WCW Thunder #4
January 29 1998
It’s my birthday today so I got sent home early from work. What shall I do with my spare time I internally asked myself. “Review WCW Thunder” memed a reply from 20 years ago (you had to be there). Seeing as I am in the process of working my way through WCW Thunder here comes number four!
We’re in Memphis, Tennessee at the historic Mid-South Coliseum. Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Stagger Lee Marshall.
WCW United States Championship
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Sick Boy
Well gee, I wonder who’s going to win here? Main event star DDP or one of the members of Raven’s Flock who’s never won a title? A little known fact: Sick Boy actually went to WWE in 2000 and wrestled there for three years! Entirely doing dark matches for Jakked and such. I was rabidly following wrestling in 2000, especially the E and I never saw him. Heenan tries to hard to put Sick Boy over. “He’s only going to get better” etc. Or not.
DDP known for meticulously planning out his matches. Sick Boy known for…well… pic.twitter.com/xs9J7n0HDc
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) October 2, 2018
Naturally DDP wins because anything else would be a farce. Even by WCW standards. The Diamond Cutter is getting pretty popular. Naturally DDP, aging and at the peak of his powers here, would continue in the mid-card until a badly timed heel turn in 1999 finally netted him the WCW title. DDP goes to celebrate in the crowd. “The People’s Champion”.
Final Rating: *3/4
We’re about to come back from commercials. The crowd is dead. Someone is loudly counting down. “3-2-1” and suddenly the crowd erupts. And this made it onto TV. Marvellous.
Promo Time: JJ Dillon
He fines Kevin Nash $50k for hitting a powerbomb, an illegal move, on Ray Traylor. You can’t ban the powerbomb! Nash only has three moves. That’s a third of his offence!
Meng vs. Jim Duggan
Duggan is a very bit part player at this point. The USA business is still over in the Southern States but this is two guys coasting by on former WWF glories. Duggan even using his patriotic rhetoric against evil foreigner Meng. Duggan is dumb as rocks. He quickly discovers head shots don’t work on the Islander and proceeds to continue before being beaten to the ground. The finish is shit too. Jimmy Hart throws the 2×4 in but Duggan intercepts it. Meng takes it, no sells and grabs the Tongan Death Grip for the win.
Final Rating: ½*
Raven vs. Marty Jannetty
Raven had a gimmick where he refused to adhere to your “rules” and merely worked no DQ matches to allow all his chair based ECW offence to be used. Raven came in from ECW a few months back so he still feels like an outsider invading. Only not as successfully as the New World Order. His promos were quite special during this era. He understood what it meant to be an outsider. Not just in WCW but in wrestling and his grunge attitude was different. It would probably come across as mopey and irritating nowadays but then it was the right time and right place. Jannetty tries hard but he’s all over the place. At one point hitting a fist drop off the top rope. A FIST DROP. What the fuck? Raven drills him with the DDT and casually pins for the win. Jannetty did everything in his power to make Raven look good but enhancement was all he was good for at this point because he looked like a complete dork. Solid hand though.
Final Rating: **3/4
Surprised WCW didn’t have him tag with Flair or some shit.
Yuji Nagata vs. Bill Goldberg
Nagata at this point was a 7-year pro, splitting his time between New Japan and WCW. Far from the finished article of New Japan post-Attitude. Nagata gets in an armbar before Goldberg gets mad and chokes him for it. Spear. Jackhammer. You know the drill. How easy was it for Goldberg to get over with his intensity?
Final Rating: Squash!
Video Control takes us back to Nitro where Randy Savage got mad at Hulk Hogan….again. My favourite line here is Hogan saying he’s responsible for “the whole success of wrestling”.
Promo Time: Scott Hall
Normally this is Hogan’s time to come out and yack but he’s already bored with working Thursday’s so Scott Hall takes his spot here. Crowd are very pro-nWo. Even Scott’s usual bullshit “that’s very close” isn’t accurate. It’s really not. Scott Hall just won World War III but he’ll never receive a title shot (for WCW reasons). He introduces the newest member of the nWo: Dusty fuckin’ Rhodes.
This makes me sad. He was not the right man for this spot at all. This was a swerve for the sake of it. Big Dust complains that he got dumped from the “12th floor” down to doing colour commentary. Rhodes does a good job of explaining why he’s turned to the dark side but he just doesn’t belong there! At all!
Note throughout tonight nWo wrestlers wear the “6” shirt in support of the injured Sean Waltman. He would never return and would jump ship to the WWF to appear on RAW the night after WrestleMania in a surprise!
Scott Hall vs. Disco Inferno
It’s almost like they want Hall to get cheered! Hall
Scott Hall mocking the Giant whilst squashing TV jobber Disco Inferno pic.twitter.com/eDIwcZockX
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) October 2, 2018
All this stuff gets decent reactions. “It’s one thing to mock him but to ridicule him?” says Stagger Lee. Hall is fucking around so much that Dusty has to pull him out of the ring after he gets caught with a Chartbuster. Schiavone continues with “Konnan is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world”. Do you even hear yourselves? Konnan isn’t even in the Top 5 Mexican wrestlers in WCW! Razor’s Edge finishes when Hall finally gets around to taking the match seriously.
Final Rating: ½*
Promo Time: Nick Patrick
He’s been suspended for a month without pay (or so he says, it’s been 2 weeks) and yet keeps turning up to work dressed as a referee. Or maybe he tends bar somewhere nearby? Who knows.
WCW World TV Championship
Booker T (c) vs. Saturn
This has a shot at being good but it’s really short. Maybe they shouldn’t have let Scott Hall fuck around for so long. The match is super energised and I end up a bit miffed I don’t get to see more of it. Like it’s really, really good. Fast paced, cool moves, plenty of chemistry. The Flock interfere. Rick Martel runs in for the save but Saturn runs Book into Martel causing the faces to disagree. “Martel is in here with a concussion”. Oh lordy. Really good match though.
Final Rating: ***
Chris Jericho & Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko
There’s some talent in this one huh? Headed up by super jerk cruiser champ Jericho. Eddie is also heel and uses the odd eye rake. I know Benoit’s legacy has been horribly tainted so I’m more into this match when Malenko is involved. The match is so good, especially for 1998 when wrestling was shit. It’s all beautifully fluid. They set up spots by using everyone involved. I love the finish where Dean absolutely chucks Jericho across the ring on a superplex and Benoit flies in with the headbutt before getting the submission. This was great. Jericho does a splendid job of walking out of here with his belt held high.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post Match: Benoit attempts to string together a sentence and it’s horrendous. I’ve never known a bigger gap between in-ring talent and the ability to actually speak in a convincing manner. DDP arrives to challenge Benoit to a match for the US title as he thinks it’d be pretty neat. That’s happening next week on Thunder.
WCW Tag Team Championship
Kevin Nash & Konnan (c) vs. The Steiner Brothers
The Outsiders are tag team champions but nobody seems to give a fuck about that so we’ve got Konnan randomly tagging with Nash when Hall has already wrestled tonight. Why Konnan? I just don’t get it. The Steiners are on the same page here. Different to the recent Scotty hotdogging. It’s an attempt to claim everything is ok ahead of the PPV, where this match is actually taking place against the actual tag team champions. This is pretty aimless until Buff Bagwell runs in to distract Scott Steiner with a Super Posedown opportunity. Nash then clonks Rick with the tag belt for the cheap DQ. These main events are unwatchable. Nash drops the referee with a powerbomb so that’s another fine. “I got a bad heart” bullshits Nash on his way out of the ring.
Final Rating: DUD
As per usual all the nWo stuff stank and everything else was pretty good. Three matches at **3/4+ here. The tag with Jericho & Guerrero being the stand out. Outside of the nWo they were doing good storyline stuff too. Like DDP coming out to challenge Benoit as the Canadian Crippler thought he wasn’t getting the shots he was due. There is this huge divide here where you’ve got 50% workrate freaks putting on great matches and 50% goofballs working shit matches and getting all the money. I’m hoping that as Thunder progresses the nWo boys lose interest in working it and leave me with some high quality graps. This is WCW though so I’m not holding my breath.