Thunder – March 18, 1999: Thank Goodness Their Advertising Sucked

Date: March 18, 1999
Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

For the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t go to this show. I remember hearing about it on WCW TV around this time but I never saw an ad for the show life. I went to the other Thunder but not this one for some reason. Anyway, WCW is coming out of a really good Nitro and a big upgrade to this month’s pay per view, even though it wasn’t a great show. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

The announcers talk about Nitro’s tag match and mention Flair walking out on Goldberg. They did a really bad job of explaining that on Monday as Flair was legdropped a few seconds earlier and was down when the show ended.

Kenny Kaos vs. Bobby Duncum Jr.

Kaos grabs a few headlocks on the mat but gets countered into a headscissors every time. A hard shoulder sends Duncum to the floor and back inside a powerslam gets two for Kenny. Bobby comes back with a shoulder block but pulls Kaos up at two. He follows up with a shoulder breaker for two and we hit a quickly broken chinlock. Bobby gets a boot up in the corner but walks into a powerslam for two. Duncum comes right back with a Skull Crushing Finale for the pin.

Rating: D. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t go to this show. There were a few weeks there where Thunder was trying, but a Bobby Duncum Jr. vs. Kenny Kaos match isn’t trying. It’s filling in the TV time with wrestlers who happen to work for WCW. The fact that this is the live show scares me.

We recap the Stevie Ray/Horace/Vince stuff from Monday.

Gene brings out Curt Hennig for a chat. Curt says he’s that certain someone that every promoter is looking for. Flair may be the President of WCW but he’s also the World Champion. Hennig wants to face him for the title tonight and insults short people for some reason. He brings up slamming the cage door on Flair’s head a year and a half ago. Flair has fifteen minutes to respond.

Vampiro vs. Prince Iaukea

This is Vampiro’s return after one match back in June of 1998. A shoulder block and spinning kick to the face drop the Prince but he comes back with a springboard missile dropkick. Prince goes up again but springboards into a clothesline. Iaukea comes back with a dive to the floor and some right hands to the head, followed by a springboard dropkick to knock Vampiro off the apron.

Back in and Vampiro scores with some kicks to the chest as Saturn comes out to watch from the aisle. That goes nowhere and Vampiro nails a Rock Bottom and a legdrop for two. Vampiro flips out of a monkey flip and superkicks the Price down. Nail in the Coffin (Michinoku Driver) gets the pin.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t terrible but history hasn’t been kind to Vampiro. He’s watchable in the ring but time has shown that he’s almost all flash with nothing to back it up in the ring. To be fair to him, dragging an entertaining match out of Iaukea was next to impossible. Not a great debut but there have been worse.

Horace and Brian Adams talk about the events on Monday. Adams isn’t sure what’s going on but Horace cuts him off with a right hand to the jaw.

Gene brings out Flair for a chat. Flair has three things to get straight before he gets to what he needs to talk about. First, whether anyone likes it or not, he’s the World Champion. Before he goes on, he yells at a fat boy in the audience holding a Hogan sign. Second, he’s the President for life. Third, he’s a Florida Gator and has never met a Wildcat that he liked. Flair says he’s tired of walking into these arenas every week and sucking up to the fans, especially when this outfit costs more than an average man makes in Kentucky in a year.

Now on to business. Last night at midnight, Flair had no idea where Scott Hall was, so the US Title is vacant. There’s going to be a tournament for the title, culminating at Spring Stampede. The first match is tonight with Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Meng. That means every title has changed hands in the span of five days.

Flair calls out Hennig and has three things to say to him. One, if he messes up Flair’s suit, he’s fired. Two, he respects Hennig but he doesn’t get a shot tonight. Instead, he can have Hollywood in the main event. Hennig is fine with a warm-up match before he gets to face Flair. Flair’s third point: if Hennig touches Flair, he has three choices: two other wrestling companies or go home. Tony: “There are two other wrestling companies?”

Clips of Mysterio taking the Cruiserweight Title on Monday in a great match.

Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

This works. Juvy chops away to start and takes the champion down with a headscissors. He tries another headscissors out of the corner but gets dropped face first with a reverse powerbomb. Rey follows up with a moonsault but doesn’t cover for some reason. Back in and Juvy’s running powerslam is countered with a whip into the corner. Juvy bails outside and gets nailed with a running flip dive.

We come back from a break with Rey firing off forearms and draping Juvy over the middle rope, setting up a top rope guillotine legdrop. Juvy counters a hurricanrana and plants him with a running Liger Bomb. He can’t follow up though and I have no idea why the referee isn’t counting when both guys are down with Rey’s legs on top of Guerrera.

Back up and they run the ropes with Rey taking him down with a headscissors for two. There’s a Juvy Driver out of nowhere for two and Guerrera is stunned. Rey’s sitout bulldog is countered with a crotching on the top but Rey crotches him right back. A springboard hurricanrana retains Rey’s title.

Rating: B-. Any combination of these two and Kidman were going to be awesome. Mysterio may have been the best cruiserweright wrestler of all time and some of the stuff he was doing around this time was just awesome. Something tells me this is going to be the high point of the show.

This Week in WCW Motorsports: not much.

Disco’s version of the Konnan video.

Disco Inferno vs. Disciple

Their names both start with the same four letters and they both use Stunners for a finisher. I’m so bored that I’m picking up things like that. The next most interesting note: Sting will be on QVC selling Beanie Bambinos on Wednesday. Disciple runs him over with a shoulder to start. An armbar goes nowhere so Disciple hammers away in the corner but Disco rolls away from the Apocalypse. Back in and the Chartbuster is blocked as well before Disciple hits an atomic drop. Three straight clotheslines get two on Disco but he comes back with the Chartbuster (now called the Last Dance) for the pin.

Rating: D. Another match where they’re clearly just throwing people out there to fill in time. Disciple was decent in a role like this where he could get beaten up, even though he didn’t have the highest level of skills. When Disco Inferno is by far the better guy in your match, you’ve got a major problem.

Horace vs. Brian Adams

It’s a brawl to start as Adams suplexes him down and Tony laughs at the Black and White falling apart. Brian misses a charge into the corner and gets caught in a DDT. Horace throws him out to the floor and actually hits a suicide dive. Back in and a splash gets two for Horace but Adams comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. With his offense exhausted, Adams sends him back to the floor. That goes nowhere so Horace gets two off a small package back inside. Cue Vince for a distraction and a foreign object to Horace. A hard shot to Adams’ head is good for the pin.

Rating: D-. Horace Hogan is now winning matches on television. I mean….that’s how low we’ve sunk people. One of the jobbiest jobbers to ever job for a job is getting wins on live television in my hometown. The match wasn’t interesting, it wasn’t really good, and it had interference and a weapon. I’ll take anything else now.

Horace on the way to the back: “SCALLIWAG!”

Gene is in the back with Rick Steiner, who says he wants to get in on this new hardcore division. He’s been working with a striking coach to get better at the fighting style. Fit Finlay comes in and says he’s from streets so tough that the only people walking down them were in armored cars. He talks about Rick killing squirrels for some reason. Rick: “Anything I can kill.” Now Finlay is talking about coming to Rick’s house for some reason but they agree to a match on Monday instead. I have no idea what I just heard.

Gene (he’s busy tonight) brings out Hogan. Hollywood mentions the dark cloud over Sunday’s title match but first wants to acknowledge the fans’ reaction when he came out. Hogan couldn’t believe there was an issue between Goldberg and Flair on Monday because everyone knows he never lost the title on Sunday. He refers to himself as Hollywood Hulk Hogan here.

Nash told him that the fans want Hogan to take it to his opponents from now on, and there’s a new Hollywood now. He talks about the power of the pythons and says if you believe in Hollywood and the Pack (Jack) you believe in them for life. Hogan says he’s going to pull some of the old tricks out of the closet and he doesn’t care who Flair throws at him. The fans weren’t as into this as they should have been, but the crowd is so dead from the show they’ve sat through so far.

US Title Tournament First Round: Meng vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

They slug it out to start and I wouldn’t expect much selling here. Meng tries a slam but Bigelow falls on top of him for two. Bigelow goes to the eyes and puts on a chinlock as the BORING chant begins. Meng comes back with a jawbreaker and hammers away in the corner. A big kick to the face sets up the Tongan Death Grip for the win.

Rating: D. This should have been a much bigger brawl with no chinlocks. Instead it was less than five minutes long with no energy and a quick ending. I’ll give them this though: I wasn’t sure who was going to win until the end, which isn’t something you often get on this show, especially this episode.

Hollywood Hogan vs. Curt Hennig

Hogan takes him to the ropes to start and actually puts on a cross armbreaker. Back up and some right hands have no effect on Hogan so he punches Hennig in the corner. Hennig nails some more right hands to better effect followed by some choking. Horace Hogan comes out to ringside as Curt hits the necksnap.

Hogan fights back with more right hands and an abdominal stretch. Curt escapes and slams him down, sending Hogan to the floor. That’s fine with Hollywood who pulls Hennig outside and whips him with the weightlifting belt. Hennig takes it away and whips Hogan before Horace breaks up the PerfectPlex. Hulk Up, big boot, legdrop, we’re done.

Rating: D. The finishing sequence got a better reaction from the crowd but the face turn is still waiting for its big moment. He needs to ditch the black and white or at least shave for it to really kick in. The match wasn’t much to see though, which is odd given how many times these guys have fought each other.

Hollywood jaws to the camera a lot to end the show.

Overall Rating: D-. This is why it’s really hard to get behind WCW. They’ll come off a hot show on Monday and then we get something like this where there’s no effort put in and the show is a disaster. Juvy vs. Mysterio was good and it’s nice to see some star power at the end, but I was done after the first hour. I’m so glad I didn’t go to this show as I can’t imagine what next week will be like.

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