Thunder – January 28, 1999: Viva Las Luchas

Thunder
Date: January 28, 1999
Location: Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

We’ll wrap up a packed month with a taped Thunder. Last week’s live show was bad enough so we could somehow set a new low this week. The only good sign is that we’re coming off a solid Nitro so maybe the momentum will help. However, there’s one important question: will anyone else doubt El Dandy? Let’s get to it.

The announcers do their usual intro and focus on Flair vs. Hogan. Heenan says the match is at Super Bowl.

Psychosis vs. Hugh Morrus

I like the red, white and green trim on Psychosis’ outfit. Morrus shoves him down to start as Tenay says he understands there’s another match in the tag team tournament tonight. That’s why he’s the Professor: he understands it after Tony has told us three times in the first five minutes of the show. A running clothesline and corner splash have Psychosis in trouble but he comes out of the corner with an ankle scissors to send Hugh outside.

Morrus makes the mistake of standing in front of the ropes with a cruiserweight in the ring and gets leveled by a suicide dive. Back in and a missile dropkick gets two but Morrus takes him down into a chinlock. Tony talks about how WCW has finally risen up to fight the NWO. Hasn’t that happened about a dozen times in the last two and a half years? Psychosis fights up and sends Morrus outside for another plancha, only to be caught and sent into the steps. Now it’s Morrus trying a dive of his own and it’s actually not half bad. It totally misses Psychosis but it looked pretty good.

Back in and a suplex sets up a chinlock on the luchador as Heenan wants to know what Flair’s secretary looks like. Hugh takes Psychosis’ head off with a running clothesline for two and it’s back to the chinlock. Tony mentions the celebrities celebrating with Goldberg which was an actually good moment. Morrus misses a top rope splash and gets hit with something like a Whisper in the Wind, only to miss a moonsault. Hugh nails No Laughing Matter for the pin.

Rating: D+. This was fine for the most part but went on too long. That being said, it was a fairly competitive match and way easier to sit through than some of the usual nonsense that fills in Thunder. It also pushed the First Family stable a bit and they’re certainly in need of some traction at this point.

We look back at the Black and White meetings from last week and Horace being attacked, only to forget what part of him was hurt and then wrestle fine later.

Chris Jericho vs. Silver King

Jericho is kind enough to remind us that he’s our role model and that we should follow his example. A headlock doesn’t get Jericho anywhere and Silver King takes him down with a clothesline. Back in and Jericho sends him into the bottom buckle and we take a break. We come back with Silver King running into a boot but quickly countering a slingshot into a catapult, sending Jericho out to the floor.

A big plancha takes Jericho down again and they head inside where Jericho comes back with a reverse suplex. Jericho gets two off a belly to back suplex and the Arrogant Cover. Back to the floor so Jericho can choke with a camera cable but Silver King chokes with the rope he brings to the ring. Why none of this is a DQ is beyond me.

It doesn’t have much effect though as a weak spinebuster (called a powerbomb by Tony) looks to set up the Liontamer. King quickly makes the ropes and comes back with a helicopter slam followed by a DDT for two. Jericho plants him with a slightly better spinebuster (Tony calls it a powerbomb again) to set up the Liontamer for the win.

Rating: C-. These matches are actually getting some time tonight and it’s nice to see. Silver King was capable of having a decent match with the right opponent and Jericho knows the lucha style very well. I could easily sit through two hours of this a week, which isn’t something you often think when watching Thunder.

We recap the Flairs vs. Hogan/Bischoff.

Super Calo vs. Fit Finlay

Finlay quickly takes him down for an elbow to the head but Calo spins up to frustrate the Irishman. The announcers talk about Bischoff vs. Flair and mention using a 2×4 to break up the “Four Figure.” Good grief Tony you’ve been doing this for fifteen years. Learn some basic moves already. Calo tries to speed things up but gets caught in the rolling fireman’s carry to send Calo rolling to the floor.

Back in and a hard slam gets two for Fit and it’s off to a reverse chinlock. Finlay loads up a chair to the back but referee Charles Robinson takes it away. We hit a half crab on Calo before Finlay kicks him in the back for good measure. Back to the floor so Finlay can drop Calo face first on the apron as the squash continues. They head inside again where Calo tries to slug it out which goes as well as you would expect it to. Calo escapes an over the shoulder backbreaker and hits a quick spinwheel kick. A top rope splash gets two on Finlay but Calo crotches himself on the top, setting up the tombstone for the pin.

Rating: D. Unlike the first two matches, this was really dull stuff with Finlay dominating about 95% of the match and Calo looking like a goof in the end. Calo never was all that great in the ring and was definitely on the lower level of the cruiserweight roster. Finlay is solid in the ring but not the most interesting character.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Wrath/Van Hammer vs. Bobby Duncum Jr./Mike Enos

And there are no Wrath/Van Hammer. We go to the back where Hammer is out cold and Disco standing over him. There’s a replacement team on hand though.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Outsiders vs. Bobby Duncum Jr./Mike Enos

I’m assuming this is still a tournament match. Enos/Duncum jump the Outsiders as the announcers say they’re standing up for WCW. Enos hammers on Hall to get things started and a powerslam gets two on Scott. Hall finally trips Bobby up and makes the tag off to Nash for the side slam. The big boot and Jackknife end Duncum quick.

Disco Inferno vs. Hector Garza

They trade armdrags to start until Disco takes over with a clothesline. Garza gets backdropped to the apron but comes back with a roll through and a dropkick to send Disco to the apron as well. Hector loads up a dive but slips, allowing Disco to move before Garza can dive. We take a break and come back with This Week In WCW Motrosports, followed by Disco stomping away in the corner. Off to the chinlock as the fans think this is boring. Garza sends him to the floor and hits a nice moonsault off the middle rope to put both guys down. Back in and Garza misses a corkscrew dive, setting up the Chartbuster for the pin.

Rating: D+. Some nice dives by Garza and Disco’s roll continues so I can’t complain all that much. Yeah Disco is stupid but he’s a guilty pleasure. There’s something about his stupid antics that make me chuckle when I watch him and it’s nice to see ANYONE get a push above their usual spot.

Clips of the NWO factions having issues again plus Bischoff selling merchandise, setting up the brawl to end the show.

Kaz Hayashi vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Bigelow takes him into the corner to start before launching Hayashi across the ring. A big headbutt does the same but Hayashi escapes a gorilla press slam and jumps on Bam Bam’s back. That goes as well as it ever has in wrestling and Bigelow easily slams him down. Bigelow lifts him up for a suplex and walks around with Kaz in the air for a few moments. A running splash has Kaz in even more trouble and his chops have no effect. Bigelow misses a top rope headbutt and gets caught by a top rope cross body for one. A victory roll gets two but Bigelow runs him over with a clothesline. Greetings From Asbury Park is good for a pin.

Rating: D+. This was a squash but not the worst I’ve ever seen. Kaz was a nice punching bag for Bigelow and sold the big power moves very well. Bigelow continues to be an upper midcard guy despite not really having a story other than wanting to fight Goldberg. I’m sure the match will happen soon enough.

Konnan/Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Outsiders

Main event time with about twenty minutes to go in the show, so of course we have a commercial and catchphrases before the match. Rey and Hall get things going with Mysterio hitting a quick dropkick and spinwheel kick to frustrate Scott. Some right hands have Hall in trouble and a springboard Fameasser gets two. Off to Nash vs. Konnan with the big man driving in knees in the corner before the framed elbow drops Konnan.

Some forearms have Nash in trouble and Konnan fires off more right hands in the corner. Hall gets dropped as well and sends Disco in as a replacement. Somehow this is allowed as well but Konnan quickly drops Disco. The Outsiders won’t stick their hands out for a tag at first, but Hall quickly tags in to face Rey as we take a break. Back with Hall nailing Rey and tagging Nash back in for Snake Eyes.

The slow tags begin and the fall away slam drops Mysterio and it’s quickly back to Nash. A big side slam plants Rey and Hall’s belly to back superplex does the same. Nash LAUNCHES Rey across the ring and the Outsiders keep slowly picking the bones. Rey’s sunset flip to Nash goes as well as you would expect but Kevin makes the mistake of launching him right to Konnan for the hot tag. Konnan cleans house and puts Hall in the Tequila Sunrise, only to have Disco make the save. The referee doesn’t see that but he does see Luger and Steiner come in for the DQ.

Rating: C-. Slow match but Mysterio got to look good. Again, I like the idea of seeing some people getting pushed, even though there’s a thick glass ceiling waiting on him very soon. For the life of me I’ll never get Bischoff’s theory that Rey couldn’t get over with the mask, but what would I know about stuff like common sense?

The NWO including Hogan comes in to destroy Mysterio while forcing Konnan to watch. The masked man gets the spray paint and Hogan talks trash about Flair to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. This was one of the easier Thunders to sit through in a long time, even though most of the stuff wasn’t all that great. The matches were mostly energetic though and the star power helped a lot. I can live with weaker matches if they contain people I care about, and the lack of Vincent helped a lot.

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