Thunder – January 7, 1999: Hulk Hogan Looks Like A Moron

Thunder
Date: January 7, 1999
Location: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Attendance: 8,597
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

It’s a new year but somehow it feels like we’re still in 1997. Hogan is World Champion again and he has the full NWO behind him including Lex Luger and the Outsiders. This is the first show after the Fingerpoke of Doom, which is kind of uncharted territory. So many people remember the Fingerpoke of Doom, but after that you barely hear any TV talked about until Russo came in. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Flair vs. Bischoff which earned Ric control of the company ten days earlier. You would think this would be a montage of what happened Monday, not ten days ago. There is a clip from Monday, though it’s about what Flair did on his first night in power. This eats up nearly five minutes.

The announcers talk about Bischoff a bit before we talk about the World Title situation from Monday. Tony: “Words cannot describe what happened on Monday.” You mean when Nash laid down to give Hogan the title and the NWO reunited? That’s something you can’t describe? We see the ending segment again, plus some bonus footage from after the show went off the air. Goldberg wanted to fight Nash but I believe the Atlanta Falcons got in the ring instead. Nash didn’t come out so this really doesn’t mean much.

Gene brings out Flair for a chat. He asks Ric about what happened on Monday and Flair is very serious. Flair talks about the tradition in this building and wrestling Harley Race here eighteen years ago. They were two men fighting to be the World Heavyweight Champion. That brings him to Hogan and Nash. Flair has spent his entire career walking behind Hulk Hogan and ten years from now, they’re going to look at their kids and have to explain what they’ve done.

Flair lays down and demands that Gene count him. He demands to know why Nash gave the World Title to Hulk Hogan. Flair shook his hand on Nitro and gave him the match so this is all on the President. He lists off every member of the new NWO and singles out Luger for having no leadership.

As for Bischoff, he spent hours sitting there silently before erupting at the end. Bischoff will be in a meeting with Harvey Schiller, Ted Turner and Flair to figure out what to do about Hogan and Nash this coming Monday. Flair lists off a bunch of legends and says they all used to be World Champions. Hogan and Nash are not taking away what that title means.

We see the clip of Jericho talking to referee Scott Dickinson on Nitro.

Ernest Miller vs. Perry Saturn

Starrcade rematch. Miller holds him off with kicks to the air before taking Saturn into the corner. A superkick puts Saturn down as the fans are trying to care about this show at all. Saturn tries a sunset flip, gets punched in the face, and then pulls Miller down after some posing anyway. Miller gets caught by a head and arms suplex for two but a Sonny distraction lets Cat get in another kick. Falcon’s Arrow gets two on Miller but Jericho pulls the referee to the floor. Tony: “The world has turned upside down.” Miller rolls Saturn up and Dickinson runs in, counts a one, and gives Miller the match.

Rating: D. Saturn is now feuding with a referee. How long ago was he at war with Raven in a hot feud? Four months? This was a waste of time and I can’t blame Saturn for wanting to get out of the company as fast as he could. Do Jericho and Saturn even have an issue? Jericho started stuff with Miller after Starrcade and now he’s feuding with Saturn because…..WCW?

Both NWO camps arrive with Hogan in a Red and Black shirt with a flannel shirt over it, complete with a red and black Harley-Davidson toboggan. Giant is the biggest star in Black and White and asks Hogan what’s up with this. Hogan says give him five minutes and they’ll have a meeting. Hogan looks like an idiot. We follow the Red and Black into their dressing room….and that’s all for this shot.

We look at Luger turning heel. Thankfully Tony brings up Scott Steiner recruiting him, so there is at least a backstory for it, even though it could have just been part of the NWO merger.

Cruiserweight Title: Kidman vs. Psychosis

Kidman is defending. They stall to start until Psychosis cranks on a wristlock into a hammerlock. Kidman rolls him out to the floor and hits a nice plancha as we go to a break. Back with….an ad for the Nitro Girls calendar. Now we’re back with both guys down on the floor. Apparently Psychosis hit a big top rope backsplash to the floor to get them in that position. Not that we get to see it or anything, but Tenay seemed to think it was rather spiffy.

Back in and the BK Bomb gets two on Psychosis before he tries a powerbomb of his own. You know what that means, but Juventud Guerrera runs in for the DQ before we get the Shooting Star. No rating due to the commercial but we didn’t get to see many of the high spots anyway.

Rey Mysterio comes out for the save but here’s the Red and Black. The cruiserweights get destroyed but Mysterio is allowed to leave. Nash talks about the match of the century on Monday where Hogan took the title. Hogan says Flair can’t handle the fact that tradition has been taken to a new level. He promises to take back the wrestling business and rips on Goldberg for having police and Atlanta Falcons protecting him. On Monday, we’ll see what backup is all about.

Cue the Black and White who aren’t looking very pleased. You can see Psychosis being taken out as they hit the ring. Giant wants to know why Hogan didn’t come talk to him but Hollywood says it was just bad timing. Hogan loves all the Black and White guys but thinks there’s a problem. It was Giant that got suckered in by the Macho Man (who hasn’t been seen since the night after Starrcade) and it’s time to trim some fat around here.

The Red and Black are all cool, but Giant is jumping in Hogan’s face. There’s only room for one giant in the NWO, and Kevin Nash has never dropped the ball. Giant says he’s the giant, because his name says he is. Hogan respects that and declares love for the Black and White. Since this is business, how about Nash vs. Giant on Monday for the giant spot on the team? Giant agrees.

This Week in WCW Motorsports. There are too many jokes to pick from.

Ad for the WCW/NWO Thunder game for Playstation.

We go to Raven’s house where his family and Kanyon are trying to get him to go back to therapy. He’s sitting there in ring gear and all of the women say the same things over and over. Raven says he doesn’t want to go back and everyone talks over each other. Raven finally walks off. His sister is being played by ECW’s Chastity.

Jerry Flynn vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Neither guy has music. Twenty six seconds and Greetings From Asbury Park ends Jerry.

Tony wants to know where Konnan was on Monday. That’s a fair question actually.

Gene brings out Curt Hennig and Barry Windham for a chat. They talk about Ric sending his son to a slaughter, even though Ric’s career is already over. Hennig says not only will it be a handicap match, but Flair will have a handicapped kid.

Juventud Guerrera is trying to leave but Gene flags him down because Gene is an annoying man. Juvy rants about someone getting to Eddie before switching to Spanish. Gene: “You don’t have to talk to me in Mexican. You can talk to me in English.” Juvy looks terrified and escapes while talking about the Wolfpack.

Disco Inferno vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

No NWO shirt for Disco anymore. Pepe has a neck brace after what happened to him on Monday. Disco doesn’t know what to make of it so he grabs a wristlock instead. A shoulder puts Disco down and it’s time to dance. Some clotheslines put Inferno down again as they’re barely past the first month of wrestling school so far. Disco bails to the floor and Pepe rides Chavo around the ring a bit.

Back in and Chavo fires off some chops as we hear about the Tag Team Titles being vacated due to Rick Steiner’s injury. Flair has announced a tournament, but Tony is cut off by Norman Smiley coming out to do the Big Wiggle with Pepe included. Chavo goes to save the horse and gets caught by the Chartbuster for the pin.

Rating: D. The match didn’t have time to do anything as it was more about continuing Chavo vs. Smiley rather than anything with Disco. I’m glad Smiley has a feud now but couldn’t they do more for him than have something about dancing with a wooden horse? Well in theory they could, but it might take something away from 87 NWO segments a show.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Fit Finlay/Dave Taylor vs. Super Calo/Lizmark Jr.

Finlay and Calo get things going as Tony talks about seeing Jimmy Snuka and Paul Orndorff winning the World Tag Team Titles back in the 70s. A headlock annoys Calo so Finlay sends him flying with a shoulder instead. Taylor gets in a kick from the apron and Finlay scores with a clothesline. Lizmark and Taylor come in with the masked man nailing a dropkick and stopping for what looked like a dance. Finlay comes back in to clean house and then hand it back to Taylor. Lizmark misses a moonsault press and a floatover butterfly suplex sends Finlay and Taylor to the next round.

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t horrible but these matches not even getting to five minutes is getting very annoying. I get that it’s a special kind of show, but usually you get a long match to fill in some of the time. This is the fifth match of the night and the only one that got more than five minutes had a commercial in it. It doesn’t help that it’s not even anything interesting, though paying some attention to the tag division is a nice idea.

Not that the match matters as the NWO comes in to clean house. Hall says tradition bites and there’s no tag wrestling around here because the Outsiders were undefeated. The tournament isn’t going to happen.

Booker T. vs. La Parka

La Parka dances a bit but gets forearmed for his efforts. Booker easily sends him outside but gets caught in a chase, allowing La Parka to hit some chops in the corner. Time to dance! La Parka fires off some right hands in the corner as Tony says there’s no way Booker is getting a World Title shot anytime soon. Booker easily comes back with the ax kick for two and the whip spinebuster. Tony is of course talking about some meeting with human resources. La Parka clotheslines Booker out to the floor and brings the chair in, only to have Booker kick it into his face for the pin.

Rating: C-. The match probably wasn’t that good but after this show I’ll take anything. La Parka wasn’t the best in the world but he was having a decent match here and actually trying. Booker continues to look like someone capable of getting a rocket push at the drop of a hat, but like Tony said, that simply wasn’t in the cards at this point.

Back to Raven’s house with him sitting by the pool and Kanyon cleaning. A man with blond hair named Jim shows up and throws Kanyon in. Apparently the man is related to the family and gets into a chat with them as Raven goes inside. You might know Jim better by his ring name: the Sandman.

We see Konnan beating Chris Jericho for the TV Title back in November.

Chris Jericho vs. Konnan

We cut to the back to see La Parka laid out with the NWO circle of spray paint around him. Konnan (still in a Konnan Red and Black shirt) does the catchphrases and finally gets jumped while he talks forever. Why did no one ever figure that out before? Konnan fights back with a shoulder but walks into a spinwheel kick. Another clothesline puts Jericho on the floor and it’s right back inside for a chinlock.

That goes nowhere so a release hot shot puts Konnan down instead. Back up and Konnan spins around into a bulldog for two followed by the rolling lariat. Scott Dickinson is bumped and Jericho pulls out a foreign object for two but Saturn pulls Dickinson out. Back in and Konnan gets in a cheap shot and Saturn counts a fast three because why not.

Rating: D+. This show is rapidly killing me as this referee nonsense is such a waste of Saturn’s skills. They tried to throw in something about them coming from the same wrestling school but at the end of the day, it’s Saturn feuding with a referee and Jericho by proxy. Why am I supposed to be interested?

Tony and Tenay brag about doing commentary in the Thunder game. Heenan: “Why wasn’t I invited?” Tony: “You’re very obnoxious.”

Chris Benoit vs. Barry Windham

Apparently Tony gave human resources a very bad report on Eric Bischoff’s commentary Monday. They fight against the ropes to start as Tony lists off a bunch of people Bischoff has treated horribly over the years. Benoit and Windham fight to the floor as the announcers still ignore them.

Back in and Benoit backdrops Barry and chops away in the corner. Windham nails a quick low blow to take over but gets caught in the release German. Back to the floor with Benoit being rammed into the barricade but coming back with a clothesline inside. The referee goes down again as Benoit hits another German but Hennig comes in. He gets caught in the Crossface but Barry is back up to kick Benoit in the head for the pin.

Rating: D. Think back to all the battles and matches Benoit has had. Think back to the wars with Kevin Sullivan. Now imagine a single kick to the back of the head being enough to pin him. It’s just a way to cap this awful show with another stupid moment that doesn’t make sense or please any fan.

Mongo comes out for the save to end the show.

Overall Rating: F. This looks to be the start of a really bad time for WCW. We had terrible matches (none of which seemed like anyone was even trying save for maybe Booker T. vs. La Parka) and WAY too much NWO stuff. I see no reason whatsoever for the LWO to have to be destroyed. Did we really need to prove that the guys who just destroyed GOLDBERG could beat people up? It’s clear that there was no thought put into this save for the main event angles and that’s not a good thing. The main event was just there and the announcers spent half the time talking about Tony and human resources. REALLY bad sign here.

 

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3 comments

  1. chad says:

    I think the LWO was dissolved because Eddie got into a bad car crash on NY eve that year

    klunderbunker Reply:

    He did but I don’t see the need to beat them down and have them destroyed. Someone else could have gotten a nice rub as the new leader and then feud with Eddie when he got back. Or just let them split and make a story out of that. It just seemed unnecessary to destroy them.

  2. chad says:

    I think they were trying to pare down the factions, streamline them to just the nWo elite and the horsemen, but hole are poked in that theory as well by letting the B team still exist. I think it could’ve been a good way to get the Filthy Animals together, unite against the Wolfpac; Konnan and Rey already had issues with them and Eddie could’ve had issue with them too when he came back for destroying the LWO…ah if only WCW were good at long term booking…Oh well