Thunder – December 10, 1998: Why Yes, I Have Heard This Before

Thunder
Date: December 10, 1998
Location: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan

It’s a taped show because I must have done something horrible in a past life to earn this punishment. We’re getting closer to Starrcade but most of that won’t mean anything here as they can’t let anything significant happen on a taped show. There is actually an announced match though as Rey Mysterio will face Juventud Guerrera for a shot at the Cruiserweight Title at Starrcade 1998. Let’s get to it.

 

The announcers talk about how awesome the Mysterio vs. Guerrera match will be. We also get Black and White vs. Black and Red tonight! Be still my beating heart.

Chris Jericho vs. Bobby Duncum Jr.

Bobby runs him over to start as the announcers talk about Ralphus more than for the rest of his career combined. A chinlock has Duncum in control as we take a way too early commercial. Back with Jericho getting his head taken off by a hard clothesline out of the corner but he catches Bobby with a drop toehold to send him throat first into the ropes.

Now it’s Jericho with a double arm crank but Bobby turns it around, only to have Jericho flip forward and kick Duncum in the chest in the process. Nice counter. Off to a backbreaker from Jericho as he bends the Texan over his knee in a rare power display. The Lionsault misses and Bobby scores with a hard slam for two. Instead Jericho grabs a rollup and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin.

Rating: D+. Much like most feuds that go on for too long, we’ve seen all of this before and I had no desire to watch it again. Duncum could have been something interesting if used better, but having him fight Jericho over and over wasn’t going to get him there. Jericho was going to steal the spotlight from anyone he worked with through sheer talent and that’s what’s happening here.

Post match here’s Konnan to tell the referee what happened so the match restarts. Jericho tries a rollup but Konnan hits him in the head with the belt to give Duncum the pin.

Video on Bischoff vs. Flair.

Glacier vs. Saturn

The ice dude takes over with a quick kick to the ribs but won’t follow up, which is enough to make Heenan stop talking about Goldberg for a second to complain about Glacier. They hit the mat for a decent wrestling sequence before Saturn goes after the leg with a few holds. Can’t blame him for bad psychology at least. Back up and Saturn fires off chops in the corner and Glacier heads to the floor, only to be sent hard into the barricade.

Back in and Sonny Onoo is here in a neck brace to help Glacier because what would WCW be without him. Glacier takes over with a suplex and elbow to the jaw for two before totally missing a kick to the face. Saturn sells it anyway and we hit the chinlock. Saturn fights up and hits a nice t-bone followed by a middle rope knee for another near fall as Onoo is freaking out in a bad stereotype. They trade standing switches into the Rings of Saturn, drawing in Sonny for the DQ.

Rating: D+. The match was acceptable but good night can we please have Sonny sent ANYWHERE else? He’s been doing the same schtick for like three years now and is just annoying. I can see why he sued WCW over his character as well given how it’s as stereotypical of a Japanese tourist as you can get.

Post match Saturn beats up Onoo while avoiding an attack from Glacier. He suplexes Ice Boy to the floor and stands….not very tall actually.

Kaz Hayashi vs. Norman Smiley

Norman stalls to start before easily taking Hayashi to the mat with a headlock, meaning it’s DANCE TIME. Back up and Hayashi punches Norman in the face and takes him down with a headscissors. Kaz’s offense is short lived though as Smiley launches him into the air and lets Kaz crash down to the mat. A bunch of stomps in the corner set up the spinning slam followed by a butterfly suplex for two.

Smiley is acting far more heelish than I remember him doing recently, including stopping to yell at some fans. Kaz gets caught in a belly to back suplex followed by a surfboard before Norman sends him to the floor. Instead of following up though, it’s time for more dancing. Back in and Hayashi scores with a kick in the corner followed by a nice dive from the top. They trade some rollups but Smiley grabs the crossface chicken wing for the submission.

Rating: D+. Norman is another guy that could have been something interesting for the TV Title but too bad because there’s no way it’s getting out of the NWO anytime soon. Hayashi was a good enough guy in the ring but there were too many people who could do what he did much better than he could.

We see part of the main event on Nitro which was barely a match in the first place.

Here are Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo with something to say. Miller brags about how awesome he is at karate and challenges any fan to come try him. Sonny is annoyed at him for not being there when Saturn attacked him on Monday. They tease fighting before Miller goes to the back to get Saturn. Just let them fight already so Saturn can move on to anything else.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera

They lock up to start until both guys hit the mat for a bit. The feeling out continues as Juvy takes Rey down with a shoulder block before scoring with a Rocker Dropper. Rey is taken into the corner for some chops and whipped into the ropes, only to come back with a headscissors for his first advantage. Juvy bails to the floor and we take an early commercial break.

Back with Rey hitting a splash in the corner and stomping away before hitting the Bronco Buster. Mysterio hammers away in the corner but Juvy comes out with a sweet Liger Bomb out of the corner. This brings out Eddie and the LWO to surround the ring as you can feel the screwy ending coming from here. Rey kicks himout of the air and nails a nice springboard moonsault for two, only to get caught by a quick cross body. A dropkick to the knee puts Juvy back down and a guillotine legdrop gets two more for Mysterio.

Back up again and Juvy avoids a charge into the corner and drapes Rey over the top rope. Mysterio shrugs it off and runs into a boot in the corner to put him right back down. A bulldog gets two more for Guerrera but Rey catches him coming off the ropes, only to get caught in the Juvy Driver. The 450 takes too much time being set up though and Rey crotches Juvy to set up the hurricanrana, only to have the LWO run in for the REALLY annoying DQ.

Rating: B-. They were starting to rock out there until the LWO had to do their thing. Mysterio and Guerrera are two of the best in the company at this point and I’d love to see either of them against Kidman, but having to put up with the LWO is getting really tiresome. At least we got a solid match before the run in though.

Kidman runs out to save Rey from the beatdown.

We see Giant talking trash about DDP from Nitro.

Lodi vs. Booker T.

Booker destroys Lodi like the comedy jobber he is to start before hitting the forearm and ax kick. Here’s Stevie Ray for no apparent reason though to ask Booker what he’s doing. Lodi tries to remember what planet he’s on until Stevie blasts him with the slap jack to give Lodi the DQ win.

Kanyon vs. Chris Benoit

Kanyon does his schtick before the match and thinks the fans say everyone is better than him to make him mad. Speaking of being mad, Kanyon is mad at Raven because the depression is starting to bring Kanyon down as well. “What about me? What about Kanyon?” The fans still don’t seem to care.

The match starts with Kanyon grabbing a quick armdrag and celebrating like he just broke Goldberg’s streak. Benoit takes him down by the arm with ease and grabs a headlock. Kanyon reverses into a neckbreaker but gets caught in the Rolling Germans. He’s able to break it after the first suplex though, only to have his chest knocked off by a chop. Benoit hammers away in the corner before taking Kanyon up for a nice superplex. The overwhelmed Kanyon rolls to the floor but Benoit follows him out for even more chopping.

Back in and Benoit stays all over Kanyon with an elbow to the jaw and some hard whips across the ring. That stiff clothesline drops Kanyon again but Benoit misses a charge into the corner. A Russian legsweep puts him on the mat and Kanyon hits a sweet slingshot elbow for a two count. Benoit fights back in the corner and stomps the heck out of Kanyon, followed by a backbreaker for two. The fans actually chant boring at this for some reason.

Kanyon comes back with a rake to the eyes and a middle rope Fameasser followed by a chinlock. The fans chant boring again despite these two beating the tar out of each other for the last seven minutes. I think they’ve earned a breather. A fireman’s carry pancake gets a close two on Benoit. It’s so close that Kanyon loads up another, only to have Chris counter into a rollup for two. The Swan Dive is broken up but here’s Raven with a can of paint to knock Benoit silly for the DQ.

Rating: B-. Egads did Russo start booking already or something? These DQ’s are getting really annoying when you have solid matches going before them. The match was solid for the most part though with Benoit being all intense as only he can. Kanyon’s offense was stuff we’ve seen before but it’s so different from anyone else’s that it’s still very entertaining.

Kanyon yells at Raven and gets Crossfaced for his efforts.

Vincent/Horace/Stevie Ray vs. Konnan/Lex Luger

We’re ready to go after a bunch of catchphrases and a commercial. I guess Nash was too busy to make the match. Luger locks up with Stevie to start as Konnan plays cheerleader. A shoulder puts Stevie down and there’s the big muscle pose from Luger. Stevie gets him into the NWO corner where all three are knocked around with right hands and forearms. Konnan is fine with letting his partner fight them all off. Vincent of all people finally gets in a cheap shot to slow Luger down and Horace takes over.

Horace hammers away but misses a legdrop, allowing for the lukewarm tag off to Konnan. House is cleaned for a bit until Horace knees Konnan in the ribs, allowing for a tag off to Stevie. The Black and White double teams Konnan and gets to make it a triple team when Luger tries to come in. Vincent gets in some ring time for a change with the generic offense you would expect from a bodyguard. Back to Horace who gets two off a splash with Luger making the save.

Stevie comes in again and chokes a lot before throwing Konnan to the floor. Vincent gets in a few more shots and Luger yells at the referee about it, allowing Horace to help with the assault. Back in and Horace nails a suplex to set up a chinlock for a few seconds before a double clothesline puts both guys down. A double tag brings in Luger and Stevie with Luger taking over via the usual. The Rack to Stevie is broken up by a Vincent jawbreaker but here’s Scott Hall to break up a slap jack attempt. He knocks Stevie into Luger who puts on the Rack for the submission.

Rating: D+. Just a boring handicap match here but they followed all of the usual formulas. At the end of the day though, it’s Vincent, Horace and Stevie Ray on one team which isn’t exactly a team I can get behind. Hall coming in fuels his feud against the Black and White but it’s still not the most interesting story in the world. Konnan and Luger were their usual selves here.

Overall Rating: B-. This was the best Thunder in a long time even though it had some very frustrating problems. First and foremost, we had two solid matches and far less time being wasted as a result. The DQ’s got very annoying but it’s something you have to get used to in WCW. This was a very nice surprise and an easy two hours to sit through instead of the usual drek.

 

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Thunder

Date: December 10, 1998

Location: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee

Commentators: Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan

It’s a taped show because I must have done something horrible in a past life to earn this punishment. We’re getting closer to Starrcade but most of that won’t mean anything here as they can’t let anything significant happen on a taped show. There is actually an announced match though as Rey Mysterio will face Juventud Guerrera for a shot at the Cruiserweight Title at Starrcade 1998. Let’s get to it.

The announcers talk about how awesome the Mysterio vs. Guerrera match will be. We also get Black and White vs. Black and Red tonight! Be still my beating heart.

Chris Jericho vs. Bobby Duncum Jr.

Bobby runs him over to start as the announcers talk about Ralphus more than for the rest of his career combined. A chinlock has Duncum in control as we take a way too early commercial. Back with Jericho getting his head taken off by a hard clothesline out of the corner but he catches Bobby with a drop toehold to send him throat first into the ropes.

Now it’s Jericho with a double arm crank but Bobby turns it around, only to have Jericho flip forward and kick Duncum in the chest in the process. Nice counter. Off to a backbreaker from Jericho as he bends the Texan over his knee in a rare power display. The Lionsault misses and Bobby scores with a hard slam for two. Instead Jericho grabs a rollup and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin.

Rating: D+. Much like most feuds that go on for too long, we’ve seen all of this before and I had no desire to watch it again. Duncum could have been something interesting if used better, but having him fight Jericho over and over wasn’t going to get him there. Jericho was going to steal the spotlight from anyone he worked with through sheer talent and that’s what’s happening here.

Post match here’s Konnan to tell the referee what happened so the match restarts. Jericho tries a rollup but Konnan hits him in the head with the belt to give Duncum the pin.

Video on Bischoff vs. Flair.

Glacier vs. Saturn

The ice dude takes over with a quick kick to the ribs but won’t follow up, which is enough to make Heenan stop talking about Goldberg for a second to complain about Glacier. They hit the mat for a decent wrestling sequence before Saturn goes after the leg with a few holds. Can’t blame him for bad psychology at least. Back up and Saturn fires off chops in the corner and Glacier heads to the floor, only to be sent hard into the barricade.

Back in and Sonny Onoo is here in a neck brace to help Glacier because what would WCW be without him. Glacier takes over with a suplex and elbow to the jaw for two before totally missing a kick to the face. Saturn sells it anyway and we hit the chinlock. Saturn fights up and hits a nice t-bone followed by a middle rope knee for another near fall as Onoo is freaking out in a bad stereotype. They trade standing switches into the Rings of Saturn, drawing in Sonny for the DQ.

Rating: D+. The match was acceptable but good night can we please have Sonny sent ANYWHERE else? He’s been doing the same schtick for like three years now and is just annoying. I can see why he sued WCW over his character as well given how it’s as stereotypical of a Japanese tourist as you can get.

Post match Saturn beats up Onoo while avoiding an attack from Glacier. He suplexes Ice Boy to the floor and stands….not very tall actually.

Kaz Hayashi vs. Norman Smiley

Norman stalls to start before easily taking Hayashi to the mat with a headlock, meaning it’s DANCE TIME. Back up and Hayashi punches Norman in the face and takes him down with a headscissors. Kaz’s offense is short lived though as Smiley launches him into the air and lets Kaz crash down to the mat. A bunch of stomps in the corner set up the spinning slam followed by a butterfly suplex for two.

Smiley is acting far more heelish than I remember him doing recently, including stopping to yell at some fans. Kaz gets caught in a belly to back suplex followed by a surfboard before Norman sends him to the floor. Instead of following up though, it’s time for more dancing. Back in and Hayashi scores with a kick in the corner followed by a nice dive from the top. They trade some rollups but Smiley grabs the crossface chicken wing for the submission.

Rating: D+. Norman is another guy that could have been something interesting for the TV Title but too bad because there’s no way it’s getting out of the NWO anytime soon. Hayashi was a good enough guy in the ring but there were too many people who could do what he did much better than he could.

We see part of the main event on Nitro which was barely a match in the first place.

Here are Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo with something to say. Miller brags about how awesome he is at karate and challenges any fan to come try him. Sonny is annoyed at him for not being there when Saturn attacked him on Monday. They tease fighting before Miller goes to the back to get Saturn. Just let them fight already so Saturn can move on to anything else.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera

They lock up to start until both guys hit the mat for a bit. The feeling out continues as Juvy takes Rey down with a shoulder block before scoring with a Rocker Dropper. Rey is taken into the corner for some chops and whipped into the ropes, only to come back with a headscissors for his first advantage. Juvy bails to the floor and we take an early commercial break.

Back with Rey hitting a splash in the corner and stomping away before hitting the Bronco Buster. Mysterio hammers away in the corner but Juvy comes out with a sweet Liger Bomb out of the corner. This brings out Eddie and the LWO to surround the ring as you can feel the screwy ending coming from here. Rey kicks himout of the air and nails a nice springboard moonsault for two, only to get caught by a quick cross body. A dropkick to the knee puts Juvy back down and a guillotine legdrop gets two more for Mysterio.

Back up again and Juvy avoids a charge into the corner and drapes Rey over the top rope. Mysterio shrugs it off and runs into a boot in the corner to put him right back down. A bulldog gets two more for Guerrera but Rey catches him coming off the ropes, only to get caught in the Juvy Driver. The 450 takes too much time being set up though and Rey crotches Juvy to set up the hurricanrana, only to have the LWO run in for the REALLY annoying DQ.

Rating: B-. They were starting to rock out there until the LWO had to do their thing. Mysterio and Guerrera are two of the best in the company at this point and I’d love to see either of them against Kidman, but having to put up with the LWO is getting really tiresome. At least we got a solid match before the run in though.

Kidman runs out to save Rey from the beatdown.

We see Giant talking trash about DDP from Nitro.

Lodi vs. Booker T.

Booker destroys Lodi like the comedy jobber he is to start before hitting the forearm and ax kick. Here’s Stevie Ray for no apparent reason though to ask Booker what he’s doing. Lodi tries to remember what planet he’s on until Stevie blasts him with the slap jack to give Lodi the DQ win.

Kanyon vs. Chris Benoit

Kanyon does his schtick before the match and thinks the fans say everyone is better than him to make him mad. Speaking of being mad, Kanyon is mad at Raven because the depression is starting to bring Kanyon down as well. “What about me? What about Kanyon?” The fans still don’t seem to care.

The match starts with Kanyon grabbing a quick armdrag and celebrating like he just broke Goldberg’s streak. Benoit takes him down by the arm with ease and grabs a headlock. Kanyon reverses into a neckbreaker but gets caught in the Rolling Germans. He’s able to break it after the first suplex though, only to have his chest knocked off by a chop. Benoit hammers away in the corner before taking Kanyon up for a nice superplex. The overwhelmed Kanyon rolls to the floor but Benoit follows him out for even more chopping.

Back in and Benoit stays all over Kanyon with an elbow to the jaw and some hard whips across the ring. That stiff clothesline drops Kanyon again but Benoit misses a charge into the corner. A Russian legsweep puts him on the mat and Kanyon hits a sweet slingshot elbow for a two count. Benoit fights back in the corner and stomps the heck out of Kanyon, followed by a backbreaker for two. The fans actually chant boring at this for some reason.

Kanyon comes back with a rake to the eyes and a middle rope Fameasser followed by a chinlock. The fans chant boring again despite these two beating the tar out of each other for the last seven minutes. I think they’ve earned a breather. A fireman’s carry pancake gets a close two on Benoit. It’s so close that Kanyon loads up another, only to have Chris counter into a rollup for two. The Swan Dive is broken up but here’s Raven with a can of paint to knock Benoit silly for the DQ.

Rating: B-. Egads did Russo start booking already or something? These DQ’s are getting really annoying when you have solid matches going before them. The match was solid for the most part though with Benoit being all intense as only he can. Kanyon’s offense was stuff we’ve seen before but it’s so different from anyone else’s that it’s still very entertaining.

Kanyon yells at Raven and gets Crossfaced for his efforts.

Vincent/Horace/Stevie Ray vs. Konnan/Lex Luger

We’re ready to go after a bunch of catchphrases and a commercial. I guess Nash was too busy to make the match. Luger locks up with Stevie to start as Konnan plays cheerleader. A shoulder puts Stevie down and there’s the big muscle pose from Luger. Stevie gets him into the NWO corner where all three are knocked around with right hands and forearms. Konnan is fine with letting his partner fight them all off. Vincent of all people finally gets in a cheap shot to slow Luger down and Horace takes over.

Horace hammers away but misses a legdrop, allowing for the lukewarm tag off to Konnan. House is cleaned for a bit until Horace knees Konnan in the ribs, allowing for a tag off to Stevie. The Black and White double teams Konnan and gets to make it a triple team when Luger tries to come in. Vincent gets in some ring time for a change with the generic offense you would expect from a bodyguard. Back to Horace who gets two off a splash with Luger making the save.

Stevie comes in again and chokes a lot before throwing Konnan to the floor. Vincent gets in a few more shots and Luger yells at the referee about it, allowing Horace to help with the assault. Back in and Horace nails a suplex to set up a chinlock for a few seconds before a double clothesline puts both guys down. A double tag brings in Luger and Stevie with Luger taking over via the usual. The Rack to Stevie is broken up by a Vincent jawbreaker but here’s Scott Hall to break up a slap jack attempt. He knocks Stevie into Luger who puts on the Rack for the submission.

Rating: D+. Just a boring handicap match here but they followed all of the usual formulas. At the end of the day though, it’s Vincent, Horace and Stevie Ray on one team which isn’t exactly a team I can get behind. Hall coming in fuels his feud against the Black and White but it’s still not the most interesting story in the world. Konnan and Luger were their usual selves here.

Overall Rating: B-. This was the best Thunder in a long time even though it had some very frustrating problems. First and foremost, we had two solid matches and far less time being wasted as a result. The DQ’s got very annoying but it’s something you have to get used to in WCW. This was a very nice surprise and an easy two hours to sit through instead of the usual drek.

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