Thunder – July 14, 1999: Dear. Freaking. Goodness.

Thunder
Date: July 14, 1999
Location: Jefferson County Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay

Oh joy. It’s a taped Thunder coming off a PPV. The good thing is we’re coming off the least boring show WCW had in awhile, though on the other hand it led us to ANOTHER Hogan title reign that only people with the last name Hogan actually wanted to see. That being said, I’ll take bad over dull, and anything that gets me away from Randy Savage in the main event is a good thing. Let’s get to it.

This is a Wednesday show.

Vampiro vs. Van Hammer

Hammer throws him around to start but gets armdragged down to space things out a bit. A full nelson doesn’t get Hammer anywhere but some kicks to the chest knock him out to the floor. Vampiro hits a nice dive but Hammer easily sends him into the barricade to take over. Back in and Hammer pounds away before kicking Vampiro square in the jaw. A big slam sends Vampiro off the top but walks around instead of covering.

Vampiro comes back with some strikes and a snapmare, followed by a kick to the back. This is going nowhere for the most part. Van takes him down again and stomps away because he really doesn’t have that strong of an offense. A chokeslam of all things puts Hammer down for two but Vampiro misses a top rope splash. That’s FINALLY enough to make the announcers stop talking about Hogan returning on Monday. Hammer slugs away in the corner and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Vampiro nails him low, only to walk into the cobra clutch slam for two. They slug it out again and Vampiro grabs a rollup for a fast pin.

Rating: D+. This goes back to the problem for Thunder: the wrestling is just ok, but there’s no reason to care about these guys. Yeah Vampiro is popular with the fans, but why should I care about him? He has one off matches that don’t go anywhere and has no story to speak of. On the other hand you have the worthless hunk of flesh known as Van Hammer, who isn’t going to make things any better.

Speaking of Van Hammer, he destroys Vampiro after the match. Really? THIS warrants a continuation?

Sick Boy vs. Rick Fuller

Oh come on now. Sick Boy now has blond hair and actually looks like a bigger Dolph Ziggler if he had a brown beard. Fuller drops him with a shoulder as Tenay says this is a proving ground match. A bad looking legdrop gets two on Boy and a bad looking sunset flip gets the same on Fuller.

We keep the dull going with Fuller’s generic power offense in the corner before he hammers Sick Boy down in the middle of the ring. Sick Boy scores with a lariat but gets choked on the middle rope. Another sunset flip attempt is blocked so Fuller puts him on the top and….very gently takes him back down. Sick Boy gets two off a spinwheel kick but Fuller puts him back on the top and hits a kind of powerbomb for the pin.

Rating: F. What a disaster. Again, it’s not even that the match was horrible, but they just had nothing going on here and I had no reason to care. The match is just SO dull and uninteresting that there’s nothing to keep my attention. If the idea here was to have Fuller look like a killer, it’s failed as much as….well almost anything else WCW tried around this point.

Steve Regal/Fit Finlay/Dave Taylor vs. No Limit Soldiers

This would be Chase Tatum, Swoll and B.A. Chase and Finlay slug it out to start and Chase is already about 847 times better than Swoll. The fact that he’s only a bit above average should tell you all you need to know. They trade some good forearms with Chase getting the better of it, only to miss a charge into the corner. Off to Taylor for some very quick shots before Regal comes in to get in some offense of his own.

Regal misses an elbow though and the hot tag brings in Swoll to clean house. We go to a commercial with the good news that Swoll hasn’t maimed anyone yet. Back and thank goodness it’s Regal vs. B.A. Regal works on the arm and drops some knees, only to have B.A. make a nice comeback with dropkicks and armdrags. The Europeans take him into the corner though and it’s European uppercuts a go-go with all three getting in a few.

Finlay misses a charge into the corner but Regal comes in to prevent B.A. from making the hot tag. Then for a change of pace, Taylor comes in to prevent B.A. from making the hot tag. It’s back to Finlay for the chinlock before it’s off to Taylor for yet another chinlock. Regal comes in for some brief hammering before it’s back to Dave, who misses the third tag of the match and finally allows the hot tag to Swoll. Thankfully it doesn’t last long with Swoll running everyone over and hitting his palm strike to the chest (called a Heart Punch by Tenay, who apparently doesn’t get the concept of a PUNCH) to pin Taylor.

Rating: D. The worst part about this is the majority of the guys out here are really talented and deserve much better than this. Chase wasn’t anything special but he was fine for what he was doing. Then however you have Swoll, who is basically the Erik Watts of his day. Also, it’s so depressing that guys like Regal, Taylor and Finlay, who could teach anyone a thing or twenty about wrestling, have to job for this guy because his uncle is famous.

West Texas Rednecks video.

We see the whole Sting/Flair argument from Nitro, plus most of Sting vs. David.

US Title: Bobby Eaton vs. David Flair

What is this, a theme show? Ric and Asya will be running interference. David actually takes Bobby down with a headlock before Bobby does the same to him, albeit much faster. A hiptoss drops Eaton and he looks somewhere between shocked and frustrated. Ric tries to give Eaton a wad of cash, only to have Eaton take the money and suplex David down. Asya comes in to block the Alabama Jam before taking his place. Eaton climbs down and yells at Ric, earning a low blow from Asya. The Figure Four retains the title.

Rating: F. I’m sure you get the idea.

Recap of Vampiro vs. Konnan, Miller and Bagwell’s non-match, Kidman vs. Regal and Stevie Ray saving Booker. Even Smackdown isn’t this bad.

Kidman vs. Mikey Whipwreck

This HAS to be better. Kidman scores with some headscissors and a dropkick to start, sending Mikey out to the floor for a breather. Kidman spends too much time walking around and not paying attention, allowing Mikey to pull him out to the floor. He drops Kidman across the barricade as Tenay prattles on about Hogan vs. Nash. Back in and Mikey works on the ribs and legs with all the usual submission attempts that won’t work.

Kidman fights back with a quick powerbomb but can’t follow up. Instead it’s Mikey getting two off a slam, followed by a slingshot legdrop. Back up and he tries a suplex, only to have Kidman shove him out to the floor. A big plancha takes Mikey out again, followed by a high cross body for two back inside. Mikey nails a nice springboard clothesline, but makes the eternally stupid mistake of trying to powerbomb Kidman. The faceplant sets up the Shooting Star for the pin.

Rating: C-. At this point I think I’d have given anything a better rating. Mikey continues to be about as obvious of a cheap shot signing as you can imagine as there’s just no reason for him to be in WCW. His work is average and most of the fans don’t care about him, but at least he’s not working for ECW right?

Video on Hogan vs. Savage.

Rap Is Crap.

Tag Team Titles: Jersey Triad vs. Curt Hennig/Barry Windham

Heel vs. heel here, but maybe they’re hoping the rednecks will be over as faces in the south? Kanyon starts out on the floor as Bigelow easily hammers Curt down. It’s off to Windham for a Starrcade 1988 rematch, with Barry doing just as badly as Hennig did. Page comes in which goes a bit better for Windham. A shoulder and lariat put Page down and it’s back to Hennig, who only stays in for a few seconds.

Off to Kanyon who eats a suplex from Windham before it’s quickly back to Hennig. Now, to really make this stupid, Kendall Windham and Bobby Duncum Jr. jump up on the apron as Barry drops to the floor. Curt tags out to Kendall and drops to the floor, meaning it’s now Kendall/Bobby vs. the Triad.

So to recap, we have two heel teams both using an upgraded version of the Freebird Rule, but the team of heels that might actually get some face sympathy in this town is now cheating even more, guaranteeing that the bigger heel team is going to be less heelish here, somehow making them the faces. I didn’t believe it was possible but this company is somehow coming up with new ways to screw stuff up.

Anyway we take a break and come back with Kanyon coming in to face Duncum with Barry on the apron. Bobby drops Kanyon with a right hand but Hennig interferes for no apparent reason, allowing for a double tag to Barry and Bigelow. The others start interfering, allowing Page to hit Barry low to really take over. The other three guys are fighting on the floor, leaving Kanyon to miss a moonsault on Barry. Hennig comes in off the hot tag but everyone gets in for the double DQ.

Rating: D. For DUMB. This match was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in wrestling and I can’t believe I actually watched it. WCW managed to screw up one of the basic core ideas of wrestling (good vs. bad) and couldn’t even have champions win clean in doing so. I can’t believe it but this company is somehow getting worse.

Overall Rating: G. This show is behind a failure. This was one of the worst shows that I’ve ever had to sit through, with Kidman vs. Whipwreck having the ONLY thing that was watchable. However, when you have Rick Fuller vs. Sick Boy, a David Flair match with Ric Flair stuffing money down Bobby Eaton’s tights like he was a stripper to whatever the heck that main event was to SO MANY FREAKING RECAPS, something like Kidman vs. Whipwreck is pretty quickly forgotten. This was a disaster and made me change my standard line from “it can’t possibly get any worse” to “dear goodness please don’t let it get worse.”

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3 comments

  1. Your Eternal Reward says:

    and you still have nearly 20 months of nitro and thunder to go.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    True but thankfully Nitro drops back to two hours in January.

  2. Gillberg!!! says:

    2000 is better. There are some godawful stupid ideas, but at least Russo has an idea where he’d like to go. Bischoff (I assume he still has final say here) has no clue what sort of overall narrative he wants to see, and is distracted by anything flashy (ooh, let’s bring Hogan back on top! Girls! Cars! Rappers!) that he’s just jerking back and forth in the wind.

    And what’s with adding wrestlers when you’re completely overbooked on the roster anyhow? Sick Boy, really? Sheesh.

    The tag-team mess is ridiculous; the Freebird Rule was about 2 of the 3 defending the title, not making matches into de facto 6-man tags. And no, I don’t know why the champs can’t get a clean win. Or even a dirty one.

    I don’t mind “David Flair, paper champion” but he shouldn’t be defacing the U.S. belt (what’s the damn TV belt for, anyhow? The 10.00 limit means you could have time-limit draws and count that as a step towards “hmm,, David doesn’t suck so bad anymore”, which is, I’d assume, a necessary step sooner or later) and he needs better protection than Ric, Arn and Asya. Get him a freaking goon to save his ass. Lord knows there are enough big stiffs on the roster with nothing to do.