Nitro Girls performance. Doug Dellinger and his mooks are quick to shut that down. You can’t find this dude Dellinger anywhere when nWo beatdowns are going down, but get between him and Spice dancing around in a tiny top, and boy that guy gets off his ass!

 

  • Recap of Hogan saying heel Hogan promo shit from Nitro a week or two or fifteen ago, who can even tell anymore? It’s the same shit every time.

 

  • Hugh Morrus is quite the come-down in partner from Meng, but Morrus and Barbarian will do their best to put Public Enemy down for the count anyway. I’ve been reading PDFs of scanned PWI and Inside Wrestling issues from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and I love how much shine PE is getting as potential dominators of the WCW scene in the 1996 PWIs I've read. Those Apter mags filled in a lot of interesting potential character and feud backstory and enhanced whatever you were seeing on screen. Someone should run a worked-shoot online newsletter today, sort of an Observer-meets-Apter Mags deal, that runs essentially non-canon, but interesting explanations for whatever is going on in the major companies.

 

  • Oh yeah, there’s a match going on. These teams hit each other with a bunch of plundah (tm Dusty Rhodes). Barb whiffs on a top-rope elbowdrop to Johnny Grunge and goes through a table, though, which is wild, and then Morrus press-slam Rocco through a table on the outside, so that was equally as wild! And now Jimmy Hart tries to hit Grunge with a trash can, but misses, hits Morrus instead, and gets splashed and pinned for the loss. Wait, Hart was part of this match? I don’t care enough to double-check the match stips, but that got really fun once it got into the ending run.

 

  • Crush comes out and cuts a VILE promo with Gene Okerlund at ringside. Oh wow. So, other than bland, loud Hogan-supporting stuff, which is pretty bad in itself, he yells at everyone in the crowd to GET A WARM CUP OF SHUT THE HELL UP, and oh man, he sounds like a fucking idiot.

 

  • Video promo to detail the Booker T./Chris Benoit feud and ending fuckery from their big Spring Stampede match. Oh yeah, I forgot about this whole thing. I’m into it! I am also looking forward to their best-of-seven series, but I guess we have a return Slamboree title match to get through first, maybe? Alright, I’m excited to see all that.

 

  • It’s hour number two. Heenan’s here. He pronounces “rendezvous” as “Rendez-View,” the latter of which is Greg Proops’s finest work outside of appearing on Jeopardy! before he was famous.

 

  • Video recap of Bret Hart cutting half-hearted heel promos. “You’re half-troll and half-lizard, but you don’t got what it takes” is a Crush-level insult. Oh man, I hate seeing the G.O.A.T. going out like this.

 

  • Perry Saturn and Van Hammer have a Loser Leaves the Flock match; funny enough, Kidman comes out with Saturn and lets us know that there will be no Flock-led interference in this match, but he also says to Saturn, “Raven says, do what you gotta do to win” and then high-tens him. HAHAHAHAHAHA, that genuinely got me. I still think Hammer is a pretty fun wrestler at this point. He hits a sweet-looking gourdbuster, but whiffs on a corner charge and gets his ass beat. Saturn even hits a leaping rana from the apron to the floor for this nothing TV match.

 

  • Hammer catches Saturn on a dive and plats him with a powerslam, then hits a very cool stalling superplex. Yeah, I’m fully on the “Van Hammer was pretty good at one point, actually” historical revision train. Saturn turns things back around, absolutely drills Hammer with a sick guillotine legdrop, and then grabs a chair that he uses as a springboard to dropkick Hammer in the corner. Saturn thought it was so nice that he tries it twice, but Hammer pulls Scott Dickinson in the way to escape. Kanyon runs in from the crowd dressed as a beer vendor and totally (kayfabe) fucks up his interference – remember, he’s not yet in the Flock and needs to prove himself to Raven – nailing Saturn with his beer holder and then waffling Hammer with a chair. Hammer falls onto Saturn while Kanyon makes his escape and - oops! - Dickinson counts three for him.

 

  • So, Raven’s upset and is about to storm to the ring from his locker room backstage when DDP busts in, lays him and the other Flock members out with STOP sign shots, and then throws Raven around backstage. Page uses a bullrope to drag Raven to the ring, and this whole thing is fucking GREAT, like this ongoing segment alone is more than enough reason to tune in to this show. So, Raven jams Page in the balls, and basically we’ve got a bullrope match going on now? And it’s great? Raven goes for an Evenflow DDT, but Page blocks it and hangs Raven with the bullrope YEAHHHHH PRO WRESTLING IS GREAT! That dumbfuck Dillinger and his mooks eventually break it up, but whatever. More of that, please. I am into a Page/Raven bullrope match at Slamboree.

 

  • Sick Boy (w/Horace Hogan and Reese) faces off against Juventud THA JOOOOOOOOOCY ONE Guerrera. Juvi faced Reese a week ago or whatever, but really for me, it was more like a month ago in my current viewing of this show. Sick Boy hammers on Juvi and hits a fantastic slam where Juvi launches himself into the air, but it only gets two. Juvi gets a counter dropkick and ends up scoring two on an elbowdrop before Sick Boy slips on the still-drenched canvas while Juvi tries to complete a transfer on a tilt-a-whirl reversal. Sick Boy is prone to fuckups, but that one wasn’t his fault. Juvi almost dumps Sick Boy all wrong on a Juvi Driver, for that matter, so I’m glad when the match ends with Horace Hogan jumping in and no one gets injured. Juvi fights them both off until Reese chokeslams Juvi, but Goldberg runs in for the save and Jackhammers Reese. The crowd goes bananas. Reese hits the stanky leg while laid out, selling like a goof. Goldberg runs off like the Ultimate Warrior. So yeah, that was also good television, is what I’m saying!

 

  • Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Steiner. Okerlund is a terrible interviewer at this point and Rick Steiner is, how would you say this, a crappy promo, yeah, that’s how you’d say it. Rick is like, So Scott, will you please come out here and let me know if we’re going to be a tag team again or not, even though you’ve beaten me up like eighty times in the last two months? But the way I wrote it is better than the way Rick said it. Scotty comes out on crutches – do all the heels fake knee injuries in this company? – and pretends to be sad about the Steiner family siding with Rick instead of himself. Buff got hurt, too, for real for real, and so Scott’s seen the light. Rick says that either they gotta fight or they gotta walk to the back together as a team again. Scott hits the doe eyes and says that he wants to be a Steiner Brother again and forget the nWo. Scott even starts crying, which I didn’t think was physically possible for a Steiner. Rick’s not sure he can trust Scotty until Scotty hits the ol’ Bambi face, at which point Rick relents. Rick says they can be a team once more, but Scotty had better not double-cross him again, or it’s on for the rest of their lives!

 

  • Scotty double-crosses him approximately fifteen seconds later. Crush shows up with a baseball bat. There’s been too much Crush on this fucking show. Scotty was pretty great in this segment, though.

 

  • FUCK, it’s Crush again. That Crush/Konnan match is up next. Both men come down to Rockhouse, and someone needs to get on the Wolfpac theme stat because that theme is actually pretty good, but also because these nWo factions need more differentiation than different colors on their t-shirts. Konnan beats Crush down for the first couple minutes. Crush gets control, and Bret Hart runs down in an Oilers jersey and clobbers Konnan behind the ref’s back. You can tell Bret’s a heel because he’s a Calgarian who is wearing a fucking Oilers jersey. I don’t care about ice hockey at all, and even I’m offended by that. Nash runs down thirty seconds later and boots Crush in the face in plain view of the ref, then drops Crush with a Jackknife. Well, that was pointless, but at least the segment wasn’t the black hole of suck that it very well could have been.

 

  • Fit Finlay is always a welcome sight. He’s getting a TV title shot at Booker T. Now, I know Finlay becomes the TV champ around this time – if I recall, the best-of-eight as it turned out to be between Benoit and Booker earned the winner a title shot at Finlay’s TV Title. I think this whole feud and whatever Jericho was doing at the time are the things that are cemented in my mind from my first viewing of this show back in real time.

 

  • Finlay opens Booker up with strikes and gets two after snap-kicking Book in the spine. Finlay works the knee, but Booker gets back to standing and eventually drops Finlay with a spin kick. There’s not a lot of time left in this show, which is a shame because this match feels like it’s running at about 3X speed. Booker backdrops Finlay outside, scores a few strikes, and tosses Finlay back in, but Finlay drops Book with a lariat and hits a double stomp. Booker runs the ropes as scores a forearm, then wins a strike fest and lands an axe kick and spinebuster. He looks in shape to finish Finlay off, but here comes Chris Benoit. Booker’s just hit a flapjack and is about to land a Harlem Sidekick, but he catches sight of Benoit and jaws at him…then turns around into a boot and a Tombstone Piledriver that lays him out for three. Finlay’s your new TV Champ, and hopefully we get two months of Finlay beating dudes up in good TV Title matches while Booker and Benoit go at it.

 

  • So, the Kevin Nash/Lex Luger main event is going to start about five minutes before this video ends. Did we need Konnan/Crush? That time could have been redistributed so that Booker/Finlay got a few more minutes and didn’t feel so rushed, plus it would allow for maybe an actual match to happen in this main event.

 

  • Four minutes before the end of the show, Luger and Nash lock up. Luger’s a house afire, Konnan runs a distraction, Nash hits a big boot and goes to work. Luger’s a babyface and gets babyface pops, but the crowd also likes the Wolfpac. A WOLFPAC chants starts up, actually. Not a huge one, but a fairly sizable one! Luger makes his comeback, fights off invading Wolfpac members, and eats a lariat from Nash that sparks a Wolfpac beatdown and a DQ. Nash sets to powerbomb Luger, but Sting runs out and stops him. The Giant comes down for backup, and we get a six-man brawl. Crush comes down to interject himself (NEEDLESSLY, FUCKING GO AWAY CRUSH, FUCK) but Bret rushes down to stop Crush - who he was just feuding with three weeks ago - and is like Yo, it’s all good, let the Wolfpac and WCW fight each other bro. Which they do. 

 

  • This show showcased a number of effective midcard angles, had some enjoyable TV matches, and had that wild segment that started with Van Hammer and Saturn having a fun match and ended with DDP hanging Raven with a bullrope. Now, that was some textbook pro wrestling fuckery right square in the middle of this Nitro. Also, Hogan and Bischoff didn’t take up time droning on. Sure, Crush was on like twelve segments for some fucking reason, but overally, this Nitro was of very high quality! 4.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.

 

 

 

Edited by SirSmUgly
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Show #140 – 11 May 1998

"The one where Cobra Commander hopefully enjoyed it live and in person in 1998 because at home and on recording in 2023, it was shit”

  • It’s Nitro! Not just any Nitro, but a live Nitro that young Cobra Commander attended. I never had the chance to attend a Nitro and am duly jealous of those of you who have. Even as down on the product as I am right now, it’s Nitro, a relic of the ‘90s that I cherish and love, warts and all. Heck, I wouldn’t have minded attending a nonsensical 1999 or 2000 Nitro taping in retrospect, much less a 1998 Nitro.

 

  • The nWo is fracturing, everybody! Oh yeah, and um, I guess WCW exists, too. That’s our recap before the show begins.

 

  • So, Slamboree 1998 is upon us, and in fact is two shows away. This is going to be a good PPV card, I’d guess, even though I’m not loving the main event angles…which they show a recap of again, just a slightly longer version of the one they showed before the intro. Sorry fells, it’s not exactly Austin/McMahon.

 

  • Gene Okerlund calls Bret Hart down to the ring for an interview. Bret’s wearing a Blue Jays baseball shirt, which is okay because the Jays are Canada’s team even though Vancouver is way closer to Seattle than Toronto and BC citizens should totally be Mariner fans, but whatever. Also, if you live in Ontario, the Tigers are right there. I’m going to think about this a bit more deeply rather than spend too much time processing what the Hitman's saying because Hart cuts a promo that bums me out. He called Savage a “big chicken,” which kills it for me from the jump. But hey, Bret’s over as a heel, so it works. He’s getting over as a heel in my house because he keeps adding the article “the” before “WCW” when it’s unnecessary, my dude. Bret’s basically like I was gonna be a hero to you people, but I decided it was a thankless job about three days after I first declared myself a hero to you people. I mean, that was pretty much the timing! This heel turn was abrupt, and I still don’t buy it. Give me some better motivation for it.

 

  • The Nitro Girls fill time by dancing out one by one.

 

  • Barry Horowitz comes to the ring looking very sulky. That’s not the optimistic guy who beat Bodydonna Skip. Disco is his opponent, and WOW is Disco’s outfit pretty much a wearable acid tab. I think just looking at it got me a bit high. Tony S. calls Disco the TV Champ before remembering, no, that’s Fit Finlay, actually. Disco is like two champs ago, my guy. Horowitz is on top of Disco early, but he misses a knee drop and eats a Disco swinging neckbreaker for a quick three. Well, that ninety second match was thankfully short enough for us to have a bunch more interview time, at least! We never get enough interviews on this show, after all!

 

  • Randy Savage comes to the ring slowly, preparing a retort to the Hitman’s promo, I guess. Savage thinks he would still be the champ if it weren’t for Bret (maybe) and that the Hitman might well die in their Slamboree match (not likely, both of you are safe workers). Savage wants another match against Hogan for the title, preferably later tonight. There are a lot of OH YEAHs and BROTHAs mixed in there, too. Savage calls Hogan bald, which is fine, but this guy is wearing a bandana right now for a reason. This promo is fine, I guess. The crowd is definitely into it, though, and in general, they are very pro-Wolfpac and anti-Hollywood, which is of course the correct way to position oneself in matters of nWo internal political battles.

 

  • Kidman/Juventud Guerrera could be pretty good! They do an early rope-running sequence that ends with Juvi scoring a headscissors and a springboard splash, so yeah, pretty good! I mean, Juvi headbutts the concrete on the splash, but it looked gnarly, at least. Kidman tires to powerbomb Juvi, who flips out of it, and a muddled visual move is, yeah, Kidman turning it into a facebuster on Juvi. Kidman goes up top, but gets dropkicked out of mid-air on his dive. Juvi scores a spin kick and a splash for two. He gets shot into the corner, but jumps out of a charge, then leaps out of a German suplex.

 

  • Juvi has been a step ahead of Kidman all match, looks like he’s going to win, and in fact gets 2.9 off a Juvi Driver, but Reese comes out and Kidman distracts the ref while Reese hits a double-fisted chokebomb on Juvi. Kidman follows up with an SSP that gets an easy three. Reese grabs Juvi and absconds to the back with him, probably so Raven can convince Juvi that latchkey kids should all hang out together and offer one another the love that their constantly-working parental units are too busy to show them.

 

  • Eric Bischoff comes out on a motorcycle and then cuts an in-ring promo. He’s big mad about DX riding up on CNN Center, like legit, I think, and refuses to apologize to X-Pac as X-Pac requested. Well, I guess poor X-Pac didn’t get everything he ever wanted. Then, Bisch challenges Vince McMahon to a fight at Slamboree. Vince will eventually respond that he’s not interested in having a fight on a WCW PPV, but he’s cool with beating up Bischoff in a parking lot somewhere. As I recall, Bischoff wins by forfeit, like they waste a few minutes on this at Slamboree. Bischoff is shook as fuck about the RATINGZZZZ, huh? I do love that Bisch in the promo, and then Tony S. in the segment after, both emphasize that Vince is probably not showing up, so please don’t buy the PPV thinking that he will.

 

  • (Alex Wright getting marched out of the arena after dancing into a Nitro Girls routine is the segment after, by the way.)

 

  • Scott Norton and Yuji Nagata is fine, I suppose. Norton bullies Nagata, and though Nagata almost dumps Norton on his head with a counter belly-to-belly, Norton quickly regains control with a shoulderblock. Nagata also manages a back suplex in there, but Norton gets control again – we don’t see how because we instead watch Sonny Onoo clapping for Scott Norton and also probably scheming on getting Scott Norton as his client – and hits a shoulderbreaker for three. It was two minutes, maybe. Too short to be good or bad.

 

  • Hotline shilling with Gene. I zoned out on whatever his big talking/selling point was. Now there’s more of the desk talking about nWo internal politics. Now there’s video from last week of Curt Hennig going Wolfpac. We are forty minutes in and I just want to see some non-main event angles and maybe more wrestling, maybe? Is that too much to ask?

 

  • Jim Powers gets a jobber entrance because he’s gonna be a jobber tonight, as Hugh Morrus survives a few punches and hits a powerslam and then a No Laughing Matter in about thirty seconds for the dub. *sigh*

 

  • Here comes the Wolfpac, shuffling through the crowd. This Nitro is, uh, suboptimal. I could be playing some Mario Wonder or Spider-Man or Sonic instead, you know. Nash is basically like Hogan glommed onto me and Hall because we are number one and the best, and the real nWo is the Wolfpac. Nash wants Hogan to show up tonight and come to the ring and be like Nash, U R the best and I’m not as good and U R the ruler of the nWo.  I’m bored until Nash proclaims himself a Mack 10 fan – who isn’t, first of all, and second of all, I might play “Connected 4 Life” after this show is over. Nash and Konnan teach Hogan how to properly pronounce all the nWo catchphrases not like a white guy, but like a white guy and a Cuban guy verbally cosplaying as a black guy. This promo ended up being a sociopolitical minefield, is what I’m saying. Nash did grow up in Detroit, though, so it’s likely that he was friendly with at least a few black people and thus had a genuine interest in black American art forms. I sense that his disgust at Hogan’s intonation of nWo taunts and catchphrases comes from a genuine place of cultural experience. I would venture to guess that Nash and Konnan also genuinely made Hogan feel like an old cornball with this promo.

 

  • Johnny Swinger gets the second jobber entrance of the night, and he spends about two minutes trying to beat Ultimo Dragon. He gets a couple two counts, including one off a nice teardrop suplex, before Chavo Guerrero Jr. comes to ringside to cheer on Dragon. Dragon hits a top-rope Frankensteiner and locks on a Dragon Sleeper for the win. Chavo congratulates Dragon; Eddy Guerrero comes down in anger. Eddy slaps Chavo, and Chavo shoves Eddy down in response. Eddy dares Chavo to hit him, and Dragon, who has been chilling over to the side, jumps Eddy from behind and locks on a Dragon Sleeper. Chavo backs Dragon off, and Eddy then jumps Dragon until Chavo finally backs Eddy off. The crowd is molten for Chavo defending himself; maybe this angle should get more TV time!

 

  • Nope, never mind, now the nWo music immediately hits. We gotta get Dusty Rhodes out here for a heel promo, and I forgot this man was even in the fucking nWo. Dusty is Wolfpac, I guess. I guess he’s mad at Hogan and Bischoff for being dickheads. He cribs a couple of his great promos of the past to cut this not-great promo about Hall being sick with alcoholism and then, I guess maybe Dusty's not Wolfpac or whatever because he’s mad at Randy Savage? He tells Savage to “stop bitching” and these innocent, angelic WCW fans go OOOH in shock. If they were WWF fans, they wouldn’t have batted an eye. They would have started a STOP YOUR BIT-CHING *clap clap clapclapclap* chant right then and there. Anyway, this was pointless and unnecessary as a segment.

 

  • Goldberg defends his title and his winning streak against a guy named Len Denton, a guy so obscure that even Tenay initially fucks up his name. You know what happens and in about how much time it happens. Can we get Goldberg some decent competition or slightly longer matches (or both)?

 

  • Gene Okerlund…*sigh*…introduces J.J. Dillon *sigh*…to address a grievance filed by Raven. OK, Raven is interesting, but he’s probably not saving this segment. Raven is basically mad about all the random attacks from DDP and also I guess Kanyon, and so WCW is resolving a Raven lawsuit by giving Raven a four-man riot squad as protection. Finally, they let Raven talk, but the crowd is already bored. Raven decides to fight Page one more time at Slamboree in a Bowery Death Match which is actually just a Last Man Standing match. Raven also demands that Saturn come to the ring and defend his right to be a Flock member after he took that L last week. It’s a ruse, though, because the Flock isn’t dumb and Saturn is way better than Hammer. After they beat up Hammer for a bit, Jerry Flynn and his single eyebrow run in from nowhere. Flynn jumps Saturn, and I guess this was the next scheduled match? So we transition to…

 

  • Saturn versus Jerry Flynn, which I guess was supposed to be Van Hammer versus Flynn according to Tony S., but I don’t know, this whole segment has been muddled as fuck. Saturn gets the win with a Death Valley Driver (WOO!) in about a minute.

 

  • I’m just over an hour into this show, but it feels like it’s been going on for about, oh, seven weeks.

 

  • We see the end of last week’s TV Title match. Then, we get a live match with TV Champ Fit Finlay, which rules hard. I think the TV title has been my favorite singles title over the last two years. It’s produced some very good title matches and has had a variety of quality wrestlers hold it. Finlay is defending against Robbie Rage, which is an interesting matchup. Rage is cosplaying as a somewhat less insane Scott Steiner, which is not the worst guy to cosplay as, since Steiner is currently cosplaying a somewhat more insane Superstar Billy Graham. Rage tries to control with power, but Finlay works him on the mat and uses his advantage there to control. Finlay clears out Kaos at ringside with a stiff lariat, but Kaos grabs Finlay’s leg. That allows Rage to hit a powerslam, then a big springboard splash that gets 2.9. Kaos tries to interfere from the top again, but Booker T. cuts off Kaos and allows Finlay a chance to dump Rage on his head with a Tombstone for three. Benoit runs down and attacks Booker, which draws security and also J.J. Dillon. Dillon, like a dopey shithead school principal, yells and sputters and eventually makes a Benoit/Booker match for later tonight, with the winner facing Finlay for the TV Title at Slamboree. I’m into it.

 

  • We see our second replay of Bischoff trying to out-carny Vince McMahon Jr. from earlier tonight. No one out-carnies Vince, dude. Don’t even bother to try.

 

  • Lenny Lane seems like he’s a heel tonight, I guess? Yeah, he’s a heel, and he’s probably not going to last long in this match against DDP if the typical length of tonight’s matches is any indication. Lane’s deal is that he wildly celebrates everything he does successfully, including an armdrag. Page is all mad and slaps Lane for the disrespect. Page takes a mediocre beating before fighting back with strikes and a clothesline. Page crotches Lane on the top rope and then hits a seated Lane with a Diamond Cutter for three. DDP cuts a corny promo post-match in which he calls Raven “Lawyer Boy” and promises to bang him at Slamboree. Not without Raven’s consent, sir. Page would like to fight Raven tonight, but Raven’s good for now, to no one’s surprise.

 

  • Part of Bischoff’s earlier promo is supposed to replay here, but it doesn’t, and we get awkward silence, Heenan awkwardly filling air, and Tony S. having to repeat, “Can you believe Bischoff said THIS?!” twice. Craig Leathers must have stepped away to check on his Hot Pockets in the microwave.

 

  • Wow, it’s the nWo's music! Glad they’re giving that upstart stable the time they need to get over on this program! Bischoff, Hogan, Disciple, Vincent, and Crush come out here. I cannot imagine sticking with this show after seeing that quintet. I’d be switching over to whatever deeply trashy, but also compelling angle Vince has over on RAW instead.

 

  • Hogan pimps a shitty Three Ninjas movie and a shitty Assault on Devil’s Island movie. That’s more interesting than the rest of what he says, which is like, you know, the same shit he says every week. He’s all like Nash and Hall needed me though, bruh, that’s actually how it was. Hogan points out Nash’s lack of attention to leg day, which is fair, as part of his callout of Nash. So, they’re going to have a promo battle, and Nash is much better than Hogan even when the insults get puerile. Like, it’s not close. So, Nash is going to beat Hogan up, but the Giant has rejoined the nWo to get at Nash. Now, look, I think this makes sense in theory: Giant wants to get under Nash’s skin so bad that he makes a truce with Hogan to do it. In practice, the Giant was mega-over as a face after he left the nWo and this dumbass fucking company BOTCHED it with him.

 

  • I also am done with all this WCW --> nWo defection shit. I just don’t care. I’m sorry. The desk is worried about the Giant tagging with Sting at Slamboree, and I feel like we’ve done this WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US IN WCW NOW shit one too many times before with various nWo defectors.

 

  • Finally, we talk about Chris Jericho and his shenanigans. Thank goodness. We get a whole review of the Bore-Us Malenko deal from the previous Nitro. Live in the ring, Jericho cuts an interview with Gene Okerlund. Jericho lists every nickname he’s given to himself. He shows off his trophies, including a model leg with a brace on it – that represents Rey Misterio Jr.’s knee – and then he claims that he’ll retire the Cruiserweight Championship because he’s cleared the division. J.J. Dillon comes back out here again, but at least he does so to set up what is an all-timer of an angle/match. Dillon declares that there will be a 15-man battle royal at Slamboree for a Cruiserweight Championship shot, and that shot will be given on the same night. Jericho likes his odds, then shows everyone his framed picture of Dean Malenko, except defaced like one might do to a picture in a magazine. Dean’s equally boring brother Joe Malenko wanders out and stares Jericho down. He cuts a shitty promo. Jericho, holding the model leg while he begs off, does everything he can to telegraph that he’ll bash the shit out of Joe with it, which of course he does. Boy, that Jericho really needs to get his comeuppance, doesn’t he?

 

  • Sick Boy versus Glacier is getting time on this Nitro. I’m not against that if there was, like, a lot of good wrestling on the show already.

 

  • This match is boring and Glacier accidentally kicks the ref and Glacier hits Sick Boy with a Cryonic Kick and the ref is out and Saturn runs in and hits Glacier with a WAY better Cryonic Kick than Glacier does and the desk even points out how much better it is and then Sick Boy covers Glacier and the ref only calls it a two-count but the timekeeper thinks it’s a three-count and everyone is confused and then Glacier hits Sick Boy with another Cryonic Kick for three this time and Saturn comes back in the ring and beats up Glacier and hits him with a Death Valley Driver (WOO!) and forgets himself for a second and goes for the cover before remembering that he’s doing a post-match run-in and he celebrates like a goof and this was not good!

 

  • More recaps: Scott Steiner’s fake crying on the last Nitro was amazing. This show should give long segments to Scotty, Booker, Benoit, Finlay, Eddy, Chavo, and Jericho every damned Nitro. Every Nitro. These fellas are consistently entertaining every week. We don’t need Dusty cutting aimless promos or Hogan talking for ten minutes every show or whatever.

 

  • Lex Luger comes out. A kid in the crowd torture racks his friend. Luger is tired of all the talking tonight, and I am there with you, buddy. He’s sick of all the backroom politics jibber jabber. I guess Rick Steiner’s taking time off to heal up, at least according to Luger in kayfabe but also maybe shoot, which is great either way. Let Scotty get away from Rick a bit and grow into his own. Luger is swinging back around to feuding with Scotty and wants to wrestle either Scotty or Crush (who perpetrated the dastardly attack on Rick last week along with Scotty) at Slamboree. Please let it be Scotty, please let it be Scotty, please let it be Scotty…

 

  • Benoit/Booker might be the one good match of the night, which is a figurative crime for a Nitro in 1998. It should be a literal crime, though. Bischoff and whoever helped him book this show should be in prison. Benoit goes in with strikes as soon as Booker makes it into the ring. Benoit goes for the arm early, but Booker twists away and hits a back kick. Booker dumps Benoit with a back body drop, then press slams Benoit, who rolls out of the ring.

 

  • Booker follows with a forearm and dumps Benoit back into the ring, but that gives Benoit space to hit a few forearms of his own. They trade strikes before Benoit ducks a Booker lariat and hits a release German Suplex. Benoit follows up with a crisp snap suplex that barely gets two. Booker reverses an Irish whip into the corner and follows in, but eats two boots; Benoit charges, but his follow-up gets reversed into a powerslam. Booker gets one on a back elbow, but crotches himself on a whiffed side kick. Benoit gets two on a backbreaker, then tries another release German. Booker tries to elbow out of it, so Benoit shifts a bit and just hits a regular old back suplex, then tries to finish the match with a diving headbutt. He scores with it, but is rattled on impact (kayfabe and probably shoot considering the studied state of his brain post-family annihilation) and delays his cover, which only gets two. Both men get back to standing, where Booker is able to score an axe kick, then a spinebuster.

 

  • Booker shoots Benoit into the ropes again, scores a flapjack, and Spinaroonies up. He looks like he’s about to take the match, but Benoit ducks away from a kick and Booker almost hits the ref. When Book checks on the ref, Benoit jumps him, locks on the Crippler Crossface, and coaxes a tap out for the win and the TV title shot at Slamboree. That was not as good as I’d expect from these two, but it was quite good. It was also far and away the best thing on this show, wrestling-wise, and probably overall. Maybe the Eddy/Chavo/Dragon thing at the end of Dragon’s match was also on that level.

 

  • Hulk Hogan versus Randy Savage is not a main event that I care about on any level in 1998. The crowd disagrees, though! Savage gets beaten up a lot while Hogan does boot chokes and back rakes and bashes Savage into stuff at ringside and the typical stuff Hogan does. I remember when Hogan wrestled like a cowardly heel back in 1996. Now, he just dominates every match from the jump. I mean, legitimately, this is five minutes of Hogan beating Savage’s ass until Savage rolls away from a legdrop, hits a body slam, and goes up for the Savage Elbow. The Disciple shoves Savage from the top rope, and then Bret Hart comes out, grabs the big gold, clobbers Savage in the back, and dribbles a gross loogy on Savage’s chest. Hogan covers for three and this SUCKED. It was awful.

 

  • Kevin Nash runs down and clears the ring; Roddy Piper is also here apparently and also he has the power to change the ref’s decision – Randy Savage is declared the winner by DQ. Then he makes himself the special guest ref for Savage/Hitman at Slamboree. He cuts a bad promo, calls Mother Teresa “Sister Teresa,” and generally stinks it up. The Giant stomps down and Piper wants to fight him, I guess. Sting surveys all this nonsense in the ring from a spot on the catwalk and is probably thinking about maybe a career change or possibly returning Vince Jr.’s calls for once.

 

  • This show was bad and everyone involved in booking it should feel bad. 2 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Various notes

1) Kemper Arena is sorta complex to get to from where I live (east of KC). It's kinda tucked back there next to the state line. Also I somehow managed to get burnt by a cigarette on the way into Nitro (nothing bad, obvz). Kemper is still standing, but it's not really being used for anything too productive.

2) The top heel act in the WWF (Vince) being booed on a WCW Nitro probably wasn't as good of an indicator for WCW as they thought it was

3) I'd note kinda liking the Bischoff variant of the NWO theme at this time, but I also thought the High Voltage theme was good, so.. but the Bischoff/Vince thing was a waste of time which says something for a 3 hour long show

4) Len Denton would be best known as The Grappler, which was a masked gimmick that didn't get a national run. I'm guessing Piper helped get Denton onto the 200 wrestler WCW roster

5) The Saturn/Glacier thing was a clusterfuck in every way

6) People spent the main event trying to figure out where Sting was. Then he didn't actually do anything.

7) I forget if I managed to miss the Goldberg squash or the DDP squash during the mid-show process of concessions.

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I was pretty far from the ring (it felt like I was 5 rows from the back facing the entrance) so I probably really couldn’t tell but the person who chucked a beer at Bret Hart was noticed by people watching TV. (DDT Digest was a go-to for me and they’re still up aside from the screenshots)

I wasn’t at Kemper for Over the Edge, thankfully, but I’ve been in that place for stuff like minor league hockey and indoor soccer to go along with Nitro, so when I saw a camera angle of how Owen would have had to go around Kemper’s hanging scoreboard, that’s a scary camera angle from the floor. I don’t know how many arenas Nitro ran where they couldn’t drop Sting from the rafters but knowing what we know now, not having Sting make an entrance at Kemper might have had multiple reasons.

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Thunder Interlude – show number sixteen – 14 May 1998

"The WCW Gang’s heading into Slamboree and Sting's heading toward a big decision w/r/t the nWo”

  • It’s been awhile since a Thunder Interlude…We’re going home to Slamboree this show…

 

  • I’m mildly interested in how they book the big match at the PPV where Sting and the (now once again nWo) Giant are supposed to be trying to win the tag titles together…I vaguely remember that Scott Hall returns at Slamboree and shivs Nash by going Hollywood, and I remember not liking any of that stuff at all…But that’s the plot beat that I expect at this point…There isn’t any clear motivation that Hall could have for doing that…Remember, last we saw, he was mad at Hogan for jumping him in line for a World Championship shot…Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly and am criticizing something that doesn’t even happen, though…We’ll see…

 

  • Sting/Savage is tonight’s main event…Bret Hart is probably going to insert himself in the proceedings…They’re promoting Hart/Savage at Slamboree as a first meeting between the two, which it isn’t, but which I think it is on actual TV with both men as big singles stars…That’s what counts…

 

  • Mando Guerrero tries to explain why Eddy’s such a dickhead to Chavo Jr.…He says that the whole ordeal between the two is dividing the family…This angle deserves the credit it gets as a very good mid-card angle from this era…Eddy marches Chavo Jr. to the ring after the Mando interview is over…Eddy grabs a mic and notes that the family asked him to be nicer to Chavo…On that request, Eddy handpicked an opponent for Chavo that he claims is more on Chavo’s level in terms of size, weight, and talent…It’s Reese…Eddy lied thrice...Eddy demands that Chavo get it together tonight…Eddy’s facing Dragon at Slamboree to determine Chavo’s freedom…But that’s later…For now, Eddy’s covering his head with a towel, simmering with shame, as Reese gives Chavo the business…Chavo gets some space and goes up top, but gets snatched out of midair and chokebombed for three…Eddy berates Chavo, and Dragon comes to the ring…Chavo shoves Eddy away into Dragon, who locks on the Dragon Sleeper…Chavo is done with all this shit and doesn’t bother to save Eddy this time around…

 

  • Long video recap of the Page/Raven feud, which overall has been pretty great…Raven comes out surrounded by his WCW-mandated riot squad…They all have helmets on…I’m waiting for one of these completely covered dudes to hit Raven with a Diamond Cutter…Raven cuts a promo…He’s tired of DDP…Raven says that he’s left the Flock in the back, so they can go at it one-on-one…I mean, uh, you know, there are the riot cops in the ring, but the Flock’s not here, so Raven is the best sort of correct - technically correct…Huh, Page comes out with his bull rope and dives over the riot cops and onto Raven…The riot squad jumps Page, beats him with their truncheons, and then holds Page up so that Raven can DDT him…Raven chokes out Page with the bull rope and hangs him in revenge…I am very much looking forward to the feud ender on Slamboree…

 

  • Danger, High Voltage…Well, it’s just Kenny Kaos wrestling tonight…He’s the lesser of the High Voltage guys…Kaos gets his shot at Finlay and the TV title tonight…Kaos is weirdly over as a face against Finlay tonight…This match is an alright little TV match…Finlay busting out the double stomp is great because it’s the only thing I miss about Kevin Sullivan being off TV…Kaos gets knees up on a Finlay splash attempt and then tries to finish Finlay off…Kaos and Rage double up on Finlay, and the ref just sort of watches it happen and lightly admonishes Kaos…Tony S. has to pretend that because it was outside of the ring, it’s not a DQ…Finlay comes back and wins with a gutwrench suplex and then a Tombstone…

 

  • IMO, the Flock should have kicked out Sick Boy, not Hammer…So, yeah, I didn’t see them set this up at all past the initial times that Goldberg interacted with the Flock over the U.S. Championship, but Goldberg must defend his U.S. title in a gauntlet match against the lesser Flock members at Slamboree…I don’t remember that at all, but I’m definitely excited to watch a bunch of Flock members desperately trying to run interference while Goldberg takes them out one at a time…Tonight, Goldberg’s going to beat up only Sick Boy…and probably the rest of the Flock, which is out here to run interference…Sick Boy puts on a neck vice…Somehow, he’s making even this Goldberg squash kinda suck…Sick Boy gets shoulder-tossed, unloads his offense in response, and it doesn’t work…press slam, Pounce-style spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT…The Flock runs a distraction to allow Riggs a chance to jump Goldberg…It goes poorly for Riggs…The rest of the Flock decides that they're all good with running up on the champ for now…

 

  • They have Saturn out here feuding with Glacier over a side kick…Nonsense…Saturn is hilarious in this promo, though…He’s basically like That Cryonic Kick is a basic-ass kick people have been doing since the beginning of martial arts, you video game reject…Saturn rules, man…Speaking of guys who love superkicks, Chris Adams is here as Saturn’s opponent for the night…Kidman is Saturn’s hype man for the night…Van Hammer is out here trying to get at Saturn, but Dellinger and Co. cart him out…Kidman offers Adams options for choosing how Adams will lose tonight…Adams declines to choose his method of execution, so Kidman calls for the DVD as the finisher, set up with a side kick, of course…Saturn dumps himself on the crown of his head selling an enziguri, and it looks gnarly…This was a pretty fun little throwaway TV match…Adams attacks Saturn’s head with a piledriver to set up for the superkick, but misses a top-rope splash…Saturn calls for a chair and uses it to hit a springboard dropkick, then he sits in it and casually poses to crowd applause…Just like he and Kidman drew it up, Saturn hits a superkick and a DVD for the win…Those dopes Schiavone and Marshall missed that Kidman called for Saturn winning with the DVD and not the Rings of Saturn…Doesn’t matter because this match was very enjoyable for what it was…

 

  • Robbie Rage is back out to face Chris Benoit, who is the TV title contender at Slamboree…The post-PPV Nitro is only two hours, hooray…It’s split in two and made the pro wrestling bread for an NBA playoff game sandwich…Anyway, this match is fine…Rage whiffs on a splash…Splashes have a very low conversion rate on this show…Benoit drops the flying headbutt, probably IRL concusses himself the way he lands, and locks on the Crossface for the win…

 

  • Bischoff walks out to what I think is an “Iron Man” knockoff…Bischoff is here to promote his challenge to Vinnie Jr.…Bisch pops his glasses on to read a letter that he apparently got from Jerry McDevitt about that whole Nitro promo…This is entertaining in the sense that these two lame show runners are siccing legal on one another and then reading the responses on TV…It’s terrible television, don’t get me wrong…The crowd is pretty bored…I’m laughing, though…Bisch tries to crap on McMahon is an egomaniac for giving himself credit for the high RAW ratings…I mean, Vinnie is definitely an egomaniac, but Bischoff is being a tad hypocritical here about crediting oneself for ratings success, no?...Bischoff reiterates that if Vince Jr. changes his mind, Dellinger will be there to lead him to his locker room at Slamboree...

 

  • Kevin Nash, one half of the tag champs, walks out alone…Remember how great the WCW Tag Championships used to be?...How well they booked that division?...And going back to before WCW, JCP…Honestly, I forgot who had these belts and that they still existed…Nash cuts a promo…Nash fluffs himself…The crowd approves because Nash is very charismatic…Nash introduces Dusty Rhodes…Dusty cuts a promo from 1986…It’s 1998, though…I think Dusty can cut a Dusty promo for the times, don’t get me wrong…He’s struggling with it here, though…Nash is going to squash Public Enemy in a handicap match…Maybe Dusty will be Nash’s tag partner, we’ll see…Nash basically chills out beating up PE for this match…In fairness, he does take a double-suplex bump, which I would have figured was beyond him tonight…Dusty drags Johnny Grunge under the bottom rope and unloads on him…Nash hits Rocco Rock with a Jackknife, then tags in Dusty to hit the Bionic Elbow for three…Dusty’s growing a goatee because he’s a heel…Well, I appreciate the commitment to this unnecessary heel turn, Big Dust…

 

  • Randy Savage and Sting comprise our main event for the night…Boy, did they cool Sting off…He’s still pretty over because he’s Sting and this is WCW…But wow…Even pilled-up Sting deserves better booking than this…This match is a somewhat tepid brawl…Everyone’s waiting for the Bret Hart run-in, and it happens about six minutes in…He never gets a shot off with his steel chair because Savage cuts him off…Savage goes up for a Savage Elbow, but the Giant stops him…Nash runs in, grabs the chair, and hits Giant…Sting grabs the chair and hits Nash before Nash can Jackknife Giant…Sting and the Giant are the last men standing, this odd couple tag team…The Giant grabs a mic and says that he’s glad to tag with Sting, but when they win the gold, Giant’s expecting Sting to follow him along into nWo Hollywood…Sting takes the shirt the Giant offers him and ponders a future being second in command to that lame fuckhead Hulk HoganLex Luger comes down to remonstrate with Sting, but maybe Luger should shut the fuck up after the way he acted toward Sting for his first nine months back in this company…The intrigue here is fine, but I’m over all the nWo stuff, so it doesn’t work as well for me as it would for someone who is really into it…

 

  • This show was fine…No Jericho, but then again, no Hogan…I guess these are the dualities of life…The show scores a WOOOO for the generally fun free TV matches…Sometimes, you just want two wrestlers who are presented on two different levels to put something semi-competitive and enjoyable together for six or eight minutes…It’s comforting, like chicken noodle soup when you have a cold…
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On 10/29/2023 at 9:10 AM, Cobra Commander said:

Kinda wild that they have a superkick based feud with Glacier and Saturn which involves Saturn taking on Chris Adams, who probably has the best superkick in wrestling history

And Glacier might have one of the worst superkicks in wrestling history. Maybe I should limit that to "worst superkicks of guys who were regularly on national TV at one point."

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Slamboree ’98 notes:

  • The desk hypes the semi-main and main event stuff, but I just want to see all these midcard acts that have been blowing up over the past few months.

 

  • We spend entirely too much time recapping Bischoff’s challenge to Vinnie Jr., and Dellinger’s standing in front of the arena with an access pass for Vince McMahon with a bunch of sign-holding anti-Vince plants behind him. This is corny, Bischoff.

 

  • Chris Benoit, who is technically a two-time former WCW TV Champ (except that it didn’t happen on TV and therefore doesn’t exist) faces Fit Finlay in the opener for said TV Championship. Benoit is always testy, and Finlay is basically always a quick mood change away from being testy, so they shove each other a lot to start. Tony S. explains why Finlay is called “Fit” and I seem to remember some moronic internet smarks at the time calling him “Not-so-Fit Finlay.” This guy is ‘70s-era shaped (strong with a stocky build and maybe a little strongman’s gut). He’s clearly in great shape. Steroid abuse in the ‘80s really fucked up everyone’s idea of what makes someone out of shape.

 

  • Commentary yammers about Sting and the Giant through what is a slow-ish opening to this match after the fired-up shoving to begin. The idea of the match, which is Finlay grinding down Benoit and taking away Benoit’s explosiveness, makes perfect sense. The problem is that Finlay’s offense isn’t particularly mean or nasty tonight, so it’s all vaguely fine rather than compelling. I think the other issue is that Benoit didn’t get a lot of chance to be explosive before Finlay shut him down, which I think would have done more to get people excited about Benoit finding a way to once again connect with that sort of violent, explosive offensive flurry that he does so well.

 

  • Eventually, the match goes outside and Benoit pastes Finlay with a chair right in front of Nick Patrick, who’s basically like, Eh, fuck it, go ahead. Benoit then tries a suicide dive and gets whacked in the head with the chair, which is quite the visual, but which is especially quite the visual considering what Benoit does roughly nine years after that chair shot. Anyway, this match suddenly being no DQ, I guess, is nonsense, and I suppose WCW really is doing some sort of weird “if it happens outside the ring, it’s not a DQ” deal. It’s not a good house rule, IMO, and once Finlay locks on a chinlock, I’m pretty much out on this match. It was shockingly poor, and that’s slightly down to the confused rules and mostly down to Finlay being awful in control tonight. Booker T. walks down and distracts Benoit, who gets double boots to the back of the head. Benoit is pretty much cooked from there and though he exes out a flash small package for two, Finlay lays him out with a Tombstone for the win.

 

  • Chris Jericho, prepping for the next phase of his heel run, tells Lee Marshall that this Cruiserweight battle royal is a conspiracy against him because he cleaned out the division. Don’t go full Florida Man, buddy (sorry to any men from Florida who read this; men from Florida are of course not necessarily Florida Men).

 

  • Brian Adams (w/Vincent) Crush (w/Virgil) faces off with Lex Luger, who continues being cycled down the card. There’s not really much to say about this. Luger starts off hot by beating both guys down at ringside, but not that hot, really. He starts off sort of lukewarm. Luger targets the shoulder in revenge since Crush destroyed his buddy Rick Steiner’s shoulder with a bat on Nitro or Thunder, one of the two, it’s not that important. Luger goes for the rack early, gets distracted by Virgil, eats a bunch of offense during a boring heel control segment, and comes back before catching Crush in the Torture Rack for the win. It was short and ultimately inoffensive. The fans love the Torture Rack. It’s a very visually appealing move.

 

  • Saturn speaks before the next match. Aw, we’re not getting that Goldberg/Flock gauntlet match that randomly was booked like a week before the show and now is apparently no longer booked. Also, Saturn’s quitting the Flock, it seems…and facing Goldberg on his own for the U.S. Championship. OK, sure, let’s go with that instead. I like it!

 

  • Chris Jericho cuts Dave Penzer off to do the ring announcing for the Cruiserweight Battle Royal. Oh no, they just let Jericho run these guys down. Jericho’s out here in Iaukea’s sarong shitting on dudes – El Dandy does look kind of like Lou Ferrigno – while they just walk down and ignore it. Jericho offers Kidman some calamine lotion, demands his Loverboy tape back from Lenny Lane (ooh, callback), and declares that Silver King will be upgraded to Golden King after winning twelve more matches. This guy is a real jackass, man, but I must note that his jokes picked up about a third of the way through those announcements and he had me rolling.

 

  • The battle royal itself gets progressively better as the ring clears so that the luchadores have more space to do cool stuff. Juvi and Psicosis start springboarding around and doing cool eliminations. It’s a solid little battle royal, honestly. Kidman dumps Chavo Jr., which leaves Kidman, Juvi, Psicosis and Ciclope. Ciclope ducks a Psicosis charge, and he flies over the top; Juvi dumps Kidman on the other end. So, I want to give Dean Malenko credit: He’s worked hard not to look too much like himself in that Ciclope get up and has tried to disguise his movements and do rolling bumps and stuff to differentiate himself. Juvi shakes Ciclope’s hand and eliminates himself; Malenko then unmasks and the crowd fucking EXPLODES. I mean, this angle rules, man, I love this. Whoever booked it should be proud of themselves.

 

  • So, Jericho is basically getting his ass beat in here. He doesn’t even get time to beg off before Malenko is on him. Juvi cheers Malenko on outside the ring. Can I just say how nice it is that Juvi is a kind babyface who is cool giving up an immediate title shot to give his babyface buddy a surprise shot at Jericho? Sure, he has beef with Jericho too, but still, it’s nice to see the faces emotionally support one another.

 

  • It takes Jericho a lot of time to eke out a Stun Gun (I should really call it a Hotshot since that's the more common name of the move) and to get a little control. He screams about this being a conspiracy, which yeah, I guess it is strictly between Malenko and Juvi. Jericho gets two off a stalling vertical suplex and a wimpy pin. He controls for a bit, cutting off a couple of Malenko reversal attempts, but has his Lion Tamer attempt blocked and countered. Jericho scrambles away and gets 2.9 off a diving back elbow. He sets Malenko up on the buckles, but Malenko counters and hits the super gutbuster, then locks on a terrible-looking Texas Cloverleaf for the win, the gold, and the big pop. That’s the culmination one of the most successful angle/match combos of WCW’s Nitro run. Applause to everyone involved.

 

  • That Bowery Street Fight is almost next, but before that, we have a FRIGGIN’ Vinnie Mac Camera even though Vince already said he was not feeling the idea of showing up, of course he’s not dumb enough to show up, and now Doug Dellinger is looking intensely at a parked limo. Enthralling. It’s hard to rip your eyes away from, I know, but we have to see this Page/Raven feud-ending Last Man Standing cell match (which is what a Bowery Street Fight is). We’ll manage somehow.

 

  • Raven and DDP finishing their feud with this Bowery Death Match sounds like a whole lot of fun to me. Raven’s WCW run has produced some excellent television. Heck, his Scotty Flamingo run produced some pretty fun television, for that matter. Anyway, they’ve even got trash cans and other weaponry hung in the cell. Raven shows up with his personal riot squad, which I’m hoping will pay off in an extremely awesome way. We get some cursory punching, stomping, and cage-bashing before Raven grabs one of the trash cans, which is indeed full of plundah. Raven empties both cans of the junk people dumped in it and grabs a bull rope, but that gives Page a lot of time to recover, and he jumps Raven and scores a flurry of punches.

 

  • What follows is a decent enough beatdown, I guess. Honestly, this is a bit low energy for a feud ender, though I love Page hooking the bull rope around Raven’s throat and using it to launch him into the cage walls. Page strings up Raven like Undertaker did to Bossman – that’s pretty edgy for a conservatively-run company that didn’t let wrestlers suffocate dudes with plastic produce bags a few years back. Raven beats the ten-count, so DDP clobbers Raven with a VCR, which draws a small E-C-W chant.

 

  • I think making this match in part a Last Man Standing match was a mistake. All the laying around is really killing the blood feud vibes. This is an issue best exemplified in what was a patently awful HHH/Shawn Michaels LMS match at the 2004 Royal Rumble. Actually, HHH and Shawn Michaels had what I consider many dreadful gimmick matches against one another, so maybe there was a gimmick match they had that was really bad that I’m possibly misremembering as that LMS match? They had an even worse HiaC match, too. No, I think I'm remembering the match right; the LMS match was also bad. Anyway, I have time to pontificate about this because they hit each other with stuff, but it’s such a slow-paced match where there are too many cookie sheet shots and not enough enraged fiery punches. There’s also a ref bump, which is a bit much. They try for stuff that is meaningful like Raven being hit with his signature drop toehold into a chair by Page as an echo of the sort of bullshit Raven’s been doing to Page (and others) for months.

 

  • The Flock busts through the riot squad and tries to enter the cell, but Van Hammer jumps the Flock members and beats them up, then handcuffs Reese to the railing. A couple of riot squad members jump in the ring and beat up Page, then unmask – it’s Kidman and Horace Hogan! They get their wires crossed on a stop sign attack and Page drops them with Diamond Cutters, including one to Kidman as he hangs from the top of the cage. Raven finally wakes up and hits Page with an Evenflow DDT, and Billy Silverman also revives and counts to eight before Page looks as if he might rise; Raven jumps him again and, after a short exchange, hits Page with a Diamond Cutter.

 

  • Page gets up at nine, is able to dodge a Raven chair shot, and hits Raven with a Diamond Cutter of his own. We get a standing ten count for both men. Page gets to his feet at nine and barely stays upright; Raven stays down, and Silverman calls the match for DDP. Boy, that was a wet fart of a feud ender. It’s a real bummer. They overbooked the match type itself, then overbooked the actual match on top of it. The crowd is weirdly muted for Page’s win. That wasn’t bad per se, but it was a massive letdown considering how great that whole feud was.

 

  • So, we’ve had three of the four riot squad members accounted for since this match started. After Page leaves through the crowd, the fourth riot squad member handcuffs all the downed Flock members to cages and railings, ring posts and ropes. Kanyon is the only guy unaccounted for in this whole sprawling feud, so I assume it’s him. Yeah, that’s definitely a Kanyon-style punch right there. Kanyon grabs a chair – he’s got the Mortis mask on, but then rips it off – and this is an even wetter fart of a reveal. The crowd is like, "Oh yeah, that lower-midcard jobber guy, forgot about him." Kanyon gives the cuffed Raven an unprotected chair shot to the head, then leaves. Uh, this might be the worst match/segment I’ve seen in the context of a) how much I like all the people involved in this match/segment and b) that it was a feud ender to what was a hot, months-long feud.

 

  • Back to the Vinnie Mac Cam! Security holds printouts with photos of the aforementioned Vinnie Mac, Steve Austin, and D-X on them so they can make sure these WWF chumps don’t stroll into the arena with their legally bought tickets. We get a bunch of security camera cuts backstage in which we see absolutely nothing. What a hot angle!

 

  • Saturn expresses confidence in his abilities at the ol’ CompuServe desk before he comes out to…no, wait, we don’t get Saturn/Goldberg yet. Instead, we get Eddy Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon. Dragon’s sort of been an afterthought in this whole feud, just a guy who is here so that Eddy and Chavo can have someone fuel their beef. I mean, Eddy and Chavo are the most interesting part of the feud, but I wish they’d done a bit more to make Dragon seem less like a third wheel.

 

  • Eddy does all the stuff that makes him entertaining – cheats, demonstrates non-existent hair pulling that he claims Dragon did using Charles Robinson as his unwilling dummy, and generally acts like a shithead in an entertaining way while also being great at the actual mat stuff. They do a lot of pacey stuff and counter-counter-counter one another until Eddy dodges Dragon’s kick combo and goes to work with strikes. The crowd has totally checked out and takes some time before they have a nice pop…for a chunky dude in the crowd ripping off his shirt. Otherwise, they don’t give a good goddam about what’s going on in the ring.

 

  • I mean, this match has slowed in pace, but they’re obviously working on feeling one another out after that initial flurry so that they can find openings down the road. It’s a good match! Eddy busts out some dope offense, including a sweet running lariat! They go outside and inside and back outside again, where Chavo tries to revive Dragon after Dragon hits Eddy with an Asai moonsault to the floor. In the ring, Dragon does a spinning Argentine backbreaker for two, which is a neat little move to bust out! He gets another two off a top-rope moonsault. Eddy battles back and catches Dragon with a tornado DDT, but whiffs on a Frog Splash and barely gets a shoulder up when Dragon follows up with a La Magistral.

 

  • Dragon locks on a Dragon Sleeper near the ropes; Eddy uses the ropes as leverage to flip out of it and lock on his own Dragon Sleeper. Eddy uses the ropes for leverage until Chavo knocks his legs off the ropes. Eddy and Chavo argue with one another; Dragon comes from behind Eddy with a wheel kick, but Eddy moves and Dragon kicks Chavo off the apron and into the railing. Eddy follows up quickly with a brainbuster and a Frog Splash for three. Chavo gets in the ring and is furious at Eddy, but he’s more furious at Dragon, whom he beats down. The ref asks for help at getting Chavo off Dragon, so Eddy slaps Chavo. When Chavo reacts aggressively to this, Eddy offers him a free shot, and the crowd actually cares about something in this segment for the first time! Chavo really, really, really wants to swing, and the crowd really, really, really wants him to swing…but he doesn’t. Eddy’s kayfabe (and hopefully IRL) feeling good about himself after all that.

 

  • Shot of Vince “The Reason for the Ratings” McMahon Jr.’s dressing room. Well, I guess if you’re going to run this angle, you don’t half-ass it, right?

 

  • OK, finally, we get Saturn/Goldberg. This is an interesting matchup that is built around Saturn having lots of cool moves and high-level ring awareness and Goldberg being Goldberg and therefore nigh unstoppable even if one has lots of cool moves and high-level ring awareness. Goldberg just has too much power for Saturn, flipping him over on waistlocks and hitting him with a nice lariat and an even nicer gorilla press into powerslam combo. Prime Goldberg gorilla pressing dudes is pretty great!

 

  • Saturn has to go full-on wily ring vet to get control, baiting Goldberg into reaching through the ropes and such, but he really has nothing for Goldberg that one would call a substantial offensive display. It’s also a mistake that Saturn disrespectfully slaps Goldberg after hitting a successful leg sweep; that just enrages the big guy. Saturn only gets control through misdirection, taking the match outside, or some combination of both, and control never really lasts for long. Saturn tries strikes and then tries putting Goldberg to sleep, but Goldberg just sort of walks through it all. It is but a mere minor disturbance to him.

 

  • In the middle of it all, both guys hit each other with some crunchy, impactful suplexes, and Saturn grabs a chair to use as a springboard for dropkicks. The second one of those Saturn tries gets him speared out of midair and then Jackhammered. This was a very fun match. In fact, it might be the best match of the night – Malenko/Jericho was good, but Malenko was clearly uncomfortable wrestling in that Ciclope getup. Saturn/Goldberg was perfect – a smart, tough wrestler who is very hard to beat not having quite enough smartness or toughness to beat the elite of the elite, an opponent on the level of Bruno or Hogan or Austin.

 

  • I remain baffled that people at the time, particularly people who actually watched Goldberg each week, often claimed that he didn’t know how to wrestle. He's not that limited, and he's clearly game for working around his limitations with more experienced dance partners. 

 

  • Raven is very, very depressed about the Great American Bash. Well, really, he’s depressed about America and American tradition. In kayfabe, he’s probably not the guy you want promoting one of your most notable IP that celebrates America. But hey, that's the ad we get!

 

  • Eric Bischoff comes out to ersatz “Iron Man” so that he can gain a count-out victory over Vinnie Jr. He even has Michael Buffer do the ring announcing for this very dumb farce. When D-X did their own “invade WCW” dumb farce, it was at least wildly entertaining. This has not been that. Bisch and the crowd and the ref all count to ten. Bischoff wins! OK, next, please.

 

  • Wait, Buffer declaring Bischoff “the winner by forfeit AND disqualification” is hilarious to me. Technically, it’s by count-out – Vince wasn’t DQ’d. But even more technically, Vince didn’t sign a contract with WCW Matchmaking Committee to wrestle this match, so actually—no, wait, never mind, let me stop now. Next, please.

 

  • I totally blocked out of my memory that Bret Hart and Randy Savage were wrestling on this show or even feuding. That, more than anything, indicates my feelings about this feud. Bret comes out and yells LET’S GO RIGHT FUCKIN’ NOW and then, at some dude in the crowd KISS MY ASS, ASSHOLE. Bret still feels some kind of way about professional wrestling and his place within it, is what I’d say considering this especially profane outburst even for heel Bret Hart.

 

  • I also totally blocked out of my memory that Roddy Piper was at all involved with this angle or match, and I did not remember that he was the special ref for this match. Piper is very involved as a ref, which I do not have any interest in. This match is a sort of crappy brawl, and also Piper’s count is irritatingly slow. I should be fair – it’s “crappy” in the sense that it’s the same main-eventer brawl that everyone does in WCW, not that it’s actively bad. It’s just actively boring to me. Your mileage may vary.

 

  • There is some joy in watching two aesthetically pleasing wrestlers work their craft together, I will say. These two are on my top ten list for “dudes who make pro wrestling look absolutely effortless.” I think Bret throws my favorite headbutts, and I’m not sure he actually makes any contact! As an aside, this is why Bryan Danielson will never be the G.O.A.T. (and is a guy who has fallen down my list of G.O.A.T.s considerably over the last couple years) – he’s a guy who does shoot headbutts because I guess that’s his idea of making wrestling seem real. I think it’s way more impressive that Bret makes wrestling seem real and throws great headbutts without shoot damaging his own brain.

 

  • Look, you didn’t read this to see me bitch about modern wrestlers what don’t know nothin’ about the art of pro wrestling, I know. I apologize. But this is just another wandering brawl. Let’s skip ahead to the finish. After Savage brawls a lot in the style of the time, and after Bret has what is actually a pretty enjoyable heel control segment centered in the ring, where he does a lot of great-looking wrestling moves and tries to actually win the match, Bret whiffs on the second-rope elbowdrop. Savage hits the Savage Elbow, but hurts his knee on landing – both kayfabe (as Bret targeted it earlier) and basically IRL too (as Savage only has about five more months of mobility in the ring). The cover is delayed because of Savage's need to recover from the landing, and the Hitman kicks out at two, then wraps on the Sharpshooter in the center of the ring.

 

  • Liz runs down, but slightly more interestingly, Bret let Savage reverse him out of the Sharpshooter into one of Savage’s own, a la the impromptu finish at Survivor Series 1997. Liz gets in the ring and gets in Piper’s face, which allows Bret Hart to kick Savage in the junk and then clock Piper in the back of the head while Piper is distracted. Hart loads his fist, but drops the knucks. Savage grabs them, and I think Hart is going to convince Piper that Savage was the one who hit him and win by DQ. That sort of happens, but first Hogan runs in and trips Savage before Hart locks the Sharpshooter back on. Savage taps as Piper calls for the bell anyway because he spots the knucks on Savage’s hand and thinks that Savage was the one who popped him. This is a muddled finish – was it a tap out or a DQ loss for Savage? Eh, who cares? This was another overbooked match that didn’t need overbooking.

 

  • The tag title match between the Outsiders and Sting/Giant is tonight’s main event. Hall and Nash are way over in front of this crowd. The crowd, like me, probably don’t want to see the Outsiders split up and feud with one another. Hall takes a survey before the match, and this crowd is figuratively and maybe literally dying for Hall to take it. WCW gets booed out of the building, by the way. There are, and this may be merely correlative and not causative, a ton of goofy dudebros in this crowd. Just pointing that out. You make your own analytical connections.

 

  • Sting is out here crotch chopping dudes and no, that’s not what I want from Sting. Did the ‘90s ruin Sting? I mean, obviously not the early ‘90s, but the late ‘90s? I mean, he recovered, he’s great at pro wrestling. Still, though. Sting, by the way, basically fights off Hall and Nash early. Giant steps in to headbutt Nash, then steps back out. He has two narrative goals. One, fuck with Nash. Two, get Sting to join nWo Hollywood. I think this is an interesting tack they’ve taken with the Giant. It’s not the best way to go IMO, but it’s interesting.

 

  • Really, the Giant should still be a babyface and he should be set up for matches with Sting, Bret, and Goldberg in the next year. No need to turn him heel to wrestle faces. He was well over as a face and his alignment wouldn't have mattered for any of those feuds because they're dream matches. But if you’re going to turn him heel, Giant deciding that he hates Nash more than he hates Hogan and joining the nWo as the best way to get revenge on the former is pretty nuanced character development. What doesn’t make sense is Giant caring if Sting joins the nWo or not. He should really only care about using the whole power of nWo Hollywood to ruin Nash’s life.

 

  • So Giant will only attack Nash for obvious reasons that will become crystal clear post-match. Sting plays FIP. The crowd isn’t sure who to root for – they like Sting, Hall, and Nash – and so they can’t help enhance the story of the match because they’re sort of split. The FIP segment is cromulent. Nash does a bearhug, but it stinks because bearhugs stink unless the person being bearhugged has their feet off the ground and the person applying the bearhug shakes their opponent around and wrenches the back. Sting makes a blind tag out of the bearhug to Giant, who gets a mini pop, but also some boos, and it’s weird.

 

  • In fact, as the Giant kills Nash with a legdrop, the crowd chants LET’S GO WOLFPAC for the second time during this match. Giant gets only two on that legdrop, so he goes up top and risks it all on a splash, which misses. Dusty Rhodes surreptitiously puts one of the tag belts on the apron and then distracts the ref. Nash tries a Jackknife, but Hall grabs the belt and drills Nash in the back of the head. An extremely confused Sting watches with a goofy look on his face as Giant covers for three and then celebrates with Hall. The crowd is dead. So yeah, about overbooked main events, this was one of those, and it also stunk. I cannot remember the last PPV main event that ended in a way that was fulfilling. I think BatB ’97 was the last one that ended with the faces winning pretty much straight up in a main event that was just a decent match where there was an unambiguous ending that worked.

 

  • What a strange card. It ended up producing a below average show, but as much as I wasn’t into some of it, I also didn’t hate my life watching it or anything. It’s just another marker in the story of nWo-era WCW – lots of twists and turns and overbooked matches involving main eventers when simpler stories would do, and a midcard that has the most straightforward and pleasing feuds to go with consistently good matches. I do note that most of this card, including a lot of the midcard, had booking fuckery involved, but the hit rate was very low – only the Malenko/Ciclope convoluted booking worked (and I guess if you count Chavo/Eddy/Dragon as overbooked, that too, but I think it was perfectly booked in tune with the development of this angle).

 

  • And if you’re going to go ahead and overbook, look at Attitude-era WWF, where the top babyface came through the overbooking on top so at least the crowd had the enjoyment of seeing how Austin would overcome all the fuckery each week to remain champ. In WCW, it’s the reverse – the babyfaces winning isn’t going to happen, and you know this because they never overcome fuckery. WWF was naturally in a better position considering this era’s booking style because building your company around a babyface that overcomes the odds works way better with that booking style than building your company around dominant heels fending off babyfaces.
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Show #141 – 18 May 1998

"The one where the show is decent, but they’ve really lost their ability to pace these hour-long shows since they stopped doing them regularly a couple years back”

  • I took a bit of time, and took a bit of diversion, after writing about Slamboree, but now I’m back to writing about NITROOOOOOOOOOOOOooooh no, Eric Bischoff is in the ring, sitting on a Harley and wearing a crown. He won a match against Vince McMahon Jr. by countout that Vince didn’t actually sign up to participate in, but you know, we’ll ignore that. Bisch rambles about it in a very boring fashion while someone behind him waves a MCMAHON KICKS BITCHOFF’S ASS sign. To the right are a bunch of fans holding up the pre-scratch WWF logo. Uh-oh, even WCW fans are intoxicated by Mr. McMahon being a better bad boss than you are, Bisch. I mean, this is WWF country (Providence, RI), but still. As you might guess, this was a terrible way to start a show.

 

  • Gene Okerlund drools over the Nitro Girls. Y’all know my love for Chae, but I’m good, let’s move this along. Wait, where is Tayo? Aw, they’re down one of the cutest Nitro Girls tonight. Even though now that I think about it, I do somewhat care about this, move it along.

 

  • We see video of Saturn running Glacier down – it’s the same interview/video from Thunder the week before - and it’s hilarious. He just shreds this dude. Saturn rules. The Glacier-shredder himself then comes to the ring to face Psicosis in a promising bout. Saturn opens with a flurry of strikes in the corner, but the second he whips Psicosis, Psicosis uses his agility to catch Saturn with a kick for a two-count.

 

  • Psicosis seems determined to kill off Saturn quickly and tries to hit Saturn with moves from the top. He can’t quite accomplish any of those moves, but scores a dropkick and a plancha before Saturn catches Psicosis with a Dragon Suplex that dumps Psicosis right on his head. Saturn hits a superkick, Death Valley Driver, and Rings of Saturn in order, the last of which gets the submission victory. The crowd pops because Saturn looks like a total beast. This guy should have had a long career as a gatekeeper to the main event because even with his relatively smaller size, he looks, carries himself, and wrestles like a killer.

 

  • I am reminded of the finish to the Savage/Hart match from Slamboree because Tony S. recaps it. That match was solid for what it was, thinking back on it. I don’t want Savage/Piper as a result of the match finish, though. Please, no.

 

  • Piper comes to the ring for an interview with Mean Gene. Oh no, Piper seems like he’s going to call Savage out so they can have a future match. If only Bischoff and his booking crew had read what I wrote three or four sentences ago. Piper says that he refuses to apologize because he doesn’t apologize even when he should apologize, which makes sense since Piper never apologized to me personally for cutting these shitty promos in his WCW run. Piper uses his power as WCW commish to reverse the decision from the Slamboree match, in which Hogan interfered at the finish. Bret Hart comes out and decries this decision; Savage would like to fight Bret again right now. Bret looks like he might do it, but Hogan, Bischoff, and the Booty Man or whatever come down and stop him. Looks like we have a main event tag match coming together, doesn’t it? I assumed it’d be a main event for this Nitro, but it’s the GAB main event, according to Hogan. Hogan and Hart act like they’re going to go right ahead and fight tonight, but no, they are not. On a related note, I am not looking forward to GAB so far!

 

  • Dean Malenko cut a post-match promo after winning the Cruiserweight Championship at Slamboree. Malenko was gracious enough not to absolutely shit on Gene Okerlund considering what a dick Okerlund was when Malenko lost in his title shot a few months back. We get video of Chris Jericho destroying things and having a temper tantrum backstage after his Slamboree loss. It’s pretty hilarious, an elite-level tantrum. Jericho thinks there’s a conspiracy against him and Tony S. is like, So what if there was, not that I’m saying there was, but even if there was, not that I’m admitting it and even if I was admitting it, this isn’t admissible in a court of law as a confession, who cares if Jericho lost because WCW conspired against him? Tony S. is a real asshole, is what I’m thinking.

 

  • Juventud Guerrera has THA JOOOOOOCE and is THA JOOCY ONE. He’s also a tier above Damien 666, his opponent for tonight. This is a fast-paced match, and I enjoy it well enough. Juvi and Damien counter each other a lot before Damien dodges a baseball slide and flips Juvi into the steps. Juvi sells like someone stabbed him in the spine with a broadsword. Juvi comes back, hits a sweet flying headscissors from the top rope, and goes up top for a killshot before getting countered into a sweet muscle buster that gets two. I mean, that was a GREAT muscle buster. The crowd went OOOOOH. The desk popped. Juvi gets a Juvi Driver after another rope run, then goes up for the 450 and accidentally drops a leg on Damien’s abdomen and maybe sack, OWWWWWWW, then hits an elbow and gets the win. Uh, mighta overshot your target there, Juvi.

 

  • Tony S. throws it to Gene Okerlund, who thinks he’s supposed to be doing a segment next, but no, actually Goldberg’s music hits as he comes out to kill off Glacier. Glacier got a jobber entrance that I suspect was originally meant to be a chance for him to answer Saturn’s shit-talking by discussing it with Mean Gene, but I guess they’re running over time and had to cut it so that they'd have room for Bisch to sit on a fucking Harley and yammer on for awhile.

 

  • How is Glacier getting a U.S. Championship shot?! Goldberg hits like three or four great lariats, Glacier fucks up a kip-up, and Goldberg wins with a spear and a stalling Jackhammer that looked fantastic.

 

  • I am reminded that this Nitro is only an hour long, which I knew, but forgot since the last time I watched Thunder. Well, that explains the timing issues with Gene!

 

  • Gene’s back in the ring to talk to Diamond Dallas Page. Page says that the crowd in Providence gets him up. I was momentarily worried that he’d say that the crowd in Providence gets him “jacked” or “off” or “jacked off” to end that sentence. He teases another match with Hogan now that he’s finished with Raven. That Nitro match (back in Show #113) between them was excellent until the finish, so I’m interested in it. Hogan can still go, though he can’t turn it on at will. If he can find it in himself to turn back the clock, though, yeah, he and Page can have a banger even as late as 1998.

 

  • Only an hour of TV time, and here comes Eric Bischoff again! Hogan, the Giant, Crush, and Vincent are out here with him. Oh yeah, the nWo is propositioning Sting. Oops, now DDP’s got me wording things awkwardly. The point is, they want Sting to join. Well, actually, they not so much want but demand that Sting joins nWo Hollywood. Oops, I mean, they would demand it, but first Hogan rambles on about how great he is for a solid few minutes. Finally, Hogan introduces Scott Hall, who went nWo Hollywood in a swerve that no one liked or wanted to see. OK, I’m speaking for everyone here, but in fairness to me, it was pretty silent at Slamboree after Hall clobbered Nash, and it’s also somewhat quieter than normal right now as Hall comes down to the ring.

 

  • Finally, finally, Bischoff asks Sting to come down to the ring. Sting comes down to the ring. Well, no, wait, Giant meets him in the aisle, where Sting spits in his face and walks off. Sting only makes it about five feet before Giant jumps Sting from behind and beats the shit out of him. That’s when KEVIN NASH comes out with a LEAD PIPE in the AISLE and backs Giant off. Fade to black.

 

  • If the nWo/Bischoff/Hogan stuff were done at this ratio to other stuff in a three-hour block, I would have been lower on this show, but over one hour, it was fine, I suppose. There was lots of talking and not much wrestling, though. It feels like the wrestling was more substantial when Nitro was regularly an hour, but I’d have to go back and watch/look up match times. Still, this was a reasonably entertaining show overall for what it was. 3.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Thunder Interlude – show number seventeen – 21 May 1998

"The WCW Gang’s wildly inconsistent in quality (and Chavo Jr. is the best)”

  • I’m only seventeen Thunder shows in…I need to pick it up…I’m hoping once we get about halfway through the winter, I can really get it going here…I sort of like Thunder when it’s not nWo-heavy, actually, so I’m interested in seeing what’s on the show…Unless the show is nWo-heavy, of course…

 

  • We start with a “will Sting join the nWo" recap from Nitro…Sting and Giant had a great match at Slamboree 1996, as I recall, so I think a potential series between them two years later is promising…

 

  • Tony S. recaps the Sting/Giant deali-o in the ring before calling the Giant down for an interview…This is nWo heavy for an opening, but it’s Giant and not Bischoff or Hogan, so I’m forgiving…Giant thinks the fan’s sign that says THE GIANT IS A BIG FAT GOOFY BACKSTABBING CAVEMAN is a real misrepresentation of this whole situation…Giant’s not even mad, just disappointed, which is what makes it so funny…Giant offers a mea culpa to Sting for beating the shit out of him on Monday, but he looks forward to being nWo tag champs with the man anyway…

 

  • Lex Luger comes to the ring in lieu of Sting, who is absent…Luger claims he just talked to Sting and Sting’s still not interested in joining the nWo…Luger has chosen to one hundred percent believe Sting, which is smart…Luger’s learning, good for him…Luger throws down a challenge to the Giant for the Thunder main event tonight…Giant is fine with it, but he wants Luger to join the nWo too, or else…Luger spits in Giant’s face, so Giant kills some luchadores…Seriously, that’s what happened…Why are the luchadores out here working security?...I hope they got extra pay for this…Anyway, Giant is glad to meet Luger’s challenge tonight…

 

  • I want to pause to argue that there is, somewhere in all this, a compelling story…The Giant going back to Hogan because he’s blinded by his hate for Nash is a great hook…The Giant also being friends with Sting and Luger (the latter of whom he was tag champs with) while being desperate to get back at Nash in any way possible is established and is also a good hook…The execution so far has been less than convincing…Part of that is that we don’t see Hogan reel Giant back in…and Hogan should be motivated to do so because he thinks Giant will either get Sting into nWo Hollywood, but as Hogan’s second-in-command, thereby neutralizing his biggest enemy…Or Giant will take Sting out of wrestling for good, thereby neutralizing his biggest enemy…There’s so much room for intrigue and shifting alliances based on a bunch of established relationships and angles from the past two years…It’s a shame that it hasn’t come together just right, but the story beats are there for the booking…

 

  • Yuji Nagata comes to the ring to wrestle Ernest Miller (!!!) and no one talks about either guy during their entrances…I love the Cat, but they need to let him do his bootleg James Brown gimmick sooner rather than later…This crowd doesn’t care about any of the kicks either guy does, but they love the good ol’ ten punches in the corner spot…Sonny Onoo targets Miller’s knee with kicks outside the ring…Nagata follows up with some okay-ish knee work…Miller tries very hard to sell the injury throughout the comeback…Miller struggles his way to a flash Feliner for three and gets a nice little bit of applause from the crowd…He’s clearly trying to improve and I respect it…

 

  • We are talking about a non-nWo angle now…How rare…We see the same video of Malenko and Jericho post-match at Slamboree that we saw on Nitro…Jericho walks out holding a CONSPIRACY VICTIM sign…Some fans hold a WE ARE JERICHOHOLICS, RIP UP OUR SIGN sign…Jericho’s basic heel moves aren’t deterring the ol’ Jericho fans…I was one of them at this time, to be fair…Jericho apologizes for his tantrum, then compares his title loss to JFK getting assassinated, which is amazing…Jericho calls out J.J. Dillon, a massive heel move in this household…He’s stepping up his heel game to get as many boos as he can, I see…Jericho calls Dillon a “twisted old fruit,” which, um, I need time to unpack this particular insult…Dillon doesn’t show, so Jericho pulls out an apparently official list of battle royal entrants that didn’t include Dean Malenko’s name…Fairly enough, he notes that this seems a little odd for a legitimate competition…But he’s full on “attack election workers Capitol Police WCW committee members” mode right now, so suffice it to say that he takes his complaints too far…

 

  • Super Calo comes down to wrestle Jericho…Jericho seems a little (kayfabe) off tonight…He’s distracted with that whole Slamboree loss…Calo dominates until Jericho swings behind Calo and hits a sick release German…Calo avoids a Lionsault, but whiffs (accidentally?) on a moonsault-y wheel kick sort of deal, and Jericho just slaps on the Walls of Jericho for the quick win…

 

  • Recap of the Raven/Kanyon stuff from the past couple months…Kanyon is good and all, but let’s focus on getting Wrath back on TV…I think WCW should have got behind Mortis and Wrath as a tag team more than they did…Vandenberg was very good in the managerial role, too…I digress…I’d point out that this Mortis/Flock stuff hasn’t been very well defined, either…Lots of stories with potential here that could be much better booked…

 

  • Raven’s still got a riot squad as his backup…Page is done with you, bud, you don’t need them anymore…Raven grabs a mic and shits on Saturn for turning his back on their friendship and the Flock to secure that U.S. Championship shot that Saturn got at Slamboree…Raven feels like Saturn owes him…Saturn comes to the ring and basically runs down Raven’s whole weirdo cult leader deal…Saturn says he’s not part of the Flock, he’s Raven’s friend, and he wants their friendship to be fifty-fifty…Raven apologizes for being a dick (!) and Tony S. is shocked when Raven just says sorry and lets Saturn walk away…I mean, in fairness, that is an incredibly rare show of maturity for pro wrestling…

 

  • Next, Raven calls out Mortis…That is absolutely not Mortis…Raven sends the riot squad to attack fake Mortis…Real Mortis, wearing a blond wig and a red bandana and looking a bit like babyface Hulk Hogan, runs in from the crowd and hits Raven with a Flatliner, then runs away…The Saturn part of this segment ruled as a pro wrestling example of setting and maintaining healthy friendship boundaries…The Kanyon part, meh…

 

  • Jim Neidhart still does not have his name spelled right on the chyron…Get your crew in line, Craig Leathers, you dummy…Fit Finlay is defending the TV title against Neidhart, who I guess has been racking up the wins on SN, Pro, and Worldwide…This match is okay for ‘90s Finlay against ‘90s Neidhart…Neidhart’s array of power moves earn him a couple two counts…However, Neidhart misses a corner charge and Finlay flips him up and into a Tombstone for three…

 

  • Post-match, Tony S. announces that the WCW Championship Committee has given Booker T. the next TV title shot…Booker’s music plays, but Chris Benoit comes out instead to protest the decision…Benoit demands a meeting with the committee…No committee response tonight, but Booker does come down to respond…He wants his interview time, dammit…Benoit pretends to leave and then attacks Book from behind…Wait, here comes Stevie Ray…Stevie is not pleased with Booker getting knocked down like that…Stevie wants to know where all of Booker's nefarious street fighting Harlem Heat sensibility went…Stevie gets injured, and Book gets all soft…Stevie gathers Booker and demands that they go backstage, find Benoit, and beat his ass…And soon enough, they’ll be feuding over the 21st letter of the alphabet…Ick…

 

  • We’ve spent a long time not talking about the nWo, at least for a WCW show…Therefore, I can live with the recap of Hogan and Hall joining forces…FIX YOUR LEVELS, LEATHERS, YOU DOLT…I hope that Scott Hall is coming out to this nWo music that needs a sound adjustment…But I get Crush and Virgil*sigh*…Oh no…That’s Jim Duggan’s music…Why would the booking committee do this to me?...I’d be remiss if I didn’t give Crush at least a bit of credit for trying to bump impressively for Duggan’s crappy strikes and shoulderblocks…This match has some of the shittiest-looking offense around…This ends in a Crush DQ loss after Crush clocks Charles Robinson...Duggan destroys Crush and Vincent while the timekeeper hammers the bell…Too long, make it sixty seconds or fewer if they match up again…

 

  • You know, as Hammer comes to the ring and taunts Reese, I realize that Raven didn’t give enough of a damn about Hammer to even address him tonight…I guess he’s as done with Hammer as Page is done with him…Anyway, Saturn and Hammer are going to finish up their whole feud here tonight, I guess…Hammer comes out hot and throws a ton of strikes, some of them terrible, at Saturn…Saturn hits a superkick, and Tenay taunts Glacier…Is that whole Saturn/Glacier deal still going on?...I’m moderately interested in it…This is a decent back-and-forth TV match…Hammer hits a gourdbuster and then a spinebuster, but Reese runs a distraction and Raven runs in and drops Hammer with an Evenflow…Saturn is irritated because he had it handled, which he probably did, honestly…Saturn pops off a DVD for three…It’s okay Saturn, keep reinforcing your boundaries…

 

  • Rick Rude is still hanging around WCW…That man has a huge fucking head…He introduces Curt Hennig…I forgot that Hennig was in the Wolfpac, which is a weird booking choice…Hennig definitely fits better in Hollywood…They cut a dorky promo in which they claim to be buddies for life and demand a U.S. Championship shot for Hennig against Goldberg…Hennig demands said shot at the Great American Bash…He does it in a very dumb way using a Titanic metaphor…That was bad television, but an enjoyable kind of bad…

 

  • Juventud Guerrera comes to the ring as Tony S. announces Nitro’s return to the Georgia Dome on Monday, July 6th…Hmmm…Juvi’s got a match against Horace Hogan, who gets a jobber entrance…Horace dominates with his size…Juvi finally gets space by backdropping a charging Horace to the floor and hitting a plancha…Horace again uses his size to keep Juvi down…Reese hits Juvi with a massive chokebomb behind the ref’s ack that the ref apparently doesn’t feel or hear somehow…Billy Silverman can only sense things that are directly in front of him, I guess…Horace hits a cursory AXE BOMBAH for three…

 

  • Throughout the show, we’ve had lots of recaps of the Savage/Piper/Hart/Hogan stuff, and we get a big one here to cap off all those clips…I remember zero about Hart/Hogan vs. Piper/Savage…Like, I didn’t recall that it was ever a match that happened on a WCW PPV…

 

  • That last video package on said feud leads us into Randy Savage (w/Liz) coming to the ring…He cuts a promo to hype that GAB main event…Savage teases dissension with Piper…Classic Savage-ism: “The apology that you didn’t give me for the mistake that you made was very, very weak”…So was there no apology or a weak apology?...Or does it not matter because Savage can say what he wants pretty much and still be over?...Savage claims not to know what “icon” means and then asks if an icon is a type of bird…LOLOLOLOL…OK, this is also a terrible promo that was terrible in the most enjoyable way possible…

 

  • Chavo and Eddy are with Eddy’s mom/Chavo’s grandma, who makes remarks in Spanish about the whole Chavo/Eddy thing. So, this segment is hilarious because Eddy pops in to translate and of course, claims that mom was bigging him up…Then mom says “no, no no no” in a way that I have heard from Mexican moms and nanas before, having had more than a few friends of Mexican American heritage…It cracked me up so much…I think I saw a couple of my high school friends’ moms represented in Eddy's mom going “no, no no no”…

 

  • So anyway, Chavo and Eddy are here, and Chavo’s decided to try a different tack…Eddy forces Chavo to take Eddy's place in his match, but Chavo thanks him and starts an EDDY chant…Dean Malenko is Eddy’s Chavo’s opponent tonight…Huh, why has Eddy given his Cruiserweight Championship shot to Chavo?...Eddy is utterly confused by Chavo hitting some crisp offense and then trying to shut down an EDDY SUCKS chant…Malenko takes control, and Eddy covers his head with the towel in shame…He’s sure to take peeks to make sure that Chavo is still losing, though…Chavo goes for a Tornado DDT, but Malenko spins Chavo out of the move and locks on a Texas Cloverleaf for the win…Post-match, Eddy slaps Chavo…Chavo fires up to hit Eddy, but kisses Eddy on the cheek instead…And THEN Chavo finally slaps Eddy back for good measure…The crowd pops huge…I love this somewhat ridiculous, but always entertaining angle so much…

 

  • Lex Luger and the Giant are our main event…There’s not really much time for any wrestling, though…This is a truncated match that’s really about the angle…And the angle SUCKS because Fake Sting runs in and Luger ends up eating a chokeslam…The crowd is fucking DEAD…At least Marshall and Schiavone are like Hey, we don’t think that’s Sting at all…FAKE STING ANGLES SUCK (past mid-1996)…

 

  • What a weird show…It had good stuff, bad stuff that was strangely fun, and boilerplate bad stuff that should never have been booked…I give it a WOOOO because I think I pretty much enjoyed it well enough…

 

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Show #142 – 25 May 1998

"The one where Indiana loves Sting and Luger and Nash, but they especially love the Wolfpac, like WOW, do they love it”

  • We’re back to three hours of fun (?!?) on Nitro. I don’t see Tayo in the ring with the Nitro Girls. Bummer! But at least we didn’t start this show with Bischoff sitting on a Harley, so that’s a win. I’ll take it.

 

  • Lots of Sting-Giant-Luger recap. So much promise, and it ends with Sting and Luger as nWo Wolfpac, huh? I vaguely remember being into this angle 25 years ago and deflating when it ended up where it ended up.

 

  • It’s a loooooooong recap – we’re over eight minutes in before they finally play the title opening, in fact, after which we go right to a commercial break.

 

  • Raven finally comes out here nine minutes in (not counting commercials) to cut a promo, and I love Raven on the stick, but could we get, like, some wrestling first? These shows were known for hot cruiserweight matches to get the crowd going, but that doesn’t actually happen all that often in practice!

 

  • Anyway, Raven’s got his Flock and his riot squad with him as he threatens Kanyon. Then, he shows that he’s still struggling with respecting Saturn’s boundaries. He shows this by keeping a careful accounting of all the times he’s ever done anything nice for Saturn, but also love-bombing him by firing Kidman, Lodi, and Horace in an attempt to curry favor with his erstwhile buddy. Saturn is unresponsive to Raven’s pleas. I mean, he isn’t even moved by Raven hitting that twerp Lodi with an Evenflow.

 

  • Glacier cuts a heel promo about how he’s great, and also how his entrance used to be great, but even though it’s not as great anymore, the Cryonic Kick is still really great. He thinks Saturn is a scuzzball move thief, or at least that’s what he intimates in so many words. It’s a fine-enough promo, and honestly, I’m sort of into this Saturn/Glacier match based around superkicks even though the superkick as a move is currently fucking DEAD and should be buried for a couple of decades so that it can mean something again someday.

 

  • We’ve had two Nitro Girls routines and zero matches as of about fifteen minutes in. I love Kim and Chae, but come on, now.

 

  • Recap of the Booker/Benoit feud next . Come the fuck on already. Who laid this show out? Anyway, we’re getting that (first) famous best-of-seven series between the two, starting tonight.

 

  • Finally, a match! And they even got Mike Enos out of mothballs for it! Or maybe Enos has been the king of Worldwide lately; I say this because he’s got a TV title shot against Fit Finlay. The bell rings for our first match at 19:41 of this video, not including commercials. The commentators talk about Fake Sting wrestling a match later tonight for awhile, but Finlay hits a snapmare and I guess that reminds everyone that a wrestling match is currently happening. This is an okay TV match. I would expect these two to have at worst a decent match. Finlay dominates, but he posts himself on a shoulder charge and eats a short-arm clothesline. The crowd is just really into the wrestling here in Evansville, Indiana, just as they were in Cleveland on the previous Thunder.

 

  • We get a back-and-forth match in which Finlay hits a rolling fireman’s carry slam, but gets countered into a fallaway slam for two. The crowd is strangely into it. Then Enos I think blows a move, maybe? I can’t tell because they work right through it in a logical way; Enos just sells that he lost his grip because his knee gave out, and Finlay drops him with a Tombstone shortly after for the win. That was alright, man, alright. Despite the blown move (or awkward counter?) leading to the finish, it was alright.

 

  • I stepped out for a quick snack, so I missed Gene Okerlund shilling the hotline. What I’m not missing, at all, not for a second, is Glacier coming to the ring to face Saturn! By the way, Tenay’s insistence on commentary that Saturn is one hundred percent in the right about this whole superkick controversy is one of the small treats of this whole dumb mini-feud. Glacier wins an exchange early, celebrates, and of course gets leg swept to the mat almost immediately after. They trade standing side kicks before Glacier scores with a big boot and some strikes in the corner. Again, Glacier celebrates, and again that gives Saturn a chance to jump him.

 

  • The story here is that Glacier gets a kick or two in, but Saturn always finds space to counter. Raven comes out to watch from the ramp (a huge RAVEN SUCKS chant commences) as Saturn scores a big suplex, but eats knees on a top-rope splash. Glacier and Saturn wipe out on a dual crossbody attempt, and Raven comes closer to the ring…as Hammer runs up from behind and wipes Raven out to a huge pop. Hammer gets on the apron, where Glacier hits him with a Cryonic Kick and then turns right around into a Saturn DVD that scores three. Weird finish, honestly. You’d think Saturn would win with a superkick of his own considering the story. On the floor, Raven drops Hammer with an Evenflow, then yells WHAT ABOUT MEEEEE at Saturn as Saturn beelines past him in irritation. I mean, I enjoyed all of that, even if I feel like the match itself should have ended in a superkick. I’m super-into the weird internal politics of the Flock and the spurned wrestlers who have been rejected from the Flock, but I know Bischoff and his booking committee, so I have no faith that it ends up somewhere interesting.

 

  • The Giant, flanked by Crush and Vincent, Virgil, whatever, comes to the ring. Some dude in the crowd keeps yelling SELLOUT at the Giant, but that’s not quite fair. This time around, the Giant didn’t join the nWo for money. He joined them to irritate Kevin Nash. He calls Nash a coward and demands a one-on-one match. In a subtle bit of heeling, he demands that Nash be brave enough to leave Savage and Konnan in the back while also standing around out here with Crush and Vincent backing him up. The crowd is very into the idea of Kevin Nash coming out here right now. Look, say what you want about Nash in general or in WCW specifically, but you can’t deny that the man was very over for most of his nWo-era run there.

 

  • Nash finally answers the call. He calls the trio in the ring “Hogan’s three fluff boys,” which, uh, problematic, fella. Also, I can’t believe that got on television! Even considering that it’s cable television! So, Nash gets in the ring, wins the brawl initially before being overwhelmed by numbers, and is saved by the rest of the Wolfpac…and Lex Luger, who runs in with a steel chair. This crowd is desperate for Luger to join the Wolfpac. They are fucking HOT for all this. Konnan tosses Luger his red-and-black nWo shirt. Luger considers the offer. He shows the shirt to the crowd. They are like JOIN THE WOLFPAC YOU IDIOT, so he joins the Wolfpac. I mean, I can’t criticize this booking decision…

 

  • …because now Sting’s two closest buds went nWo, and Sting is whipsawed between them and between being WCW’s defender and champion. That’s a GREAT storyline right there! Bonus: Luger very likely is happy to join the Wolfpac so he can get at Scott Steiner, who he’s been mad at for months because of what Scotty did to Rick. He has a similar motivation to finally going nWo as Giant did for running back to Hogan’s nWo. Do I think Sting should join either nWo group? Absolutely not; he’s WCW. That’s where the story is – that he teases joining both, but reaffirms his WCW allegiance and now has two hot feuds with two former friends who are now reluctantly drawn into gunning for him because they couldn’t let go of their anger at Scott Steiner and Nash, respectively.

 

  • But it didn’t go that way, to my memory, and that’s a shame.

 

  • Chris Jericho, WCW Cruiserweight Champion Conspiracy Victim, comes to the ring in a ridiculous (and ridiculously pro-wrestling-awesome) vest. He unloads on his opponent El Dandy. Dandy does get two on a series of rollups, but whiffs on a top rope move that is obviously meant for Dandy to leave his legs free for a Lion Tamer, or a Walls of Jericho, I think I use those names interchangeably at this point. Post-match, Jericho grabs a mic and dedicates the victory to all his Jerichoholics. He looks like he might start sobbing about not being Cruiserweight Champion anymore and then calls out J.J. Dillon again (“Put down the hot dog and the piece of pizza, get off your butt, and waddle on down here”).

 

  • I mean, he just rips on this guy with a further series of insults, then realizes that Dillon has actually shown up this time; he further realizes that his mic is still on. Jericho immediately goes into disingenuous friendliness mode (“You’re lookin’ GREAT. Did you get a new haircut?”). This dude is killing me. He’s too funny. You can be a little funny as a heel, but if you make people laugh, they’re going to be inclined to like you. Dillon reminds Jericho that Jericho was overjoyed to have the advantage of wrestling a guy who had already wrestled in the battle royal and that battle royals are a little hinky, rules-wise, and often have surprise entrants (fair point, J.J.!). Dillon says that the match decision from Slamboree stands. Jericho goes bananas, calling Dillon a “pretentious idiot” until Dillon walks away, at which point he chases after “Mr. Dillon” desperately begging for his belt back. HOLY SHIT, what a promo from Jericho. This promo is also a perfect example of why grim, suit-wearing Jericho was such a big hit – heel Jericho was always so frantic and fragile that he’d generate a ton of laughs, so him standing there in silence looking like he smelled a fart was an especially effective change of character if you’d been watching him for the eight or ten or twelve years before that.

 

  • Konnan is repping the Wolfpac in the ring against La Parka. Hey, La Parka! That guy is the best. This match isn’t the best, but you know, Konnan’s involved. La Parka does that wild signature corner bump he does, so that’s cool. Parka’s a great bumper, particularly for his size. Parka gets a little control, but dives off the top rope and into double boots. Konnan follows up with a mule kick and a sit-out facebuster. He does a little call-and-response with the crowd, hits a cradle DDT, and locks on the Tequila Sunrise for the submission victory. The crowd really, really, really loves the Wolfpac, did I mention?

 

  • Kanyon, who we’re not calling Mortis anymore per his request, cuts a somewhat shitty promo in which he threatens to attack Raven. He’s willing to disguise himself a billion times over to get to Raven and promises to keep coming for him. Let’s just skip to the very good PPV match they will have and dispense with Kanyon trying to cut promos to keep this feud rolling.

 

  • They show a video recap of Macho Man being confused by the definition of the word “icon” from Thunder, and maybe it’s me, but Liz sure looks like she’s considering corpsing because of all the silliness. I mean, she’d better not because Savage would totally tag her in the face like he did Torrie Wilson.

 

  • Gene Okerlund interviews Roddy Piper about whether or not Piper and Savage will actually be a working tag team at Great American Bash. Piper: “I’m dribblin’ through more bull here than the Indiana Pacers!” Hey, do me a favor and fuck off, Piper. Oh, speaking of that last remark, it’s time for another Piper Knows Pop Culture: He’s got the Tazmanian Devil wearing a kilt on his t-shirt, calls Savage a “Village People throwback,” and generally fucking SUCKS at talking on the stick. Jesus, he really is gonna drive this “Village People/Macho Man” thing into the ground. He even sings “YMCA.”

 

  • Savage comes out for a promo battle that sucks on Piper’s part, but on Savage's part is hilarious. Savage is mad that Piper didn’t apologize for a bad call at Slamboree, but he wouldn’t even accept Piper's apology anyway. Piper, who really wants to fuck RuPaul IMO, asks Savage if he’s mad that Piper didn’t give Savage a gift from said drag queen icon. Boy, he is fixated on RuPaul, but you know, who isn’t, if you think about it? Anyway, Bret Hart walks down with a mic and wisely sows dissension between Piper and Savage by pretending that Hart and Piper are in cahoots and that Piper and Hart had planned the whole Slamboree finish out beforehand. Hahaha, the Hitman, in the middle of laying out this false plot, tells Piper, “And by the way, my mother says to say ‘hi’,” and I lost it right there. Hart also calls the previous PPV “THE SLAMBOREE” and basically, I love this dude. He’s the best. He just came out here and saved this awful segment by trolling the fuck out of Piper.

 

  • Piper, of course, has to respond after Hart leaves and tries to convince Savage to stay a team with him. He *sigh* says that Hart and Hogan have two “H”s like the word 'hemorrhoids,' but hemorrhoids are less annoying." Anyway, so Piper finally promises Savage that if they work together and beat Hogan and Hart, they can settle their differences in the ring after that, which seems to somewhat mollify Savage. I mean, this angle sucks and I don’t care about this tag match at all, but I never want to hear anything about Bret being subpar on the stick ever again because he was great. As was all of his 1997 on the stick. But you know, you can just point to his part of this promo battle on Nitro because it ruled.

 

  • This crowd loves to boo Kidman and cheer Juventud and his JOOOOOOOCE. These fellas generally work well together, so this’ll be solid at worst. We get some nice early exchanges until Kidman wins a rope-running exchange with a sit-out spinebuster. Juvi fights through a choke, gets back on his feet, and rips off Kidman’s shirt before hitting chops and a nice headscissors that sends Kidman outside. Then, Juvi rips off a sweet suicide dive that pops the crowd. I mean, he got air on that one even for him!

 

  • Lodi distracts Juvi as the Juiceiest of Ones tries to send the match back to the ring, which allows Kidman to hit a sit-out facebuster for two. Kidman maintains control, and when Juvi eventually fights up to a rising cheer from the crowd, Kidman cuts him off with a vicious lariat that gets an OOH from the fans. This is an exceptionally good crowd tonight. They have made this show better. Finally, Kidman whiffs on a corner charge and is hit with a lariat himself. Both men are down, though Juvi is up first; Kidman again cuts him off with a big powerslam. Kidman controls some more until again Juvi is able to stay on his feet on the apron after Kidman reverse suplexes him over the top rope. Juvi scores with a top rope wheel kick, but only gets two, and Kidman again takes control by reversing an Irish whip and hitting a facebuster for 2.9.

 

  • This is actually really good, especially for a television match. Juvi fights out of a suplex again and keeps getting cut off by Kidman, this time with a release German that plants Juvi on his face. Kidman goes up top, but eats a dropkick to the gut on his dive. Juvi takes the opening to hit a Juvi Driver, then finally lands a 450 for three. Yeah, that was sweet, and it was a match that fits with the whole “never surrender” gimmick Juvi’s working, which commentary actually goes out of their way to point out! Excellent TV wrestling, folks.

 

  • Nitro Girls. Video of a Nitro Party full of young girls. They really like the Outsiders and Sting. WCW should position the Outsiders and Sting at the tippy-top. It seems like pretty much all WCW fans across gender, race, and age are agreed on how great the Outsiders and Sting are based on this show, TBH.

 

  • Scott Steiner hasn’t been on TV lately, nor has Rick Steiner. We get a video recap of that awesome Nitro promo with the brothers Steiner from three Nitros ago on Show #140. Really, Scott was the driving force for all the awesomeness in that promo, but whatever, we needed a fall guy in Rick for Scott’s devious fake crying to work so well. Get Scott back on TV ASAP, though.

 

  • Eddy Guerrero comes out for a match, with a boisterous Chavo Jr. trailing him. Chavo is Eddy’s biggest fan now, which is making Eddy pretty nervous. Chavo grabs a mic and is excited to do Eddy’s grunt work in the ring. Eddy wants to just wrestle the match himself and threatens to slap Chavo, so Chavo presents a cheek and asks to be hit. Then he starts an ED-DY chant. Hilarious. Eddy gives up and just lets Chavo take his match for the night; Chavo celebrates with arms in the air. Oh hey, Ultimo Dragon is his opponent for the evening. Well, let’s tie a bow on this little feud.

 

  • Chavo backs away from a lockup to try and start an ED-DY chant again. Everyone is confused. Chavo gets a headlock on and looks to Eddy for approval. Then, these fellas have a fun, fast-paced match! Dragon hits some vicious chops, but gets dropkicked in the stomach on a springboard attempt. Chavo takes control, but eats a dragon screw when he tries a kick. Dragon locks on a cool-looking standing Figure Four leglock. That’s a really neat one. Then he rolls Chavo into a cravat-looking thing, sort of octopus hold-like, but not quite. Dragon pretty much dominates this thing, honestly. Chavo does get a bit of room, so Eddy grabs Chavo’s leg as he tries to suplex Dragon. Dragon is then able to flip behind Chavo and lock on the Dragon Sleeper.

 

  • Eddy thinks Dragon has won it! He’s even put the towel over his head in anticipation of Chavo losing! But what Eddy doesn’t see is Chavo throw a knee that cracks Dragon in the crown of his head and breaks the hold. Chavo chokes Dragon on the ropes, proudly tells a shocked Eddy HEY EDDY, I’M CHEATING TO WIN, and then drops Dragon with a tornado DDT for three. The crowd kind of pops because they like Chavo, but they’re still not sure what to think about Chavo’s somewhat weird attitude. Chavo wants to wrestle Eddy next and is willing to accept corporal punishment to get a match against his uncle. Eddy says they can have a match later just to calm Chavo down.

 

  • Okerlund comes to ringside to interview Los Guerreros. Eddy tells Okerlund that Penzer’s dad is a shrink and that maybe he’ll talk to Penzer about arranging a session, HAHAHAHAHA. J.J. Dillon comes down and tells the Guerreros that they’ll face each other in a match at the Great American Bash. Eddy freaks out; Chavo desperately tries to get someone, anyone, even Gene, to slug him in the face. This whole deal was DEE-LIGHTFUL.

 

  • Lenny Lane oils his abs upon his entrance to the ring. Is there an oil that he can rub on his personality to make him charismatic? Speaking of charisma, here comes Dean Malenko! The desk remembers, on a show weeks ago, when Lane pretended to be Jericho against Malenko and tricked Malenko into thinking that he’d won the Cruiserweight title. Hey, good memory! (That happened on Thunder Interlude, show number ten).

 

  • This match is decent. Lane is really trying to bust out dynamic offense and really heel it up. I respect the hard work even if he’s not the greatest in the ring. They wrestle a back-and-forth match that is more of a disconnected series of spots than a match that flows, but some of the moves are pretty good! Malenko displays a nice heel hook and hits a sweet leg lariat in there. He also rolls through a Lane diving sunset flip and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf in a pretty good finish.

 

  • Uh, it’s Johnny Attitude? WCW Power Plant student? Cosplaying as Goldberg before he gets killed by Goldberg in what I am going to hope is absolutely not a U.S. Championship match? And Attitude went on to have a company, Micro Championship Wrestling, which was focused on matches between little person wrestlers? Was my quick Googling of Mr. Attitude, who passed away in 2018, more substantial than this ninety second squash match against a guy with zero chance that probably Goldberg shouldn’t be doing on Nitro so often at this point?

 

  • Booker T. and Chris Benoit face off in match one of their best-of-seven next. Benoit chops the fuck out of Book on a corner break, and Booker responds with forearms, including a running forearm that knocks Benoit to the floor. I dig the intensity in this thing. We get an early going of switches and counters, but the early story is Booker having the size and explosiveness to halt Benoit’s momentum. Book sends Benoit outside with another lariat, in fact, and back in the ring, Benoit looks for the first chance to wrap a Crippler Crossface on; Book recognizes what’s happening and hits a side kick to escape.

 

  • Benoit is somewhat desperate here, but he gains space with a boot to the solar plexus and a front suplex than hangs Book on the top rope. That allows Benoit, who is in the rare position of having no edge in explosiveness, to slow the pace and grind Booker down. Booker fights up from a chinlock and gets two on a sunset flip, but Benoit chops Book back down and regains control. Benoit uses strikes and lariats to score a couple of two counts, then goes back to the chinlock. Book fights up, so Benoit simply uses his leverage to trip him. Nice counter there. The desk is more interested in the Sting/Luger/nWo angle, though. It’s a good angle, but also, can we focus on the thing happening in front of us right now, which is also part of a good angle?

 

  • They regain focus as Benoit works another chinlock, so uh, that’s enough chinlocks for one ten minute match. I guess I can’t blame the desk for losing focus what with all these chinlocks. Booker fights up, but runs right into a backbreaker for two. Benoit goes for the kill, but whiffs on a flying headbutt. Fit Finlay comes onto the ramp to check out the action. Meanwhile, Booker hits a spinebuster in the ring, then a pancake and a Spinaroonie. We go into the finish, in which everyone whiffs on a bunch of strikes until Booker flips behind Benoit and hits an axe kick. Booker follows with a side slam, then goes up for a Harlem Hangover that misses.

 

  • Both men are down until Benoit makes a move at about the seven count, at which point he covers Booker for only two. Both men get back to their feet, which is when Booker makes the mistake that ends the match; he goes for a short-arm clothesline, but gets reversed into a Crippler Crossface in the middle of the ring and has to submit. Benoit leads the series 1-0. That was solid; you gotta start slow for a seven-match series, right? It was a match that promised us more fuckery to come. The second match of the series will be covered on the next Thunder Interlude.

 

  • Lots of recap regarding Luger and the Wolfpac leading into the main event tonight, which will involve Real Sting. And Fake Sting, which is a bummer. So, Fake Sting and the Giant are in one corner. In the other corner are Lex Luger and Real Sting. Luger comes out to the nWo theme by himself, wearing the ol’ red-and-black. But what of Real Sting? Well, Real Sting still has his regular music and he’s still backing up his buddy Lex Luger. Actually, (Real) Sting and Luger’s friendship is one of the best long-term stories WCW will tell in this era.

 

  • Real Sting dumps Fake Sting to the floor right quick and then he and Luger unload on Giant, who ends up bumping over the top rope and to the floor. The crowd is into it. Then we get the match to reset, and Fake Sting wins an exchange with Real Sting, which should never, ever happen. Real Sting gets control really quickly while Lou Ann in the front row, holding her LOU ANN L[heart shape]VES STING” sign between her palms and four of her ten fingers, feverishly takes pictures of Sting beating up this imposter.

 

  • Luger’s in the ring, then he’s out of the ring, then the Giant big boots him, and then he’s FIP. The crowd chants GIANT SUCKS while Fake Sting does Fake Sting things in the ring. Finally, the Giant, who is really blinded by his hatred for Nash at this point and should re-think the path that he’s taken, tags in and goes to work. Luger takes a beating for a few minutes, including a nice elbowdrop from Giant in there, before Fake Sting loses control of the match on a badly missed Stinger Splash. Read Sting gets the hot tag and destroys Fake Sting with a Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Death Drop for the easy three count.

 

  • So, the intrigue here is if Sting is joining the Wolfpac or what. In fact, here comes the Wolfpac, ready to induct another member tonight. Luger, who did a tiny little celebration when Sting indeed showed up to stand next to him on the ramp, is certain that Sting’s going to follow him into the Wolfpac. The crowd is like COME ON STING DO IT THE WOLFPAC RULES TRUST US ON THIS DO IT JOIN THEM NOWWWW and Sting is like Meh, I don’t really want to do this and I wish Luger had cleared all this with me before he joined. Luger tosses Real Sting the shirt, and is he going to put it on? I would tell you, but we’re out of time and the feed ends.

 

  • Look, I could nitpick some of the crap on this show or its very slow start wrestling-wise, but it was overall fun as hell. This was the best Nitro in awhile, in fact. I have to admit that the Wolfpac stuff is actually interesting and has sort of revived the whole nWo angle even if the nWo itself should probably be dead, at least for now. I have no problem with the fragments of the nWo fighting for power or the concept of the Wolfpac in general, though, and I think a main event angle centered around Giant, Luger, and Sting is much better than one centered around Hogan and who-the-fuck ever. Combine that with multiple intriguing mid-card angles, and you’ve got a hot show. 4.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number eighteen – 28 May 1998

"The WCW Gang’s putting together a string of excellent shows to my surprise”

  • I wanted to squeeze one more show in here before I head out for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend…That last Nitro pulled me back in…I honestly think Hogan being off TV for these last couple of shows has been huge for their quality…

 

  • Bret Hart opens the show on the stick…He’s not a fan of the fans…This whole schtick was better in 1997…I want babyface Bret Hart…Though heel Bret being a dick is pretty funny…For such a humorless dude, he can be pretty entertaining on the mic…Then again, being acerbic can definitely lead to quality promos…Bret calls out Sting (!!!)…Wow, could WCW maybe possibly make a match that I want to see involving the Hitman?...Actually, Bret sympathizes with Sting being caught in a tough place and having to make a hard decision…Bret promises to help Sting make the best decision possible for his career…IDK, Sting, Bret picked wrong by re-signing with WWF in 1996, maybe be skeptical of his help…Fan’s sign: BRET “THE TRADER” HART…Bret’s like Art Vandelay…He’s an importer/exporter…He imports titles and exports PAIN…

 

  • Hey, it’s Jim Powers…Heyyyyyyy, it’s Barbarian!...Jimmy Hart and Hugh Morrus are seconding Barbarian…Why did they split up Barb and Meng, anyway?...This match doesn’t give me awesome Barb offense until the Kick of Fear at the end…However, I love the spot where Powers can’t knock Barb down with multiple lariats, so he taps Barb’s sack and then finally drops Barb with a kneelift…Inoffensive, and the crowd likes Barb’s act, which I do as well…

 

  • Chris Jericho interviews with Tony S….Per the above post, Jericho won his match last Nitro with a Lion Tamer and NOT a Walls of Jericho…Jericho apologizes for insulting J.J. Dillon on Nitro…You don’t really have to dude, it was funny…Jericho calls Dillon out to reason through the Ciclope incident again, but Dillon isn’t here…Jericho makes Tony hold up a CONSPIRACY VICTIM sign that points an arrow at Jericho and then immediately insults Dillon again…Hahahaha, Jericho promises to take his complaints straight to Congress and the White House next week…This is going to be a classic segment...This promo was good, and Jericho was only going half-speed on this one…

 

  • After lots of Sting/Luger/Giant/Nash/Wolfpac recap, we get DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE…This is one of my favorite underneath tag teams, honestly…They’re jobbing to the British Bulldog and Jim “please spell my name correctly” Neidhart tonight…Nah, put High Voltage over instead…Robbie Rage did zero in his career, really, but as I’ve said many times before, I very much enjoy him in these TV matches…Rage tries a couple of springboards, and eventually one too many…The hot tag that follows leads to Bulldog finishing Kaos with a running powerslam…Also inoffensive…

 

  • Hey, the Wolfpac finally got their own theme!...Man, these fellas are very over…I can’t really fault the nWo split from a booking perspective precisely because the Wolfpac are so over…It’s promo time…Luger explains why he decided to take the Wolfpac’s deal…Pretty much, he thinks they’re an elite group and he belongs with them…Also, WCW is really dragging ass, and so he decided to move on to a group that might actually finish off the black-and-white…Reasonable points, Luger!...Luger tries to convince Sting to join him…The crowd is like YEAH STING SHOULD TOTALLY JOIN THE WOLFPAC…Poor WCW, it’s so uncool…Not as uncool as nWo Hollywood, but uncool…

 

  • Glacier versus Van Hammer won’t be good, but it will be entertaining to me...I accept that my anticipation for this match is strange, weird, and possibly ungodly…See, I kind of liked this…after Hammer eats a leg sweep, he locks up Glacier, full nelson slams him, and hits the Daniel LaRussa crane kick taunt…Hammer press slams Glacier from the second rope to the mat…Then, after Glacier bails, Hammer takes the long way around to keep Glacier from leaving and gets caught pursuing Glacier back into the ring…Hammer keeps breaking Glacier’s control, but Glacier hits a big boot and then locks the Rings of Saturn on Hammer…

 

  • Saturn runs out and superkicks Glacier in disgust before throwing hands at Hammer…Raven runs in to help Saturn and Evenflows Hammer…Saturn drops Glacier with a DVD…Raven grabs a mic, points out that he helped Saturn out again, and wants to be a tag team…So, Saturn points out that he didn’t need Raven’s help, but he acquiesces and says that he’ll be Raven’s regular tag team partner…A paranoid Raven suddenly thinks he sees Kanyon in the distance and he and Saturn run after him…They end up attacking some popcorn guy who they think is Kanyon, but isn’t…Then they attack a set tech who also isn’t Kanyon…Kanyon is off to the side pretending to be a construction dude, and he clobbers Raven from behind with a cookie sheet…That whole thing was fucking WILD, I loved it…And I liked the match that started it all, too…It didn’t reach “charming uniquity” status, but it was fun…

 

  • Match two in the Benoit/Booker Bo7 is next…We don’t even see the entrances…Booker’s got all the size and explosiveness, and again dominates early…Benoit’s usual “chop the crap out of my opponent” approach is much less effective early on against Book…Booker hits a superkick, but Glacier’s not around to get all aggy about it…Boy, this is pacey…I wonder if they’re a bit behind schedule here…Benoit finally slows the match down and is able to take extended control…Benoit cuts off a Booker comeback with a boot and some chops…A double crossbody starts a standing ten count…Book only gets two off a quick inside cradle when he gets to his feet…

 

  • Benoit re-takes control and hits a GROSS diving headbutt, FUUUUUCK that had to hurt…That had better get three, but no, it only gets two…Booker fights to a base again from a headlock and hits a flash axe kick that only gets two after Book is too weak to cover…Wow, the crowd thought that was it…Book whiffs on a side kick and hangs himself on the ropes…Benoit gets a series of two counts off some violent offense…Book hits a desperation spinebuster on a rope run…He follows with a high-angled back suplex and a spinaroonie…Then we get a great exchange in which Booker whiffs on another Houston Side Kick, but recovers and finally hits it…Book goes up, hits a missile dropkick, and finagles a three count…That match ruled, man, it was GREAT…Benoit is mad as hell and recovers real quick so he can cut a quick promo...He tells Booker that it was only one match, he’ll fuck Booker up next time around…I fucking loved all of this…WCW is hitting a hot patch that I didn’t foresee post-Slamboree…

 

  • Fit Finlay is right out here, no entrance, to defend his TV title against perennial loser and dude unable to break the ol’ Armstrong Curse, Brad Armstrong…This is a good cooldown match after those last three segments where the crowd was on fire…It’s a perfectly fine little match in which Finlay throws some nice strikes and wins with a Tombstone…The crowd chants BORING though…I mean, not everything can be a five-star segment, folks…It was probably a shade too long, in fairness…I thought it was solid for what it was, though…

 

  • I might normally boo this overlong recap of the Savage/Piper/Hart stuff from Nitro, but I’m in a good mood…

 

  • Barry Darsow’s still hanging around the company and gets a rare runout on something other than a WCW C-Show…Saturn/Darsow actually sounds sort of enticing in a weird way…It’s pretty decent stuff…Darsow plays a pretty good veteran bully (heh)…He works the arm to set up for his armbar finish, called Barely Legal…Saturn gets himself to the ropes and catches Darsow with a superkick when Darsow gets caught up arguing with the ref about the rope break…Saturn follows up with a DVD for the win…

 

  • Barry Horowitz tries to recapture his big upset magic he conjured up against Bodydonna Skip tonight against Goldberg…Spoiler alert: He does not…Candido’s great, but he’s no Goldberg…I’m out on these nightly Goldberg squashes against jobbers who never win anyway…Maybe they should have gone a different way and had him only wrestle on PPV for a minute…Stretch out the run to 100-0 and make it mean something because he’s beating actual threats and semi-threats to do it on PPV…

 

  • Bret Hart leads Eric Bischoff, Vincent, and the Giant out to the ring…Bret makes his pitch to Sting, and boy, is it far less convincing than Luger’s pitch…He reminds Sting about that whole thing where he re-started the main event at Starrcade for no reason, if you think about it, because Nick Patrick's count was on time…But I mean, yeah, good point…He also points out the, uh, spotty histories of some of the Wolfpac members…He lets Luger off the hook when he really should have talked about Luger being a dick to Sting in 1992…and 1995…and 1996…

 

  • The Wolfpac’s music cuts Bret Hart off…Nash disagrees with Bret…Bret disagrees with Nash…Bret is very crochety about it…Anyway, they decide that words are stupid and pointless and brawl in the aisle as the show closes…

 

  • WCW is good and so was this Thunder…Hooray for happy surprises…WOOOOOOOOOOOO
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Show #143 – 01 June 1998

"The one that’s a momentum breaker and that also puts Sting in the nWo, which is nonsense”

  • So, this show opens with a Sting video retrospective that makes me miss Surfer Sting. I kinda wish Sting had pulled a post-Bikertaker move (or come to think of it, a post-Hollywood nWo Hulk Hogan move) and just gone back to Surfer Sting for a little while. Not forever; just for a bit.

 

  • A limo pulls up. Out pops…J.J. Dillon. That’s boring. Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T., and Goldberg pop out after him. That’s far less boring! I guess these fellas will make their pitch to Sting tonight.

 

  • Jerry Flynn (w/big scumbag energy) comes to the ring, pulling back on handshakes and ripping up pro-Goldberg signs as he goes. I’m certain he’s wrestled his opponent, Ernest Miller, a bunch of times, including on shows that I’ve reviewed, but I’m not about to go back and find out. I don’t hate this, but the crowd seems pretty lethargic throughout this whole deal. At one point, Flynn does a nice judo toss into an armbar that I think personally the crowd should have enjoyed more. When I’m ruler of the cosmos, I will make it illegal not to politely applaud a fluid judo toss -> armbar. Miller and Flynn fuck up their spacing and blow a sunset flip because they’re in the ropes upon landing. Miller’s not going up top to hit the Feliner anymore – wise! – but I’m not sure he makes anything close to cursory contact with Flynn when he hits is – ugh! Anyway, Miller wins.

 

  • The crowd probably would have loved one of those high-flying, fast-paced cruiserweight matches that WCW Nitro was known for even though they don’t happen all that often, at least at this point in the show’s existence (Editor's Note: This crowd seems to barely enjoy life itself, so maybe not).

 

  • Another limo arrives: It’s some nWo Wolfpac dudes.

 

  • The Wolfpac comes on out after the commercial break. They cut a promo. Nash does his own version of the survey, and I’d say it’s odd that he hasn’t mentioned Hall at all, except that Hall’s probably in rehab/legal trouble and not in a position to really respond. Anyway, Nash wants to see if everyone came for nWo Hollywood (crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOO) or the red-and-black attack (crowd: YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH). They talk some more, basically still pitching Sting. Luger’s blathering on and on, and I tune out a bit, but I do catch that Luger and Nash are challenging any two Hollywood members to a tag match later tonight.

 

  • Raven and Saturn (w/ riot squad, but no Flock) come to the ring to face Public Enemy, who are still in WCW as of June 1998! What an ECW-ass ECW matchup. Saturn and Raven control early, but take it a bit easy and allow Grunge to fight back. Grunge nails a back elbow on Saturn and then PE goes to work, hitting double-team moves and keeping Saturn cut off from his partner. PE’s double-team stuff is pretty good, including a pseudo-Decapitation Device (the elbowdrop from the ropes was there, but not the positioning of Saturn over Rocco’s knee).

 

  • Saturn finally gets a tag, but Raven whiffs on a lariat attempt and hits Saturn. Saturn’s peeved, but PE is still coming in waves, and Saturn and Raven immediately have to show some fightback. They look pretty screwed, as PE even hits them with the AFCs old finisher. Rocco even drops a plancha on Raven as Raven lies on a table. Actually, Rocco does it TWICE because the table doesn’t break the first time around. I feel like the crowd should be more interested in this because it’s pretty fun, actually. Anyway, Saturn knocks Grunge into Rocco and then hits Grunge with a DVD; Raven slides into the ring and covers for the win. Saturn’s peeved that Raven stole his cover, but technically Raven was the legal man.

 

  • Post-match, Raven gets a mic and rambles about how J.J. Dillon is employing Kanyon and it’s all sooooooooo unfair. He tells Saturn that as thanks for having his back, he’s re-hired the Flock to watch Saturn’s back. Also, he somehow signed Saturn up to wrestle Kanyon at GAB, which I didn’t know you were allowed to do? Just, you know, sign for a match for someone else who you don’t have power of attorney over? I have questions about WCW legal and what the heck they’re doing in their offices.

 

  • Alex Wright is doing something other than dancing his way through a Nitro Girls routine tonight, so yeah, that’s cool. Chavo Guerrero Jr. has new music and a new, weird attitude, and is Wright’s opponent. Wright wrestles this like he’s wrestling the Chavo of six or eight months ago and not the Chavo that has apparently lost his whole mind and become a greater wrestler at the same time. Wright tries to casually administer a beatdown of the type he would give opponents during his TV title run, but Chavo chokes him like Latrell Sprewell finally giving that annoying fuck PJ Carlesimo the business, then hits Wright with a great suicide dive. At that point, Wright is wrestling to get away from Chavo; Chavo remains tenacious and beats down Wright. Back in the ring, Wright begs off and suckers Chavo in. He wraps Chavo in an STF, so Chavo taps immediately. He does so because he wants the ref to break the hold quickly and, in turn, because he can wants to go back to beating the shit out of Wright.

 

  • The ref tries to back Chavo away, and Eddy comes out and tries to calm Chavo down. Chavo is more interested in fighting Eddy, but Eddy begs off. The crowd is so bored by all of this. This crowd stinks.

 

  • Tony S. is on in-ring interview duty. He calls down Randy Savage, but Roddy Piper’s music plays. Then, after like a good thirty seconds, it cuts off and the Wolfpac theme plays. Craig Leathers, get your truck in order, you total DIPSHIT. Savage and Liz make it to the ring. Tony S. is like, You know Bret Hart was lying about he and Piper being in cahoots, right? and Savage is like OOOOH YEAH, THAT’S PROBABLY THE CASE AND I’LL STILL TAG WITH PIPER, ALSO, DO YOU WANT TO FUCK RODDY PIPER OR SOMETHING TONY, WHY ARE YOU SO PROTECTIVE OF HIM? which I think is unfair to Tony. Tony’s an asshole, though, so I’m fine with him getting shit on here.

 

  • Savage calls out Piper, who comes to the ring to *sigh* talk. Piper, fairly enough, is confused about why Savage is so pissed at him. Savage is like YOU REVERSED THE DECISION FROM THAT HART MATCH, BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR ME, I WANT TO FIGHT YOU AT THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH AFTER WE WIN OUR TAG MATCH, WHICH IS ALSO AT THAT VERY PPV, CONTACT YOUR CABLE PROVIDERS. Piper agrees to do it just to get Savage to shut up about it, but he’s still got a lot of consternation over Savage being fucking weird about this whole thing. He also makes a nonsensical Marion Berry reference that the crowd, being from DC, pops for because that’s a name they know. Man, this DC crowd fucking sucks. Piper starts convolutedly ranting about the Washington Capitals (morons in this crowd: WOOOOOOOO) and Savage has to cut him off and force him to make his point directly, which is that Bret hasn’t ever actually worn an nWo shirt and probably is playing Hogan and Savage at the same time. Boy, when the worst person you know makes a good point, it’s troubling, huh? Anyway, Savage is like THE INTERNAL POLITICS OF nWo HOLLYWOOD ARE NOT MY PROBLEM, OOOH NO, I JUST WANT TO REPEATEDLY PUNCH HOGAN, HART, AND YOU ALL IN THE FACE, OOOH YEAH and then he leaves.

 

  • Tony S. now talks to J.J. Dillon, who I guess is going to lead the pitch to Sting for sticking with WCW. He didn’t even bring out any of the guys he stepped out of the limo with earlier tonight to help him pitch. So nWo Hollywood has the Hitman pitch Sting. The Wolfpac has Luger pitch Sting. WCW has J.J. fucking Dillon pitch Sting. Oh, WCW, you lovable losers. Dillon basically is like StingWCW is not popular or effective, but you should stick with us anyway because something something legacy, something something we like you a lot? Oy vey.

 

  • There’s another limo backstage! How thrilling! There’s a break, and when we come back, it’s just a few nWo Hollywood guys, led by Hogan, Bischoff, and the Giant. The Hitman’s there too, by the way. Larry Z. tries to make a fat joke about Dusty, but it’s bad and doesn’t land, and in fact confuses Tony S. for a second. Oh, WCW! Anyway, those fellas all trundle out to take up valuable TV time with an interview.

 

  • Hogan talks a ton, and I basically zoned out. He pitches Sting somewhere in there and agrees to the tag match that Luger called for earlier. He also calls out Savage and Piper, and Bret unbuttons his shirt to show that he’s wearing one of those ugly Hollywood Hogan shirts with the skull. Oooh, t-shirt rebuttal! It’s still not an nWo shirt, which would be a nice way to swerve that Bret’s not really nWo Hollywood down the road. Hogan steals Savage’s catchphrase again *sigh*.

 

  • Konnan’s back out here to wrestle Lenny Lane (w/bronzer). These fellas do some very slow mat sequences before Konnan hits a sit-out facebuster. Konnan transitions through a couple of submissions, takes a finger to the eye, and then eats a small beatdown from Lane. Lane kicks Konnan in the stomach and then promotes his ab bronzer to the corner camera. Konnan hops over a Lenny Lane charge and then gets a pin with a bridge that gets three because Lane doesn’t kick out in time, but Scott Dickinson calls it two anyway. They exchange a few pinning combos done at glacial pace until finally Konnan hits his signature cradle DDT and wraps on a Tequila Sunrise for the win. Well, that match happened.

 

  • Oh yeah, Curt Hennig was on crutches when he came out for that first Wolfpac interview, and Tony S. reminds me of this fact because he’s interviewing Hennig now. Or not, as Rude rips Tony S.’s mic away and, along with Hennig, gives us some insight into this whole sudden Hennig knee injury. They cut a crappy promo in which they pretend that they can’t say the word “perfect” because they’ll get sued, and then Hennig calls Konnan out to take his place in a bunch of house show matches against Goldberg so that Hennig can rest up for the PPV. Yeah, sure, whatever, I don’t give a fuck. This sucked. Oh wow, wait, I wrote that before Perfect called Goldberg “Bill Goldturd.” Truly an abomination of a segment.

 

  • Eddy Guerrero creeps on out here, looking to make sure that Chavo’s nowhere around. He’s got a title shot against Fit Finlay, but, uh, he seems a bit distracted. Dr. Harvey Schiller’s daughter is very bored in the front row, by the way. Finlay overpowers Eddy, who is freaking out between worrying about where Chavo is and pretending to hate the weak EDDY SUCKS chant. I should have written that more appropriately because they’re chanting it like this: eddy sucks. What sucks is this crowd, but I repeat myself. Anyway, these fellas wrestle a solid match where Finlay uses his power advantage and Eddy being slightly off to dominate.

 

  • Eddy fights back and manages to get a sleeper hold on, but Finlay powers Eddy up and hangs him on the top rope in a cool power spot. Eddy dodges again, drops a tope con hilo, and desperately tries to keep Finlay from catching his breath. Eddy loses control when trying to stand and strike with Finlay, but is able to get a back suplex and go back to work. That’s when Chavo runs into the ring and Billy Silverman, uh, immediately throws the match out? Why? Chavo didn’t do anything. He just tells Eddy that he loves him and asks for a match at GAB. What the fuck?

 

  • Chris Jericho, in a pre-tape, stands on the steps of Congress. He’s got on a blue suit and has a wild hairdo going. Apparently, no one in DC cares about J.J. Dillon or even knows who he is, and also, they want Jericho to leave the premises. So, hilariously, Jericho leaves the SCOTUS building claiming that he left a note with Clarence Thomas, which SHOOT, NOT KAYFABE might have happened considering what we know about Jericho. Anyway, this sketch is far less funny than I remember it. The idea is great even if the execution is mediocre, though. Jericho flips through books at the Library of Congress and bothers people on Capitol Hill in the first whiffed attempt at pro wrestling goodness that he’s made in a long time, though had you asked me before I saw this again, I would have sworn it was a classic cut.

 

  • Jericho comes to the ring next and calls out J.J. Dillon. Dillon’s super-bored by this and doesn’t bother coming to the ring, so Jericho gets aggy and makes a few Bloom County-level political observations that barely pass as jokes before Juvi Guerrera comes to the ring to wrestle him. Jericho shuts down an early Juvi flurry with power before Juvi gets going and hits a series of moves that end with Juvi dumping himself on the head while he hits a Frankensteiner from the top to a standing Jericho in the ring. Jericho gets a little room with a double-underhook backbreaker and a cocky pin, but gets rana’d into a two-count in short order. Juvi blows a DDT attempt that gets two even though it looked terrible, then hits a Juvi Driver and goes up for a 450. Jericho gets to his feet, crotches Juvi, and then goes through a sequence that ends with him blocking a rana and going for a Lion Tamer that Juvi escapes by grabbing the ropes.

 

  • Juvi comes back, ducks a Jericho lariat that spills Jericho to the floor, then drops Jericho with a rana from the apron to Jericho standing on the floor. Juvi gets back in the ring while Scott Dickinson faces Jericho at ringside and counts; Reese comes to the ring, hits Juvi from behind, and chokebombs him. Jericho steals a three-count after Reese leaves the ring. Well, that wasn’t very good. Jericho managed to miss both in a skit and in the ring. Juvi having a clear off night in terms of execution didn’t help.

 

  • We missed one of the matches in the Booker/Benoit Bo7 because I’m not covering WCWSN. We get a review of the three matches so far: Benoit won match one with a Crippler Crossface last Nitro. Booker won match two, which was FANTASTIC, by hitting a missile dropkick on the previous Thunder Interlude. In match three on WCWSN, Benoit found a way to get Booker up and over on a German Suplex with a bridge that earned a three count. Match four is next!

 

  • If I recall correctly, which is admittedly the likeliest thing, Benoit went up 3-1, lost the next two, the men drew the last match or Benoit won it by DQ or something like that, and they had an eighth match at GAB that Booker won in the same night he beat Finlay for the TV title. Let’s find out if I’m right!

 

  • Finlay comes out to the ramp to watch as Booker starts the match throwing forearms at Benoit; he catches a charging Benoit in a floatover powerslam for two. Booker continues to control until, in a transition that I usually don’t like, he tosses Benoit back in the ring after having zero issues with him on the outside and Benoit is suddenly just fine and ready to hit a bunch of stomps to take over.

 

  • This is a slower-paced match, which makes sense as these fellas are both more tentative, having made mistakes against one another in the past that got punished. Booker gets twos off all sorts of forearm-based offense, then goes to the chinlock. Back to standing, Book whiffs on a side kick and gets folded on a release German. The desk bickers about Karl Malone *sigh* while this dead crowd *sigh* does not enhance this perfectly okay match. They pop for a Booker axe kick and raise the roof to boot, so I'm glad to see they're alive out there. Book is rolling until he goes for a vertical suplex, at which point Benoit struggles out of it, locks on a Crippler Crossface, and gets Book to tap out about three or four inches from the ropes. Benoit leads 3-1. This match was solid, but that Thunder match might be the high point of this series. I should go back and watch the third match from SN, though.

 

  • I think the idea here behind the “Who will Sting join?” angle that they’ve been pushing all night is a good one. It’s analogous to an elite athlete hitting free agency; everyone wants to know where LeBron Sting is taking his talents to. It’s just not very well executed because it’s done in the same style that WCW does to flog everything else they really want to get over as a central angle. The desk even talked about this being like if Michael Jordan hit free agency as an example, as a matter of fact. Good idea, poor execution, down to replaying the Sting video that we saw to start the show after the desk, which has been talking about Sting throughout the other segments and matches, talks about Sting some more.

 

  • Scotty Riggs (w/Sick Boy) faces off with Diamond Dallas Page, who hasn’t really been on TV much after that big feud-ending win over Raven in a match that was wildly disappointing considering who was in it. The match layout was more the problem than the workers, though. Anyway, this match is short and gives the crowd what they want. Page fends off both men and hits Riggs with a TKO-style Diamond Cutter for an easy three. Post-match, he slips away from Sick Boy after Sick Boy jumps him and hits another Diamond Cutter. The crowd loves it. Really, we all do.

 

  • Craig Leathers and crew are on top of things tonight! They play some entrance music that isn’t La Parka’s for a good fifteen seconds before playing La Parka’s theme as La Parka comes down. Park’s being fed to Goldberg tonight, which is a definite step up from Goldberg’s usual fodder. Huge GOLDBERG chant even though I don’t really see anyone chanting. Maybe they’re off the hard camera, who knows. Don’t get me wrong, though, Goldberg signs are everywhere. Dude is definitely mad over. So, in a WILD SPOT to start, Parka threatens to hit Goldberg with the chair. Goldberg is like DO IT THEN, and Parka just wallops this dude with an unprotected shot to the head. Goldberg goes RAAAARGH, spears Parka, and Jackhammers him in fifteen seconds for the win. I don’t approve of the chair to the head, but if you’re gonna have an unprotected chair to the head, that seems like the spot you’d reserve that sort of thing for. I need to give Tony S. some credit for seeing that spear, chuckling in disbelief, and saying “It’s over” in a voice filled with nothing but wonder for Goldberg. That definitely enhanced the moment.

 

  • Buffer’s out to ring announce for the main event with seventeen whole minutes left on the clock! Aw, yeah! So, it’s Hogan and Giant versus Nash and Luger. They pose, they insult each other’s now logos, they preen, and the crowd is into it because this crowd is into the main eventers and maybe a couple midcarders. I mean, they’re not that into it, but I hear a steady noise above a murmur for one of the few times all night.

 

  • Luger scores first with a tiny shoulderblock that barely touches Hogan. The crowd really wants to see Nash, I think. They definitely want to see Nash wrestle Hogan. Then again, they’re just sort of tepid for this encounter, which you’d think they’d be hot for, right? Is this the first time Nash and Hogan have wrestled one another in this company? Nash and Giant are a good pairing and have a good segment, but TBH the Giant is far and away the best worker in this match, with Nash a distant second, and so when Luger or Hogan are in the ring, the match is just kind of there.

 

  • I do like Giant trying to beg off Luger, appealing to their past as tag champs, but Luger’s okay with all that. If I’m putting Giant/Big Show’s best opponents on a list, Luger and Nash are in the top four at worst. I contemplate this as Nash goes to work on Giant and Hogan hits him in the back with the World Championship belt for a DQ. Giant and Hogan work Nash over while Sting rappels down from the sky. Sting unhooks himself, walks past Luger, gets in the ring, and unzips his coat to reveal an nWo Hollywood shirt. Sting and Giant celebrate, which allows Sting to jump both of them, rip off his nWo Hollywood shirt (with some difficulty) and reveal an nWo Wolfpac shirt underneath. Luger hugs Sting (aw, that’s nice).

 

  • Do you think that J.J. Dillon has the kayfabe lucidity to understand just how AWFUL his pitch was?

 

  • This show wasn’t very good, and that’s not because of Hogan, necessarily, but I note that Hogan came back and we had a weak show for the first time since he left. Also, I’m taking a quarter splash off this final score because I do not approve of Sting wearing an nWo shirt in any colors, dammit! 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number nineteen – 04 June 1998

"The WCW Gang’s Very Confused about the WCW Tag Team Championships”

  • I’m almost halfway through WCW’s 1998…I have a desire to re-book this whole year…I’m not sure I’ve seen a company have a year like this…The potential for greatness is so much more than where the year has actually ended up so far…

 

  • After the obligatory “Sting joins the Wolfpac” recap, we get a run through of the matches in the Booker/Benoit Bo7 so far…Then, we get match five of that series, a must-win for Booker…Booker again dominates early with power and explosiveness…He lands an early Houston Side Kick for two…That spot, which usually comes later in the match, shows his urgency to get a win and get the series to a match six…Speaking of, Booker immediately scores an axe kick for another two-count…Lots of pinning attempts early by Book, who then opens up with strikes in the corner…

 

  • Benoit finally ducks a lariat and is able to hit rolling Germans out of desperation only a couple of minutes in….Benoit gets to his feet first and angrily suplexes Book a few times…He seems ticked about getting rolled so badly early on…Benoit slows the pace down…He decides to try the diving headbutt and hits it, but he rings his own bell…The cover is slow, and Book kicks out as Stevie Ray comes to ringside to fire Booker up…Book blocks a Crippler Crossface attempt and gets into the ropes…Stevie exhorts Booker to get to his feet…His encouragement gets Book to duck a Benoit attack and hit a roundhouse, then hit a spinebuster, a pancake, and a Spinaroonie in short order…Benoit takes advantage of Book spinning around for awhile to get up and hit a lariat…Benoit tosses Book over the ropes, but Book lands on the apron…Benoit loses his focus and jaws at Stevie, who is minding his own business outside…That costs Benoit the fall, as after talking smack, he turns around into a missile dropkick that keeps him down for three…

 

  • Booker is definitely one of Benoit’s five best opponents…I think re-watching this series cements that opinion for me…They are both so explosive offensively that they have these aesthetically pleasing matches centered around their similarly impactful styles…I could watch them have a best-of-99…

 

  • The Giant comes down to gab…He hits steals the Scott Hall HEY YO to start… If I’m saying Hogan steals Savage’s OH YEAH all the time, I gotta be fair in this case, too…Giant’s disappointed in Sting’s choice…He’s mostly disappointed because Sting slammed him…I’d think he should be more disappointed that Sting chose Kevin Nash over him…The Giant has decided that Sting isn’t the champ anymore and now Crush is his co-champ and tag partner…Wow, from Sting to Crush, what a downgrade…I think we see where this is going, and as someone who loved Sting and Giant’s Slamboree ’96 match, I’m for it…Oh no, Giant lets Crush talk…That’s a real shame…Giant and Crush challenge Lex Luger and a partner of Luger’s choice to a tag title match later tonight…Hmmm, I wonder whom Luger will choose?...

 

  • Reese comes to the ring to represent the Flock…former Flock member Van Hammer is his opponent…There’s a neat spot here where Reese reverses an Irish whip and then just holds onto Hammer’s arm as Hammer charges…Hammer takes a giant face flop while Reese celebrates…I genuinely enjoy this little TV match…a normie wrestler vertically suplexing another normie wrestler is whatever…Reese suplexing Van Hammer is spectacular…Hammer wrestles small reasonably well for a big man here…Hammer finally gets Reese down with a series of lariats…He celebrates his hard-won knockdown, which is when Horace Hogan jumps on the apron and hits him with a STOP sign…One chokebomb later, and Reese wins and initiates a Flock beatdown of Hammer…Juvi Guerrera comes out for the save (!) and clears the ring of everyone but Reese…Hammer pulls Juvi to safety before Reese can get at him…Uh, I am unironically stoked for a Hammer/Juvi vs. Reese/??? match…

 

  • Alex Wright dances out (terribly, of course)…So, Eddy Guerrero, his opponent, rushes out to the ring…What a nervous little power walk he’s got going, haha…Eddy grabs a mic and addresses Chavo Jr. being driven to lunacy (by Eddy, don’t forget)…Eddy blames caffeine, stress, and constipation (?!) as possible issues that are driving Chavo's deteriorating mental health…HAHAHAHAHA, Eddy did in fact set up Chavo for a session with Penzer’s Dad the Shrink…If you're an optimist, Eddy shows Chavo grace and asks him to get well, no matter how long it takes away from the ring...Or, if you're a pessimist, cynically tries to get Chavo out of wrestling in the short term so that he can duck their GAB match…

 

  • Eddy and Wright have a short match…That’s because Chavo comes out and charges Wright, who dodges him…The ref calls for a DQ while Chavo does a mock Alex Wright dance and then chases Eddy away from the ring, begging for Eddy to hit him…Chavo Jr. rules, man…Wright leaves the ringside area, dancing (still terribly, of course)…

 

  • Tony S. is in the ring immediately after that match…He introduces Lex Luger for interview time…Luger talks about the Wolfpac being excited about Sting joining…Luger claims that the Wolfpac should all take equal credit for that one, but the rest of the Wolfpac has made Luger head of recruitment for the group…This group should be elite, so yeah, no need to do a whole lot of recruiting…Luger surprises me here because instead of choosing Sting as his tag partner, he chooses the next guy he wants to recruit…And it’s Diamond Dallas Page…The crowd is very much behind this choice…

 

  • I wish they’d give Psicosis more to do than to wrestle random TV matches…He’s got a TV title shot against Fit Finlay tonight…Finlay works to ground Psicosis with power moves…Finlay makes liberal use of the ring ropes and the apron to beat Psicosis down…Psicosis finally gets knees up on a splash attempt…Finlay has no issues eating Psicosis’s offense and fighting back with a forward slam and a Tombstone for three…I’m bummed that Psicosis got rolled here…This should have been more competitive…

 

  • More Sting-joins-the-Wolfpac recap…This is going to be like when Sting joined the Main Event Mafia, but just dipped out whenever the rest of the MEM decided to do some vile heel shit, isn’t it?...

 

  • I feel like Bisch sort of dropped the Glacier/Saturn superkick feud to do something different with Saturn…I want resolution to that dumb midcard mini-feud, dammit…Just as I complain about that, Saturn pops up while Glacier poses…Great, we’re going to blow this off right quick…Glacier doesn’t see or even sense Saturn, who pops him with a release German as the bell rings…Saturn rolls Glacier with a bunch of entertaining offense…Glacier gets a boot up on a corner charge and hits some less entertaining offense…That doesn’t last long…Cool move where Saturn hangs Glacier up on the ropes and then hits him with a facecrusher into the buckles…Man, Saturn is the best…Lodi gets on the apron, Glacier goes after him, and Saturn goes after Glacier…The ref is knocked out in the scrum…Saturn hits a superkick on Glacier, then calls for a new ref…That ref is actually Kanyon in a stupid wig…He hits a Flatliner on Saturn…Glacier accepts the help from his old enemy…A Glacier Cryonic Kick gets a surprising three count…Saturn's probably not going to be happy about a rehired Flock member drawing the diversion that got the ref crushed and gave Glacier his opening to win...

 

  • Curt Hennig (w/crutches and phony injury) cuts a mediocre promo on Goldberg…This goof says “kick my address” instead of "kick my ass"…Shut the fuck up, Hennig…Konnan comes out next and shouts out Kevin Nash, who is not here tonight…Konnan is taking Hennig's place in that match against Goldberg at GAB, I guess…Is Hennig trying very hard to look like he doesn’t belong in Wolfpac with this mic work?...He belongs in Piper’s Family at this point…

 

  • Silver King wrestles Dean MalenkoTony S. validates that Jericho was actually a victim of a conspiracy…I mean, yeah technically he was, but don’t give him a talking point, stupid…This match is whatever until Chris Jericho comes to the ring…Jericho rings the timekeeper’s bell to just cause Silver King and the ref to sort of disperse, I guess, and grabs a mic…He confronts Malenko with his latest batch of evidence…A 1934 NWA wrestling rulebook that he claims to have found in his trip to the Library of Congress…He cites the “Ed ‘The Strangler’ Lewis loophole” which indicates that a champion is given right of first refusal for any opponenet, and since Jericho never got to exercise that right, he’s still champ…That’s actually pretty good, Jericho…Jericho demands the belt back “by the power of the written law”…Dean thinks about doing it for a second until Jericho insults his dead daddy and yells GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW, at which point Malenko belt shots him and walks away…Jericho: OH, OH MY HEAD…Whiny Jericho is hilarious, not gonna lie…

 

  • Hooray, we get a Disco Inferno match…Could you believe it when that goof Cody Rhodes tried to style on Disco a few years back on Twitter or X or Stormfront Social or whatever Elon’s calling it now?...Disco is way more entertaining than Cody Rhodes…I hate to talk down the man who ended racism, but it ain’t close as far as who has entertained me more over the years in my view…Raven is Disco’s opponent, and he’s very angry tonight because of Kanyon lurking around and inserting himself into Flock business…They have this random little TV brawl that I dig…Disco hits a wrist tape-assisted spinning neckbreaker that looks cool…Raven dumps Disco outside and tosses him into the stairs…Raven gets a chair and uses it liberally…Raven tries a hip toss into the chair, but Disco reverses with a chair-assisted facebuster….Raven’s able to get a drop toehold on Disco into the chair…One Evenflow DDT later, and Raven is a winner…

 

  • Raven sticks around to call Kanyon out…Raven notes that he’s by himself, no Saturn, Flock, or riot cops…He lays down and dares Kanyon to come fight him…I like the idea of paranoid Raven, but I think Kanyon needed to hit a few more weeks of sneak attacks for me to buy that Kanyon has driven Raven to this level of suspicion and paranoia…

 

  • Hugh Morrus is out to get squashed by Goldberg again…Morrus has Barbarian backing him up at ringside this time around…Barb and Morrus jump Goldberg, and I guess maybe this is a handicap match?...I guess so since the ref doesn’t immediately call for a DQ…Jimmy Hart goes up for a crossbody…Goldberg catches him, tosses him to Morrus and Barb, and spears all three of them at the same time…Jackhammer to Barb, Jackhammer to Morrus, and we’re out…

 

  • It's tag match time…Will Page join Luger in the ring?...The answer is yes…Now, the last time Page and Luger were a tag team, they struggled at the whole “clear communication” thing…Well, at least Luger got Page out here…That’s step one to getting him into the Wolfpac…

 

  • Luger’s in control until he ducks into a weak Crush piledriver…Luger plays FIP…I like Giant torqueing Luger’s leg while standing on his neck…Why wasn’t the Giant a bigger star, dammit?!...If Luger’s going to do the whole “gets destroyed by his opponent before a late comeback” dealie, there are worse ways to do it than getting side Russian’d by the freaking Giant…Giant hits his first bad move of the match…That move?...He tags Crush back in…The Giant misses an elbowdrop, which allows Page to get the hot tag…Page preps the Diamond Cutter on Crush, but Giant pulls him down by his hair…Sting runs out and distracts the Giant while Page hits Crush with a rebound Diamond Cutter in the ring…The crowd tosses stuff into the ring while Page covers Crush for three…So uh, are Page and Luger the champs, or are we getting a Dusty finish via J.J. Dillon and the WCW Championship Committee?...Hey, we’re going to get Dillon on the phone right now to confirm…Yeah, Dillon and the good ol’ committee are going to overturn this title win…The committee demands a Giant/Sting match for possession of the tag belts…Well, that’s a letdown…This feels a bit too bait-and-switchy for me…

 

  • I still very much enjoyed this show, though…Lots of good matches and I am digging most of these storylines right now, to boot…I grade this with a WOOOOO
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Show #144 – 08 June 1998

"The one with a collection of the worst mic work that I've ever seen in my life"

  • We are not far from the Great American Bash, and I for one am excited about this show (and about my shadow mini project of watching 1998’s WWF Big Five PPV competitors to their sister WCW shows: In this case, the ‘98 King of the Ring).

 

  • We’re still talking about Sting and his latest big decision, and the people talking includes the fans in the Detroit suburbs, who Tenay interviews in a pre-tape. This group of young fans look like they’ve stepped out of the extras pool for 8 Mile, as is appropriate for this time and place.

 

  • Leathers and Co. hit the nWo Hollywood theme…for ten seconds. Then they cut it. Then there’s an awkward silence. Then they hit the nWo Wolfpac theme. Great work, folks! Sting is entirely out of place in this group. I can squint and get there with Luger, who is actually also out of place. But Sting, uh, no. I mean, he’s not Hennig-level out of place, but still. The fans love ‘em, though!

 

  • Anyway, they take a lot of time to invite Page to join them. In a nice touch, Nash notes that the vote to add Page was almost unanimous while Savage acts irritated that he was outvoted. Nash chatters on until Hogan, who has stolen the controls for the lights and mics – strike two, Leathers, you imbecile! – cuts Nash's mic. From a spot in a skybox, Hogan, Rodman, and Bisch chill out together as Hogan cuts a terrible promo.

 

  • Hogan says, and I went back in the video to get this exactly right, “Me and Rodzilla, we be takin’ over, brah” in a blaccent that only a doofus-y Florida man could do. He also complains about Nash’s, and again I quote, “bum copycat rap,” which a) is funny from a man who steals Savage’s catchphrases every night and b) who is desperately trying to be urban, but doesn’t know the phrase “biting my style,” which is what he would have used here if he actually were cool.

 

  • Anyway, Hogan is awful. I mean, in a way, this is excellent heel work, but in another, more accurate way, this is a man desperately trying to fit into the 1998 wrestling scene and failing miserably. That he accidentally did reasonable heel work here (as turn-the-channel annoying as it was) is neither here nor there.

 

  • Now we come back from a break and Konnan accosts J.J. Dillon in the back about all the Hogan hijinks. J.J. Dillon calls Konnan “K-Dogg,” and I’m through, I’m finished, I can’t take anymore of this right now. Anyway, Dillon is, reasonably enough, disinterested in helping the Wolfpac out and tells them to handle that shit themselves.

 

  • Hey, it’s a match! That match is Jerry Flynn versus Yuji Nagata, sure, but it’s a match! Honestly, Flynn takes a corner bump out to the floor on a missed kick, so at least he’s trying to entertain me. Commentary talks about anything but this match while the crowd chants out of boredom and Jerry Flynn tries as hard as he can to do something interesting that will hold someone’s, anyone’s attention. Flynn goes for a submission, but Nagata gets a rope break and Onoo distracts Flynn shortly afterward. That leads to a Nagata basement dropkick to Flynn’s knee and a Figure Four Nagata Lock that ends the match. I feel like this wasn’t the match to really get your crowd hot for some great wrestling action, but it wasn’t a sin against wrestling or anything like that.

 

  • Tony S. interviews Chris Jericho on the ramp. Jericho shows up with an envelope from a company named Airborne Express that apparently really existed at this time. He claims that he’s got a certified letter from Ted Turner himself that will help him get his just due. I mean, this is a great letter in which Jericho reads out that a) Turner loves his great work as a wrestler, b) Jericho’s tenacity and drive reminds Turner of himself as a young man hustling to become a billionaire, and c) Jane says “hi.”

 

  • So, at this point, I’m dying, thinking that Jericho wrote this letter himself in kayfabe and is trying to pass it off as Turner’s, especially when Turner agrees that the whole Malenko/Ciclope thing was kinda hinky and that Malenko shouldn’t be champ. But actually, the (even better!) punchline is that Turner did kayfabe write it and Jericho didn’t bother to read the letter before coming to this interview, because he reads out loud to the end in which Turner chastises Jericho for all of his recent whining and tells him “tough luck.” I mean, look, this is amazing. Jericho sobs and yells WHAT ABOUT JAAAAANE before crying into the letter as Tony S. remarks, “This is sad.” Editor's note: The contrast between this amazing mic work from Jericho and the mic work from pretty much everyone else on this show is staggering. 

 

  • Do you think that Jericho is able to soldier on as a fifty-something pro wrestler because he really deep-down believes that, contrary to all evidence, he’ll ever do anything as great as this heel run ever in his career again? Because if it were me, I am certain that I would have had the realization that, Man, I’ll never be quite that good again after the WCW run was over. But I guess that’s why he's made it in pro wrestling for thirty years and I just watch and review. That’s not a knock, either! It's just, this guy peaked right here before it was even the new millennium. He’s done very good stuff since then, but nothing he’s done has been as all-time great as this run. I don't know, it'd be hard if I had the sudden realization that my best years were in high school 1998 WCW. 

 

  • Horace Hogan and Reese are a tag team tonight. Flanked by the Flock, they make it to the ring to face Van Hammer and Juventud Guerrera. I mean, I’d rather Reese tagged with Kidman for this one, but fine, Horace Hogan being involved isn’t going to get me to back off my interest in this match. Van Hammer is all like THAT’S ONE ANGRY MEXICAN, BROTHER while pointing at Juvi, and he seems excited about tagging with said angry Mexican gentleman. Last Thunder, Hammer yelled STOP THE VIOLENCE…LATER into the camera and both Tony S. and Lee Marshall were confused by it, not having seen any of the PSAs or knowing about the album, I guess. Hammer yelling dumb shit into the camera is fast becoming one of my favorite little week-to-week things.

 

  • This match is neat. There are some cool spots, like Juvi blind tagging Hammer and then senton splashing Reese down before raining punches upon him. There’s also Juvi plancha-ing onto Reese and Horace, getting caught, and then getting help from Hammer following up with a plancha of his own to help knock both Flock members over. The crowd is into this, and so am I. This is some good WCW-ass WCW stuff here.

 

  • Hammer plays FIP for a bit and Horace Hogan acquits himself well enough in control. Hammer fights back and hits a Shinonomake Slam for two before tagging Juvi in for a guillotine legdrop on Horace. Juvi eventually gets caught and plays FIP; Horace does most of the work as Reese chills on the apron. Juvi gets a two count on a counter and then, after more of a beating, hits a Frankensteiner out of nothing. That still doesn’t get him enough space to get a hot tag. Finally, Juvi turns on a top-rope suplex attempt and gets a tag. Hammer goes to work, and after two lariats and a flying lariat, finally knocks Reese down. Back in the ring, Juvi tries a top-rope rana on Reese, but gets caught and chokebombed for three. This hit “charming uniquity” status for me. I think it was actually pretty good for what it was from a ringwork standpoint, too!

 

  • nWo Hollywood and some random models/exotic dancers hang out in their skybox. Hogan basically says that Nash skips leg day and that Hogan wants his money back for all those powerbomb fines he paid. Rodman drops cigar ash on a model somewhere in there, I think. It’s as bad a television segment as you’d expect it to be.

 

  • We start hour number two with a J.J. Dillon interview. Exciting! He just reiterates the same shit he said on Thunder last week about the Sting/Giant match at GAB.

 

  • Scott Putski is making a random “second-gen wrestler has a Nitro match” appearance, which is one of the things that I love about this show. He draws Eddy Guerrero as his opponent. They have a decent, pacey little match. Eddy stuffs Putski’s opening flurry with a dropkick to the head, then goes to work with European uppercuts and chops. Putski has a lot of “trying my hardest to get a big break energy,” which makes this TV match an enjoyable one. Putski’s prone to charging in and getting caught. Putski launches Eddy out of an abdominal stretch with a huge release German that looks nasty and that gets 2.9. The crowd is very quiet for this, which is too bad as these guys are trying to work at an admirable level for TV wrestling. Anyway, Eddy and Putski go back and forth in control a bit before Eddy dodges a press slam attempt and fires a dropkick Putski’s knee. That’s when Chavo comes down and runs Eddy out of the ring; Scott Dickinson calls for the bell, and Putski is headed that Chavo caused what I assume is a no contest. Chavo pretends to apologize, then clocks Putski and tries to chase down Eddy. Good match, and we got a little angle reinforcement on top.

 

  • Kevin Nash and Konnan respond to Hogan from somewhere in the back. Nash, who apparently actually knows a black person or two from home or at least watches some damn BET, declares that Hogan had, uh, and I quote, “fifteen skeezers sharing one bottle of Dom” before declaring that everyone who knows anything is drinking Cristal now anyway. Nash was clearly watching a shitload of Def Jam Comedy and Rap City at this time. He also insinuates that Hogan is gay for him and that he (Nash, that is) has a large penis. Nash asks Rodman why Rodman’s hanging out with “White Boys R ‘Us” before the segment ends. Look, he said that, I didn’t make it up. In kayfabe, Nash just replaced Hall with a new friend who is an actual Latino for the cred, didn’t he?

 

  • Now we have Bisch, Giant, and the fifteen skeezers gainfully employed women who deserve basic respect, all out here cutting a promo. I can’t express how much this show has sucked so far, and these endless promo wars are the biggest reason. Anyway, these cornballs threaten Sting.

 

  • It’s another interview! Hooray! Tony S. will interview Konnan, *sigh* Curt Hennig, and Rick Rude. How did they decide who would join the Wolfpac, anyway? I want to talk to the booking committee about this shit. Rude cuts a promo that would be fine if this were 1992 WCW. Hennig cuts a promo that is at least acceptable in general. Konnan, the one with the era-relevant charisma, declares that he’ll beat Goldberg at GAB. Was this segment a necessary use of anyone’s time?

 

  • Booker T. and Chris Benoit come out here to try and save this show from complete oblivion. The desk chatters on and on about WCW’s PR department making a huge announcement on Thunder, when in fact, maybe they should be recounting how we get to this sixth match in the Book/Benoit Bo7 or the must-win situation that Book is in down 3-2 in the series? Maybe. This match starts out slower, with both men being cagey and looking like they don’t want to make any mistakes. These fellas know each other well by now, so Benoit ducks a spin kick early. Book has to bust out something new – in this case, a hammerlock slam – to get a little purchase in this match. My argument is that Benoit should be aggressive here, trying to kill off Book before Book can last too long, but I can see a kayfabe reason that Benoit is tentative. He hasn’t been able to win a title and the pressure is probably getting to him (let’s ignore those off-television TV title switches since they never got acknowledged, of course). That makes sense as part of this story to me; the desk should probably push it more.

 

  • Book uses his power to keep Benoit grounded, going for impact moves and covers whenever he can. The second he tries to run with Benoit again, he tries a flying forearm and whiffs. Benoit hits a few strikes and hangs Booker up on the ropes with a front suplex. Benoit is so tentative, in fact, and Book catches him with a small package for two. Benoit moves more quickly for a bit after that, but goes back to being slow. Funny enough, Heenan is telling the opposite story on commentary, that they’re going at it with reckless abandon because of the stakes of the match, and that doesn’t at all match what’s actually happen on screen. The desk has been bad all night, but it’s been truly awful in this match – and then they bicker for a bit, wonderful. Heenan and Schiavone actually do shoot bitch at each other in there, I think.

 

  • Anyway, Benoit lands a flying headbutt that is, as usual, gnarly. Benoit sells it, and Booker rolls away toward the ropes, which is helpful when he uses the ropes to stop the eventual count. Stevie Ray comes back to ringside to support/shame/yell at Booker. Benoit stomps Book a bit before Stevie pulls Booker out of the ring to yell at him some more, and of course, he holds him there so Benoit can follow up. Still, Booker fights back, though a wild swing gets him caught in a bridging German suplex that gets two.

 

  • Back to standing, Booker lands a roundhouse kick, then a spinebuster. He hits a pancake and Spinaroonies up, but again, the Spinaroonie gives Benoit enough time to grab Book and fling him headfirst into the buckles. Benoit picks up the pace a bit, throwing strikes in the corner, and Irish whips Book into the other corner. Book floats over a charging Benoit and hooks him into a sunset flip that gets three. A frustrated Benoit immediately kicks Booker’s wheels out from under him before being backed off by Stevie. I’m sure the upcoming Thunder will have a decisive seventh match! That match was solid, made better if you followed the whole series and dug the underlying psychology, but undercut by awful commentating.

 

  • Hogan and Bret Hart are chilling in the nWo skyboxnow, and let me tell you, Hogan is really trying so, so hard. It’s uncomfortable and sad watching this guy embarrass himself. Anyway, Hogan steals a bunch of Savage’s catchphrases and calls Liz in so that he can proclaim that he’ll be fucking her later on that night. I swear that this is an accurate summary of Hogan’s interview. Oh, and I guess Liz defected to nWo Hollywood or whatever. I don’t care.

 

  • Hey, Norman EFFIN’ Smiley! Let’s give him more to do. He’s getting a TV title shot against Finlay for some reason, likely his 32-match winning streak on Pro that I will assume he’s on right now. I like both guys, but this is pretty much a nothing match. Not bad, not good, just perfectly acceptable. There is a spot where Finlay swings at Smiley and hits the ringpost and there’s a loud PING just like in an AKI game, but Finlay shakes it off while the crowd, bored to death by Finlay and tired of chanting BO-RING, does the wave. This crowd SUCKS. Finlay hits a forward slam and a Tombstone for three.

 

  • This show has been awfully bad, and I’m ready for it to be over, but no, we’re just starting hour number three. Tony S. interviews Sting in the ring to start the hour. Sting howls like a wolf. Leathers plays the wolf howl over the PA in response. Strike three, you should be OUTTTTT of a job, you fuck! Sting stops himself from saying the word “ass” and says “booty” instead. This promo depresses me. Why are they ruining Bret Hart and Sting? I don’t get it, and I don’t like it. Sting cuts a barely-mediocre promo, crotch chops, and leaves. Then, Tony S. says he’ll be talking to Roddy Piper next, after the break.

 

  • If I could switch to RAW right now, I would.

 

  • Piper gets a cheap pop by shouting out the Red Wings, which the morons in the crowd eat up. He threatens to put moves on Hogan and the Hitman like Barry Sanders and that he’ll hit ‘em as hard as the Detroit Red Wings. Crowd: LET’S GO RED WINGS. Everyone in this segment can fuck right off. EVERYONE. Piper insinuates that Rodman is gay because that’s, like, the WORST thing you can possibly be, obviously, and in general cuts a promo so bad that Hulk Hogan is feeling pretty good about his output tonight by comparison. Savage comes out to respond as Piper calls Savage all of these things: a) Dr. Jekyll, b) Mr. Hyde, c) Cybill Savage. Yes, I'm sure the twenty-something males who are populating this crowd is up on how Bruce Willis and Chuck Lorre feel about Cybill Shepherd, Piper, you stupid fuck. These two fellas talk shit to one another in the corniest way possible, with Piper most to blame for how awful this is.

 

  • Then, and you’re going to LOVE this, Hogan cuts back in on the house mic to call Piper and Savage "girls," since that’s the SECOND WORST thing you can possibly be, obviously. Fucking KILL ME. Ick, now he calls Liz out, and she makes out with Bischoff so that Savage can see it. This is the worst segment I’ve seen on WCW television so far. It makes me long for the Piper’s Family segment. Hogan’s like U NEED VIAGRA SAVAGE OOH YEAH and everyone in the crowd laughs because he said the word “Viagra” (tm) and then Savage declares that he’s over Liz, but not Hogan because they really do have an unresolved relationship that they need to address. He also has unresolved issues with Piper, and he clocks Piper after saying so. Piper hits Savage back. I feel like I kinda hate pro wrestling, sort of. Thanks, WCW!

 

  • Not even the fun of Disco Inferno, and also Disco Inferno’s theme song, can bring me back into this show. Disco works a very quick little TV match with Dean Malenko. Disco actually looks strong here, scoring a series of two counts before the abrupt finish: A Malenko leg lariat sets Disco up for a Texas Cloverleaf. Disco tries to fight it, but Malenko is able to get him turned over for the win. Hey, this would have been great if it had more time! But, I mean, what could possibly have been cut to give this match more time?

 

  • *sigh* Oh man, we had so much fun when Hogan was off shooting a shitty movie or whatever. Now he’s back and has had about eighteen segments tonight. Fuck, now we’ve got another nWo video where Hulk Hogan (and Scott Steiner) rope a bunch of actors on a direct-to-video movie set into helping them cut an awkward promo. I love me some Carl Weathers and feel angry that he was roped into participating in this video. This segment made me sort of dislike Scott Steiner in this moment, which is an unforgivable sin.

 

  • Chavo Jr.’s getting murked by Goldberg tonight. Heenan is execrable on commentary during this match. Chavo doesn’t score a single offensive move. Goldberg hits that gorilla press-into-powerslam move that looks cool. Spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT. Eddy enjoys the carnage from the top of the ramp.

 

  • The Wolfpac comes to the ring to officially offer DDP a place in the gang. Page is met at the top of the ramp by Tony S. so that he can give his decision. Page insists on saying “Hollywood SCUM Hogan” and then cuts a promo that, while it’s not great, is pretty much like Dusty talking about hard times when you put it in the context of this show. Page looks like he’s going to agree to join, but Rodman and Hogan jump him with chair shots before he can say anything definitive. I. Don’t. Care.

 

  • I’m not sure I’ve seen a show with so much talking where the talking is also so low in quality. Jericho aside, of course, who was amazing, but who couldn't possibly save the rest of this utter garbage passing as compelling mic work on this show. 

 

  • The challenge of scoring this thing is that I know that shows booked by Vince Russo are still to come. How low can I go when I know that Russo shows are probably going to take me even lower than that? I thought about this, and I don’t think that I can let that truth cause me to artificially inflate a pre-Russo Nitro score. Hell, I have negative numbers to work with. The bottom is endless. Anyway, Jericho's promo tacks a full .25 splash onto this score for being so good. 1.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes
Edited by SirSmUgly
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