Thunder – March 12, 1998: The Beginning Of The WCW Formula

Thunder
Date: March 12, 1998
Location: Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan

It’s the final show before Uncensored and we’re limping into the pay per view. The show on Monday did very little to make me want to see Sunday’s show but hopefully tonight can pick things up a bit. I don’t remember anything being announced for tonight on Monday but I’m guessing it’ll focus on Hogan vs. Savage. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Giant to open the show. He wants Hogan and Nash but he wants to fight the entire NWO on his own tonight. Instead he gets Savage and Liz with Randy saying he likes the idea of Giant taking out Nash because it leaves Hogan all alone. Once Hogan is done, Savage wants his chance at the title. Cue Sting to say he’s the champion and he’ll defend the title tonight if Savage wants the shot. You know Macho isn’t turning that chance down.

Brad Armstrong vs. Raven

Raven offers to let Armstrong get out of the match before the beating begins. In 1980, Armstrong was rookie of the year and in 1981 he was half of the world tag team champions. Since then his career has fallen apart due to the Armstrong Curse. Raven understands Armstrong’s admiration for his father but thinks the bookers (his word) were jealous of Bob and are taking it out on Brad. He feels Brad’s pain and lays him out with the DDT. There’s the bell, Raven covers him for the pin and we’re done in about four seconds.

Here’s Chris Jericho with something to say. He’s on such a roll as of late and is feeling so good that he’s going to give Malenko a title shot tonight instead of waiting for Sunday. Jericho brags about his trophies such as Mysterio’s mask and his trophy tonight will be beating Dean with the Cloverleaf, which will then be named the Jericholeaf. Also, he knows 1004 holds. Oh it’s coming.

Jim Duggan vs. Kendall Windham

Duggan wins a quick slugout and scores with an atomic drop before they head outside. Kendall sends him into the post and barricade before heading back inside for a boot to the head. They slug it out again with Kendall slamming him down and putting on a chinlock, because THIS MATCH needs to keep going. Duggan fights up but walks into a clothesline, only to come back with a slam and the three point clothesline for the win. You know, for all those die hard Jim Duggan fans in 1998.

Scott Steiner vs. Johnny Grunge

Grunge brings a table but gets suckered into a right hand during a handshake. Johnny comes back with a hiptoss but walks into a belly to back suplex. Scott puts him in the Tree of Woe and pulls on the throat before going after the back. A bearhug makes Grunge scream but Johnny bites his way out of it.

Scott easily clotheslines him back down but runs into an elbow in the corner. Grunge gets a surprisingly close two off a neckbreaker but stops to look at his table from the apron. Johnny comes back by ramming Scott’s head into the buckle a few times but gets crotched coming back in. Scott knocks him through the table and puts the unconscious body in the Recliner for the win.

Rating: D. This wasn’t very good as you would expect. Steiner’s push as a heel continues to suck without the NWO there to make people care about him. It’s not helping him that Johnny Grunge is getting in offense on him and it takes a cheap shot for Scott to get the win. Another bad match here as Thunder devolves before my eyes.

Eddie Guerrero comes out and says he’ll win the TV Title on Sunday. However he’d rather talk about his nephew Chavo disgracing the Guerrero name. This brings out Chavo who wants to know why Eddie is on him all the time. Didn’t he just explain that? Anyway Chavo wants a match and Eddie agrees, but if Eddie wins then Chavo has to start listening to him. That’s fine, but if Chavo wins then Eddie has to start honoring the Guerrero name. The match is right now.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Chavo hits a quick clothesline to start and backdrops Eddie down. They’re moving very fast out there with Eddie taking over via some uppercuts before throwing Chavo to the apron. Chavo hangs on and Eddie charges into a headscissors to take him outside. A BIG plancha takes Eddie down and the fans love it. Back in and Chavo goes up top, only to be crotched on the ropes. Eddie loads up a superplex but Chavo counters into a tornado DDT for two. Uncle Eddie gets his foot on the ropes at two and stops Chavo with a low blow. The brainbuster sets up the frog splash for the pin. Too short to rate but this was good stuff.

Here are Bischoff and Hall to introduce Hogan. Bischoff is WAY too excited over Hogan’s arms. He calls the Giant the highest level of dumb: mega dumb. Hogan likes the idea of Giant vs. the entire NWO and they’re all wanting a piece of the big man. Hall, looking “under the weather” here, says Sting will have his hands full on Sunday and he’ll be watching the title match tonight. Hogan says the NWO will win tonight and on Sunday. No one had much to say here.

Konnan vs. Lizmark Jr.

Lizmark spins out of a quick snapmare attempt and they hit the mat for some technical stuff. Konnan gets bored and forearms Lizmark in the face before pulling on his pants a lot. Lizmark comes back with a shot to the ribs and a quick missile dropkick for a botched (Lizmark pulled up before Konnan kicked out or even moved at all) cover. Now the camera goes wide for some reason. It wasn’t that bad of a botch. Konnan rams him into the corner and gets a quick German suplex for two before finishing him with the 187 and the Tequila Sunrise. Another short match.

Post match Konnan goes for the mask but Juventud comes out for the save and takes the beating himself.

Here are Hennig and Rude with something to say. Rude talks about collecting a bounty from some people in Connecticut for taking out Bret Hart but now he’ll do it for free. Hennig admits that Bret is good, but there’s a big difference between good and great. Rude says they’ll make Bret sweat on Sunday.

Perry Saturn vs. Disco Inferno

Good night how many times did these two fight? Saturn takes him into the corner and hits some hard right hands to take over. A dropkick sends Disco to the outside but he decks Lodi instead of getting back inside. Back in and Inferno gets two on a sunset flip but gets thrown down with a pumphandle suplex.

A Falcon’s Arrow puts Disco down but Saturn jumps into a boot to the face for two. Another boot to the face with feet on the ropes gets two more but Saturn takes him down with a superkick. Disco reverses a whip into the corner into a spinebuster followed by a swinging neckbreaker for two. Not that it matters though as a head and arms suplex sets up the Rings of Saturn for the submission.

Rating: C. These two are at the point where they can have a decent match by familiarity alone. Disco didn’t look as good as he had recently but his hot streak couldn’t last forever. Saturn continues to be his odd but still great self. He’s another guy that had potential but was wasted once he got hot.

The Giant vs. NWO

It’s Hogan, Adams, Hennig, Hall, Norton, Konnan, Vincent and Steiner. Hall starts by throwing the toothpick and gets a headbutt and gorilla press slam as a result. Hennig comes in and tries to stick and move but gets thrown to the floor. Konnan comes in and gets powerbombed, meaning Giant is arrested to end the match. Nothing to see here.

Nash pops up as Giant is being led away. He throws coffee on Giant, causing the bigger man to break the chains and chase Nah off.

Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho is in the Juvy mask and jumps Dean before the bell. He pounds on Dean in the corner and hits a delayed vertical for the arrogant cover minus the COME ON BABY! Dean comes back with some right hands and a leg lariat for two. A belly to back suplex sets up the Texas Cloverleaf for the submission in less than three minutes.

Dean keeps pounding away and takes off the mask….and it’s Lenny Lane. Jericho comes in from behind and hits Dean with the belt before knocking out Lane as well. Malenko is put in the Liontamer for good measure.

Lex Luger vs. Scott Norton

Norton gets in a cheap shot on the way in and knocks Luger to the floor. Luger is sent into the barricade and the side of the ring before Norton takes him back inside for a flying shoulder block. A clothesline puts Luger down for two but here’s the comeback with the forearms and atomic drops. He loads up the Rack but Scott Steiner comes in for the fast DQ.

Rick Steiner makes the save and the WCW guys stand tall.

WCW World Title: Sting vs. Randy Savage

Savage jumps him to start and they slug it out with Sting still in the trench coat. Sting hits a quick atomic drop and drops Savage across the top rope. There’s the Scorpion but Hall comes in for the quick DQ.

Hogan comes in as well but leaves a few seconds later to bring in the troops. The good guys fight off the goons and Sting calls for something. A cable comes down from the ceiling and they hook up to fly into the rafters to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. This was hit and miss all night long. The main matches combining to be about five minutes long didn’t help but we covered a lot of stuff for Sunday. It still comes off as a total filler pay per view but after all the big shows we’ve had lately they have to take a breather at some point. The NWO stuff was really dull though as it was like a teaser trailer instead of a full on preview for you movie people out there.

Here’s Uncensored if you’re interested:

Uncensored 1998 Redo: One Of The Worst Main Events Ever

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