Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WCW Thunder 1/8/98 the Debut Edition
Here it is Thunder. Two more hours of wrestling and then another hour for Nitro soon! So much for the easy contracts! Though I am sure they may make appearances most of the big guns will not wrestle very often. And Bret Hart does not have that many wrestling dates. However, I am sure they will pull out all the stops to lure in viewers such as the Sting and Hogan aftermath and Starrcade footage as well as the EB and Larry match. Anyway I hope there is more wrestling on this show. The ratings were strong with the inaugural edition with a 4.0. Oh and the damn thing is three hours!
Tony and Lee Marshall and Heenan are the announcers and Savage was the first match but he has not arrived. They are showing footage from Nitro, the beginning from last week. Never mind they are recapping the entire damn show.
Match 1: Chris Adams v. Randy Savage
He is here after all. Savage knocks him down, works him over and pulls him up at the two count. He runs him from corner to corner. He kicks him a few times as the ref yells at him to stop. Savage slams him and then dumps over the top. Savage goes out after him and gets whipped into the post. Savage sells the arm being hurt and limps around and now it is clear why he was gimpy for so damn long Luger took an hour to come out and belt him with a chair! Savage is rolled into the ring and pinned.
Angle advancement but Luger needs to be on the ball.
JJ Dillon is talking to the ref….commercial.
Here comes Hogan and Bischoff. Hogan does his thing; bowing and flexing and ripping off his shirt. Bischoff claims that there is nothing wrong in the nWo and Hollywood gets his title back. Hogan brags that the ladies love him in Daytona and he is the champ because he is too sweet. Everyone will see the three count tonight and that is the way it was, is and will be. He has the largest arms, too rich, too big and too tan! All those little Stinger mask that the fans wear are appropriate because of the little tear rolling down. Sting will never beat the man who made professional wrestling and he and everyone else bows to him. He is the champ and will be for life.
JJ Dillon is with Mike Tenay and he is upset with Luger for interfering. He has to follow Nick Landros’ orders therefore he has no choice but to reverse the decision. Luger comes out and is sick and tired of it. The nWo has attacked them for years and now they take action when WCW fights back. JJ can do what he wants while they do what they want. He wants to know where he was when he was attacked at Starrcade. JJ splutters he is just trying to do his job…..a solid Lex promo!
Match 2: Louie Spicolli v. Rick Martel
Talk about a curse. Spicolli and Chris Adams are both dead! They lock up and exchange holds and moves and Louie stops at the ropes only to get clotheslined to the floor. Rick goes after him and they end up back in the ring and Rick hiptosses him a few times and Spicolli runs to the floor and heads up the ramp. Martel runs out and rolls him back into the ring. Louie kicks him as Rick rolls back in, the Flock heads down to ringside, Louie is working him over in the corner. Rick gets two after a crossbody after the whip. Louie goes up top and misses, Rick hits him and connects with a back body drop. Martel misses the dropkick and there are some awkward moves here as Martel catches him with a spinebuster. He starts to turn him over into the Crab, does so and it is over.
Not a very good match.
Recap of Hall and the Giant at Starrcade.
Match 3: Tenzan v. Ohara
Tenzan is a Japanese member of the nWo. Ohara chops him in the corner and strikes with a series of punches. Tenzan collapses and is up and now they are exchanging blows. Ohara is now knocked down. Tenzan bodyslams him and chops the throat. Ohara hops up and rakes the eyes but misses off the whip and is nailed with a spinkick. Sonny distracts him and Ohara runs him over. Tenzan is powerbombed and nearly pinned. Ohara runs into a boot and gets hit with a double axe. Tenzan spikes him into the mat headfirst. Tenzan goes up top and finishes him off with the diving headbutt.
Recap of the Bret Hart and Flair showdown.
Match 4: Chris Jericho v. Ric Flair
Jericho is once again embarrassed and ashamed and now he is a changed man. His behavior over the last couple of weeks has been atrocious. The real Jericho is not the whining, sniveling person that all his fans have been seeing. The real Jericho is sorry to his fans who place him on a pedestal as he makes their life better. He gives Penzer another jacket and assures everyone that it will not happen again.
They lock up and Flair is shoved into the corner. Flair comes back with a shoulderblock. Jeriicho is up and returns the favor and then catapults Flair, dropkicks him and Flair starts to beg off but is kicked and whipped into the corner where he is back body dropped. Flair sells the knee and slaps Jericho. He pokes the eyes and now it is chop time! Flair goes for a back suplex but Jericho lands on his feet and goes on the offensive. He suplexes him into the ring from the apron, however he misses the Lionsault and for some reason the ref is distracted as Flair nuts him. Flair chops and punches him out in the corner. But Jericho comes back with some chops of his own, flips him into the corner, dropkicks him and then slams him. Jericho misses from the top again and is elbowed and he taps quickly after the Figure Four is applied.
Good match. Jericho got in some offense. Schiavone claims it is one of Flair’s biggest wins!
Jericho runs off Penzer after he tears off his jacket and throws a fit.
Match 5: Meng v. the Giant
Meng tries to budge him but gets powerslammed. He is back dropped, a big one. Giant brings in Jimmy Hart and boots Meng. Giant tosses Hart into Meng and Meng cannot shove him off but Giant misses in the corner and Meng chops away at him. Meng dropkicks the knee and kicks him in the head getting a two count. Meng’s blows have zero effect and he runs right into a goozle and game over.
This is what irks me about WCW. Yes, the Giant should win but Meng is built up as a monster most of the time and then just gets squased and will go back to being a monster….
Match 6: Steve McMichael v. Goldberg
Mongo dives into him from the apron and then flings him into the steel steps. Goldberg is rolled back into the ring but he is right back up. Goldberg kicks him and then powerslams him through the mat. He goes for a whip but takes off his head with a lariat and then takes him down and applies a cross armbreaker. Mongo clips the legs and strikes with a shoulder block from the middle rope. After the one count he takes out the leg and again but Goldberg no sells it and spears him! It is Jackhammer time and game over.
Now the fans are reacting.
Match 7: Konnan and Buff Bagwell v. the Steiners
Scotty and Buff circle one another and Buff flexes as Scotty stares and whaps him upside the head. Scotty takes him down and Buff retreats to the floor. Konnan is in and he does his shtick. Rick gets the tag and he clubs him and then runs him upside down into the corner. Buff gets the tag and he takes charge, slams him but jumps right into a belly to belly. Scotty and Konnan get the tag and Scotty cleans house and Konnan gets killed with an exploder suplex. Rick helps clear the ring and goes up top for the finish but Scotty decides to go up the other corner and he finishes him with the Frankensteiner.
Good put over for Scotty as they are clearly turning him heel. On Nitro Rick was not perturbed but clearly is getting annoyed.
Replay of EB and Larry match.
Tenay calls out Zybszko. Larry is talking about Scott Hall and how impressive he once was and how he could not beat Larry. He made him cry in the ring (AWA) and this is why he hates his guts. Larry took him to the crossroads of greatness but he took the easy way out. He is heading straight to Larryland. Oh, Larry can bench 400 and shoot a 73 and he has retired people. He has wrestled in front of the President and Emperor of Japan and the King of Samoa while Hall was in grade school picking his nose and he will change the nWo come Souled Out.
Another good promo.
Match 7: Scott Hall v. Ray Traylor
Hall takes him over the top, and smacks the back of his head. Hall is punched and then run into the top buckle head first. Ray mounts him in the corner and unloads on him. He squashes him in the other corner and Hall rolls to the floor after the back elbow. Ray goes out after him and bashes his head on the apron, rolls him back into the ring, and it is bearhug time. Hall escapes and is knocked to the floor, Ray goes after him and gets waffled with the fake belt. Hall rolls him back in and gets two. Ray tries to get to his feet but he gets bulldogged from the middle rope for another two count. Hall chokes him out with his boot and heads to the floor and grabs a chair but Larry is there and tells him to put it down and Hall gets back in the ring and wants a piece of him and so Larry gets on the apron and Hall turns right into the Traylor Spike and it is over!
Hall has been putting a lot of people over lately. Not well, but still doing it.
Match 8: Juventud Guerrera v. Ultimo Dragon (c) for WCW Cruiserweight Title
They lock up and Dragon pushes him into the corner and they lock up again and Dragon has him in a headlock. Juvie is up but is kicked in the head, Dragon misses the elbow and Juvie screws up a springboard kick and he gets two. Juvie misses in the corner and is kicked in the head. Juvie tries to knock him off the top but he is knocked onto the ropes and falls to the floor. Dragon muffs a moonsault now! They are back in the ring and Dragon barely lands off the back drop and he comes back with a German suplex. Juvie is placed up top and Dragon goes up and is on top of him and just falls off and Juvie leaps and is dropkicked. Juvie comes back with a DDT and wins with the 450….
Wow, another title change! I think Eddie was going to Japan….but why not lose it to Malenko? Oh well it hurts my head.
Tenay calls out Bret Hart who jumps at the pyro and laughs! His music is TERRIBLE. Tenay tells him that it is official that Bret will face Flair at Souled Out. He wants everyone to understand and for years he has called himself the best and it is not a slight on anyone else. He has nothing but respect for Flair; he admires and respects that but he believes in himself and he has accomplished a lot such as a five time WWF champ. Now that he is in WCW he does not feel has to prove himself. He will once again prove he is the best and starts his mantra and here comes Naitch! Flair mockingly bows. Flair tells him that they are going to wrestle at the PPV and many have wanted him to say that phrase again because it is that good. He makes fun of the saying and really wants him to say it. Bret is going to say it and then prove it one more time. He says it and he will prove it. Flair responds that in twenty five years some people have said some stupid things to him but this is damnedest thing. Flair tells him that Bret was fourteen when he watched him and wanted to be just like him. Flair praises Bret’s heritage and that he has been champ five times and Flair was wrestling Brody, he was in Tokyo and St. Louis and he has been around the world thirteen times. Flair is going off about Bret claiming that he is better and Bret responds that to be the man he is going to have to beat him. Flair does not let him leave and Bret will find out it is not beating the man it is staying the man!
Jesus Bret is in over his head here….
Match 8: Scott Norton v. Lex Luger
Norton attacks him right away, runs him into the rail and post. Norton works him over in the corner but misses the running splash. Luger goes off with lariats and Buff gets pasted as he gets on the apron and it is shoulder breaker time….The announcers claim that no one has ever kicked out of it! Anyway Norton is Racked and Savage comes down and misses with the chair and is knocked down and Luger stands tall.
Pretty much a squash.
They go to the footage after both men are down. Hogan rakes the eyes and slams him but misses the legdrop. Sting gets to his feet and stomps on Hogan and flexes. It is Stinger Splash time and the second one sends the ref down and Tony screams they are out of time…..It is still rolling and Hogan is put in the Deathlock and Nick Patrick makes his way into the ring and he talks to Sting and Sting grabs him and tosses him into the ring and shakes him. Hogan hits him and rolls him up with the tights and gets the three count and some cheer and most are stunned and cops ring around the ring! Patrick gives him the belt but is tossed out and now Sting is beating down Hogan and Hulk calls out the troops but he is getting choked out. He turns Hogan into the Deathlock and Randy Anderson calls for the bell and there is no bell. JJ Dillon comes down. EB tries to grab the belt after he comes down and he knees JJ in the head only to get a Deathdrop. Sting goes after Hogan and the nWo charges the ring and they attack him and here comes Bret Hart! Hogan and EB skedaddle as Hart goes nuts and now DDP and the Steiners and Ray Traylor and Heat and Luger and Mongo all come down and the nWo is getting annihilated! They retreat to the floor and Hogan and EB are whining on the way to the back.
Now to Thunder and Tenay is with JJ Dillon. The Executive Committee has made its decision and JJ wants Hogan to come out. Now he wants Sting to come out and bring the belt. JJ calls the last ten days stressful and the decision is binding and the conclusion is that effective immediately and the belt is being held up and vacated until they can come up with some sort of decision. Sting is not happy! Sting tells him that he has no guts and that Hogan is a dead man!!
Match 9: DDP (c) v. Kevin Nash for WCW US Title
Nash postures and DDP does the Bang for the crowd. They lock up and DDP is shoved off. Nash hits him and drops him with a short clothesline. He pulls him up and DDP cannot hip toss him but does with the swinging neckbreaker and he gets a two count. Nash runs him over, and he slowly, and I mean slowly picks him apart with his usual repertoire. He is working over the ribs. DDP fires back but is whipped into teh corner and run over. Nash side slams him and keeps up the offensive. DDP is tossed to the floor and the fans are not as behind DDP as they usually are. DDP is flung into the steel steps and rolled back into the ring. He hitse Nash but is kneed in the head and set up on the middle rope and jumped on. DDP is dropped throat first on the top rope or in the corner actually. Nash drops the elbow and gets two. DDP goes for the Cutter and Hogan intervenes and the bell is rung and Nash boots DDP and goes for the powerbomb and out comes the Giant and he enters the ring and it is a staredown! Nash knees him and now they go back and forth and Hogan joins in and it fades….
Final Thoughts: Really not a bad debut. Now the main event blew. DDP is built up as a great face but anytime he faces Hogan and now Nash he gets pummeled. Jesus, make the guy strong! Now I had hoped for some more wrestling but there were a couple of decent matches with Flair and Jericho being the best. Flair is owning Bret on the mic, and makes me wonder if they should not have waited and I know I said no fantasy booking but Flair needs to finish with Hennig and Hart should be in the thick of things with the nWo. Savage and Lex finally have a top feud….with each other. Nash and the Giant will finally continue and the Sting/Hogan drama continues. Now it would be nice to move it along with Sting winning cleanly. But to have him do so on Nitro? It needs to end conclusively and no matter they would have a match either at Souled Out or SuperBrawl. Now it was overbooked nonsense of course but it was not too bad. Sting getting rolled up is odd but I guess he did win twice. I guess we will see as they are making the best of a bad situation. And I am sure it would have turned out almost similar. There were a lot of good promos tonight and they were better than Nitro’s and in fact Thunder was on par with Nitro but I am sure that will not last. It is a lot of wrestling to have in one week but hopefully it gives them to time to build stars and flesh out storylines. Something I forgot to mention on the last Nitro at least Nick came out and was pretty much outed as still being with the nWo.