Thunder – August 2, 1999: Dropping The Anchor

Thunder
Date: August 5, 1999
Location: Lacrosse Center, Lacrosse, Wisconsin
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko

We’re coming off an actually decent episode of Nitro, even though it was dominated by the over 40 crowd. Ok maybe I need to be more specific as that could be a lot of different episodes of the show. In this case, it ended with Nash powerbombing Hogan through the table, likely setting up a six man tag soon down the road. In addition to that, we have a lot of musical performances to plug because that’s what WCW is about anymore. Let’s get to it.

We of course open with a recap of the end of Nitro.

Opening sequence.

Prince Iaukea vs. Chris Adams

If Sid doesn’t break this up before it gets to three minutes, all hope is lost for this company. They actually slug it out to start with Adams taking over with a clothesline, sending Iaukea out to the floor for a breather. That’s kind of heelish of him. Not that I care due to Prince Iaukea being perhaps the least interesting wrestler of all time, but it’s definitely noticeable. Back in and Iaukea goes to the eyes to make sure we know he’s a heel. A legdrop gets two on Adams and Iaukea backdrops him down for good measure, only to have Sid come out to nail Adams for the DQ.

Adams takes a powerbomb and Nick Patrick is forced to count a three count. Iaukea takes one as well and Sid promises to lay out all our heroes. If he has to, he’ll take out the entire locker room to break Goldberg’s streak and become the Millennium Man. I’m sure this has nothing to do with Jericho’s millennium clock which was about to wrap up around this time. Also, isn’t Sid feuding with Sting at the moment?

Video on Sting vs. Sid. I need to be more patient.

CALL THE HOTLINE!

Video on Bagwell vs. the Cat.

Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs

Before the bell Buff grabs the mic and says the American Males are over, so it’s time for Scotty to start riding his own coattails. Had anyone actually thought of the American Males in the last two years to make that comment necessary? Bagwell picks up the mirror to really set Riggs off and the match starts in a hurry. Of course, Riggs may try to start fast but gets atomic dropped, punched and dropkicked out to the floor. The more I see of Bagwell in the ring, the more I’m unsure if he should have gotten that big push. Other than the Blockbuster, the guy just had NOTHING special in the ring.

Riggs bails to the floor just like Iaukea did earlier (must be a boring wrestler thing) but Buff sends him right back inside. Back in and they trade dropkicks with Bagwell hitting the second one, followed by a swinging neckbreaker. Ten right hands in the corner get the crowd into things a bit and send Riggs over to the corner for his mirror. Since referees are worthless in this company, Riggs blasts him in the throat with the mirror to take over.

Elbows and more dropkicking abound because Scotty Riggs really doesn’t know how to do much else. Oh wait apparently he can check the mirror some more. Riggs chokes on the ropes and slaps on a chinlock to kill some time. We get the usual escape before Buff avoids a dropkick. Gee I wonder how he knew it was coming. A double clothesline puts both guys down and Buff takes over, even though he had control just a few seconds earlier. Buff hammers away but eats a jawbreaker, allowing Riggs to put him on the top. Oh come on dude now you’re just asking for it. The Blockbuster connects for the easy pin.

Rating: D. Why in the world is Riggs still employed??? By this point it’s firmly established that there’s nothing interesting to him and giving him such a generic gimmick suggests that there’s nothing they can do with him. The match wasn’t even that bad from a technical standpoint but it was so boring with WAY too many dropkicks. What did WCW see in these two as a team? They’re both as lame as the other.

Video on Harlem Heat.

The announcers chat about Goldberg for a bit. He’s tough you see.

Video on the Triad vs. Harlem Heat.

Diamond Dallas Page was on the Late Late Show. As interesting as it sounds.

Kidman vs. Eddie Guerrero

This should help. Eddie, a face at the time, isn’t interested in shaking hands. Instead he backdrops Kidman to the apron but gets caught in a middle rope ankle scissors to take him down. That’s fine with Guerrero who goes after the knee to take over. Back to the apron and this time it’s a slingshot ankle scissors to send Eddie to the floor as we take a break. Back with Eddie holding Kidman in the Gory Special before switching over to the Gory Special 2000 (basically an Eye of the Storm but by the neck. I’ve never heard it called that before) for two.

A great looking hurricanrana gets the same on Kidman but Eddie makes the mistake of trying a powerbomb. The Shooting Star is countered and Eddie takes him down with a superplex. The fans are WAY into counting along with the referee. Back up and Kidman hammers away but charges into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Another powerbomb attempt goes badly for Eddie as Kidman hurricanranas him out to the floor.

Cue Vampiro to plant Eddie with the Nail in the Coffin behind the referee’s back. Kidman wakes up and, as Larry points out, can’t he take a wild guess at what happened? Apparently he can as he dives onto Vampiro instead of hitting the Shooting Star. Eddie and Vampiro beat Vampiro up as the match is thrown out.

Rating: C+. Of course this was good, but unfortunately it’s there to set up a story for the Insane Clown Posse because of some mainstream exposure that most wrestling fans didn’t care about. This is another match that could have done far better with more time and an actual ending, but that goes for almost all cruiserweight matches.

Rey Mysterio remembers that he’s a cruiserweight and comes out to help in the beatdown. Kidman powerbombs Vampiro down and Eddie nails the Frog Splash for good measure.

No Limit Soldiers vs. Lenny Lane/Lodi

Swoll and Brad Armstrong here with the former in his last match (other than one on Saturday Night) in WCW. Brad and Lenny, complete with pigtails here get things going with Lenny doing the talk to the hand thing. We stop again because it’s time for a brother hug. Brad finally grabs a hammerlock, probably being wondering how he managed to get here. Off to Lodi vs. Swoll, who shrugs off an armbar attempt. Lenny tries the same hold, only to have both Swoll clothesline both guys out to the floor. Granted he hit them in the chest but somehow that’s a major step in the right direction.

Thankfully it’s back to Brad who clotheslines Lodi to the floor, only to get tripped down so the, ahem, comedy team can take over. Lenny hammers Brad, Lodi hammers Brad, Swoll tries to make a save but backs down, hours of fun! Well at least it feels like hours. Lane nails Lodi (a commentary joke waiting to happen) and the hot tag brings in Swoll. Let’s get this over with. Swoll cleans house and everything breaks down, and the palm thrust is enough to end Lodi.

Rating: F+. Brad Armstrong, I feel so sorry for you. He had to get stuck in this horrible gimmick, basically babysitting Swoll because the guy can’t do something as simple as a clothesline without screwing it up. The guy needed a lot more training and a WAY better finisher before he might be ready for a low level show. He comes off like a big muscle guy who saw wrestling on TV and wanted to do it without knowing what it entailed. As usual, the power of nepotism means we have to suffer through his push, which thankfully is ending here. Lenny and Lodi are the same guys they’ve been for weeks and it keeps getting worse.

Nash vs. Hogan video.

This Week in WCW Motorspots.

Booker T. vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

This could be good if they let it last more than a few minutes. Bigelow shrugs him off to start and Booker needs a new strategy. He tries a dropkick instead (clearly inspired by Scotty Riggs) and knocks Bigelow to the floor. For some reason it takes Bigelow a good while to get back in and we take a break. Back with Booker fighting out of a chinlock and Bigelow running into a raised boot. The flying forearm has Bigelow reeling and the Ax Kick connects, only to have Page break up the Hangover for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Yeah they really didn’t care here and it showed badly. Matches like this one might be the most frustrating to sit through as it’s clear that the wrestlers just want to get out of there and get on with the angle stuff after the match. Harlem Heat vs. the Triad is good enough and might end the Triad’s title reign, but matches like these aren’t going to make me want to see the blowoff.

Booker eats a 3D post match as David Flair comes out with spray paint. They paint a diamond on Booker’s back until Stevie comes out, only to take a Diamond Cutter of his own. So wait, why is the Triad still associating with Flair? Ric has no power and David is worthlesss, so why would they want a liability like that in their corner? In theory it’s either overconfidence or money, but a quick promo would help a lot. Of course I don’t think WCW remembers that Ric is out of power yet so the promo might make things worse.

We see Hogan going through the table again.

Hogan vs. Nash video, the same one from about thirty minutes ago.

Video on Rodman vs. Savage.

Gene brings out Randy Savage for a chat. Okerlund asks where George is but Savage is uncharacteristically silent. He isn’t worried about all the people that are out to get him because Rodman and Nash are dust on his shoulders and Hogan is dust off……a rather personal place. Savage has a major announcement to make. Gene: “Save it for the Hotline!” That sounds like a line from a parody sketch. This coming Monday, Savage is going to reveal George’s bodyguard for Road Wild and it’s the same person that was driving the Hummer. I smell either a swerve or nothing happening and this never being mentioned again.

Diamond Dallas Page was on Hollywood Squares.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit

Nitro rematch where Chris picked up the win. No Kanyon this week, as Page explains that he’s breaking in (not into in case you misread that) a million dollar home in Jersey. He calls the fans stupid, just like Benoit’s mama. There’s a good history between these two and they’re capable of having good matches but the feud is built off your mama jokes?

Benoit comes a-charging and knocks Page out to the floor, setting up a big plancha to wake the crowd up a bit. Back in and Benoit nails the snap suplex but has to go outside to fight Bigelow. The distraction works as Page nails Benoit from the apron and whips him into various steel objects. Why is it always steel? I know it sounds good but was there never any other metal available to make things from?

Back in and the helicopter bomb and Rock Bottom get two each and Page slaps on an abdominal stretch. Benoit finally hiptosses out and it’s time to roll some Germans with the third sending Page flying. Cue David again to slide Page the US Title. The Swan Dive hits the gold and Page covers the unconscious Benoit for the pin.

Rating: C. I’m not sure where they’re headed with this but they need to get the title onto either Page or Benoit in the very near future. The longer Flair holds it the weaker the other matches get because just like the TV Title on Steiner, the belt is basically being held hostage and there’s nothing for these guys to fight over. Yeah Benoit and Page can have good matches, but I need more to care about than some jokes I heard on the bus in sixth grade.

Video on Goldberg vs. Rick Steiner.

Goldberg vs. Rocco Rock

Well in theory at least as the graphic said Public Enemy. Rocco stalls on the floor to start, which is probably his best bet. He finally comes in and eats a shoulder block followed by the big press slam. Grunge comes in and gets the same sort of a beating. Back to Rock who hammers away in the corner but gets launched across the ring. A powerslam plants Rocco but Grunge slides in a chair. They take turns blasting Goldberg in the back with the chair before setting up a table in the corner. That’s fine with Goldberg (and the referee) as he spears both guys through the table, setting up the Jackhammer on Rock for the pin.

Rating: D. The match sucked but the idea made sense. This was Goldberg being himself and the fans continued to eat it up. I’m sure that’s the idea behind putting him with Steiner because….well you see…yeah there’s no logical reason to do that. The guy is over but they’re not going to put the TV Title on him, making the Road Wild match just a way to give Goldberg a win that really doesn’t mean much, which he gets almost weekly anyway. Also, was there a reason this wasn’t a handicap match?

Overall Rating: D+. As has been the case for weeks now, WCW is just trying to steady the ship while WWF is on a cruise around the world. Around this time, Raw may be at a very low level on the quality scale, but it’s through the roof on an entertainment scale. That being said, all Raw has to do at the moment is be more entertaining than Nitro and Thunder and it’s doing that by a landslide.

The other major issue for WCW at the moment is where do they go from here. There’s really nothing on the horizon for them unless they’re going to do Goldberg vs. Hogan again, which would be more interesting with Hogan in his old style. However, it’s really hard to promote that as your main event when WWF is riding Austin and Rock for all they’re worth and has so much talent waiting to break through to the next level. Until WCW starts moving forward, this war is going to be completely one sided.

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