WCW Thunder 11
March 19 1998
There are eleven matches on this show. Eleven! It’s not even 90 minutes long. The longest match is 5.20. It’s an ideal ADD show. We’re in Terre Haute, Indiana and I’m happy to be getting away from good modern wrestling for a while. Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Lee Marshall.
This was the Thunder after the Nitro where Sting arrived via helicopter in Tonyisms “the greatest professional entrance of all time”. This was less than two years after Shawn Michaels arrived for an Ironman match by doing a zipline into the ring, which has been replayed a hundred times on the Network so he’s wrong.
Chris Jericho vs. Super Calo
Ah, we are blessed with the greatest cruiserweight in WCW history; SUPER CALO! Jericho calls “Terry Hut” his favourite town.
Calo is so great because in an given match he might do a flip and land on his neck or the 3rd row of the crowd or both. He had no regard for his own personal safety whatsoever. Unfortunately this match is just Jericho getting heat. Calo barely injures himself on the tope con giro, hardly endangers himself with the double springboard missile dropkick. Anyway, the Liontamer finishes and we’re done in four minutes and change.
Final Rating: **1/4
Kendall Windham vs. El Dandy
The crowd heat dissipates pretty sharply here. Kendall is terrible. Are we sure he was related to Barry Windham? They use this match to have Raven’s Flock muck around in the crowd.
DDP is the current US champion but he’s involved in a feud with Raven that will culminate in Raven winning the strap before he gets fed to Goldberg in turn. Windham won this. No one cares.
Final Rating: eh
Promo Time: Curt Hennig & Rick Rude
Rude makes a joke about Bret Hart having the new nickname “The Zitman” because apparently he’s like acne or something. It’s pretty incoherent.
La Parka vs. Saturn
If this match was taking place in ECW I’d be very excited because it’d go all over the building and they’d do some pretty innovative stuff with the chair. Instead it’s third on Thunder and they have four minutes.
La Parka reminding Saturn to duck lower on leapfrog spots because jumping is overrated. pic.twitter.com/1rBhU3VOHA
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) March 24, 2019
So this is as good as it gets. Saturn stops trying after this and the bump he takes from a spin kick is embarrassing. They do have a fun spot with the chair where Saturn dropkicks him into it, rather than the chair into the face RVD spot. Rings of Saturn finishes and Perry looks like he has a head injury based on where his eyes are pointing after the decision.
Final Rating: *1/2
Video Control gives us clips from MTV where DDP gets confused as to whether he’s wrestling Raven at Spring Stampede or not. DDP is sat next to Dave Grohl, which is a reminder that wrestling was really big at the time.
Remember when Raven sparked out DDP with a stop sign and Dave Grohl never saw it coming? pic.twitter.com/IbWMqdpB0l
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) March 24, 2019
Barry Darsow vs. Ray Traylor
Oh hey, let’s do Demolition Smash vs. Big Bossman with no gimmicks attached to either man in 1998. That’ll be good. Darsow is in horrible shape and basically retired the following year. The weird thing is; he’s still in his 30s here but he looks way older. In his future; an evil golfer gimmick. Bossman Slam finishes. This was not good.
Final Rating: ½*
Yuji Nagata vs. Prince Iaukea
This is the longest match on the show. Quite who thought that was a good idea is anyone’s guess. Also, spoiler; Iaukea wins. Nagata in 1998 wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire and he’s become adjusted to just doing basics and trying to get heat but the crowd are bored. Onoo blows his interference and Iaukea wins with a Northern Lights suplex.
Final Rating: *
We get some video and Schiavone calls Kevin Nash “one of the best athletes in the history of our sport” and I burst out laughing as it accompanied with Nash putting a sleeper on the Giant.
Brian Adams vs. Marty Jannetty
Another WWF rejects contest here. WCW can claim they poached Adams but let’s face it, he’s not exactly a major signing. You’re not selling tickets for people to see Crush. The year before he was one of the WWF’s worst wrestlers and I’ll bet they were glad to be rid of him. Meanwhile jumping to WCW is the death knell of Adams’ career as he’s slowly become less important and relevant in that nWo stable. This match is lousy. Adams looks dreadful, as always. He can’t take Marty’s spots, or doesn’t want to, who can tell? Adams wins with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Jannetty was just a jobber at this point so nobody cares.
Final Rating: ¼*
Psychosis vs. Eddie Guerrero
I’m spelling Psicosis how WCW spelled it. If he’d been going by Nicho he might have gotten pushed because they could spell that. This is hands down the best wrestling on the show. Eddie is looking sharp and even recovers a botch in mid-botch. Psicosis is untidy but Guerrero doesn’t care. It’s all about him. They even do a dumb ‘holding yourself up on the ropes’ spot that works because Eddie is selling and leaning up and he leans back to see where Psicosis is and gets caught.
The great thing about old Thunder's is occasionally the luchadores would come out and actually care whether their match was any good.
Psicosis smashing into Eddie Guerrero here. pic.twitter.com/OfJulITZku
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) March 24, 2019
They do a bizarre spot where Eddie drops Psicosis in mid-move and the spot after isn’t connected to it at all so they don’t re-do it. It’s a weird match. They do another odd spot, which feels like it shouldn’t have happened and the frogsplash finishes. Although this in no way went according to plan I really enjoyed it because at least they tried hard.
Final Rating: **3/4
Raven vs. Brad Armstrong
This could potentially be good but the angle is that Raven refuses to wrestle. Lodi has a sign that says “Brad, you better call some body” referencing Road Dogg, Armstrong’s shoot brother. Raven’s Flock beat up Armstrong and the Even Flow finishes. Raven vs. DDP would go second top at Spring Stampede (because Hogan isn’t on the show) and get a **** rating in the Observer. That’s pretty much the peak of Raven in WCW.
Final Rating: no match
Scott Norton vs. Chris Benoit
Norton’s chest is like twice the size of Benoit but bother are all jacked up and muscular. If you like your wrestlers to look like they live in a gym this is for you. The actual layout of the match makes no sense at all. Norton has 95% of the match and just crushes Benoit but Benoit is the guy they’re pushing in singles and is over.
Virgil, or Vincent should I say, jumps on the apron to break up the Crossface and Norton wins with the Shoulderlbreaker. Mike Tenay tries to sell it as being a win for Benoit because he suplexed Norton once. Oh….
Final Rating: **
Bill Goldberg vs. Wayne Bloom
Bloom retired about a month after this and Goldberg is 55-0. They have the counter, finally! Bloom gets in about five seconds of offence. Spear. Jackhammer. 56-0. Goldberg is so over here. Even in the past two months his popularity has jumped up. Saturn jumps the rail and threatens to fight him after the match, which would lead to Goldberg’s first challenge match at Spring Stampede against Saturn. Pretty much his first good match.
Final Rating: Squash!
Curt Hennig vs. Rick Steiner
This is the main event for about a minute until Rick Rude interferes for the DQ. Ted DiBiase saves but is beaten down. Rick gets a shoeing from the nWo lads and they rule the roost, again. But wait…Goldberg makes the save. Now this is a major change in gears as there’s finally someone who the New World Order are actually scared of. Although they fail to capitalize on it here and the show finishes with Rick Steiner and Ray Traylor standing tall.
Final Rating: NR
So we’re three months into Thunder and already it feels like a very second rate show. On the plus side there’s no Hogan here because he already thinks it’s is completely beneath him but on the negative side it hasn’t resulted in anyone else getting over because they’re just piling a mass of pointless matches on the show. The reaction Jericho was getting in the opener was great and the Goldberg stuff got popped huge but everything else is just shrug worthy. Some of the acts are doing good work like Raven or Eddie Guerrero but as a whole it feels unimportant and that’s with WCW still being somewhat invested in it. Matters decline!