Thunder – December 16, 1999: The Storm Before The Big Storm
Location: Mobile Civic Center, Mobile, Alabama
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Scott Hudson, Juventud Guerrera
It’s the final show before Starrcade and the big question is how can WCW screw this up even further. In theory we’re getting big stars again tonight, but as we saw last week, that means nothing if the longest match is like four minutes and nothing comes from it. Also, how many big names lose heading into the biggest show of the year? Let’s get to it.
Here are Sid and Benoit to open the show, apparently having forgotten Sid destroying Benoit at Fall Brawl three months ago. Sid talks about the war with the Outsiders and guarantees that it’s a war they can’t win. There are no escapes or retreats, but plenty of surrenders. Actually there won’t be because you made sure it was a powerbomb match so neither guy has to job.
Benoit talks about Hall’s history in ladder matches, while making sure to name drop the WWF as many times as he can. This Sunday, Benoit becomes the new king of the ladder. A challenge is made for a tag match tonight but here are Hennig/Creative Control/La Parka/Shane. Curt says the Outsiders are busy fighting Goldberg/Hart in a House of Pain match tonight, so Benoit and Sid can fight each other or be suspended for six months without pay. Who gave Hennig authority?
Juventud Guerrera comes out for commentary and does two Rock lines before the segment is over. I get the idea here but it’s just not that funny.
Sting jumps Diamond Dallas Page for the attack on Monday. Page looks for Sting after a break.
Vampiro vs. Buff Bagwell
For the first time, we hear about Vampiro getting five minutes with Oklahoma if he beats Dr. Death on Sunday. A bad shoulder puts Vampiro down and here’s Oklahoma to watch. Vampiro strikes away in the corner but gets slammed down off the top. Buff counters a hurricanrana with a powerbomb but let’s look at singer Aaron Neville in the crowd along with the less than 2000 people who paid to get in. A superkick puts Buff on the floor but Vampiro has to glare at Oklahoma, which brings in Jerry Only and Williams for a standoff. As they fight, Oklahoma gets in a barbecue bottle shot, setting up the Blockbuster for the pin.
Rating: D. This was another waste of time with the match just being there as a backdrop for the Oklahoma/Williams/Misfits nonsense. But at least we got to see the barbecue spot, and that’s funny because it’s something Jim Ross done and Jim Ross being himself is funny in some way I guess. Right?
Vampiro gets covered in barbecue sauce to continue the unfunny joke.
Prince Iaukea and Paisley don’t have much to say. Literally, Prince’s new thing is he doesn’t talk.
The Artist Form of Prince Iaukea vs. Evan Karagias
Non-title and Evan now has Spice with him. Well that’s an upgrade. Juvy says this will be the jabroni match of the week. Jot that down: a champion is a jabroni. Prince points at Evan so Evan twists the finger back. Some right hands set up a springboard cross body for two on Prince but Iaukea dropkicks him out to the floor. Cue Madusa to fight with Spice because this show can’t have a five minute match without someone coming to the ring. Paisley gets beaten up as well as Evan hits a missile dropkick on Prince. He tries to break up the girls though and Iaukea grabs a rollup for the pin, three days before a title defense.
Madusa slaps Evan post match so he leaves with Spice.
Page and Sting go at it in the back when another Sting comes up to go after the original Sting. It’s clearly Luger, but in case it wasn’t obvious enough, Page shouts LUGER as the fake Sting leaves.
Jim Duggan/Midnight vs. Asya/Perry Saturn
Shane sits in on commentary. The guys start things off with Duggan cranking on the arm and putting on a chinlock maybe 45 seconds into the match. Back up and Duggan starts a clubberin before clotheslining Saturn into the corner. It’s off to the girls with Midnight dropkicking her down so it’s off to Saturn for MAN ON WOMAN VIOLENCE! Where would we be without that?
Saturn hammers away in the corner and scores with a suplex as Harlem Heat comes down. The girls collide and it’s back to the guys with Duggan coming in for his old 80s offense. Everything breaks down and Midnight is sent to the floor, but Stevie throws her right back in. Shane comes in and clotheslines Saturn by mistake so Dean brings in the 2×4, only to have Duggan take it away and nail Saturn for the pin.
Rating: C-. Somehow, that’s 7:20 worth of wrestling but even worse, it’s probably as good as this show is going to have. The amount of time helped it a bit, but the problem this company has isn’t the lack of good wrestling but the lack of wrestling period. It’s very telling that I’m so starved for actual wrestling on these shows that a thirty second run from Duggan, who was a total brawler for most of his career, was one of the best parts of either Thunder or Nitro this week.
The Revolution beats down Duggan but Aaron Neville and Booker T. make the save. Was Neville really necessary there? WWF had Mike Tyson the year before this, but WCW has some country singer in his late 50s at this point.
David Flair screams at Gene Okerlund for no logical reason.
Sting swings his ball bat and looks for Luger.
Hardcore Title: Norman Smiley vs. David Flair
Norman, in Alabama football gear, uses a trashcan to block an early crowbar shot. They trade trashcan shots, followed by Norman’s spinning slam. David breaks up the spanking dance with a trashcan lid to the head but Meng comes out and destroys David’s teddy bear, sending Norman running away for…….wait for it…….a countout in a Hardcore Title match. Since that’s against the rules, doesn’t that mean that this match is still going on over fifteen years later?
Smiley runs from the arena.
Sting wants Luger out here right now because he knows it was him under that mask. Cue Luger, still dressed as Sting, for a beating from the real version. Juvy thinks it’s Ric Flair (Black Scorpion reference?) as Luger blocks the third Stinger Splash by raising a boot. Liz pulls the bat away from Luger, allowing Sting to Rack him (there’s a rarity). That knocks Liz down though, allowing Luger to get in some cheap shots with the bat on Sting before running away.
Post break, Sting doesn’t want medical help.
Luger drives away. Bye.
The Wall vs. Steve Williams
Oklahoma jumps in on commentary because what else is he going to do? Wall’s shoulder block is stopped by the powers of AMERICA before Williams hammers away with right hands and a slam. Williams charges into a boot and let’s cut to Chavo Guerrero selling stuff in the crowd. The fans chant for Chavo as Berlyn chases Oklahoma off and nails Williams with some foreign object for the DQ.
Rating: D. So not only are we seeing Ferrara as the Jim Ross impersonator, but now we have to sit through Steve Williams getting matches on TV? He’s fun to watch for a power guy, but you would think there are other people who could perform the role just as well. Like, the Wall for example?
Wall and Berlyn argue.
Buzzkill has fans sign a petition. He doesn’t actually say for what, but hopefully it’s his release so he can go be Brad Armstrong in the indies.
Curt Hennig vs. Dustin Rhodes
Before the match, Dustin calls Jeff Jarrett slap happy and promises to be his daddy Sunday night. Hennig jumps him to start but Dustin slams him right back down. This brings Shane inside but he gets caught in the corner for Shattered Dreams. Curt hammers away again and there go the lights. JUST LET THEM WRESTLE! Some guy dressed like Seven flies to the ring with a guitar and nails Dustin for the DQ. My goodness. You have Curt Hennig and Dustin Rhodes and think they need a screwy finish? Those two could wrestle a passable match in their sleep but they get two and a half minutes and a run-in? Really?
Jarrett (like it was going to be anyone else) and Hennig destroy Dustin post match.
After a break and some ads, Jeff Jarrett calls the Rhodes Family a bunch of slapnuts.
Chris Benoit/Sid Vicious vs. Creative Control/Curt Hennig/Shane/La Parka
Sid wants the Powers That Be to come out here and fight like men. The twins go after Benoit to start as Sid mauls the other three. Benoit comes back on the twins as Sid beats Hennig up on the floor. The twins get beaten up by Benoit’s ladder but Gerald saves Patrick from the Crossface. Curt gets back in and nails Benoit with the ladder and that’s a DQ. Nice two minute seven man handicap match.
Sid and Benoit get beaten down. What this has to do with or makes me want to see Sid vs. Nash and Benoit vs. Hall is beyond me. But at least the heels get to look strong and heels are cool right?
Piper is going to be the gatekeeper for the cage match tonight. Oh yay.
Kanyon vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Why this isn’t on Starrcade instead of Page vs. David Flair is another of life’s great mysteries. Guerrera calls Kanyon Shampoo instead of Champagne. The Champagne character works fine as Kanyon being in a movie and letting it go to his head makes sense, especially when you consider how minimal his contribution was (he was a stunt man) compared to all of the wrestlers who starred in the movie and don’t act all stuck up. Now of course that wasn’t intentional in this company, but it’s a nice touch. Anyway, Page comes out to talk trash of his own but gets gum spat in his face to get things going.
Biggs does commentary as Page hits a neckbreaker but can’t hit an early Diamond Cutter. A Rock Bottom gets two for Page until Kanyon comes back with a lot of choking. Kanyon loads up a tilt-a-whirl but Page busts out a headscissors of all things to take Kanyon down. That’s a new one for him. The announcers babble on about green cards as Kanyon stomps away in the corner. Page comes back with a clothesline and some punches but Biggs gets up on the apron, only to hit his client by mistake. There’s the Diamond Cutter but David Flair comes in with the crowbar to knock Page silly and give Kanyon the win.
Rating: D+. Not a horrible match but the run-in continues to screw with whatever good stuff this show could have going for it. At least Kanyon has a new character which works well enough for him, but what has happened to Diamond Dallas Page recently? The guy has gone from World Champion to just there in about eight months.
Bam Bam Bigelow runs in but gets laid out by a champagne bottle.
Piper beats up Creative Control with a pipe.
Bret walks to the ring until the director yells CUT.
Nash can’t find Hall. Uh oh.
A medic runs into the Outsiders’ locker room, apparently due to an attack on Scott Hall.
Tag Team Titles: Outsiders vs. Goldberg/Bret Hart
The Outsiders are defending and this is a House of Pain match, which means a cage with a roof on it but you win by handcuffing your opponents to the cage. In other words, it’s a way to keep people from having to job. Roddy Piper is gatekeeper but Creative Control and Jeff Jarrett beats him down during the entrances. Nash and Hart fight in the ring as Goldberg runs out and attacks Jarrett and the twins as Piper shrugs off a beating, including a series of lead pipe shots, to clean house.
Goldberg rips the cage door off so he and Piper (now with the lead pipe) can come in. Jeff follows them in with guitars for Goldberg and Piper but Goldberg shrugs it off and spears Jeff down. Nash gets the pipe and hits Goldberg, allowing Jeff (fine ten seconds after the spear) to help chain Goldberg and Hart to the cage, presumably retaining the titles. Piper gets chained as well and Nash and Jarrett attack with the pipe before leaving. Goldberg rips the handcuffs from the cage to end the show.
No match of course but WOW. Nash just beat the main event of Starrcade in less than three minutes. Piper no sold pipe shots, Goldberg no sold a guitar shot, Jarrett no sold a spear, and then Goldberg no sold a beating with a pipe and ripped the handcuffs off. The World Title match wasn’t mentioned throughout this mess and basically the entire thing was a way to blow off a meaningless TV angle instead of focusing on the main event of Starrcade. Finally, well done on bringing that cage in. I’m so glad WCW spent the money to have it shipped over for a five minute appearance.
Overall Rating: F-. We are three days before Starrcade. Think about that as you look at the card and you’ll understand why this is a failure. Vince Russo has turned this company into a show where I’m looking forward to Janitor Jim Duggan appearances because I might get thirty seconds of brawling disguised as wrestling. That’s what I’ve sunk to after all these messes over the last few months and now I get to see the Granddaddy of Them All dragged through the mud. It can’t……it can’t…….it’s going to get worse isn’t it?
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