Thunder – May 21, 1998: Even Back Then Less Hogan Helps Things

Thunder
Date: May 21, 1998
Location: Cleveland Convocation Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

After Monday the major question is will Sting join the Red and Black after Nash saved him from the Giant. I think we can give up on a full explanation for most of the recent turns, but this one at least would have a basic idea: Nash protecting Sting. That’s better than anything else we’ve gotten so I guess we should be thankful. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the end of Nitro and Thunder with Sting being offered a spot in the Black and White before spitting in Giant’s face and being saved by Nash.

The mat is a darker gray than usual

After more fireworks than usual, here’s Giant with something to say. Giant has both tag titles and drapes then on Tony’s shoulders before saying the champions are getting along again. He says that even though Sting isn’t here tonight due to “weather”, Sting is definitely NWO. This draws out Luger to say otherwise, which draws out various cruiserweights to watch what’s going on.

Luger challenges him for a match later tonight but Giant doesn’t answer yet. Instead he offers Luger a spot in the NWO but opts to spit in Giant’s face and walks away. For some reason a bunch of cruiserweights come in and attack the big guy, only to be easily dispatched. El Dandy and a Villno are powerbombed/slammed while the others run off. Giant accepts the challenge.

Ernest Miller vs. Yuji Nagata

The fans are booing this out of the building before it even starts. They trade kicks for a good thirty seconds and the fans still don’t care in the slightest. Nagata finally scores with a nice kick to the head and sends Miller to the floor where Sonny gets in some choking of his own. Back in and Ernest gets two off a powerslam, only to limp around on a bad leg. Not that it matters as Miller hits a quick Feliner (spinning kick to the face) for the pin.

Rating: D-. Why do wrestling companies think that fans want to see martial arts matches on wrestling shows? When has anyone ever gotten a strong push in a major company just by being a guy who throws a lot of kicks? I agree with the fans on this as it was a terribly boring match and not a good sign for the rest of the show.

We see the post match promos from Jericho and Malenko after the title change at Slamboree.

Jericho comes out holding a sign saying Conspiracy Victim with an arrow pointing down. He swears that the whining will ever happen again, but now he needs to talk about a conspiracy theory that dwarfs the 1918 Black Sox scandal (it was 1919), the landing at Roswell and the JFK assassination. He demands that JoJo Dillon get out here right now but gets no one at all. Jericho holds up a list of the people in the battle royal but sees no Dean Malenko. Therefore, how could he lose the title to Malenko? Jericho says he’ll hound Dillon until he’s reinstated as Cruiserweight Champion and yes that is a threat.

Chris Jericho vs. Super Calo

Jericho jumps him to start and pounds Calo down, only to have Super moonsault over him out of the corner. A clothesline gets two on Jericho but Chris comes back with a SCARY looking release German suplex. The Lionsault misses but Jericho hits a kind of spinebuster into the Liontamer for a quick win.

We get the entire recap of Raven vs. Mortis, starting months ago and complete with all of the attacks when Mortis dressed like a fan. They try to play up a fan attacking Raven a few weeks ago as a Mortis attack, even though it’s clearly not a wrestler. Why have we needed to see such long recaps of Raven feuds lately?

Here are Raven with the riot squad with the bird man ranting about Saturn wanting to be US Champion instead of trying to get the belt back to Raven. He talks about getting Saturn his job in ECW as well as his job here, which draws out Saturn. Perry talks about how he’s not a mindless goon and has never been a member of the Flock. If they’re going to be friends, Raven isn’t going to boss him around ever again. Raven actually apologizes and moves on to Mortis.

The Flock has seen Mortis tonight, disguised in the back in a rainbow wig. It’s not fooling anyone though so get out here. Here’s a guy that looks like Mortis coming down the aisle but the riot squad takes him down. The real Mortis runs in through the crowd and lays out Raven before running away from the Flock.

TV Title: Finlay vs. Jim Neidhart

Jim shoves him around to start and shouts YEAH BABY over and over again. The announcers talk about Mortis and Raven of course as Neidhart pounds away on the champ’s back. A slingshot shoulder block puts Finlay down again and there’s a powerslam for three, but Finlay’s leg is in the rope. Neidhart, ever the nitwit, thinks he’s won and celebrates, allowing Finlay to get in a few cheap shots and hit the tombstone to retain the title. At least it was quick.

Tony calls out Booker T, who is apparently #1 contender to the TV Title. Instead he gets Chris Benoit who wants to know why it’s not his title shot. This draws out Booker T in a shirt and tie, only to be decked from behind by the Crippler. Benoit leaves so here’s the returning Stevie Ray to tell Booker to get up and be a man. Ok then.

We see Hogan introducing Hall as the newest member of the Black and White from Monday.

Jim Duggan vs. Brian Adams

Just…..why? Duggan pounds away to start and sends Adams out to the floor, only to have Vincent interfere to give Adams control. Back in and a backbreaker gets two for Brian but he gets caught pulling Duggan’s hair. The referee pulls Adams’ hair, leading to nothing at all. Back up and Vincent tries to hold Duggan, only to get decked by Adams by mistake. Adams picks up Duggan’s board and blasts the referee for the stupid DQ.

Duggan cleans house post match.

WCW Motorsports update. Next.

Here’s the guy from Quest For Camelot again to hand out t-shirts. Gotta love cross promotion.

Hammer vs. Saturn

Hammer pounds him down to start and rains down right hands in the corner for early control. Saturn comes back with a suplex to take Hammer down and there’s a superkick for good measure. Hammer comes back with a powerslam and a shoulder block for two each. A sidewalk slam puts Saturn down but also draws Reese up on the apron. The referee is distracted and Raven comes in to DDT Hammer. Saturn yells that he doesn’t need help and lays out Hammer with the Death Valley Driver for the pin.

Rating: D. This was another match designed to advance angles instead of focusing on the wrestling which is fine. The idea of Saturn and Raven arguing but not quite fighting is interesting, but it doesn’t mean anything good for the future of the Flock which is on weak legs already.

Here’s Rick Rude to introduce the next US Champion, Curt Hennig. Rude says that he’s loyal to Hennig who is loyal to the Red and Black, so Rude is Wolfpack too. Hennig calls Goldberg a mark and challenges him to a fight tonight (Goldie isn’t here) and then to a match at the Great American Bash. Short and sweet here.

Horace vs. Juventud Guerrera

Horace easily takes Juvy into the corner to start as we’re in a power vs. speed match here. Juvy gets kicked into the ropes but backdrops Horace out to the floor. Back in and Juvy’s springboard is pulled out of the air but he gets two out of a rollup. Horace elbows him back down and slaps Guerrera in the back of the head a few times. Juvy tries a sleeper but is easily backed into the corner for the break. Instead it’s a hurricanrana to put Horace on the floor but Reese sneaks in and chokebombs Juvy down. Horace comes back in and clotheslines Juvy’s unconscious body down for the pin.

Rating: D+. I actually liked this a little bit. Horace is a generic big guy, but he’s good at what he does. It’s also cool to see Juvy out there in a feud against someone other than a cruiserweight because those stories can only take people so far. Juvy never giving up and fighting the Flock is a nice idea, especially when the Flock has a lot of big guys for him to bounce off of.

The announcers talk a bit and someone hits the desk with a soda. Tony laughs it off.

Here’s Savage with something to say. He talks about the tag match at the Bash and says that while he and Piper hate each other, they hate Hart and Hogan even more. Simple yet effective way to get around their issues. After the match though, he needs a better apology from Piper.

We see Chavo Guerrero’s mother speaking Spanish when Eddie cuts her off. Apparently she was saying that Eddie the best and her favorite wrestler and Chavo should win more.

Cruiserweight Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Dean Malenko

Before the match, Chavo cuts Eddie off and starts an Eddie chant. Chavo seems a bit different tonight. Dean gets jumped to start and Guerrero is actually pounding away to start. A suplex gets a quick two but Eddie gets Dean’s foot on the ropes for some reason. Chavo yells at his uncle and Dean grabs a quick suplex for two. Guerrero comes back and tries the tornado DDT but Dean easily counters into the Cloverleaf to retain.

Post match Eddie yells at Chavo so Chavo pulls back his fist. Instead though Chavo kisses Eddie and then hits him before walking away. The story continues.

The Giant vs. Lex Luger

We’re already in overtime so this is going to be quick. Luger pounds away to start but Giant kicks him in the face to slow him down. A Russian legsweep and backbreaker put Luger down as security has to take out an idiot fan. Giant cranks on the neck until the fans are paying attention again and Luger makes the comeback, only to have NWO Sting come in for a quick DQ. Match was barely two minutes long.

Luger fights off the fake Sting but walks into a chokeslam to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. This is one of those shows where it doesn’t come off as horrible at the end, but when you look back at it you see how horrid it really was. The lack of Hogan really does make the show go by faster though as we don’t have these seven to ten minute promos dragging the show down. That being said, we had a bunch of incredibly uninteresting matches which makes this a worthless show.

 

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