Thunder – April 22, 1998: Sting Shoots

Thunder
Date: April 22, 1998
Location: Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, South Carolina
Commentators: Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

We’re just past Spring Stampede but the more interesting show was Monday Nitro, where two major title changes occurred. Goldberg won the US Title, but the more interesting change at the moment is Hollywood Hogan taking the world title from transitional champion Randy Savage thanks to interference from Bret Hart. This would be the same Bret Hart who had talked about how much he couldn’t stand Hogan for months now. Let’s get to it.

This show is airing on a Wednesday for reasons that haven’t been explained.

The announcers can barely talk over the Goldberg chants.

Here are Hogan, Bischoff and Disciple to open the show. Bischoff says Hogan is back and Disciple spray paints NWO on the belt again. Eric goes on a rant about how WCW is trying to keep Hogan out of the NWO as the fans think Hogan sucks. Hogan talks about all the people in the back that don’t want him to be world champion.

Everyone is jealous of him because he’s the man, just like the back of his shirt says. Now that the NWO is back together, everything is right again and the ratings prove it. That’s not a joke. Hogan actually said it. Hollywood says he’s retired Savage because Randy dissed him. Nothing special here.

We get more Hogan from Monday for some reason.

We see Savage accusing Hogan of driving the Viper that ran him over from Monday.

TV Title: Disco Inferno vs. Booker T

Booker is defending of course and takes over with some knees to the ribs and chops to the chest. A backdrop to Disco is enough to get the announcers to focus on the match instead of talking about Bret. Booker kicks Disco down and there’s the ax kick for good measure. Inferno is sent over the top and an ax handle off the apron keeps him down. Booker sends him into the steps as this has been one sided so far.

Back in and it’s time to talk about Bret some more. Disco hurts his leg on a leapfrog attempt but he’s goldbricking to take over. An atomic drop puts Booker down but it’s time to dance before the cover. We hit the chinlock but Booker counters into a rollup for two. The big spinebuster puts Disco down again and the Harlem Side Kick sets up the missile dropkick to retain Booker’s title.

Rating: C. This was fine. Booker T was using the most basic formula known to man to get over: he won a bunch of matches. I don’t get why wrestling companies over think this today. Booker has won nearly every match he’s had for four months and the fans are buying into him. It really is that simple but it so rarely happens.

Clip of the title match from Nitro.

Prince Iaukea vs. Barbarian

Did they pull these names out of a fishbowl or something? Barbarian jumps Iaukea to start but the Prince comes back with a dropkick. The fans want Flair but they get a chop block from Barbarian instead. Iaukes comes back by biting but Barbarian kicks the leg out to keep control. The Kick of Fear is good for the pin on Prince out of nowhere. Squash.

Clips from DDP vs. Raven at the PPV.

Another Savage vs. Hogan clip. I think we have a theme tonight.

Vicious and Delicious vs. Rick Steiner/Lex Luger

Rick and Buff get us going with Rick shoving the posing Bagwell into the corner. Buff comes back with right hands and a dropkick for the strutting pose. Rick no sells a suplex and punches Buff down before a big Steiner Line sets up a belly to belly superplex. Off to Luger for a middle rope ax handle but Buff comes right back and tags in Norton. Luger throws Norton around with ease and clotheslines him down but Bagwell breaks up a Rack attempt.

A clothesline puts Luger down and it’s back to Buff for some choking. Norton hits a backbreaker but Luger comes back with a Russian legsweep to make the tag to Rick. Everything breaks down and Rick cleans house with backdrops. It’s down to Rick vs. Buff with Rick going up for the bulldog. The camera misses most of the move as Scott Steiner is taking a chair from Vincent. After the bulldog hits, Scott blasts Rick with the chair, giving Buff the “pin”.

Rating: D. This was a really lame match with everyone going in first gear the entire time. I lost track of the amount of clotheslines being used and Buff wouldn’t sell anything done to him. The Steiner Brothers feud needs to go somewhere already as they split two months ago and nothing of note has happened since.

Now for the serious story: that bulldog severely injured Buff’s neck. I put pin in quotation marks as Buff wasn’t really on top of Rick but the referee counted anyway. Vincent and Norton try to pull Buff to the floor but realize something is wrong. Even Rick and Lex check on him as we go to clips of Nash powerbombing Hogan.

We come back from the break with Buff being checked on by the trainers. Buff is moving his left arm as we look at how the injury occurred: Buff’s head slipped out of the bulldog and it went straight onto Rick’s back and jacked his neck back. It looks much worse on replays. Heenan goes to find out what he can as Tony apologizes for Chris Benoit vs. Psychosis being postponed.

The announcers talk about the NWO war but it’s clear their minds are elsewhere so we go to another break.

Back with Bagwell on the stretcher but still in the ring. The announcers throw it to more Hogan vs. Savage clips. This goes on for about ten minutes as they air almost the entire match. They’re filling in time which is the only thing they can do here. During the clips we’re told Bagwell can move his legs and looks to be ok long term. There isn’t much to say here as it’s just the Nitro main event airing again. Hogan works on the knee a lot, Disciple interferes, Nash and Hart runs in, Hogan wins the title with Bret’s help.

We get clips from Raven taking Page’s US Title at Spring Stampede with shots of Horace as a grip earlier in the match before he cost Page the belt.

Horace Boulder vs. Evan Karagis

Tenay tells us that Horace’s career parallels Raven’s but in Japan instead of America. Horace pounds away and the fans are immediately chanting boring. You guys haven’t had a match in about twenty five minutes and this is your reaction? Karagis gets two off a springboard cross body. Bagwell is going to be fine but is at a hospital just in case. After maybe a minute here’s DDP with a Diamond Cutter on Horace for the DQ.

Karagis and the referee get Cutters of their own. Page says he’s here to get his hands on Raven and he wants it right here in the ring. Cue Raven to the ring but he walks away instead. Page says Raven is walking away just like he did from his sister when she needed Raven the most. That turns Raven around but he keeps leaving. Page invokes a mention of Raven’s mother but that’s still not enough. Page says he isn’t leaving the ring until Raven gets banged…..right before leaving through the crowd.

Here’s Randy Savage with something to say. Savage says he’s not finished but rather just getting started. The worst kept secret that everyone knows is that Hogan is scum. If Hogan is scum though, Bret Hart is nuclear scum. Bret should just join the NWO already because Savage is sick of listening to him complain about getting screwed. Hart is the best con man to ever walk the earth and he’s totally overpaid and unproven.

Video on Goldberg winning the title.

US Title: Goldberg vs. Mike Enos

Enos jumps him from behind and pounds away but Goldberg no sells it and takes Enos down by the leg. A belly to belly suplex puts Mike down and a hard clothesline does the same. Enos comes back with a powerslam for one and it’s time for Heenan to freak out. Spear and Jackhammer make it 76-0.

Sting vs. Scott Steiner

Apparently there won’t be a Thunder until the 14th of May due to baseball. Steiner jumps Sting to start and ties him up in the coat. Sting comes back with a pair of clotheslines and a third sends Steiner out to the floor. Sting throws Scott into the steps as we’re told Bagwell is moving around which is always good to hear.

Steiner hits a low blow to put Sting down before tying Sting up in the Tree of Woe for a choke. A butterfly powrbomb puts Sting down and Scott goes to pose, only to jump into Sting’s boot. Another boot in the corner puts Scott down and Sting pounds away. The Stinger Splash and Deathlock connect but Konnan comes in for the DQ.

Rating: D. Egads this show has been awful from a wrestling standpoint. This was just there to set up the post match stuff which is almost never a good way to run a wrestling match. Scott continues to not be over at all because they’ve changed everything that got him over in the first place. Nothing to see here, again.

The NWO comes in but Rick Steiner and the Giant make the save. Post match Sting gets the mic and says it’s the same old thing every week: he has to fight off all the bad guys in a bar room brawl. He thinks all the jokes have been made with Nash being the best. Big Kev should be a stand up comedian because he’s just too sweet. The problem is every single joke has a punch line. Sting makes fun of Nash’s Arn Anderson imitation and asks for a tag title shot against the Outsiders at Slamboree with Giant as his partner.

Overall Rating: D. I’m completely ignoring the injury stuff as you can’t hold that against WCW. That left roughly an hour of original TV time (not counting commercials) and what we got in that time was really dull. It was a night of squashes and boring matches which isn’t what they needed to do after the huge Nitro. I guess we’re supposed to wait until Nitro for the explanation from Bret, even though Nitro is on at 12:30AM this coming Monday night due to basketball. Horrible show here but Sting’s stuff at the end was kind of funny.

Remember Nitro is two shows this coming week and there’s no Thunder for two weeks.

 

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