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


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Man, there needs to be different rules for this thread insofar as the amount of posts that fit into a single page. The last one took like a half a minute to scroll to the bottom of on my phone last night. Or, you could use spoiler tags.

Edited by Curt McGirt
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6 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Man, there needs to be different rules for this thread insofar as the amount of posts that fit into a single page. The last one took like a half a minute to scroll to the bottom of on my phone last night. Or, you could use spoiler tags.

Fair enough! I thought about that, but just pumped those lists out anyway. I'll go back and spoiler tag the list posts. 

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Thunder Interlude – show number thirty-eight – 29 October 1998

"The WCW Gang really should have given Raven and the Giant like seven or eight more minutes”

  • Tony S. threatens to make us revisit Halloween Havoc some more…He also announces a Giant/Raven main event, which makes up for all that…I know it’s probably going to be four minutes of fuckery and that’s all, but I will hold out some hope for a cool match…


  • Van Hammer versus Wrath is the opener…I accept being in the minority of people who is hyped for this exact matchup…Can I admit something to you all right now?...I sorta liked the Hoss Era of mid-aughts WWE…I genuinely kinda enjoyed Horshu/Luther Reigns…These fellas do some clubberin’ in the corners before Wrath lands a running lariat…Van Hammer hits a side Russian…More tall dudes should do them because they just come off as high-impact and impressive…The Giant’s side Russian is legitimately great…Anyway, Wrath jumps damn near across the ring to land a diving clothesline…Van Hammer fares far better against Wrath than most opponents…In kayfabe, this predicts Wrath struggling to do much against Kevin Nash in about three weeks…Hammer hits a sweet powerslam for two…Wrath gets out of dodge with a win after catching Hammer on a duck down and then landing a Meltdown…See, I knew I would dig this match, and I did…


  • Video clip of the end of Alex Wright/Fit Finlay at Havoc…Wright won that tangle, but there’s a return match next up…Finlay is grumpy about losing that PPV match and immediately starts clawing at Wright’s face and throwing elbows…Wright has a nice counter to an arm wringer that ends up with him stomping Finlay in the face…I think these two have pretty decent chemistry, actually…Finlay leverages his power advantage with European uppercuts and a lot of leaning his weight on Wright’s knee…Finlay wraps Wright’s knee around the post while Wright is standing in a new twist on an old classic…


  • This is genuinely pretty good stuff…They do the little things like Finlay suckering Wright into angrily swiping at him so that he can go low and trip Wright…Finlay yells THIS IS HOW I BROKE YOUR FATHER’S LEG while applying a gross-looking standing Figure Four in which he’s standing on Wright’s knee as he hooks it…Finlay’s offense is awesome, man…Wright does a cartwheel to dodge Finlay, and that is BULLSHIT…That leg work looked meaningful and should be treated as such…Wright hits a missile dropkick that knocks Finlay into Nick Patrick…Wright covers, but Patrick is out…Wright tries to revive Finlay and gets grabbed from behind and Tombstoned…Finlay was great, but a) Wright generally blew off knee work that looked too good to be blown off and b) Finlay should have gotten a submission off a kneebar instead of just hitting his regular ol’ finisher…It was still fun, though...


  • We re-live Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell giving the business to J.J. Dillon on Nitro…Scotty had to take a lot of time to think about his big question to Dillon w/r/t the reffing in his Havoc match because he knew, like we knew, he’d probably fuck up the wording…He asks it twice and takes a huge pause each time to work through it beforehand…


  • Disorderly Conduct made it off of the C-shows and onto Thunder…Wait, I guess it’s just Tough Tom jobbing to the Disciple…You want to know how I know that this is the bad universe?...They paid Lanny Poffo to just sit at home, but went ahead and put the Disciple on television…Look, if I’m going to be watching a marginal ‘80s wrestler on TV in 1998, Lanny is like three kajillion times better than Ed Leslie…Tough Tom hits this sweet-looking reverse neckbreaker that Disciple no-sells…This is nonsense…Disciple hits a crappy Apocalypse for the win, then hits another one on Mean Mike after the match…Leslie should have been doing this on a C-show right along with Mike and Tom instead of on Thunder…


  • Eddy Guerrero (w/floundering career) faces Dean Malenko in one of WCW’s truly timeless matchups…They hit quite a few switches in some early mat wrestling…There’s a break here…They’re doing a lot of running when we get back…I’m low-ish on Malenko and obviously very high on Eddy, but no matter how I feel about them as individuals, they’ll never have worse than a nice, fun little contest whenever you put them together in the ring as opponents…Eddy gets two on a springboard rana…He controls with some nice offense, but Malenko reverses a whip and hits a lariat and vertical suplex for two…


  • Really, neither guy stays in control for very long…Eddy escapes the ring on a Texas Cloverleaf attempt…Eddy’s got a huge shiner and looks irritated or possibly hung-over…He tells a shit-talking fan to suck it…Malenko steamrolls him when he gets back in the ring, but we get some switches in control…Eddy takes way too much time going for a Frog Splash and gets caught and superplexed…We get a standing eight-count, but both men are up, and Eddy dumps Malenko to ringside, where they toss each other around…Malenko’s got control when they re-enter the ring, but he almost immediately gets counter-rana’d…Ooh, Eddy gets a Gory Special, which he turns into a pinning combo that gets reversed and re-reversed and re-re-reversed…Malenko gets up and stomps Eddy in the corner, so three or four lWo members come out and spark a DQ…Benoit and Mongo run out for the save…That was a decent way to pass the time, even with the non-finish…


  • Disco Inferno gets a shot at Chris Jericho’s TV title in another intriguing matchup on this Thunder…We’re getting close to the point, if we haven’t made it there already, that Bischoff allows Goldberg to shoot down a title match in which he squashes Jericho…Bisch has said that he thinks that being denied the Goldberg match is the point at which Jericho decided to head up north and that it was the right professional move for him…Actually, the right professional move would have been on Bischoff’s part…Like maybe to clear some of the older dead wood out of the main event, maybe have them wrestle as special attractions like he’s already got Piper doing, and to promise Jericho a mega-push to the top level in recompense…


  • I digress, though…Disco gets a mic and butters up Jericho, but only to demand that Jericho put the belt around Disco’s waist…Jericho thinks about clocking the guy with it, but instead, he wraps the belt around Disco’s waist, raises Disco’s arm, and then pulls him in for a clothesline…Jericho takes the belt back and tries to whip Disco with it, but Nick Patrick pulls it away, and the distraction allows Disco to take control…Disco gets a couple of two counts, so Jericho leaves the ring to consult with Ralphus…I guess the TV title money isn’t long enough to employ both Ralphus and the Jerichoholic Ninja…That bit of advice worked because Jericho controls the match back in the ring…Jericho gets one off a vertical suplex and a wimpy pin…Jericho basically dominates and takes Disco even less seriously than he usually takes his opponents…Jericho runs himself into a boot when trying a corner charge, but catches Disco with a boot of his own after Disco tries to mount a comeback…Jericho then very casually jumps himself into a boot on a dive after taking a lot of time to preen and talk to the crowd…Disco has one more burst of offense…He actually lands the second-rope elbow for two…Disco sets up for the jumping piledriver, but does the Macarena before attempting it…That’s his final mistake, as Jericho has time to trip him and lock on the Walls of Jericho…Disco tries to reach the ropes, but can’t, and has to submit…Decent bout…


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. gets a shot at Billy Kidman’s Cruiserweight Championship next…Mike Tenay says that Kidman is “becoming more established by the match”…I wouldn’t say that…The guy is still very young, but boy, can you tell it…He really doesn’t have it in him to work a lot of medium-long title matches…He sort of reminds me of heel Alex Wright as TV Champ…I think Wright showed more promise then than Kidman has in this run, though…


  • I keep on digressing…Chavo Jr. keeps me engaged because he rules…I have intimated as much before, but I really do think after this watch, the guy who most rises up my “Best Wrestlers of All Time” list is Chavo Jr….I’m not sure I would have placed him, as much as I liked a lot of his stuff, but I would certainly place him now…And really, I bet if I went back and watched a lot of his WWE stuff and reviewed LU’s first season, he’d only climb higher…Oh yeah, the match…It’s pretty solid because Chavo is pretty solid…Kidman still struggles to come up with interesting ideas when he’s in control…Chavo Jr. is like two or three years older, but Chavo in late 1996 was only a bit older than Kidman is in 1998 and had about as much experience, and he definitely didn’t have this issue…


  • Again, the match…It’s back and forth, and after an early burst, a lot of it is worked on the mat…It picks back up when Chavo scores a back suplex with a bridge for two, then a slingshot splash for two…Kidman sticks up a boot on a corner charge – lots of failed corner charges the last two matches – and gets two off a crossbody…They trade two-counts…The 2.9s off Kidman’s Sky High and Chavo’s springboard bulldog both are timed impeccably…Chavo hits the best Superman Punch in the business, but he gets distracted by Pepe and allows Kidman to recover…Chavo tries a diving sunset flip, but gets reversed into a pinfall for three…Ditch Pepe, Chavo, he’s holding you back!...


  • Post-match, the lWo comes down…Chavo expects to be handed a shirt, but Eddy’s still on this guy’s case for taking L’s…I remember when this dumbass angle started that Eddy shouted out Chavo positively…But now I guess we’re doing the Hogan the Elder/Hogan the Lesser “sacrifice” deal except with Los Guerreros and Pepe…Nah, no need, book something better instead…


  • Warrior’s promo and face-off with Hogan on Nitro is replayed…Warrior huffing and puffing after speaking a few sentences is never not funny…Dude, have you ever met a treadmill?...Maybe a Stairmaster?...So, I wonder why they abruptly changed directions on doing more Hogan/Warrior…It’s clear that they had plans…I’m guessing someone told Warrior that he wasn’t getting a win in this feud, so he went back to Scottsdale to chill and collect the rest of his dough…


  • Ernest Miller rolls Villano V next…The Cat does his whole pre-match shtick first…He threatens someone in the crowd, which is funny…Then again, with all the crowd run-ins in this era of WCW, maybe he shouldn’t have done that…Villano V decides to stick around and gets a few strikes in before eating a side kick…Honestly, the best thing about this match is V’s offense, which is pretty fun…V gets another burst of offense, including a meaty senton splash, but he catches a Feliner for the loss soon after…Post-match, Miller challenges everyone and anyone to a fight…Sonny Onoo comes to the ring, but he doesn’t want a fight…He wants 40% of all of Ernest Miller’s future earnings…Onoo probably should have grabbed a mic so that we could better hear him try to sweet talk Miller…Miller is disinterested in representation until Onoo flashes a fist full of Benjamins…Miller is more open to negotiation after seeing that…


  • Scott Hall seems to be walking a straight line on his way to the ring to face an Armstrong boy…I sure hope this “drunken Hall” shit is done and dusted…It sucked…Tony S. doesn’t believe in the Armstrong Curse…I don’t either because that goof Road Dogg is saying words like DIGGITY and SHIZNIT on the other channel and is way over…If a wrestler is on television unironically saying words like DIGGITY and SHIZNIT, they should, by all rights, be completely un-over…You tell me there’s a curse on the Armstrongs?...Not when Road Dogg is getting consistent pops…Hall hits one Razor’s Edge on Steve or Scott, I don’t know, these brothers are so bland and pretty much look alike except for, coincidentally enough, the DIGGITY DIGGITY DOG…He hits another Razor’s Edge to send a message kinda like Nash sending a message to Hall with two Jackknifes at Havoc…The difference is that Hall goes ahead and gets three rather than simply leaving the ring…


  • Video replay of Page/Hitman from Nitro…Bret’s WCW run is a textbook example of a guy who has flawless timing and execution going through the (very pretty, very fluid) motions because he just isn’t feeling it…I hate that post-match beatdown of Page…Why can’t fans have an unequivocally happy ending for once?...The fact that WWF babyfaces would be allowed to stand tall all the time, but WCW babyfaces would catch beatdown after beatdown was a huge factor in me kinda giving up on WCW somewhere in there…Though I have a hard time remembering almost anything that happened in pro wrestling between about WM XV and January of 2000 in general, to tell the truth…


  • Raven/Giant has the first entrance at six minutes before the show ends…Gee, I didn’t see that coming…At this point, forget a cool match, I’d just like a match at all…Kanyon seconds Raven for this bout…The way Kanyon’s shaking his head, he doesn’t like Raven’s chances, I don’t think…Raven enters the ring anyway…They lock up three minutes before this video ends…There’s a match, maybe ten or twelve minutes long, wrestled under Raven’s Rules where Raven is only competitive because of all of his chair-and-STOP-sign based chicanery…What we get instead is maybe a mini version of that which isn’t as fulfilling…Raven is able to run Giant into the post, pop Giant with a chair a few times, and set up a table in the ring…That table is very obviously there for a chokeslammin’…They do have a neat spot where Kanyon holds Giant’s leg when Giant is stepping over the top rope and into the ring, and Raven jumps on the top rope to crotch him…But yeah, Raven gets plunged through the table on a Chokeslam shortly after…There’s a reasonably decent story about Raven losing his way after losing the Flock somewhere in there, but I haven’t seen it yet…


  • That was a pretty fun show, though…I give it a WOOOO
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If you believe Dark Side, Disciple came back unrecognizable and then there was a big reveal. Sounded like Eric got fooled, and because it was Hogan, could of course do nothing even though he HATED Leslie.

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Show #164 – 2 November 1998

“The one where the talking is, in a rare example, better than the wrestling”

  • Man, this World War 3 promo is, uh, something, with all the world elite controlling our lives in every way except for in the (kayfabed, mind you) finish to the chaotic WW3 Battle Royale.


  • Alex Wright opens the show against Norman Smiley, the latter of whom gets a totally unwarranted jobber entrance. Would you believe it, but these fellas work a fun opener! Some fans on the hard cam sign are very excited to display their sign with a homophobic slur on it; how’d that one get past the door? Wright loses control of the match when he doesn’t focus, but when he does, he’s aggressive and has the match well in hand. Wright even hangs Smiley in the tree of woe position to stomp a mudhole in him, he’s so aggressive. Wright eventually misses a corner splash and gives Smiley a chance to unload some lovely-looking offense. I could watch this guy hit elbowdrops, slams, and holds all day; he’s so aesthetically pleasing to watch. Wright does catch Smiley going up top and land a superplex, though, which ends all that Smiley offense and leads to Wright ducking a wild punch and hooking on a reverse neckbreaker for three.


  • Larry Z. is on one tonight, as he calls Wright the “Teutonic twerp” and then says that the nWo is like a “blind man in a dark room looking for a black hat.”


  • They’re making a lot out of Bret destroying DDP to end the show last week after having also destroyed Sting at Havoc. It leaves me unmoved.


  • Disco Inferno dances out next. There’s been a lot of dancing in the first ten minutes of this show. Some stereotypical music representative of some vague mashup country in East Asia that is vaguely reminiscent of Japan, China, and maybe Korea all scrunched together plays, and Kaz Hayashi walks to the ring as Disco’s opponent. Disco is dazzled by Kaz’s speed, but uses his size advantage to try and keep Hayashi down. When Disco thinks he can run a bit, Kaz dodges his attack and picks up the pace. Kaz hits a lovely running, twisting Tsukahara to Disco outside the ring, and then unloads with high-risk offense back inside the squared circle. He gets two on a big crossbody before Disco slows things down with a vertical suplex and a second-rope elbow that scores two of this own. Disco follows up with a legdrop, but goes to the well once too often and misses another second-rope elbow.


  • Kaz wisely speeds the match back up, sits Disco down with a rib-breaker, and hits a gorgeous moonsault that I was SURE was the finish, but no, it only got 2.9. Sonny Onoo, who really does not need to be on television this late into 1998, walks out to observe. Kaz gets two off a superplex, then is distracted by Onoo jabbering at him from outside the ring about how he, Onoo, is undefeated and therefore the best Japanese wrestler in the company. Kaz chases Onoo, who runs around the ring and then into the ring and out the other side. Kaz chases him directly into the boot of a recovered Disco, who quickly lands a jumping piledriver for three. Good TV match, but it was marred by Sonny Onoo being useless on television.


  • I didn’t miss Gene Okerlund these past couple of shows, but here he is on Nitro once again to introduce Booker T. into the aisle for an interview. Booker recounts Stevie Ray being a petty little jealous bitch from a few weeks back. However, Booker wants to let things lie between them - for now, at least - because he and Stevie are still family. Instead, he wants to focus on the guy who bashed his knee in that attack when we last saw him on television (Show #155)…and the reveal – since we didn’t see the attack as it happened, only the aftermath - is that it was Scott Hall. That was not implied (it was visually implied that Stevie did it himself). Really, I would prefer to see what Bret can do with a good, but still in need of seasoning type of guy like Booker. I guess Bret’s tied up with Page and Sting, so we can’t get Booker/Bret picking up where it left off with Bret injuring his knee. I do love the angle idea that Bret makes way too many enemies in a short space and gets overwhelmed, though. Anyway, Booker wants to meet Hall in the ring tonight for a spirited physical discussion regarding the unfortunate incident which took place between them on that hot August night.


  • ARR ME MATEYS, no, I changed my mind, I don’t get a kick out of Scott Putski coming out here dressed in a puffy shirt anymore. Fit Finlay has been really fun bullying his opponents lately. I hope he doesn’t give Putski much of this match. Immediately, Putski dominates early. BOOOO. Putski misses an elbowdrop, which allows Finlay to take over and do a little bit of clubberin’. Finlay lands a nice short-arm clothesline for two. He pulls Putski’s nose and kicks his spine, but Putski keeps fighting. BOOOO. Stop fighting, Putski. Just take offense and look up at the lights when it’s all over. Putksi irritates me by getting in some more offense, like considerably too much offense for this guy. Putski calls for the Polish Hammer. No one cares. He tries to fire them up again and Ft. Lauderdale gives him a pity cheer. Finlay ducks the move, hits a rolling fireman’s carry slam, and drops Putski with a Tombstone for three. You can guess what issues I had with the layout of this match.


  • Raven sits in the back and is real bummed out. He cuts a sad promo in which he quotes Garrett Dylan’s dad, but Kanyon cuts in on it and craps on him for being a sad boy.


  • We get a video recap of Chris Jericho trolling Goldberg. Jericho will be putting his gold on the line against current Cruiserweight Champ Billy Kidman later tonight. Jericho should be able to drag something fun out of this guy.


  • Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Onoo) shadow kicks his way to the ring. The Cat cuts a terrible heel promo before the match, but the funny background event is that Onoo explains to Penzer that the Cat is a three-time karate champion in intricate fashion. One of Them Armstrong Boys runs to the ring. I start to nod off. It’s Scott, Tony S. tells me. Scott did get kicked in the head by the Cat a few weeks ago. He gets kicked in the head again in like thirty seconds and loses. The Cat attacks Scott after the match, so Steve runs in to break it up and, after the Cat attacks him, Steve throws hands. Onoo distracts Steve, and Steve turns around into a side kick and the Cat makes the ref count another three. This was pretty crappy until the Cat grabs the mic again and yells: I WHOOPED THE WHOLE ARMSTRONG FAMILY. NOW I WANT BULLET. WHERE’S BULLET? I WANNA WHOOP THEIR DAD. OK, that did get a genuine laugh out of me.


  • Wrath is very intense as he preps for another Nitro match and another victory, this time against – ugh – Kendall Windham, who deservedly gets a jobber entrance because he absolutely sucks. Like Scott Putski did a couple matches ago, Windham gets too much offense, but at least Wrath doesn’t take as long to mow him down. It only takes a couple of minutes for Wrath to shrug off Windham’s offense and land a Meltdown for three.


  • We get another video of Bret Hart annihilating dudes with chairs and bats and such. I still don’t want to boo Bret.


  • The Hitman walks to the ring to interview with Gene Okerlund, but Bret’s working a groin injury to dodge his match tonight against Lex Luger. Gene straight out says that Bret’s working an injury to avoid Lex, and then tries to provoke Bret into a situation. That’s what Bret says in those exact words, and though Gene denies it, we know Gene is a lying little asshole. Bret basically says he’s teaching lessons out here each week: Page should never celebrate until he’s out of the ring and away from his opps, and Sting should stop bringing bats to the ring that might be used against him. Fair! Lex Luger comes to the ring, disgusted by the Hitman’s cowardice. Luger tries to bait the Hitman into fighting him, but Bret insists that the experts have told him that his groin is shot. Luger, in disbelief of Bret's lies, decides to do the biggest babyface act I’ve seen in awhile, which is hitting Okerlund’s punk ass with a glancing blow while clotheslining the Hitman. Luger racks the Hitman and then stomps him out. I wish I could have replaced “the Hitman” with “Okerlund” in that last sentence, but alas.


  • Ric Flair “wrestles” on television to night again, this time in video of Hogan beating Flair up in a cage at Havoc ’94. Mr. T is there for some reason. I don’t remember this at all. Honestly, when Hogan came in, I think what happened is I tuned out a lot of WCW. I was watching WCW pretty religiously each week, both WCWSN and Worldwide, between about 1992 and 1994. I did watch into 1994, but not for long after Hogan showed up. By October of ’94, I was pretty much a WWF Superstars/Mania/Action Zone/RAW viewer, and that’s all, until Nitro started up in fall of 1995.


  • After a short reel of clips showing Hogan hitting offense in this match, the Four Horsemen come to the ring to cut an interview with Gene Okerlund. Arn, like Lex Luger in the segment before him, is confused about all this cowardly ducking that Bischoff is doing. He’s decided that Bisch ducks the Horsemen rather than face them head-on because Bischoff does not conform to the somewhat regressive ideal of manhood that, while problematic in many ways, generally makes the kayfabed aspects of pro wrestling so fucking great IMO, look, that’s how I feel. Arn challenges Bischoff to a metaphorical (possibly literal?) knife fight to show that he’s got a little bit of the somewhat regressive ideal of manhood in him. Flair follows up and yells and WOOs and such. This angle sucks because it’s all talking and stupid segments and not the Horsemen doing the business. They let Malenko and Benoit talk, unfortunately. It’s not good. Then, they let Mongo talk, and it’s pretty good! He calls Bischoff a Shetland pony. OK, sure! Also, Malenko is going to probably continue Raven’s losing streak later tonight.


  • The Nitro Girls hype video plays. The Nitro Girls dance in real life. A Nitro Party hype video plays. There’s a break. A Goldberg hype video plays. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a wrestling match on this wrestling show, not counting the clipped Havoc match, huh?


  • Hey, a wrestling match! Scott Norton (w/IWGP title, Vincent) faces Van Hammer, which might be interesting. Actually, yeah, while short, it is interesting, especially the part where Norton powerbombs Hammer for the win. He muscled that guy up and over. It looked cool.


  • We get footage of Bret Hart getting his ribs taped backstage. It’s scintillating!


  • Back in the ring, we join Perry Saturn in the progress of making a challenge to Eddy Guerrero for a one-on-one match without Eddy’s lWo flunkies jumping in. Eddy comes down sans entrance music and accepts the challenge. He enters the ring and Saturn immediately kicks the dog shit out of the dude. It rules. Saturn hits a sit-out facebuster and tries to hit a DVD, but Eddy hits a Frankensteiner to escape it, lands a brainbuster, and goes up for a Frog Splash. Saturn cuts that off and hits a huge top-rope belly-to-belly, then goes up himself and lands a guillotine legdrop for 2.9. Man, if you want to see a couple of guys drop bombs on one another for a couple of minutes, you could do worse!


  • Saturn hits a Falcon Arrow, and that brings the lWo down to trigger a mob beatdown of Saturn. Konnan trots down to break it all up. Huh, Konnan cuts a very good promo in which he gets Saturn to back off by likening what Eddy is doing to the luchadores with what Raven did to the Flock. This convinces Saturn to leave so that Konnan can address the lWo and break their programming as Saturn did for the Flock. What a nice touch that was! So, they cut this promo battle that is really edgy, actually, in that the undercurrent of their heated conversation is that the Mexican Latinos don’t consider the Cuban Latino to be a “real Latino.” Then, Eddy basically says, Fuck outta here, go hang out with your white friends in the Wolfpac. I’m not Latino, but I am black, and Eddy dropped that your white friends part with the sort of derisive venom that I have heard black folks say to one another when having tense conversations about race and. Konnan asserts in Spanish that Cubans and Puerto Ricans are as Latin as any other Latino to a sizeable pop. Then Eddy threatens Konnan and leaves; Konnan is met in the aisle by annoying former Mariner shortstop Alex Rodriguez in a show of brotherhood. That was some real shit, actually. I was impressed with this segment, though of course, I’m assuming that it’ll go pear-shaped since it’s centered on race and ethnicity.


  • We get a recap of Buff and Scotty Steiner beating up J.J. Dillon. Scotty and Buff come out here together. Kenny Kaos hits the entrance with J.J. Dillon alongside him. Scotty storms toward Dillon and right past that punk ass Kenny Kaos, who doesn’t do anything to even try and back Scotty away from Dillon. Scotty shoves Dillon, yells YOU AIN’T DOING SHIT TO ME a couple times, then grabs a mic and declares that WCW SUCKS before storming off. Dillon joins the desk to say something, but it gets cut off by a commercial break.


  • When we get back, there's no sign of Dillon, Kaos, or ScottyPsicosis is walking out here in an lWo shirt. Man, they’re wasting this guy. He’s such a talented dick heel who is being lost within this ultimately ineffectual heel group. Rey Misterio Jr. is his dance partner tonight; Rey’s got a new rap theme that I totally forgot about until this moment. Rey and Psicosis have wonderful chemistry, of course, so I do have expectations even for a random Nitro match between the two. Rey grounds Psicosis early, and then after a chop exchange, he somersaults up and into a seated position on a standing Psicosis’s head, then hits a Frankensteiner. Come on, that is absurd athleticism. Just stupid. And this guy has had multiple knee injuries and is wearing a brace, and he pulled that spot off. There is a more-than-reasonable argument that Rey is the greatest athlete to ever step into the ring. Anyway, Rey’s offense is cut off when he gets himself caught in a seated position in the corner and Psicosis grabs him and powerbombs him.


  • Psicosis hits a slingshot legdrop to the outside because he is pretty daring himself. He rolls Rey back in the ring, but only gets two. Psicosis gets up yelling HEY GIMME THREE at Charles Robinson before remembering that he has an image to uphold as an lWo member and switching to yelling GIMME TRES instead. Tony S. notes that Bischoff basically created the lWo by being a dick to Eddy Guerrero, and I am reminded that Bischoff was setting up a face turn for Eddy before he realized that his audience wasn’t going to cheer for a Mexican wrestler rallying other Mexican wrestlers around him. What a dope. Meanwhile, Rey tries a moonsault and is caught, which sets off a nice exchange that ends with Psicosis missing a splash and eating a springboard senton splash for two. Rey whips Psicosis to the ropes, but gets kicked on a duckdown and front slammed for two. Psicosis takes over, lands a second-rope Frankensteiner for two, and then wipes out trying to body splash Misterio against the ropes. Misterio smells blood, lands a flying headscissors and a facebuster, and goes for the kill…when the lWo walks back out. This distracts Misterio enough that Psicosis recovers; Misterio tries a top-rope rana, but Psicosis counters that into a diving powerbomb that gets three.


  • There is an interesting angle possible here where Konnan and Rey, who beefed back in 1996, have to learn to trust one another to take down the lWo, but I have zero percent confidence that WCW could pull this off even if they let Konnan and Eddy manage a lot of the creative aspects themselves. The bonus is that it would be pretty daring for this angle to prove heel Eddy right – creative would be putting all the Latinos in a side angle to fight one another away from the rest of the company – if they would let Eddy address that he's being shunted into a feud with Konnan and Rey as it happens. There’s potential here, but I’m not sure an American wrestling company other than Lucha Underground would have enough vision and consideration of the sociopolitical story hooks at play to make it work, and of course, this is probably too grounded and not fantastical enough for LU.


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Chris Jericho. Jericho references the Exposed! Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets Revealed special (starring Harley Race) before saying that he’s got a secret, and the secret is that he respects Bill Goldberg. That’s an obvious and blatant lie; Jericho pretends to have been a better football player and then facetiously wishes Goldberg the best in all his future endeavors. What the hell, is Goldberg getting released? Did we slip the timestream and end up in 2009 WWE?


  • Raven’s little losing streak angle also has potential, but I don’t think they’ve done enough to a) center the loss of his Flock as a catalyst even though that’s pretty clearly what has sparked this, or to b) explain why Kanyon still doggedly hangs out with the guy. Raven sits in the corner while Dean Malenko circles him, all excited about having a wrestling match. Raven finally stands up with body language that screams “let’s get this over with.” Malenko stomps out Raven, who is openly telling Malenko to hit him. So, Malenko does. Raven’s first offensive move is a forearm to the penis, followed by stomps and bites (these follow-up attacks are not to the penis, for clarification). Raven sets up for an Evenflow, and Malenko just walks forward so that they tumble out of the ring through the middle rope. Well, that’s one way to break the hold.


  • Lodi runs down with a sign that asks Raven why Raven’s “doing this to [him]self,” but Mongo runs down and whips the little runt with a belt. Meanwhile, Raven’s grabbed a chair, which he sets up in the ring and lands a drop toehold upon. Raven has control, so he presses the advantage by sitting down for a bit. He gets up and lands some stomps, then gets the chair again after it was tossed away by the ref. He sets it between the top and middle buckles in the corner and then tries to whip Malenko into it; Malenko counters into a sleeper, but that gets countered into a back suplex. Someone’s hitting that chair, though, and it’s Raven a few seconds later. Malenko pops off a bunch of offense culminating in a vertical suplex for two. He hits an overhead release belly-to-back, but tries another and is countered with elbows. Raven flips around and hooks Malenko for a DDT, but Malenko trips Raven.


  • So, then we get this chaotic finish where Kanyon runs out, Benoit runs out and attacks Kanyon, and then the Hitman runs out to attack Benoit since, oh yeah, Bret tried to get Benoit to join nWo Hollywood and failed. That was back in, what, February of 1998 or so that the angle took place? Lex Luger runs down to face off with Bret, but the Giant comes out, saves Bret, and says he’ll take Bret’s place in his match against Luger later tonight. Well, that was a lot of stuff that happened. It felt chaotic, but not in a way that wowed me. It just felt like the attention was taken off of Raven and put onto more of this heel Bret stuff that I don’t care about.


  • Billy Kidman and Chris Jericho have a title match, but only for Jericho’s title. Jericho stops on the ramp, primps his hair, and then turns to the side and primps what little hair Ralphus still has, hahaha! That was pretty classic. Meanwhile, I am very low on Kidman. Now, back in 1998 – 2001, I thought he was solid, but I wasn’t a big Kidman fan like quite a few folks seemed to be. On re-watch, I find the guy boring. He was fun doing run-ins with the Flock and wrestling as a heel against Juvi, but as a babyface, he’s a charisma vacuum who wrestles average matches.


  • Kidman tries to use his hops to work Jericho over, but Jericho just catches him and launches him over the top rope. Jericho goes on the attack. He gets one off a stalling vertical suplex and a wimpy pin. Jericho lands some chops, but Kidman fires back with a lariat; then, he uses his tank top to choke Jericho. Jericho does a big press and dumps Kidman on his face shortly after that, though, and he soon puts Kidman in a backbreaker. Jericho is certain that he got a submission, is told that he did not by Charles Robinson, and throws a tantrum. This tantrum does not change Charles Robinson’s call.


  • Jericho continues to control, but after a body slam, he takes a lot f time to go up top. When he finally dives, he eats double boots, which causes a Kidman comeback. Kidman gets two off a springboard bulldog, then two off a sit-out slam. Kidman tries a victory roll next, but Jericho dumps him and tries to hook on the Walls. Kidman fights it, so Jericho slingshots him and then hits a sloppy German suplex for two. This is a decent finishing run, and it picks up when Kidman blocks a powerbomb attempt with a facebuster and then goes up for the SSP. Unfortunately, the next big spot looks ugly; Kidman drops an SSP, but he’s the guy to get hurt because Jericho forearms him in theballs on his way down. It’s just not visually clean enough and I had to play it twice to see it. Still, they pick it back up, including with a nice Kidman counter of another Walls attempt with a flash pin that gets 2.9. Anyway, Kidman unloads with offense, but time runs out. That’s a reasonable use of a time-limit draw, to get a guy a level beneath the champ over as a contender. It was fine, with a mostly-good finishing run, but this push is wasted on Kidman.


  • J.J. Dillon and Kenny Kaos are back out at the desk to finally say what they were going to say. Dillon drops a couple of huge fines on Buff and Scotty, and Scotty storms the desk on a complete juiced up rage while Buff tries to stop him. Everyone scatters and Scotty storms to the ring, grabs a mic, and honestly, this feels pretty dangerous. Who knows what he’s going to say? He says that WCW sucks and that he’s got a lot of rage inside him. No kidding. He says that WCW can send anyone after him and it doesn't matter, then calls out Roddy Piper and uses a word for gay folks that he deploys as a slur. The captioner for this episode either misheard Scotty or took Scotty's inability to speak as a way to cover his slur; the captioner writes out the phrase that Scotty used as the word “excruciating,” and heh, it did kinda sound like he might have said that, even if it would have made no sense to use that word in the context he was using it. Buff pretends to try and calm things down, going so far as to ask Kenny Kaos to come to the ring for a peaceful conversation. Now, maybe Kaos hasn’t seen any of the television lately, I don’t know, but Kaos is like, Hey, this seems like a safe conversation to have, sure, why not, and he’s immediately jumped and Steiner Recliner’d while Buff calls him stupid. Well…yeah. The man is stupid.


  • I bet Eric Bischoff got a call from Turner S&P on Tuesday morning, and for good reason. Maybe playing into Scott Steiner’s IRL 'roid rages by telling him to 'roid rage on live television so that he can be a bigger heel was a poor idea? On the other hand, I can only imagine what would have happened on the mic if Scotty was in the WWF at the time. I’m kinda glad he wasn’t.


  • Scott Hall comes to the ring, cuts a survey, and I hope that we’re safely done with that stupid “alcoholic Hall” angle. I hope. I shouldn’t feel that safe about it because it’s WCW. Hall jumps Booker as soon as Booker steps through the ropes. Hall throws some punches, but gets countered with a flying forearm. Booker wipes Hall out and sends him outside with a Harlem Sidekick. Hall doesn’t fare much better back in the ring; he eats another roundhouse kick and basically gets knocked around. Hall’s able to get some space by catching a crossbody and hitting a fallaway slam. Hall keeps a bit of sustained control, but when he paintbrushes Booker, that wakes Book up. Book fires back with punches, but Hall ducks a dropkick and gets two off a follow-up elbowdrop and cover. Hall fires Book to the ropes and locks on a sleeper, but the crowd is more interested in either a fight or some lady showing her boobs, and they pretty much miss the sleeper and Booker hitting a jawbreaker to escape it.


  • This is a solid match; Booker’s comeback is again stifled, this time by a clothesline. Hall again paintbrushes the guy and wakes him up. Maybe that’s a bad strategy, Hall? Hall maintains control with strikes, however, but makes the mistake of getting Booker running. Booker ends up landing an axe kick after getting whipped to the ropes. Book lands another roundhouse kick, then scores a back suplex and a Spinaroonie before heading up top. Hall gets up and blocks a missile dropkick with the referee’s body. Hall gets DQ’d by the substitute ref as Booker backdrops Hall out of a Razor’s Edge attempt. Well, that was a limp ending. They have a good PPV match in them if they can squeeze it in before, like February or March of next year.


  • Michael Buffer is your ring announcer for the Giant and Lex Luger, who are main eventing this Nitro. These fellas had one of the great Nitro-era matches at Starrcade ’96, but believe me when I say that I don’t expect anything near that tonight. Actually, it’s funny, but I think back to that match and then look at this perfectly cromulent short television match and wonder at how ’96 Giant was so badly wasted, or more accurately ’97 Giant after his January babyface turn. This is a Luger TV match, so obviously the Giant puts in a bunch of offense on Luger until the end. We do get a nice side Russian and a couple of sweet elbowdrops. The crowd chants for Goldberg while the Giant commences a slow, but generally entertaining beatdown. I mean, it’s long in the tooth because Luger is totally disinterested in doing anything but taking a couple of bumps, eating strikes, and yelling AWUAUGH. I don’t blame the Giant for that, though. It’s weird because Luger came out looking like a beast earlier when he beat the shit out of Bret, so maybe he shouldn’t have sold so much in this match to keep his aura of ass-kickery up? I’m not sure the layout works. Luger eventually just Hulks up and does his punch/lariat/forearm comeback offense. The Giant wobbles, but does manage a goozle on Luger; Luger hits a jawbreaker to escape, then body slams Giant and hits him with a metal forearm. That’s the Hitman’s cue, as he runs out with a section of metal railing and destroys Luger’s knee with it as Luger tries to rack the Giant. Well, at least Luger’s lucky enough to run in a stable that is out here to keep this from getting out of hand. Wait, what’s that, you say? The Wolfpac is nowhere to be seen? Konnan doesn’t even bother coming back out here? Goldberg is the one who has to come out and save Luger? Goldberg runs out to a pop, spears the Giant, and then tries to spear Bret, but actually spears Luger when Bret ducks out of the way in a carbon copy of the Nash spear stuff from awhile ago. I mean, this wasn’t bad, but it’s another example of the main event scene feeling aimless.


  • This show had surprisingly good talking, to the point that I’d say that this is a rare case (the first case?) in which I generally enjoyed the talking more than the wrestling on a Nitro-era WCW show.


  • We’re in this strange place right now with WCW’s storylines. The most interesting one is Goldberg/Jericho, and that’s not going anywhere. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think WCW has any chance of making the Konnan/lWo feud work because it’s just too challenging to get right for this company and its creative leadership. After that, woof. I can’t get behind Bret Hart destroying the limbs of babyfaces every week with a different weapon or the Horsemen feuding with Eric Bischoff. The golden era of WCW ended at Road Wild 1998 when Chavo/Eddy and Jericho’s Cruiserweight title run ended. After that point, they only had the Saturn/Flock angle as their single compelling angle instead of having all three of those angles going at the same time. While they might hit on a good storyline or two in 1999, I don’t think they’ll ever get back that feeling for me that they’re putting multiple angles out at the same time that have me sitting down for these shows with some excitement, at least not until mid-2000-ish, maybe. I do remember being into Shane Helms chasing Chavo Jr. and Scott Steiner putting babyfaces out of pro wrestling as the champ at the same time in 2001.


  • I’m also dreading the losses of the Giant, Chris Jericho, and the Radicalz over the next fifteen months of television. We’re just at the point where between holding on to too much post-prime talent and letting too much fresh talent escape to the direct competition, WCW struggles to get anything right. This was a bang average Nitro, but I’m thinking that “bang average” in this era is actually pretty good. 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Thunder Interlude – show number thirty-nine – 5 November 1998

"The WCW Gang gets strangely creative about putting on an awful show”

  • There’s a “technical difficulties” notice on the front of this episode of Thunder…I hope whatever the technical difficulties are, they happen whenever Bischoff or Hogan is on screen if they are on this show…


  • The desk congratulates Jesse Ventura on winning the governorship in Minnesota…I mean, when it comes to celebrity governors, you could do much, much worse…Oh no, Ventura winning triggered the Hulkster, who is going to announce that he’s running for POTUS on Nitro…Like I said, you could do much, much worse…On another note, I cannot wait to vote against The Rock when that doofus actually does run for POTUS, and you know he will…Heenan sells that he’ll be moving to Canada if Hogan wins…They have a whole tiered visa system, and I don’t think wrestling commentators are really in need there…


  • Kanyon has a small spot of trouble with Barry Horowitz in their match…Raven barely pays attention from ringside…He’s brooding so much, I bet Jane Eyre would fall in love with him…Kanyon gives a surprising amount of offense to Horowitz and even eats two on a rollup…Commentary yammers on about Hogan’s announcement…Horowitz slips out of a top-rope fallaway slam and sunset flip powerbombs Kanyon for two (!!!)…Horowitz reels off a couple clotheslines, but he gets his arm hooked on his third one, and Kanyon hits a Flatliner for three…I guess Horowitz must have been kind to Kanyon at some point in Kanyon’s career because he got a ton of offense in that short match…


  • Buff Bagwell introduces Scott Steiner…Steiner goes to the ring to cut an unhinged promo…He insults what may be the home base of DVDVR, Roanoke…How dare he…Steiner shouts out his Virginia freaks…Buff takes the mic and propositions the ladies with a little bit of sexual innuendo…Steiner promises to continue making J.J. Dillon’s life miserable…He then calls out the Wolfpac and says that he’ll destroy the whole group by himself…He also plans to out-flex Lex Luger later tonight…He ends the segment by practicing for that showdown by flexing…Welp, that was a segment that happened…


  • Raven heads right back out here by himself in a great Silver Surfer tee…That’s my favorite t-shirt Raven's worn yet…He’ll face off with Alex Wright…They sure keep pimping this Hogan deal…I can’t express enough how un-hyped they’ve made me for the next Nitro where Hogan will go on and on about running…That show might start at MINUS FIVE STARS STINGER SPLASHES by default…Wright hits his catchphrase, says something in German, insults Raven for being monolingual, and then claims that Raven is a lazy bum who doesn’t wash and isn’t cut…For some reason, he talks into the hard cam even though Raven is right there in the ring with him…Raven crawls out of the corner and headbutts Wright in the sack, and he does so with no resistance since Wright has his back to him…


  • Wright leaves the ring and damn near the arena itself, so Raven sits down again, and Wright runs back up behind Raven and jumps him…What a curious match this is…They pick it up and get very pacey with it…Lodi comes to the ring to exhort Raven to cheer up…That seems to have done the opposite of its intention and bummed Raven out, and Raven sits down in the corner…For some reason, Disco comes out here and can’t back Lodi off with words, so he backs him off with a fist…Kanyon runs out and attacks Disco…WTF is even happening right now?...Raven and Wright brawl outside…Back in the ring, Raven blocks a Wright top-rope move and then, uh, he actually does leave, losing by count-out…No wonder Raven wanted to get the fuck out of this company…What even is this stupid angle?...


  • Tony S. interviews Chris Jericho in the aisle…Ralphus is finally called by name on television (unless it happened on a WCWSN ep I missed)…Jericho’s hairdo is really something…Jericho says that he respects Greenberg, er, Goldberg…Jericho says that he’s the champion of everyone who watches television…Jericho: “If you’re married to your remote, you’re married to Chris Jericho”…I want an annulment…Jericho, like WCW does to Goldberg’s streak, is just adding random numbers to his winning streak over Goldberg…Jericho is a comedic gem here in 1998…


  • Fit Finlay faces Booker T. in a revival of their TV title mini-feud from earlier in the year…Finlay grounds Booker with apron attacks and strikes…Booker fights back and gets two off a flying forearm…The desk discusses what I thought as well: That Stevie had attacked Booker and joined the nWo…That it was Hall was as surprising to me as it was to them, and that’s probably a shoot…Booker makes another comeback, hits a back suplex, and Spinaroonie’s up…Finlay hits a desperation shoulder charge and lands a flipping fireman’s carry slam…Finlay follows up with a corner charge, but Booker flips over him and hooks his legs around Finlay’s body for a flash sunset flip that gets three…Decent television bout…


  • Tony S. mentions A-Rod’s punk ass showing up on Nitro and claims that Rodriguez and Konnan were childhood friends, and wait, is this true?...Heenan says that Konnan is loyal…Uh, hold on, I seem to remember something about Konnan jumping rapidly from the Dungeon of Doom to the nWo and then splitting off into the Wolfpac…There’s a Konnan hype video that’s basically a bilingual rap video…This is the right video in the right era for the wrong company and fanbase…


  • Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Onoo) does his shtick before his match…Miller threatens to beat up Ali…Oh, and Holyfield…Then he crudely insults the crowd…He gets me to laugh, and I really do judge myself for it…He challenges anyone in the locker room, and Kaz runs in and attacks Sonny Onoo…While that’s happening, uh, Glacier’s music plays?...Honestly, I don’t want to see Glacier again until that entirely-too-short-lived angle he does with Norman Smiley that I genuinely and deeply loved during dying-era WCW…I guess Kaz just got his ass kicked because Miller is ready to fight…Yeah, Kaz is just laid out in the corner of the ring…Glacier grabs a mic and, rather than fighting his old buddy, claims that he and Miller are both being screwed by the company because they’re karate masters…Glacier promises to watch Miller’s back, but Miller is disinterested…That’s it, that’s the segment…What the fuck is wrong with this show?...What strange choices they’ve made for formatting these segments…


  • Horace Hogan walks to the ring flanked by B-Teamers…excuse me, flanked by B-Teamers, Scott Hall, and the IWGP champ…Norman Smiley is going to job to Horace, which I don’t appreciate…I still think Horace is a decent enough television worker…He does put in the effort…He’s not a totally useless fuck in the ring like Scott Putski or Kendall Windham…However, I’m just not interested in Horace outside of the Flock…That was a good spot for him creatively…Horace completely squashes Smiley, finishing him off with a mediocre brainbuster…


  • Eddy Guerrero comes to the ring as I think about how bad this show has been…It’s been bad, but in a completely different and unique way than WCW shows of this era are usually bad…Rey Misterio Jr. comes out to face Eddy, and I’m rooting for it to be good so that I have reason to give this Thunder a WOO and not an OWW…Eddy grabs a mic before the match and is angry about Rey turning down the lWo…Eddy says there’s a stip on this match that says that if Eddy wins, Rey has to join the lWo…Wait, this is just what they did with Eddy and Chavo earlier this year, but dumb and boring instead of engrossing and entertaining…Rey resolves to fight Eddy rather than simply join up…Eddy slaps Rey, so Rey gets up, runs, and sends Eddy tumbling with a series of headscissors and armdrags…Eddy pretends that he wants to shake Rey’s hand and uses that bluff to get close and hit a lariat…Rey makes an immediate comeback…Rey lands a Bronco Buster, but it’s half-assed at this point and not as energetic as he'd hit it in 1999…Eddy makes a comeback by targeting Rey’s reconstructed knee…Eddy locks up Rey’s knee in a legbar going into a commercial break…


  • When we come back, Eddy is still attacking the knee and Tony S. is still talking about Hogan’s announcement on Nitro…I can’t believe Rey is just stuck in this company until it ends…He’s one of the last Cruiserweight Tag Champs, if I recall…I hate this lWo angle, and I hate how it’s sucking all these Mexican wrestlers who deserve better into it…Rey hits a huge splash from the top to Eddy on the outside to turn the tide…Tony S. and Bobby H. argue about whether or not Rey should wear a visible brace and if doing so attracts attention to the knee…They both make good points amidst the bickering…Meanwhile, Eddy attacks the knee, takes the brace off, and stomps Rey's injured joint as the lWo comes out to watch the show…Eddy puts on a, gosh, I don’t know, a standing Figure Four variation?...Apparently, there was a time limit on this, so the match expired even though Rey slapped the mat and it looks like he gave up…What the fuck?...What is up with the random TV time limits that only exist when they need them to exist to run an angle?...What a weird show…What a weird, bad show…That match was acceptable, but not good enough to overcome all this *waves hands around in the general direction of my Chromebook screen*…


  • Chris Jericho reignites his feud with Prince Iaukea…Sign: My name is Matty Dee and I’m a Jerichoholic…Hey, does a certain DVDVR poster by a similar name live in the area and have a totally embarrassing television appearance on a random Thunder to his name, or are we talking two different Matty Dees?...Yes commentary, let’s talk about Hogan’s running mate some more…Let’s do it, I’m in wrestling hell…Torture me, I’m already tortured…Jericho screaming HELP ME while he gets beaten up is always funny to me, a guaranteed chuckle at this point…Jericho finally takes over and hits a spot that I think he should definitely keep doing, a stalling vertical suplex followed by a wimpy pin…This match is decent enough, but they have had better bouts before…The finishing run is notably better than what came before it, with a handful of counters…There’s a nice series of roll-through counters that end with Iaukea rolling through a Jericho Walls attempt and getting 2.9 off a flash pin…Iaukea tries a victory roll and gets dumped and put in a legitimate Lion Tamer…Jericho garners a submission out of that move…


  • Disco dances to the ring as Heenan suggests that Ted Turner might be Hogan’s veep…Look, if our country just has to be run by businessmen or entertainers rather than policy experts, academics, and scientists, you could do worse than Ted Turner at the top of the ticket…Oops, now I'm talking politics again...No politics, WCW, you fuckheads…Scott Hall (w/B-Teamers, w/o an alcoholic drink, thankfully) is going to face Disco…Actually, Disco’s not interested in facing a whole grip of nWo members and leaves…No, wait, as smart as it was to leave, unfortunately he backed right into the Giant in the aisle, who sent him right back into the ring…Disco gets rolled, makes a small comeback, and gets tripped by a B-Teamer on a rope run…Hall drills a Razor’s Edge for three after that…


  • Tony S. is in the middle of the ring to talk to Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen…Well, minus Mongo McMichael…They’ll need a replacement for Mongo soon, but I cannot recall whom they replaced him with…Arn mentions the nWo sending six guys out there to beat Disco Inferno in a derisive manner…Arn wonders where Eric Bischoff has been lately…Not on television, and let’s keep it that way, Arn…Malenko and Benoit talk, but I tune them out…Benoit outside of the Horsemen had been getting way over just through his work, and this feels like a step back for him since he’s come back from injury…Flair teases Tony S. about Tony coming to see Flair wrestle as a young man and then threatens Bisch…Flair also shouts out Jesse Ventura and, uh, threatens to run for office, too…Let’s keep those aspirations to WCW Commissioner, buddy, let’s aim low…This feud sucks, by the way…The crowd loves Flair talking about respect and thrusting his junk into the camera, though…I can’t judge them…If you’re from the Mid-Atlantic region, you are (legally? spiritually?) required to love Flair’s antics in the ring…


  • Scott Steiner (w/Buff Bagwell) and Lex Luger face off in the main event…Scotty Steiner threatens Nick Patrick since Patrick was involved in that shitty Havoc match between him and his brother…Scotty puts the boots to Patrick, hits a weak Oklahoma Stampede, and then tries to break Patrick's ankle by yanking it over the top rope…Luger runs down to the ring for the save…Luger throws a lot of punches…Luger gets kicked in the balls and Steiner rushes off to punch Patrick’s injured leg as Patrick is taken off on a gurney…Uh, are we getting Nick Patrick involved in storylines again?...Let’s make this a one-off…Luger relaxes sells some choke-punch offense…A hockey stick blade gets involved, but it doesn’t make this beatdown interesting or violent…There hasn’t been a ref this whole time…Buff gets a mic and mocks Luger, so Luger reaches over from his position lounging selling on the mat and punches him…Buff is working his hardest on the outside to be a loudmouth annoying heel, but this is the same Luger match we always get on television…Luger makes his comeback and racks Steiner…Mickey Jay runs down to call the submission, but Buff jumps Jay…Wow, it’s almost like the Wolfpac should have sent, like, anyone down here to second Luger…Steiner beats up Jay and Rick Steiner finally is the one to come down for the save…Not a Wolfpac member…It’s hard to hold in my “they booked the Wolfpac even worse than they booked Goldberg” rant, but I’ll persevere…


  • Well, that show was different…Ly bad…Differently bad…OWWW
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Show #165 – 9 November 1998

“The one where Hulk Hogan runs for president, and you know what, if he did that today, in 2024, something like that would be so normalized that I wouldn’t even bat an eye”

  • Shots of the White House, Congress, the Statue of Liberty, American flags, war memorials. Tony S. extols the virtues of a country where Hulk Hogan can run for president. Then he says that Uniondale, New York sold the building out in three hours. And you punish them with this shit? Tony S. says the POTUS will be here. Bill Clinton grew up in the Tri-States/Mid-South territory, so I doubt he's vibing with WCW in late 1998 as he'd probably be used to, you know, good wrestling shows. 


  • There’s a Nitro Girls routine while Tony S. yammers on about bullshit. Then, we get a wrestling match. Oh wait, sorry, this is a wrestling show in late 1998. We don’t get a wrestling match. We get Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan standing around in the back waiting for the POTUS to show up. We also get one speeding limo chasing another and the Wolfpac jumping out of the chasing limo to beat up the guys in the other limo, who are nWo Hollywood.


  • There’s a Hims commercial about ED on Peacock. Do y’all have any pills that will help me get up and stay up for the rest of this Nitro? Especially because I might have the urge to type FUCK THIS SHOW at least once or twice?


  • The Nitro opener plays.


  • We get a recap of Bret Hart attacking Chris Benoit during a Raven/Dean Malenko match and of Bret ducking Lex Luger in the ring before attacking Luger later in the night with a section of railing. Oh, and now here’s the end of the Bret/Sting Havoc match. Apparently Sting and DDP (the latter of whom thankfully we didn’t see attacked again) are out indefinitely. Uh, Page is the United States Champion, so I guess that belt doesn’t matter at all.


  • Kaz Hayashi opens the wrestling part of the show against Juvi Guerrera. Hey, it comes nine minutes into the show, but it is a pacey Cruiserweight division opener! But thank goodness for these guys because they start out hot and – oh, wait, we cut away twenty seconds in to watch Eric Bischoff standing at the commentary desk, on the house mic, insulting people and saying that POTUS will be here tonight. We all know what the bait-and-switch is, it’s so fucking obvious, that I cannot believe that they’re making Tony S. and Mike T. sit there and be totally credulous about it. Oh yeah, there’s a match! Well, at least we only missed a half-minute of it. Kaz puts in work on Juvi for awhile and Juvi does a Hamrick bump! It rules. Kaz somersault splashes Juvi in a follow-up move. This is such a fun TV match; both guys are exceptionally crisp tonight. Kaz is a pretty good bully for such a small guy, too.


  • Kaz and Juvi chop the hell out of one another while Tenay tells us that this is a return bout from one of the weekend shows and that Juvi won a squeaker on said show. Then, we get a commercial break, and I’m pleased that they’re going a bit longer than normal in this opener. Back from break, Juvi’s found a way to get the match back to standing. Well, actually, he’s got it back to running, as Juvi sends Kaz outside on a rope run and then hits a springboard crossbody to Kaz at ringside. Kaz slows thing back down in the ring with a shoulder block and lands a brainbuster that gets two. Both guys are tired and there’s an awkward spot that I’m not sure what it is, but Juvi saves it by hitting Kaz with a gourdbuster than hangs the guy on the ropes. Both men trade pinfall attempts and then, OH FUCK YOU, WCW, Ernest Miller comes to ringside with Sonny Onoo. We watch the Cat talk shit while Juvi lands a top-rope Frankensteiner. Juvi tries to hit a Juvi Driver, but Kaz flips out of it and lands a rollup, at which point the Cat runs a distraction and Sonny Onoo kicks Kaz in the head. Juvi easily reverses the pinfall for three.


  • Well, I love a competitive match, but I don’t love the babyface beating the guy who is heeling in the match through a heel jumping in on the match. I don’t love Eric Bischoff getting on the house mic to tease Hulk Hogan Bill Clinton showing up to the arena. Bischoff-led WCW has no ability to get out of its own way. Something that should be a hot start to a show ends up being merely okay.


  • The Nitro Girls do a routine in shiny pink overalls. I miss ‘90s era dance music. THIS IS THE RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT. Tony S. continues to bleed credibility on commentary.


  • More recap, this time of Hall and Nash desperately needing a few counseling sessions together, but choosing to punch each other instead.


  • Alex Wright OONCHA OONCHAs his way out to the ring to face Barry Horowitz. Horowitz gave quite a lot of trouble to Kanyon on the Thunder previous. Wright demands that Penzer tell the crowd to be completely silent so that Wright can concentrate on beating Horowitz in a funny little heel spot. It even gets Wright a weak ASSHOLE chant for a couple of minutes. Horowitz does considerably worse against Wright than he did against Kanyon. Tony S. freaks out over a couple of dudes in suits with ear mics walking around the ring to defend it from, well, I don’t know what. They couldn’t defend it from Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo a few minutes ago. Wright is dominating Horowitz outside when the Wolfpac’s AHWOO goes off about fifteen seconds early. Wright looks around, doesn’t see the Wolfpac, and then fifteen seconds later, AHWOO goes off along with the actual theme and Wright looks around, sees the Wolfpac, and leaves.


  • The Wolfpac (minus Savage and Sting, of course) speaks on this and is in the house and interrupted this match because fuck wrestling matches. You know what, I would gladly take all the micro matches that this era of WWF RAW had on television over what’s been on this show because if I recall correctly, at least most of them ended. Right? I’m probably remembering through a rose-colored memory cortex. Anyway, Nash quotes Popeye and then challenges nWo Hollywood to a three-on-three match in any combination…as long as Hall is out here. I was playing WCW Mayhem a couple days ago, and as I went through the character roster, I found that Disco Inferno was in the Wolfpac at some point in 1999. And, I guess, so was Hogan after the Fingerpoke of Doom merger. Oh wow, 1999 is going to be rough viewing.


  • Eric Bischoff comes out to respond and accepts the challenge, but in an unclear sort of way that does not indicate that Hollywood will engage in a fair, straight up wrestling match against the Wolfpac. Nash insults Bischoff by calling him the absolute worst thing possible: a woman. Oh wow, the rest of 1998 is going to be rough viewing.


  • Lodi has a sign that declares that he’ll be doing no more jobs in 1998. He’s here to do a job to, let’s see, Scott Norton. Norton lets Vincent hold the IWGP belt, which I think shouldn’t be allowed by Japanese, American, or international law. Norton wins with the powerbomb in about fifteen seconds. Moving on.


  • Tony S. is in the ring to interview the fucking Disciple. The [CROWD CHEERING] caption on my screen is an entire-ass lie. There is dead silence out here. If Bisch couldn’t stand this guy, why did he send him out here on the main shows so often? Is the Hulkster back there demanding that this doofus get mic time? So, here’s what happens: Almost immediately, Stevie Ray, Horace, and Vincent come down here to confront him. They let Horace talk for some stupid-ass reason. Stevie can talk. Even Vincent can talk sometimes when he’s heeling. Horace cuts a vile promo, just terrible, while a few guys in the crowd chant BEEFCAKE and everyone else is silent. Horace tells the crowd to SHUT UP, but no one is making a sound except for the BEEFCAKE guys. Anyway, Horace stomps out this idiot Beefcake, or Disciple, or whatever, and then he chokes Disciple with the weight belt. I remember when Horace was a useful piece of the Flock. It wasn’t so long ago. Disciple turns the tide and stands his ground against all three guys for a few seconds before the numbers game takes over. Wait, here comes Warrior for the save. I guess this guy is still hanging around even though Hogan’s clearly done with him and is instead ready to leave television for awhile before getting his belt back run for POTUS. Anyway, this segment was very, very, very shitty television. Just excruciating stuff.


  • It's hour number two, and Tony S. promises us a Konnan/Bret Hart match. The teacher of the Sharpshooter meets his student in what I consider a potential addition to the Charming Uniquities part of my master match list.


  • *sigh* Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan are backstage to be super gullible and talk over some footage of a motorcade. This is also awful television in which we get audio of guys in suits kicking Okerlund and Heenan out of the backstage. What was on RAW at this time? Ooh, Mankind versus Ken Shamrock in a Hardcore Championship match! Also, Debra’s on television over there, being wasted since she's not really doing much heeling on the mic. You sign her and stick her with Jarrett again, you let her talk, dammit!


  • Oh yeah, so this whole fucking segment goes on forever and “Hail to the Chief” plays and Tony S. acts like a goddam doofus and the crowd is deadly silent and a bunch of security morons stand around and Hollywood Hogan walks out wearing a Yankees beanie and some truly absurd sunglasses meant for someone twenty years younger than him and Tony S. confusedly asks WHERE IS THE PRESIDENT? and a giant American flag comes down from the rafters and there’s confetti everywhere and I am absolutely in hell and Hogan stands in the ring and salutes and Gene Okerlund is shocked at this charade, just shocked and Hogan calls Jesse “The Mind” instead of “The Body” even though these two hate each other because Jesse was trying to get a union going in the WWF and Hogan wouldn’t have that and Hogan cuts a terrible promo yet again like fucking clockwork.


  • I’m hard-pressed to believe that Vince Russo’s Nitro could be worse than this. As bad? Sure. Worse? It's plausible, but I'm not taking it as a given.


  • The Nitro Girls go retro clothes shopping and then to Studio 54 in a video. Then they do a dance. Look, I love the pretty ladies as much as anyone, but this is a wrestling show. We’ve had Kaz/Juvi end with a run-in, Wright/Horowitz end with a saunter-in, and Lodi/Norton end in fifteen seconds with a powerbomb.


  • We are fifty-seven minutes into the actual run-time, not counting ad breaks, before Bret Hart walks out to wrestle Konnan. Wait, scratch that, Bret walks out in street clothes and totally unprepared to wrestle. We see video of the Hitman injuring DDP again. The Hitman gets a mic and craps on Lex Luger and Sting both. This fuckin’ SUCKS, man. He moves on to talk trash about DDP. It’s fine as a heel promo, but in this specific context – the context of this show formatting, the context of the Hitman’s arrival in WCW as an obvious, massive, can’t-miss babyface– it is not enjoyable whatsoever. Bret declares that he’s done with Luger, but looking forward to injuring Konnan, and then threatens everyone, including the Nitro Girls. Then we see more of the beatdown he gave DDP into the break.


  • Tony S., as Eddy Guerrero walks to the ring: “Boy, we were all fooled by Hollywood Hogan, weren’t we?” Poor Tony S., having to sell this shit. Two lWo fans in the crowd wearing Rey and Psicosis masks and lWo t-shirts are basically the only sign that this angle isn’t a complete and total failure with everyone. Eddy and Rey are going to hook it up again, and I have zero excitement for it. When Eddy and Rey fought over custody of Dominick and people incorrectly complained about what was a fantastically fun, stupid storyline, they complained about how these two great talents were being deployed in a nonsense midcard storyline. They should have packaged up all that whining and complaining, and they should have time machined it back to late 1998, where it would have made some sense.


  • Rey is defiant about not joining the lWo before the match starts and backs up his defiance with some solid offense when the match does start. Eddy tries to make friends with Rey, but it’s a fake-out so that he can slap the guy. Rey is non-plussed by this dastardly act and wins a headscissors. Eddy gets control by attacking Rey’s surgically-reconstructed knee. He locks on a kneebar and Rey taps the mat in pain, but since tapouts are a thing now, Tony S. has to tell everyone at home that Rey didn’t tap; some folks in the crowd yell YOU TAPPED OUT. Everyone’s still figuring out how to sell pain while in a submission without visually tapping out in this new era of tapouts in pro wrestling. I remember when guys started tapping out a la UFC in pro wrestling, and man, I loved the visual before WWE standardized it with the wrestler theatrically holding their hand high over the mat and teasing a tap out/trying to hold out and failing.


  • Rey gets a couple of flash pinfall attempts in there, but Eddy takes out the knee and continues to work it in holds. The desk talks about Bret Hart while Eddy and Rey work another legbar. This isn’t a bad match, but there’s something missing. I guess I’m also waiting for what feels like an inevitable lWo run-in. Rey fights out of it, hits a few moves, but takes too much time to recover and gets dropkicked in the knee. It’s back to some knee work for Eddy, including a tope con hilo onto the knee. The match spills outside, where Eddy pins Rey’s knee between the steps and the post and dropkicks them. That’s a nice spot. Eddy puts Rey back in the ring and goes right back to the leg bar. This is a logical way to work the match, but man, am I pretty bored with the whole thing.


  • Rey makes a comeback, hits a low-impact Bronco Buster, and gets a split-legged moonsault for two. He lands a pair of facebusters for two as well. Eddy blocks a slide-under on a rope run and hits an overhead suplex, and this is where Chavo Jr. comes out with Pepe. Chavo, who has been entirely wasted after he got way over, gets on the apron, grabs the lWo shirt, and distracts Eddy. This allows Rey to score a quick La Magistral for three; the rest of the lWo comes out and beats Chavo down until Rey pulls him out of the ring. This wasn’t good! It wasn’t terrible, but basically, we got a bunch of leg work to nowhere and another finish predicated on interference.


  • The Konnan rap video plays. I appreciate the effort, but it's the wrong company for this.


  • Eric Bischoff’s music plays and he comes to the ring with Liz. He just drives this show the rest of the way into the ground. I immediately start tuning him out, almost by reflex, and I have to go back to hear Bisch say that Ric Flair won’t be wrestling tonight. Did anyone expect him to? He then brings out some attorneys, fucking hell, look, unless it’s Clarence Mason doing a Johnnie Cochran impression, I don’t want attorneys coming to the ring in long talking segments. Or short talking segments. So, Bisch is mad that Dillon fined Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell and spends a ton of time complaining about the attorneys in the ring who facilitated those fines. He then proceeds to "land" some awful worked kicks on them before leaving. This was deeply terrible. I feel like I’ve written some variation of that sentence about five times in this review.


  • It’s hour number three, thank goodness. We start with review of Scott Steiner going on a dianabol freakout. Scotty and Buff walk out to the ring, but we cut to Mickey Jay saying that WCW referees looked at the ol’ union contract – hahaha, kidding, Georgia’s a right-to-work state – and now refuse to ref Scott Steiner matches. Scotty does his updated Superstar Graham gimmick except with more vascularity and sexual innuendos. However, his updated Master P catchphrase is definitely getting over. Buff talks and talks and the guy is entertaining, but again, in the context of this show, I’m over any more talking. Scotty wants a match with WCW’s best guy (his words), and Chris Adams comes out here. Oh WCW, will no one (with any chance in hell) defend your honor? This isn’t a match because there’s no ref, and basically Scotty and Buff beat him down while Tenay calls Adams foolish for coming down here in the first place. What a show, everyone! What a show. Rick Steiner runs down very late for the save. He comands his more charismatic brother to COME ‘N GIT SOME and offers up a tag title shot later tonight to lure them into the ring. Scotty and Buff agree to this match.


  • We get another Nitro Girls hype vid paired with another Nitro Girls live dance routine. Then we get a Lex Luger hype vid. Oh, man. I do love this voiceover line from it, though: “His body is chiseled out of granite, and his mind is that of a scholar.” Amazing. This is a video to hype the contenders for the big WW3 battle royal, which isn’t a bad idea…again, in context.


  • What the hell, there’s an extra one-hour Nitro tomorrow? Maybe there’s no Thunder this week? I’m in on a one-hour Nitro, though, for good or for ill. I checked, and there’s also a Thunder. OK, sure, bonus wrestling is good. Maybe not if it’s 1998 WCW, though. Context really is king, huh?


  • I guess Scotty and Buff put Kenny Kaos out of pro wrestling with last week’s attack because Rick Steiner has a new tag champ partner and it's…Judy Bagwell. **Tony S. voice** We’ve reached a new low here on Nitro, fans. Anyway, Judy ducks a Buff haymaker and slaps him. He takes a wild bump off it and I’m the real life personification of that GIF with Jerry Seinfeld saying “I’m out” and leaving. Ricky Steiner challenges Buff and Scotty to a tag match against Ricky and Judy at WW3. Judy cuts a considerably better promo than Rick Steiner could dream of doing, and I guess the match is made, and Rick goes HOO HOO HOO and Judy goes ARF ARF ARF, and in spite of how dumb this all is, that was genuinely sort of adorable, hahaha.


  • Tony S. promises a Goldberg wrestling match on tomorrow’s bonus Nitro. Oh yeah, there’s an NBA lockout going on right now: Mike T. says, “Who needs the NBA?” I believe this is the first year that the Spurs win a ring? Maybe the second? Well, that explains the extra Nitro shows. Anyway, Konnan makes his entrance while tomorrow’s Nitro is promoted, and Bret Hart comes down to face him. Konnan opens up a can of whoop-ass – oops, that’s the other channel – to start. Bret escapes the ring, so Konnan follows him and throws a bunch of strikes. Bret has to resort to a desperation eye rake to get some control. The Hitman commences upon an acceptable beatdown that doesn’t do much to inspire me. Konnan makes a slightly more inspired comeback, but only slightly. Billy Silverman, who is in on a lot of tide-turning spots in these pro wrestling matches and is kayfabe pretty bad at his job, tries to break up one Konnan beatdown and inadvertently distracts Konnan so that Bret can chop block him. The Hitman commences on another acceptable beatdown focused around Konnan’s leg. The crowd chants WE WANT STING. Oh, you sweet summer children, you want a babyface to show up and dispense some justice? You must be confused by all the WWF shows where Steve Austin fucks the heels up with a righteous fury. This is WCW, folks! The heels run this bitch. Meanwhile, the Hitman grabs a chair and destroys Konnan’s knee while Silverman ineffectually squeaks NOOOO, BRET, NOOOO instead of physically trying to take the chair away as he would if Konnan had it. Luger finally makes it out here and chases the Hitman around the ring and away from ringside.


  • Gene Okerlund is in the ring to call Chris Jericho down for an interview. Jericho destroyed the ozone layer with all the hair spray cans he used before this match. Jericho and Ralphus are a pair, man, they make for a fantastic visual together. If there were an encyclopedia of pro wrestling terms, you’d take a snapshot of these two and put them right next to the “delusional heel” entry as an illustration. Jericho notes that he was born on Long Island 28 years ago from the original airing of this Nitro and, of course, claims to be glad that he made it out. Jericho declares that everyone else is delusional and that he’s broken Goldberg’s streak. Then, he claims that he called out Goldberg tonight, but that Goldberg isn’t here because Ralphus checked things out and told him so. Okerlund is like, Yo, I saw his security roll up to the building, I’m pretty sure he’s here. Jericho is certain that Ralphus has done his intel. Whoops! Goldberg formally arrives at the arena during Jericho’s rant, spots the interview as it happens on a television in his dressing room, yells WHAT – again, that's the other channel – and then storms out to confront the erstwhile Jericho. Jericho, who is backing down the aisle, never sees the spear coming. This crowd, which has been waiting all night for something cool to happen, enjoys Goldberg beating Jericho down.


  • Hall and the Giant come down, synchronize their entrance taunts, and chastely kiss a young lady whom they must know on her forehead. Tony S. mentions that the Giant was in Waterboy and it’s a hit. Maybe they should have gotten permission from the studio to show clips or – no, you know what, this is par for the course for WCW. I guess at this point, they know the guy is gone in a few months, too, so probably they were even less bothered to promote his spot in that movie than they normally would have been. Anyway, I didn’t hear Michael Buffer getting sloppy with his entrances, so he’s still engaged with this stupid company and it’s crappy main events for some reason. I’m still waiting for Bret Hart to become Bert Hart.


  • Kevin Nash and Lex Luger make it down to the ring. Nash is the second-most-over guy on this show, which is probably to be expected considering where this Nitro is taking place. He counters Hall’s toothpick toss with a loogie hock and then gets a pop for signaling to the Giant that the Giant should consider offering him fellatio. Consensually, I'd hope.


  • This tag match is fine. No one will remember it once it’s over, but it’s not offensive. Luger does what he was born to do, apparently, which is to catch a beatdown and lay around a lot before the babyface comeback happens. The crowd is very into the Wolfpac. Let’s see how into it they are after Hogan joins it in the big nWo merger in a couple of months! So, yeah, Nash – who I remind you, two months before he rejoins Hogan in the nWo, is very over as a babyface – hits the hot tag and dominates. Nash is about to Jackknife Hall when the Hitman runs down and clips Nash’s knee, then attacks it. Luger is able to fight off the Giant, get a chair, and chase the heels away.


  • Huh, it doesn’t seem like the one-hour Nitro (also known as Nitro Extra or Xtra, as I search) is on the Network. Bummer. There’s also one on 11/24/98. The 11/10 episode lists five matches, and if there is minimal talking and each match got into the seven, eight, nine minute range, I bet it was pretty good. (Editor's note: I watched the sub-three minute Rey Misterio Jr./El Dandy match on Daily Motion. Suffice it to say that if this is representative of the action, I am not missing anything, and neither are you.)


  • On the other hand, this show dreams of simply being "pretty good." Remember that while a show can’t score more than five Stinger Splashes, the negative amount of Stinger Splashes that a show can score is infinite. In honor of Dave Meltzer’s “six out of five star” rankings for Kenny Omega matches, I’m giving this wretched piece of shit show -6 out of 5 Stinger Splashes. I take no joy in this; I want these shows to be good. If only someone would fire Eric Bischoff already.
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1 minute ago, zendragon said:

Sure feels like Bischoff was trying to bite RAW's formula of having long Evil Boss segments

**Bischoff, in a somewhat pleading voice to Conrad**: Remember, Vince only got on TV as an evil boss after I did, so really, you could, no you SHOULD, say that Vince was trying to - bite, is that what you said, Conrad? Bite? Okay, never heard that word in that context. But Vince was biting Nitro's formula. And if the haters like Dave Meltzer or the ones on Twitter can just take a second to look at the facts, they'd acknowledge that.

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Thunder Interlude – show number forty – 12 November 1998

"The WCW Gang makes this reviewer long for Jim Ross trying to ignore Jerry Lawler’s shrieks about ‘puppies’ and constant stream of sexual innuendos”

  • We creep closer to WW3…I mean the wrestling show, though maybe in real life too, who the hell knows?...


  • Glacier opens the show…They let him talk for some reason…Glacier is still protective of the superkick as his move…He plans to beat up Chris Adams for stealing his big kick that Adams definitely did not steal from Glacier, hahaha…If you know anything about Chris Adams, you know just how deeply delusional a heel Glacier is being to make that claim…I give credit to the desk for pointing this out (Editor's note: This is the very last time that I will credit commentary for anything good on this show)…This match isn’t very good, what with Glacier being a part of it and all…Adams is pretty good, though…He throws some sick forearms at the back of Glacier’s head…Adams buries Glacier with a powerbomb, then hits a superkick for thr-…No, Sonny Onoo comes out, gets the ref to stop the count by disputing that Glacier’s foot is under the ropes, and allows the Cat to hit a Feliner on Adams from behind…Glacier jams a thumb into Adams’s carotid artery and gets a KO victory…All I got from this opener is that WCW should push Chris Adams as a TV title contender…


  • The dogshit Hulk Hogan stuff from Nitro plays in a recap…I think Jesse Ventura is an interesting guy, enough that I take him at least somewhat seriously (which is entirely separate from agreement or disagreement with him) when he discusses politics…It’s too bad that someone whom no one with any sense takes seriously, Hulk Hogan, had to bandwagon on the back of Ventura winning the governorship in Minnesota…Not to go into politics too much, but WCW has been really taking the pulse of late ‘90s politics in Minnesota…Between the Minneapolis mayor getting booed into the ground on Nitro before losing re-election the next year and Ventura winning the governorship, the Minnesota DFL must have been down real, real bad…Anyway, this recap takes too long…


  • Tony S. retroactively spoils the big main event battle royal at WW3 by noting that the winner of said battle royal will get a title shot at Starrcade rather than at SuperBrawl or whatever it typically was…I’m not sure where the title shot got received ever got standardized in the four years of this show…Anyway, I’d be more disappointed, but I (re-)spoiled it myself as I flipped through the Guy Evans Nitro book to look something up…


  • Kendall Windham faces Kenny Kaos, whom I guess Rick Steiner stripped of that tag belt so that Ricky could give it to Judy Bagwell instead…Where is the WCW Championship Committee to step in and address this travesty?...Make Ricky Steiner pick a tag champ already…This match exists…I didn’t hate it, so that’s saying something considering that Kendall Windham is a participant…Kaos wins with a springboard clothesline even though Windham technically has his leg under the rope…I like it even though they didn’t mean anything by it…Refs should “miss calls” like in real sports, without all the theatrical jibber jabber that comes with a typical pro wrestling “missed call”…


  • Stevie Ray (w/B-Teamers) comes to the ring to face Jerry Flynn…This match stinks…We get a boring bearhug spot in the middle of this thing…At least there’s a Slapjack…That’s what Stevie wins with…


  • Well, after a scintillating trio of wrestling matches to start the match, I’ll have to find a way to get up for Rey Misterio Jr. facing Juvi Guerrera in a number one contendership match for the Cruiserweight Championship…They need to get that belt off Kidman, and since Juvi’s previous reign was a zero, that means that Rey should win this and then win at WW3, in my opinion…Let’s see if that happens…Heenan has been a massive negative on commentary all night doing a bit where he can’t settle on a prediction for who will win the WW3 battle royal…’98 Heenan + Lee Marshall = total commentary hell…Tony S. encourages Heenan by squabbling with him while Rey and Juvi feel each other out…Rey and Juvi get irritated and chop the shit out of one another, then pick up the pace…Juvi lands a gourdbuster that hangs his opponent on the top rope…That is a cool move…Man, this has exploded into a fun bout…


  • There’s a commercial break, and when we get back, things are still fun…This must be a taped Thunder because there’s a lot of crowd noise for a crowd that is sitting quietly, only halfway paying attention to the show…I’m not sure about this crowd, though…They should be loud for this match…Rey and Juvi both try tilt-a-whirl slams, but Rey wins out, then gets two on a split-legged moonsault…Juvi then gets two off a big spinebuster after dodging Rey on a rope run…They have an awkward flash pin exchange that Rey manages to save…Rey tries a corner splash and smashes himself on the buckle when Rey misses…Juvi, who has wasted time all match, wastes time going up for a 450 and gets hooked by Rey…Juvi escapes and takes some more time to try a springboard legdrop, but he misses that…Rey locks on a headscissors, but that doesn’t last long…


  • They start running again, and Juvi steps out of the way of a Rey dive, but Rey stops himself…Juvi wanders off, frustrated…He’s been doing some very good subtle heeling here with his shows of frustration and his lack of aggressiveness…Juvi lands a brainbuster for 2.9 and there’s a time limit on this match, too?!...Rey sure has been in a lot of random matches with surprise TV time limits lately…Charles Robinson tells Penzer to announce that the match will go on until there’s a winner…Why initially sign a number one contendership match with a time limit, WCW Championship Committee?...You dumb bastards are dropping the ball on multiple fronts…


  • Oh yeah, the match continues…Rey tries a massive senton splash, but whiffs…Juvi doesn’t whiff on a big springboard splash to the outside, but he takes a ton of time going back up top inside the ring…Rey catches him and mounts his shoulders, so Juvi lands a sunset flip powerbomb for 2.9…Rey struggles up and tries to run, but gets caught and hit with a Juvi Driver…Juvi wanders around celebrating a whole lot before he’s dropped his follow-up 450…That gives Rey time to recover and crotch Juvi…Rey follows up with a Super Frankensteiner that gets three…I think this’ll end up making my list of solid TV bouts, but the break and the weird time-limit draw/overtime finish hurt it a bit…I think they both broke up the pace of the bout in negative ways…


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. should have won the Cruiserweight Championship right after his feud with Eddy ended…He got himself quite over working that “off his rocker” gimmick…He faces Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship next…I would rather see Rey/Chavo Jr. than Rey/Kidman, but Chavo’s been taking Ls lately and probably has little chance…Or maybe they put it on Chavo so that the lWo can have a couple of interests in the WW3 title match?...Let’s hope…I’ve never been so glad for Mike Tenay to be on the booth…Sure, he became a parody of himself as the lead announcer for TNA…But I think he’s a massive upgrade on Lee Fucking Marshall…Kidman doggedly hangs on to an armbar in the early going…It’s a nice series of spots where Chavo does everything he can to escape, but can’t shake Kidman until he finally goes with the strategy of brute forcing his way out with a couple of knees to the gut…Chavo gets two on a headscissors and grabs a headlock…Chavo gets back to his feet and lands a nice short-arm clothesline…Chavo gets two off a floatover powerslam…Chavo is distracted by Pepe as we go to break…


  • Back from break, Chavo rakes Pepe across Kidman’s face…That sparks a Kidman comeback, but Chavo lands a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to stop all that…A Chavo bridging German suplex gets two, and it’s back to the chinlock…Kidman keeps fighting up, and Chavo keeps cutting him off…The commentary is so bad that it almost takes away from this thing…If you watch this match, or the one before it, watch on mute…Chavo rides Pepe around the ring instead of winning the match…This allows Kidman to make another comeback…Kidman gets two off a crossbody, but Chavo kills a corner charge with a sunset flip, then hits a victory roll, both for two counts…They switch, switch, and then Kidman hits a sitout spinebuster…Chavo Jr. hits the best Superman punch in the business, then gets 2.9 off a springboard bulldog…Chavo tries to powerbomb Kidman, and you know what happens…Kidman preps an SSP, and here comes the lWo to end the match with a little bit of interference…Chavo and Kidman try to fight off the lWo, but the numbers game gets to them…Eddy pulls everyone away from Chavo as Rey comes to the ring to help, but accidentally hits Kidman…On the Nitro Xtra earlier in the week, Kidman tried to help Rey out against the lWo and accidentally hit Rey instead…So you know, their aim is a bit off…


  • We come back to Kanyon bloviating, mostly about how cool he is…He can’t get the acknowledgement from the crowd that he’s looking for, and then the Horsemen music cuts him off before he can try again…Dean Malenko comes to the ring, and after a fade out for a commercial break that offers no Peacock ad interstitial on my computer screen, we come right back to the start of the match…I didn’t see him earlier because it was dark, but Raven is chilling out viewing the action at ringside…Raven is legit one of my favorite guys to watch, but Bischoff doesn’t get him at all, sadly...It shows in how he's been booked post-Flock…Kanyon takes a hard shoulder block and takes some time to compose himself…It doesn’t really help because Malenko immediately beats him down in the corner…Kanyon slips an elbow in on Malenko’s chin to take control…Kanyon hits some decent offense, but Malenko immediately sleeps out of his sleeper attempt with a back suplex…


  • Raven looks bored, but I think this match is fine…Kanyon re-takes control…He lands a springboard elbowdrop for two, then goes back to the sleeper…Malenko elbows his way out, but eats a swinging neckbreaker for two…Malenko explodes with a comeback, but gets cut off by a boot to the mush and a kneelift that sends him outside…Raven wanders over, but doesn’t do anything to Malenko because, meh, life is fleeting and then you spend an eternity in the inky blackness of death…Well, I guess Raven really did think that (or something like it) because he gets real bummed and just slouches over and leaves the ringside area entirely…Meanwhile in the ring, Malenko blocks a Flatliner attempt and tries a Texas Cloverleaf…Kanyon gets to the ropes…Kanyon lands an Electric Chair facebuster for two…Kanyon tries to press his advantage with a second rope Rocker Dropper, but Malenko hooks him, powerbombs him down, and turns him over in the Texas Cloverleaf…Lodi runs down and draws a DQ, but Benoit runs down for the easy save…This show hasn’t seen a convoluted finish that it doesn’t love…


  • Konnan faces the Giant in the main event…Konnan speaks on this, hits his catchphrase roulette, and borrows contemporary rapper lines as usual…The Giant controls with power, but when he misses a corner splash, Konnan throws a series of blows…Konnan tries a body slam…It goes poorly for him…There’s a nice, but somewhat less crisp than normal side Russian leg sweep from the Giant…The Giant dominates Konnan outside the ring…The Giant gets a table and leans it against the steps and the post…He tries another corner splash even though the last one didn’t work…That’s lax strategy right there…Konnan grabs a chair and whales away with it…This is the point at which Charles Robinson calls for the bell even though there was a table involved and they wandered around out there for at least a ten-count or two…Konnan jets, so the Giant chokeslams Charles Robinson in frustration as the show ends…


  • Pros: This show definitely balanced out Nitro not being wrestling heavy by showcasing a steady stream of matches…


  • Cons: So many dumb finishes that Vince Russo probably liked this show…Also, I underplayed how dire the commentary was…Lots of talking about anything but what was going on in the ring…Heenan doing his whole Henny Youngman bit to poor effect…Tony S. and Lee Marshall being so shitty alongside him that even Tenay got somewhat sucked into it when he joined the desk…Yuck...


  • It gets a WOO because ultimately, there was some solid wrestling on this show…But man, everything else about the presentation sucked…
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Show #166 – 16 November 1998

“The one where Nitro tries to recapture the sense of wonder and surprise from three years ago”

  • The Nitro Girls dance the show onto the air here in the middle of Kansas. The middle of Kansas is hyped for a major live pro wrestling show in their area, and understandably so.


  • Oh man, they’re still doing this POTUS thing with Hogan and the motorcade (the latter of which we see pull up to the arena). Bummer.


  • Billy Kidman opens the show against Juventud Guerrera in a rare hot Cruiserweight opener. These fellas have wrestled a whole bunch of times, and somehow, they seem to lose chemistry every time out. Now, this is a title match, which Juvi is getting even though he literally just lost a number one contendership match for a title shot at WW3. At least Tenay sells it as Kidman agreeing to put the belt up against Juvi as well since Juvi lost in overtime, but why have the match at all in that case? 
  • Juvi wins a quick two count on a rollup, but ends up rolling out of the ring after he eats a sit-out slam. Getting a bit of space doesn’t get him much, though; Kidman continues to work him over and gets two off a springboard legdrop. Kidman sinks in the ol’ chinlock that he barely works, which is his go to when he doesn’t really have many ideas. They lounge in the ring for awhile before Kidman gets up and, after hitting a weak lariat on one corner charge, gets caught and headscissor’d on a follow-up charge. Juvi uses the headscissors as a counter to great effect multiple times, actually. Kidman tries to counter a corner charge, but eats a jawbreaker and a crossbody, the latter of which gets two. Commentary is actually focused on this match instead of other bullshit, and whaddya know? They’re very good at analyzing Juvi celebrating early and letting up on his cover, which allows Kidman to kick out. They note Juvi’s semi-heelish behavior lately and, on cue, a bunch of the crowd decides that JUVI SUCKS.


  • Kidman comes back, lands a slingshot crossbody to Juvi outside, and then rolls Juvi back in for two. Then, uh, it’s back to the chinlock. Juvi in control is good; Kidman in control fucking STINKS. They get back to their feet and Kidman misses a crossbody and crashes all the way to the floor and against the rail in a sweet bump. Kidman should be bumping around like a pinball and doing minimal offense. And being a heel, not a face, as he’s a better worker as a heel. Juvi follows up with a lot of offense outside the ring, and then lands a springboard guillotine legdrop that looks absolutely gorgeous. He also sells a tailbone injury on the landing – Psicosis splatters his spine all the time and soldiers through, Juvi, dammit – and only gets two on a delayed cover. Juvi unloads with as much offense as he can muster; he gets two on a nice bulldog, but tries a powerbomb and eats a facebuster that gets 2.9 for Kidman. Kidman lands a wheelbarrow slam for 2.9 after that; he tries a German suplex, but Juvi flips out and nails a Juvi Driver for 2.9. This finishing run is pretty damned good, I have to say.


  • Juvi sits Kidman up top, but he takes time to celebrate before hitting the rana, and Kidman punches him in the dick and hits a super sitout slam. That gets 2.9, and I gotta be honest, this crowd is into the near falls big time, and so am I. Kidman goes up for an SSP, and gets caught and dumped by Juvi. That spells the end of Kidman’s reign, as Juvi follows up with a 450 that manages to keep Kidman down for three. Kidman is in disbelief, but eventually presents the belt to Juvi. Thank goodness that Kidman’s reign of terror is over. I was thinking that maybe they'd float the belt to Juvi and turn around and have him lose it to Rey at WW3, then turn heel, and they should do that, if they’re smart.


  • If only Nitro had more hot cruiserweight openers that go ten-plus minutes! That’s an idea they should actually execute rather than just somehow convincing everyone they executed it even though a close look at the record says they didn’t.


  • It’s only now that we get the traditional Nitro opener.


  • After the high of a very good opener, we revisit a few recent lows: In this case, we get a video package of the Scott and Rick and Buff Marcus and Judy feud. Oh man, Scott and Rick are STILL feuding. It’s been ten months! Ten long months! Why did they stretch this out past Rick basically destroying Scott at Havoc?


  • Wrath takes a step up in his victories on Nitro: He’s going to beat Raven (w/Kanyon) next. Now, Wrath lost a few times on house shows to a returning Booker T. around this time, and though I know it didn’t happen on television, so it didn’t happen for the purposes of television, it did happen. It illustrates that WCW isn’t all that interested in protecting Wrath in the long- or even medium-term. So why would WCW bother feeding Raven to him? I hate this losing streak angle. Raven deserved so much better for what was a monumental performance in '97-'98 up through Fall Brawl '98.


  • Raven sits. Raven uses the crowd as a free therapist. Raven indicates that Judy Bagwell is much like his mom – a helicopter parent who can’t fucking let go that she used to have power over her son as a child, and who thus has unfortunately been left to continually try and forge an unhealthy co-dependent relationship with her adult child. I mean, that’s basically what he says. Anyway, Raven continues by drawing another comparison, which is that WCW is like Raven’s mom. He illustrates the comparison by basically saying the following: Neither of you can tell me what to do, I’m an adult now! *runs up to room, slams door, turns on Slayer tape at highest possible volume*. Kanyon is disgusted that Raven refuses to wrestle the match and goads him over the mic. Raven refuses, so Kanyon decides to fight Wrath even though he’s supposed to be fighting Glacier immediately after this match is over. Raven is fine with that and walks out. At least we’re not getting a Raven squash loss, though! That’s good.


  • Kanyon tries to get the crowd to say that nobody betta than him, but the crowd thinks everybody is better than him. Even worse for him, VANDENBERG’S BOYS EXPLODE as Wrath jumps in, hits Kanyon from behind with a lariat, and then drills a Meltdown before leaving. And wouldn’t you know it? Here comes Glacier immediately afterward. Glacier edges his way around Wrath, remembering all those tag matches that Wrath beat him down in, but Wrath comes back in the ring and hits a Meltdown on Glacier anyway. Kanyon and Glacier are laid out while Wrath celebrates and the crowd celebrates along with him. There wasn’t a wrestling match in that segment, but I enjoyed it even if I will continue to have complaints about Raven’s booking.


  • The next segment starts with Kanyon and Glacier still laid out, haha! We see that during the break, Wrath beat both guys up some more before leaving once the break was over. Wrath must still be pissed about losing all those tag matches to Glacier and Ernest Miller because Kanyon couldn’t land one fucking chain-assisted kick properly, not even ONE, dammit. Mickey Jay needs to move things along, so he asks for the bell to be rung and starts a ten count that Kanyon stops at eight by rolling over and covering Glacier; that cover gets two. They then fight outside and Glacier hits a brainbuster out there, though I think it was meant to be just a regular vertical suplex, but either way, it looked great. Kanyon lands a second-rope Rocker Dropper on Glacier into the steel steps! That should be a match finisher, dammit. Alas, it only gets two.


  • Kanyon goes up top, jumps into a Cryonic Kick, but kicks out at 2.9. It’s okay, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker already killed that finisher dead back in Show #68. The crowd chants BO-RING, but actually, this is pretty entertaining, especially for a Glacier match. Kanyon ends the match shortly after anyway, as he reverses an Irish Whip into a Flatliner for three.


  • More Hogan the Elder horseshit on a video recap. When does this doofus leave TV to campaign/lay low so that he can get the belt back in January already?


  • The world was clamoring for a Sonny Onoo match, and by God, Bisch and Sullivan gave one to us! Kaz Hayashi comes out here in a mask pretending to be a guy named El Gringo. The desk pretends that they can’t tell that it’s Kaz under that mask. Onoo paid a wrestler named El Gringo to come out here and job to him, and even he can’t tell that it’s Kaz fucking Hayashi under there. This angle is ice cold, man, ice cold, and I don’t know why it’s happening. Anyway, Ernest Miller comes out here, hits a Feliner on Kaz from behind, and literally slaps a panicking Onoo back into reality before notifying him that Kaz is out. Onoo gets back in the ring and covers Kaz with a foot on the chest for three. Well, they can’t all be winners. I mean, they don’t have to be complete and utter losers like this was, but they can’t all be winners, either.


  • Here come a few B-Teamers. I guess that Juvi/Kidman opener was like a carrot and now this part of the show is a stick? A giant stick? With nails sticking out of it? So, we’ve got Stevie Ray and Horace Hogan against Dean Malenko and Mongo McMichael. Horace and Malenko have an alright opening exchange, honestly. I will always submit that Horace is fine if used correctly, which is basically as midcard stable fodder. I should probably stop submitting that sentiment because anyone who has read these reviews knows how I feel about that. Mongo and Stevie Ray get in the ring and do some clubbering. I think they have better clubbering in them. What makes someone a good clubberer versus a mediocre or bad one? I have thoughts about this, but I need to formulate them better before sharing them.


  • Anyway, the match breaks down, Arn Anderson whoops on Vincent outside the ring, and Stevie hammers Mongo with a slapjack. Arn gets in the ring and clears out the B-Teamers with a tire iron in response. Arn is by far the most over guy in this match, and he’s retired. Then, get this – GET THIS – Doug Dellinger comes out here and tries to confiscate the tire iron from Arn. Does he also try and confiscate the slapjack from Stevie? No, because Doug Dellinger is goddam USELESS.


  • We come back from break to two things: One, Gene Okerlund introducing Ric Flair for an interview. Two, commentary saying that Mongo got sent to the hospital for observation after that slapjack shot. I again stress that Doug Dellinger should be kayfabe fired. Is he on the nWo payroll? Is that ever an angle in 1999? Flair does his whole shtick on the mic. He attacks Eric Bischoff’s manhood since I guess Bisch had Arn tossed out of the arena and then continues to push this Flair/Bischoff feud that WCW is determined to foist upon me.


  • Then, in a surprise announcement, Flair calls the Stalker out to join him. Barry Windham might have the best in-ring timing of any wrestler ever, but it’s 1998 and I’m low on his return. Windham’s Four Horsemen run was great back in 1988, though. Man, it ruled. Windham needs to put on a black glove and throw wild jumping lariats again, which would make me higher on his return. Bischoff hits the ramp to respond, and Flair promises that Barry Windham will fuck Liz tonight, uh, okay. Windham's face when Flair makes this declaration is like Whoa man, we didn’t talk about this beforehand, I don’t even really know her like that. Shouldn’t we at least meet for a coffee first? Did she even say she was interested?


  • Next up: Eddy Guerrero (w/Spyder) faces Rey Misterio Jr. again in a bit of modern WWE-style booking. Bisch and Sully are going to run this matchup into the ground in service of a shitty angle, I suppose. Eddy pitches Misterio on lWo membership again and offers Rey an If I win, you’re in; if you lose, I leave you alone deal Rey’s a dumbass babyface, so he accepts this on its face. I must admit, though, that Eddy’s “[Either way] we part as friends” is spoken with such sincerity that even though we all know he’s being totally disingenuous, even the most cynical fan might believe for just a second that he’s actually being honest.


  • I could copy and paste a lot of the same opener stuff that I wrote from their last couple of matches. This match is also fine. Maybe I’m less enthusiastic about it because I know that they’re going to re-run the “Chavo loses a match and reluctantly has to become Eddy’s underling” deal with Rey just a few months later, but in an angle of markedly worse quality. Rey makes a rare fuckup and crashes right into Eddy’s knee when coming off the top rope. That could have been worse for Eddy. So, the finish is that Spyder distracts the ref while Eddy hits Rey with a powerbomb and covers. Juvi runs out and tries a springboard legdrop, but Eddy moves and Juvi drills Rey instead. Eddy tosses Juvi from the ring and goes up for a Frog Splash; he hits it, and three seconds later, Rey is a reluctant lWo member. Juvi appears to be somewhat crestfallen by this turn of events. Was Juvi just feeling himself too much after winning the gold, or is he secretly working on behalf of the lWo? There’s a bit of potential intrigue there, but since it’s in service of this lWo angle, meh.


  • Bobby Heenan joins the desk. You know, he looks sort of like Steve Pemberton of Inside Number 9 fame.


  • When did Scott Steiner put Judy Bagwell in the hospital? Did I black out on this? Judy cuts a promo from a hospital bed, but I don’t remember…wait a minute. Wait. A. Minute. Is Judy faking a fucking injury? Is she going to turn heel on Rick Steiner at WW3? Oh wow, if she does it, I actually think that would take this recurrent “fake an injury” angle that's been a benchmark of this feud from annoyingly repetitive straight into absurd theatre. It would be the wrestling version of Peter Griffin holding his knee and sighing in pain for just a few seconds longer than the viewer’s irritation from the overlong gag lasts. It’s Andy Kaufman doing terrible impressions for long enough that the audience is barely able to hold out for his excellent Elvis impression. Oh please oh please oh please let this be the angle. The whole fucking Bagwell family out here, just faking injuries for any and every reason, is a hilarious thought. The whole family defrauding insurers and squeezing as much workman’s comp and as many disability payments out of the system as possible is genuinely a funny idea. Holy shit, please let it be true.


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. comes out to face Scott Putski. Chavo challenges Putski to a flex-off and wins the crowd’s approval, at least. They have a non-descript match that is interrupted by Bam Bam Bigelow walking around backstage yelling about Goldberg. Now, look: I think Bam Bam is an interesting veteran add to WCW's roster coming off his ECW run, which was pretty good. I don’t think thrusting him into the main event to hassle Goldberg is the wave, though. Goldberg has plenty of main eventers left to beat. Bammer is a nice midcard gatekeeper piece, maybe the muscle for a midcard heel whom you want to get over. Jericho is doing a comic version of this with Ralphus, so maybe you don’t pair Bammer with him, but how about Alex Wright? That guy seems like he could benefit from having a heavy watch his back. Bammer kicks in a bunch of doors and shit, then – FUCK YOU, WCW – walks out to the ring to kill Putski (fine) and Chavo Jr. (NOT FINE, FIRE ERIC BISCHOFF). Bam Bam grabs a mic and yells GOLDBERG, GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE, I’M BAM BAM BIGELOW, and admittedly, that was pretty cool. Bisch, J.J. Dillon, and the Keystone Kops all come down to escort Bam Bam from the premises. Apparently, Dillon and Bischoff agree on one thing, and it’s that Bam Bam is not being handed an employment offer tonight. Goldberg comes down to confront Bammer anyway, and the Kansans in the crowd are quite hot for this massive pull-apart.


  • We come back from our break to Eric Bischoff firing J.J. Dillon/J.J. Dillon quitting in frustration. I mean, it's not Dillon's fault that Bam Bam showed up tonight, but these fellas have been at odds for so long that it was the final straw. Eh, I guess this is something like a failing romantic relationship where it’s not really about the fact that they left the milk out, but about all of their failings which the now-curdled milk represents. Cool, man, no more J.J. Dillon on screen, I dig it, OOH YEAH, etc.


  • Perry Saturn has a mic for some reason. Oh, it’s to shit on Konnan for interjecting on his match with Eddy Guerrero a couple weeks ago. Saturn thinks it was just Konnan promoting himself, but as we review what Konnan said, I think that’s an unfair representation of Konnan’s impassioned argument. Saturn’s the heel here in my view. Wait, no, Konnan intimates that Saturn is gay as an insult as soon as he hits the ring. OK, everyone’s a heel. Saturn jumps Konnan during Konnan’s Catchphrase Roulette, which seems like a reasonable move. Hey, remember when Saturn got very over as a babyface after the Flock feud? Now he’s directionless, getting fewer cheers than his catchphrase-spouting opponent. Saturn whiffs on a kick that’s supposed to hit; a couple of mid-level lWo members come to the ring to view the match. Konnan lands a floatover bulldog for two as we cut to split screen.


  • On the second screen, Gene Okerlund is backstage interviewing Eric Bischoff about why Bisch fired Dillon and about what’s going to happen with this Bam Bam challenge. Goldberg bursts out of his dressing room and demands a match again Bigelow tonight. Bischoff refuses until Goldberg punks him and Bischoff stops refusing. I assume they’ll have this match tonight, but probably we’re (also?) getting a Goldberg/Bigelow at WW3 because they can’t just, like, feed Lex Luger or Bret Hart to DA MAN instead.


  • Back in the ring, this match just sorta happens. The desk puts over Bam Bam Bigelow as a killer, which would work better if most WCW fans saw him rampaging through ECW last; unfortunately, most of these fans who last saw him did so when he was jobbing to everyone from Lawrence Taylor to Goldust on WWF television. Meanwhile, I regret to report that this matchup was just kinda boring and then randomly ended with Saturn getting knocked out of the ring and jumped by the lWo. Konnan comes out and saves Saturn, but Saturn punches Konnan and then punches the lWo. The lWo eventually wanders off; Konnan gets a mic and calls Saturn back to the ring, and Saturn obliges with lots more punches.


  • WCW is really trying to create a sense of randomness and surprises tonight. They were able to pull this off in 1995 and 1996 with some regularity. Tonight, well, their success is a bit more checkered.


  • We get a Nitro Girls dance routine, a Hall versus Nash video package, and Scott Steiner coming to the ring flanked by Buff Bagwell and a hired referee who is doing his best Bill Alfonso impression. Buff gets a mic, declares their hatred of Wichita, and then insults the intelligence and integrity of WCW referees. The hired ref does a demonstration of how a ref should properly count three. He does it in the way that I’d expect Artie, the Strongest Man in the World to do it. Scott Steiner gets a mic and calls the ladies in the crowd “cornfed heifers,” which, I mean, look, Scotty’s array of specific insults for women is staggering and I am horrified that I chuckled at this one. I won’t ever call a woman (or anyone) a “cornfed heifer,” but I will call anyone of any gender an “old scallywag,” if that’s somehow better. It isn’t, I know.


  • Scott appreciates that Buff gave him the green light to knock Judy out, and Scott brings down someone in a dress that he claims is his mother so Buff can beat her up. It’s a dude cross dressing because that is an inherently funny thing, I guess. Everyone loves Big Momma’s House and its venerable sequel, after all. Rick Steiner comes out here all mad, but Scott Norton jumps him and the nWo members beat Rick up and have the hired ref count the pin.


  • I haven’t mentioned this all review, but the desk at various points has hyped the debut of Bobby Duncum Jr. for some reason. I have no idea why. Anyway, he’s getting a shot at Chris Jericho’s TV title tonight on his debut. Again, I have no idea why. Jericho sends Ralphus to the back before the match starts. Jericho has a somewhat reasonable hairdo tonight. I mean, comparatively to every hairdo he’s had the last couple of weeks. Jericho actually doesn’t struggle very much early on; he controls the match and even lands a meaty lariat and a senton splash for two. Jericho lands a vertical suplex and covers with a wimpy pin that pisses off Duncum. Duncum immediately kicks out and hits a run of offense, then hits a diving lariat off the apron and tosses Jericho around ringside. Someone in the crowd has a Wolfpac Sting sign drawn in South Park’s easily imitable style because it’s 1998 and drawing South Park characters is just what people did back then. Back in the ring, Jericho regains control, trips Duncum, and tries a Walls, but Duncum powers out. Jericho decides that he’s had enough of all this; he walks over to Penzer, punches him, takes his gold, and walks out claiming [DUNCUM]’S HAD ENOUGH while he’s counted out. Well, glad we put Bobby FUCKING Duncum Jr. over so strongly.


  • More Hogan the Elder horseshit. He comes out here and cuts another awful promo. Par for the course. This thing goes on forever, and let me just give you Cliff’s Notes on this thing. Yes, there’s a Monica Lewinsky impersonator. Yes, there’s a sexual innuendo-slash-blowjob joke. Yes, Hogan makes out with her. No, I don’t want to take a cyanide pill, but I did consider it.


  • Bischoff comes down here after fifty years or so. He and Hogan waste time having an unentertaining conversation about the nWo. Scott Hall comes down. He questions Eric Bischoff’s commitment to nWo business. I think it’s bad enough that we’re teasing more nWo breakups, but knowing that the nWo factions that finally split up after a full year of teasing that started in 1997 are going to merge back together in two months makes this even more of a worthless waste of my time and attention. Out of nowhere, Hall punches Bischoff and Hogan attacks Hall. Kevin Nash runs down for the save. I. Don’t. Care.


  • Chris Benoit and Bret Hart come to the ring after the Nitro Girls finish their dance routine. Well, not right after: We get some video of this latest nWo tease at tension that doesn’t really mean anything in the long run. Benoit is heated about Bret coming out and attacking him a couple shows back, and also he has a lot of anger issues that he needs therapy for in general, so suffice it to say that he comes out and tears into Bret as soon as the bell rings. Bret tries to respond with some fire of his own, but Benoit eats his punches like a snack and continues his assault. The Hitman goes to the eyes first and the balls second to (figuratively, not literally) get Benoit off his back.


  • The Hitman doesn’t feel much like being a heel and dammit, he lets me know each week with a steady diet of eye pokes, chokes, ball shots, and rope burns that put me right the hell to sleep. Benoit makes his comeback and caps it with a great-looking superplex. Benoit calls for the diving headbutt and scores it, but Bret rolls away toward the ropes, which delays the cover, which leads to only a two count. Benoit continues his assault, but when he sends Bret outside and tries a baseball slide, Bret dodges and grabs a chair. Bret circles, gets in the ring, and tries to swing it, but Benoit punches the chair into his face, then snot rockets him. Well, that spot made Benoit look king-sized. So, Benoit grabs the chair, and in a classic example of how shitty WCW refs are, he pulls the chair away from Benoit, which lets the Hitman sneak in a low blow. However, he doesn’t pull the chair away from the Hitman, who then uses it to destroy Benoit’s arm. That is such nonsense, such inconsistency, that it ruins the spot for me.


  • Malenko comes out for the save. The Hitman pretends to leave, then runs out and jumps Malenko while Malenko’s checking on Benoit. Now Malenko needs to be saved, and lucky him, Diamond Dallas Page comes in from the crowd and beats the shit out of Hart to a massive pop. OK, that last part where DDP unexpectedly showed up was cool. Page then talks, which is less cool, but it’s actually fine. I mean, Page says HOLLYWOOD SCUM HOGAN and then randomly also calls Randy Savage MACHO SCUM…and then calls Bret BRET HITSCUM HART. No, nevermind, this promo fucking sucked. It was bad. It really took the shine off Page showing up and beating down Bret. I mean, this shithead says HITSCUM like three or four times instead of just saying that he’s got a contract to defend against Bret at WW3 and leaving.


  • Well, we only have about two minutes left in the show, so I’m going to guess that Bam Bam Bigelow/Goldberg doesn’t even get a starting bell, especially because Goldberg gets the whole long walkout entrance. And as a matter of fact, it doesn't; they fight on the ramp and around the set as the show ends.


  • They definitely tried to recapture the magic of 1995 and 1996. They didn’t, but I appreciate the effort. 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Thunder Interlude – show number forty-one – 19 November 1998

"The WCW Gang stumbles into the final WW3 PPV riding a bunch of shitty angles”

  • Larry Z. has been corralled into Thunder commentary duty in place of Bobby Heenan…I think that’s a clear upgrade at this point…God help us all, Larry Z. is an upgrade on Bobby Heenan at the desk…


  • The final World War 3 pay-per-view will happen after this show…Nitro has stabilized into mediocrity after an all-time awful run from about Road Wild '98 up through Halloween Havoc '98…Don’t get me wrong, stuff like Hogan “running” for POTUS and the lWo absolutely stinks…This ‘”Bret Hart takes people out” angle that we now review through the magic of video sucks, but maybe Bret/DDP will be good…Then again, Bret/Sting was ass cheeks at Havoc, so I can’t even be sure about getting a quality match from the Hitman at this point…


  • Norman Smiley opens the night against Booker T….I kind of enjoy that Booker’s arc over the past year was that winning his first singles title gave him a sense of accomplishment and pride that caused hidden aspects of his character to come out…And rather than it being that he was a babyface who devolved in his outlook and behavior and became jealous and greedy of his gold as it often happens (*coughDDPcough*), it was that he was a heel who developed a sense of character as he found a new belief in himself as an individual and willingly took responsibility on himself to be an exemplary champion…That is such a natural way to turn someone face…We’ve probably all known someone who was out of control, but then had to suddenly become a parent or guardian or take care of something else important in their lives, and it was like they flipped a switch inside themselves and became responsible and thoughtful…


  • Anyway, Smiley pretends to be a babyface with an opening handshake and then heels it up…Booker makes a comeback eventually…Book misses an elbow and Spinaroonies up while Smiley dances, thinking Book was still down…That was a spot tailor made for me…Book wins it with a 110th Street Slam…


  • It's only now that the Thunder intro plays…


  • I was remiss earlier…I should have mentioned the absolute hell of this Steiners/Bagwells feud…Except for Judy making me laugh a couple times, it’s been only slightly less bad than the rest of this decades-long feud…At least, it feels like it's been a decade…I will repeat, if even Judy cuts a heel turn on Rick Steiner at the PPV, that will bring this whole dumbass angle back around and make me enjoy it for once…I mean, drawing out the punchline of a joke in which Rick Steiner continually gets suckered in and then attacked by a false friend over almost a year isn’t worth all the bad angles and segments…But at least I’ll get a bit of joy out of it…If it just happens that Judy helps Rick and they somehow win at the PPV, what the hell was even the point?...


  • Disco Inferno had a whole character arc in 1997 that was pretty incredible…In 1998, he’s just jobber fodder for nWo members…Scott Hall (w/B-Teamers) beats up Disco in yet another televised match between them…I do love that Hall messing up Disco’s hair is what causes Disco to get super-aggressive and start kicking Hall’s ass…Hall finally reverses an Irish whip, hits a corner clothesline, and coasts the rest of the way to an eventual Razor’s Edge for three…


  • Chris Jericho hits the ramp for an interview with Tony S….Jericho’s got to defend his TV title against Bobby Duncum Jr. at WW3 in a couple days…I’m not sure why we’re doing this big Duncum push…Jericho doesn’t like cowboys because Stu Hart made him one on his indy debut, haha…Duncum comes out here and hogties Jericho to mostly silence…Jericho screams for Tony S. to help him out…Tony’s like Sorry son, I don’t really do knots or ropes, good luck on Sunday though…HAHAHAHA…


  • Kaz Hayashi has been walking around all day in the back with a Japanese-to-English dictionary and trying to get a tag partner for a WW3 match against Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo…Kaz tries to pitch Scott Hall, who only recognizes when Kaz enunciates the name “Miller” and responds that he’s trying to avoid drinking before the matches…This was the wrestling equivalent of a dad joke, requisite with me rolling my eyes and chuckling with embarrassment at the punchline…


  • Video of Bobby Duncum Jr. getting a totally unwarranted push upon his debut…


  • Rey Misterio looks bummed about repping the lWo…Understandably, because this further dilution of the nWo branding and overall shitty angle absolutely sucks…Misterio’s going to try and coax something good out of Billy Kidman…Kidman is very over, and I’m still baffled about how that happened…Kidman gets a mic and, oh no, they let him talk…Kidman lectures Misterio on joining an organization that Rey doesn’t even want to be in…Eddy grabs the mic before Rey can respond and does his whole heel deal…Then Rey talks…Rey’s not in WWE yet, so he stinks at it…There’s a whole thing where Rey apparently isn’t getting a shot for the Cruiserweight title at Juvi unless he beats Kidman, Eddy steals Rey’s spot in the match, and the rest of the lWo bullies Rey out of the ring…This was bad television…


  • There’s a commercial break, and after it, Eddy’s going to try and coax something good out of Billy Kidman…Mike T. and Larry Z. are both confused about why Eddy chose to substitute for Rey…You dopes…Tony S. figures out why (Eddy wants a Cruiserweight Championship shot for himself), but doesn’t point out that Rey won a number one contendership match over the current champion last Thunder, so the crackheads on the WCW Championship Committee should just give Rey the title shot as a matter of course…I mean, obviously Tony S. doesn’t say this, he’s trying to sell an angle and doesn’t want to expose how stupid it is…These are the little cracks in logic that I think bookers and executive producers think only the superfans care about, but they undermine the story of an angle for the regular viewers, too…


  • Anyway, this is a short, back-and-forth match…Kidman ranas out of a pop-up powerbomb for a little wrinkle to the "can't be powerbombed" routine…Kidman scores two on a superplex shortly after…Then, Eddy tries a regular powerbomb just a bit later and Kidman hits a facebuster out of it…Stop trying to powerbomb Kidman, geez…Kidman goes up for an SSP, but sees Rey and Spyder at ringside arguing for some reason and dives onto them instead…Ah, that’s good dumb babyfacin’ from Kidman, who is even dumber when he goes over to confront Spyder on the apron…Rey tries to pull Spyder down, but Eddy runs Kidman into Spyder from behind and rolls Kidman up with his feet on the ropes for three, and presumably, a shot at Juvi Guerrera’s Cruiserweight title…It was mostly an angle with a couple of hot near-falls…


  • We get a recap of the end of the Juvi/Kidman match from Nitro…Then, what the fuck, Tony S. says that Kidman gets a rematch against Juvi at WW3…So what the fuck was the point of Eddy subbing for Rey then?...I’m pretty sure that Rey was talking about getting a shot at WW3 before Eddy replaced him…You know what, I’m not going to think about this too deeply because neither Bisch nor Sully did…


  • More video recapping…The Hall/Nash feud sucked, and we unfortunately must now relive it…Oh great, there’ll be a rematch at WW3…


  • Scott Putski looks like a complete jackass, per usual…IWGP Champion Scott Norton (w/B-Teamers again) comes down for a quick serving of squash…Wait, I guess Vincent is his opponent?...No, Vincent and Putski just have a tiny match before Norton attacks Putski from behind and then the bell rings…Should this not be a DQ or no contest?...No, nevermind, I’m not going to think about this too deeply yada yada…Norton lands a powerbomb after about a minute for the win…


  • Video recap of Hogan being so personally hurt about Jesse Ventura winning political office that he wastes time doing a stupid skit with a crappy Monica Lewinsky impersonator…Oh, also Hall and Bischoff are mad at each other for some random reason…The nWo is still around almost a year after it should have died, but there was a way to keep it around and have Goldberg + the Wolfpac finish it off that would have made keeping it around worthwhile…What they’re doing here with random nWo breakup teases (yet again!) was not the wave, though…


  • Kaz tries to communicate with the WCW locker room some more…Disco hears the word "partner" and says he’ll only be a dancing partner with a buxom lass…Saturn walks in and corrects Disco about what Kaz needs a partner for because apparently he’s actually paying attention to what’s going on in this dumbshit company…Saturn considers being Kaz’s partner…


  • Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Onoo) grabs a mic and does some mediocre heeling in the ring…Sonny Onoo takes the mic and also does some mediocre heeling…Onoo says that he had to scrounge up a tomato can from Japan to face Miller in a warm-up match for the Sunday bout…The desk is like This guy is white, he can’t be a karate champ in Japan…I mean, he’s obviously not a karate champ from Japan, but the word gaijin exists for a reason, fellas…Kaz runs out and gets beaten up again until Saturn makes the save…Saturn’s ceiling is as a babyface who wins against everyone at his level and below and gatekeeps the heels who will ascend to the main event…Neither getting involved in this feud nor the weird Konnan stuff really serves cementing him in that role…


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. (w/Pepe) faces Alex Wright…Wright insults the crowd on the mic before the match…He threatens to leave if the rubes in this Indiana crowd don’t give him respect…They don’t give him respect, but he sticks around…It's easy to forget how big Alex Wright, but then you see him collar-and-elbowed with Chavo and remember it again…The size difference is striking…Wright’s a lanky guy (well, at least at this point), so it’s easy to underestimate his size from a visual standpoint…The match is a solid affair with Wright utilizing his size advantage and Chavo using speed, agility, and flash pins to counter…Chavo Jr. makes a final comeback after blocking Wright’s reverse neckbreaker, but Wright blocks a vertical suplex attempt and flips Chavo over into a bridged pin for three…Wright drills Chavo with a clothesline post-match and attacks Pepe as the cherry on top…That was pretty good stuff…


  • Kanyon tries to engender the support of the crowd…He fails…Hahaha, after the crowd responds to Kanyon’s usual question with EVERYBODY, he freaks out and yells NO, NO, YOUR MAMA…There wasn’t even a Your Mama joke in there, he just yelled YOUR MAMA…That was genuinely funny…Prince Iaukea comes out, Kanyon attacks him in the aisle, and they end up back in the ring and (unsurprisingly) have a fun TV match…Kanyon hits a Northern Lights facebuster, I guess is what you’d call it?...That should be a finishing move, not a random move that gets a two count…Kanyon hits a lot of unique-looking facebusters in general, and he hits a couple of them here as well…Iaukea comes back, but Kanyon pulls an Alex Wright from a few minutes ago, blocks a vertical suplex attempt, and drops down into a Flatliner for three…A few dopes in the crowd were chanting BORING…No the fuck that wasn’t, it was a perfectly pleasant competitive TV match…


  • Saturn is out immediately after that match to face Wrath…I assume Saturn loses this one through interference…This is a decent competitive TV match…Wrath really pushes his size advantage…He lands a backbreaker and pummels Saturn in the corner…The pummeling just wakes Saturn up, so Wrath has to go back to power moves with a back suplex…Wrath gets 2.9 off a diving clothesline…Wrath misses a corner splash and gets overhead suplexed for two…Here come Onoo and Miller to spoil a solid TV bout…Saturn gets two off a top-rope splash…Onoo distracts the ref so that the Cat can land a superkick…Wrath follows with a Meltdown for three…


  • We review Bam Bam Bigelow’s arrival to WCW…


  • Konnan faces Bret Hart in Thunder’s main event…Konnan hits his pre-match big move, the Catchphrase Roulette…This is a five-minute number that starts with Konnan jumping on the Hitman and bashing him around ringside…It ends with Stevie Ray hitting Konnan with a slapjack behind the ref’s back and the Hitman winning with a Sharpshooter, followed by the Hitman attempting to Pillmanize Konnan after the match, but DDP making the save before that could happen…*yawn*


  • This Thunder had some solid matches, but it also reminded me that every ongoing angle in this company stinks…It’s close, but ultimately, I came away from this show feeling more negative than positive about it…OWW
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World War 3 ’98 notes:

  • Here we are, at the final WW3 PPV and creeping ever closer to 1999. I have no expectations for this show, so it has a very low bar to clear for me.


  • We open with a shot of a limo. Goldberg is in it.


  • Mike T. points out that Hulk Hogan isn’t here, which is great news! It means we get a two-month vacation from him before he shows back up to be the champ again. I’ll take two months of Hogan-free television where I can get it, even with the caveat.


  • Gene Okerlund, while shilling the hotline, picks a smaller guy to win the battle royal tonight. NOPE.


  • Glacier opens the show and jobs to Wrath. Tony S. reminds everyone that these fellas have been off-and-on feuding for a couple years, now. The Detroit crowd is hyped for some wrestling action, as Detroit crowds tend to be. Detroit crowds are underrated, IMO. They do have quite the wrestling history to draw from what with the Sheik running the area for years and all. Anyway, Wrath mostly walks through Glacier’s offense en route to a Meltdown for three. It was just fine, especially because they did a bit of crowd brawling that the crowd loved. Glacier’s offense is terrible, though. Everything he does looks weak.


  • The Hitman talks about all the guys he tried to cripple in a pre-tape promo. Last night while I made dinner, I listened to Eric Bischoff on the ol’ 83 Weeks pretending that the Hitman has no charisma to cover for the fact that Bisch booked the guy into the ground like the creative failure that Bischoff has consistently proven to be. The Hitman cuts a solid heel promo and flashes some charisma even though he’s not interested in being a heel, like it’s so fucking obvious.


  • Stevie Ray and Konnan fill time on this show. At least Konnan is way over, so the crowd is into him doing whatever the heck he wants to. You can guess the quality of this match, probably. I mean, it’s not heinous or anything, but it’s not even close to approaching something good. Stevie dumps Konnan to ringside so Vincent can get involved and so Heenan can note that Vincent’s storing Stevie’s slapjack in his back pocket. This feels like a Chekhov’s Gun; in fact, after a somnambulant Stevie Ray control segment, Vincent tries to swat Konnan with the slapjack, but hits Stevie instead. However, instead of getting a pinfall off Vincent’s fuckup, Konnan gets disqualified for pushing the ref away while punching a halfway-out Stevie. This is dumb. Booker comes down to try and back Konnan off, then attempts to talk a positive sense of self into Stevie. Alas, Stevie did not win the TV title of his own accord and thus has not had the true revelatory experience of having worked to attain and keep something through the values of hard work and fair play, so Stevie chooses to stick with the nWo and tells his brother to stick it, basically.


  • Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo (w/corner man who is holding a bucket that almost surely seems like another Chekhov’s Gun, but isn't) are next to the ring to face Kaz Hayashi and Saturn. I can’t wait until they put Kaz in the Jung Dragons and also Leia Meow shows up. Forgive me for talking about how lovely Ms. Meow is, but in middle and high school, I think it was near unanimous amongst me and my friends that Tommy Dreamer walking around with both Beulah McGillicuddy and Kimona Wanalaya was highly improbable even considering the improbability of many pro wrestling angles. Both women seemed entirely unattainable in general, looks-wise, but also especially unattainable for Tommy fucking Dreamer.


  • Anyway, there’s a match, and it’s not good. This is a waste of Saturn, who should be holding the United States Championship that two guys who are too elevated for it, DDP and Bret Hart, are fighting over later tonight. I know, I know, I repeat myself, but you see, each review is new to me and half the time, I’ve forgotten what I said earlier. Saturn spends a lot of time as FIP while Sonny Onoo refuses to tag in because he doesn’t want to get his ass kicked. Miller, who is tired of doing all the work, finally tags the guy in. Onoo tries to land a stomp and tag back out, but Miller refuses, so Onoo throws a kick that gets reversed into an STF. This series of spots is fine, I guess, but I just do not care about Onoo finally getting his comeuppance.


  • There are a couple of sloppy spots in here, including a weird one that is meant to be Miller breaking up a Kaz offensive move on Onoo, but even the desk can’t tell what the fuck that spot was supposed to be. Because of the nature of this match, in which a) the heels need to be in control for the eventual babyface comeback, and b) it’s clear that Onoo is not a threat, that means that Miller basically dominates two guys for large portions of this match. Um, no. I like Ernest Miller as the commish, but no. Then, get this – GET THIS – Miller hits a Feliner on Saturn behind the ref’s back and Onoo falls onto Saturn for three. FUCK OFF, WCW. Absolute bullshit. Moppy is better than this shit, fuck it, it’s no wonder Saturn left as soon as possible.


  • Backstage, Lee Marshall makes fun of Chris Jericho getting hogtied on Thunder, but Jericho brushes off the news of said hogtying as WCW propaganda and also cuts a promo at double his normal speaking speed that’s pretty good. They’re not really going to take the gold off Jericho and put it on Bobby Duncum Jr., are they? ARE THEY?!


  • Billy Kidman faces Juvi Guerrera in a rematch for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Gene Okerlund rushes up and stops Juvi on his way to the ring; he points out that Juvi has an lWo shirt on backwards, and Juvi flips it around and shows the logo to the crowd. What a boring and shitty way to turn Juvi heel after all that teasing. Rey comes down to gripe about Eddy not letting him get the chance at the Cruiserweight title and then there’s a bunch of stupid-ass lWo horseshit. Eddy asks Rey about Rey’s kids, and you know, I am pretty sure that Eddy knows all about Rey’s kids and their questionable parentage, heh heh heh. But yeah, this lWo garbage is so bad, it defies belief.


  • Juvi eventually makes it to the ring to have yet another match against Kidman. These fellas really did have quite the rivalry. I’m just hoping that this match is on the better end of their encounters, which I’d classify their match on the Nitro before this show as being. I do think they’re better as a pairing with Juvi as the babyface and Kidman as the heel. Speaking of things that I think, I think that one of the neatest things about this match is that both guys really put some sting into their chops and strikes. Kidman puts a surprising amount of stank on a lariat early in the match. Both guys are putting in work and really laying stuff in, and this match feels quite violent for a match between cruiserweights in general and between these two specifically.


  • Juvi gets a series of two counts in there, including off a brainbuster, before going to a chinlock so that everyone can lay down and rest for a few seconds. They deserve a rest. Juvi cuts off a couple of Kidman comeback attempts and continues his run of controlling the match in and out of the ring. Juvi sells a guillotine legdrop and its effects on his tailbone in there, which delays his cover enough to only get two. You gotta have Psicosis’s tailbone of titanium to hit that move and not flinch. Juvi also tries a double springboard missile dropkick from one ring to the other and barely clears it enough to land a dropkick in Kidman’s abdomen. Juvi is a good athlete, no doubt, but he’s not Rey-level as an athlete. Misterio’s sense of balance is legendary.


  • Kidman makes a comeback and, rather than trying his own double-springboard move, simply headscissors Juvi into another ring and does a crossbody from one ring’s ropes into the other ring. Good idea because Kidman’s not half the athlete that Juvi is. They have a few creative spots going from ring to ring and a nice 2.9 spot where Juvi rope-walks from one ring to the other to hit a top-rope Frankensteiner. There’s another lovely spot where Juvi tries a Juvi Driver, gets reversed into gourdbuster position, and then flips out of that and back into a Juvi Driver, which he squarely lands the second attempt around. Juvi spends a lot of time recovering from that last exchange, and Kidman dodges his 450 attempt. Juvi lands on his feet and counters and tries a rana that Kidman can’t reverse into a powerbomb for 2.9. Juvi gets up angry that it wasn’t three and petulantly slaps Charles Robinson in the face. I am shocked at how heated this match has been and am re-thinking my assertion that these matches are better with Kidman as the heel.


  • Kidman makes one more comeback, lands a wheelbarrow slam, and goes up for an SSP to a huge pop. Juvi gets up, blocks it, and goes up for a top-rope rana. Rey Misterio Jr. sneaks out, holds Kidman’s jeans so that Juvi lands on his head when he tries for the rana, and then watches as Kidman completes an SSP for the win. The lWo comes out and gets in Rey’s face as Eddy backs them off. Eddy then yells at Rey YOU’RE EITHER IN OR YOU’RE OUT, GIMME YOUR ANSWER. Uh, Eddy, I think he’s only in because you made him be in. Rey, in no surprise to anyone who’s been watching these shows, tosses away his lWo shirt and runs away from the pursuing pack. The lWo stuff was stupid – why would Eddy work so hard to force Rey into the group, for literal weeks of TV time mind you, and then just let him leave? – but that barely tarnishes what was the best match Juvi and Kidman have had against one another yet. This is well worth watching if you’d like to see a heated-feeling cruiser match; it feels like exactly the kind of match that people think of when they remember the WCW Cruiserweight division in a vaguely fond sort of way.


  • After some recap of Hall and Nash getting in a perpetual tizzy with one another for the last few months, we get a match (Editor’s note: No, we don’t) between Scott Steiner (w/Buff Bagwell and annoying nWo ref) and Rick Steiner. Buff poses with a BUFF I WANT TO TOUCH YOUR STUFF sign. Of course Buff poses with a BUFF I WANT TO TOUCH YOUR STUFF sign. I’m shocked that Buff doesn’t do this every week because the ladies in the crowd generally are thirsty as fuck for the guy, and probably a few dudes are, too. Before we can get a match going, Rick Steiner gets beaten down by the nWo in the back before the match. The Giant drags Ricky to the ring after said beatdown.


  • So, wait, Ricky signed a match between himself and Scott and agreed to Scott providing the ref? What the fuck? This is legitimately the worst feud of the Nitro era and is absolutely on the list of the worst feuds in pro wrestling history. This is not hyperbole on my part. What a dumb fucking interminable feud. There’s no logic, there are barely any stakes, and I am long past desire to see THE STEINER BROTHERS EXPLODE after all the consistent teasing of said explosion without it happening. This whole feud has been one giant edging session, with the downside that any release that might happen will be weak and disappointing. They try to give this thing some juice by having Goldberg run out here to save Rick, and the crowd pops huge because, duh, Goldberg.


  • Now, Bisch would almost certainly argue that what we just saw was a good idea because, hey, it generated a pop. And there are some cool spots once Goldberg gets to the ring – Scotty putting a middle finger in Goldberg’s face and yelling FUCK YOU, Goldberg destroying everyone and launching the nWo ref from one ring to the next – but what is this in aid of? Goldberg is once again not defending his world title on the show, and it’s not like this is the start of a WCW resistance team angle that bonds Goldberg with Ricky Steiner and, say, DDP to finally destroy the nWo once and for all. It’s just a spot to pop a crowd in the midst of a mismanagement of Goldberg’s title reign and this overlong Steiner Brothers feud. It’s pointless. It’s empty calories. It’s a weak orgasm that dissipates quickly as feelings of dread and self-hatred because you’ve achieved said orgasm with someone you barely even know or like flood in to replace it. Sorry to be graphic, but I mentioned edging before and felt that I had to carry out the metaphor to a gross and disappointing ending, much as WCW carries out most of its long-term angles.


  • Next up: Scott Hall (w/the Giant and B-Teamers) vs. Kevin Nash. Wait, here comes Eric Bischoff before Nash can make his way out. Bischoff does his own survey, which says that Scott Hall is gonna catch a beatdown. Nash runs down and makes the save, and the Outsiders clear the ring. Now, if I didn’t know any better, I’d be kind of excited that Hall was going to join the Wolfpac and help destroy nWo Hollywood. I’d be as excited as this Detroit crowd, which is loudly chanting OUT-SI-DERS. Hall throws up the Wolfpac sign, but he gets no daps. Nash just walks away. What if WCW simply gave the fans what they want? What if? What if, indeed?


  • Take note: The last two matches on this PPV were extended angles rather than matches.


  • Bobby Duncum Jr. comes to the ring for another shot at Chris Jericho’s Television Championship. A fan touches Jericho in the aisle, so Jericho points him out and Ralphus waves him off. These two are hilarious together. There are a whole heck of a lot of Jericho signs and Monday Night Jericho t-shirts in the crowd, I’ll note. I’m glad I watched this because in 1998 and 1999 especially, Jericho was on fire as a performer and incredibly over. He was super-over when he showed up in the WWF and looked like he belonged on the same stage as the Rock immediately, in fact. It’s good to revisit this period because the guy has been complete ass for so much of his career now that it’s easy to forget that he really was that dude at one point.


  • This matchup is so fascinating at its start that the desk ruminates on Hulk Hogan missing the chance to win the WW3 battle royale. There is some uninspired mat wrestling to start, so I guess I don’t entirely blame them. The match goes outside, where Jericho turns it around and lands a diving clothesline off the guardrail. Hey, that’s a nice spot! Then he works what is like the third chinlock spot between them in the first four-ish minutes of this match. That’s not so nice. Anyway, this match is a piece of evidence in the argument that Jericho isn’t good enough to carry a bum to an entertaining match, but in Jericho’s defense, he’s still under thirty himself at this point.


  • These fellas lay around in chinlocks and facelocks and headlocks that are not really worked at all and are totally boring as fuck for a lot of this thing. Tony S. says that Jericho has used loopholes and obscure rules to hold onto the TV title. Is it too pedantic to note that Jericho did that to hold onto the Cruiserweight title, not the TV title? Fuck it, I’mma go full pedant. Anyway, this match goes on for longer than is necessary; Ralphus tries to get involved and distracts Duncum, which gives Jericho a chance to grab his belt and waffle Duncum in the back of the head. That gets three, as Billy Silverman somehow didn’t feel the strap of the belt hit him in the head at the same time that Jericho hit Duncum. Silverman is kayfabe the worst ref in the history of the industry.


  • Huh, the battle royal is next? So we’re doing Hitman/DDP as the main event? And not, you know, a Goldberg title def—no, never mind, I give up.


  • OK, let’s do this one more time:


    • Disciple is here and Tony S. mentions that Disciple’s in the Warrior’s camp. I’m shocked that they’re still mentioning the Warrior on television.


    • Wrath is in this thing, another sign (of many) that they’re not really taking his winning streak seriously. Honestly, it’s fine that Nash beats him in the next week to get himself over as a streak killer.


    • Juvi sells being worn down from his earlier match; Kidman sure strolls out here looking reasonably fresh, though. I think I’m becoming a semi-irrational Kidman hater.


    • It’s a Renegade sighting!


    • Much more importantly, it’s a Tokyo Magnum sighting!


    • The British Bulldog’s name is one of the names that pops up on the screen, but alas, he is gravely injured, so we are left with Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker as his substitute.


    • Hall hides behind Mickey Jay in the corner of one ring as soon as the bell rings.


    • Nash starts dumping dudes early and scores five quick eliminations in the first minute over in ring number three.


    • We get from sixty men to forty-eight men almost immediately, in fact.


    • Van Hammer helps eliminate Mike Enos in ring three, which leaves him in there with Nash by himself…for about thirty more seconds, as Nash big boots Hammer out and then chills out by himself as he waits for the other rings to empty enough that he must join them.


    • They legit eliminated 25 guys in two minutes! That makes this whole sixty-man exercise feels somewhat pointless.    


    • Kanyon keeps trying moves from the top or second rope, and it eventually bites him in the ass when Kidman backdrops him over and out while sitting on the second rope.


    • Booker and Stevie think about teaming up, but decide against it.


    • After relaxing in the first ring for a bit, the Giant makes his move and starts trying to dump guys. This sparks the rest of the ring to jump the Giant. Good idea, but it’s a plan that fails miserably.


    • I thought that Chavo got dumped by the Giant already, but he’s running around in the first ring again.


    • Rey gets eliminated, which gets us down to twenty guys left, and everyone goes into the center ring to finish up the match.


    • Saturn and Ernest Miller fight each other on the floor and, I guess, eliminate themselves before they can even enter the center ring.


    • Like everyone under 6’2 immediately gets tossed except Benoit and Malenko.


    • We’re down to thirteen men; the crowd pops for Nash and the Giant renewing their rivalry. They separate, but when they hook it up again, it gets another big pop. Hall comes over to help Nash dump the Giant, which the crowd wants to happen. It doesn’t happen.


    • When we get down to our final ten members, Bam Bam Bigelow comes through the crowd, jumps in the ring, and gets beaten up and dumped. Goldberg runs down and sprints like a half-mile around the configuration of rings to hunt Bam Bam and fight him. Scott Steiner and Wrath are eliminated while this pull-apart happens.


    • Booker T. is the only unaffiliated WCW wrestler in the final eight. He’s launched almost exactly when we get down to eight people.


    • The last seven people in this sucker include Scott Hall, the Giant, Konnan, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko.


    • Konnan eliminates himself diving at someone.


    • Nash calms everyone who isn’t the Giant down and directs them to all jump the Giant. Poor Giant. Nobody kayfabe likes this guy at all outside of Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart. The Giant fights it, but he can’t hold five guys off forever and gets dumped. This crowd LOVED it. This crowd loved anything involving the Giant during this match, honestly.


    • Nash and Luger chill out while the Horsemen go at Scott Hall. Hall fights back and the Wolfpac members jump Benoit and dump him while Hall tosses Malenko.


    • Hall, Nash, and Luger are your final three. Nash and Luger agree that it’s every man for himself at this point, which is cool, but the crowd is bummed about Nash and Luger fighting one another, I think. You can hear them quiet down considerably. Why wouldn’t Nash and Luger team up to dump Hall and thus ensure a Wolfpac vic—no, no, I’m not going to ask the obvious question.


    • Kevin Nash, remembering his experience in the 1996 Royal Rumble when Shawn Michaels waited until Nash was distracted by fighting Kama to eliminate him, waits for Luger to get distracted by fighting Scott Hall and then big boots the whole mass of humanity over the top rope to win what was a pretty shitty battle royal when the Giant wasn’t involved in a cool spot!


    • The crowd applauds appreciatively when Nash and Luger show love to one another.


    • Nash, walking off, “Looks like I’m next.” Actually, based on this finish, it looks like you’re a key member of the booking team. No, but seriously, I think Nash is more than over enough to win this and even to be champ, though of course, not in the way that the latter happened.


  • Michael Buffer is here to introduce the Diamond Dallas Page/Bret Hart main event. Bret’s music has the saddest excuse for a stand-in opening guitar riff. It’s like someone heard “Hart Attack” and said, How can we do that opening riff, but incredibly shitty? DDP comes down to an ersatz version of ersatz “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” as usual. Something happened to the sound mixing while they replaced Page's theme because you can’t hear this crowd cheering at all, and I can see them doing so.


  • Page attacks Bret outside the ring to start and tosses him into everything imaginable. Hart eventually takes over when things get back in the ring, which is where your technical masters and such tend to dominate. I don’t know, this is definitely better than the Sting match, but it’s doing nothing for me. I can’t blame anyone, maybe? It’s just not what I want to see. Hart does a decent heel beatdown and Page fires up and scores flash pins or big moves that get two counts before Bret re-takes control.


  • Page comes back, hits a discus clothesline, gets two on a pancake, and whiffs on a lariat before eating one from the Hitman. See, that’s pretty much the match. After this spot, the Hitman loads his fist, but Page lands a forearm and Charles Robinson picks up the fallen knucks and pockets them for a later spot. Then, DDP does what is the single-worst Sharpshooter that I’ve ever seen in my life. My goodness, it was a vile Sharpshooter. The desk says it’s a good Sharpshooter because of course they do, but I am not being hyperbolic when I say that it was one of the worst executions of a move that I've ever seen done in a wrestling ring.


  • Bret easily gets to the ropes, punts Page in the penis, and attacks Page’s injured knee. There’s a lot of Hart attacking Page’s knee. Finally, Hart locks on a Figure Four in the center of the ring, and that’s only broken when the ref catches Hart using the ropes for leverage. There’s some more legwork, but eventually Page kicks Hart out of the ring with his good leg and goes to work for awhile out there. Then, Page tries the ringpost Figure Four and, oh boy, well, um, it’s executed better than his Sharpshooter was! I’ll say that.


  • Page is the champ, and the Hitman needs to beat him to get the belt, so DDP figures "why not," gets a chair and goes to whack the Hitman with it in full view of Charles Robinson. Robinson, who is an idiot, grabs the chair instead of just letting Page get some revenge and get disqualified. Then we get Hart crashing into them both, Robinson getting knocked out, Hart getting his knucks back from the fallen ref, the nWo ref running down and distracting Page, Hart hitting Page with the knucks, and finally Hart locking on the Sharpshooter while the nWo ref calls for the bell. The nWo ref gives Hart the belt, and Hart celebrates while Mickey Jay runs down and calls the whole deal off on account of the nWo ref isn’t a sanctioned ref. Page stumbles to his feet, hooks the Hitman from behind, and lands a Diamond Cutter for three in an overbooked mess of an ending. The match before it was mediocre, too. Who did this finish serve, really?


  • It's just a guess, but I think my re-watch of Survivor Series ’98 will reveal that it was a much better PPV than its WCW counterpart of the same month and year!


  • As for the final World War 3 PPV, it’s a one-match show. Catch Kidman/Juvi on YouTube and pretend the rest of the show didn’t happen.
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Show #167 – 23 November 1998

“The one where Bret Hart and Dean Malenko are a drawback and not a benefit, strangely enough”

  • Tony S. welcomes us to the only live weekly wrestling show on television while the Nitro Girls dance, and I think, oh yeah, of course RAW is still taping every other show. The “butts in seats” incident happens because Mankind’s title win was taped. RAW is getting roughly five million people to watch their show each week at this point in late 1998; they really should have cut out the “every other show is taped” schedule at this point.


  • Tony S. has some hot news and updates for us: Kevin Nash won the WW3 Battle Royal. Hulk Hogan will act like a jackass on Leno’s Tonight Show later this week. Just another week in 1998!


  • Mike Enos opens the show against Lex Luger. There’s not much to say about this match. If you know anything about Lex Luger TV matches, you know what this was like. The Wolfpac is very over, though, so the crowd is pretty hot for it. Enos also drills a sweet piledriver for two. You know, there have been better openers, but there have been worse. It was perfectly acceptable wrestling. Luger actually went up top twice, so that’s kinda new, but otherwise, you can probably guess who wins and with what move.


  • (It’s Luger with the Torture Rack just in case you couldn’t guess.)


  • Goldberg trades weak barbs with Konnan and Nash in the parking lot. Goldberg sounds like a doofus.


  • The Nitro opening occurs here, followed by Gene Okerlund standing on the ramp, shilling the company and preparing to talk to new WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman. Just when I thought that Juvi and Kidman were out of ideas in the ring, they put on a hell of a match at WW3. Kidman is bad at mic work and is sort of putting me to sleep, but he calls Rey Misterio Jr. out and offers Misterio a title shot tonight. They shake hands and split, but Eddy Guerrero comes out here – DAMMIT – and I guess he has a contract to keep Rey in the lWo or something? How and why would there be contracts to sign with individual stables? The nWo is presented as a different organization, not just another stable. What the fuck? This is dumb, and it gets dumber when Eddy gives Rey a double XL lWo shirt and makes him wear it. Bisch and Sully have driven me to the point that I’m disappointed when Eddy Guerrero shows up on my television. That is, to put it mildly, a fireable offense.


  • Norman Smiley should get a push. See, there are two Norman Smiley signs in the front row! Smiley grabs one which declares him to be a favorite of the fan holding it. Smiley’s not winning tonight, but I have reasonably high expectations for his six-minute TV match tonight because he’s facing Chris Benoit. Smiley wins a go behind, snap mares Benoit, and kicks him in the spine, which pisses Benoit off; Benoit gets up and slaps the guy. Smiley wins a knuckle lock, tosses Benoit, and hits a BIG WIGGLE. Benoit is not appreciative of the lascivious dancing, to say the least. He beats down Smiley and snot rockets him. These fellas are slapping each other like they actually don’t like one another.


  • Smiley’s heeling tonight, which means that he’s doing a lot of dancing and posing, which means that he’s giving a guy like Benoit way too much time to recover. After one dance, Smiley gets his Irish whip reversed, and Benoit catches him after he slams into the corner and hits the triple Germans, followed by a flying headbutt and a Crippler Crossface in short order. Honestly, this wasn’t long enough for me. I wanted more.


  • There’s some Nitro Party stuff and stills of WW3, and I only really snap back when the AHWOOOO hits and Nash, Luger, and Konnan come to the ring. Everyone plays Catchphrase Roulette. Well, not Luger. Luger doesn’t have any over catchphrases. Nash talks about the perseverance of the Wolfpac, which is short-handed and missing Savage and Sting, and acknowledges a weak Goldberg chant. You know, Nash might be more over than Goldberg tonight, though they’re in Michigan, which explains that. Nash plans to be the one in how-many-ever-wins-WCW-says-Goldberg-has-now and one.


  • Nash leaves the ring and walks backstage, where Gene Okerlund catches up to him and asks about his relationship with Scott Hall. Nash basically doesn’t trust Hall, but as he explains this lack of trust, Goldberg walks by, tosses another weak barb, and sounds like a man who is going to get rolled on the mic by Kevin Nash over the next month.


  • Tokyo Magnum should have a theme he can groove to, not “generic East Asian track #34,” dammit. Magnum faces Kanyon in what should be at least a fun little TV match. Or uh, he would be facing Kanyon if Kanyon came out here when his music played. We go backstage where Raven is pouting and doesn’t wanna go out there, Kanyon can’t make him! Kanyon is not supportive of Raven’s inability to get past his mommy issues. Yeah, Raven’s trauma dumping all over you Kanyon, tell him to get a therapist or get fucked. Kanyon is so troubled by Raven’s behavior and refusal to join him in the ring that he can’t even get excited to ask everyone WHO BETTA THAN HIM? He’s so troubled, in fact, that Magnum gets the jump on him and gets two on a schoolboy.


  • Kanyon hits a second-rope side Russian (!) to reverse a series of Magnum corner punches and peppers Magnum with strikes after Magnum kicks out of a pinfall attempt. However, Magnum keeps sneaking flash pinfall attempts in there; Kanyon is clearly rattled and realizes that he needs to get a win and get out of dodge before he’s on the wrong end of an upset, so he blocks a hip toss attempt and drills a Flatliner ASAP. Yeah, that was a fun little thing.


  • There’s a Nitro Girls dance. Larry Z. asks Tony S., “Can you do that with your thing?” in response to something that Tygress does (and which gets a sizable pop). I’ll leave what Tygress did to get that pop and to get Larry Z. to ask the question up to mystery and your imagination, you fucking sicko.


  • It’s a Glacier appearance. There was a time that I thought that I was interested in Glacier appearances, but actually what I was really interested in was James Vandenberg, Mortis, and Wrath appearances. Glacier’s going to lay down for Bobby Duncum Jr., probably, in this mid-off between two guys who I don’t give a fuck about. Well, Glacier trying to inspire Norman Smiley, I’ll give a fuck about, but that's not for a couple of years. They do some decent-enough work, have a little ringside brawl per the style of the time, and Duncum is never really in much danger. Glacier is always a step behind. Ew, there’s a terrible punch and soft DDT from Duncum that gets two, but should have gotten zero because it was complete ass. Duncum wins shortly after with a front Russian leg sweep.


  • Gene Okerlund introduces the Giant to the ring for an interview. It’s nice that they remembered how much Kevin Nash and the Giant hate each other in storyline; Okerlund asks the Giant about Nash spearheading the gang attempt that dumped him from the ring in the previous night’s battle royale. The Giant cuts an, uh, suboptimal promo in which he challenges Goldberg for the World title (again) so that he can take it into Starrcade to fight Nash. The Giant says “damn” and “balls” and has to stop himself from saying “chickenshit.” It’s edgy in a very WCW way, I suppose. The Giant should have jobbed to Goldberg months ago, but I guess since he’s shoot vocal about heading to New York at this point in his run, they’re finally going to do what they should have done months ago.


  • Saturn faces Silver King next. Saturn grabs a mic before the match and threatens/challenges Ernest Miller. Saturn will get something good out of Miller, who needs reps with good wrestlers badly. Then, as Saturn promised Silver King before he challenged Miller, Saturn beats up Silver King. I think Silver King is a sneaky good JttS in this era of WCW, actually. This is a pretty entertaining semi-competitive squash. Saturn’s quite over as a mid-card ass kicker. Before Saturn can finish off Silver King, Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo come onto the ramp to taunt Saturn. Miller: “I’m big, bad, and I’m beautiful!” Guy in crowd: AND YOU SUCK. Miller and Onoo kept talking, did what some might charitably call a comedy routine, and left, but that didn’t keep Saturn from going back to beating up Silver King and landing a DVD for the win. Miller refused the challenge, by the way.


  • There are some more PPV stills to hype up that Goldberg/Giant match for later tonight. Rey Misterio Jr. comes to the ring next for his Cruiserweight Championship match against Billy Kidman. Rey hits a Bronco Buster, which seems like a heel move, actually, but then again, it’s the ‘90s and anything goes for babyface behavior. Rey and Kidman spill outside on a Misterio Frankensteiner; they have a flippy cruiserweight version of a ringside brawl. Well, that’s different! Seriously, it’s an interesting variation on the typical punch/kick/whip into the stairs stuff that you see in almost every match from this time period (especially in the WWF).


  • Back in the ring, Kidman struggles to keep control. Rey hits a sick dropkick on Kidman’s knee and follows up with a second-rope Rocker Dropper for two. Rey whips Kidman to the corner, but ends up getting crossbodied for two. Again, Kidman’s control doesn’t last long as he whiffs on a crossbody, lands at ringside, and gets seated senton splashed in the bargain. Misterio tries to follow up with a springboard rana back in the ring to end it, but Kidman lands a desperation counter dropkick that gets two. Kidman goes to a seated abdominal stretch, which makes a lot of sense in kayfabe because Rey was easily outmaneuvering him when they were standing or in the air. And again, when Kidman lets off and gets to standing, he gets booted on a corner charge, though he rips off a counter powerslam on a charging Rey for two. After another counter-filled change in the corner, Rey tries a moonsault that Kidman catches, but Rey bails out before he can get slammed or piledriver and lands, um, some kind of facebuster from an odd position. Mike T. and Larry Z. are impressed.


  • This match continues to go back and forth; Rey lands a facebuster after being popped up into the air for a sitout slam. Rey tries to go to the air but gets caught in the corner; he works out of the jam and lands a sunset flip powerbomb for another two count. You know what, this match is laid out really well. Everything feels logical. Kidman lands his signature springboard bulldog and goes up for an SSP, but Misterio cuts him off and lands a superplex. Rey tries anther springboard rana, but Kidman catches him and completes the sitout slam this time. Eddy Guerrero creeps down to the ring, but Kidman dropkicks him off the apron and splashes him. The ref is drawn by that and doesn’t notice the lWo’s newest member, Juventud Guerrera, sneaking into the ring from the other side and sending a message to Rey by landing a Juvi Driver. Kidman is finished with Eddy and turns his attention back to Rey, sees him still down in perfect position for an SSP, and lands it for three. Very good match even with the end-of-match gaga.


  • Gene Okerlund is standing in the ring with waste of space Eric Bischoff. Bisch is here to continue this shitty Bisch/Flair feud. Bisch promises to end their feud with a confrontation tonight; then, he reiterates that he’s the boss and that the beatdown that Scott Hall caught from nWo Hollywood at last night’s PPV is proof of that. Ric Flair enters the ring to respond. Flair can be entertaining on the mic in his sleep, so obviously this is perfectly acceptable stuff even with that black hole of entertainment Bischoff across from him. Bisch is like ACKNOWLEDGE ME (as the leader of this company) and Flair burns him by saying that he’ll acknowledge that even a man as great as Ted Turner makes a mistake every once in a while. It was a really good burn. Bischoff says that he refuses to add Barry Windham to the payroll since he runs the place, and then Windham comes out here. Is this the most obvious set-up ever? We all know what’s going to happen. There’s no need for Okerlund to lampshade it by saying something about the Horsemen running together forever.


  • Anyway, Bisch slaps Flair; Flair punches the crap out of Bischoff. Windham, in a shocker, jumps Flair and beats the crap out of him. A few crowd members chant BULLSHIT while Bicsh and Windham commence with a beatdown. Yeah, I know, you just want to see the good guys win for once. Wait, fellas, at least here come the Horsemen for the save, and—oops, no, they’re jumped by a bunch of B-Teamers and beaten up. This got heat, and I think some of it was good, but some of it seems tired, like it’s of the “can our guys just get a win already?” variety.


  • The desk is shocked that the bad guys won again for a bit, but soon enough, Konnan comes to the ring to hit the ol’ catchphrase roulette. His opponent tonight is Booker T. A black fan in the crowd wearing a homemade Jericho Personal Security shirt holds up a REUNITE HARLEM HEAT sign. WCW and disappointing black fans by breaking up their favorite black tag teams – name a more iconic duo. But seriously, though, this Booker babyface push is going well, though I’m not sure anyone wants to boo Konnan tonight.


  • Booker overpowers Konnan early and wins a shoulderblock. Konnan hits a rolling clothesline at half speed, so Booker slows it down with a knuckle lock and then lands a back elbow for two. This match is not going to be good because Booker works better with explosive athletes and not very slow wrestlers with awkward offense. We’re not getting a charming uniquity out of this one. Konnan lands a back kick and a sitout facebuster, but he doesn’t even try for a Tequila Sunrise and Booker goes back on offense, landing an axe kick and Spinaroonie-ing up to see his brother Stevie Ray on the apron. Stevie hits Konnan with the slapjack, drawing a DQ win for Konnan. Stevie and Booker have a short repartee in which Booker wants Stevie to go about his business and leave him alone, but as we all know, Stevie is not going to do that.


  • After that beatdown of the Horsemen, Bischoff declared that while the Horsemen were kicked out of the building, Malenko was an exception because Malenko would be facing the Hitman later in the show. Bret comes down to the ring to talk to Gene Okerlund right now. The Hitman claims that he was screwed by a cheap DDP victory at WW3, and also he hates the fans. Even doing this sort of boilerplate heel stuff while half-engaged, this guy is pretty entertaining. Is this the match where Malenko injures Bret trying to lift him onto the buckles? Bret promises to come after Page and the United States title again at some point before leaving.


  • It's hour number three, and that means that it’s time for Kevin Nash to end Wrath’s recent undefeated streak. Yeah, Wrath lost to Glacier and Ernest Miller, so I don’t think Nash beating him is all that amazing or all that much of a momentum killer. Plus, as much as I like Wrath, he is absolutely not Goldberg. Maybe it’s just me. I do think that Nash got onto the booking committee and went mad with power, though. I enjoy Nash a lot as a performer, but there’s zero sense in having him book a show that he is also performing on. It seems like anyone should be able to guess that Nash would immediately book himself on top. In truth, Nash is way over, and it's fine that he’s on top, but still, you don’t want to give Nash himself the leeway to book himself on top. It’s improper.


  • Wrath makes a rude gesture toward Nash. Nash crotch chops in response. The crowd cheers. Wrath wins a bunch of strikes to start and is able to reverse Nash’s momentum with a snap kick and a dropkick that sends Nash to the floor. Nash reconsiders his strategy, then re-enters the ring. Nash’s reconsidered strategy: Throw a bunch of knees and maybe a soupbone or two. Wrath squirms out of the back of a slam attempt and hits a back suplex, then a diving clothesline from the top for a 2.7, maybe a 2.8. As close to a 2.9 as you can get when your timing is nearly perfect. Wrath gets two more off a series of elbowdrops. He hits some punches in the corner and tries to whip Nash, but he follows Nash into the corner and eats a boot, then a side slam. Wrath runs the ropes and again turns the tide with a diving shoulderblock, but he just can’t out strike Nash, who wins a counter lariat and a big boot before pulling down the straps and landing a Jackknife for three. Gonna be honest, that is not the worst way to end Wrath’s little winning streak. I think there was chatter about how selfish this was at the time, but that was a competitive match and Nash sells that Wrath was a challenge after he wins. It was solid. Maybe I’m too forgiving because I like Nash, though.


  • Gene Okerlund is in the ring yet again, this time to interview Chris Jericho. Jericho comes out here looking like he’s starring in Eraserhead. That hairdo is positively Lynchian. The black dude wearing the homemade JPS shirt has replaced his sign requesting a Harlem Heat reunion with one declaring that he's wearing a WARDROBE BY RALFUS [sic]. Okerlund mumbles on the hot mic, “I can’t say anything” in reference to Jericho’s hair, and it makes me laugh. Dear reader, I cannot express enough to you how over Jericho is. The number of Jericho (and Ralphus) signs is wild. Jericho as a cowardly heel World Champion with Ralphus and an actual huge bodyguard to watch his back would have been amazing. That’s a huge missed opportunity on WCW’s part.


  • Jericho chastises the fans for not cheering enough for him lately, can’t properly pronounce Bobby Duncum Jr.’s last name, calls Stu Hart a “crazy old wizard,” and says that even though he hates cowboys, he could easily “rustle up some vittles.” This is the rare situation in which everyone tried to do comedy, including the fans, and it worked. Duncan Duncum comes out here with a hogtied Ralphus and dumps him in the aisle; Jericho freaks out.


  • There’s a commercial break.


  • When we come back, Jericho is still trying to untie Ralphus in the aisle, but Scott Hall comes out to the nWo Hollywood music, so Jericho decides that discretion is the better part of valor and leaves Ralphus in the aisle. Unfortunately, the commentary desk also tries to be funny, what with all the fake laughter and bad jokes, and they fail. Oh well, getting that much genuine funny from WCW in the first place was good enough. Hall requests that the truck cut the theme music and then gets in the ring and declares that he is giving his final survey. He knows that everyone wants to see the nWo. As for nWo Hollywood, he says that it's bogus that he's been kicked out of the nWo since he started it “by himself," and that he has no problem running by himself. As for the nWo Wolfpac, he says that he doesn’t have anything to prove to Kevin Nash; he only has something to prove to himself. He declares that the next thing he will prove to himself is that he kicks ass at the pro grapz by beating Alex Wright.


  • Wright comes out, runs down the stupid Americans in the crowd (bad move because this gets the mutants to hit a U-S-A chant while he’s in control), and gets in the ring. Also, he dances, but you probably guessed that. Even though Hall’s break with nWo Hollywood is total nonsense that got ginned up out of nowhere, people want to cheer him and the idea of Hall as a tweener bully is enticing. Of course, Hall is going to be in no condition to perform so much that he gets sent home pretty soon, so that never would have come to fruition, but the idea is certainly something that I wouldn’t mind seeing. Hall and Wright have a solid TV match. Hall survives a decent patch of Wright control, punches his way out of trouble, and lands a fallaway slam and a Razor’s Edge for the win.


  • Dean Malenko’s selling that Horace the Younger leg attack from earlier tonight as he comes to the ring to face Bret Hart. Tony S. tells Bobby H. “stifle yourself.” Then he calls Mike T. a meathead. No, wait, only the first of those things happened. Bret goes right at the injured leg and works the knee. If you like a choke-and-kick offense, the Hitman’s got you covered. Malenko fights back with forearms and punches. They do a shitty cradle spot, but at least the commentators can say that Malenko’s lack of leg strength explains the shitty cradle he tried. The Hitman rolls outside and catches his breath.


  • There’s a break. We come back to the Hitman begging off and Malenko hitting punches in the corner. Malenko lands a short clothesline and a vertical suplex, but sells that it put too much pressure on his knee to get Bret up and over. The delayed cover gets two. Malenko hits another cradle right into the ropes. This match sorta stinks. Bret’s really been on autopilot. I mean, the good thing about it is that even on autopilot, his shit is crisp. The bad thing about it is that he’s only as entertaining as his opponent, and sometimes even his opponent isn’t enough to get things all fired up. Page tried, but they didn’t have a notable match of their two recent bouts.


  • We get a standing ten count after the Hitman misses an elbow. Malenko’s up first and gets a sleeper. Bret eventually counters with a back suplex, but it’s not much of a counter because Malenko hangs onto the sleeper. It’s a visually muddy spot, and the crowd responds by asking/requesting/harassing some lady in the audience to share a quick viewing of her boobs with the crowd. There’s a tiny pop at some point that makes me think she did it, but really quickly. Don't give in to the social pressure, sis. 


  • Anyway, did you know that this match sorta stinks? It goes on for what feels like forever. It’s just on and on with chokes and guys kicking each other’s knees and shit. And yeah, Malenko injures Bret’s groin by trying to hang him up on the top rope and failing miserably. A few dudes in the crowd chant BO-RING while Bret lays around on the floor holding said injured groin. Hey fellas who read this, I think that Dean Malenko kinda sucks. He was useful in establishing the Cruiserweight division as a base for the high flyers, but I don’t think we need this guy to get a bigger push as part of the Horsemen. He hasn't been a positive on television since the Jericho feud, in my humble opinion. 


  • This match is STILL GOING. Bret gets to the ropes on a Texas Cloverleaf, and then they fight over a chair outside, and after that, Malenko hits a missile dropkick back in the ring for two. Finally, Bret clips Malenko’s leg as Malenko tries to leapfrog him, bashes Malenko’s knee against a post, and then hits a bulldog onto the chair that got brought in from outside. The Hitman prepares to Pillmanize Malenko, and Diamond Dallas Page runs out of the crowd. Page eats a chair shot, but dodges another one and tries to hit a Diamond Cutter that the Hitman blocks. Page just punches the guy out of the ring in response. This was the worst possible match that involves the Hitman, Dean Malenko, and DDP that you could possibly imagine. Wait, I spoke too soon; Page gets on the mic and calls the Hitman “Bret ‘HitSCUM’ Hart.” OK, now it's the worst possible match involving those three, and also, shut the fuck up, Page. Page refuses to shut up and calls Bret a wuss. This didn't sorta stink; it completely sucked and I hated it. Page challenges Bret to a match next week on Nitro. I’m downgrading my expectations for that match from “decent” to “barely adequate” considering that the already disinterested Hitman also now has a shoot groin injury.


  • Goldberg comes out here to bring some life back to this show by steamrolling the Giant (on jobber entrance because we’re on overrun/Giant’s recently been to Connecticut to visit Vinnie Mac so fuck 'im). Goldberg kicks out of a chokeslam, eats a couple of chops for dinner, and then murders the dude with a spear and a Jackhammer in a couple minutes, and the high of that demolition (and that Jackhammer, which was a complete visual spectacle) is immediately brought back to a mediocre low by WCW insisting that Bam Bam Bigelow is a legitimate threat to Goldberg in 1998. I like Bammer, but no, this is not 1988, and it’s not the spot for him. There’s a huge pull-apart at the end, but that’s not going to make me want to see Goldberg/Bam Bam in 1998. Kevin Nash comes out to face off with Goldberg after security carts Bam Bam away, which is actually a hot pull-apart.


  • This show had some missteps, and Bret/Malenko was a new low in Bret’s WCW run, but most of it was pretty enjoyable. As usual, if you can ignore all the shitty angles and below-average mic work from most of the guys on this show, you can derive some fun out of the faux fisties. Say what you will about late-stage WCW, but they’ve still got a lot of diverse and interesting in-ring talent at this point. Uh, except for Bret and Malenko, somehow. 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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DDP should have beat Goldberg to end the Streak but Jericho w/ Ralphus using the stun gun or something would be my number two. (Number three would be Benoit, 30 something they end up putting the belt on him a year later anyway)

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On 4/26/2024 at 4:36 PM, SirSmUgly said:

Show #167 – 23 November 1998

  • This is dumb, and it gets dumber when Eddy gives Rey a double XL lWo shirt and makes him wear it.
  • There was a time that I thought that I was interested in Glacier appearances, but actually what I was really interested in was James Vandenberg, Mortis, and Wrath appearances.
  • Saturn faces Silver King next. Saturn grabs a mic before the match and threatens/challenges Ernest Miller.
  • Jericho as a cowardly heel World Champion with Ralphus and an actual huge bodyguard to watch his back would have been amazing. That’s a huge missed opportunity on WCW’s part.
  • And yeah, Malenko injures Bret’s groin by trying to hang him up on the top rope and failing miserably.
  • Goldberg comes out here to bring some life back to this show by steamrolling the Giant (on jobber entrance because we’re on overrun/Giant’s recently been to Connecticut to visit Vinnie Mac so fuck 'im). Goldberg kicks out of a chokeslam, eats a couple of chops for dinner, and then murders the dude with a spear and a Jackhammer in a couple minutes, and the high of that demolition (and that Jackhammer, which was a complete visual spectacle) is immediately brought back to a mediocre low by WCW insisting that Bam Bam Bigelow is a legitimate threat to Goldberg in 1998. I like Bammer, but no, this is not 1988, and it’s not the spot for him. There’s a huge pull-apart at the end, but that’s not going to make me want to see Goldberg/Bam Bam in 1998. Kevin Nash comes out to face off with Goldberg after security carts Bam Bam away, which is actually a hot pull-apart.
  • i was appreciative that WCW was giving the luchadores SOMETHING to do, even if it was the objectively bad LWo angle. it made me appreciate it a little, at least. And i got a laugh from the comically oversized shirt they gifted Rey.
  • Mortis was always the best part of that feud, BY FAR. Vandenburg comes in 2nd. i guess that puts Wrath 3rd. Glacier was at least better than Ernest Miller.
  • i read that as "Silver King challenges Ernest Miller" and was very confused until i re-read.
  • at least this leads to Bret's "you people probably don't even have groins" promo sometime soon.
  • gonna disagree with your assessment of Bigelow here. i hadn't watched ECW at the time, but knew there was some buzz about him. I thought they did a pretty good job of presenting him as an agent of chaos. not a WCW employee, not somebody looking for a title shot, just a guy who wants to fight THE BIGGEST BADDEST DUDE. i think it was a comendable effort at presenting Goldberg as an even more mythical champ. And he sorely needed it after his shit-ass title reign thus far. 
    for what it's worth, Goldberg was announced as 162-0 coming into this match with the Giant. My count of televised matches puts him at 88-0 post-match. (KINDA SPOILERS IF YOU CARE ABOUT THAT SORT OF THING):  At Starrcade, he gets announced as 173-0, but he only has 4 house show matches between now and then and his 3 "matches" on Nitro don't go to satisfying conclusions, so draw your own conclusion on how that count makes any sense whatsoever. Goldberg's streak was one of the things i was looking forward to comparing when i did my rewatch. 


Goldberg's televised matches and record (Spoilered for Length):
(actual) record post match - date [show] - opponent - announced record pre-match


1-0 1997/09/22 [Nitro] Hugh Morrus
2-0 1997/09/29 [Nitro] Barbarian
3-0 1997/10/11 [Saturday Night] Road Block
4-0 1997/10/13 [Nitro] Scotty Riggs
5-0 1997/10/20 [Nitro] Wrath
6-0 1997/10/25 [Saturday Night] Mike Anthony
7-0 1997/11/01 [Saturday Night] Renegade
8-0 1997/11/08 [Worldwide] Mark Starr
9-0 1997/12/13 [Main Event] Manny Fernandez
10-0 1997/12/13 [Worldwide] Frankie Lancaster
11-0 1997/12/27 [Saturday Night] Renegade
12-0 1997/12/28 [Starrcade] Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
13-0 1997/12/29 [Nitro] Glacier
14-0 1998/01/05 [Nitro] Stevie Ray
15-0 1998/01/08 [Thunder] Mongo McMichael
16-0 1998/01/10 [Saturday Night] Barry Horowitz
17-0 1998/01/12 [Nitro] Jerry Flynn
18-0 1998/01/22 [Thunder] Kendall Windham
19-0 1998/01/24 [Saturday Night] Mike Tolbert
20-0 1998/01/26 [Nitro] Brad Armstrong
21-0 1998/01/29 [Thunder] Yuji Nagata
22-0 1998/01/31 [Saturday Night] Meng
23-0 1998/01/31 [Boston Brawl] Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker
24-0 1998/02/02 [Nitro] Mark Starr
25-0 1998/02/05 [Thunder] Jim Powers
26-0 1998/02/07 [Saturday Night] Disco Inferno
27-0 1998/02/09 [Nitro] Steven Regal
28-0 1998/02/12 [Thunder] Glacier
29-0 1998/02/14 [Worldwide] Joey Maggs
30-0 1998/02/16 [Nitro] Hugh Morrus
31-0 1998/02/19 [Thunder] Fit Finlay
32-0 1998/02/21 [Saturday Night] Jerry Flynn
33-0 1998/02/22 [SuperBrawl VIII] Brad Armstrong
34-0 1998/02/26 [Thunder] Rick Fuller
35-0 1998/03/02 [Nitro] Sick Boy
36-0 1998/03/05 [Thunder] Vincent
37-0 1998/03/07 [Worldwide] Jerry Flynn
38-0 1998/03/09 [Nitro] Barry Darsow
39-0 1998/03/14 [Saturday Night] Chase Tatum (announced pre-match as 53-0)
40-0 1998/03/16 [Nitro] Lodi
41-0 1998/03/19 [Thunder] Wayne Bloom (55-0)
42-0 1998/03/23 [Nitro] Renegade (59-0)
43-0 1998/03/26 [Thunder] Jerry Flynn (61-0)
44-0 1998/03/28 [Worldwide] Johnny Swinger
45-0 1998/03/30 [Nitro] Ray Traylor (66-0)
46-0 1998/04/06 [Nitro] Van Hammer (68-0)
47-0 1998/04/13 [Nitro] Rocco Rock (71-0)
48-0 1998/04/16 [Thunder] Barry Darsow (72-0)
49-0 1998/04/19 [Spring Stampede] Saturn (73-0)
50-0 1998/04/20 [Nitro] Raven (74-0)  *wins US Title
51-0 1998/04/27 [Nitro] Scott Norton (76-0)
52-0 1998/04/28 [Nitro] Jerry Flynn (77-0)
53-0 1998/05/09 [Saturday Night] Hammer (80-0)
54-0 1998/05/11 [Nitro] Len Denton (82-0)
55-0 1998/05/14 [Thunder] Sick Boy (83-0)
56-0 1998/05/16 [Saturday Night] Yuji Nagata (84-0)
57-0 1998/05/17 [Slamboree] Saturn (87-0)
58-0 1998/05/18 [Nitro] Glacier (88-0)
59-0 1998/05/23 [Worldwide] Bobby Blaze
60-0 1998/05/26 [Nitro] Johnny Attitude (89-0)
61-0 1998/05/28 [Thunder] Barry Horowitz (91-0)
62-0 1998/06/01 [Nitro] La Parka (93-0)
63-0 1998/06/04 [Thunder] Hugh Morrus & Barbarian (94-0)
64-0 1998/06/06 [Worldwide] Lee Roy Howard
65-0 1998/06/08 [Nitro] Chavo Guerrero, Jr. (98-0)
66-0 1998/06/14 [Great American Bash] Konnan (99-0) 
67-0 1998/06/18 [Thunder] Reese (100-0)
68-0 1998/06/22 [Nitro] Rick Fuller (101-0)
69-0 1998/06/29 [Nitro] Glacier (104-0)
70-0 1998/07/04 [Worldwide] John Nord
71-0 1998/07/06 [Nitro] Scott Hall (106-0)
72-0 1998/07/06 [Nitro] Hollywood Hogan (107-0) *wins WCW World Title
73-0 1998/07/12 [Bash at the Beach] Curt Hennig (111-0)
74-0 1998/07/13 [Nitro] Curt Hennig (112-0)
75-0 1998/07/25 [Worldwide] Jerry Flynn
76-0 1998/07/27 [Nitro] Brian Adams (120-0)
77-0 1998/08/08 [Road Wild] nWo vs Wolfpac Battle Royal (129-0)
78-0 1998/08/10 [Nitro] Meng (130-0)
79-0 1998/08/24 [Nitro] Hogan & Giant (tag with Kevin Nash) 
80-0 1998/08/31 [Nitro] Al Green (139-0)
81-0 1998/09/07 [Nitro] Scott Putski (140-0)
82-0 1998/09/10 [Thunder] Rick Fuller (142-0)
83-0 1998/09/24 [Thunder] Kanyon (144-0)
84-0 1998/10/01 [Thunder] Raven (147-0)
85-0 1998/10/13 [Nitro] the Giant (No DQ) (149-0)
86-0 1998/10/25 [Halloween Havoc] Diamond Dallas Page (154-0) 
87-0 1998/11/10 [Nitro Extra] Meng (159-0)
88-0 1998/11/23 [Nitro] the Giant (162-0)
88-0-1 1998/12/14 [Nitro] Kevin Nash / Bam Bam Bigelow  **no contest
89-0-1 1998/12/21 [Nitro] Scott Hall (173-0) *via DQ
89-1-1 1998/12/27 [Starrcade] Kevin Nash (173-0)


Edited by twiztor
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I am both impressed and concerned that you tracked Goldberg's record outside of house shows. 

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On 4/28/2024 at 7:56 PM, SirSmUgly said:

I am both impressed and concerned that you tracked Goldberg's record outside of house shows. 

was never a Goldberg fan. resented his mega push (i was one of those 'he can't wrestle' fans). knew the streak numbers were bullshit but had to prove it to myself. and, since i was (re)watching all those shows myself, why not?

more on topic, the Havoc DDP match was great, but i can't think of any other good match he had. dude had insane physical charisma, but did nothing for me. that went for 1997 and again for 2014.

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On 4/29/2024 at 7:22 PM, twiztor said:

more on topic, the Havoc DDP match was great, but i can't think of any other good match he had. dude had insane physical charisma, but did nothing for me. that went for 1997 and again for 2014.

He had a good TV match with Sting marred by nWo interference, I think the Hogan match on 6/6/98 was good, the match against Saturn at Spring Stampede '98 was good IMO, and he had a handful of squashes that were great television. 

I don't think I was watching WWE at the time, but I saw a couple months ago this match he had against Brock Lesnar from I can't remember when that is one of the best squash matches I've ever seen: Two huge dudes with legit KO power, and one of them KO's the other in about a minute. LOVED IT. Everyone does these boring thirty-minute epics with lots of 2.9s because that's how a lot of these workers and bookers think you have a good match. Yeah, that's one way, but another way is to have two hosses with impactful wrestling moves hit each other with said moves for only a minute or two because they should be finishing their opponent off pretty quickly just from the impact of their best stuff. 

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Show #168 – 30 November 1998

“The one where the Wolfpac has a kayfabe excellent night”

  • Tony S. and Larry Z. are without an ill Mike T. in hour number one. Tony S. promises us a big contract signing between Goldberg and Kevin Nash as well as a DDP/Bret Hart match for the U.S. title. They also hype this stupid-ass Hogan/Leno/POTUS thing. There is nothing to hype about that, fellas. We await a limo arrival.


  • There’s a commercial break.


  • Two limos arrive. The Giant and some B-Teamers step out of one. Scott Steiner and some B-Teamers step out of the other one.


  • We’re getting deep into the late ‘90s here, when the major U.S. wrestling companies put on a lot of crap. Tony S. talks about watching some guys get out of a limo and walk through the arena by describing it as “cutting-edge stuff.” Nope. Maybe he meant that something else about this opening involving the nWo is cutting edge, though by December of 1998, what exactly is cutting edge about the nWo? It’s been around for two-and-a-half years.


  • They reach the ring and Scott Steiner demands a moment of silence for Hulk Hogan, who is retiring to run for POTUS or whatever stupid-ass shit Hogan is saying about his pre-Fingerpoke of Doom vacation. The Giant performs the sign of the cross during this moment of silence, though, which is genuinely funny. Steiner bigs up Hogan, who I guess has made Steiner nWo Hollywood’s leader in absentia. He then promises chaos for nWo Hollywood’s enemies, starting with Scott Hall later in the evening. Scotty challenges Scott Hall and a partner of Hall’s choosing to a match against himself and Horace Hogan.


  • There’s more nWo presence on the show, this time with Wolfpac member Konnan coming to the ring to wrestle. Konnan hits the crowd with his Catchphrase Roulette. Then, out walks Chris Jericho (w/Ralphus) to defend the Television title. Konnan is an actual reasonable contender for that belt. Jericho sends Ralphus to the back before he gets in the ring. Konnan dominates at half-speed to start. A Konnan mudhole stomping in the corner get a nice pop.


  • Jericho gets some control by hitting a Hot Shot and a corner springboard dropkick, then follows up with a dive to the floor and a whip into the steps. Jericho’s moving quickly and rolls Konnan back in the ring immediately to capitalize. Um, he capitalizes with a wimpy pin that gets two. Well, never mind. Jericho goes up, but he takes about five years to do it, blows kisses to his fans up there, in fact, and eats a boot when he dives. Konnan makes his comeback and gets 2.5 off a fisherman’s suplex.


  • That close call wakes Jericho up, and Jericho scores a Lionsault for two after clubbing Konnan down. Jericho tries an Irish whip, gets reversed, and is caught and flapjacked when he tries to leap over. You can tell Jericho’s in trouble because he’s screaming HELP MEEEEE, but he tries to help himself by rolling through a Konnan move and putting on the Walls of Jericho. It’s too near the ropes, though, so Konnan reaches the ropes. Jericho thinks he’s won, so he grabs his belt, and when the ref informs him that he hasn’t, he just swings said belt at Konnan. Konnan, unfortunately for Jericho, ducks, then hits a back kick and a sitout facebuster that plonks Jericho’s head right onto the title belt that Jericho dropped when he was kicked. Konnan gets an easy three count and the Television title; Kevin Nash and Lex Luger come out to celebrate with Konnan, who has been the Wolfpac’s personal television champion as the one guy in the stable who wrestles every week for months now.


  • Yeah, I lost track of the TV title between when Booker won it back from Finlay and when Scott Hall somehow got it and dumped it in a trash can. If you had told me that Jericho lost the TV title to Konnan at some point, I would have believed you, but I also would have had no memory of it whatsoever.


  • Konnan’s music video plays next to celebrate his big victory. I am genuinely impressed that Konnan got a vato gimmick so over with WCW’s fanbase. He’s reliable at getting big pops for his catchphrases, taunts, and signature moves. He just gets how to work a crowd and even though I think he’s a mediocre athlete, he’s pretty great at everything else about pro wrestling!


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Ric Flair in the ring. Flair is serious tonight. He’s less about the WOOing and the ladies and the wooing of ladies and more about the history of pro wrestling. He names a bunch of wrestlers he’s worked to illustrate said history and calls Bischoff an “asshole,” which gets a pop. Flair baits Bischoff into a future match by pointing out that Bisch called him old, but then if Flair is old, why is Bischoff ducking him then? It’s a pretty good kayfabe conceit to get Bisch to agree to a match, and the promo is solid as you’d expect from Flair.


  • There’s some video of the post-opener celebration, and they’re pushing Konnan’s win as a harbinger for Kevin Nash maybe winning some gold soon (uh huh) and also the Wolfpac being in ascendancy over Hollywood (well, it looks like that, but the black-and-white won’t die already, please just die already).


  • Scott Hall comes to the ring, sans-music. He hits his taunts and catchphrases to applause. He might be somewhat sauced, maybe? He says that he’ll fight Scotty Steiner and Horace one-on-one since he has no friends, but he means one-on-two. Tony S. has to correct this on commentary. Nash hits the ramp, waves at Hall, and watches movies. I know that last part because says that he’ll be Hall’s huckleberry. I think in a non-Wild West setting, “being someone’s huckleberry” means that you’re willing to be someone’s tag partner. That's how you learned through context clues. 


  • Kanyon and Raven come to the ring. Raven slumps in the corner and takes a little nap. The Armstrong boys come to the ring as their opponents, but Raven is depressed, fellas, he lost his Flock and now he sleeps thirteen hours a day and doesn’t shower. Get him a therapist and some meds. Raven requests a mic and starts to talk about how his mother didn’t love him, but Kanyon takes the mic away and mocks Raven’s mental health issues, which makes the Armstrongs the babyfaces after they jump Kanyon and kick the shit out of him, at least in my book! Kanyon eventually gets control with a sitout Northern Lights Suplex and then faces off with Raven. Raven…just leaves. Tony S. and Larry Z., being commentary heels (in my book), also make fun of Raven’s mental health concerns. Kanyon hits a Flatliner on one Armstrong, but is rolled up by the other Armstrong for three. It was an angle, really, but there probably should be some sort of meaningful progression, much less payoff, as soon as possible.


  • Bret Hart cuts an interview with Gene Okerlund in the ring. The Hitman limps down and then, funny enough, claims to be hurt again, but is actually hurt this time for once. He says that Page paid Malenko to rupture his groin, which of course the crowd doesn’t believe. Of course, they don’t understand because they don’t even have groins, which is, in fact, a pretty classic line on Bret's part. Anyway, he bows out of the match against Page that was supposed to happen tonight. DDP comes to the ring to retort and cuts a vile promo. Man, Page sucks as a babyface. He’s a very good babyface worker in the ring, but he’s such a bad promo that it overwhelms his in-ring work for me. If he’s not heeling, I’m at the point in my watch with this guy that I was when I watched a lot of this stuff IRL in 1998 – I sort of detest him. Page taunts the Hitman with variations of the Hitman’s catchphrases, and I judge the crowd for being into it. Hart begs off at first, but then says he’ll do it if it’s a no-DQ match. Page agrees, and we get a safe wandering brawl with lots of weapon shots later TONIGHT!


  • Eddy Guerrero saunters to the ring for a Cruiserweight title shot. Let’s hope he takes this thing off Billy Kidman, who can be a very good dance partner for guys who are better than him, but who has zero redeeming qualities as a pro wrestler otherwise. Kidman fires off immediately with a monkey flip, a headscissors, and a dropkick. Kidman tries to follow up by hitting a crossbody to Eddy on the floor, but Eddy sidesteps it and tosses Kidman into the stairs. Then, he wedges Kidman’s knee between the steps and the ringpost and dropkicks the steps. Ouch, good spot! Eddy follows with a tope con hilo to the knee back in the ring and proceeds to ground Kidman.


  • After a commercial break, Eddy continues his work on Kidman’s arm in addition to the damage he accumulated on Kidman’s leg. Even injured, Kidman is able to cut Eddy off when Eddy takes his time going up top, but Eddy grabs the ropes and Kidman spills himself on a rana attempt. However, Eddy makes his second big mistake – he tries to powerbomb Kidman. Kidman gets a two count off the resultant facebuster. Kidman makes his comeback after this move and gets two on a sitout slam. He tries it again, but Eddy hits a headscissors to block it, then lands a tornado DDT and goes for a Frog Splash that clearly was not going to be attempted considering how far across the ring Kidman was. Kidman cuts off Eddy as expected and gets a superplex for two.


  • Kidman and Eddy fight over a move in the corner, and Eddy’s legs accidentally clip the ref. Charles Robinson is down at ringside, which is when Juvi and Rey run down. Kidman takes out Juvi and Rey takes out Eddy; Rey revives Charles Robinson just in time for Robinson to count three on a Kidman SSP. Rey and Kidman make tracks as the lWo tries to chase them down. Good match, obviously, and the interference spots were pulled off very well and didn’t detract from the match.


  • Bam Bam Bigelow is chilling in the crowd. Twiztor likes Bam Bam’s presentation, and I definitely get that viewpoint. personally, I just cannot buy Bam Bam in this role because I don’t buy Bam Bam as a threat at this point in his career. I do think that basically getting rolled for his last two years of his second WWF stint as a part of the Million Dollar Corporation and then as an ineffectual babyface was too much for me. Like, I dig the ECW run because of a couple of spots (putting Taz through the ring, launching Spike Dudley into the crowd), but I saw a bit of that run not long ago, and Bammer just didn’t do it for me outside of the signature spots. Here in WCW, there’s no Paul E. magic to make me feel like this guy is at Goldberg’s level or deserves Goldberg’s notice. Also, I do enjoy Goldberg and mostly enjoyed his mega push, so maybe we need a scale with my name at one end and Twiztor’s on the other, and you can place your name closer to whichever one of us more closely matches your thoughts on Goldberg, Bam Bam, and this Goldberg/Bam Bam feud.


  • Eric Bischoff is here tonight and will unfortunately be here for another ten months. Woof. Bisch walks to the ring with Barry Windham. Bischoff drones on about his recent vacation in assfuck Wyoming so that he can basically transition into cutting a shitty campaign-style promo. Bisch is genuinely awful at this. I watched a WWF promo from around this time in London where Vince McMahon Jr. cut a promo laced with political references that was good and funny and clever. Bisch isn’t even one-tenth of the promo man Vinnie is.


  • Finally, Bisch calls Dean Malenko down to the ring. Malenko comes to the top of the ramp with all the Horsemen besides Flair, but he enters the ring on his own. Bisch long-windedly makes a Malenko/Windham match and says that if Malenko wins, Flair can get a match against Bischoff. Malenko agrees, and that’s when Bisch reveals the special ref in the match, Dusty Rhodes. Oh yeah, Big Dust is still a heel for some fucking reason that I don’t get. I hope they turn him babyface again tonight, especially because we need to eventually get tp Dusty and Dustin making Ric Flair kiss Dusty’s ass like a week before the company closes down. Dusty says the word “shenanigans” in his little promo, and I loved that. Otherwise, this sucked and Bischoff is a terrible television personality.


  • Wrath comes to the ring to steamroll Bobby Blaze. It takes him about thirty seconds to hit a Meltdown for three.


  • Bam Bam yells somewhat inaudibly into the camera from his seat in the crowd.


  • Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Onoo) still isn’t a James Brown mimic, so that’s a bummer. Miller does lambaste a fan in a manner that genuinely makes me laugh, specifically when he tells the guy “sit your ass down and enjoy the show.” So, Miller challenges everyone in the crowd, and this would be the perfect time for Bam Bam to jump up, kick the shit out of this guy, and look like he might actually be a killer, but no, Saturn comes to the ring instead. Miller actually does a pretty good job here with a very good line, saying that he was taught in his training to protect the weak, and Saturn must be weak since Onoo beat him, so he’ll protect Saturn by leaving rather than beating him up. Saturn declares that Miller is actually just scared of him, so Miller says that he’ll rip Saturn’s proportionally tiny head off of his body (heh!) if Saturn can beat Sonny Onoo first.


  • Miller hypes Onoo up, and Onoo thinks he can do it. The little guy runs at Saturn…and he eats a Falcon Arrow. Saturn covers and should get three, but Miller yanks the ref out of the ring and Glacier jumps in and lands a Cryonic Kick on Saturn. Wow, they’re still beefing, huh? The ref gets back in the ring, but Saturn kicks out at 2.9, blocks an Onoo chain shot, and wins the match with a DVD. OK, that was some dumb bullshit. And it gets even dumber when the ref sees the chain that has fallen onto Saturn and DQs the small-headed pugilist after the fact for using said chain. You didn’t see it, it didn’t happen, you below-par WCW ref. No wonder Scott Steiner is beating you doofuses up. As he once said, you’re all incompetent and stupid. Anyway, this was surprisingly delightful as a segment, I have to say.


  • Goldberg gets out of a limo and cops escort him into the building. As we did with nWo Hollywood earlier in the night, we watch Goldberg walk from the limo all the way through backstage and to the ring, I guess to take up time? I don’t get this choice. Below-average worker and racist scumbag Terry Taylor is in the ring with Gene Okerlund, and I guess this is the contract signing. Bam Bam complains about Goldberg from his ringside seat, and I’m already completely sick of Bammer and his use on these shows. Kevin Nash (w/Lex Luger and Konnan) comes to the ring to sign the contract. Okerlund notes that the contract bars Goldberg from defending the gold until Starrcade to preserve the matchup. Here comes Bam Bam over the railing as soon as he hears that. Like thirty people converge on Bam Bam and drag him out of there. That’s it, that’s the signing.


  • Booker T./Mike Enos seems like it could be fun! The crowd is a bit burned out as far as the match, but they enjoy Booker’s taunts. It’s a fun little TV jaunt, though. Enos hits a diving lariat from the apron and Booker hits the mat to fire up the crowd while in a chinlock, but is that not a tap out considering the drama around that one Booker and Benoit match from earlier in the year? Anyway, Booker makes a comeback, gets cut off by a fist for a second, but gets back on track with an axe kick, a back suplex, and a Spinaroonie. Book lands a Houston Side Kick and a big spinebuster for three shortly after that.


  • We get footage of Bam Bam standing in some grass outside the arena, yelling and looking like a jackass.


  • Ew, it’s Crush (w/Vincent). Ew, he’s facing Lex Luger. We’ve seen this on PPV already earlier this year, so there’s no need to fill time with this matchup. And far, far worse, Tony S. brings up Mark Curtis being so sick that they paid tribute to him recently. That is obviously much shittier than just having to watch Luger/Crush again, so I guess it at least put things in perspective for this complaining viewer. As an aside, I looked up when the Mark Curtis benefit show was, and it’s in 1999, a couple of months before Curtis passes away. I assume that show does not survive in any video form, including fancam? It’s actually a pretty intriguing show for a few reasons.


  • This Luger/Crush match is not intriguing, but it’s honestly cromulent for a random TV match. I’ll forget that it happened tomorrow. Luger shines early, gets beaten up in the middle, and in a small twist, lands a forearm that knocks Crush into the ref. Vincent takes the chance to run in, and Crush hits Luger with a chair, then spike piledrives Luger onto the chair. Luger kicks out at 2.9 and further Vincent-and-chair related shenanigans backfire on Crush, who gets Torture Rack’d for the submission loss.


  • Dusty Rhodes walks to the ring to referee the Dean Malenko/Barry Windham match. Malenko is selling a leg injury from last week’s match against the Hitman, but this one is actually totally worked. Malenko easily outwrestles Windham at pace, so Windham bails and hides behind Dusty, who gives Windham a chance to jab Malenko in the eye. Windham running from that runt Malenko is hilarious. Anyway, Windham takes over and his legendary timing is off because he misses a shoulder charge by like a mile and should have been able to stop himself. Windham maintains control anyway and attacks Malenko’s knee while Rhodes pulls up his pants and just chills out not calling for rope breaks.


  • Then, in an out-of-nowhere spot, Windham punches the guy in the ropes and Dusty suddenly DQs Windham for punching Malenko in the ropes for more than five seconds. Dusty laughs, that sly dog, and I realize that this sudden babyface turn does make logical sense; Dusty only really turned nWo because of his connection with Scott Hall, and they dumped Hall out of the nWo, so Dusty has no obligation to them anymore. Bisch runs out and fires Dusty, but when Windham comes after Dusty, the rest of the Horsemen run into the aisle and give Windham the beats, followed by Flair celebrating his upcoming opportunity to beat up Eric Bischoff. Well, at least Dusty is a babyface again.


  • Scott Steiner and Horace Hogan (w/nWo ref) come to the ring. Oh yeah, are WCW refs still refusing to referee Scotty Steiner bouts? Is that still a thing? Scott Hall walks into the aisle and waits for the Wolfpac theme to hit. The Outsiders are back together, but Nash gives Hall the ol’ People’s Eyebrow as a sign that he wonders about Hall’s trustworthiness. There’s some early wrestling, but the important part is that Hall hits Horace with a chokeslam, does the Giant Frankenstein taunt, and then crotch chops Scotty, who immediately tags in and yells FUCK YOU at Hall. That sequence was entertaining, even as Tony S. yammered on about the WCW Executive Committee sanctioning a Bischoff/Flair match at Starrcade as it happened.


  • Hall takes a beating from Scotty, but blocks a top rope suplex and then lands a nice second-rope bulldog for a two that the nWo ref barely seems interested in counting. Scotty takes back over with a low blow. Scotty dumps Hall outside so that Horace can choke the guy with a weight belt, but Nash walks over and makes the save. Hall continues to get beaten down as the crowd tries to will a hot tag into existence. They finally get one that the nWo ref tries to wave off, but Nash tosses the little guy out of the way and cleans house. Horace tries to stop Nash’s rampage, but Hall catches him from behind and hits an avalanche Razor’s Edge. The nWo ref doesn’t want to count the pinfall, so Nash Jackknifes him and an actual ref, Billy Silverman in fact, decides to do his fucking job and run down to count the three. That might be the first decent (kayfabe) reffing job Silverman has done in WCW. Nash rolls out without waiting to celebrate with his erstwhile buddy. I liked the heck out of this. Who knew that babyfaces overcoming heel chicanery could feel so good?


  • There’s more footage of Bammer walking around in sweatpants on some grass. Did I mention that this guy looks like a jackass?


  • After a break, we get a shot of Goldberg running outside and diving on Bam Bam as they have a brawl on the side of a hill and try not to tumble backward. It is cool that they fight into the parking lot and bash each other into cars a bit, but Bam Bam is such a comedown, man, I don’t buy it and I never will. Bam Bam jobbed to Lawrence Taylor, Bob Holly, and Major Payne, and I just don’t see him on the level of Goldberg. In fairness, the crowd standing around outside is into the proceedings!


  • Bret Hart shuffles to the ring for his main event U.S. Championship shot against Diamond Dallas Page. I don’t know why they insisted on Bret working this match. It’s a chokes-and-punches affair. Page takes about fifty years to try and lock on a corner Figure Four, but the Giant runs down and breaks it up, then beats the crap out of Page. Giant drills Page with a chokeslam and then picks him up, perches him on the top rope, and hits a super chokeslam on top of that. Bret hugs his good buddy Giant and then locks on the most cursory of Sharpshooters for the win. Was it necessary to put your second-biggest title on a guy with a legitimately injured groin? What a stupid match. Anyway, that’s how the show ends, but who cares, they’ve booked this title into the ground after Goldberg gave it up (and arguably, as soon as Goldberg got the title considering the caliber of most of his opponents).


  • Even with the nWo Hollywood, especially Eric Bischoff, continuing to be a drag on these shows, this show was pretty dang good, actually. There was lots of fun wrestling and even some solid heeling from a couple of guys on the show. It’s just too bad that every feud in this company fucking stinks. 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Thunder Interlude – show number forty-two – 3 December 1998

"The WCW Gang ultimately illustrates why Thunder was a good show for fun televised wrestling in 1998 (after a rocky start)”

  • Forty-two Thunder shows in, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of what it’s had to offer…1998 in general is a weird year for WCW because they’ve had patches of excellence in their shows, but inconsistently and almost never in the main event…Thunder is always talked about like it was bad pretty much from the off, but that hasn’t been true in my re-watch because it gives a bit more focus to the non-main event stuff…I’m glad that I decided to stop and watch it, even knowing that I added a bunch of bad shows in 1999 and 2000 to my backlog…


  • Tony S. runs down title changes and Hogan’s 45-ish day “retirement”…He’s off television, let’s at least stop talking about him for awhile before y’all stick the title right back on him…Oh wonderful, instead, we get a Hulk Hogan video retrospective that they used to play on Nitro back in late 1995…They just add some stuff with his heel turn to it…All this praise for Thunder being a solid watch throughout ’98, and you do this to me?...


  • There’s a commercial break, and then we get video of Scott Steiner challenging Scott Hall and all the stuff that happened in relation to it on the previous Nitro…It’s my fault…I never should have said that Thunder was any good in 1998…It’s some sort of karma being dished out for saying something nice about Thunder, except 25 years into the future from when this show aired…


  • Maybe a match next?...It’s Scott Steiner (w/nWo ref), and I drew a huge blank on this “new leader” stuff…I’m not sure I remember much about this period of late ‘98/early ’99 WCW except for the taser and the Fingerpoke of Doom, actually…Oh, and Commissioner Flair going mad with power…Steiner prattles on about how much more he fucks than Elvis did or whatever…This guy keeps going on and on…And on…Fourteen minutes in, and not one fucking wrestling move that hasn’t been on a retrospective video or recap…I actually am cool with fourteen minutes of talking, but you gotta make them good, like WWF more reliably was able to accomplish…Steiner calls out Scott Hall again for tonight…


  • We get our first live wrestling move at 17:54 in the show (not counting breaks) when Ciclope and Eddy Guerrero go at it…Eddy throws a clothesline after Ciclope rebuffs his offer of friendship…They work at a quick pace (of course)…Eddy is in danger for maybe thirty seconds, but he hits a brainbuster and goes up for a Frog Splash in short order…Then, he thinks about it, jumps down, and tells Billy Silverman that he’s disinterested in continuing the match…The rest of the lWo comes to the ring and they pitch Ciclope on membership…I’m pretty proud of my ability to follow Psicosis’s Spanish, though anyone with little or no Spanish could still follow because of Eddy and Psicosis’s pantomiming of what Psicosis is saying…Anyway, Ciclope joins the lWo and no one gives a fuck…


  • Bret/DDP/Giant recap…The Giant comes to the ring to kill off Renegade…Renegade comes out to Marvelous Marc Mero’s WWF theme, which I get a small kick out of…Renegade has more of a chance of beating the Giant than Mero ever had of beating Sable…Renegade hits some of the worst throat thrusts I’ve ever seen in my life in between getting tossed around to start and super Chokeslammed to finish…


  • The Giant talks…It’s bad…Page runs in and clobbers the Giant with a chair and then talks…It’s also bad…Why is this dumbfuck Page so insistent on trying to jam the word “scum” into every insult he lobs?...He’s got the interview skills of a seventh-grader who is a C- student in his writing classes trying to cut an e-fed promo…


  • Mike Enos faces Chavo Guerrero Jr. in an interesting matchup…Chavo, as he comes down the aisle: “This is Pepe’s house!”…Chavo’s reward for getting himself over with this gimmick is to be sidelined from a storyline perspective and losing about as much as he wins…He should have gotten Kidman’s Cruiserweight title run…Enos tosses Chavo around early, and it rules…Enos holds Chavo up for a press slam, at a couple points with only one hand while he tries to move Charles Robinson out of the way, and Chavo slips out and gets a schoolboy for two…Chavo tries a dive and Enos almost doesn’t catch him, but grabs a leg, lectures Chavo, and then tosses Chavo before yelling GOLDBERG’S NOTHIN’, KID at a taunting fan…See, this is why I praised Thunder to start…This show has had these types of cool TV matchups quite often in its first year of existence…


  • Chavo uses his aerial skills and dexterity to block a power move with a dropkick…He goes for a top-rope Frankensteiner, but Enos catches Chavo and lands a second-rope powerbomb (!!!)…The crowd pops for it…Wow, good wrestling getting a pop, who would have thought…Enos takes Chavo up and hits a second rope powerslam for two, but pulls Chavo up at one…Chavo’s not that much smaller than Enos, but he bounces around like he is before barely getting two after turning on another powerslam attempt…Chavo is pressed to the outside and then sneaks up behind Enos as Enos grabs Pepe and prepares to hit Chavo with him…Chavo gets only two there, but he gets three shortly after when he flips out of a powerbomb attempt and rolls Enos up…Doug Dellinger and the Keystone Kops have to run down after the match and back Enos off when Enos frustratedly chokes Chavo after losing…Chavo's "small brave fighter" spot would have been better used for a less imposing Cruiserweight (hey, like Billy Kidman), but this match was an extremely fun TV shot…


  • Rey Misterio Jr., also a less-imposing Cruiserweight (but on too high a level to get tossed around by Mike Enos), comes to the ring and faces off with Villano V…Hey, look what happens when you have good workers have matches with one another…The show picks right up…Rey flies to start and wins a big dive…Villano V presses his power and size advantage…he catches a Rey springboard crossbody and plants him, then goes to work with some nice power moves…Villano V drops a sweet guillotine legdrop to the back of Rey’s head in there…Huh, Villano V goes for, like, a Figure Four cravat?...Maybe an inverse surfboard?...Cool move…Rey tries to flip his way out of trouble, but Villano V catches a rana attempt in the corner and slams Rey right onto his face…It’s when Villano V goes up top that he runs into trouble, as he misses a cannonball attempt from the second rope…Rey makes his comeback, stomps a mudhole, and lands a Bronco Buster…Rey drills a face crusher and a springboard rana in short order for the three count…This was another quality television match…


  • Tony S. interviews Rey on the ramp post-match…I’m fine with more lWo angle crap after this past couple of matches…They were more than good enough to mollify me…Tony S. asks about Eddy taking Rey’s Cruiserweight Championship shot a show or three ago…Eddy and the lWo come down and Eddy says that he decides who gets the title shots, and Eddy says Juvi gets the next one…Tony S. says that the WCW Championship Committee has made their own decision, and that Rey will face Juvi for number one contendership…Eddy freaks out at Tony S. while Tony backs away yelling, “That’s not me, man, that’s the committee!”…That last part got a laugh out of me…


  • We get some more Nitro recap…The contract signing is on this video…Bam Bam being way overpushed is also on this video…


  • I hear Chris Adams’s music and expect to see the master of the superkick and of getting blackout drunk on flights, but no, it’s just Chip Minton…Minton’s here to job to Wrath…Minton is, uh, extra excitable…He goes for a dropkick when I’m pretty sure he’s supposed to stand there and prep for a back bump off a clothesline…Minton is a former (World Championships bronze medal) bobsledder…Which is ironic because it’s all downhill for him in this match…HAHAHAHAHAHAHA whooooo…Anyway, Wrath wins with the Meltdown…


  • There’s a Flair/Bischoff video recap…If they insist upon addressing ongoing feuds on Thunder, they should come up with a better blend of live angle advancement and recaps instead of just slamming the show with a bunch of fucking recaps…


  • Raven and Kanyon come to the ring…At first, Raven wouldn’t leave gorilla position…Then, Raven made it to the ring, but refused to wrestle…Let’s see if Kanyon can get Raven to actually do something this week…This “Raven is depressed” angle is going on way too long without any development, by the way…Kanyon says he’s going to help Raven’s mental state by getting this crowd full of Memphisites…Memphisians?...to answer his question…Kanyon pulls an Undertaker and catches the crowd off-guard, in this case by asking, “Who’s NOT betta than Kanyon?”…He points out that he got them to answer it right because they’re dumb Tennesseans and then does his best Andy Kaufman impression…Y’ALLRE FROM MEMPHIS WHAR THAY PLOW THA FIELDS AND THAY FARM THA FARMS…Hilarious, Kaufman really was one of the best wrestling heels ever…


  • Oh yeah, there’s supposed to be a match…So, it’s Raven and Kanyon against Mongo and Benoit, at least on the contract…In actuality, it’s a handicap match…But it’s one with lots of good action…The crowds really love to chant that RAVEN SUCKS…Raven’s not even bothering any of you, damn…This is mostly Benoit versus Kanyon, so it’s aesthetically pleasing…Kanyon hangs on for as long as possible against Benoit, but Raven won’t tag Kanyon, and Mongo will tag Benoit…Kanyon survives a Mongo flurry and goes back to his corner to remonstrate with Raven…Just forcefully tag him, stupid…That’s what Randy Savage would do, he’d punch the guy square in the face to tag him…This is such an interesting match as Kanyon fights valiantly, but Benoit and Mongo are simply too good and break the guy down through attrition…


  • Benoit looks like he’s going to finish Kanyon off with a flying headbutt, but Kanyon barely rolls away and tries to get a hot tag…He doesn’t get a hot tag, so he drills Benoit with a sitout facebuster and then FINALLY forcefully tags Raven…At this point, Raven just hops off the apron, walks out, and gets ten-counted out…Benoit, bleeding from his mouth, jumps Kanyon and puts him in the Crippler Crossface, but the match is over…My only quibble with this match is that Kanyon came off like a heroic babyface…He survived a little too much offense from the Horsemen…At the same time, it did make Raven walking out and wasting all the pain and tears that Kanyon went through more effective…Anyway, what a fascinating (and entertaining) match that I very much enjoyed…It’s a bolted-on addition to the charming uniquities list…


  • There’s a short recap of Konnan winning the Television title…Konnan’s rap video plays next…


  • Disco Inferno comes to the ring and grabs a mic…He says he’s got a big announcement planned for the next Nitro…Then, he complains about Konnan’s rap video…He pitches Konnan on doing a video together, but a better one with disco music in it…I’m pro-disco…It’s good dance music, what’s wrong with that?...Donna Summer is pretty great, too…Disco is getting a shot at his future podcast co-host’s TV title tonight…Konnan responds by hitting the Catchphrase Roulette…Then Konnan offers Disco a chance to have the experience of sucking Konnan’s dick while having his ass eaten at the same time…I’m not kidding, that’s the implication of what he says!...Sorry for the unfortunate mental image, by the way...The match that follows is worked as if underwater by Konnan…Disco does get some control and score a couple of two counts in there…It’s not a bad bit of control, but it ends with Disco missing a second-rope elbowdrop…Konnan lands a rolling clothesline, then pops off a 187 for two…Disco actually makes one more comeback and lands two swinging neckbreakers in a row, but the follow-up pinfall only gets two…Disco tries to land a Chartbuster, but Konnan shoves Disco out of it, hits a sitout facebuster, and gets a win with the Tequila Sunrise…That match was pretty solid, and the wrestling on this show overall has been worthy of the praise that I gave this show to begin this review…


  • Scott Steiner (w/nWo ref once again) re-enters the ring for a main event bout against Scott Hall…Hall saunters to the ring, but once the bell rings, he opens up with a series of aggressive moves that end with a lariat…Hall is working this match like he’s trying to kill Steiner off ASAP, so the nWo ref dives for Hall’s legs and allows Steiner to club him, then counts a very quick 2.5 or maybe 2.7 on the resultant cover…Steiner beats down Hall at ringside, then rolls him back in and puts him in the Tree of Woe position…Steiner tries to break Hall’s ankle by yanking it over the top rope while I contemplate what sort of contracts the WCW Matchmaking Committee is agreeing to that allow Steiner to provide his own crooked referee for his matches…Like, what the fuck, WCW management?...Steiner attempts to get a couple of three counts and yells at his own ref for not counting quick enough to avoid Hall’s kickouts…Steiner wraps on a sleeper, but Hall reverses it, and Steiner reverses that with a back suplex…Hall makes a comeback and scores a couple of pinfall attempts, but the ref’s count is veeeeery…slooowwwww…Hall tries a Razor’s Edge, but the ref pulls Steiner down…Hall hits the ref with the Razor’s Edge instead, then crotch chops as the crowd pops…This crowd is very into Scott Hall…Steiner jumps Hall and locks on the Steiner Recliner…There’s no ref, so we just end the show on Steiner locking it on and the crowd booing…


  • That first fifteen minutes of the show were touch and go, but after that, we got a lot of what has made Thunder such a surprisingly fun show throughout 1998…This isn’t quite the final Thunder of the year, but I think it’s close enough that I can give Thunder credit for being a generally good show in at least the first calendar year of its existence…WOOOOOO…


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Show #169 – 7 December 1998

“The one that packs the Astrodome in the run-up to Starrcade '98”

  • Tony S. breathlessly tells us that the WCW Championship Committee had a closed-door meeting today, but Mike T. did a journalism and found out that Goldberg requested a title match against Bam Bam Bigelow. The committee said they were cool with that, but not if the title was on the line. Therefore, tonight, we burn through a Goldberg/Bam Bam match, which would be fine if Goldberg kills the guy off and moves on. Let’s hope that’s what happens.


  • Then we get video in which Scott Steiner kicks the shit out of Wildcat Willie before the show even starts, and that made me laugh. I guess Scott Steiner has completed his babyface turn, huh? But seriously, even Wildcat Willie can get it. That’s the late ‘90s!


  • The Nitro Girls dance. There’s a commercial break. We’re in the Astrodome tonight, a total cavern much like its compatriot the Alamodome just up the street. It’s pretty impressive that they filled so much of this dome. Maybe they should give the crowd some live wrestling! But no, there’s just more video of the Outsiders reunion from last week and the Hall/Scott Steiner match from Thunder.


  • Scott Steiner (w/crooked ref) comes back to the ring. He grabs a mic and, uh, well, he crudely says that the women in the audience need his dick because the men are gay, they’re so GAYYYYYY that they can’t possibly be real men. That’s the late ‘90s! Forget what I said about Scotty making any type of a babyface turn. Steiner drones on about how awesome Hulk Hogan is, and I cannot wait for him to get away from the nWo and be an objectionable human being just by himself/with Midajah. Scotty promises to break Scott Hall’s leg later tonight. Then he leaves. So I guess instead of Hogan coming out here and taking up unnecessary mic time, we’re doing it with Scotty now?


  • Is it too much to once again point out the whole “hot cruiserweight match to open” thing is a complete fable?


  • We get the Nitro opening, and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get a match? No, we’ll get a Nitro Party video. The formatting of these shows is complete ass most of the time.


  • It’s ANOTHER Nitro Girls routine. Fuck off, WCW. OK, wait, Kimberly and Chae are fantastic in this one. I changed my mind, don’t fuck off, WCW. And you know what, I am remiss here because teenage me definitely found Tygress to be a cutie as well. But still, dole these dances out better. Maybe not two of them before the first match, you know.


  • Hey, it’s a wrestling match! Though, shit, it involves Kendall Windham. OK, sure, this show hates me, it’s fine. I’ll still watch. Windham is in the ring to hopefully get squashed real quick by Diamond Dallas Page. Tony S. hypes a few upcoming shows, including the 1/4/99 Nitro in the Georgia Dome that is going to be, like, an inversion of the one on 7/6/98. Page and Windham have a good counter-counter-counter segment that Page wins, but then Page does some selling for Windham – not necessary - before coming back with punches and a discus clothesline. Right after that, Page drops Windham with a rebound Diamond Cutter for three. Or as Tony S. calls it, “a combination Diamond Cutter bulldog,” which it absolutely is not.


  • We get a Tygress hype video. I dig Tygress, as I said a couple of paragraphs ago, but is this the best space for this video? Tygress talks about dancing for Left Eye Lopez productions, which doesn’t surprise me because she’s easily the best dancer in this group, and it’s not particularly close. This is a somewhat long video, though. I don’t want to hate because I actually like Tygress; she seems nice, and I am all for getting the Nitro Girls into “non-gawking-at-them” segments that show the personal side of the ladies. But again, the fucking formatting of this fucking show!


  • Lots of video recap of Bam Bam Bigelow and Goldberg from last week. The Tygress interview from the previous video segment was infinitely more interesting than this shit.


  • Well, it only took over 23 minutes for them to give me something to really look forward to, - in this case, Norman Smiley. Smiley faces Prince Iaukea in what should be a solid TV match. Smiley shakes off a back elbow to land a swinging body slam. He smacks some imaginary ass in celebration. There’s a very cool spot where Norman tries to duck down on a top rope Iaukea splash, but Iaukea adjusts in mid air and rolls the guy up on his dive for two. Smiley gets offense and then dances, but the third time he tries the offense-followed-by-dancing shit, Iaukea kicks him and makes a comeback. Iaukea hits a Samoan drop and a top rope splash for 2.5. Smiley is shortly after able to score a crappy-looking Chicken Wing Crossface for a win (and a victory dance). That was the only remotely crappy thing in this fun little two-minute jaunt.


  • We are reminded, by Gene Okerlund, of the Eddy/Rey/Juvi nonsense as they fight over a shot at human glass of warm milk Billy Kidman and Kidman’s Cruiserweight Championship. After we see a recap to the point, Eddy comes down to talk Okerlund. Eddy cuts a mediocre promo in which he’s upset that Rey accepted a match against Juvi for a title shot tonight. He threatens Rey and makes an argument that the lWo should take a Marxist approach to pro wrestling, then calls Silver King down. Eddy and Silver King have a quick convo in Spanish. I only caught a bit, but they’re scheming. They’re plotting.


  • So how in the fuck did Eddy convince the Matchmaking Committee to force Rey to wrestle Silver King in the same night he has a number one contendership match? (Editor's note: Even though they made it seem on Thunder that the Rey/Juvi match would be tonight, and they also made it seem that way in the previous segment, it didn't happen. WCW needs to do a better job of laying out what's going to happen and when.) 


  • These crappy feuds, man, they just burn me right out. It’s hard to care about anything that happens in them. However, from a wrestling standpoint, Rey and Silver King are going to have a good match. There’s a cool spot where Rey 619s through the ropes, so Silver King does it to show that he’s agile, too. Shortly after, Silver King takes a bump to the floor off an apron Frankensteiner. Silver King is one of the TV glue guys in this company where you can throw him in there with a smaller guy and he can work big or a bigger guy and he can work small. He can work face, he can work heel, he can do whatever you need him to do. Right now, what he’s doing is hitting a spinning crucifix toss for two. Should we just call that thing the Border Toss? I feel like that’s now sort of the catch-all name for that move. Rey can’t get the height on a dive to be properly caught, but they just move it along and Rey hits a dive outside that looks gorgeous. This whole match is a nice, pacey affair, really, with a sprinkling of great spots, the last one being a top-rope bulldog that scores Rey the win shortly after he lands that gorgeous dive I was talking about.


  • Goldberg shows up to the arena with that goof Terry Taylor and some cops. Kevin Nash confronts the whole group and is mad that Goldberg is wrestling, I guess? It’s not a title match, big man. Goldberg assures Nash that he’s focused on giving Nash the ol’ Jackhammer (big pop), but Nash swears that he’ll prevent the Bam Bam match from happening tonight.


  • Wrath comes out to start hour number two with a wrestling match. A probably short one, sure, but at least we’re getting a match. Wrath’s opponent is Renegade. Renegade has roughly the same amount of luck against Wrath tonight that he had against the Giant on the previous Thunder. Someone holds up a WRATH NEEDS A BATH sign that makes me laugh. No, no, dear fan, the stringy hair and baby oil is a style choice, not necessarily a sign that a guy doesn’t bathe. Wrath toys with the hapless Warrior knockoff for awhile before drilling a Meltdown to a sizable pop.


  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. (w/Pepe) comes to the ring to tag up with Disco Inferno against Stevie Ray and Horace Hogan, but before that can happen, Disco comes out to the ramp and reminds us that he has a big announcement for Nitro that he hyped on Thunder. He calls out Konnan to help him make the announcement, translates Konnan’s mild use of slang when Konnan uses it to explain that he has no idea what the fuck Disco is talking about, and then drops the news that Kevin Nash allowed him to be in the Wolfpac. Then, he hugs Konnan, who cuts a face reminiscent of Vinnie Mac when Mankind hugs him.


  • This match is actually a decent watch. The crowd is more focused on chanting DISCO SUCKS than on Horace’s opening clubbering or Chavo’s comeback. Disco and Stevie have a nice sequence where Disco tries to hit Stevie with an array of attacks before Stevie can catch up to him. Stevie eventually does, tosses Disco outside, and lets Horace go to work on Disco for a bit. Disco plays FIP before tagging Chavo, who actually scores a tornado DDT on Horace! Stevie jumps in and breaks up the pinfall attempt, so Chavo tags Disco back in, and the match breaks down. Disco and Horace are legal. Chavo bests Stevie in a tangle, but the ref – Billy Silverman, of course – focuses on getting Chavo out of the ring rather than looking Stevie’s way even once. Stevie and Horace complete a spike piledriver on Disco behind Silverman’s back that gets three when Silverman is done cementing his place as the worst kayfabe ref in the business and turns around to actually look at what’s happening in the ring.


  • Kevin Nash walks out here looking all aggy, again for some reason that I don’t get. The desk doesn’t get it either; why not see if Bam Bam can soften up Goldberg for you? The crowd is into this guy until he says that Goldberg doesn’t run the show, which is when his reception gets decidedly more mixed. He promises to put his gear on and make himself known for any Goldberg/Bam Bam match tonight, specifically by making the match a triple threat. The crowd is more receptive to that idea, and I guess after a bit of thought, giving the audience a taste of Goldberg/Nash while still preserving their one-on-one match at Starrcade as the first time they meet in a singles match could work.


  • The Nitro Girls dance. This is the first time they do it in hour two, and they do it after two matches. See? Spread these out a bit better, and it’s not a problem.


  • Glacier renews his rivalry with Saturn, which honestly is one of my favorite dumb rivalries in this company. Saturn usually stinks on the mic, but the venom with which he came at Glacier over the Cryonic Kick was genuinely great. Right after the bell rings, Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo (the latter w/neck brace) come to the top of the ramp. Miller pretends that he wants to fight Saturn, but fakes an injury. This man is ensconced in velvet, by the way. George Costanza would be impressed.


  • Glacier jumps Saturn while Miller provides commentary on the match over the house mic. But, you know, it’s Glacier, and he kayfabe (and shoot) sorta sucks, so Saturn comes back, hits an array of moves on the guy, and drops a SWEET Savage Elbow that IMO should get three except that Savage is in the company and is the master of that move, so maybe Saturn should only get a 2.9 on that basis. Onoo tries to distract the ref so that Miller can get involved, but Miller misses a kick on Glacier and Scott Dickinson is a WCW ref who makes a good call for onceby disqualifying Glacier. No, wait, he disqualifies Saturn for fighting off two guys, one of whom tried to attack him even though he wasn’t part of the match. Scott Steiner’s I HATE REFEREES, THEY’RE INCOMPETENT AND STUPID becomes a truer statement by the show! Maybe I should give him more kayfabe credit for beating up enough refs that they refuse to officiate his matches. Saturn probably feels that way, too, as he DVDs Dickinson for making a completely nonsensical ruling. Hell, even the desk is confused at how Dickinson turned around, saw two guys attacking Saturn in a singles match, and DQ’d Saturn.


  • Konnan and Kevin Nash shill an ugly new t-shirt, but they do it in an entertaining way, so I don’t mind.


  • The Wolfpac is so over that it boggles my mind that Bisch and Company are going to merge it with nWo Hollywood in under a month. What the fuck?! Lex Luger walks to the ring to face Emery Hale, who is here a) because he’s a huge dude and b) the crowd loves it when Luger racks these huge dudes. The desk spends some time poking holes in the latest main event storyline (no, it doesn’t make sense that Kevin Nash would want to prevent this Goldberg/Bam Bam match, unless Nash stated that he wanted to make sure that he was the first guy to beat Goldberg, which would give him some clear motivation for intervening). The Luger match goes how you’d expect, right down to Luger hefting the big man up for the Torture Rack and the dub.


  • Tony S. shills a special edition of the WCW Nitro video game’s PC port, down to the holographic box. I wonder how much CIB copies go for on the internet. I did a quick search, but that search only showed a bunch of auctions where people just have a copy in the regular jewel case up for CIB.  


  • The Monday Night Jericho t-shirt spot with Jericho sitting in darkness and talking about how Jerichoholism has overtaken him plays for the first time in weeks. Love that spot.


  • We get a Kevin Nash/Goldberg hype video. Then we get Chris Jericho (w/Ralphus, completely absurd hairstyle) making an appearance. There are at least a couple of tubby dudes in the crowd wearing homemade JPS t-shirts. I bet they could have sold a few of those suckers if they ever tried. Jericho shits on Bobby Duncum Jr. specifically and cowboys in general, but the Houston crowd sort of agrees with him. It’s only when he says “y’all” that he gets more boos than cheers, as is right when Canadian who was born in New York and never lived in Texas for at least a decade says "y'all."


  • Duncum Jr. comes to the ring to face Jericho after this spot of mic work. A JERICHO SUCKS chant actually starts. A small one, but hey, he’s made himself the heel here. Good for him. Duncum is bland as fuck, but Jericho pinballs for him, so this match is watchable. It’s also, just, look, there’s nothing less interesting to me than a “southern cowboy” gimmick, which is remarkable considering that I prefer wrestling from territories in the southern U.S. over any other type of wrestling. I remember when everyone was like YEAH JAMES STORM RULES and I was like This guy is super-bland, who gives a shit about him. Eventually, Jericho counters a powerbomb by rolling through, schoolboying Duncum, and putting his feet on the ropes for three. Again, watchable stuff.


  • We get a Goldberg hype video next. It reminds me how much better WWF is at these sorts of things.


  • We’ve made it to hour number three, which means it’s time for angle recaps and video of stuff that happened earlier in the night. Happily, they keep it short this time around and Scott Putski comes out, still dressed like a complete fucking dork. I am hopeful that the Giant will kill this guy off quickly. In fact, Putski ducks the Giant’s lariat, celebrates, and turns right back around into a goozle and a chokeslam in twenty seconds or so, heh heh. The Giant gets a mic and threatens DDP after the match. He insults the crowd and cuts another bad heel promo. Woof. Anyway, the Giant lays down a challenge to DDP for Starrcade, and considering that the big man is sixty days-ish out on the end of his WCW contract, I should be able to guess the winner of that bout.


  • Konnan threatens the nWo ref in the back. Hmm…


  • Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko (seconded by Arn Anderson) tag up against Raven and Kanyon. Aw hell, let’s be real, Raven’s not going to do a damned thing in this match. Hell, he’s not even coming out of gorilla. Kanyon tells Raven that Kanyon is the only guy who will still even talk to Raven. Saturn, Page, Jake Roberts, Roddy Piper – they all ditched him. Raven is probably even more depressed to come to the realization that his only friend is Kanyon, come to think of it. Kanyon gives up and walks out with a mic, complaining about his recent humiliations in the ring and deciding that he won’t wrestle another functional handicap match tonight. He calls Arn Anderson half a man and challenges one of the other Horsemen in the ring to a match on Thunder. Arn circles around to the ramp and pulls out a tire iron, which sends Kanyon scurrying backward into the ring, where he gets beaten up a bit before escaping.


  • It's yet another video to recap one of these crappy feuds WCW is currently booking, this time between Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff. After that, we cut back to the ring where the Horsemen have stuck around; Okerlund joins them and introduces Ric Flair. Flair does his thing where he yells and gets very red. I’m over it. Whatever happened to suave Ric Flair who would only yell for emphasis every once in awhile? Maybe I’m just imagining it like people imagine cruiserweight matches opening Nitro. Flair calls Bisch a “jackoff” and names some people from the territory days (Paul Boesch gets a mention, being in Houston). You basically get it, it’s typical Flair in a late ‘90s promo.


  • Konnan is very over here in Houston, to no surprise. He’s very over everywhere, actually. Konnan is defending his newly-won TV title against Booker T., Houston native. This is a weird match to book, as the crowd likes both guys, and therefore aren’t really super excited about either of them hitting offense. They just want to yell ORALE and raise the roof, man, that’s what they want. The match goes back and forth at a slower pace than the typical Booker match, but Booker’s looking in control with an axe kick when Stevie Ray walks out to observe the match. Shortly after that, Booker Spinaroonies up and hits a Houston Side Kick, then goes up for a missile dropkick. Stevie takes this opportunity to jump in the ring and hit Konnan with a slapjack. Konnan wins by DQ; Booker almost gets mad enough to hit Stevie until he realizes that this is what Stevie wants. I’ve said it before, but Stevie’s crab-in-a-barrel mentality is too real.


  • Scott Hall and Scott Steiner meet up in the next match. Wait, hold on, the nWo ref isn’t here, and Scotty Steiner thinks Scott Hall is to blame: WHERE’S HE AT?! I KNOW YOU HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT, YOU PIECE OF SHIT, screams Scotty. But no, it was KONNAN with the TAPE in the DRESSING ROOM. Hall works over Steiner while the taped-up nWo ref wriggles out into the aisle and the desk fake laughs like a bunch of idiots. Mickey Jay walks out, shoves the nWo ref over, and runs down to officiate the match, but the Hollywood B-Teamers run down soon enough and jump Hall. Luger and Konnan run in for the save, but the B-Teamers hang on long enough for the Giant to run out and swing the momentium…and that’s when DDP runs in and swings momentum by swinging a chair for a second save of the babyfaces. This was a well-layered bunch of run-ins and was as interesting to me as it was to the hyped crowd.


  • Eleven minutes left on the clock, yet we have time to squeeze in one more Nitro Girls routine, which signals to me that the main event will barely get started, if at all.


  • I’m even more convinced that we’re not getting much of that main event because after that routine, and after the desk yammers on for a bit, Gene Okerlund calls Bret Hart out for an in-ring interview. Bret bigs himself up, craps on DDP for ducking him to face the Giant instead, and hits the ol’ catchphrase. He also bigs up Smokey, may that cat rest in peace and enjoy his eternity in Kitty Heaven. Ooh, the Hitman even bigs up Wrestling With Shadows, which is a pretty great documentary.


  • Michael Buffer’s out here to announce a main event to nowhere. Bam Bam runs to the ring, then Nash runs to the ring, then Goldberg runs to the ring (and high-fives Roger Clemens on the way). Nash beats down Bigelow; Goldberg beats down Nash; Bigelow tries to beat down Goldberg, but needs help from Nash. The bell rings and security runs in as the crowd realizes that they got screwed out of a promised main event. Well, Nash warned you that you were going to get screwed out of this match!


  • There’s not anything new to say here. Feuds suck, most promos suck, in-ring action is generally quite fun. 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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On 4/29/2024 at 7:22 PM, twiztor said:

was never a Goldberg fan. resented his mega push (i was one of those 'he can't wrestle' fans). knew the streak numbers were bullshit but had to prove it to myself. and, since i was (re)watching all those shows myself, why not?

more on topic, the Havoc DDP match was great, but i can't think of any other good match he had. dude had insane physical charisma, but did nothing for me. that went for 1997 and again for 2014.

His US title win over Raven is good, and his matches against Roadblock, Reese, and The Giant where cool for a feats of strength perspective 

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Thunder Interlude – show number forty-three  – 10 December 1998

"The WCW Gang casually puts on a decent, wrestling-focused show that, while not great, upholds the best of what WCW Thunder can be”

  • Welcome to the penultimate Thunder of 1998…Rey Misterio Jr. meets Juvi Guerrera for a Cruiserweight title shot…There’ll be a big six-man tag match between the warring nWo factions as well…And we open up with Bobby Duncum Jr. facing off with Chris Jericho yet again for some reason…I looked up Ralphus and found out he died a few years ago…Truly, Ralphus is an amazing part of this act…Jericho rips up a Thursday Night Ralphus sign…Another sign: KEVIN NASH IS SUPER SHREDDER FROM TMNT?...I see someone just found out about the eight-year-old IMDb website and did some exploring… Lee Marshall calls Jericho “the kid from Calgary”…HE’S FROM WINNIPEG, YOU IDIOT…There’s a very early commercial break…What we get of this match is fine…They’re trying very hard…Jericho’s out here taking vertical suplexes on the mats outside…


  • Jericho throws tantrums and taunts and pretty much makes the whole thing reasonably enjoyable…Duncum makes a comeback and gets a long two count off a rebound bulldog…Jericho gets another rollup with his feet on the ropes for yet another win…Konnan sticks his mug into this deal and tells Mickey Jay what happened, and for some reason, Jay is like DUH OKAY EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T SEE IT WITH MY OWN EYES RESTART THE MATCH THEN I GUESS…What?...Then, Konnan clobbers Jericho when Jericho’s got a pinning combination, and Duncum rolls Jericho up for the win…So, Duncum finally gets his big win over Jericho and it’s because Konnan helped him, I suppose?...This was a waste of time and energy, but at least it wasn’t unpleasant to watch…


  • I cannot wait until this Ric Flair/Eric Bischoff feud is over…It’s not Benoit/Sullivan or Rick Steiner/Scott Steiner, but it’s a bottom five feud in the Nitro era for my money…


  • Glacier hooks it up with Saturn again…*grumble**mumble*useSaturnbetter*grumble**mumble*…Saturn is very good and has good matches every time out no matter what, and this is no exception…Glacier gets beaten up and begs off outside the ring…That gives Sonny Onoo a chance to sneak up and distract Saturn enough to give Glacier control…Glacier’s control segment features a lot of weak offense, per usual, and it goes on longer than it needs to, but it’s ultimately fine…The finishing run is decent, too, with Saturn trying a DVD, Glacier kicking away, and Saturn tripping Glacier and transferring into the Rings of Saturn…


  • Onoo jumps in and draws a DQ win for Saturn by kicking him…Onoo realizes that he’s in no man’s land and tries to pay Saturn off…Saturn knocks the money away, hits Onoo with a DVD, and then transitions into the Rings of Saturn…The hapless Glacier tries to break things up, but misses an elbowdrop and gets suplexed…


  • Charles Robinson continues to be the most competent of the WCW referees by simply not reversing the decision because Saturn attacked Onoo for attacking him…Funny enough, since I’ve been paying attention to reffing decisions, it’s almost like they’ve been putting Charles Robinson over as their new actually competent head ref, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen Nick Patrick since Scotty Steiner kayfabe injured him, so maybe that's what they're doing…


  • Kaz Hayashi, who I don’t think got even one fucking win over Ernest Miller or even Sonny Onoo before he was transitioned out of that feud, faces Norman Smiley…Can both of these guys win this match somehow?...I’m a sicko who is looking forward to watching both these guys be more prominently placed in 2000, even if Norman Smiley is the ultimate joke character at that point…Wouldn’t you know it, this is a fun match…Smiley bullies Kaz with his power and size advantage…Smiley hits a stalling double-underhook suplex and covers, but he pulls Kaz up at two…Will he get punished for his profligacy?...He almost does after Kaz survives for long enough to make a comeback…Kaz gets a flash pinfall for two…But Norman survives and locks on the chickenwing, which looks much better this show…I believe he calls his version the Norman Conquest, which is an excellent finisher name…


  • Thunder this week has dispensed with the talking and just let guys have six, eight, ten minute matches…That’s what I like…


  • Video recap of Goldberg, Bam Bam, and Nash beefing last Nitro…You know what would rule?...A Bam Bam/Saturn feud…I hope we get one before Saturn splits for New York…


  • Ernest Miller comes to the ring by himself…No wait, here comes a re-injured Sonny Onoo, trailing behind…Lee Marshall apparently has some off-screen kayfabe (I assume) beef with Dave Penzer because Onoo kicks at Penzer, and Marshall approves of it…That’s a throwaway nonsense angle that will never be booked that I actually am moderately interested in…Miller insults a few fans, then does his whole “karate champion” shtick…Onoo sticks his head in to ask why the Cat didn’t back him up earlier in the show…The Cat strictly adheres to the truth in pointing out that Onoo has two victories over Saturn, and therefore, Miller didn’t think that Onoo needed any help…There’s a gem of a story here, which is that the scheming Onoo has been out-schemed by his own client for once, but I have low expectations for WCW creative’s ability to tell it, and I don’t know that Miller or Onoo can take over and tell that story themselves effectively…They’re not exactly Chris Jericho or Raven in terms of creativity...Miller fires up Onoo to go find Saturn and kick his ass before telling the crowd that he hates them and leaving…


  • Rey Misterio Jr. and Juvi Guerrera face off for a trip to Starrcade to face Billy Kidman…I love it when a match is almost certain to be good…Juvi works well as a heel, hitting some nice chops and ripping at Rey’s mask…Rey picks the pace up and immediately turns the tide going into a break…Back from break, Rey is fired up and lands a Bronco Buster on Juvi…Juvi turns the tide by landing a huge powerbomb while eating ten punches in the corner, and a few lWo members make themselves known at ringside at this point…Juvi gets a little comfortable and takes a whole lot of time on a dive that he eats boots on…The match goes back and forth as both men trade two counts…


  • The intrigue is in how the lWo will interfere…Rey looks ascendant and scores a string of two counts…Juvi has learned from all those matches with Kidman and reverses a powerbomb with a bulldog…We get a slick counter-counter-counter that ends with Juvi flipping out of a suplex attempt and hitting a Juvi Driver…Juvi takes a whole lot of time going up for a 450..That’s a mistake, as it gives Rey time to crotch Juvi up top and land a top-rope rana…That’s when the lWo runs in to end the match…I guess that means Rey wins by DQ and gets the shot, then?...Kidman runs down, and in a neat variation on the typical babyface save, picks his spot, launches himself from the top rope and splashes three guys, rolls away, circles the ring, and pulls Rey out while everyone is diverted looking to see what he’ll do next…That’s a clever way to do a one-versus-a-bunch save…


  • Video of the Giant insulting the crowd last Nitro…Oh, and also challenging DDP to a match…This big doofus does a bunch of Christmas puns and then calls DDP “the bang man”…So yeah, that’s about how that promo went, if I didn’t make it clear in the previous Nitro review…We also get video of Page yamming Giant with a chair shot last Nitro…


  • We get a now-rare Lodi appearance on Thunder…He’d better hope Stevie Ray is in the building to help him out because his opponent is Booker T.Mike Tenay confirms that even though the lWo jumped in and prevented Rey from winning in the previous match, somehow Rey doesn’t get the title shot…Hey, just on cue, Stevie Ray gets in the ring and interrupts the beating that Book is giving Lodi…Stevie is upset that Booker has reduced himself to wrestling “a sign boy?!?!”…heh heh…Lodi is insulted and loads his fist, but Stevie conks him with a slapjack before he can do anything with it...Stevie basically thinks Booker is a punk bitch and needs to join the nWo before Stevie has to get violent…After the, uh, months and months of “fun” that has been the Steiner Brothers feuding, I have zero interest in Harlem Heat feuding…And that’s before I consider that I actually know how the feud goes, and it goes completely shitty…It's probably bolted on for a place in the bottom five feuds in the Nitro era, which is a category (along with top five feuds) that I'll be adding to my big list...


  • Kanyon finally figures out that the crowd answers his big question for them incorrectly because they’re trying to piss him off…He is even more pissed off at Raven, though…He wants to know WHAT ABOUT ME...WHAT ABOUT KANYON?...Chris Benoit is mad, just mad at everything, the guy is a being of pure and unbridled rage, but he’s surprisingly subdued on his way to the ring…Kanyon immediately outworks him to win an armdrag, then reverses an arm wringer and rolls Benoit up for two…Huh, usually Benoit’s such an aggressive little guy…Kanyon acquits himself quite well in the early going…Eventually he gets caught and German suplexed, then chopped after he breaks away to avoid rolling Germans…


  • Benoit takes over, and Kanyon rolls outside after eating a big superplex…Benoit embarks on an almost casual beatdown of Kanyon…Kanyon hits a desperation side Russian, but can’t gather himself to make a quick cover and only gets two…There’s some back and forth in which Kanyon goes back to getting his ass kicked…This is a strange match in that Benoit is kind of matter-of-fact about the whole thing, but Kanyon is wrestling and selling like he’s in the midst of a war…Kanyon is trying his hardest to survive, and so Raven makes all of his effort pointless by walking out and clobbering Benoit in the head with a can of paint…That draws a DQ win for Benoit…Kanyon is angry at Raven, and turns around from arguing with him right into a Crippler Crossface from a chagrined Benoit…Hey Kanyon, maybe you should just, I don’t know, stop being friends with Raven?...


  • The main event pits nWo Hollywood (Horace Hogan, Stevie Ray, and Vincent) against nWo Wolfpac (Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, and Konnan)…Well, that’s quite the lopsided matchup, to say the least…Wait, Nash isn’t out here…I thought this was a six-man tag…So did the desk…Honestly, even down Nash, this matchup is still lopsided as hell…Luger gets the mic and helps Konnan start his Catchphrase Roulette, a devastating series of catchphrases that demoralizes the opponent and sets them up for an eventual Tequila Sunrise…


  • After the roulette, we hit a break, and was Kevin Nash like, I’m gonna book myself to be on vacation for the rest of this week fellas, see you at Nitro, or what?...I feel ripped off, and therefore will just skim over the obvious layout of the match (Luger fights hard, eats beatdown because of numbers, gets hot tag, Konnan fights hard, eats beatdown because of numbers, gets hot tag because both of these guys spend a lot of time getting beaten down and hot tagging in tag matches, so we need to do it for both of them in this nine-minute match) to get to the ending…Scott Hall runs out and punches Stevie Ray, who stumbles back into Lex Luger’s Torture Rack…I’m still confused about why Konnan and Luger are just chill about Kevin Nash not showing up, but whatever…It was a boring match, but the babyfaces won, so everyone went home happy…That counts for something, especially in WCW…


  • This show was perfectly cromulent…WOOOO…
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