Thunder – May 14, 1998: As Worthless As A Kayak In The Gobi Desert

Thunder
Date: May 14, 1998
Location: Whittemore Center Arena, Durham, New Hampshire
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay

It’s the final show before Slamboree and we have even more drama in the NWO. This time it’s the Giant joining NWO Hollywood to help protect Hogan and get his hands on Kevin Nash at the same time. The latter makes little sense as Giant already has a match with Nash on Sunday but if you try to think too much about this stuff your head will explode. Let’s get to it.

The announcers talk for a bit about the end of Nitro and give us a quick preview of tonight’s show, including Savage vs. Sting.

We get a new version of Bischoff’s challenge, this one themed like an NWO announcement. Basically Bischoff is a martial arts expert and invites Vince to come break Eric’s limbs and choke him to death, so come to Slamboree. Expect to see this about a dozen times tonight.

Mando Guerrero, Eddie’s older brother, is disappointed by Eddie’s recent actions. Chavo has it tough enough due to being a second generation wrestler without having to be Eddie’s nephew.

 

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Reese

 

Reese is Eddie’s handpicked opponent, selected for how similar he is to Chavo. Reese lumbers at Chavo but the smaller guy speeds around and fires off chops for no effect. Reese throws Chavo around with ease but Guerrero comes back with a springboard kick to the chest to stagger the giant. Chavo goes up but an Eddie distraction allows Reese to catch Chavo in the chokebomb for the fast pin.

 

Post match Ultimo Dragon, Eddie’s opponent on Sunday, comes out to stop Eddie from berating Chavo. Chavo walks away while Eddie is caught in the Dragon Sleeper.

 

We recap the “fan” attacks (Kanyon) on Raven over the last few weeks.

The announcers talk about Raven’s challenge for a Bowery Death Match on Sunday.

We also get a clip of Raven beating Page for the US Title at Spring Stampede and the ensuing brawls over the next few weeks. They also air Page’s promos on Raven from Thunder two weeks ago, the fight with the bullrope, JJ giving Raven a riot squad and the challenge for the Bowery Death Match. Are they running REALLY short on time tonight? They aired about seven minutes straight of videos of the feud.

Since that’s not enough on these two, here are Raven and the riot squad. He’s tired of hearing about DDP. What about Raven? This isn’t Dodge City and Page can’t string him up like Josey Wales. If Page wants him, come get him right now. Here’s Page through the crowd because he was just waiting at the top of the arena. Page dives over the squad to get at Raven but the beatdown is on almost immediately. That looks a lot like Austin diving over the cops to get at Vince a few months after this aired. Page gets hung by the bullrope.

Goldberg has to defend the US Title by running a Flock gauntlet on Sunday.

The Outsiders will actually be here tonight.

TV Title: Kenny Kaos vs. Fit Finlay

In case you didn’t think the other High Voltage member getting a title shot was stupid enough. Finlay grabs a nerve hold to start but Kaos comes back with a hiptoss before pulling Finlay away from the ropes. Finlay drags him to the floor by the hair for a quick pounding before taking Kaos back inside, getting two off a splash. Kaos gets the knees up to block a Vader Bomb and gets two off an atomic drop. The champion pounds away but misses a charge into the post, only to take it to the floor where Rage helps out his partner. Back in and Finlay hits the rolling senton and the tombstone to retain.

Rating: D. Nothing match as Finlay didn’t sell anything Kaos did and easily beat him after getting double teamed. This wasn’t really even a squash with Kaos getting in some offense but to no effect. I still don’t get why Finlay was champion anyway as he hadn’t really done anything significant prior to winning the title.

We see Savage calling out Bret from a few weeks ago.

Here’s a live action person dressed as a character from the animated movie Quest For Camelot to hand out t-shirts. This doesn’t seem to be announced to anyone in the arena, but why would they need to know who this big viking looking guy is?

US Title: Sick Boy vs. Goldberg

Sick Boy goes right for the champ and actually takes him down with a snapmare. We get a nerve hold but Goldberg easily fights up. A pair of dropkicks stagger him but Goldberg comes back with a gorilla press, setting up a bad looking spear and the Jackhammer to retain the title.

The Flock swarms Goldberg but he takes down Riggs, scaring everyone else off.

Saturn says he uses a basic side kick like people have been using for thousands of years. He didn’t steal it from Glacier or any other reject from a video game.

Chris Adams vs. Saturn

Before the match Kidman asks Adams if he wants to lose to the Rings of Saturn or the Death Valley Driver. Adams doesn’t say anything so Kidman picks the Death Valley Driver, which will be set up by the Cryonic Kick and there’s nothing Glacier can do about it. Security holds Van Hammer back from getting in the ring. They trade hammerlocks to start as Tony rips apart the Flock for being a bunch of spoiled brats as children.

Saturn catches an incoming boot to the ribs but Adams takes him down with an enziguri for two. Adams misses a top rope knee drop and Kidman hands Saturn a chair. Saturn gets a springboard into the corner for a clothesline before sending Chris out to the floor. Adams comes back with some right hands but gets sent into the ropes, setting up the superkick and Death Valley Driver for Saturn’s pin.

Rating: C. Better match than expected here with Adams at least being game out there. I like the idea of Saturn calling his finish but it would be better if it was in a feud with ANYONE but Glacier. Was there no one else out there you could have use a superkick to set up a feud with Saturn at all? Not a bad match at all though.

This week in WCW Motorsports because all WCW fans care about car racing.

Robbie Rage vs. Chris Benoit

Apparently Nitro will be split in two on Monday with one hour from 7-8 and one hour from 11:30-12:30. Rage no sells some chops to start and gorilla presses Benoit down with ease. An overhead belly to belly has Benoit in even more trouble and it’s off to a half crab from Rage. Kaos is nowhere to be seen for some reason tonight. Rage loads up a powerslam but rams Benoit back first into the corner instead of slamming him down. Benoit avoids a top rope splash and there’s the Swan Dive followed by the Crossface for the submission.

Rating: D+. Nothing special to see here but Rage got in far more offense than he should have. This was out of the 1995 Randy Savage playbook: get destroyed for most of the match and then hit a big move for the win. It doesn’t do much for Benoit but at least he got the win going into his title match on Sunday.

Here’s Eric Bischoff with his fists up and something to say. The announcers talk about the challenge but aren’t sure if they should support Bischoff or not. Bischoff talks about Vince sending guys where Vince knows Eric won’t be, but he’s received a letter from Vince’s lawyers, saying that Vince will NOT be at the PPV and stop promoting him as such. Bischoff says ok but Doug Dillinger will still be there to guard the door and make sure Vince gets to the ring safely. The announcers still aren’t sure what to say.

Buy the Outsiders shirt!

Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. Public Enemy

And there’s no Hall. Nash complains about politics in the back with Bischoff and Hogan keeping Hall off live TV. However, they can’t stop him from being at the PPV for some reason so Hall WILL be at Slamboree. He stops to talk about how sexy he looks tonight and brings out his replacement partner for the night: Dusty Rhodes. Rocco starts for the challengers as Dusty chills on the floor.

Nash throws Rock into the corner and chokes him with the boot before firing in some elbows for two. More corner choking ensues before Public Enemy double suplexes Nash down. Rhodes pulls Grunge to the floor and the Jackknife to Rocco followed by the Bionic Elbow retains the titles. Heenan: “DUSTY IS 1-0!”

Rating: D. This was barely long enough to rate but it was basically a joke match. The fans popped for Dusty so I guess the Wolfpack is officially a face group. They’re definitely faces in the NWO but it wasn’t entirely clear if they were faces overall. It’s nice to see the belts defended at all though as I don’t think they’ve been on the line since February.

Sting vs. Randy Savage

We get a lot of pyro before the entrances. Savage jumps Sting in the aisle and I don’t think there was a bell. They head inside with Sting taking over and backdropping Savage down. Savage rakes the eyes and takes it back to the floor with Sting sending Randy into the barricade and actually hitting the Splash against the steel. That might be the only time I’ve ever seen that connect in WCW. Back in and the Stinger Splash misses but Sting comes back with an elbow to the jaw. Not that it matters as here’s Bret Hart with a chair for the fast DQ. Match was just over two minutes long.

Giant comes in to save Bret from Savage, only to have Nash come in to save Savage with a chair shot. Sting hits Nash with the chair, leaving just Sting and Giant standing. Giant gets a mic and says that once they win the tag titles, Sting has a decision to make. He throws Sting a black and white t-shirt and Sting doesn’t immediately say no. Giant leaves so Luger comes out to try to talk reason into Sting.

The Bischoff challenge to McMahon ends the show.

Overall Rating: D+. Well let’s see: we get no explanation from Giant, the only major story development is for what happens after the tag title match, we saw two High Voltage matches for some reason, and nothing new was added to the PPV. This show just didn’t need to happen, which is the case with almost all of the Thunder shows anymore.

Here’s Slamboree if you’re interested:

Slamboree 1998 (2013 Redo): One Of The Loudest Pops Ever

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