Thunder – July 8, 1998: The Midcard Saves Them Again

Thunder
Date: July 8, 1998
Location: Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone

The main story here of course is Goldberg winning the world title two days before in the Georgia Dome. We’re heading into Bash at the Beach on Sunday and the question is how does this change the PPV card on Sunday. Goldberg had been scheduled for a tag match but the world title wasn’t scheduled to be defended anyway. Hopefully we get the announcement tonight but it’s WCW so they probably haven’t thought that far ahead. Let’s get to it.

This is on a Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday.

The announcers talk about Goldberg to open the show with Heenan almost on the verge of standing and applauding.

Here’s JJ Dillon with a major announcement. Apparently Goldberg has accepted a challenge for a title match from Curt Hennig and will face him on Sunday. Giant and Kevin Greene, who were scheduled to be in a tag match with Hennig and Goldberg, will have a singles match instead. Also we’ll find out about the US Title eventually.

Now here’s Hennig to hype up his match on Sunday. Curt is sure he can’t wrestle DDP tonight because it might interfere with his world title shot and all the Black and White fans here wouldn’t want that of course. The fans apparently are all psychics as they’re chanting Goldberg without opening their mouths. Hennig wants Rude to lawyer up to get out of the match with Page and promises to win the title for Hogan. Heaven forbid he do it to be world champion of course.

Public Enemy vs. Shiima Nabunaga/Tokyo Magnum

I hate to admit it, but Public Enemy had one of the catchiest themes I can remember in WCW. The Dragon Gate guys jump Public Enemy to start but are quickly clotheslined down and out to the floor. We start with Tokyo vs. Johnny with Magnum being put down with a pancake. Off to Rocco who misses a springboard moonsault, giving Shiima a two count. Shimma gets crotched on the top and everything breaks down. Tokyo gets caught in a double gutbuster and Shiima is put through the double stack of tables for the academic pin. Basically a squash.

Tokyo tries to dance with Public Enemy and gets punched in the face, drawing in Disco Inferno and Alex Wright to beat Public Enemy up.

Video on the basketball match.

Villano IV vs. The Cat

It sounds better than Ernest Miller if nothing else. Villano gets in a cheap shot to start which fits the whole villain gimmick. He stomps away in the corner but Cat comes back with a quick sunset flip for two and a kick to the head, living up to the whole karate guy gimmick. The other Villano tries to sneak in but gets kicked down as well, allowing Cat to hit his top rope kick to the face for the pin on V.

Rating: D+. There wasn’t much to see here other than the finish but at least Cat is starting to show some charisma out there. It also doesn’t help that he was doing some basic stuff besides just kicking all the time. It’s still not interesting or anything but it was a big step up over what he’s done before.

Here’s Eddie Guerrero to talk about the hair vs. hair match with Chavo on Sunday. He was happy to see Goldberg win the title on Monday because Goldberg got it all together. On Sunday, Eddie is going to get it together against Chavo. Eddie has spent the last few months building Chavo up but somewhere along the way a screw came loose and Chavo has lost it. “We’re talking wacko here.” Eddie gets real serious and promises to humiliate and degrade Chavo by shaving him bald, because no one likes bald people. Just remember that he’s doing it because he loves Chavo. Very solid promo here to hype up a good feud.

Here’s DDP for even more talking. He’s proud of Goldberg as well, “and that’s a shoot.” Page fumbles his words a bit while trying to talk about Hogan and Rodman before talking about how awesome Malone is. Apparently Malone has been training over five hours a day every day to get ready for the match. Sunday is going to end the worst year of Hogan’s life and that’s about it. As for Hennig, he isn’t getting out of the match tonight and will feel the BANG.

Juventud Guerrera vs. Judo Suwa

They trade chops to start with Suwa getting the better of it. Juvy gets a boot up to stop a charge in the corner and a headscissors sends Suwa out to the floor. A big dive takes Judo out and fires up the crowd a bit after all that talking put them to sleep. Back in and Suwa stomps on Juvy and hits a Vader Bomb for two. They run the ropes a bit with Juvy being sent out to the apron but he comes back in with a springboard missile dropkick to the back of the head. Kidman strolls out to ringside as Juvy hits two Juvy Drivers in a row for the pin.

Rating: C. Some nice high spots in there but not much else. This is another one of those matches just thrown out there to fill in some time and fire up the crowd a bit but it wasn’t one of the better versions. Kidman didn’t do anything in the match but it tied into Juvy vs. Reese on Sunday.

Post match here’s the Flock to beat up Guerrera again with Kidman hitting the Seven Year Itch.

Bash at the Beach ad.

Here’s Mongo for another interview. He talks about bringing back the Horsemen and we get a promo from Arn in 1995 right before his match with Flair at Fall Brawl. In it, Arn talks about giving Flair all he has and being able to look at himself in the mirror the next morning because of it. Mongo again asks to bring back the Horsemen and name drops Flair a bit.

The announcers talk about Sunday.

Another Bash at the Beach promo.

Stevie Ray vs. Konnan

Before the match, Ray talks about how Booker isn’t here because he’s getting ready for his match on Sunday. Konnan makes noises on the way to the ring which I think were supposed to be English but I could only make out words like Flexy and Mach. Stevie tries to pound some grammar into him to start and gets two off a forearm. A World’s Strongest Slam puts Konnan down but he pops back up with the rolling lariat and an X-Factor for two. They head to the floor for a bit with Stevie kicking Konnan in the face before hitting him with a chair for the DQ.

The beating with the chair continues until Booker comes out in street clothes to stop his brother.

Video on Bret vs. Booker.

Hennig is on the phone with Rude and talks about sending a fax to the bosses which guarantees that the match doesn’t happen tonight.

Raven/Horace vs. Saturn/Kanyon

Apparently we’re going to see Hogan vs. Goldberg again on Monday. Not a rematch, but a rebroadcast. Saturn works on Horace’s arm to start before handing him off to Kanyon for a crucifix. A swinging neckbreaker puts Horace down but Kanyon goes to the floor to fight Raven. Horace busts out a suicide dive of all things to take Kanyon down as the Flock takes over. Raven comes in with a running clothesline and a knee lift to put Kanyon back outside.

A Russian legsweep sends Kanyon into the barricade for two back inside and it’s back to Horace. This has been rather physical so far. Horace gets two off a top rope splash and we hit the headlock on the mat. Kanyon comes back with the fireman’s carry pancake and it’s a hot tag to Saturn. Everything breaks down with Saturn taking Horace down with a hurricanrana. A chair is thrown in as Saturn sets up a table on the floor.

Kanyon catches Horace with an electric chair faceplant and heads outside to put Raven on the table. Saturn goes up top but Lodi throws powder in his eyes, meaning Saturn can’t see that Raven has put Kanyon on the table instead. The top rope elbow tries to put Saturn through the table but it’s more of Saturn bouncing off Kanyon with the table not breaking at all. Raven gets the easy pin on Kanyon back inside.

Rating: B-. This was a WILD five minute match. Again, Kanyon and Saturn steal the show whenever they’re out there which makes me curious to see how WCW manages to screw them up. Horace is someone else that is better than I remember and was more than adequate in the role of the agile power man here.

Steve McMichael vs. Rick Fuller

As mentioned almost every time, Fuller is a guy who could have been excellent as a bodyguard for some cowardly heel. Fuller chops away to start but Mongo takes out the leg to put Fuller down. A very early tombstone attempt is broken up with a knee to the face but Mongo keeps pounding away in the corner. Mongo runs into a boot in the corner and Fuller pounds away before a legdrop gets two. McMichael comes back with a kick to the face of his own and the tombstone ends Fuller.

The announcers tell us that Malenko has been suspended for his actions on Nitro and will NOT be at the PPV on Sunday. They also talk about Jericho insinuating that Dean’s brother Joe was the product of an affair. Heenan: “Well they don’t look alike.”

Jericho is here with a bandaged noggin and says he can’t wrestle Dean due to what happened on Monday. He wants a credible opponent but JJ doesn’t come out to give him one. Jericho says he’ll put on a top hat and tap shoes and read poetry if he can’t get an opponent named.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon

Jericho grabs a headlock to start but they speed things up by running the ropes. A back elbow puts Jericho down and he bails to the floor. Dragon drokicks him through the ropes and things slow down a bit. Back inside and Jericho kicks him in the ribs and snaps Dragon’s throat across the top rope. Dragon is down in the corner but Jericho does his long stride instead of following up. He bends Dragon’s back over his knee to work on the back a bit as things stay slow.

Dragon fights up and hits a spinning kick to the chest, only to be caught in a German suplex for two. Chris gets crotched on top but the super hurricanrana is broken up. Jericho’s superplex is countered into a front superplex by Dragon for two but Jericho puts him right back down with a backbreaker. Dragon hits a Lionsault to a standing Jericho into the Dragon Sleeper but Chris is quickly into the ropes. The Liontamer is countered into a small package and Dragon counters a powerbomb into a cradle, only to be caught in the Liontamer for the submission.

Rating: C+. Good match as usual here with Jericho looking great out there. Dragon was more than keeping up with him as well, but he wouldn’t be around much longer to do follow up. The cruiserweight division is awesome at the moment with Jericho being a much more skilled Honky Tonk Man as everyone wants to see him get what’s coming to him.

Here’s Kevin Greene with something to say and the place gets almost eerily quiet. As always he mentions Goldberg to try to get the fans to care but it doesn’t work as well this time. He talks about how great a football player he is before talking about Giant not being here tonight….and that’s about it.

Video on Rodman.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Curt Hennig

Curt comes out in street clothes and seems to be taking as long as he can. He slowly takes off his shirt until a guy comes up with some papers for him. Apparently due to his title match on Sunday he’s under no obligation to have his match tonight, causing Page to roll his eyes. Vincent tries to jump Page but gets laid out with the Diamond Cutter. Hennig goes after Page but Goldberg’s music comes on to end the show (Goldberg didn’t appear).

Overall Rating: C+. This was an entertaining show that set up Bash at the Beach rather well. What more can you ask for out of a go home show, especially when the show it’s promoting isn’t very interesting? The midcard is awesome at this point but they need to actually get somewhere with the stories. Good show here though as the midcard bails out the non-main event again.

Here’s Bash at the Beach if you’re interested:

On This Day: July 12, 1998 – Bash at the Beach 1998: Shoot For The Stars

 

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