Thunder – May 6, 1999: The Dumping Ground

Thunder
Date: May 6, 1999
Location: Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko

It’s the go home show for Slamboree and things are getting bad around here. Between the nonsensical stories and the boring matches leading up to a show that has barely been hyped outside of the main event, I’m not really looking forward to a two hour taped Thunder. The fact that we only have five matches doesn’t make me feel much better. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Page winning the title back last week.

Video on Nash vs. Page.

Video on Piper vs. Flair.

Scotty Riggs/Mike Enos vs. Raven/Saturn

Raven’s Rules and Saturn has a taped up shoulder from Benoit’s attack on Monday. Raven does his usual WHAT ABOUT ME before the match and says they’ll be champions on Sunday. He starts with Mike and quickly takes over before bringing in Saturn. The bald one nails Enos in the head with a kick before bringing Raven back in for something like Ascension’s Fall of Man. In other words, a Total Elimination ripoff. They follow that up with the same move but with Saturn superkicking Enos down.

Mike finally goes after THE BIG BANDAGE on Saturn’s shoulder to take over. Off to Riggs who gets caught in a release belly to belly because he’s not that good. Saturn tags out but goes up top for a splash, only to hurt his shoulder even more. The heels take over and send Raven outside for a hot shot onto the barricade. Some chair shots have him in even more trouble and a legdrop gets two for Enos.

We take a break and come back with Riggs dropping a knee to Raven’s face and doing the Rude hip swivel. Riggs chokes a lot and tags out to Enos for some trash talk and not much else. Back to Riggs who sends Raven into the barricade a few more times and grabs a chair. Enos holds Raven up but winds up getting nailed by his worthless partner. Raven dropkicks the chair back into Riggs’ face and nails the drop toehold onto the chair for two. Back up and Raven grabs the Evenflow on Riggs but Enos makes the save. The hot tag brings in Saturn for the Death Valley Driver on Riggs for the pin.

Rating: D+. Sweet goodness Riggs was bad. The narcissist gimmick isn’t doing anything for him and the lack of skill really is showing. It says a lot when Buff Bagwell was the one carrying the team but it’s very clear that’s what happened with the American Males. Raven and Saturn shouldn’t have been in that much trouble three days before a title match.

Long video on Piper, leading to him making Page vs. Sting a week ago. We see a good chunk of the match too, which is a lot more interesting than anything else we’re likely to see tonight.

Rick Steiner vs. Erik Watts

Rick yells at Charles Robinson because he’s mean and evil I guess. After some pointless stalling from Watts, Rick quickly takes him down but Erik cranks on the arm. Back up and Rick nails him with a forearm before taking him back to the mat with an armdrag. Steiner finally wakes up and realizes it’s Erik Watts so he nails a belly to belly.

Rick takes him into the corner for a clean break, then takes him into the corner again and knees Watts in the ribs. Pick a side already dude. Watts is sent into the barricade and steps before a German supelx gets two. We hit the chinlock with some crossface shots before choking gets two for Rick. Back up again and a powerslam drops Watts before the Steiner Bulldog knocks him out. Rick puts on something like an STF if he was just bent over instead of laying down for the submission.

Rating: D. Remember back in 1992 when Watts was really bad but they put him in the ring with talented guys? Well he’s still really bad and now they’re putting him in the ring with washed up guys who aren’t interested in doing anything but hitting the other guy harder than he needs to. Naturally, this earns Rick a title shot on Sunday because why not.

Another long video from last week’s Nitro with a focus on the four corners match.

Video on Sting vs. Goldberg, mostly from the four corners match. They’re getting mileage out of that one.

Video on Robinson vs. George.

Disorderly Conduct vs. Brian Adams/Horace

Oh COME ON. Horace chops Mike in the corner to start and nails a Vader style clothesline. Mike tries an armdrag and a slam before cranking on the arm. Off to Tom who works on the arm as well, only to get caught by a clothesline. Adams comes in for a double elbow and some right hands. Riveting stuff here. The tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two on Tom and Mike charges in and earns a gorilla press. Mike and Tom bail to the floor and get beaten up out there as well because the Black and White is TOUGH.

Brian and Mike get back in so Tom can trip Adams from the floor to take over. Tom gets two off a jawbreaker but Adams breaks through a double clothesline and tags in Horace. We get an assortment of kicks, punches and choking from Horace before Mike gets beaten down in the corner even more. Back to Adams for a spinebuster for two on Mike with Tom making the save. Horace comes back in and misses a charge, allowing for the hot (?) tag to Tom. He fights as much as he can but crotches himself on the top. A spike piledriver is enough to pin Mike.

Rating: D. I’d make a joke here about how this is supposed to make me want to pay $30 for a pay per view, but these matches have drained me of any sarcasm I might be able to provide. This show feels like a dumping ground for wrestlers that WCW doesn’t want to keep on the payroll but they have to anyway due to contractual obligations. Why else would this be happening?

Kanyon vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

This HAS to be better. Or as least more interesting. This is Kanyon’s first match back in about three months due to making a movie. Rey declines a handshake. Does he think he’s better than Kanyon or something? Kanyon takes him into the corner but gets put down with an armdrag. Rey tries to speeds things up with a moonsault press but Kanyon catches him in midair. Instead it’s a headscissors to put Kanyon down and a dropkick sends him outside. Rey does the 619 taunt but Kanyon is busy posing in front of a WHO BETTER THAN KANYON sign.

Back in and Kanyon nails some forearms before countering a hurricanrana by sending Rey throat first onto the ropes. We take a break and come back with a headscissors putting Kanyon down. A springboard is caught in a nice backbreaker for two and we hit the chinlock. Rey gets sent outside and they trade whips into the barricade. That’s a very popular move tonight. Kanyon is busted open a bit so we stop the closeups.

A hurricanrana off the apron drops Kanyon again and they head back inside. Kanyon nails a boot to the face but misses a top rope splash. The Bronco Buster connects and the top rope legdrop to the back of the head gets two. Rey’s leapfrog is countered into a powerbomb followed by a kind of sitout Dominator. You knew Kanyon was going to have something new. Kanyon misses a moonsault and gets caught by the top rope seated senton. The Horsemen try to run in but Rey nails them both and grabs a victory roll for the pin.

Rating: C+. Way better than anything else we’ve sat through on this show, even though it wasn’t all that great. Kanyon is almost always entertaining and Rey was his usual self. Thankfully the announcers mentioned that Kidman was at a personal appearance so there’s a reason for him not being here.

Post match the Horsemen get in and crush Rey’s knee between the post and the steps.

Texas Hangmen vs. Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko

The Hangmen are in masks and look like Mike and Tom from earlier. Good chance it’s them actually. The masked men jump the Horsemen to start and send them out to the floor, which isn’t likely the best career move. Back in and the Hangmen are whipped into each other and it’s Dean starting with let’s say #1. Dean starts on the knee as is his custom before bringing in Benoit for a LOUD chop and more knee work.

They head outside with Benoit putting the knee over the barricade for a dropkick from Malenko. Back in for the dragon screw leg whip from Benoit and more kicks and basic holds from Dean. #1 is sent to the floor and the Hangmen try to switch but get caught by Robinson. Back in and #1 misses a clothesline, earning him some Rolling Germans. #1 tries a small package but Robinson wasn’t paying attention.

Back to Dean for some knee work and trash talk for Mysterio. This is a really good display of the Horsemen style with Benoit and Malenko just torturing the limb with every possible method of working over a knee. A knee crusher puts #1 down and the Horsemen quickly alternate and hammer on the knee. Something like an Indian Deathlock makes #1 scream so Dean mocks him from the apron. When did Malenko learn to be funny? Back to Dean who charges into a knee in the corner and it’s finally off to #2. He cleans a few rooms of the house but walks into a belly to belly, setting up the Cloverleaf for the submission.

Rating: C. I could watch the Horsemen pick apart a limb for days. I’m not sure why I’d do that, but it’s far more interesting than seeing the NWO vs. Disorderly Conduct. This was a good way of building up the Horsmen for Sunday, unlike the opener where Raven and Saturn were in way too much trouble.

Video on Page vs. Nash. I believe this is the same one from earlier.

Now for the main event (Tenay’s words): the big Savage/Flair/Robinson/George bit from Nitro followed by the entire Page vs. Flair match.

One more Slamboree ad and we’re out.

Overall Rating: F+. I know a modern criticism of Smackdown is it’s mostly replays from Raw, but this actually was mostly replays from Nitro. Taking out commercials, I believe over half of the TV time tonight was spent airing clips from Monday. I didn’t like the show the first time and I really didn’t like seeing it again on a bad show. This was a waste of time and Slamboree better be an improvement.

Remember there’s no Nitro or Thunder this week.

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