WCW Thunder #6
February 12 1998
We’re in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall. There are ten matches on this show including Flair/Luger, Goldberg/Glacier and Raven/Benoit!
Promo Time: Hollywood Hogan
The WCW title has been vacant for over a month at this point, following the bullshit finish at Starrcade. It’s ten days to Superbrawl where they will finally sort that out. They sure cut the legs off that year-long build for Sting’s title shot. Now it’s all about Hogan rambling and trying to build beef with everyone on the card. Or at least everyone he thinks will draw money. Naturally starting with Randy Savage because mentally he’s still in 1989. All that changed is they’re now wearing black instead of bright colours. They try and be pals but Savage punches out Bischoff and there’s trouble a brewin’. Recycling a ten year old feud because they don’t think the young guys can draw? Does this sound familiar? Wrestling will never learn. Best part of this? The live crowd not getting censored when someone screams “MOTHERFUCKA” at Hogan on his way out.
Prince Iaukea vs. Kidman
Iaukea was the Islander athlete blue-chipper that WCW got to counter WWF debuting the generational superstar Rocky Maivia. While The Rock became one of the biggest stars in the history of pro-wrestling Iaukea found himself jerking the curtain and never evolving. He’ll change before his WCW run is over but not for the better. To show how important this is they cut away in mid-match to show Raven.
He has a chat with Mortis who wants into the Flock. WCW attempting to repair a broken gimmick. Iaukea eats a Shooting Star Press and Kidman scratches his face in celebration. They didn’t show HALF of this match.
Final Rating: NR
Hugh Morrus vs. Meng
This is a clunky ‘nobody gives a fuck’ match. Meng has made it abundantly clear he’s just here for the money at this point and everyone backstage is too terrified to fire him. Morrus is just shit. There’s a spot in this so convoluted I can’t believe they did it. Jimmy Hart gets in the ring and rolls Meng into the corner while Morrus is up top. Morrus then misses a moonsault because Meng is directly beneath him, right in his line of sight. Why even jump? Meng finishes with the Tongan Death Grip and when he won’t release it the Barbarian has to run in and help and he gets the Tongan Death Grip too! This match was absolutely goddawful.
Final Rating: -*
WCW United States Championship
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Mortis
If Mortis wins he gets to join the Flock. Also he would get one of the most important belts in the company but somehow that’s secondary to the Flock because…reasons? Mortis is managed by James Vandenberg here, better known to ECW fans as the Sinister Minister. He had a two year deal with WCW but when they ran out of shit for him to do he literally sat at home being paid for two years. Crowd is very into DDP here and he’s become a utility guy for WCW at this point, being used to get an assortment of angles over. Diamond Cutter finishes and Mortis will have to wake for his spot in the Flock.
Mortis continues to campaign for a spot in the Flock so Raven drops him with a DDT. Absolutely drilled the poor goofy bastard.
Final Rating: **1/4
Steve McMichael vs. Jim Neidhart
This is a very Thunder match. Why can’t I have more luchadores boys?
When you're not sure how big WCW's ring is pic.twitter.com/bVx9NNI48E
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) October 20, 2018
Anvil’s daft running technique aside there’s nothing to see here. WCW has no interest in doing a Hart Foundation angle and Anvil is left to fend for himself. He’s fucked. When you’re signed a favour you’re in trouble. Davey Boy saves Anvil from being hit with the ring steps, after eventually getting there late leaving Mongo staggering around with the steps for ages. Finish is a DQ.
Final Rating: DUD
Buff Bagwell vs. Chris Adams
When the nWo music kicks in I think it’s another fucking Hogan promo but it’s worse! A Buff Bagwell match.
Bagwell was a decent worker in the mid-90s. Certainly capable of being carried. By 1998 he’s just a walking advert for that nWo cool. Mistakenly believing he can coast on his looks and muscles for the rest of his career. Not realising that this WCW shitshow would have a fierce backlash that would change the industry into a workrate festival. A scene Bagwell was as out of place in as Chris Adams is out of place here doing scoop slams in his Union Flag pants. Adams was one of the guys WCW kept around for no discernible reason. I’m guessing he was well liked backstage. He’s certainly one half of an awful match here although through no fault of his own. Virgil/Vincent interferes and the Blockbuster finishes.
Final Rating: ½*
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Chris Jericho
This has potential but it’s shorter than the last match. Every time WWE stuffs Jericho’s WWE theme into these WCW broadcasts it feels so out of place. Especially as it drowns out Jericho’s banter on the way to the ring so it’s lost forever. Why would you do that? It’s George Lucas level of meddling. Jericho has Juvi in a title vs. mask match shortly so Chavo is out here to defend Mexico. Considering the total lack of time this gets they do a bang-up job. Jericho gets the Liontamer and that’ll do it.
Final Rating: **
Sick Boy vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr
What a weird fucking match this is. A late 90s jobber vs. a still colourful, hasn’t moved with the times, early 90s WWF hero wrestler. Bischoff joins commentary here, knowing it’s a nothing match, to claim TBS has a conspiracy in a thinly veiled plug for Roddy Piper movie “They Live”, which is great incidentally, and happens to be airing after Thunder. Bulldog finishes with the running powerslam and Mongo runs in for another scrap.
Final Rating: total Squash
Chris Benoit vs. Raven
Raven brings the hardcore element here and Benoit the intensity. The match quickly becomes the most intriguing thing on the entire show. Just because they use a chair and get feisty. The Rolling Germans sport on Raven gets the crowd all fired up. It makes you wonder how it took WCW two fucking years to actually push Benoit and somehow thought releasing Raven was a good idea. The Flock jump in there and it’s another DQ finish. Raven did a sensational job of selling the Rolling Germans. Having to be dragged up rubber legged for the last one. DDP runs in for the save. They did a good job of having DDP’s presence elevate Raven and Benoit during this feud. Something WCW were genuinely horrible at and the main reason why their booking fell off a cliff in 1999.
Final Rating: **3/4
Bill Goldberg vs. Glacier
It’s notable that Goldberg’s spot has moved up closer to the main event and they’re talking about The Streak on comms, although they don’t have a number to throw up as yet. Goldberg freaks everyone out here by doing a backflip to counter a legsweep, which is tidy. Then a brutal looking neckbreaker. Glacier tries to fight back. Spear. Jackhammer.
Final Rating: SQUAAAAAAAAASH!
Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Luger’s WCW music was really good but WCW did have very samey music so it doesn’t really stand out.
Flair decides to go out there and have that ‘Flair Match’ that he has with everyone he thinks is worse than him. It’s almost all selling and begging off. A total throwback. It’s fine but it’s not really a match of this era. It’s more like watching something from ten years beforehand. Flair, to his credit, actually gets me into the bout and the crowd go mad when Luger threatens the Torture Rack.
They would be easily north of three stars with a finish but Savage runs in for another bullshit nWo non-finish. Why not just let the match play out? Maddening. Everyone runs in until Sting is battling Hogan so we know what the real main event is.
Final Rating: ***
If you tuned in when Benoit vs. Raven started you could be forgiven for thinking this was a good show. There was some actively bad wrestling on this show. Which is a first. Meng vs. Morrus had a dreadful finish but was bad long before that. Mongo vs. Anvil. Buff vs. Chris Adams. Bulldog vs. Sick Boy. These are not matches I want on a premium TV show. At least have the throwaway stuff be between good wrestlers. DDP vs. Mortis and Chavito vs. Jericho were both fine. I’m sure I will face more frustrating episodes of WCW Thunder but this one had three major issues that would eventually lead to WCW’s demise.
- Very long, boring, pointless opening promo about the nWo
- nWo interference ruining the main event
- The stubborn refusal to push any new talent into the top tier despite evidence of new talent getting over on old talent being a major bonus with huge reactions. Look at Goldberg, Raven, DDP and Benoit on this show. WCW had a massive problem with people protecting their spots. The company has been dead for 17 years and nobody learned a fucking thing and I’m still mad about it.