Thunder – June 4, 1998: One Stacked B Show

Thunder
Date: June 4, 1998
Location: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone

After Monday we have a major development in the form of Sting joining the Wolfpack as pretty much everyone figured he would. It really doesn’t change anything as WCW is just standing on the sidelines while the NWO civil war continues. Hopefully we get some of the Great American Bash card filled in tonight as the show is in ten days. Let’s get to it.

We open with the required recap of Sting joining the Wolfpack from Monday.

The announcers talk about the jump a bit.

Chris Benoit vs. Booker T

This is match #5 in the best of seven series for a TV Title shot at the Great American Bash with Benoit leading 3-1. They trade hammerlocks to start until Booker elbows him in the back to take over. A high side kick is good for two and the ax kick gets the same for Booker. Mr. T. stomps away in the corner but he whips Benoit in, only to be caught in the rolling Germans to give Benoit control.

A big back elbow to the face puts Booker down again and the Swan Dive connects for two. Stevie Ray is back at ringside to cheer his brother on. Benoit can’t get the Crossface and gets taken down by a spinwheel kick to the face. Booker hits a spinebuster and spins up, only to have his head taken off by a hard clothesline. Benoit makes the mistake of jawing with Stevie though and turns into the missile dropkick to close the gap to 3-2.

Rating: C+. As usual with this series, the matches are entertaining but they’re running out of new things to do. It also doesn’t help that with the series at 3-1, the endings to the next two matches are pretty obvious. On the other hand though, these have been by far the best matches on the shows almost every single night so they’re hardly a bad thing.

Here’s Giant with both tag belts and something to say. He doesn’t mind Sting joining the Wolfpack but thinks black and white would have looked better. However, he can’t live with being bodyslammed on national television like Sting did to him three days ago. Giant feels he should be able to pick a partner to be the tag team champions so here’s Brian Adams, apparently the new partner. Adams demands praise and says they won’t duck anyone as champions. Giant issues a challenge to Luger and anyone he can find to a tag title match tonight. I still want to know what Adams has on WCW to get this push.

Reese vs. Van Hammer

Reese shoves Hammer into the corner but Hammer shoves right back to frustrate the bigger man. Hammer slugs him into the corner but Reese comes back by just lifting Hammer into the air and dropping him down to the mat. A vertical suplex gets two on Hammer and for the first time ever, Lee Marshall has an interesting idea: could Lodi’s nonsensical signs be codes from Raven for what he wants the Flock to do? Hammer clotheslines Reese down but Horace blasts him in the back of the head, giving Reese the pin via a chokebomb.

Rating: D. Just a battle of the big men here as the Flock continues to spin its wheels. Reese was actually bigger than the Giant but is a great example of size not making a great wrestler. He’s not bad but there’s nothing more to him other than his size and that’s why he never went anywhere.

Post match the Flock beats down Hammer until Juventud Guerrera makes the save. He clears the ring until there’s just Reese left. Hammer gets Juvy out of the ring before he gets squashed like a grape.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Alex Wright

Before the match Eddie tells Chavo that Grandma has said to take time off and cool down, so Chavo needs to leave for a few months. Alex jumps Eddie to start but here’s crazy Chavo a few seconds in. Wright immediately throws him to the floor but the referee calls for the bell anyway. The match was maybe 30 seconds.

Chavo stalks Eddie to the back and Wright dances a bit.

Here’s Luger with something to say. Apparently there’s no point to the survey because this is clearly a Wolfpack town (based on how quiet the fans are I’d hate to see them in enemy territory). Luger has been named head of recruiting for the Wolfpack after all his success with Sting. The challenge is accepted for tonight and Luger names DDP as his partner, saying he has a Wolfpack shirt for Page too.

TV Title: Fit Finlay vs. Psychosis

Psychosis tries to slide between Finlay’s legs but accidentally dropkicks him in the knee in a painful looking botch. Finlay comes right back with some hard forearms to the back as the match immediately slows down. Psychosis is dropped throat first on the top rope and the fans are already chanting boring because the idea of a slow paced match doesn’t work for them. We hit a LONG chinlock and now the chants are justified. Psychosis finally fights up and tries to get some offense going, including a top rope Frankensteiner for two. Not that it matters though as Finlay picks him up and tombstones him to retain.

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t as bad as the fans thought it was, but it still wasn’t anything really worth seeing. The chinlock hurt it a lot and cutting this down by a minute or so would have helped a lot. Finlay probably won’t hold the title much longer as I can’t imagine the winner of the series not taking the title from him.

Clips of Sting being recruited by and joining the Wolfpack on Monday.

Glacier vs. Saturn

Glacier does his full entrance but as he’s warming up, Saturn comes in behind him and hits a sick German suplex for two. Ice boy bails to the floor but Saturn hits a great looking plancha to take him down again. Back in and Glacier gets a boot up in the corner followed by some rapid kicks to the stomach. Saturn crotches him on the top and hits a middle rope suplex, meaning he was in the middle of the rope rather than the corner. A Lodi distraction lets Saturn superkick Glacier down but the referee goes down in the process. Cue Kanyon dressed as a referee with a Downward Spiral to Saturn. Glacier hits the superkick for the pin.

Rating: C-. This was mainly advancing the story between Kanyon and Saturn, which is further proof that Glacier’s whining about kicks isn’t needed at all. Saturn looked good with his high impact offense and Kanyon was an offensive genius so he was his usual entertaining self. Still though, Glacier gets on nerves as always.

Here’s Hennig to ask the fans if they like Goldberg. Obviously they do, but surprisingly enough they seem pleased with the idea of Curt beating him up at the PPV. Unfortunately Curt’s knee won’t be healed by then so Konnan will be getting Hennig’s US Title shot, as long as Konnan gives Curt the first shot.

Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Silver King

Dean easily takes him down to the mat in a headlock before shifting over to another variation of one. Silver King fights up and chops away, only to get caught in a suplex. Dean takes him to the corner but here’s Jericho with a book. He rings the bell and apparently that’s enough to throw the match out. Those referees are trigger happy tonight.

Jericho says this is an NWA rule book from 1934 that he found in the Library of Congress. Apparently the Strangler Lewis Rule states that the champion can refuse to face anyone and since Jericho never agreed to wrestle Dean, JJ needs to come down here right now and vacate the title. When that fails completely, Jericho tells Dean to stop dishonoring his dead pappy and give him the belt right now. The belt goes upside Jericho’s head, sending him to the floor, swearing vengeance.

Raven vs. Disco Inferno

Raven charges right into the corner to stomp Disco down before raking his face. Disco gets an elbow up in the corner before choking Raven with wrist tape. A swinging neckbreaker gets two for Inferno but Raven easily sends him to the floor. Disco is sent into the steps and Raven sends both him and a chair back into the ring. Disco blocks a hiptoss and sends Raven face first into the chair before stomping a mudhole in the corner. Raven comes right back with the drop toehold into the chair and the Even Flow ends this easily.

Post match Raven calls out Kanyon for a one on one showdown, even laying down on his back to give Kanyon an advantage.

Before the next match, Tony acknowledges the passing of Junkyard Dog the previous Tuesday. Glad they worked that in after 90 minutes.

US Title: Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus

The announcers aren’t sure if Goldberg can use his power on someone like Morrus, because WCW announcers have the memories of banana slugs. Morrus jumps Goldberg to start but the champion pulls in Barbarian to make himself break a sweat. Jimmy Hart is thrown at both guys and a double spear puts them down. Barbarian and Morrus both get Jackhammers to make Goldberg 95-0.

Tag Titles: Giant/Brian Adams vs. Lex Luger/Diamond Dallas Page

We’re not sure if Page is going to accept the offer to join Luger or not but here he is with limited drama, albeit to his own music in a separate entrance from Luger. Page doesn’t have taped up ribs anymore. Heenan brings up a good point: neither of these teams have ever teamed together or at least not in a very long time yet they’re fighting for the tag titles. Tenay uses this as an opportunity to talk about the tag match at Great American Bash because why would a title match here and now be more important than a non-title match ten days from now?

Luger shoves Adams into the ropes to start and clotheslines him down before tagging in Page for a big reaction. A belly to belly suplex gets two for Page and it’s back to the arm. Back to Luger for a hiptoss as Tony says he doesn’t think Page would have come out here if a member of the Wolfpack had come out here, because apparently Tony doesn’t remember Luger is in the group. Luger misses a charge in the corner and it’s off to Giant to stand on his chest.

A Russian legsweep puts Luger down again and it’s back to Adams for a rake to the eyes and a legdrop for two. Back to Giant to throw Luger around with ease and plant him with a slam. Adams comes back in with a bearhug and a backbreaker before bringing Giant in again. The big man misses an elbow drop and it’s back to DDP via the hot tag. Page cleans house but Giant breaks up a Diamond Cutter attempt on Adams. Sting comes out to distract Giant, allowing Page to Diamond Cut Adams for the pin and the titles.

Rating: C-. This actually wasn’t terrible as they worked a basic formula and didn’t have the insanity that most WCW matches have. Luger and Page worked well enough together out there and Giant was his usual self. Adams was fine as a generic power guy which is all he ever should have been. Not bad here.

Not that it matters though as JJ calls in and says the title change doesn’t count because Giant had no authority to make Adams his partner. Therefore at the Bash, it’s Giant vs. Sting with the winner getting both belts and the right to pick his new championship partner.

Overall Rating: C+. This was the best Thunder they’ve had in months. The lack of main event guys until the last match gave everyone else a chance to shine and we actually got storyline development on top of the watchable matches. On top of that, every match seemed to have a purpose, with an insane FOUR title matches on the B show. Good stuff here actually.

 

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