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18 hours ago, SirSmUgly said:

At least Warrior is so bad that he swings back around and can be kinda fun, which is more than I can say for either Hogan or Piper. 

i am quoting this so that we can circle back after the next two months of TV and see if you feel the same way.

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Show #154 – 17 August 1998


  • Tony S. notes that tonight’s show is the only live wrestling show on this Monday. However, that wouldn’t have stopped me from switching to a taped RAW right from the jump because “Rockhouse” is playing and Bisch is out here pretending to be an airplane while Hogan strums an air guitar. The Giant and the Disciple are out here, too. Hogan does his typical delusional heel drivel. He calls out Goldberg for a title match tonight. Then he notes this: “There’s not one man I haven’t beat.” I see where this is headed. Hey, did Hogan ever beat Goldberg, actually? I’m surprised he didn’t try to politic his way into beating Goldberg in 2004 WWE or whatever.


  • Anyway, what Hogan actually says is that the Giant will face Goldberg for the title tonight and that Giant will hand over the belt when he wins it. I am steadfast in my belief that giving the Goldberg/Hogan title switch away on TV was fine, but failing to follow up by giving Goldberg all these marquee matchups he has on PPV is a dreadful mistake. You give away the hook of a Goldberg title reign for free and then get people to pay for all the never-before-seen Goldberg main event title defenses on subsequent PPVs. Goldberg/Giant should have been on either Road Wild or on Fall Brawl, not on Nitro.


  • Break. Title Card. Fireworks. More yammering about how Nitro is live and not taped.


  • Psicosis/Juvi is our next match. Oops, no, that match doesn't happen. Specifically, no match happens next. We just get Gene Okerlund talking to J.J. Dillon. Dillon teases that Hogan hasn’t beaten everybody (coughWarriorcough), then talks about the War Games match at Fall Brawl for awhile. This War Games is a 3x3x3 matchup. Hulk Hogan (Hollywood), Kevin Nash (Wolfpac), and Diamond Dallas Page (WCW) are the captains. I remember nothing about a triple threat War Games match, but I know who wins already because – accidental spoilers from the past! – Dillon says that the winner will get a shot at the World Champ at Havoc.


  • Nitro Girls routine. Nitro party footage. Thirteen minutes in (not counting commercials), and still no match until…


  • Psicosis/Juvi, oops, wrong again, I mean Mongo McMichael/Sick Boy finally gets the action going. The most interesting thing about this match is Tony S. and Mike Tenay spoiling the taped RAW and its big title match between Steve Austin and the Undertaker and noting that it’s going very short and ending very unsatisfactorily (Kane shows up; yep, that’s usually an unsatisfactory thing to happen). Then they claim that they’ll actually deliver on a legit World title match tonight. On an old 83 Weeks I was listening to yesterday, I heard Eric Bischoff claim that he didn’t keep an eye on RAW to see what they were programming against him. Here’s where I’d insert the supercut of Jonathan Frakes saying variations of “That’s a lie” if the board was agreeable to me adding YouTube videos. The match itself is a thing that exists. Sick Boy misses a dropkick by a good six inches, but Mongo bumps for it anyway. Mongo wins with a Mongo Spike to end a match that was longer than it needed to be.


  • DDP has an interview with Mean Gene. Who are Page’s War Games partners? Welp, Page teases Warrior as a partner. Page goes on to talk about that whole beatdown he caught before his U.S. Championship match against Bret Hart a few weeks back, and on cue, Bret Hart shows up. Bret Hart significantly outworks Page on the mic, which, uh, I enjoy heel Bret a lot, but that shouldn’t be happening. Page challenges Bret to a title match and Bret’s response is pretty amazing. He lists off all the guys he put out of WCW and then says that the only reason Luger’s not dead in the back is that he's Sting’s friend, which got a chuckle out of me. Bret accepts the match and I’m gonna be honest, I’m rooting for the guy against this cornball Page. One of the most surprising elements of this rewatch has been how strongly I dislike babyface DDP. As much as I love heel Page, I really cannot stand babyface Page.


  • We come back from break and Okerlund is still out here so that he can interview Raven. Fuck me, all this mediocre talking when WCW specializes in good matches. Horace Hogan, AKA the entertaining Hogan (somehow?!), comes out to verbally shit on Raven while Raven stands there and coolly takes it. Horace cuts a reasonable enough promo in which he wants to beat Raven up for a third show in a row or whatever, and Raven agrees to a tag match: Raven and Saturn against Horace and Kanyon. I should note here that Saturn and Raven are having a match at Fall Brawl in which the winner determines the future of the Flock. Saturn and Kanyon eventually agree to participate in this match, and J.J. Dillon slouches toward Bethlehem waddles back out here to make the match. He adds the stips that if either tag partner attacks the other or refuses a tag during the match, they’ll eat a three-month suspension and that the match must end by pinfall or submission. 


  • Hey, it’s High Voltage! Robbie Rage! The other one who’s way less interesting! They’re facing the Boogie Knights, and I am intrigued. There’s sadly no Tokyo Magnum tonight, though. Rage and Wright have an opening in which they trade wristlocks before Wright intricately escapes and hits a dropkick. Wright tries to run and gets powerslammed and press slammed instead. Wright regains control and tags Disco, who either hits a piledriver, or dances a lot and allows Rage to hit him with a lariat, you guess which one of those actually happened. Not-Rage enters the ring, but it’s decent and Rage and not-Rage hit a double-team flying bulldog. This is a pretty fun and competitive match, so of course, here’s Meng to kill these guys off with TDGs. I love Meng, but couldn’t we have sent him in on the Mongo/Sick Boy match instead? I wanted to see where this tag match was going. The crowd loves it, though. They egg Meng on as Meng considers TDG’ing Billy Silverman (he lands on a strong "I think I will" and does it), then pop huge when Meng TDG’s one security member. They pop even more hugely when Meng walks through a mace attack from another security member and TDG’s that guy, too. OK, that ruled, but still, maybe do it in the middle of a different match.


  • Eddy Guerrero is totally directionless right now for some reason. He’s one of the most over heels on the roster. Why isn’t he deep into an angle? The Chavo thing just sort of halted. Wait, maybe they’re giving him something to do; he comes out in street clothes and rolls a wheelie luggage. Eddy’s SHOOTIN’ and actually says what I just said about him being totally directionless now. To paraphrase, Eddy says this: I'm totally directionless right now what the fuck, Bisch, maybe I'll go to WWF instead. Sure, eventually that's an option, but we're still a bit early. We’re entering the worked shoot era that would influence guys like CM Punk to cut some of the corniest promos I’ve had the displeasure of seeing on television. I ultimately blame Brian Pillman. Anyway, Eddy’s like I’M BEING HELD BACK, YO. He cuts a subpar promo because frankly, as great a promo guy as he is, this worked shoot stuff fucking SUCKS and is the WORST. He drones on and on, and I don’t blame him for being boring and shitty. I blame Bischoff for trying to book a non-OG nWo angle that’s edgy, that Harley-riding doofus. I guess this is where the whole lWo thing starts, huh? Anyway, this promo borders on monumentally bad, with Eddy losing his train of thought multiple times and quietly blowing off the Chavo Jr. feud by saying that he actually likes the guy and doesn’t want to get him fired for ranting. This stunk.


  • I think I was okay with Jericho/Malenko basically ending with Malenko inadvertently helping Juvi beat Jericho for the Cruiserweight Championship and then Jericho just being cool with that and winning the TV title a day later instead. It’s weak, especially with Jericho not complaining about direct interference from ref Dean Malenko of all people when that’s exactly what he’d do normally, but whatever. They could have just blown that feud off with the Rey Misterio Jr. return match and it would have been a stronger ending. Or, you know, ending it with Malenko-as-Ciclope winning the belt months earlier. Anyway, any of those endings to that feud are at least decent. On the other hand, Eddy/Chavo Jr. petering out like this is pretty bad. Bisch and his booking team not being able to effectively and definitively end an angle is a real problem.


  • Kanyon/Horace versus Raven/Saturn kicks off hour number two. Raven’s shirt says “Dinosaur Jr.” I don’t know what’s going on with that shirt, but I like it. Saturn and Raven struggle to get along far more than Horace and Kanyon do. Saturn still launches both of them in between jawing at Raven, but Horace scores with a big boot to take control. Saturn is a guy in peril for a minute, but he kicks out of a backbreaker at two and then is saved by Raven crotching Kanyon and tagging himself in to boot. Raven and Saturn function as a team for a bit to control Kanyon; Raven then decides that it’s time to bring a trusty chair into the ring. He sets it up and tries to hit a top rope cutter on Kanyon into the chair seat, but Kanyon blocks it and Raven with a facecrusher into the chair instead. Horace gets a hot tag and goes right at Raven. Horace gets two off a floatover powerslam, then two off a top-rope splash.


  • The match breaks down here and all four men go at it. Raven gets crunched into Saturn in the corner and Saturn topples over and headbutts Raven in the jewels. The crowd pops. People love that spot. Kanyon and Horace get 2.9 on a nice neckbreaker/sit-out powerbomb combo. The crowd was into that spot, too. Kanyon hits an elevated facebuster while Horace gets the STOP sign. Kanyon holds Saturn up for a sign shot, yada yada yada, Saturn hits Horace with a DVD for three. Sorry, I’ve been bingeing Seinfeld lately. What happened in that yada was that Horace whiffed and hit Kanyon instead. Post-match, Raven Evenflows Saturn, then Evenflows Kidman when Kidman tries to call the dogs off. Horace attacks Saturn in solidarity with Raven, and Raven Evenflows Horace. The match was decent, but this whole Flock thing is played out, and I’m looking forward to Saturn disintegrating the whole group after winning at Fall Brawl. The Flock had so much potential, and while there were bright spots for this group throughout its eighteen-ish months of existence, it got mired in the same boring internal politics angles that ruined the nWo.


  • The Wolfpac comes to the ring to announce which three of them will be in War Games. Well, let’s see: There’s Kevin Nash, Sting, Lex Luger, and Konnan. One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong. It’s just a group promo so they can get some TV time as the WILDLY over stable that they are. People don't generally say this about 1998 WCW (at least I don't think they do), but Bischoff and his booking committee completely whiffed on the Wolfpac’s popularity almost as much as they did Goldberg’s.


  • Scott Norton faces off with ARRRRRRRR, Pirate Scott Putski! Putski can’t even get his ostentatious Jesus piece off before Norton attacks him. I wonder if Putski won that Jesus piece off a Spanish galleon during a firefight in the Caribbean Sea. He might need to sell it to pay his medical bills because Norton powerbombs him for three in about a minute.


  • The very popular Wolfpac gets a four-minute segment. The very corny and unpopular nWo Hollywood gets another segment longer than four minutes in the same show. Here comes Bisch, Hogan, and Disciple again. I do know that at some point soon, Ric Flair comes back and yells YOU SUCK, ABUSE OF POWER at Bisch while everyone in the crowd goes nuts. That is maybe the only acceptable point at which Bischoff should be down here in the ring wasting my time. Hogan natters on and says the same fucking shit he always says. Something had better happen in this segment other than just these morons cutting shitty promos. Hogan keeps teasing that he’s beaten everyone and says, get this – THERE’S NOT A WARRIOR IN THE WORLD I CAN’T BEAT – before the lights go out and Ultimate Warrior’s voice comes over the PA and says something garbled. Then, aw yeah, why not go straight to wrestling hell, here comes the Ultimate Warrior!


  • Hogan sells shock in the cartooniest way possible, fuck that guy and his shitty wrestling acting. And his shitty movie acting, for that matter. Last we saw Warrior, he was about to be replaced by the much, much, MUCH more fun Sycho Sid at IYH: International Incident. Hogan decides to be cute – “I thought you were dead,” he says to Warrior – and no one who remembers the rumors that the original Warrior died and was replaced thinks you’re funny, you big, bald son of a bitch. This does get a pop since we’re in WWF territory (Hartford, CT), and I am here for a train wreck of a feud, why not? Warrior always takes things too fucking far, and I sort of love that about his work. Hogan tries to get Warrior to join the now by fearfully holding out his nWo t-shirt to Warrior, so Warrior does the “d-d-d-dookie” spot from No Holds Barred. See, I stand by Warrior being so bad that he can be sort of fun. He stinks, but if you’re going to pair him with Hogan in 1998, that’s an acceptable short-term use of him.


  • Warrior says some total nonsense, loses the crowd for a second, but basically is like: See, all these fans remember me! It’s because I rule. You’re scared of me because I’m the best and you know it. You conveniently forgot that I whipped your ass at WrestleMania VI, you big, bald son of a bitch. What happened, man? You used to be cool, but now you’re a Harley riding cornball who, might I remind you, has never beaten me. He also gets a reasonable zinger in by saying, “Let’s talk about something that he doesn’t know” as the crowd chants HOGAN SUCKS. It gets a pop and some laughter. This Warrior promo goes on way the fuck too long and he winks at everyone by calling the Disciple Hogan’s barber (TBF, the crowd does chant BRUTUS for a few seconds, and this Hartford crowd is just glad to be watching wrestling and seeing some WWF legends). The lights go out and Warrior goes POOF, Undertaker style, while the desk and Hogan and Bischoff act like wondrous assholes about it. If they just looked down, they’d see the obvious trap door cut out of the mat. Maybe they could point it out to Davey Boy Smith while they're at it. 


  • This was about as self-indulgent as anything Roddy Piper’s done, but it was watchable, so that’s a start. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am aware that this will end up being a very, very, very bad feud. But it actually started out reasonably well considering the participants.


  • On WCWSN, Curt Hennig told Dean Malenko that Malenko was not Horsemen material. I guess Hennig would know something about being Horsemen material since Ric Flair basically dumped Jeff Jarrett in the bushes to chase Hennig as a Horsemen member. Anyway, that little exchange led to a wrestling challenge between the two on Nitro. We get a break thirty seconds in as Hennig stalls on the outside. Back from that break, we get a perfectly cromulent TV match. Someone in the crowd holds up a WHAT’S ON RAW? sign. Well, Hennig has a neck vice on Malenko, so let me look it up. Well, if it was a match, probably a D-X/Nation multiman tag. But let’s be honest, it was probably a promo. Malenko makes an acceptable comeback on Hennig. Malenko floats over on a side Russian and gets two. Hennig tries a PerfectPlex not long after that, but Malenko blocks it with knees to the gut and ends up hitting a back suplex and trying for a Texas Cloverleaf. It fails because Hennig gets to the ropes, and Rick Rude jumps on the apron to run a distraction. It works, and Rude puts a knee in Malenko’s back and hits a double-axe from the apron to the floor besides. That little bit of offense is enough to soften Malenko up for an immediate PerfectPlex back in the ring that gets a pinfall. Hopefully, this feeds into the “reuniting the Horsemen” angle in a show or two because otherwise, I just saw Malenko get chumped out by Hennig and prove Hennig’s point. I assume, however, that this match will convince Arn that maybe Malenko needs his own running buddies to counter the nWo.


  • “Rockhouse” plays for the 27th time tonight. Scott Steiner comes out with half his body taped, followed by Buff Bagwell and someone pretending to be a doctor. Scotty dodging Rick is tired as fuck. Scotty needs to get away from Rick so that he can fly free already. Rick eventually shows up to respond and, paraphrasing, basically yells that BUFF IS A GIRL AND SO ARE YOU SCOTTY, WOMEN ARE WEAK AND ONLY A FEMALE WOULD FAKE AN INJURY and please, I implore you WCW, end this stupid fucking feud at Fall Brawl already.


  • Chris Jericho defends his TV Championship against Chavo Jr. and Stevie Ray in a triangle match. The desk tries to explain how and why Stevie Ray could just defend Booker’s belt or how Chris Jericho could hit a guy in the head and take his title shot without drawing the ire of the WCW Championship Committee, and I can confirm that they would have been better off not trying to explain the logic to any of this at all. To start, Jericho pretends to ally with Chavo against Stevie. Chavo runs in and gets shoulderblocked while Jericho stands back and watches; when Chavo complains to Jericho, Jericho yells YOUR TIMING IS OFF. That is some true scumbag shit, and I laughed in spite of myself. Stevie is just tossing these dudes around like he’s the Giant. Other than Jericho’s antics and Chavo finally getting wise to Jericho’s antics and dropkicking him instead of teaming up for another attack on Stevie, this match isn’t particularly good. They try to work this in an interesting way with lots of shifting alliances and competing pinfall attempts, at least. There’s even a double missile dropkick on Stevie that is an alright spot. Stevie runs the ref over on a rope run and takes the opportunity to load his fist and hit Jericho. The Giant comes out again for reasons that I cannot grasp and chokeslams Stevie after Stevie has laid out both his opponents with that loaded fist. This leads into a bad finish where Jericho distracts the ref so he doesn’t see Chavo get to his feet and break the ten-count; Jericho stands up after Chavo falls back over, and the champ retains by double-countout. Yuck.


  • Bret Hart is back out to defend the United States Championship against DDP. These fellas are going to have a good match almost certainly, and they start off hot with Page winning a suplex for two and almost catching the Hitman in an early Diamond Cutter. Hart bails and Page follows and just destroys the guy outside the ring. Bret gets killed when he’s back in the ring, too, but the Hitman kicks out of a pinfall attempt after a vertical suplex and manages to hit Page in the junk and drop him with a Hot Shot. Tony S. continues to remind everyone that RAW is bait-and-switching their main event, which I guess must have worked because Nitro is in week two of a three-week streak of ratings wins. That’s the good news for Nitro. The bad news for Nitro is that after tonight, the show will score only four more ratings wins in direct head-to-head against RAW until Nitro is cancelled. Whoopsie!


  • So, Bret starts to pour on the offense, mixing in his 5MoD along the way. This is a good control segment because Bret escalates it steadily, and with each kickout that Page scores, Bret gets more frustrated and more vicious. Eventually, he whips Page as hard as he can into the corner and Page crashes out of it face-first; then, Bret crushes Page with a piledriver and throws a fit when that only gets two. Page fires up almost out of nowhere with fists and then goes up top and hits a diving clothesline for two. Page chases a pinfall with more offense, getting two off a pancake. I’m waiting for the ref bump that I know is coming, and of course, a reversed Irish whip smashes Page into Nick Patrick in the corner. Bret loads his fist and then combines two great moves. First, he pulls a Rock (vs. Ken Shamrock) and hides the knucks in Page’s tights just in case, and second, he fakes a competitive match by pulling an Ernie Ladd (vs. Magnum T.A.) and pulling a dazed Page on top of him so that he can kick out at two. The combination of these things probably sets up Page to lose on a technicality. Let’s see if that’s what happens.


  • Bret locks on a Sharpshooter, but Page gets to the ropes; Page hits a Diamond Cutter, but can’t capitalize. Page looks for another Diamond Cutter, but Bret declares that Page clocked him with knucks. Patrick checks Page’s tights, in fact finds the knucks, and calls for a DQ. I would normally bitch about this, but as I love both the finish to Rock/Shamrock at the ’98 Rumble and Ladd/T.A. on whatever episode of Mid-South TV that Ladd won the North American title on, I’ll admit that I enjoyed this finish.


  • We’ve made it to the end of another show, almost. Michael Buffer is out here to introduce the Giant (w/Dizzy “The Barber” Zodiac) as he comes to the ring to face Goldberg. These fellas start out by trading meaty soupbones. Giant body slams Goldberg, who is like RAAARGH FUCK YOU and does it right back. This match is already great. Giant is irritated about being slammed and decides to serve Goldberg an extra helping of soupbones. Giant hits the best-looking side Russian on this show, sorry Bret, and then instead of covering, lets Goldberg get back to standing. Goldberg tries to fight through a couple of headbutts, so Giant dumps him outside for the Barber. Goldberg easily fights off Barber, but is jumped by Giant. The ref just lets these dudes double up on Goldberg, but Goldberg slips out of the back of a Giant posting attempt and posts Giant himself.


  • Giant gets in the ring and meets Goldberg on the apron, then suplexes Goldberg back into the ring. That move barely fazes Goldberg, who is up first and then hits a spear. The Disciple/Zodiac/Barber/etc. jumps in to draw a DQ and is immediately speared and Jackhammered. Scott Hall runs in to attack Goldberg, but Kevin Nash runs down for the save. Nash clears out Giant and grabs Hall from behind, but Goldberg lines Hall up for a spear at the same time, and yada yada yada, Nash gets up from eating a spear and gets right in Goldberg’s face as the show ends. I just wanted a clean finish between Goldberg and Giant, but that match was pretty fun, as I knew it would be if it involved these two. There was way too much Disciple interference, though.


  • This show was poorly paced, but there were spots of fun, Goldberg/Giant was good until the end, and I didn’t hate the Warrior promo, so that’s something? Yeah, it’s something. 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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21 hours ago, SirSmUgly said:

Show #154 – 17 August 1998

  • Tony S. notes that tonight’s show is the only live wrestling show on this Monday...Tony S. and Mike Tenay spoiling the taped RAW and its big title match between Steve Austin and the Undertaker and noting that it’s going very short and ending very unsatisfactorily (Kane shows up; yep, that’s usually an unsatisfactory thing to happen). Then they claim that they’ll actually deliver on a legit World title match tonight. 
  • Hey, it’s High Voltage! Robbie Rage! The other one who’s way less interestingNot-Rage enters the ring, but it’s decent and Rage and not-Rage hit a double-team flying bulldog.


  • Raven’s shirt says “Dinosaur Jr.” I don’t know what’s going on with that shirt, but I like it.


  • Eddy Guerrero is totally directionless right now for some reason. He comes out in street clothes and rolls a wheelie luggage. Eddy’s SHOOTIN’ and actually says what I just said about him being totally directionless now. Anyway, Eddy’s like I’M BEING HELD BACK, YO. He cuts a subpar promo because frankly, as great a promo guy as he is, this worked shoot stuff fucking SUCKS and is the WORST. He drones on and on, and I don’t blame him for being boring and shitty.


  • Warrior says some total nonsense, loses the crowd for a second, but basically is like: See, all these fans remember me! It’s because I rule. You’re scared of me because I’m the best and you know it. You conveniently forgot that I whipped your ass at WrestleMania VI, you big, bald son of a bitch. What happened, man? You used to be cool, but now you’re a Harley riding cornball who, might I remind you, has never beaten me. He also gets a reasonable zinger in by saying, “Let’s talk about something that he doesn’t know” as the crowd chants HOGAN SUCKS. It gets a pop and some laughter. This was about as self-indulgent as anything Roddy Piper’s done, but it was watchable, so that’s a start. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am aware that this will end up being a very, very, very bad feud. But it actually started out reasonably well considering the participants.
  • very ironic, since Nitro never has clean definitive main events. 
  • wow, the disrespect for Kenny Kaos is palpable
  • is this the promo that Eddy throws coffee on himself?
  • Dinosaur Jr. are/were an alternative rock band from the '80s and '90s @zendragon linked a good video, but they are most well known for their early '90s song "Start Choppin"
  • i applaud your appreciating the Warrior's promo, but yeah. hard disagree from me.
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I wouldn't say "appreciate," at least right now. More like "felt pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a dumpster fire and was moderately amused at some of it."

Yes, Eddy threw coffee on himself, but they forgot to add the coffee grounds to the pot beforehand, so it was just water. 

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Thunder Interlude – show number twenty-eight – 20 August 1998

"The WCW Gang finally gives me a hot cruiserweight opener and then takes the rest of the night off”

  • Let’s Thunder…


  • In what is a hilarious-to-me coincidence that I didn’t expect after my last Nitro review, Psicosis faces Juventud Guerrera in the opener…No, really, I’m not striking their names through…This time it actually opens a WCW wrestling show!...I generally have preferred Thunder to Nitro in 1998…Thunder actually getting a pacey cruiserweight opener is a perfect example of why…After a handshake, Psicosis gets two on a roll-up, but runs himself into drop toehold and a loose crossface…Psicosis works to his feet, but he gets dropkicked and tumbles to the mats outside…Psicosis gets in the ring and leverages strikes to control…He puts Juvi in a full nelson in the corner and then uses that trapped position to bash Juvi’s head into the buckles…That was a neat spot!...Juvi ends up turning things around with a nice-looking crossbody from the top that gets two….He tries to up the pace, but gets caught in a sit-out wheelbarrow facebuster…Psicosis decides to keep running with Juvi and eats double boots on a corner splash attempt, then gets mowed down by a lariat…Juvi hits a Frankensteiner from the top to a standing Psicosis in the ring that gets another two count..The desk won’t shut the fuck up about Warrior and Hogan…It’s too bad because this match is very good and deserves some love…It’s also a title match, so it’d be nice to indicate how important this title is by commentating on the action…Juvi goes up for the 450, but gets caught and crotched…Psicosis hits what I guess is a victory roll bomb from the top that gets two…Psicosis is busting out some neat offense tonight…That two count leads into a commercial break…


  • Back from the break, Psicosis is still in control…OK, now he hits a, uh, what is this move?...I have no idea…It’s a move where he’s got Juvi seated on his shoulders, he grabs Juvi’s arms, and he falls backwards and bridges while Juvi’s shoulders are on the mat…It’s a neat idea, but it seems easy to kick out of since Juvi’s shoulders aren’t being pressed…But I guess the idea is that you KO the guy for three seconds because he’s slammed backwards with no way to cushion the blow to the head…This is a neat move that I think barely falls on the side of “not immersion breaking” even though it takes a lot of help from the taker of the move to set up…Juvi goes up for the guillotine legdrop and lands it, but instead of covering, he gets up and celebrates for a bit…He makes an extremely casual cover after a few seconds and only gets two…Psicosis goes for a release German, but Juvi lands on his feet, runs up and Juvi Drivers Psicosis, and makes an extremely secure cover for three…This is the type of match that makes me ready for some more hot pro wrestling action…Is it the greatest match these two could have?...No…However, it was good, fun, and had some very neat spots…


  • This is the first backstage interview I can remember on Thunder…Gene Okerlund interviews Stevie Ray…Stevie thinks Jericho is a sissy and the Giant is an “overgrown sucka,” his words exactly…Stevie is pretty fun on the mic…


  • Warrior/Hogan on Nitro recap…It was a better segment than you’d expect…


  • Hacksaw Duggan faces Barry Darsow in a 1992 WWF Coliseum Video special that I’d go ahead and watch because I spent my hard-earned allowance on the tape and refused to fast forward…Or a 1984 Mid-South Wrestling match that I actually might want to see…There’s a bunch of mediocre clubbering…Duggan has little problem dispatching of Darsow…He lands Old Glory for the win…


  • Video package hyping up War Games by giving an explanation and history of the match in WCW…They play Sid dropping Pillman on his head like eight times…That shit was wild…These look great until we get to the first one Hogan is a part of…Then it gets spotty…Wait, pinfalls count in this year’s War Games?!...What the fuck?!...No, no, no, NO…I already hate this War Games match…


  • Bret Hart interviews with Mean Gene in the back…Hogan and the Hitman are on team Hollywood for War Games…Bret hypes the mystery of who the third man on their team will be…He says Bill Goldberg’s full name like three hundred times, too…


  • Dean Malenko versus Crush sounds like the opposite of a fun time…First, Gene Okerlund interviews Mongo McMichael about last year’s War Games…Mongo is facing Curt Hennig later, at some point…He calls Rick Rude a “Men’s Wearhouse charge card user,” too…Damn, Mongo, you gonna go after this guy’s hairline next?...Maybe hate on his wife and kids?...Now we get Malenko/Crush…Crush shoves Malenko away from a Malenko takedown attempt…Malenko uses his array of moves and misdirection against Crush’s power…He catches Crush on the move and hits an arm drag…Back to standing, Crush hits a weak lariat and locks on the heart claw…After a minute of that, he hits two legdrops and gets two…I’m just going to skip to the finish because this stinks, as expected…Part of the finish is amazing…Malenko jumps off the top into a bearhug, but he counters that bearhug into a WICKED tornado DDT…That was absolutely a believable finish…Instead of going for the pinfall, Malenko locks on the Texas Cloverleaf, gets hit in the head by Curt Hennig as Vincent distracts the ref, and loses to a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Crush…This was almost worth sitting through for that DDT, though…


  • Recap of this ice cold (to me, at least) Steiner Brothers feud…I’m good, no thanks…


  • Recap of this rapidly freezing (to me, at least) Flock internal politics storyline…It’s actually something I didn’t see because it’s on WCWSN, but it’s mostly stuff Raven has said to his Flock before about them being unappreciative of him…Saturn comes down and is like NO GUYS, RAVEN SUCKS, RIGGS YOU IDIOT, HE DESTROYED YOUR EYE, WHY DO YOU FOLLOW HIM?…Saturn tries to deprogram these guys…This is actually a pretty modern segment, this cult deprogramming attempt by the babyface…Plus, Saturn promises that their match at Fall Brawl is their last fight…


  • Following that is a Raven vs. Horace vs. Kanyon vs. Saturn Four Corners match as we wring every last match out of every combination of these dudes that we can…Horace knocks Saturn into Kanyon so that we can continue to have intrigue between those two…Is this elimination or what? Why isn’t anyone breaking up pinfall attempts?...It’s one-on-one with tags…But I think the need to permutate these matchups as much as possible has just killed this whole feud…I’d prefer that Raven and Saturn don’t touch each other until the blowoff at Fall Brawl…Eventually, Horace hits Raven accidentally with the STOP sign, but he’s fine with it, pretty much…We get a standing ten-count before Kanyon covers for 2.9…Raven and Kanyon both try to tag Saturn, but Saturn dodges Raven’s tag and tags Kanyon…This Four Corners match makes more sense as a traditional 2v2 tag than a Four Corners match…The layout is nonsense…It’s too bad because everyone in this match tries hard…But the match isn’t worked in a way that makes sense for the match type…The desk does not help clarify why anyone is doing what they’re doing, of course…They can’t get their own sense of the story straight…Saturn and Kanyon end up brawling outside the ring while Raven drops Horace with an Evenflow inside the ring for three…This did nothing to advance the Raven/Saturn feud and just took up space…


  • Gene Okerlund interviews the Giant in the newly-established backstage position for interviews on Thunder…Giant kinda appreciates that Stevie would steal a belt from his own brother, but he otherwise is not pleased with Stevie's yapping…You’d think Gene would ask Giant why the heck he’s out here caring enough to alter the fortunes of Stevie and the TV title, but it never occurs to this ace veteran interviewer to inquire…


  • Hennig/Mongo is next…Woof…This show started out hot and then fell right off a cliff…Hennig gets pushed around and decides to stall a bit…Mongo uses power and leverage to control, so Hennig goes to the technical wrestling with a drop toehold and hair-pulling assisted bow hold…I sort of zone out on this dull-fest and have to rewind this thing to see Mongo hit a reverse neckbreaker and a couple of weak three-point chop blocks…Rude grabs a chair and swings for the fences…He hits Mongo behind the ref’s back, and Hennig follows up with a PerfectPlex…Malenko runs in and attacks Hennig to draw a DQ…Rude and Hennig double DDT Malenko, then do the same to Mongo…


  • Stevie Ray faces the Giant (w/Scott Hall) in what is a strange main event for Thunder…Giant didn’t even put on tights for this one…He just shows up in jeans and a tank…There are a couple arm wringers and some clubbering before Stevie big boots Giant…Hall immediately runs in and gets dropped, but Giant jumps Stevie from behind and chokeslams him…Why the ref doesn’t call for the bell, I have no idea…OK, it took him about fifteen minutes to figure out that what happened was worth a disqualification…A bunch of B-Teamers come down to surround Stevie and slap him around a bit…That’s it…What a weird ending…


  • I really liked the opener, but the rest of the show was pretty dire, to the point that I didn’t enjoy it at all after the first match ended…At least it was short…But unfortunately, it couldn’t be saved by the cruisers…my score for this is OW
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Show #155 – 24 August 1998

"The one where Stevie Ray finally joins nWo Hollywood as the final piece of the B-Team puzzle"

  • It’s Nitro in Chicago! This means that there’s a limo in the back. There’s always a limo in the back when we’re in Chicago, it seems like. This limo transported some of the worst personalities on this show to the arena and also Ms. Elizabeth. “Rockhouse” plays while Hogan poses, Bischoff waves to the crowd, and Disciple wastes space and too much of WCW’s salary budget. I blank out for a bit until Bischoff claims that he used his executive power to run Vader and Johnny B. Badd out of WCW and might just do the same to Eddy Guerrero and the Ultimate Warrior. I thought Schiller fired Bischoff from WCW leadership a few months back, or am I forgetting an angle where Bisch got that power back? Anyway, I perked up at the Vader and Badd mentions, but then Hogan started talking and I blank back out, pretty much. The short of it is that Hogan threatens Page and Goldberg and dismisses Warrior as a threat.


  • Mike Enos comes out to, hey, face Wrath! I’m glad to see Wrath back on TV. Enos tries to win with strikes. It doesn’t work and ends with Enos getting launched into the guardrail outside the ring. Wrath brings himself back in the ring with a slingshot back elbow, then hits a knee, a butterfly suplex, and a senton splash all in a row for a two count. Enos is slung into the ropes but manages a floatover powerslam for two. They do a few dodges on running strike attempts that ends when Enos misses badly on a splash attempt and Wrath uses a pumphandle into a powerslam that earns a victory. That was a fun little opener, and I guess Wrath is, from a certain perspective, 1-0, huh?


  • Larry Z. takes bows, and we get Nash/Goldberg recap while I wonder about that whole Dusty Rhodes “gag order” thing that Larry Z. has mentioned a couple times since then (including briefly tonight), but which has had zero traction on TV otherwise. Were they working toward a Larry Z./Dusty feud in 1998 based around retired wrestlers competing for control of Larry's commentary position? That sounds like hell. I don’t remember anything like this happening, and I’m hoping that’s because it didn’t happen and not because I’m getting old.


  • Hey, another Kaz Hayashi sighting! It’s been a minute. He’s wrestling Dean Malenko, which seems like it should be a fun matchup. Malenko immediately trips Kaz and tries to ground him. He leans back on a chinlock, then releases it to hit a knee drop before going into a side headlock. Kaz gets back to his feet and hits a flurry of offense, but with zero transition, he walks into a backdrop for two and then gets head scissored. This is all cursory work because we’re getting a commercial break, so I’m fine with it filling time and not much else.


  • During the break, Captain Picard throws Arnold (of Hey Arnold! fame) into a rock cliff while Knuckles and a Carolina Panthers player observe. Those Paramount+ commercials are something. Anyway, we’re back, and finally this match picks up as Malenko tries to use his power advantage and Kaz tries to use his speed. They just go as fast as possible, move after move, until Kaz gets a La Magistral for two, but misses a follow-up dropkick. That’s it for Kaz: We get a Malenko leg lariat, double-underhook powerbomb, and Texas Cloverleaf all in short order for the win. Because of how it was worked, with a break in the middle of a short match, there was nothing to it but MOVEZ~ in the second half of the match that ended abruptly after two minutes. Maybe have this match without a break taking up a huge chunk of it next time.


  • The Wolfpac (minus Sting and, obviously, Randy Savage) come to the ring after a video package that hypes them. Man, I love the Wolfpac’s theme. The Wolfpac speaks on a bunch of stuff in the most boilerplate fashion they can. Konnan does his shtick and Nash declares war on nWo Hollywood. He’s also not pleased with Goldberg spearing him again. They did not have another beer summit, so I guess they’re not cool anymore. Nash says beer isn’t enough to make this right; Goldberg’s got to be his tag partner tonight against Hogan and the Giant. Goldberg’s music hits and Goldberg (w/security mooks) comes out to respond. So, Goldberg spends a full two minutes walking to the ring, doesn’t grab a mic, just yells YOU GOT IT while pointing at Nash, and then walks out while the crowd confusedly boos. What the fuck?! Who planned this response?


  • Jim Neidhart is here, heeling it up. When he’s a face, he’s like YEAH BABY, but he’s a heel, so instead, he's like SHUT UP. Konnan comes right back out here to score what should be a routine victory. Neidhart gets knocked outside. He yells SHUT UP at the crowd. Back in the ring, Konnan works an armbar while I just want to see a facebuster and a cradle piledriver or something. Neidhart gets some bad offense in. Luckily, that doesn’t last long. Neidhart misses a second-rope elbow, and Konnan quickly hits a sitout facebuster and wraps on the Tequila Sunrise for what is, in fact, a routine victory.


  • Stevie Ray comes out here to talk to Tony S. Stevie promises to deal with nWo Hollywood at a later date (Ed. note: He does), then promises to get the TV title back from Chris Jericho. While he’s doing that, Booker T. (!!!) comes down. He’s been on vacation healing up from his TV title run, and now he’s back and pretty irritated that Stevie just took his shit and defended the belt as if he won it. Stevie’s like YOU ARE LETTING THE WHITE FOLKS RUNNING THIS COMPANY PIMP YOU OUT (he doesn’t say the words “white folks,” but that’s the clear implication – he just uses J.J. Dillon as his stand-in for that term). Booker is like Um, I just like winning titles, and you were injured, so I won a title by myself, and why are you so mad about that? Tony S. ups the tension when he notes that THE WHITE FOLKS PIMPING BOOKER T. OUT J.J. Dillon has made Booker the number one contender to the United States Championship that’s held by the Hitman. Stevie Ray has a total freakout at this because he’s desperately trying to cling to his meal ticket brother’s love and respect. Wow, there’s a lot of subtext in this segment, huh?


  • Tony S. is now in the ring to interview Diamond Dallas Page. There is just too much talking in this show, except from Goldberg, who spent more time walking than talking. Page cuts a terrible babyface promo, as is typical. Roddy Piper comes out and cuts a worse promo than that. Roddy Piper Knows Pop Culture: Eddy Munster, Mick Jagger, Sammy Sosa (cheap pop, but at least it’s someone relevant in 1998), Bill and Hillary Clinton (obligatory). Piper is on the WCW team for War Games. DDP/Warrior/Piper is truly a dumpster fire of a trios team in 1998. Poor Page. His last three PPVs, he’ll have had these tag partners: Karl Malone, Jay Leno, Roddy Piper, and Ultimate Warrior. Malone is the second-best worker on that list (and possibly the first, depending on how you feel about 1998 Piper)!


  • I’ve totally checked out of this show at this point. Mongo McMichael faces Scotty Riggs, but I’m just waiting for the Bret Hart/Booker T. match later tonight. That’s all this show has for me (Ed. note: This is why I shouldn't get hyped for a match that isn't on PPV). The big tag match might be okay, too, even with late ’98 Hogan involved. Riggs gets a few kicks in, but Mongo roars back with a big lariat and a pretty nice bulldog, actually. This match isn’t great, but it’s entertaining enough. Riggs catches Mongo with a dropkick on a rope run. Riggs does have a really nice dropkick. It’s not quite Bob Holly-level where Holly could have legitimately used his dropkick as a finisher, and I wouldn’t have batted an eye about it. It’s nice, though. Riggs follows up with some offense that mostly stinks, but he gets all cocky and eventually eats a big boot on a corner charge. Mongo hits the three-point tackle twice, and these only make slightly more contact than Hacksaw Duggan’s awful looking football spear in the Mid-South era. Mongo tries a Mongo Spike and Riggs blocks it, but Mongo catches Riggs coming off an Irish Whip and Spikes him for the win.


  • Post-match, Horace Hogan and Sick Boy run out and Hogan waffles Mongo in the dome with the sign, woof. That sign was gimmicked, I hope. Malenko runs in for the save. Malenko destroys both guys, but then Saturn runs out to pull Malenko off Sick Boy. Then, randomly, Saturn dives at Horace outside, so I’m not sure what the heck Saturn’s motivation is. At the least, Mongo and Malenko stand tall; Mongo throws up the four fingers and tries to get Malenko to do it, but in a nice touch, Malenko remembers that dressing down Arn gave him a few weeks back about not being a Horseman and opts for a simple handshake. The crowd really wants to see the Horseman re-form, let me tell you!


  • Scott Norton faces Rick Fuller in a match where they just chop the crap out of each other for most of this in between Norton hitting suplexes and then a powerbomb for three. That was a fun little minute-long match.


  • Well, the post-match stuff in Mongo/Riggs and then Norton/Fuller was a nice pair of segments, so let’s see where this show goes.


  • It goes to Scott Steiner (w/Doc – that’s what the chyron names Scotty’s fake doctor) coming out and challenging Rick Steiner to a match tonight instead of at Fall Brawl. I don’t remember Scott Steiner being somewhat awful at heeling for so long after his heel turn, though tonight, he’s very prescient. He notes that the Bulls were a joke franchise before MJ got there (true) and that they’d be a joke franchise going forward now that he'd retired (also true). He also notes that since these fans need another athlete to put on a pedestal now that MJ’s gone, it might as well be him. Huh, Scotty hit with a few decent heel lines for once. Anyway, the “doctor” chimes in, but this whole thing with him is dumb. The point is that Rick Steiner’s not here and Buff is dressed as Ricky again. Because it was so funny the first time he did it, you see. Alright, I’m blanking back out. There’s a whole bad segment here where Buff acts like a dog, like the last time this happened, and whereas some people can repeat a bad joke multiple times until it’s funny – David Letterman, as an example – some people can’t. Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell can’t.


  • Now it’s Crush (w/Vincent). Aw man. These shows are too long to be this mediocre-to-bad. Lex Luger comes out to yell AUGWRHGWUH and take a bunch of bad clubbering offense (and maybe a nice tilt-a-whirl slam if he feels like it) before making a comeback, forearms, Rack, etc. I didn’t want to see this match in 1994 WWF, so you know I have zero interest in it here in 1998 WCW. Ew, there’s a relatively long headscissors spot in this. That’s all you need to know other than the finish, which is Vincent ineffectually trying to interfere before Luger racks Crush anyway and wins the match.


  • The Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music is pretty good, actually. It’s slow while he walks out in the darkness and raises his arms, then speeds up so that Warrior can run to the ring. Warrior is waring a jacket with OWN on the back, and I’m assuming that he’s going to kidnap (and possibly sexually assault) his first convert to the One Warrior Nation soon. Warrior is totally blown up and huffing heavily while on the mic. Holy shit, this guy is a mess. Is it any shock that his heart blew up a decade and change from now?


  • Warrior cuts a bad promo, as if you couldn’t guess, but he is really out of breath while he does it, which is funny to me. How is this guy going to get through a 25-minute match at Havoc? Warrior talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and I think gets around to intimating that he’s going to fuck with Hogan’s life during the main event tag match tonight and maybe also next week on Nitro. Man, Warrior cutting 1988 promos in 1998 is a mess. I love that he’s trying to get over a catchphrase (“Same Warrior time, same Warrior place, same Warrior channel”), though. It’s not MOST ELECTRIFYING or GIMME A HELL YEAH or DO YOU SMELL or even OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW or HELLO LADIES, but you know. It’s an attempt.


  • Curt Hennig walks out alone to face, um, Chris Jericho? OK, sure. This is both a Nitro-ass Nitro matchup and almost assuredly something not very good because of the style clash. Jericho takes a pro-Jericho sign from a fan, rips it up, and elbowdrops the pieces in the aisle. Hennig kayfabe, and probably also shoot, gets a kick out of Jericho’s ostentatious entrance. Hennig steps out of a grapple attempt and Jericho shadowboxes. Jericho gets pushed up against the ropes and screams about hair pulls. Hennig hits a single-leg takedown and awards himself two points. This is good so far, actually. It's because they're two cocky heels who have a natural disdain for one another's cockiness. They trade disrespectful slaps in the corner, then go nose to nose, and Hennig is so pissed off that he headbutts the guy and chops him. They trade chops before Hennig kicks Jericho in the balls. Huh, this is way better than I thought it’d be.


  • Hennig hits a neck snap, but Jericho fights back with a jumping back kick when he’s standing again. Hennig hits a garbage-looking dragon screw after catching a Jericho kick. They end up chopping each other outside before Jericho takes out Hennig’s leg so that Hennig can flip bump onto his head. Jericho lands the corner springboard dropkick, then a second-rope missile dropkick and a vertical suplex. A wimpy pin gets a whole two count, wow. They run the ropes, but Jericho sidesteps a dropkick attempt and attempts the Walls of Jericho; Hennig gets to the ropes. Jericho thinks he’s won and is blindsided by Hennig, who tries a PerfectPlex; Jericho rolls through it to get two on a small package, and that’s about it for the match as the bell rings. Wow, I didn’t know we were still allowed to have ten-minute time limit draws for this belt. Jericho and Hennig continue to brawl after the match, but the Giant comes out and goozles Hennig, then shoves him away from Jericho. Hennig is heated, so whatever the Giant’s reason for protecting Jericho is, the B-Teamers aren’t in on it. I was entirely wrong about the quality of this match; give these two credit for having a match where both guys were cocky heels who didn’t feel like they received enough respect from one another. It came through in the work.


  • Stevie and Booker are not pleased with one another backstage before the first of the two big matches for the night.


  • Bret Hart comes to the ring to defend the U.S. Championship against Booker. He grabs a mic before the match and reminds the fans that he thinks they suck. His whole “you people love bad guys now” deal worked way better in the WWF than WCW. I know that there are nWo fans out there, but most of them love the tweener-leaning-face Wolfpac, not the solidly heelish Hollywood. He tries to pitch Sting again – hey, Sting hasn’t been on TV for a few shows, and they continue to drop the ball on a guy who is way over. The Hitman says the word “ass” twice because he’s a bad guy now, and he drops the mic. Book’s music plays, but Booker is nowhere to be found. Maybe we’ll find out what happened to him after the break.


  • Hey, it’s after the break, and it’s strongly implied that Stevie busted up Booker’s knee backstage so that Stevie could take his Booker’s title shot for himself. Does this move the angle along? Yes. Does it make me irritated that we got bait-and-switched out of a Bret/Booker matchup? Very much yes. I feel somewhat deflated about it. Stevie tries to pretend that someone else beat up Booker and questions Bret about it; Giant and Hennig have made up in the back, I guess, and they come down along with Scott Steiner, a few B-Teamers and a black-and-white t-shirt. Bret recruits Stevie by offering the alternative of an ass whooping if he doesn’t put the shirt on. Stevie takes the deal. Man, the hell with y’all for getting my hopes up about this match, WCW.


  • Hogan and the Giant (w/Disciple) come to the ring as I contemplate how bummed I am that the one match I was looking forward to ended up being simply a weeks-long telegraphed Stevie Ray heel turn. A young child vibes to the Wolfpac theme while Nash comes to the ring, which is my favorite thing I’ve seen on this whole show, actually. Goldberg does another long walk to the ring. This guy needs to cut more short promos. He only shows up like once a Nitro; give him two minutes to threaten to murder a dude on top of that appearance. Goldberg and Nash do give each other daps though, so they seem on the same page again.


  • Giant and Nash start. This feud is still simmering in the background along with Nash feuding with Hall and Hogan, and I do think that (spike powerbomb) aside, Nash and Giant have good chemistry. They beat each other up and then stalemate on a double clothesline and then a double big boot. Nash tags Goldberg to a huge pop, and Hogan tags in as well. Goldberg handily wins a collar-and-elbow to a huge pop. Nobody wants to see Goldberg selling for Hogan’s shitty offense, which does happen. Goldberg/Hogan should have been worked like Lesnar/Hogan in 2004 every time. Goldberg no-sells some noggin knockers, and then he hits three shoulder blocks until the Disciple grabs the big gold, swings, and hits Goldberg in the back. This allows Hogan to do some more chokes Nash chases Disciple, but Giant and Hennig jump Nash. Why isn’t the Wolfpac out here? Why have a Wolfpac if they’re never around to counter Hollywood? This is so stupid. Anyway, it ends up four-on-two before Lex Luger finally decides to run down. Konnan also gets down there about a year later. Boy, did this last couple of matches fizzle out into a bunch of crap.


  • Goldberg gives everyone what they want by spearing and Jackhammering Hennig. Wait, so Goldberg pins Hennig and Mickey Jay counts it for a pinfall? What THEE fuck? Fuck off once more, WCW. Nash accidentally hits Goldberg in the post-match melee, but Goldberg shrugs it off to face the Giant, who lariats Goldberg to the floor. Finally, Warrior, Page, and Piper run down and clear out Hollywood to a huge pop. Now, I will say that WCW getting some shine and fucking up nWo Hollywood is a good thing! The downside is that Warrior and Piper are two of the guys getting that shine instead of two actual long-term WCW guys.


  • This show sucked. Hennig/Jericho was a surprising bright spot. Wrath’s return was fun. But between the bait-and-switches, the nonsensical main event ending, and all the bad talking, this was a pretty unenjoyable three hours! 1.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number twenty-nine – 26 August 1998

"The WCW Gang only has a couple main eventers pop in and puts on a better show for it”

  • I’m relieved to be watching another Thunder interlude…There’s a reasonable possibility that Hogan and Warrior simply won’t be working Wednesdays or Thursdays…That immediately offers prospect of a better show…


  • We once again start with a Wrath match, which is cool with me…Wrath’s opponent is ARRRRRRRRRR ME MATEY, IT’S VAMPIRE PIRATE SCOTT PUTSKILee Marshall promises us a Kaz Hayashi match later on…Nitro gave us that stuff too, but Nitro stunk…I’ll keep my hopes lowered for this show in spite of the early promise so I don't get burned…Wrath dominates early…Putski’s game tonight, but he really doesn’t have anything for Wrath…Wrath scores a shoulderblock and then hits the pumphandle-into-powerslam known as the Meltdown…That’s a slightly more appropriate finisher name for your WWF gimmick, dude…The crowd likes the Meltdown, by the way…


  • Stevie Ray and Vincent meet Tony S. on the ramp for an interview…He explains why he joined nWo Hollywood…He says that J.J. Dillon ruined his relationship with his brother…He says that he owes a debt to Hogan and Bischoff for helping him a few years ago…OK, I guess…That wasn’t foreshadowed at all as Stevie's logic for the turn…Had he said that he joined because he was angry at J.J. Dillon for ruining his relationship with his brother, okay, that’d make sense…Weak reasoning for the heel turn from the heel’s point of view…Obviously, the "real" reasoning is sibling rivalry…Stevie Ray lays down the gauntlet to DDP for later tonight…


  • Mike Enos wrestles Bull Pain, huh, a Bull Pain sighting on Thunder…Bull Pain tries hard, and Enos is a solid worker, so it’s entertaining stuff…This matchup is maybe more suitable for Worldwide or SN than Thunder…But Enos getting a few wins so that he’s actually theoretically a threat to the midcarders slightly above him is fine…Pain takes an overhead belly-to-belly on the floor…I would be bumping like mad to try and get a taste of that late ‘90s wrestling boom money, too…Enos hits a second-rope fallaway slam for three…That was certainly fun…I can’t complain about these weird, enjoyable little TV matches…


  • Ernest Miller is on Thunder; he cuts off his opponent Disco and keeps him from dancing…Disco dutifully complies and Miller kicks Disco from behind while Disco’s taking his jacket off…Miller hits another kick, gets three, and then cuts a truly awful promo, especially for a guy with a reasonable amount of charisma…He says that he’s a karate master, dammit, a champion of karate, and karate will always beat wrestling…Then he drops his first I’M THE GREATEST, which doesn’t save this terrible promo, but which does portend better and more enjoyable Ernest Miller promos in the future…


  • Silver King and his magnificent cowboy hat are next up against Konnan…Konnan hits his catchphrases…After a little selling, he hits his signature moves, including his finisher…I can’t express enough how crowd-pleasing the fans find all of these things…I did not remember Konnan being this over…Rick Rude leads a bunch of B-Teamers down to threaten Konnan after the match…The Wolfpac continues to fail at the one thing they should be good at based on their name…The B-Teamers let him choose who to fight…Konnan considers it while edging toward the side of the ring that exits toward the ramp, challenges everyone at once, and takes off when they all rush in…Sure, whatever…


  • Diamond Dallas Page comes through the crowd…He interviews with Tony S. in the ring…Page cuts a typically crappy babyface promo with all the requisite stupid nicknames he has for Hogan, Bisch, et al. included…Oddly, Page pretends that Warrior isn’t necessarily on Team WCW for War Games yet, though even our interviewer Tony S. even thinks the WCW team is set…He does accept Stevie Ray’s challenge for tonight…


  • Man, a lot of vets got the show off tonight because we get an Evan Karagias – spelled Evan Kourageous in the chyron – makes a rare showing on a big two WCW show (at least before the year 2000)…He ignites a very, very, very early rivalry with Kaz Hayashi in this match…I am unabashedly excited to relive the Three Count/Jung Dragons feud at some point in the next 12-24 months…Karagias wins the early wrist-and-headlock exchanges…Karagias finally gets off the mat and into the air, scoring a crossbody…Karagias comes back with strikes and a floatover powerslam for two…Sonny Onoo comes out onto the ramp to scout…Hayashi is distracted, but hits a vertical suplex and a senton splash…then is distracted by Onoo again, which allows Karagias to make a comeback…Karagias hits a front slam and tries a top-rope splash, but he eats knees…Kaz quickly plants Karagias and hits a top-rope senton splash for three…Onoo has sunglasses on, but he hits the flirty eyes with Kaz anyway…Kaz seems skeptical about giving thirty percent of his money to a guy who broke up with his only successful WCW client…Understandable…


  • Saturn strolls out as Lodi barks at him from the ring…Lodi and his kayfabe broken fingers challenge Saturn to a match..Of course, Lodi solely blames Saturn for breaking his fingers and ignores any part Raven played in it…Saturn is like, Nah, I would kill you kid, I don’t want to do that tonight…Lodi responds with WHAT ARE YA, SCARED?! and the crowd goes OOOOOH like a bunch of schoolkids trying to egg on two third-grade boys to throw hands…It made me laugh…Lodi sweetens the pot by saying that he’ll leave the Flock if Saturn wins, but if Lodi wins, Saturn has to be Lodi’s personal servant until Fall Brawl…Saturn accepts…You know what happens: Saturn kills Lodi, the Flock runs in, Raven gets involved, the typical stuff…The only new twist in all this is that Kanyon comes down and hits Saturn with a Flatliner, then shakes Raven’s hand and tosses Lodi on top of Saturn for three…This story is incredibly stupid and played out, so sure, throw in a Kanyon turn and Saturn as Lodi’s personal servant for a couple of weeks on top of it all…


  • Scott Norton comes to the ring to kill Jim Neidhart…Neidhart is a babyface tonight…You can tell because he yells YEAH BABY instead of SHUT UP…Norton shoulderblocks the Anvil outside…Vincent can’t even get fists in on Neidhart of all people without desperately needing help from Norton…This is a pretty boring squash…It could have been shorter…Norton no-sells a diving clothesline from Anvil…Norton powerbomb, three, and we’re out…


  • Chris Jericho is in the arena to defend his TV title…This guy is very over…There are quite a few pro- and anti-Jericho signs in the crowd…Tony S. says the chorus of boos is deafening, but the crowd pretty much appreciatively applauds when he jumps around in the middle of the ring…Alex Wright has earned a TV title shot tonight…Wright is a heel because he’s a foreigner and he likes electronic music…This fickle crowd chants JERICHO SUCKS…I appreciate that they at least crap on him when it counts…Someone tosses a Big Gulp at Jericho, so he picks it up, drinks from it, and tosses it back…That gets a pop, whoops…I respect Peoria for at least trying to boo this guy Jericho most of the time, but I understand why that's hard…


  • Earlier in the watch, when Jericho showed up in WCW as a bland babyface, I wondered why I ever thought this guy was a legitimate main eventer…I just needed to relive Jericho’s heel run in ’97-’98…I still don’t think he’s more than a spot main eventer in a serious wrestling company for most of his career, but I do get why I (and so many other people) were adamant that he was a huge star at the time…This match starts out with both guys pretending that the other guy pulled their hair…It quickly moves to Wright suplexing Jericho on the mat and both men tossing each other into the guardrail…Wright is an aesthetically pleasing worker and this match is pacey and enjoyable…Wright gets two off a belly-to-belly…He walks into a jumping back kick from Jericho, though…They run through holds and even do some slightly awkward, but entertaining mat wrestling…Jericho eventually wins a Lionsault, but does his big steps taunt instead of going for a cover…That lets Wright get control and manage a two-count on a backbreaker…Wright gets another two-count on a wheel kick…This match screams that it’s going to the ten-minute time limit…We eventually get both men down, and when they’re up around eight, Jericho takes over, but celebrates and eats a Hot Shot…Wright goes up and badly misses a double axehandle, bashing his knee on the mat…A limping Wright tries to leap over and roll through a sunset flip, but Jericho keeps rolling and locks on a Lion Tamer…Wright taps…It didn’t go to the limit even if it felt like it went over ten minutes in real time…But yeah, that was a lovely little television bout…


  • Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) faces Stunning Steve Austin Greg Valentine Van Hammer!...I still feel robbed that we never got a big man/little man Juvi and Hammer team…The consensus is that Van Hammer sucks, but I enjoy this guy…And I do think if you hide his issues by making him the big man hot tag in a big/little tag team, you get maximum value from him…It’s like putting Kane and X-Pac together as a tag team…That’s the most value Kane has ever brought from an in-ring standpoint…I digress…Hammer shoots Hennig over on the half for two…He then fires off a lariat that sends Hennig outside…Rude promises Hennig a quick distraction to help him get control…Rude does it and it works…The desk is understandably appreciative of the veteran wiles of Hennig and Rude…Hennig takes control and Rude liberally cheats where he can…Hammer really never gets back on track after Rude initially distracts him…Hennig casually wears Hammer down with lots of offense…Hammer gets a flash pin in there for two, but he ducks down shortly after and takes a PerfectPlex for three…


  • Stevie Ray (w/Vincent) and Diamond Dallas Page make up tonight’s main event…Someone has a GOLDBERG – MAKE EM SAY UGH sign in the crowd, which places us squarely in 1998…Page can’t win the power game during the collar-and-elbow, so he dodges Stevie’s slow strikes…He even dares Stevie to throw a punch just so he can dodge it when Stevie gets mad and predictably whiffs…Page hits a side Russian and tries a Diamond Cutter, but Stevie bails…Stevie gets control with help from Vincent…Stevie does some dull offense…Vincent chimes in with some dull offense…Page claps Stevie’s ears to escape a bearhug, but Page runs into a boot…Stevie tries a Slapjack, but gets backdropped out of the attempt…Page fires off some offense…He signals for the Diamond Cutter, and Mark Curtis blows it as a ref….Vincent runs in and gets Diamond Cutter’d, but Curtis calls for the bell even though Page still had control…The Giant runs down to help Stevie double-team Page, but Konnan runs back out and pulls Page out of the ring…


  • I wouldn’t say this show was great, but there was minimal talking, some enjoyable wrestling sprinkled in there, and some young talent got a chance to start working out their in-ring approaches on TV…That was a perfectly enjoyable two-hour show…WOOOO...
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Bischoff very disingenuously points to gate receipts, buys, and segment ratings to say that his creative direction in 1998 was obviously right, but I've heard him say that there is a lag between quality of shows and financial success in the wrestling business. I wonder if he knows better, but makes the argument anyway. Or is it just that he buys his own sleazy used car salesman act and doesn't see the flaw in his argument about what he's booking in '98?

To be fair, they had a two-month period in '98 where everything was clicking and it seemed like they might get creatively hit again, but no dice. Other than that period, it's no wonder that WCW was in the mud by early 1999.

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Show #155 – 31 August 1998

"The one where we play a guessing game that you’re totally going to win"

  • I bet you can guess how this Nitro begins. Go on. Guess. I’ll leave some space so that you can scroll down and see the answer (which I know you’re going to get correct).


  • Name whose theme music plays to start the show.


  • Name the people who come out to that theme music (there are two).


  • Name exactly whom those people talk smack about.


  • Are you ready?


  • Did you make your guesses?


  • Maybe write them down?


  • Bonus question: Do I think that this segment is good, mediocre, or terrible?


  • I bet you can guess that too.


  • I’ll leave the answer below at the bottom of this review.


  • After the title sequence finally plays, Wrath comes out to kill off Jim Powers. It’s a solid squash match. The Meltdown is over and Wrath is looking like the next popular WCW hoss. Wrath stomps out Powers after the bell. That’s Powers’s WCW send-off, by the way, as he was out with a bad neck for near a decade. They work that Wrath destroyed Powers’s knee, and hopefully Wrath’ll get credit for putting Powers out of wrestling in video packages and interviews.


  • There’s a live Nitro party at a school in Ohio with an unfortunate nickname. They get Kimberly, but back in the arena in Miami, the crowd gets Chae. Everybody wins!


  • Norman Smiley, whom I desperately want to get more screen time, is unfortunately out here to get squashed by Scott Norton (w/Vincent). That’s a bummer, even if the squash is solid. Do something cool with Norman Smiley, dammit! Post-match, the Ultimate Warrior does his little light tricks and shows up in the catwalk. It’s way less cool than when Sting showed up in the catwalk.


  • There’s a pre-taped interview with Mike Tenay and Saturn. Saturn is Lodi’s bag boy. The erstwhile Saturn recites a thing about being a former Army Ranger and a man of honor as he explains why he’s upholding the match stip from Thunder. And I do mean “recites,” as in I’m not sure that someone isn’t holding up cue cards for him just off camera.


  • Konnan, Luger, and Kevin Nash come to the ring. There’s still no Sting. Nash and Konnan drop bars from No Limit songs. Why yes, Nash sounds like a doofus, how did you guess? I sort of tune out as Konnan hits his catchphrase roulette and have to rewind a bit because Luger mentions Sting, which perks me right up. I guess Hogan and the Hitman challenged Sting and Luger to a match tonight from off camera, and Luger says Sting’ll be here for it. Nash takes the mic again and announces that they drew straws to decide who would be on their War Games team. Konnan drew the short straw; I bet they planned it that way. Sting, Luger, and Nash will be the team. Nash tells Page that he has to make a decision on joining the Wolfpac next week and then threatens Piper and Warrior because they came out at the end of last Nitro and got in what Nash terms “Wolfpac business” and because he’s still beefing with WCW on sight.


  • J.J. Dillon is in the ring with Tony S. to have a conversation with old Horsemen member Arn Anderson. Ric Flair is on his way back into the company very soon. A WE WANT FLAIR chant breaks out in anticipation. Dillon reminisces about how much he loved managing the Horsemen. I bet. Thirty percent of the cut from that group, what with all their championship and main event bonuses? WOOOOO, indeed. Dillon calls up an old promo from the mid ‘80s in which Arn Anderson is obviously a heel because he’s wearing a Yankees cap like some sort of scumbag Northerner. It’s a good promo, obviously, but the goal is to use it to get Arn to accept J.J. Dillon’s spot in the Horsemen. Not Ric’s spot, the dog Spot, etc., etc.


  • Dillon isn’t the most exciting speaker, but eventually he gets around to the point; which is that Dillon managed and helped Arn when Arn was a young man, so how is he going to refuse to do the same to young guys who are looking to him? It’s a solid point. Chris Benoit and Mongo McMichael come to the ring and have a private (and animated) conversation with Arn, but Arn begs off before Dillon stops him and is like Come on man, how are you going to be like this? Then Dillon says that Arn’s afraid of being in the Dillon role. Arn’s still being a mopey little bitch about it, though. I know, I know. No one wants to be like J.J. Dillon in any way. But it’s your role now, Arn.


  • We re-live the terrible Eddy Guerrero worked shoot, or at least part of it, on video. Then “Rockhouse” brings out Crush (w/Vincent). Ugh. We get a shot of Warrior chilling out in another part of the catwalk to watch. Meanwhile, Bisch is trying to punish Eddy Guerrero by forcing him to get beaten up by Crush. Eddy gets to the ring and is disinterested in the whole damn deal. As soon as the bell rings, he flops onto his back and tells Crush to cover him. Crush is confused because he’s a dolt. He wants a fight, so Eddy tries to coax a strike out of Crush so that he can fall over and get pinned. Crush finally tossed Eddy into the buckles and Eddy covers up while Crush throws strikes. Crush tries to get Eddy to swing, but Eddy just waits until he can get bealed. This didn’t need to be this long to get the point across. Crush finally takes a one-footed pinfall like two minutes after he should have figured it out. After the match, Eddy cuts another promo that bums me out. He’s SHOOTIN’ FOLKS, and they cut his mic after he alludes to Bischoff suing Ric Flair. Whatever.


  • Ernest Miller faces Scotty Riggs. This match lasts longer than the Disco match Miller had on the previous Thunder. Whether that is good or bad depends on your perspective. Riggs dropkicks the Cat outside and then hits a splash. The Cat wisely pokes Riggs in Riggs’s good eye to gain control. He follows up with kicks and chokes. It takes two Feliners to put Riggs down, and I’m not sure what the deal was with the pinfall after the first one. It looked like between Riggs, Miller, and Mark Curtis, not all of them agreed on whether or not that was supposed to be the finish. Miller cuts another basura promo about karate being more powerful than pro wrestling after the match.


  • The Wolfpac theme hits once again and brings Konnan to the ring. Alone, of course. Not that Konnan really needs anyone watching his back to beat Marty Jannetty (w/sexy funk theme). Konnan has few issues with Jannetty early and sends Marty bailing with a rolling lariat. Konnan busts out a strange-looking headscissors for awhile, then gets to standing and runs with Marty for awhile until Jannetty scores a superkick after blocking a roll-up. Jannetty hits some decent offense in control, and I’m wondering how it’s 1998 and this guy hasn’t figured out that rainbow tights aren’t the in-look right now. At least he got rid of the tassels. Jannetty continues to beat on Konnan in this boilerplate singles match for TV that neither excites nor disappoints. Did it need to be this long? Did we need Jannetty to sink in a chinlock on two separate occasions for nearly a minute’s time total? These questions are, of course, rhetorical. I mean, this thing goes on for-fucking-ever, actually, and I’m souring on it because of the length. It takes about twelve years before Konnan finally hits his sit-out facebuster and locks on the Tequila Sunrise for a victory.


  • Raven and Saturn are mired in their feud, still, and Kanyon has switched sides (again?) to boot. Those three come out with Lodi, and Lodi makes Saturn carry a sign. Raven via Lodi forbids Saturn from touching either himself or Kanyon. There are shenanigans with the mic; it gets dropped. I think it's malfunctioning. Kanyon cuts a bad promo, as is Kanyon’s way. Then, Kanyon dares Saturn to go against direct order and hit him. He cribs from A Few Good Men to do it. Saturn refuses, so Raven mocks him for being a person who honors his words and then leaves him behind to tag with Lodi against High Voltage.


  • Kaos comes out and daps fans while Rage threatens to fight them. This is not part of any angle; Rage is just juiced, man, he’s juiced and he’s angry and he doesn’t understand why. Lodi demands to begin the match and – you won’t believe this, but it’s true – matches power with Rage and loses badly. Lodi wisely tags out so Saturn can try Rage. Saturn also eats a shoulderblock, then tries to test Rage again and gets press slammed. PUSH ROBBIE RAGE, DAMMIT. I do think there’s a very fun midcard power wrestler somewhere in there. Anyway, Saturn scores a lariat, and Lodi wants to tag in until he sees Rage tag in the fresh man.


  • Saturn is game for this match and controls for a bit, but eventually eats a few nice High Voltage double-teams. This is a pretty good segment where Saturn is clearly a couple levels above either Rage or Kaos, but together, Rage and Kaos are good at covering for one another when Saturn gets a tiny advantage. Finally though, Saturn DVDs his way out of trouble, and Lodi demands the tag so that he can pin Rage. The look of disgust on Saturn’s face cracks me up. This feud is so long in the tooth, but I do think this last little bit with Saturn being at Lodi’s whim freshens it up enough that I don’t mind waiting another couple weeks for the end.


  • DDP cuts his typical crappy babyface promo in the ring, this time with Tony S. Good guy Page shouts out Toms River, NJ for actually winning a LLWS for the United States – it got rough there for awhile in the’80s and ‘90s when Japan was churning out a bunch of twelve-year-old Shohei Ohtanis – and then uses the example of a TEAM doing TEAMWORK as a way in to talking about War Games. The promo is bad; we don’t need to elaborate on how bad it is. Eventually, Page introduces Roddy Piper. Roddy Piper Knows Pop Culture: Marilyn Manson (he says that Bret is WCW’s version of Manson, which, um, what?!), Barney the Dinosaur, Power Rangers, and lots of product placement (from Schwinn to Johnson and Johnson baby powder). He tells this fucking STORY, this interminable fucking STORY, about young Bret Hart, and as he tells it, Piper basically sounds like a raging asshole who can barely remember the key points of his story that he wants to use to try and run the Hitman down.


  • The Giant runs down to attack both guys and is winning, and he’s the babyface here because he shut these two idiots up. HAND OUT SOME CHOKESLAMS, BIG MAN. Doug Dellinger and a few uniformed mooks run down to stop the somewhat mild carnage. These cops handcuff the Giant and lead him off. This is nonsense. Why is this run-in the one that leads to an arrest, now? It was a boilerplate run-in. Bischoff looked at WWF programming, even if he doesn’t admit it, and thought Wow, they’re arresting Stone Cold, that looks edgy without understanding why it worked that Stone Cold specifically was the guy getting cuffed and frog-marched out.


  • Scott Steiner needs a jolt to this feud with Rick Steiner like the Flock angle got with Saturn becoming Lodi’s servant. Adding this spaced-out doctor to second Scotty to the ring ain't that jolt. I am counting the shows until we get a few of these angles over and done with at Fall Brawl. At least Scotty’s testing some of his “peaks and freaks” stuff that’s going to actually get his heel act over. He’s basically trying to find that “Superstar Billy Graham, but in the ‘90s” pinpoint to his act, and I’m hoping he gets there sooner rather than later. He rambles on about his fake injury because he’s trying to dodge a match with his doltish brother. Then Buff Bagwell comes out about two steps away from being in blackface. Yeah, this show is getting a negative number, isn’t it? The microphone, which has been on the fritz since Kanyon dropped it a few segments ago, cut out on Page and Piper a bit and cuts out on Buff, too. That mic is sentient, I know it. I bet if the Rock were out here cutting a promo, it would find a way to work perfectly. Anyway, this is an even worse segment than the one where Piper and Page cut babyface promos, so suffice it to say that we should move on. Oh yeah, Rick Steiner comes out and scares everyone away, just in case you were wondering.


  • This show has been deeply awful. Juvi Guerrera comes out to try and at least salvage a segment by defending his Cruiserweight title against Evan Karagias, whom we last saw…um…losing to Kaz Hayashi on Thunder. Yeah, that warrants a title shot. Why, oh why, does WCW insist on making so many semi-competitive jobber matches into title matches? Is it to claim that they had [X] amount of title defenses on Nitro compared to RAW, so watch Nitro if you don’t want to have to pay to see wrestlers defend their title? I don’t know, but man, it just looks stupid as hell having a jobber who I’m not sure has ever won on either Nitro or Thunder get a title shot.


  • This match is fine. Karagias is the worst guy in the Three Count/Jung Dragons feud that I cannot wait to see, like I am hyped just thinking of Shane Helms and Shannon Moore dancing around like idiots to their top-shelf theme song, but he tries hard here because he wants more TV time, and he works as the power base against Juvi’s speed and aerial attack. The crowd is far more interested in some dude in the crowd getting ejected from the arena or some lady showing her boobs or something, who the fuck knows. Anyway, the crowd just shits on this match, which is a shame, as it’s perfectly acceptable TV wrestling. The crowd stops chanting BORING long enough to turn back around and chant TAKE IT OFF. Yeah, I think “lady showing her boobs” is the answer to the “what is the crowd looking at” question. 


  • In any case, this is a surprisingly competitive match, which I think is a total mistake since Karagias has been nothing but a jobber on television. Juvi eventually flips backward and out of a hold and into position to drop Karagias with a Juvi Driver. Not bad, but not the right match for these competitors. It ran long and made Juvi look more like a jobber than it made Karagias look like a contender.


  • World Television Champion Chris Jericho is out next to defend against Disco Inferno. Before the match, Jericho randomly speaks like Swedish Chef from the Muppets for some reason. He’s just feeling himself and saying what the hell ever he wants because he knows he’s on fire. You won’t be shocked to find out that this is a fun little TV match. Something about the TV title gets Disco kayfabe (and shoot?) focused; he fires off a neckbreaker and stomps a mudhole, then stuffs a Jericho comeback with a slam. He dances and naturally whiffs on a fistdrop, though. Lucky for Disco, Jericho tries a wimpy pin and gives Disco a breather. Disco kicks out at one, hits a sweet lariat, and unloads with a ton of high-impact offense that gets a couple of two-counts. Jericho reverses and hits a German suplex with a bridge, almost out of desperation, for two of his own. Disco gets back to standing and manages to dodge a backdrop and hit a Chartbuster (!!!) that gets a delayed 2.9 when Disco takes some time to cover and Jericho finds the strength to put his boot up on the ropes. Disco runs at Jericho again and runs at Jericho, who grabs Disco, dumps him, and locks on a Walls of Jericho. Disco fights it and almost makes the ropes, but Jericho drags Disco back into the center of the ring and gets a submission. The crowd actually gave a fuck about this even though they’ve been indifferent all night to the in-ring work. Wow, put two good workers in who have a little bit of shine on them and have them wrestle a competitive match, and this is what you get. Who would have thought?!


  • Kevin Nash joins the desk to observe Goldberg’s entrance. Goldberg comes out to face, uh, Al Greene for the title? Fuck off, WCW. Goldberg wins it. Nash talks about the prospect of fighting Goldberg and promises to put the first defeat on Goldberg’s ledger. Yep.


  • Michael Buffer comes out to ring announce the main event, smoothly ducks a missile from the crowd, and without missing a beat, hits his ARE YOU READY catchphrase. I don’t care that. at some point, Buffer stopped caring enough to do his job properly in WCW because WCW in mid-1998 can make anyone stop caring. I’m finding it hard to care right now.


  • Speaking of, instead of giving us Hitman Hart vs. Hollywood Hogan, they put these two in a makeshift tag team with Bret as a heel. Yuck. Anyway, they’ll face Luger and Sting, as established earlier tonight. Luger and Bret start out. Luger wins with power, so Bret quickly outmaneuvers him and wins a few stomps before Luger fires back with called punches (AUOWGH AUOWGH AUOWGH). Heenan babbles something nonsensical about the Melendez Brothers because his talking is about as much a benefit to this show as Roddy Piper's is. I will say this for the pervy uncle gimmick (and IRL personality?!) that Lawler is doing on commentary over on RAW, but at least it fits with the aesthetic of the company and is, though very gross, modern for its time and place in American pro wrestling. I really hate that I hate Bobby Heenan’s work in WCW this much outside of a couple of flashes of brilliance (laughing at Duggan being smart for a whole match, WHO'S SIDE IS HE ON?!). Then again, his time in WWF was also running out; he maybe had a shelf-life of another year or two before the programming started to turn against his style in 1996; he would have been completely useless in 1997 WWF.


  • The reason that I talked about Heenan so much is that this match is a total zero. Hart blind tags Hogan to tease dissension, and the heels embark on a dull beatdown of Luger, who you won’t be surprised to know is playing a mediocre FIP. Luger hits Hart with a vertical suplex, and I am begging for Sting to actually do something in this match. But no, Hart gets up and easily cuts Luger off.


  • About a minute later, we get a double clothesline and finally, a hot tag. Sting his a Stinger Splash and then Hogan and Disciple fuck up a spot where Disciple is supposed to shove Hogan out of the way, so Sting, who has stopped himself from leaping into another Stinger Splash in time, goes back and tries yet again so that Disciple can complete the spot. "Immersion breaking" is the kind way to describe that spot. The only place we can go from there is into a wet fart of a finish where Hogan uses the weight belt on Sting, but Bret rips the belt away since he’s pretending to be buds with Sting. Hogan and Bret bicker outside the ring and get counted out. Then, Hogan and Bret shove each other in the ring and everyone in nWo Hollywood comes out to referee their disagreement while the ring fills up with smoke. The lights go out, and when they come back on, Warrior is in the ring and everyone in the nWo is face down except for Hogan, who has a DOO DOO DOO DOOKIE look on his face. Warrior is like LOL U POOPED, but in fairness to him, he makes this claim somewhat subtly (for pro wrestling) and Hogan hightails it out of there to end the show.


  • Remember when WCW would put on semi-competitive matches between guys on the same level on every Nitro, rather than having jobbers and opening guys all over the card like it’s WCWSN? Remember that? They don’t even build these new wrestlers up or give them characters or vignettes. Look, you want to push Evan Karagias, fine, but give him a fucking gimmick and some wins over lesser talent first. The Al Greene booking worked okay in the moment in the sense that Goldberg is so over and the live crowd just wants to see him kill dudes, but I’ve seen that five hundred times already on TV, so him killing jobbers is a zero for me at this point.


  • And I mean, even barring all the bad booking and poor pacing and crappy angles, there’s a cap on this score because (here’s the answer to the quiz at the beginning of this entry) Hogan and Bischoff started the show on the wrong foot. They came out to “Rockhouse” and talked smack about DDP, Warrior, Goldberg, and Eddy Guerrero. Hogan placed Stevie Ray on his nWo Hollywood War Games team, which knocks the score down an extra quarter Stinger Splash because of the audacity of blatantly telegraphing the guy who is going to take the fall in War Games. And then to top it all off, he called out Warrior (who walked down the aisle before the music sped up so that he could use most of his energy to shake the ropes, hahaha) for another gab session, only for Warrior to, rather than say anything or throw hands, go hide under the ring for the next few segments disappear. Knock it down another half-Stinger Splash for the length of the segment leading to an anti-climax. The opening segment, as is usual for the past few weeks, sucked and was terrible.


  • Let me guess, you nailed our little pop quiz with a perfect score. Well, at least something involved with this Nitro review gets a perfect score! -2 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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12 hours ago, zendragon said:

I think I was also into warriors gibberish cause it’s so clear he’s completely out of his skull

He actually hasn't talked that much yet. We've got, what, six more weeks with him, at least? I assume he disappears from television completely after Havoc. I'm fine with Warrior getting ten minutes a show to say nonsensical stuff to Hogan. I'm sure he'll unfortunately be getting more than that, though. 

I actually don't have a problem with shunting Hogan into a bunch of side feuds with guys from the '80s as long as it doesn't take up too much TV time. If WCW still has a large portion of viewers who want to see the stars of the '80s, fine. 

The problem is that Hogan wanted to main event every PPV and be the champ. 

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Thunder Interlude – show number thirty – 3 September 1998

"The WCW Gang continues to breathe new and unexpected life into the Saturn vs. the Flock angle”

  • I’d be glad for a simple Thunder with lots of wrestling and limited main event angle interview time…Bischoff’s been at a creative low for the past three months, unfortunately…Fall Brawl is shaping up poorly…War Games doesn’t sound enticing, Goldberg doesn’t have a dance partner for the show, and there aren’t any compelling feuds built for the TV or Cruiserweight Championships…Or the U.S. Championship, actually…And forget about the tag titles…Who the hell are the tag champs right now, even?...Ah, I think it’s still Giant and Hall, and Hall is maybe back in rehab or something because he’s been off TV for a couple of weeks…WCW is a complete mess…


  • The previous Nitro got a mega-high rating because RAW was pre-empted the night after that great SummerSlam ’98 show…That’s a curse in disguise for Nitro, which proceeded to shit the bed while unopposed and thus did nothing to even make most fans consider switching back to Nitro as their primary viewing option for Mondays…


  • This show starts with Marty Jannetty taking on Rick Fuller…The match is watchable enough, but Jannetty and Fuller don’t have their timing with one another quite right in a couple of obvious places…Fuller just isn’t very good or useful as a talent, especially in a company that has a ton of talent that could be on TV instead…Jannetty catches Fuller on a duck down and wins it with a Showstopper (a move which, if you recall since he hasn’t won on one of these major TV shows in awhile, is simply a Rocker Dropper)…


  • Recaps from Nitro…After the recaps, we get Lenny Lane versus Kaz Hayashi…Lane isn’t very good…The match is okay enough…Kaz is pretty great, though…He hits a wild dive that crashes everyone into the guardrail…If they can give him a character other than “nondescript Easterner,” that’d be great…Ditch the stereotypical entrance theme for him, give him some direction…I don’t love the idea of Sonny Onoo as his potential manager, either…Kaz wins it with a top-rope Frankensteiner and a top-rope senton splash…


  • Bischoff never really had interest in creating or booking Thunder as a whole, and you can see that what little interest he had in these things it is about out…Which is fine from a quality standpoint, but is also true…Our next match is Disorderly Conduct facing off with High Voltage…The first three matches are basically SN or Worldwide matches…Again, not a problem from an in-ring standpoint…But we’re only thirty shows in…High Voltage continues to be a fun enhancement-level tag team…Rage doing his baby Scotty Steiner act is always fun…Lots of double-team moves from both sides…Heenan even says that High Voltage reminds him of a young Steiner Brothers…I still think it’s a minor miss on Bischoff’s part that he didn’t get these guys a manager to work the stick for them and then push them a bit…Rage bails himself out of trouble with a double-clothesline, then hits a hot tag after Kaos gets beaten up and rolls their opponents…Kaos hits a nice springboard clothesline on one of the DC members sitting atop Rage’s shoulders for the win…


  • Wrath does something he’s probably done before on an episode of Superstars or Action Zone…He squashes Barry Horowitz…A quick search tells me they wrestled each other on a European tour, so maybe it made a Coliseum Video release somewhere…Wrath has no problem killing off Horowitz…The Meltdown ends the match pretty quickly…


  • Saturn is a terrible promo…When he was fired up about Glacier, he fooled me into remembering him as better at talking than he is…His cadence makes him sound like he’s reading his lines off a cue card…So many of these fellas need managers…When Raven was doing the talking for him, it was all good…Maybe they should have him insult Glacier some more to fire him up…


  • Meng/Raven is a WCW-ass WCW matchup…The Flock comes out minus KidmanSaturn holds Lodi’s signs for him again…Of course, I get robbed of this…Raven sends Riggs and Sick Boy in there as his replacements…Meng beats the shit out of both of these guys, so Raven sends Horace into the ring…Horace and his STOP sign do absolutely zero damage…I should have known when Tony S. mentioned this match at the beginning of the show that I wasn’t going to actually get it…I don’t know why I got excited…Sick Boy is back in and he gets TDG’d and pinned…Raven makes Lodi make Saturn face Meng next…OK, this could be good…They clubber the crap out of each other…Saturn’s got some momentum after the clubbering, so Kanyon kicks him in the back of the head, and the momentum sends Saturn right into a TDG…Raven and Kanyon roll out…Well, that was too short to be good…It was really an angle, not a match….Bleh…I mean, the booking is fine and serves a clear purpose, I was just interested in either Meng/Raven or Meng/Saturn as an actual match…


  • Kanyon comes back out to the ring with Raven and Lodi trailing him…Ah, I see, Saturn was scheduled for a match with Kanyon tonight, and it happened to be booked right after the Meng match…Saturn is still out in the ring…Kanyon beats up Saturn, then holds up a WHO IS BETTER THAN KANYON sign…Ah, a catchphrase is born…Saturn almost steals it on a flash pin…Kanyon kicks out at two and goes back to making Saturn a crash test dummy for his offense…Step-over facebuster, wheelbarrow slam, and then Saturn gets two off another flash pinfall attempt when Kanyon casually covers him…Kanyon has to pull out all the stops to beat a guy who Meng TDG’d only after interference…Saturn looks pretty great here…Saturn kicks out of a hanging neckbreaker next…Saturn actually drags himself up in the corner and tries to win a punch-up, but he’s pretty much out...Kanyon hits more offense, some of which doesn’t look great…The way Kanyon envisions some of these moves don’t match up with how they look when actually executed…


  • Saturn hits two overhead suplexes and finds one last bit of energy…He looks like he might actually win the match, so Lodi jumps up and orders Saturn to let Kanyon hit him with a Flatliner…Saturn, who values his word, takes a Flatliner…Kanyon wins it…OK, I went from excited for Raven/Meng to excited for Saturn/Meng to disappointed that we got an angle instead of a match to seeing the rest of the angle play out with the Kanyon/Saturn match and loving it…This screams “This was Raven’s idea and he went to Kevin Sullivan to help shape it for TV”…I’m not trying to hate on Bischoff, but he usually gives a lot of credit for the midcard stuff that worked out to the workers involved and Sullivan…I can’t believe this angle is having the sort of third wind that Saturn somehow found in this last match…The Saturn/Lodi aspect of the angle has injected quite a bit of entertainment into the dying days of this feud…


  • Well, after that unexpectedly excellent pair of segments, we get a Crush match…You take the good, you take the bad, you take the best, and then you have…A typical Thunder in 1998…Dean Malenko makes his way to the ring to face Crush, but Hennig jumps Malenko in the aisle…Nevermind, it’s another angle, not a match…Malenko actually does fight back for a bit, but the numbers game very quickly gets to him…Rude hits a swinging neckbreaker (maybe because he can’t drop straight down?) and swivels his hips…Hennig calls back to the previous Fall Brawl in which he destroyed the Horsemen and then answers a challenge Malenko apparently made to Hennig for a cage match…Hennig declines the challenge under the assumption and hope that Malenko is now too injured to have said match…They put some fencing on top of him and then leave…


  • Norman Smiley gets television time for two major shows in a row!...He’s probably going to job to fucking Scotty Riggs though, unfortunately…Riggs fakes that his throat is still hurt from the TDG so that he can get the jump on Smiley, which is actually kind of cool…The WCW Matchmaking Committee made the cage match between Hennig and Malenko for the next Nitro, Malenko injury be damned…I assume we’ll be seeing Ric Flair on the next Nitro, then?...The crowd starts chanting homophobic slurs randomly…So uh, that happens…It was the ‘90s, people thought that shit was edgy at the time instead of just stupid and shitty…Hey, Smiley scores a legbar and manages a submission victory!...AW YEAH…


  • The Armstrong Boys are here to tag up…No, not the one who is actually over…No, not the one whom everyone thinks should be over, either…It’s Scott and Steve…They face off with the Boogie Knights (w/o Tokyo Magnum, who I guess is back in Japan or touring Mexico or something, sadly)…This is a decent little semi-competitive tag match…The Armstrongs are goofy, though, just entirely too goofy…These are two heeling teams, so they both cheat liberally…Disco finally gets a hot tag after numerous cheating, distracting, and double-teaming shenanigans…Wright hits a neckbreaker for the victory…


  • Tonight’s main event: Stevie Ray and the Giant versus Diamond Dallas Page and Konnan…It would be appropriate for Stevie to defend Scott Hall’s tag title for him considering what he did with Booker’s TV title…But instead, the tag titles are just off television…They should quickly switch them back onto Sting and Luger, at least…It’s a sad day when WCW books their tag titles worse than the WWF was booking their set of tag titles at the same time…


  • The match is a perfectly acceptable one, particularly when the Giant’s facing off with DDP…It’s also too short to be bad, so there's that…We get dueling tags, and Stevie eventually gets control and Konnan plays FIP for a short segment…Konnan hits a hot tag to Page, who is cut off pretty quickly…He still manages to hit Stevie with a rebound Diamond Cutter…Giant breaks up the pinfall…A couple B-Teamers run down and the match is thrown out…Goldberg, the biggest star in this company, runs down for the save…Nice to see this guy on television, even if it's once again for about three seconds of work…Goldberg and Giant face off, visually promising a World Championship match that this company just refuses to give twelve minutes on PPV to...


  • This show basically ended up as a solid collection of wrestling matches bolstered by the neat match/angle segments with Saturn, Lodi, and the Flock in the middle of it…WOOOO
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On 2/19/2024 at 4:10 PM, SirSmUgly said:

Show #155 – 24 August 1998

  • Post-match, Horace Hogan and Sick Boy run out and Hogan waffles Mongo in the dome with the sign, woof. That sign was gimmicked, I hope.


  • The Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music is pretty good, actually. It’s slow while he walks out in the darkness and raises his arms, then speeds up so that Warrior can run to the ring. Warrior is waring a jacket with OWN on the back, and I’m assuming that he’s going to kidnap (and possibly sexually assault) his first convert to the One Warrior Nation soon. Warrior is totally blown up and huffing heavily while on the mic. Holy shit, this guy is a mess. Is it any shock that his heart blew up a decade and change from now?
  • Warrior cuts a bad promo, as if you couldn’t guess, but he is really out of breath while he does it, which is funny to me. How is this guy going to get through a 25-minute match at Havoc? Warrior talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and I think gets around to intimating that he’s going to fuck with Hogan’s life during the main event tag match tonight and maybe also next week on Nitro. Man, Warrior cutting 1988 promos in 1998 is a mess. I love that he’s trying to get over a catchphrase (“Same Warrior time, same Warrior place, same Warrior channel”), though. It’s not MOST ELECTRIFYING or GIMME A HELL YEAH or DO YOU SMELL or even OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW or HELLO LADIES, but you know. It’s an attempt.

haven't read past this show yet. this is a reminder to myself to come back and get caught up. i went ahead and read all of the next reviews. Much like when i rewatched a couple years ago, i'm not going to remember any of that. 

  • in my backyard wrestling days, i took an overhead sign shot to the top of the head. it fucking hurt, man. looked like shit on camera, but easily the hardest hit i took in the year+ that we did that. definitely caused me to give respect to anybody that takes one of those. also, don't steal road signs, kids.
  • maybe this is the Warrior promo i remember? was he just soliloquizing? i just remember a meandering promo that went on FOREVER. also, i like that the catchphrase he was trying to get over was stolen from a '60s tv show. very timely, as seems to be the MO for WCW babyfaces.

new thoughts:

  • i remember being excited to see Jannetty on TV throughout '98, but he never really did anything special to impress, and he never was factored into a feud. i really thought Bisch would have tried to play off some sort of "we've got one Rocker, will the other one show up...." angle.
  • i forgot how much Brian Adams shows up on these shows. just the drizzling shits, both for promos and in-ring. the KroniK team really worked wonders. I was always higher (no pun intended) on Wrath/Adam Bomb than most, but being largely directionless is his entire career until then too.
  • couldn't agree more re: Norman Smiley. dude knows how to work and get over. i'm glad he got his run eventually, but it also kinda sucks that it takes until the "big wiggle" to make that happen. 
  • the WCW tag titles were a mess for this entire year. it's not about to get any better.
  • you mentioned that you didn't think Evan Karagias (or however he's spelling it this week) had even gotten a win on Nitro or Thunder yet. I'll do you one better: he hadn't gotten a win on WCW TV AT ALL yet. (cagematch lists one dark match win about 6 months prior). but good news! he gets his first TV win on the 9/19 Saturday Night (against Nick Dinsmore!)
Edited by twiztor
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15 hours ago, twiztor said:


  • maybe this is the Warrior promo i remember? was he just soliloquizing? i just remember a meandering promo that went on FOREVER.

Yeah, this was probably it. It was much less focused than his debut promo.

  • also, i like that the catchphrase he was trying to get over was stolen from a '60s tv show. very timely, as seems to be the MO for WCW babyfaces.

In his defense, Batman was popping at the time. In his further defense, "I am vengeance, I am the night, I am WARRIOR" would have been a worse catchphrase and probably also got him C&D'd.

  • you mentioned that you didn't think Evan Karagias (or however he's spelling it this week) had even gotten a win on Nitro or Thunder yet. I'll do you one better: he hadn't gotten a win on WCW TV AT ALL yet. (cagematch lists one dark match win about 6 months prior). but good news! he gets his first TV win on the 9/19 Saturday Night (against Nick Dinsmore!)

I didn't have Dinsmore as one of the young guys who popped up on WCW programming before getting a bigger profile elsewhere. 


Dinsmore comes out to the music babyface Jericho used. I also spoiled a Cruiserweight Championship switch for myself (thanks, Tenay), and it probably needs to happen because Juvi is doing zero as the champ right now. 

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Show #156 – 7 September 1998

"The one that begins and ends with bad talking, and also there’s a lot of bad talking in the middle of this thing too (except somehow for Roddy Piper and the Steiners, WTF?!)"

  • Nitro starts with a cameraman rushing to the back to find…Hogan and a few of his nWo buddies mad about his locker room being tagged with a Warrior logo. Hogan runs a few feet and finds an ambulance peeling off; Vincent is there to tell him that some nWo Hollywood member got laid out – later on, Tony S. says that both Scott Norton and Crush were laid out. Hogan, Bisch, Giant, and Disciple storm to the ring to look for the Warrior. Hogan says WARRIOR WARRIOR COME OUT…WHEREVER YOU ARE. This idiot. COME OUT AND PLAY-AY was right there. Hogan kicks Bret Hart off his War Games team and puts Giant on it. Then he yells about Warrior leaving “stains” on his wall. Heh. Hogan says that Warrior can’t get past Disciple or Giant, and we know that first one isn’t true. Because of the implied sexual assault that Warrior eventually perpetrates on Disciple, you may recall. The point is that this opening ultimately is the same as the previous openings from the past fifty Nitros, except “Rockhouse” didn’t play.


  • Larry Z. points out that on this third birthday for Nitro that the nWo has been running the show pretty much for two of the three years of the show’s existence. Yeesh. On that note, let’s watch more nWo! Konnan/Bull Pain is our opening match. The crowd loves sing-along with Konnan. Two fans march along the hard camera side with VATOS LOCOS 4 EVER and VIVA LA RAZA signs. I mean, everyone loves Konnan! The match is decent enough, especially because Konnan is willing to catch a beatdown in the middle of the match and Bull Pain is trying to get more chances at that MNW-era exposure and money. Pain even hits a Frog Splash for two. It’s not an Eddy Guerrero, RVD, or D’Lo Brown level Frog Splash, or even that close to any of those venerable Frog Splashes. Pain misses another top rope move and eats a back kick, sit-out facebuster, and Tequila Sunrise in short order for the win.


  • More nWo stuff! Now, we get a recap of the Hart/Hogan kerfuffle from last week. Then J.J. Dillon comes out to say that the contracts are signed for Fall Brawl, so Dillon won’t allow Hart to be replaced with the Giant. Honestly, if I was sitting here watching this at the time it aired, I’d be excited that they were working toward Hogan/Hart. Alas, I am here in the future, so I don’t give a fuck about this angle.


  • Gene Okerlund introduces DDP for an in-ring interview as he does every fucking week. Bischoff's show formatting and general ideas for angles are just so boring. I long for the chaos of a Vinnie Ru-run show. That will get boring too since his one thing to do is have everyone swerve everyone else on every show and in every angle, but the chaos should be refreshing at the start. Plus, at least the uneven booking in the Bischoff-and-Russo era should be moderately entertaining from a meta standpoint. Page comes out and cuts a promo that’s not quite as bad as his usual babyface promos (but is still fairly crappy) in which he ultimately is irritated at Nash for trying to once again use threats of violence to get him him into the nWo, which, you know, he already did a year-and-change ago. Fair enough!


  • Page is disinterested in aligning with Nash for obvious reasons, so Nash comes down to the ring to parlay. Nash, being a bright guy, tries threatening Page yet again if Page doesn’t join the Wolfpac. Galaxy-brained stuff from Nash there. Page doesn’t even know how Luger and Sting can trust Nash, which brings these two dorks to the ring to join Nash. Do you notice here that the only time the Wolfpac has numbers on someone, it’s someone in WCW and not in nWo Hollywood? Huh. Luger plays Hugh Honey to Nash’s Vic Vinegar and tries to coax Page to join. The awkward thing about this is that Page is supposed to be the babyface here because of his convictions, but the crowd just wants Page in the Wolfpac, all that “convictions” shit be damned. Page is still pretty sure that Nash would stab these two in the back, so Sting tries guilt tripping Page like he’s Page’s mother and Page doesn’t call at least once a week. Sting’s like I saved you from nWo beatdowns so many times; do you know how much that zipline rental cost?! But I spent that money for you, Page. For your health and safety. And look how you don’t appreciate me. You can’t even join the Wolfpac for me. I mean, that’s basically his argument. Anyway, Sting wants to show that the Wolfpac is tight by having two of them face Page and Piper tonight. Page demands that Nash be one of the two (editor's note: Nash doesn't comply and ultimately proves Page to be correct in his mistrust). Then, Page threatens Nash with a Diamond Cutter, which draws a bit of booing. Whoopsie!


  • Gene Okerlund is still out here, standing in the ring, so that he can talk to Roddy Piper. This show absolutely SUCKS so far. Thirty minutes in and we got Konnan/Bull Pain for five minutes and a bunch of mediocre-to-bad talkers doing nothing but emitting carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. So, Piper comes out and (somewhat fairly, IMO) is like, how the fuck did Page force me into in a tag match tonight when he just talked about hating that he’s being forced into something? Fuck that hypocrite. Then he points out that this War Games is actually every man for themselves since there’s a World Championship shot at stake. That is both a logical way to think about the match in kayfabe and also entirely blows apart the very nature of this stupid-ass War Games match. The 3v3v3 thing, I can see being interesting. Pinfalls being allowed, not so much. But the title shot going to the winner logically encourages each wrestler to avoid working as a team if it’s to their detriment. What is wrong with the booking team? Piper declares that he’s not on a team at War Games even though he is, in fact, on Team WCW, as I’m sure “Contract Master” J.J. Dillon would let us know if he were out here. Oh yeah, Roddy Piper Knows Pop Culture: typical Bill Clinton reference, Saving Private Ryan.


  • Wrath comes to the ring to kill off Lenny Lane. The commentary desk agrees with Piper that the very nature of the War Games match is undermined by the way the match is being booked this year. There is almost zero reason to watch Fall Brawl at this point (outside of seeing Saturn finally kill off the Flock). Wrath hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and flings Lenny Lane over his head as Lane tries to lock in a sleeper en route to a Meltdown and a victory. This was a fun little squash.


  • Backstage: Someone, I couldn’t even begin to guess who, hung an unconscious Disciple upside-down on a hook in Hogan’s dressing room.


  • Bret Hart, sans entrance music for whatever reason, comes to the ring. He’s going to wrestle, which is cool. Or at least, I hope he is: Curt Hennig, Stevie Ray, and Vincent come out to have a conversation with the Hitman. Yes, that’s what we want. More conversations. Well, before anyone starts talking, Sting runs down, holding a bat, and clears out nWo Hollywood as a thank you for the save last week. Hart’s thrilled that Sting saved him and goes for a high-five. Sting isn’t buying it, but he does give Hart the bat and turn his back. Hart tosses the bat down, but Sting just leaves anyway. These angles are absolute nonsense.


  • That was hour number one. A whole hour of mostly sub-average talking. Why would anyone watch this show over RAW, where there’s a lot of talking, but it’s much, much better?


  • The Steiner Brothers EXPLODE and there’s a video package about what has been a completely shitty feud. Rick Steiner actually cuts a fairly solid promo in it, though.


  • The currently winless Evan Karagias is out next; he’s here to lose to Scott Steiner (w/Buff Bagwell). Oh, wait, Buff comes over to join the commentary desk. He temporarily boots Tenay off the desk. Steiner is cutting in on this match, I guess, even though a contract was signed, and as “Contract King” J.J. Dillon would tell you, those WCW Matchmaking contracts are ironclad. Scotty responds to Rick’s words in the previous video package and cuts a fairly decent promo on Rick himself. Then Scotty lets Karagias know he beat down Karagias’s opponent in the back, and Karagias is next. Scotty kicks the crap out of Karagias and commentates the beatdown for a few seconds, to boot. Scotty’s yelling at the crowd and acting way more like a roid freak jock with an extremely short temper, which is his natural state and what suits him the best. He tosses Karagias around for a couple minutes; then, he locks on the Steiner Recliner for the submission and threatens Nick Patrick when Patrick tries to break up the hold.


  • Juventud Guerrera faces Hector Garza, who I’m sure is somehow getting a Cruiserweight Championship shot. Yeah, Tenay confirms that he is. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it does. I think the reason is that it’s part of a wider pattern of devalued, poorly booked titles in WCW. Yes, titles are props, but if you don’t deploy them well as part of your stories, they’re badly used props with little positive impact on the narrative. The match is pretty solid in a vacuum. WCW had zero plan for Juventud with this title, and he’s not long for the gold anyway as Billy Kidman’s about to leave the Flock and get a push. Garza buries Juvi with a backbreaker for two, but he eats a back kick and spills outside, where Juvi meets him with a flying body press. Juvi tries to follow up back in the ring, but gets dropkicked out of the air for two. Garza hits a big spinebuster for two, then tries to get a submission off a rocking surfboard, but Juvi breaks it and gets a flash pin for two. Garza immediately hits a nice lariat, then gets two off a La Magistral. Garza puts on a weird standing headscissors, then dumps Juvi on his face and dropkicks Juvi in the back. This match has some nice moves and sequences, even if it feels disjointed and like a series of spots with no real connective tissue. Juvi makes a comeback, but Garza does an ugly-looking block of a top-rope rana and hits a powerbomb for a 2.9. He misses an Asai moonsault, though, and quickly gets Juvi Driver’d for three. Juvi probably shouldn’t be having that many problems with Hector fucking Garza if he’s going to be the champ, but again, he’s not going to be the champ for long.


  • It's interview time with Curt Hennig and Rick Rude. Hooray. They hype the Hennig/Malenko cage match that’s booked for later tonight and run down Arn Anderson and the Horsemen. Rick Rude was pretty great as the insurance policy for DX, but I think that’s because they didn’t let him talk very much. He just stood out there mean-mugging dudes. He came to WCW and they let him talk – and worse, talk quite a lot! He and Hennig say a bunch of corny insults before leaving.


  • Ernest Miller is being a heel for some reason when I just want the guy to be a goofy babyface who says funny stuff. He’s also still pretty awkward in the ring. He’s going to face not-Robbie Rage in a singles match. Ah hell, Kenny Kaos’s only sin is being not as fun as Robbie Rage; he should get his name. The Cat stomps Kaos’s foot to escape a waistlock, then hits a leg sweep and celebrates. Miller is quicker than Kaos and has an arsenal of kickboxing moves, but he sure spends a lot of time celebrating, which gives Kaos opportunities to do things like surprise the Cat with springboard lariats and stuff. This match is just about acceptable; Kaos tries the springboard lariat again, but the Cat easily anticipates it, sidesteps, and hits a Feliner for three. He grabs the mic and is much better than the past couple of weeks. He’s also tempting fate since he keeps saying that no one in WCW can stop a championship kickboxer like him. That sounds like the sort of talk that eventually gets you humiliated by Goldberg, or at least maybe Wrath.


  • Chris Adams does the job for Stevie Ray (w/Vincent). I was listening to Bischoff on 83 Weeks, and this guy said that Stevie Ray was weak on the mic, but good in the ring. That is the most baffling thing I’ve ever heard Bisch say, and that’s saying a whole lot. Stevie is perfectly fine as the clubberin’ half of a tag team with a tag partner who does all the athletic stuff, but as a singles wrestler, he’s, um, not exactly the best! On the other hand, he’s entertaining as a mic worker and just did some pretty solid mic work overall during this whole TV title angle. I’m pretty sure that’s the general consensus on Stevie: bad singles wrestler, anywhere from sub-average to occasionally better than mediocre if you hide him in a tag, can be pretty entertaining when mic'd up. I don’t think Bisch actually knows what makes someone a good talker. He also has said that he doesn't think Raven is a good talker, which is pure insanity. This explains why he was fine with Hogan or Piper stinking the joint up on the mic for fifteen minutes every week. This match isn’t good, but at least it ends with a Slapjack.


  • Scotty Riggs comes to the ring alone. Kanyon comes to the ring flanked by Raven, Lodi, and a reluctant Saturn. Raven tells Lodi to tell Saturn that he’s replacing Kanyon in this match. I’m going to be honest, Lodi is pretty over with me as a heel. If Saturn piledrove him on concrete, I’d cheer. Saturn and Riggs don’t have a very good match because they just seem sort of off in their timing. Raven and Lodi taunt Saturn over the house mic at ringside, though, which enhances the proceedings. Riggs dominates, but Saturn finally gets irritated at all the yapping from ringside and makes a comeback. Saturn dumps Riggs outside and crashes him into the ring steps just so he can get in Raven’s face for a bit. Back in the ring, Saturn puts Riggs in the fireman’s carry position, stares down Raven, and hits a DVD. Raven immediately gets in the ring and tells Lodi to tell Saturn to break Riggs’s fingers. Saturn refuses to do this, so Raven gives Saturn the option of instead having his own fingers broken. Then, Kanyon helps Saturn choose that option by jumping him from behind so that Raven can snap Saturn’s fingers. Match quality aside, this is another good segment, and altogether, the last couple of weeks have saved this feud for me. I’m hyped for Saturn hopefully finishing off Raven and the Flock at Fall Brawl.


  • Chris Jericho is defending his TV title against, huh, Jim Neidhart for some unknowable reason. Neidhart is a tweener tonight, as he yells both YEAH BABY and SHUT UP about eight hundred times on his way to the ring. Jericho welcomes everyone to Monday Night Jericho, says some gibberish that I’m not sure is even part of the English language, and says some more stuff that illustrates his vanity. They just have Jericho out here making TV title defenses and not feuding with anyone at all. And he’s making TV title defenses against guys like ’98 Neidhart, no less! Jericho does his best to fling himself around and sell in a vain attempt to make this match at least moderately enjoyable. The Anvil tries to capitalize on a missed Lionsault deep into the match, and even catches Jericho on a slingshot cross body to ringside, but alas, he’s Jim Neidhart in 1998. He badly misses a second-rope elbow drop and then can’t roll over on a Lion Tamer attempt, like this out-of-shape, roly poly fuck either cannot or will not turn over, and after damned near a full minute of Neidhart struggling, Billy Silverman, who briefly tried to call for the bell thirty seconds into this grossly blown spot, just says FUCK IT and emphatically calls for the bell. What the fuck? This show is real stupid.


  • Speaking of stupid, here’s Eddy Guerrero cutting a bad shoot promo instead of having a good wrestling match! He’s claiming that his doctor says he’s got a bad back and needs an MRI, so he’s going to be out for awhile on Ted Turner’s dime unless maybe he gets that release he’s looking for. I’m infuriated that Bischoff found a way to get me to dread Eddy Guerrero’s segments. This show is bleeding Stinger Splashes, let me tell you.


  • Curt Hennig is being inflicted on me once more, this time in a cage match against Dean Malenko. I’m dreading Hennig and the West Texas Rednecks. KILL ME IN ADVANCE, PLEASE.


  • This cage match is actually a cell match, and while Malenko works it with intensity, what the heck is Hennig doing? He grabs the top of the cage and clings to it, hanging there in a defenseless position that he chose to put himself in so that Malenko can easily yank him down. What a dumb spot. Anyway, this is a very boring cell match no matter how hard Malenko tries. Hennig does some arm work that carries us through the meat of the match. He does some trash talk that is only sometimes faintly goofy. I give the crowd credit for firing up when Malenko gets a catapult in and tries for the Texas Cloverleaf. Then, oh wonderful, we get a ref bump. Malenko blocks a Figure Four and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf, but Bischoff runs down with the key to the cell, yada yada yada, this match ends in a DQ. *sigh*. The one saving grace of this boring cell match with a DQ ending is that when the nWo tries to smash Dean’s head with the cell door like they did to Ric Flair at last year’s War Games, Arn Anderson comes down for the save to a MASSIVE pop. If we could have somehow booked the “cage door head smash” call back spot to the last Fall Brawl War Games match without any of the match that came before it, that would have been perfect.


  • Goldberg successfully defends the WCW World Championship, the Big Gold Belt itself, against Pirate Scott Putski. Yet again, the World Champ gets nothing but a sliver of a segment against some jobber. Fuck off, Bischoff. At least the crowd was hyped. This crowd loves the stars and is faintly bored by everything else.


  • This show has just been so fucking shitty and boring. We’re finally at the main event. I just want it to be over so I can enjoy a hopefully low-key Thunder and then hope that Fall Brawl overcomes my buried-in-the-ground expectations. Buffer says that Piper is “known around the world for his sense of fair play and values” and wait a minute, Piper has been a babyface for over a decade by this point, right? I guess that’s probably true by now, even if the thought of Roddy Piper being known for these things made me chuckle.


  • Page never did get to respond to Piper from a few segments back, so they bitch at each other for awhile before the match starts. Piper tags himself in, though, and the man known around the world for his sense of fair play and values immediately gnaws on Luger’s forehead. Piper beats the shit out of Luger, yells IT’S WAR, tags Page in, and yells FIGHT ‘IM. I’m going to have to give Piper credit for being a plus on a WCW show for the first time since maybe Starrcade ’96. Sure, his interview totally undercut the main event of the PPV that’s coming up, but he wasn’t wrong from a kayfabe standpoint!


  • Luger comes back with a metal forearm and tags to Sting, who hits some nice offense, including a jumping DDT. Page hits one of his own in response, and the match breaks down entirely. Sting and Page hit a really nice-looking, meaty-sounding double clothesline spot. I have to give it to these fellas; this is a pretty good match. The unfortunate thing is that, in true Bischoff-era WCW style, it immediately comes to a halt when Kevin Nash comes down, posts Piper, and Jackknifes Page. Yeah, just as I had let myself get into this match.


  • Great, here comes Hogan (w/a steel chair and the Giant) again. Hogan gets someone to lower the cell and thinks Warrior will be dumb enough to just walk down here and enter the cell with both him and the Giant. Nope, Warrior’s not a dumbass long-term WCW babyface, Hogan. You should know better. The ring fills with smoke. The Giant is knocked out by said smoke, but Hogan is too strong for that – he just cartoonishly coughs like he’s a character in a Hanna Barbera cartoon. Warrior comes out of the trap door in the mat and sits in a chair of his own. Warrior whiffs on a chair shot, then no-sells a Hogan chair shot. Bischoff runs down and unlocks the cell door so that Hogan can run away. The Giant is still out. Does the Giant have the most “uncomfortably long sell of a move” spots in history? This rivals the legdrop sell at Hog Wild 1996. Even though we saw Warrior climb out of the trap door clearly because the smoke cleared too early, when Warrior leaves through the trap door, Hogan and Bischoff act confused. In fairness, Hogan was too busy hacking like he was trying to teach the kids life lessons about smoking cigarettes in an anti-tobacco PSA to see it, but Bischoff was ostensibly watching this whole thing on a monitor since he knew to grab the key to the cell and run back down with it. Anyway, this segment was dumb and got me anti-hyped for Warrior and Hogan meeting in War Games. Also, I totally forgot that Warrior was in a War Games match. And Stevie Ray, too! Man, this is going to be the worst one of them all, isn’t it?


  • FIRE ERIC BISCHOFF. -2.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Thunder Interlude – show number thirty-one – 10 September 1998

"The WCW Gang works around the negatives of Hulk Hogan, late-career Scott Hall, and Roddy Piper to put on a pretty fun show”

  • It’s a live Thunder from Kentucky this week, and the crowd sounds hot for some pro wrestling action…Tony S. runs down a card that frankly sounds suboptimal (Editor's note: Things turned out much better than you'd expect)…Oh, wonderful, it’s a live go-home Thunder, so Bisch and Hogan think it’s an important enough show upon which to grace us with their presence…I repeat myself every review about these Hogan-and-Bisch focused openers…Then again, they repeat themselves with the same shitty opening each week…Hogan cuts an awful promo yet again…He threatens all his enemies and sadly promises to do something awful to Nash tonight…I was hoping this would be the only time that Hogan would be out here…


  • Silver King faces Juvi Guerrera for the Cruiserweight Championship…Hell, let me have a shot at it, why not…There’s a cut-in where Jericho declares himself the biggest and most important champion in the company since Turner is in the business of television…Heh heh heh…The debut of Ralphus is upon us…Jericho says that if Goldberg gets a security detail, the champion of everyone who owns a television set should get one, too…He promises us quite the entrance later on tonight…Silver King should probably keep wearing his cowboy hat as he wrestles because his hairline is tragic…This match starts out solidly…Both guys are having a good night athletically…What the heck?...So, Silver King uses a chair to assist a dropkick, just sort of casually, not really thinking about it…Mark Curtis calls for the bell…The timekeeper is confused, as this isn’t the finish of the match…Silver King is also confused…Alas, the match is now over…Juvi mostly got his ass beat and then retained the belt on a weird finish, like a true champion…I’m so confused…


  • Did we need to cut that match short so that Tony S. could talk to J.J. Dillon?...Did we really?...Dillon claims that Scott Hall has been ditching out of work and chilling out golfing and tanning…“Golfing and tanning” sounds better than “in court and in rehab”…Dillon says that it’s not fair that Hall gets to sit around doing whatever he wants, chastises Bisch for allowing Hall to ditch work when everyone else in nWo Hollywood has to show up, then announces a match between Hall and Konnan at Fall Brawl…


  • Lex Luger and the British Bulldog were scheduled for a match tonight, but before the Allied Powers EXPLODED, Bulldog and Jim Neidhart jumped Luger in the back during the last break…Please park Bulldog (who isn't long for this company) and Neidhart on Worldwide/SN/Pro and leave them there…


  • Wrath faces off with Chris Jericho for the TV title…I cannot believe it…A logical contender for the TV title…Jericho is led out by his personal security…Oops, no he accidentally opens a door that leads to a broom closet rather than to the tunnel to gorilla…He keeps yelling LEXINGTON YEAH LEXINGTON HOW ARE YA C’MON BAYBAY while opening the wrong doors and curtains in a vain attempt to get to the ring…The third door opens to the arena exterior and, as Jericho finds out after it closes, is locked from the inside…Jericho, in a classic skit, pounds on the door desperately trying to get back in…I would assume that he kayfabe did this on purpose to dodge Wrath, but he’s actually more embarrassed by his low-rent security detail not being able to lead him to the ring…Wrath is like Fuck this shit, I’mma go back there and beat this dude’s ass…The match is unfortunately over because the bell rings to start it and ten seconds later rings it to end it…We cut back to Jericho, who briefly stops pounding the door to meekly and sadly ask the cameraman, “You’re not still filming this, are you?”…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…So, Wrath eventually finds the right door and chases off a terrified Jericho…If you’re going to bait-and-switch a match, you’d better make it good…This was really good…


  • The desk talks about and introduces Jim Duggan, who told a crowd on Tuesday that he was diagnosed with cancer…All I have to say is FUCK CANCER… And that Duggan gets to be as maudlin as he fucking wants in this speech…This is much easier to watch knowing that Duggan’s still kicking around as of the time that I wrote this review…


  • Kanyon is by himself for once…It’s really too bad that they gave this guy a mic before the match…At least he hits his (pretty good) catchphrase…But Kanyon desperately needs his buddy James Vandenberg to talk for him…Hey, it’s Nick Dinsmore, pre-offensive Eugene gimmick!...Kanyon sees Dinsmore as beneath him as an opponent…He tells Lodi to tell Saturn to come out here and wrestle in his place, and also, not to hit him…That is very specific wording, so Saturn should hit Kanyon with a superkick…Wait, no, what they actually do is even better...Saturn comes out holding a LODI RULZ sign…Haha, okay, so Kanyon wants Saturn to show his next sign, which is about how great Kanyon is, but Saturn instead shows a LODI’S NOT HERE sign…Kanyon sees the sign and realizes that Saturn’s out here of his own accord and has been given no instructions by Lodi, including the one important instruction about not hitting Kanyon…Saturn destroys Kanyon with a series of suplexes, then does an AMAZING spot where he Pillmanizes Kanyon’s thumb by jamming it into the metal loop that attaches the rope to the buckle and then ripping it backward against the loop…That was a BRUTAL looking spot that didn’t actually hurt at all…The best type of spot…


  • Saturn grabs the mic and yells DID THAT HURT, KANYON? GOOD. NINE MORE FINGERS TO GO, which is BADASS, holy shit…Raven comes out and sends the rest of the Flock in to beat down Saturn…Horace comes in first, but Saturn survives a STOP sign shot and dispatches of him…Saturn tosses Kidman outside and then DVD’s Sick Boy…Then Saturn hits a great line…After Raven asks Saturn if he’s happy having just physically destroyed the Flock members that he’s ostensibly trying to save, Saturn says that this started out with him trying to save the Flock from Raven, but now he realizes that he can only try to save himself…This segment was GREAT…I am staggered at how effectively they found a way to bring this feud back from the dead for one more month…


  • Mongo McMichael comes to the ring...This Thunder picked up once Wrath made it to the ring…Curt Hennig comes out to face Mongo, but even Hennig can’t dampen my hype after that series of segments (discounting Duggan’s speech, of course)…Mongo is fired up and throws soupbones and kicks, but misses a high knee…Hennig works that knee injury…Mongo makes a comeback by side slamming Hennig as Hennig tries for a kick…Stevie Ray runs to the ring and confronts Mongo…Hennig, Stevie, and Buff Bagwell triple up on Mongo…Stevie’s now using an actual slapjack to bonk dudes on the head, specifically Mongo in this case…Dean Malenko runs in to save Mongo from getting a chair jabbed into his throat…Mongo is out cold and can’t help Malenko, but Arn Anderson runs out holding a 2x4, Hacksaw Duggan style, and runs off the nWo members…


  • There’s a break, and when we’re back, Tony S. is in the ring to interview Arn while Mongo gets stretchered out…I guess the stretcher job shows that a slapjack has way more KO power than a mere steel chair…Arn cuts a fired-up promo in which he yells at nWo for dragging him back into wrestling…Arn tells Malenko that he’s not saying the Horsemen are getting back together, but that Malenko is worthy of throwing up the four fingers…The crowd is very excited, but they immediately boo as Eric Bischoff wanders back out here…Bischoff says that he’s the one who will decide on whether or not the Horsemen will ever get back together…Bisch tries to get Arn to say that Bisch is his boss…Bisch pulls out Arn’s biography that was published around this time and points out that Arn admitted that Bisch is his boss…Bisch runs down the Horsemen and their drawing power…Bisch claims to be the guy that saved wrestling, not the Horsemen, and then claims that the Four Horsemen will never be on WCW television again…That makes Arn go all Latrell Sprewell to Eric Bischoff’s PJ Carlesimo…Bisch threatens to sue after the ref breaks it up…He then botches the pronunciation of the word benevolent three times in a row, but whether it’s on purpose or not, it works really well because he’s simultaneously coughing and selling the choke as harming his throat…He challenges Arn to an arm wrestling match next week on Thunder for the rights to bring the Horsemen back…Arn accepts…That was one of the best Bischoff promos in a long, long, LONG time…I honestly can’t remember him cutting a better heel promo…It wasn’t blow-away amazing or anything, but it was very effective…


  • Heh, Lodi storms out with grass all over his head and in wet clothes…He claims that Saturn threw him in a river before the show…LOL, there was a fish in his pants…Tony S. deadpans, after Lodi is done complaining: “Thank you, and take your fish with you”…HAHAHAHAHA…


  • The British Bulldog (w/Jim Neidhart) comes to the ring for his match…Oh, nevermind, the rump of the Hart Foundation is now out here as a tag team to face Lex Luger and, um, no one?...I guess it’s a handicap match…Bret walks out about three minutes in…Everyone assumes the Hitman is here to help his former stable-mates beat up Luger…Instead, the Hitman helps Luger fight off Bulldog and Neidhart to a pop…Luger is confused, but accepts Bret’s help as his tag partner after some crowd encouragement…Bret gets some revenge on the Anvil for KotR ’94 before tagging Luger back in…Luger racks Neidhart, and the cracked-out bastard can barely help Luger out going up for it…The Hitman offers Luger a high five after Neidhart submits…Luger accepts…The crowd really wants the Hitman to join the Wolfpac…The crowd wants everyone to join the Wolfpac, in all honesty…


  • The Boogie Knights are in the ring, with only Disco dressed to wrestle…Konnan is Disco’s opponent…The guys who have that one podcast where they criticize AEW because criticizing AEW is like shooting fish in a barrel EXPLODE…Konnan cleanly hits his catchphrases…I do not consider Lexington fucking Kentucky to be the Derrty South, though…Disco grabs the mic and questions why he and his buddy Alex Wright haven’t been invited into the Wolfpac…Disco says they prefer their shirts in XL…Konnan calls them saps and then, and I can’t believe this is allowed on non-HBO television, tells Disco to go toss the salads of a couple of his boys in lockdown…Disco’s gimmick is that he’s a white guy obsessed with the ‘70s, so he kayfabe probably didn’t even know what that meant…He’s thinking: Why would I go work in the cafeteria of a prison?...Anyway, Konnan is completely out of pocket with that comment…It was the ‘90s, you understand…Konnan destroys both these guys and wraps a Tequila Sunrise on Disco for the win…I like the Boogie Knights, dammit…I get that they’re a comedy tag team, but there’s no reason to do them quite like this…


  • Mike Tenay is cutting a pre-taped interview with Scott and Steve Armstrong, but thankfully Ernest Miller cuts in about fifteen seconds in, demands their interview time, and ends up kicking both of these doofuses before security breaks it up…


  • Tony S. is in the ring to interview Roddy PiperRoddy Piper Knows Pop Culture: Jerry Springer, but before talking for too long, Diamond Dallas Page cuts him off because Piper’s still salty about having to be on a team with Page in a match where teamwork isn’t necessarily the most prudent approach…Page struggles to keep his train of thought in his promo…The booking here is trying to show that each team has a schism in it that may doom them…Piper and Page for WCW, Hogan and Hart for Hollywood, and I guess Sting and Luger being confused about whether or not to do like Nash and attack Page for not joining the Wolfpac (as they sort of tried to sell on Nitro, but didn’t do a good job of)…This was a very bad, extremely low-quality dueling promo…


  • Goldberg gets a proper security detail for his approach to the ring…He kills off Rick Fuller for about the thirty-seventh time as part of this streak…Goldberg is a dolt for not taking the chance to murder Chris Jericho as the payoff for weeks of Jericho acting like a jackass…Instead of dominating someone with some shine, he just beats a bunch of mooks and looks like a dude with a fraud streak…Oh, and there’s the victory over DDP…He got like one win in his first title reign, not counting Hogan, that was actually creditable…Hogan and Disciple run out to attack Goldberg, but it goes poorly…Goldberg goes back and Jackhammers Fuller for three…


  • Kevin Nash meets Stevie Ray (w/Vincent) in the main event…The ladies squee at apparent sex symbol Kevin Nash tearing off his shirt before the match…There’s a lot of clubbering…It’s acceptable stuff…Nash barely gets Stevie up for a Jackknife, then Jackknifes Vincent when Vincent runs into the ring…Vincent brought a slapjack with him and dropped it for Scott Hall, who runs in from the crowd, grabs the slapjack, and brains Kevin Nash with it…Hogan, Buff, and Bischoff walk out and applaud…Where the heck are Luger and Konnan?...Hall goes back in to continue the beatdown and sell that he’s drunk while he does it…I mean, he could be actually drunk as he’s an unhealthy alcoholic, but he's really focused on selling the idea that he’s drunk in what is a pretty tasteless approach to evolving this Nash/Hall feud that no one wants!...The camera follows the nWo back to their dressing room, where the Warrior has spray-painted a mildly demeaning message on the wall to end the show…


  • Y know what, the crappy stuff on this show doesn’t affect how much I loved the stuff that worked…I’m going to have to give this a WOOOOO
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On 2/25/2024 at 11:15 AM, SirSmUgly said:

Show #156 – 7 September 1998

  • Juventud Guerrera faces Hector Garza, who I’m sure is somehow getting a Cruiserweight Championship shot. Yeah, Tenay confirms that he is. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it does. I think the reason is that it’s part of a wider pattern of devalued, poorly booked titles in WCW. Yes, titles are props, but if you don’t deploy them well as part of your stories, they’re badly used props with little positive impact on the narrative. The match is pretty solid in a vacuum. WCW had zero plan for Juventud with this title, and he’s not long for the gold anyway as Billy Kidman’s about to leave the Flock and get a push. Garza buries Juvi with a backbreaker for two, but he eats a back kick and spills outside, where Juvi meets him with a flying body press. Juvi tries to follow up back in the ring, but gets dropkicked out of the air for two. Garza hits a big spinebuster for two, then tries to get a submission off a rocking surfboard, but Juvi breaks it and gets a flash pin for two. Garza immediately hits a nice lariat, then gets two off a La Magistral. Garza puts on a weird standing headscissors, then dumps Juvi on his face and dropkicks Juvi in the back. This match has some nice moves and sequences, even if it feels disjointed and like a series of spots with no real connective tissue. Juvi makes a comeback, but Garza does an ugly-looking block of a top-rope rana and hits a powerbomb for a 2.9. He misses an Asai moonsault, though, and quickly gets Juvi Driver’d for three. Juvi probably shouldn’t be having that many problems with Hector fucking Garza if he’s going to be the champ, but again, he’s not going to be the champ for long.


  • Anyway, this segment was dumb and got me anti-hyped for Warrior and Hogan meeting in War Games. Also, I totally forgot that Warrior was in a War Games match. And Stevie Ray, too! Man, this is going to be the worst one of them all, isn’t it?
  • first things first. Garza's last singles win in WCW was 12/6/97 Worldwide, vs. Hector Guerrero. He actually got a number of singles wins that year, even beating Alex Wright (!) and Scott Hall (ok, this one sounds good on paper but was more like the Razor/Kid angle a few years prior). He also teamed with Juvi a few times, and they usually won. So if they had a storyline coming into this match that was Juvi wanted to give his former partner a shot at the gold, it would have made sense. OR, if they had a storyline where babyface Juvi was giving title shots to all of the "deserving" guys that didn't get a chance when Jericho was the champ, that would have made for a series of good matches on TV without having to do much for each individual one. Of course, we did neither and just had a match for the match's sake. 
  • yes. yes it is.
22 hours ago, SirSmUgly said:


Thunder Interlude – show number thirty-one – 10 September 1998

  • Silver King faces Juvi Guerrera for the Cruiserweight Championship…


  • Wrath faces off with Chris Jericho for the TV title…I cannot believe it…A logical contender for the TV title…Jericho is led out by his personal security…Oops, no he accidentally opens a door that leads to a broom closet rather than to the tunnel to gorilla…He keeps yelling LEXINGTON YEAH LEXINGTON HOW ARE YA C’MON BAYBAY while opening the wrong doors and curtains in a vain attempt to get to the ring…The third door opens to the arena exterior and, as Jericho finds out after it closes, is locked from the inside…Jericho, in a classic skit, pounds on the door desperately trying to get back in…I would assume that he kayfabe did this on purpose to dodge Wrath, but he’s actually more embarrassed by his low-rent security detail not being able to lead him to the ring…Wrath is like Fuck this shit, I’mma go back there and beat this dude’s ass…The match is unfortunately over because the bell rings to start it and ten seconds later rings it to end it…We cut back to Jericho, who briefly stops pounding the door to meekly and sadly ask the cameraman, “You’re not still filming this, are you?”…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…So, Wrath eventually finds the right door and chases off a terrified Jericho…If you’re going to bait-and-switch a match, you’d better make it good…This was really good…


  • Konnan calls them saps and then, and I can’t believe this is allowed on non-HBO television, tells Disco to go toss the salads of a couple of his boys in lockdown…
  • Silver King, on the other hand, DID get a CW title shot against Jericho (7/18/98 Saturday Night) which he of course lost. His last singles win was 6/27/98 Worldwide, against Lorenzo. i hope you weren't fooled by King's stocky physique. Speaking of Lorenzo, he only had 6 WCW appearances (7 if the "Johnny Lorenzo" in a '94 tag match vs. Nasty Boys was him), but 2 of those are wins. 11/9/97 vs. Tim Cheeks, and 7/19/98 Worldwide vs. Damien. Not good enough for a Cagematch profile apparently. since i'm spiraling down this rabbit hole, Damien has one singles win (over Ciclope). Ciclope got one singles win (over Shiima Nobunaga). Shiima later avenged that loss, HIS only singles win. I think that must put those two at the bottom of the barrel. 
  • Jericho's Spinal Tap tribute was, indeed, fantastic. 
  • Konnan's salad tossing line continues for a HELL OF A LOT longer than you might think. IIRC he will still use it with the Filthy Animals, which isn't until mid/late '99.
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16 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Did he straight steal the line from that Chris Rock special or was it some street shit that was more commonly known before that? 

Considering how much he jacked from rappers (especially No Limit rappers), I wouldn't be surprised if he stole it. Then again, I remember kids making fun of the Frasier theme by using the double-meaning of the term "tossed salads" in school, so it was around. 

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Fall Brawl 1998 notes:

  • We’re back in Winston-Salem, whose WCW fans are good sports for showing up to another Fall Brawl after what happened last year. As the commentary desk chatters on, a huge WE WANT FLAIR chant fires up on cue.


  • We get video of Ernest Miller threatening someone in the back for some reason.


  • While Gene Okerlund runs down the card in the aisle, Chris Jericho comes out and offers Okerlund a scoop. He says that Goldberg is jealous of his security detail and has been whining and crying about it (which might be a shoot). Jericho says Goldberg called him up to complain, so Jericho challenged Goldberg to a match. He claims that we’re getting a title-vs.-title match for Fall Brawl tonight. This is probably the bad kind of bait-and-switch. If they just had Goldberg murk Jericho in three minutes tonight, that would have been way better.


  • The Boogie Knights face, ew, Bulldog and Neidhart in the opener. Why do they insist on inflicting that bum Jim Neidhart on us? Neidhart’s name is still misspelled on the chyron. I really like Disco and Wright, but they’re not doing much in the ring with late ‘90s Neidhart and Davey Boy. These two heel teams double up on their opponents as much as they can. The match is fine for what it is. It’s not the hot opener that this era of WCW television is incorrectly known for having as a consistent part of their shows, however. Bulldog does some decent power spots and Wright and Disco are good, so Neidhart being absolute fucking shit is minimized. Wright and Disco get their wires crossed, which allows Bulldog to hit Disco with a running powerslam for three. I’m not quite sure why Bulldog and Neidhart are getting a PPV victory, but okay, whatever.


  • Gene Okerlund is in the back to tease that Scott Steiner is still trying to duck his brother Rick, and no one cares, please end this shitty feud. Okerlund interviews Scott and Buff and they’re yet again doing a fake doctor’s note thing for what I’m pretty sure is the fiftieth time in the past six weeks. J.J. Dillon shows up to look at, and summarily dismiss, the note. You know, if Bischoff and Co. had actually built a few feuds for this show, maybe for a couple of their champions who just kicked around on television doing not much, they wouldn’t have to fill time with Bulldog, Neidhart, and shitty interviews to advance a feud that is long played out.


  • Speaking of one of those champions, Chris Jericho gets another long entrance with the worst security team ever. This time, they at least don’t get locked out of the arena, though Jericho should have really noticed that one of the doors is cracked open and shedding daylight (Jericho, when he opens the door and sees the exterior of the arena: “I’m not falling for that again!”). Jericho finally makes it out and his pyro looks like two dying Zippo lighters trying to spark a flame. Jericho is somewhat over as a babyface in Winston-Salem. Goldberg’s music plays and, instead of Goldberg murdering this goof, we get the reveal of mini-Goldberg after the pyro cuts out. The crowd, I must emphasize, does not appreciate this bait-and-switch move. I get it, though it’s funny to me. It’s one of the better “mini version of the wrestler comes out instead” reveals. At least Jericho is now solidly getting boos now. The crowd actually pops for mini-Berg tackling Jericho. That pisses Jericho off (“What are you doing, you idiot?!”) and he wraps the Goldberg impostor in a Lion Tamer for the win, then is awarded both his TV title and the foam World title that the impostor brought out (he rips up the latter). What a 1998 for this guy Jericho. It holds up exceptionally well. This match just pissed the live crowd off, though.


  • Lee Marshall talks to that dullard Rick Steiner for WCW.com. Get Konnan back there instead.


  • We get replay of Ernest Miller kicking the Armstrong Boys. Why in the world is this getting air time on a PPV?


  • Oh, here’s why: Ernest Miller faces Norman Smiley, who ran up at the end of that Armstrong Boys sketch to back Miller off. I like Miller and love Smiley, but why in the world is this on the card? Miller heels on the mic before starting the match. He tells Norman Smiley that he won’t just kick him in the head because he wants to give a fellow black man a chance to just leave rather than get kicked repeatedly in the head. However, as it turns out, Smiley believes that the sociological differences between Black Americans and Black Brits, or BAME, are too stark to simply assume a shared brotherhood, and he punches Miller in the face instead. I guess Smiley’s not a pan-Africanist. That, or Miller is just really annoying regardless of his skin color and Smiley didn’t like it. One of those two. This match is short, but decent because Norman Smiley is a very fun worker. Smiley scores quite a few two counts while Miller eats his offense, but Miller is able to clap the ears of Smiley while Smiley goes for a top-rope suplex. Miller follows up with a top-rope Feliner, and then a rebound Feliner on the ground after that which ends the match. Miller almost walks off, then remembers that he’s supposed to say something over the house mic before leaving, so he goes back and does that first.


  • I think, as I sit through this recap of the Steiner Brothers EXPLODING, that we are finally, finally, FINALLY done with this thing. The original breakup was at SuperBrawl! Seven months of this nonsense! Even with the injuries, I feel like it was slow-played way too long. Ricky’s new music has a terrible opening, just terrible. These guys throw hands immediately, and Ricky wins that exchange, then drops Scotty with a lariat. Rick’s out here no-selling Scott’s blows, so Scott bails. In fact, he tries to escape through the crowd. I wonder: was DC Comics not that litigious at this time? I’m shocked that Scotty’s been getting away with wearing a Superman logo on his tights. Buff is the guy who helps Scott get any room, which happens after Scott yams his brother in the berries while Buff distracts the ref.


  • Scott hits a kick-pose offense for awhile, but he gets his suplex attempt blocked and he gets dumped soon after. Buff tries to intervene and again gives Scott an opening to come back. Ricky grabs Buff by the neck, and *sigh* Buff fakes a neck injury to try and stop the match. This STINKS. This is the WCW equivalent of WWE announcers selling an injury angle by speaking in low voices. Winston-Salem, which is a game crowd, starts what is like their third BULLSHIT chant of the night. I can’t express my hatred for this whole feud enough. Low-key, this is one of the worst feuds of the era. Every booking choice WCW made for this feud was the wrong one. They bring a gurney out and everything for this. It takes forever. Why does WCW hate what seems to be a very good crowd in Winston-Salem? These fans deserve better. After all this bullshit, like ten minutes damned near, they load Buff in the ambulance, close the doors…and finally, Buff and Scotty jump out and attack Rick from behind. And that means this feud probably isn't over, either. MINUS FIVE STARS.


  • What the fuck? Why is Silver King on this show?! I mean, no offense, Silver King’s a talented worker. But what the hell? Silver King’s getting another shot at Juventud Guerrera, who is having what can only be described as the most underwhelming championship run in WCW this side of Goldberg. I am okay with random matchups on TV, but they should be building to title defenses for every champion. Juvi’s tights say SWEET SURRENDER for some reason; this guy should not find surrender to be sweet. Then again, he got his “Never Surrender” moniker just in time to surrender to a Walls of Jericho in the center of the ring. Pretty much none of his booking makes sense, really. Also, the word “surrender” looks like it isn't a real word now that I’ve written it so often. This match is too competitive considering that Silver King never wins on television. it's mostly fine aesthetically, but not any more than that. Some racists in the crowd chant TACO BELL for some reason, then cackle. I won’t let a small group of dolts change my opinion of the Winston-Salem crowd, which really wants to care about the show in front of them, and which for a second straight year seems to be almost taunted by the booking committee. Juvi eventually hits a 450 to win it.


  • Hey, it’s Konnan and Lee Marshall! This interview is immediately interrupted by *sigh* a drunken Scott Hall. Hall douses Konnan with what’s left of his drink.


  • Someone please fire Eric Bischoff.


  • Basically the only reason to order this show is Saturn/Raven. It’s up next. We get a recap of Lodi getting himself involved over the last month. We get a video package. There are a lot of broken fingers involved. I notice for the first time that during the awesome segment on Thunder involving Saturn and Kanyon, Nick Patrick waves Nick Dinsmore off when Dinsmore thinks about getting involved and then hits an Eh, maybe we should go before he and the future Eugene duck out while Saturn attacks Kanyon. It’s really funny.


  • There’s an extra stip on this thing at the last minute; J.J. Dillon handcuffs Kanyon to the ring for this match so that his ability to interfere is limited in range. Hmmm, wasn’t Mortis handcuffed to the ring for a Wrath match at one point a few months back? Seems to be a pattern if so. Kanyon, protesting his being forcibly handcuffed: NO! I AM NOT THE ELEPHANT MAN! Hilarious. Then, after his cap falls off, he demands GIMME MY HAT and throws a kick at Doug Dellinger. OK, that was really funny cowardly heel stuff from Kanyon there. Raven runs down Saturn on the mic and pulls a GENESIS OF MCGILLICUTTY by saying that Saturn’s indentured servitude will “begin [its] beginning” tonight.


  • Raven suckers Saturn in to start and gets an early two off a Hot Shot. This gives Raven the early advantage, but he sure takes that advantage as casually as possible. He wanders around after hitting a chop and gives Saturn the chance to unload on him and score a few two-counts in the bargain. After the third two-count, which comes off a Frog Splash, Lodi runs a dstraction to give Raven a chance for some control. Raven tries his best, but gets punched off the apron and into the railing, then crossbodied along with Lodi. Saturn dumps Raven back in the ring, but Lodi yanks Saturn off the apron and back into the railing. Maybe Dillon should have also, I don’t know, handcuffed Lodi to the ring as well?


  • Raven goes to work. He hits a couple of second-rope elbows for two. Saturn gets a flash pin for two, but Raven throws a lariat to regain control. This match has been somewhat underwhelming in the early going, I hate to say. Raven slaps on a sleeper, but Saturn scores a desperation jawbreaker to escape. Raven takes over again even after absorbing the damage. He hits rolling side Russians for a series of two counts. Then, he gets a couple of knees to the jewels after trying to get leverage on another pin attempt. Still, Raven recovers again and avoids a Saturn attack.


  • Raven finally brings a chair into the ring, which is good because this match is just not popping, unfortunately. Raven hits a drop toehold into the chair as Horace and Sick Boy carry out a table; they, and Riggs, set it up at ringside. Billy Kidman comes out and seems to prep an SSP for Saturn, but he’s cleaned himself up nice as of late and hasn’t been around to help with all the beatdowns, so you can maybe guess that he’s decided to go a different direction. He missile dropkicks Raven instead and runs off, chased by everyone but Lodi and Kanyon. Saturn hits a DVD, but Lodi distracts the ref, and Mickey Jay is late to the count, so it only gets a 2.9. Both men get to their feet, and Saturn just unloads with throws and suplexes to some pretty big cheers from this crowd, which is glad to have gotten a hot nearfall out of what was sort of a boring match. Saturn gets two on a springboard legdrop, then two off a Falcon Arrow.


  • Raven sneaks two off a flash pin, so Saturn figures that it’s time to end this and locks on a Rings of Saturn. Lodi breaks it up and distracts Saturn before going up top to try and hit a dive, but Saturn crotches him. Right after that, Mickey Jay gets crunched in the corner and Kanyon grabs the cuffs key from Mickey Jay’s pocket and uncuffs himself. He then hits a Flatliner on Saturn, puts Raven on top of Saturn, and re-cuffs himself for the appearance of propriety. Mickey Jay crawls over and makes the count and the crowd EXPLODES on that 2.9. That’s about it for Raven and the existence of the Flock, as Saturn destroys Raven’s testes and then smashes Lodi with a WILD DVD from the apron through the table. Saturn gets back in the ring, walks right into an Evenflow…and the crowd EXPLODES at another 2.9. Raven tries another one, but Saturn backs him into a corner to break it up, then rips off another DVD for the win. This match needed more interference earlier and Saturn finding a way to 2.9 as much of the interference as possible because those parts of the match ruled. The false finishes were extremely well-executed. Once the chair got involved and the Raven’s Rules aspect of the match was put into full effect, it went from “meh” to very, very, very good.


  • After a bit of feud recap, Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) comes to the ring to face Dean Malenko again. They just had a cell match, so downgrading the rematch to a regular one-on-one seems inappropriate. This needs a stip that somehow raises the stakes, especially since it’s a PPV match. A huge WE WANT FLAIR chant fires up as Malenko takes it to Hennig. I don’t think they’re going to get Flair, though, since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t show up until the following night on Nitro. Malenko even puts the boots to Rude. Malenko continues to dominate and destroys Hennig’s knee.


  • Eventually, Hennig gets some control even with the injured knee, but this match could not have existed at all and it wouldn’t have mattered. No one would remember it. Malenko keeps killing Hennig’s control segments by attacking that injured knee. The knee attacks are fine, I guess. The whole affair is merely a time filler for me. Hennig can’t get Malenko up for the PerfectPlex because of the knee. Malenko hits Hennig with one instead, but Rude jumps in and we get a DQ and a two-on-one attack before Arn Anderson makes the save. We’re running in place here. Whoops,Arn actually doesn’t make the save this time, and the crowd is sure that Flair is going to make the save, you can feel it. But instead, Hennig and Rude just attack Arn’s left arm to soften it up for the arm wrestling match against Bischoff next Thunder. And with that, yet another segment more suitable for Nitro or Thunder has made its way onto Fall Brawl.


  • Vincent attempts to lead Scott Hall to the ring, but Hall is faded as fuck. When even Vincent can’t sanction your buffoonery, that’s telling you something. Hall gets into the wrong ring, then wobbles around drunkenly while he taunts the crowd. They even let him talk to get this whole gimmick over. He slurs through his survey. Konnan, on the other hand, hits every single catchphrase of his cleanly. Wow, the advantages of sobriety at work. Hall runs from ring to ring, then tosses a toothpick. Konnan grabs his balls. Hall signals that Konnan has a teeny peeny. Yeah, we’re deep into 1998, aren’t we? The crowd is into this opening even as I check the progress bar to see how much more of this show I have left. Hall does a pretty good spot where he tries to pull Konnan’s hair to escape a wristlock struggle, but of course, Konnan is bald. Konnan grabs Hall’s lustrous locks and does what Hall couldn’t. Konnan hitting his offense is getting these huge pops. It’s remarkable. Konnan stomps Hall into the crevice between both rings. Tony S. yells WE’VE NEVER SEEN THAT. I’m certain that it happened last year at Fall Brawl, though, and in a match that Scott Hall was in!


  • Konnan outsmarts Hall, so Hall regroups by stumbling around like an asshole. Hall finally gets a long resthold spot sunk in. I get that Konnan is over, and I get why he’s over, and this is true of Hall as well, but I am shocked at how much this match is holding the crowd’s attention because it absolutely sucks. Finally, after a contest that feels like it will never end, Hall hits a second-rope back suplex and then signals for the Razor’s Edge. He hits it. No, wait, I was wrong; he goes over to Vincent and gets his drink, which Konnan promptly kicks right back into his face when he turns around. Konnan follows up with a sit-out facebuster and a Tequila Sunrise for the submission victory. These fellas had a much better match on Thunder not too long ago, but of course, Hall wasn’t extending his real-life alcoholism into a shitty gimmick then.


  • Finally, mercifully, we can get this crappy War Games match over and done with. So, I’ve already criticized that pinfalls count in this match. I also want to emphasize that this match can end before we ever get to the Match Beyond and that anyone can pin anyone else for the win. This isn’t War Games, it’s a nine-man scramble cage match with a title shot on the line. It is only now that I recognize that Goldberg didn't even get the chance to beat the Giant on this show! Goldberg has been nowhere to be seen all night! I’m going to regret listening to Bischoff talk about how his booking of this show was actually solid if you really think about it on 83 Weeks. I might get a little rise in blood pressure from that used car salesman’s disingenuous analysis of his dogshit booking of this card.


  • Page and the Hitman start as Tony S. announces a Sting/Goldberg match for Nitro. What?! No build, not on PPV, just thrown out there on Nitro? Hart and Page rule in the ring and should have another singles match sometime soon, but I am so disenchanted by fucking pinfall attempts in War Games that I’m checked out at this point. Still, the opening is good, and since these are the two best workers in the match by a fair margin (no offense meant to 1998 Sting, who is still good and IMO only a semi-distant third), it’s all downhill from here.


  • In third is Stevie Ray. He goes at Page, who eventually ducks a double clothesline attempt by Stevie and Hart and then hits a big clothesline of his own. Sting comes down next and fires punches at Stevie while the crowd goes bananas because Sting is still very over despite how badly his booking has been botched this year. Roddy Piper is next. He punches everyone, including DDP. IT’S WAAAAAAR, remember? He’s not wrong, to be fair. Piper is totally cooked physically. Is he going to be around into 1999? My goodness, probably he is.


  • There are only eleven more minutes in this thing, and we still have four more people to enter. Luger’s out next. Bret still wants to be friends with Luger and Sting. Luger doesn’t give a fuck and punches the Hitman. This has been the most benign War Games ever. It’s mostly a bunch of strikes. Where’s the sense of violence? The countdown ends and Kevin Nash runs down as the last man in for the Wolfpac. He targets Roddy Piper. Hulk Hogan walks out early, sneaking into the cage like he’s the Repo Man. I guess you can just roll up into this thing, fuck the timer. He hits everyone but Stevie and Bret with Stevie’s slapjack, then has Stevie chop block Bret. This match suuuuuuuuuucks.


  • Hogan hits Nash with a legdrop. Why doesn’t Warrior just roll out here early himself? Nothing matters anymore. In fact, Hogan tries to cover Nash, and then there’s smoke everywhere, and Warrior shows up fifty seconds before he’s supposed to. Now listen to this, LISTEN TO THIS: Warrior shows up beating his chest and is jumped by Hogan. Then the smoke clears and Warrior is gone, only to run down five seconds early. How did Warrior jump out of the ring and to the back in only a few seconds? Wow, he's such a renegade!


  • So yeah, this match is complete doo doo. Hogan ditches the cage at Disciple’s behest; Stevie Ray and Warrior throw punches in the middle of the ring in what must be a vision from hell. Warrior tracks Hogan as Hogan walks around the cage and out of the arena. Warrior kicks out a panel of the cage and chases Hogan down in the aisle. They throw weak punches before the fuzz breaks them up. Then, get this, GET THIS, Stevie Ray is supposed to swing and accidentally hit Bret with the slapjack, but he misses by what might be a legitimate mile of space. Bret bumps like he was shot out of a cannon, and Page hits Stevie with a Diamond Cutter for three to what can only be described as bewildered silence. That was the worst match I’ve seen in a long time.


  • We’re solidly in the “bad PPVs are the norm in WCW” era, huh? Will there ever be another great WCW PPV, or is this it until they pack it in for good in 2001?
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13 hours ago, zendragon said:

also I maintain that the Jericho c Goldberg “feud” should have lead to Jericho getting the title 

I am still a "DDP wins it at Havoc" guy. I am loving Jericho in 1998, but I don't see him as a legit guy to beat Goldberg.

On the other hand, the Diamond Cutter is a flash move that no one kicks out of and that Page can hit from any position...

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