WCW Thunder #8
February 26 1998
We’re in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the Five Seasons Center. We have finally passed by the overhyped Superbrawl and finally have a WCW champion (Sting capturing his fourth title). We also come into this show with new tag champs as the Outsiders reclaimed their gold after Scott Steiner turned heel. Also there’s a new TV champ as Booker T captured that strap at Superbrawl. Hosts here are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall.
There were 14 matches on Nitro this past week, this Thunder has 9 matches. The ADD Era didn’t start with Vince Russo. He just made it worse.
Chris Jericho & Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T & Dean Malenko
If they gave this 15-20 minutes it could be MOTY. That’s how good everyone is. I like that WCW use the funkiest entrance tunes so Jericho is out to Eddie’s music and Malenko to Booker T’s music. Which also means I don’t have to hear WWE awkwardly dub “Bring the Walls Down” over the WCW production. Eddie has nuclear heat here. Oh, but those cruiserweights had no personality. They couldn’t get over. They were vanilla midgets! Half the match is just Eddie and Jericho drawing enormous heat while hardly doing anything.
Tony does a long spiel about how being thrown over the top rope is no longer a DQ. Which is a good rule change and one that shouldn’t have stuck around until 1998 if we’re all being serious about wrestling rules.
Back in the match Booker gets a hot tag and it is HOT. The crowd just erupt for everything. It’s amazing. I never knew Cedar Rapids was such a hot crowd. Jericho’s save here, coming off the top rope from the opposite corner with perfect timing, is amazing. Eddie pins Booker with a Frogsplash to more heat and Guerrero holds a win over the incumbent TV champ. Thus securing himself a title shot. This had huge potential but relied quite heavily on heat because the crowd bit on all of it.
Final Rating: ***
Promo Time: Diamond Dallas Page
He’s out here to put over Chris Benoit, claiming his bout with Benoit was the best of his career. Raven turns up to complain about a lack of title shot and doesn’t even want a title shot now because he wants the main event next week. That’s the main event of Thunder #9.
Brad Armstrong vs. Fit Finlay
WCW had such a deep talent pool. Brad was legitimately good but never could get over. These two had an incredible match in Europe for CWA. The crowd are not into this at all and it’s quite short. It’s a shame but both guys styles are archaic compared to the Steve Austin’s of the world. Both guys exist to add to Goldberg’s win column. Finlay murders Brad with a Tombstone and that’ll do it. They worked hard here but no one cared.
Final Rating: **
Dave Taylor vs. Davey Boy Smith
Two British Dave’s go head to head.
This is even more slight than the previous match with Taylor on job duty. Powerslam finishes.
Final Rating: Squash
Promo Time: Curt Hennig.
Hennig claims he’s on the same level as Bret Hart, in terms of size and experience. They’re both second generation and “my dad beat his dad”. I’m not convinced that’s actually true but this is wrestling, he’s a heel and he can say what he wants.
Rick Fuller vs. Bill Goldberg
It’s hard to put into words how bad Rick Fuller is (his Cagematch rating is 1.38/10.00). He’s only here as fodder for Goldberg. Big reaction for Big Bill and it’s getting louder every week and all he’s doing is mashing ham and eggers like Fuller. Fuller is 6’ 5” but can’t work a lick so Goldberg shrugs him off. Spear. Jackhammer. Still no win counter as yet.
Final Rating: Squash
La Parka vs. Yuji Nagata
Well this is certainly a match! NJPW Dad/Legend Nagata against lucha libre’s most charismatic man, the chair man of WCW, La Parka. This is another match I’d like to see get time to develop, which is never going to happen. You don’t get a Japanese guy vs. a Mexican guy in Iowa during the Attitude Era and it’s over. Parka, chair strumming lunatic that he is, is the more over of the two. Nagata works his socks off but nobody cares. La Parka, devious bastard that he is, tapes a chair to the side of the ring so he run Nagata into it with no one noticing. This leads to Disco hitting Sonny Onoo with the Stunner and the Nagatalock finishes. This was a bizarre match.
Final Rating: **1/4
Promo Time: Scott Hall
Score one more for the Good Guys! Hall has a big title shot coming up. He says a lot of nothing and we go to commercials. No Sting. Tony gets excited because Randy Savage is teaming with Sting on Monday. Macho Man has basically been kicked out of the nWo at this point.
Scott Steiner vs. Marty Jannetty
Steiner has Buff Bagwell as a Pitch Man. Steiner has his new look. “White Thunder”.
Jannetty has gone from competitive midcard bouts to being squashed by actual stars. He doesn’t look happy about it. He hung around another six months collecting pay cheques and doing house show jobs to Konnan and Yuji Nagata. Steiner squashes him.
Final Rating: Squash
Curt Hennig vs. Jim Neidhart
Tony claims this Monday’s Nitro will be the most important ever, and the Sting & Savage tag team is the most important match since the nWo angle started. File this match under: nobody gives a shit. Comms talk about the nWo. The crowd ignore it. Anvil has no heat outside of the Hart Foundation. The director has to cut away during the match because Scott Steiner has joined commentary and, in incredibly calm non-character speech, is threatening to kill Tony Schiavone.
The match, which had been routinely ignored, ends in a DQ when the nWo run in. Bulldog runs in for the eventual save after a three on one beatdown.
Final Rating: like, whatever
Just Kevin Nash having a lovely time in the World Championship Wrestling. pic.twitter.com/KfNgU8CuDT
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) November 26, 2018
Raven vs. Kevin Nash
This is another strange combination of guys but the reaction from the crowd is immense. Raven was a huge missed opportunity in WCW. The Flock was a budget nWo and was destined to never get over until Raven got pissed off and quit. The Flock all run in before the match starts and get thrown out by Nash. Basically one WCW main event guy was worth a dozen midcarders (in terms of pay that was literally true). Nash powerbombs Lodi a few times and Raven walks off having never touched Big Sexxxy.
Final Rating: NR
WCW United States Championship
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Chris Benoit
This doesn’t make sense. They’re building to DDP/Raven next week. Why even defend the title here? Especially DDP against a guy he beat at the PPV. Page is notorious for pre-planning and Benoit is capable of following a script. They throw out an action-packed little match. They go to a massive wide angle after Page gets accidentally opened up. You can barely see the ring!
Raven strolls down and that’s a no contest. Crowd are mad about their main event going nowhere but DDP pops them by hitting a pescado onto the brawling Raven and Benoit as Thunder goes off the air.
Final Rating: **1/2
The lack of big name players was refreshing here. No Hogan meant no rambling promo. We got to see some decent in-ring action too. There were too many matches and everything was too short but at least there was a lot of in-ring with good wrestlers involved. It’s a shame that only one luchadore was booked but all-in-all it was a solid show.