Thunder – September 10, 1998: KB Goes To Thunder

Thunder
Date: September 10, 1998
Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Attendance: 10,620
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone

This is an interesting show for me as I was in the audience that night. I barely remember anything at all of the show but I know they taped two weeks worth of shows and there was an arm wrestling match at some point in here. If I remember correctly I was sitting opposite the cameras. I also vaguely remember Hogan making an appearance but I’m not sure. Let’s get to it.

The announcers promise that tonight is going to be an excellent show. I’m sure.

Here are Hogan, Bischoff and company to open things up. Bischoff says the most beautiful people in the world are right here in the ring with him. Hogan says his fans know he rules the wrestling world and know he’ll get the world title back very soon. All the plans are in place for WarGames with Roddy Piper and DDP concerned with each other and Warrior not having the guts to face Hollywood on his own. As for Bret Hart, Hogan has Stevie Ray watching his back (Jack) and he isn’t worried about the Wolfpack either.

Before the first match we cut to the back and see Jericho saying he’s the champion of all those with televisions. Since they’re a TV company, he’s the highest ranking champion in all of WCW. He has a cameraman following him around for tonight only.

Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Silver King

Silver King is challenging. They get in a shoving match to start until Silver King takes him into the corner. Juvy avoids a splash but is whipped into the corner, only to flip out of a belly to back suplex. Silver King throws him into the ropes and throws Juvy into the air for a dropkick to the ribs. He misses a Lionsault minus the running start and we get a chase on the floor, leading to Juvy picking up a chair, only to have Silver King dropkick it into his face. The bell rings once as Silver King hits an Eye of the Storm for two. The bell rings again and it’s finally announced as a DQ. Odd ending.

Juvy is laid out with a belt shot post match.

JJ Dillon makes Konnan vs. Scott Hall for Fall Brawl because Bischoff isn’t making Hall get into the ring enough.

TV Title: Chris Jericho vs. Wrath

We go to the back with Jericho walking to the ring, flanked by Jericho Personal Security Guard and the Jericoholic Ninja. Jericho is all fired up but walks into a broom closet and a wall. This is so strange for me as I walked through those same halls when I was graduating high school and college. He walks outside as Wrath is getting angry in the ring. Jericho is locked out so Wrath goes up the entrance and kicks the door to outside open so he can chase Jericho through the parking lot. The match is a countout.

We go to a clip from WCW Saturday Night with Jim Duggan talking about how important his career has been over the last 20 years, but he was recently diagnosed with cancer. Duggan is scheduled for surgery later this week and says we should all hug our children closer because you never know when you might not see them anymore. He thanks us all for our support and tries not to cry.

Kanyon vs. Nick Dinsmore

Dinsmore is more famous as Eugene. Kanyon says that he’s too good to face a rookie like Dinsmore so Lodi can order Saturn to fight him in his place. Saturn comes out with a Lodi Rulz sign before swapping it out for a Lodi Is Not Here sign. Kanyon panics and eats a clothesline before Saturn takes his hand over to the buckle and breaks his thumb. Saturn goes for another finger, shouting that Kanyon has nine more to go. Raven comes out and sends the Flock after Saturn who easily dispatches them. Saturn says that on Sunday, he’s saving the Flock and his own career. More awesome.

Curt Hennig vs. Steve McMichael

Luger vs. Bulldog was scheduled for later but due to the attack it’s now a tag with Luger needing to find a partner against Bulldog and Neidhart. Mongo kicks away in the corner to start and follows up with a big running clothesline. A WE WANT FLAIR chant starts up as Mongo hits the buckle while trying a running knee. Hennig wraps the knee around the post before kicking at the leg back inside. Curt charges but walks into a belly to back suplex as Mongo makes a low speed comeback. Stevie Ray comes in and slips Hennig a slap jack which is good for the DQ.

Rating: D. Nothing of note here but thankfully these two wouldn’t fight each other anymore. I like that they’re following up on the NWO vs. Horsemen idea, though I was hoping they wouldn’t have waited as many months as they did in between. At least Mongo didn’t pop right back up after the knee work.

Post match Bagwell comes out with a chair to crush Mongo’s throat but Dean Malenko makes the save. The NWO is about to swarm him when Arn Anderson makes the save with a 2×4 to a big pop. I remember the fans going absolutely nuts for that and it was a great moment live.

After a break Mongo is being taken out on a stretcher and Arn is with Tony in the ring. Arn says Dean shouldn’t have asked for this because he’s about to get it. If it were up to Anderson, Dean Malenko would be a Horseman. This brings out Eric Bischoff who says the Horsemen are dead because of Anderson’s neck and the book he recently wrote.

Back when Bischoff took over the company, the Horsemen put 1,200 people in a 15,000 seat arena before Bischoff made WCW the #1 wrestling company in the world. Bischoff says to forget about Flair but Anderson grabs him by the throat before Eric can go on. Malenko pulls him off and Bischoff has an offer: If Anderson wants the Horsemen back, he’ll arm wrestle Bischoff next week. Another great segment in this story.

Lodi shows up at the announcers’ desk covered in moss and seaweed, complete with a fish in his hand. He says Saturn threw him in a river (there isn’t one near Lexington) but Tony cuts him off and says go ask Kanyon about his fingers.

Lex Luger vs. British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart

Luger goes it alone to start and cleans house before starting with Neidhart. A nice running elbow and slam put the Anvil down before it’s off to Bulldog for some right hands in the corner. There’s an atomic drop but Neidhart gets in a cheap shot from the apron. Cue Bret Hart in wrestling gear to make it 3-1 with Neidhart getting that evil grin on his face. Instead Bret goes after Bulldog and then Neidhart before getting on the apron for a tag. Luger isn’t sure what to do but he tags Luger in for a face pop to work over Anvil. Everything breaks down and the Torture Rack ends Neidhart.

Rating: D+. This was more of an angle than a match as a good chunk of it was spent with Bret looking at Neidhart and Bulldog. I don’t buy Bret turning face as this is WCW where face turns are measured in seconds, but I’m interested in where it’s going if nothing else. The fans were into the idea as well so it was a successto start at least.

We look at JJ ordering Hall vs. Konnan from earlier.

Konnan vs. Disco Inferno

After Konnan does his stuff, Disco takes the mic and says he and Wright are ready to join the Wolfpack tonight. Konnan tells them to go to a prison and toss salads so Disco jumps him to get things going. The dancers double team Konnan for a few moments before he fights back, hits his signature stuff on Disco and wins with the Tequila Sunrise in about a minute.

The Armstrong Brothers were being interviewed for WCW International Television (no show mentioned, just International Television) when Ernest Miller interrupts. He kicks both guys in the face but Norman Smiley interrupts. This was filmed at the same doors Jericho got locked out of earlier.

Here’s Roddy Piper with something to say. Piper talks about being a wildcat from birth and isn’t sure about WarGames. He isn’t crazy about being in the ring with the Wolfpack but loves the idea of being in there with Hogan. This brings him to Team WCW with its captain Diamond Dallas Page. Piper isn’t one to listen to a captain but he turns around when Page yells at him from the crowd. Page says he earned the captain’s spot and Piper volunteered to be on the team. Warrior is here to mess with Hogan’s head, but Page has no problem making Warrior or Piper feel the BANG inside the cage.

WCW World Title: Rick Fuller vs. Goldberg

Goldberg slugs him down to start but Fuller comes back with a few kicks. Not that they matter as the spear crushes Fuller but here are Disciple and Hogan for the DQ. Goldberg fights them both off and spears Disciple before Jackhammering Fuller…for the pin? Wait the referee didn’t see that? Disciple shoved Goldberg into the referee WHILE THE REFEREE WAS WITH FULLER. But we’re supposed to buy that he didn’t see that? That’s a stretch even for WCW.

Kevin Nash vs. Stevie Ray

After some catchphrases, Nash shoves Ray into the corner but gets his eyes raked to give Ray a breather. Some big right hands don’t get Stevie anywhere as Nash clotheslines him and does the usual stuff in the corner, only to run into an elbow in the corner. A superkick puts Nash down and we get to the slow, power offense from Stevie. Nash fights out of a chinlock and kicks Stevie in the face to set up the Jackknife, drawing in Vincent for the DQ.

Rating: D. Another match there to advance stories and set up Sunday which is fine. Stevie isn’t bad in the ring but he’s nothing the NWO didn’t have a ton of already. Nash was his usual lumbering self here but the fans were into him for the most part. Also it’s good that they kept this short instead of letting this drag down into oblivion.

Post match Nash stays on Stevie until Scott Hall returns to knock out Nash with the slap jack. The Black and White comes out to praise Hall as Nash keeps trying to get back up. Remember earlier when Mongo took the same shot and was taken out on a stretcher? Neither do I. Anyway, the NWO goes to the back and sees Warrior spraypaint on the wall to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This was good for a Thunder with some decent angle advancement and promos, even though the wrestling didn’t do much for me. The Horsemen, Flock and Jericho stuff continues to own the show and I dread what’s coming after Fall Brawl, but this is still an entertaining promotion at this point.

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