Thunder – March 26, 1998: It’s A Bad Sign When The Improved Show Still Sucks

Thunder
Date: March 26, 1998
Location: Patriot Center, Fairfax, Virginia
Commentators: Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

We’re getting closer to Spring Stampede and most of the card is pretty clear. That being said, the picture we’re getting isn’t all that pretty. The bat match announced on Monday is nothing special and it’s going to overshadow Sting vs. Savage which has the potential to be decent. The interesting question for tonight is will we get any followup on Goldberg’s attack on the NWO last week. Let’s get to it.

Here are Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero Jr. to open the show. Chavo has to scratch Eddie’s back on the way to the ring. Eddie says Chavo has a TV Title shot tonight, but he hasn’t proven himself yet. Therefore, Eddie will be taking the title shot and Chavo gets this match.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Chris Benoit

Benoit immediately chops Chavo down to start and stomps him into the corner. We cut up the commentary desk where Rick Rude and Eric Bischoff take over. Now we go back to the ring with Chavo still chopping away. Some backbreakers put Chavo down as Bischoff compares WCW to Kenneth Starr, because wrestling fans want to hear about current political events when they watch wrestling. Chavo comes back with some shots to the ribs and a dropkick gets no cover. Benoit comes back with a knee to Chavo’s ribs and drapes Chavo over the top rope. Chavo sunsets flips him for two but walks into the Crossface for the submission.

Rating: D+. This didn’t have time to go anywhere but Benoit’s yo-yo push continues. He goes from a US Title shot to jobbing to Norton to drawing with Booker T to being a bishop (he’s too good to be a pawn) in the Guerrero feud. It’s almost like WCW isn’t paying attention to what they do with him and just throw him out there at random.

Here are Hogan and Bischoff in the ring. Bischoff complains about WCW having people like Piper out here to cause trouble and says it’s easy to understand why Hogan has so many disciples. Hogan insists that there are no rifts in the NWO despite any footage WCW may show. He and Nash are best friends for life and WCW is just putting them in matches in hopes that they’ll argue. They’ll win at the PPV, just like they did on Monday.

This brings out Nash who says that he knows someone is pulling the NWO’s strings but no one pulls his. Hogan may claim to lead the NWO but everyone knows the heart and soul of the NWO is the Wolfpack. If Hogan is in charge, why is Syxx out of a job and why is Hall never on live TV? Hogan says Syxx couldn’t cut the mustard but doesn’t know where Hall is. Hogan: “I thought you knew.” Hollywood blames Savage for the problems and says they can deal with them at the PPV. He would partner with Nash anytime but Nash says it would be his honor brother, which confuses Eric and Hogan.

La Parka vs. Prince Iaukea

No entrance for either guy for the sake of time. La Parka does his dance to start before charging into a boot in the corner. A spinwheel kick staggers Iaukea but he sends La Parka to the floor for a flip dive off the apron. Back in and an elbow to the face gets two on the Prince but he grabs a northern lights suplex for a pn on La Parka out of nowhere. This was nothing.

Here’s Lex Luger to say that he and Sting will accept Hogan and Nash’s open challenge for a tag match tonight. I didn’t exactly hear an open challenge but whatever gets us to tonight’s run-in palooza is fine.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Disco Inferno

The crowd LOUDLY tells Jericho that he sucks on the way to the ring. They trade headlocks to start until Disco takes him down with a clothesline. Disco stomps him down in the corner and hits a middle rope fist to the head for two. Jericho takes him down and kicks Disco in the ribs before getting two off a suplex. Disco runs into a boot in the corner but comes back with an atomic drop and a neckbreaker for two each. That’s it for Disco though as he gets caught in a butterfly backbreaker and the Liontamer retains the title. Short and not much to this one.

Jericho takes Disco’s headband for the trophy case.

Goldberg vs. Jerry Flynn

Tony does the ads for future shows and actually uses the term house shows. Goldberg asked for this match after Flynn gave him a test. Flynn fires off his kicks and takes Goldberg to the mat, only to be caught in a leg bar. A powerslam puts Jerry down but he grabs an armbar. Goldberg will have none of that and powerbombs him down before breaking out of a choke. They trade a few more holds and Flynn actually scores with some kicks. I don’t even get done typing that line before the spear and Jackhammer make Goldie 62-0.

Kidman vs. Psychosis

Psychosis is now a face apparently. This is a revenge match as Lodi was injured in his match on Monday so Kidman is out to hurt Psychosis in turn. Kidman jumps him from behind and sends Psychosis into the ropes for a very slow motion Tajiri handspring elbow minus the handspring or the elbow. Instead he rolled and hit the middle rope and didn’t do any elbowing but it’s the best I’ve got. Psychosis goes up top but gets shoved to the floor for a big dive from Kidman.

Back in and Kidman gets two off a sitout spinebuster before putting on a chinlock with a knee in the back. Psychosis counters a powerbomb and gets two off a clothesline but charges into an elbow in the corner. Kidman is dropkicked into the ropes and Psychosis gets two off the guillotine legdrop with Kidman still in the ropes. Psychosis gets crotched on the top and superplexed down for no cover. Instead here’s Sick Boy to miss a springboard dropkick and hit Kidman by mistake, allowing Psychosis to hit the full guillotine legdrop for the pin.

Rating: C-. Psychosis getting a little push is nice to see, but he was sloppy here. That’s odd to see as he was usually one of the better fliers in the company. Kidman was getting better every time he was out there but he still had a way to go. Also it’s nice to see some continuing stories in the lower card which is usually one random match after another. Decent stuff here too.

Here’s DDP to say he doesn’t want WCW’s help in getting the US Title back. He talks about being trained by Jake Roberts and is sick of Raven’s whining. Page is going to bang him soon.

British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart vs. Curt Hennig/Bryan Adams

It’s a brawl to start as Rude takes over on commentary from Marshall. We start with Smith vs. Adams as Davey ducks a big boot and trips Adams down for two. Off to Neidhart for some lame arm work and a slam before Hennig comes in with some shots to the back. A big shoulder runs Hennig over and it’s back to Davey who has to chase Hennig around the ring, allowing Bryan to get in a cheap shot.

Adams comes in legally and gets in some shots but Bulldog easily tags Neidhart back in. This is really dull so far. Neidhart is sent into the NWO corner and pounded down before walking into an Adams piledriver for two. A double clothesline gets two on Jim but he gets to his corner for the tag to Bulldog who cleans part of a house. Everything breaks down and they all go to the floor, brawling until the match juts ends in I think a double DQ.

Rating: D-. I know I said Benoit seemed to have no direction but it’s even truer with Bulldog and Smith. They’ve been thrown out there and are kind of fighting on Bret’s behalf against Hennig but they can’t be associated with him, meaning they can’t talk about him. The matches are really dull too, making these segments low points for the shows.

US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Saturn

The war continues as Page still doesn’t have the belt itself. Saturn jumps Page as he comes in but gets caught in a sunset flip for two. A rollup gets the same for the champion but he walks into a t-bone suplex for two. Saturn hooks an abdominal stretch to work on Page’s bad ribs but Page quickly hip tosses out of it.

Now Page puts on an abdominal stretch of his own but Saturn counters into a northern lights suplex for two. We hit the chinlock as the announcers talk about the NWO. Page fights up and hits a quick belly to belly for two. Saturn hits a quick jawbreaker but gets crotched on top. Cue Raven with the belt on the stage so Page catches a diving Saturn in the Diamond Cutter and goes after Raven for the countout.

Rating: C+. The match didn’t last long but the Diamond Cutter at the end looked great. Saturn is very well rounded in the ring and there was a nice story going on with him being able to counter everything Page had but DDP having one big move to knock Saturn out. The lack of time hurt this one badly.

TV Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T

Before the bell, Booker asks Chavo why he’s giving up a title shot so easily. Eddie answers for his nephew and says this is family business. Booker says he’ll show Chavo how to deal with a bully but Eddie has some brass knuckles on his hand. He lays out Booker as the bell rings but only gets two. Chavo takes the knuckles off Eddie’s hand and throws them to him, drawing a quick DQ.

Eddie makes Chavo hit Booker with the knuckles and the stomping begins but Benoit comes out for the save. Tag match coming up it seems.

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Norton

A Buff distraction lets Norton get in a cheap shot for early control. Scott shoves him into the corner but walks into a belly to belly, allowing Rick to go after the leg. Back up and Norton no sells an elbow to the face before taking Steiner down. He stomps away but Rick bites his leg, only earning himself more stomping. Buff gets in some choking of his own but gets glared down by DiBiase.

Norton ducks his head and gets kicked in the face, allowing Rick to hit another belly to belly. A clothesline puts Norton on the floor but here’s Scott Steiner with a dog collar. They screw up the ending as Norton misses a shot with the collar and Rick picks it up. He swings but stops halfway through, allowing Norton to try a belly to back suplex. Now the collar to the head is enough to pin Norton.

Rating: D. Another boring match but at least Norton lost for a change. The ending here looked terrible as the referee was obviously looking at what was going on in addition to the bad timing of the collar shot. This was nothing to see, which is a running theme on tonight’s show.

Lex Luger/Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan/Kevin Nash

Nash is in street clothes. Hogan and Sting get things going with the champion knocking Hollywood down with ease. Sting shoves him down and flexes a bit so Hogan takes the bandana off. The champion blocks a ram into the buckle and pounds away in the corner. Off to Luger who gets caught by a thumb to the eye, allowing for the tag to Nash. Kevin runs Luger over and it’s back to Hogan for some choking. Hogan holds Luger for Nash but Lex avoids the big boot which hits Hogan instead. There’s the hot tag to Sting as everything breaks down. Nash takes the Stinger Splash but Savage runs in for the DQ.

Rating: D. Yep it was about three minutes long and ended in a run-in. As usual, this was all about the NWO with the world champion and Luger just filling in spots. Sting’s momentum is completely gone just a few months after he was the biggest star in WCW. But hey, at least we’re getting MORE Hogan right?

Post match Savage goes after Sting but Hogan goes after Savage for no apparent reason. Nash pulls Hogan off of Savage so they have a staredown but the rest of the NWO comes in for the big brawl. Sting and Luger manage to fight them off with relative ease and Hogan argues with Nash to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. There’s some decent wrestling in there but most of the matches were too short to mean anything. The main event sucked and was angle advancement, which is ok some of the time but when that’s all the main events are anymore it’s hard to care. Somehow this was a big improvement over last week’s show. At least there was some star power this week.

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