Thunder – May 17, 2000: A Night Off

Date: May 17, 2000
Location: Cajundome, Lafayette, Louisiana
Attendance: 3,066
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone

So Ric Flair is the new World Champion and now it’s all about trying to find out how Russo can screw up having one of the most popular stars and best wrestlers in the company on top. Granted I’m sure some of it will involve Russo beating Flair up to affirm his manliness for the week because he seems to forget it every other show. Let’s get to it.

We open with clips of Flair winning the title.

Opening sequence.

The New Blood arrives in a school bus and Shane Douglas, put in charge tonight by Bischoff, takes roll. Konnan isn’t cool with listening to Shane (he probably had enough of that in ECW) and the brawl is on. Cue the Millionaire’s Club and Misfits for a brawl (leave it to Russo to have mini stables fighting in the big stable war) and Hogan steals the bus keys from Douglas.

The announcers talk about Flair and Russo. To be fair we’re four minutes into the show so a Russo discussion was warranted.

Here’s are the Misfits and the Club (complete with the hottest act in the business in Terry Funk) to open things up. Hogan holds up the keys to the bus and tells Shane to tear up the format because they’re booking this show tonight. Cue the New Blood with Shane saying Russo and Bischoff left him in charge. It sounds like a five year old saying he’s in charge of day care while the boss is making lunch.

Hogan says he beat Kidman at Slamboree and wants a rematch at the Bash. If Hogan wins, he gets the title shot at Bash at the Beach in July. Kidman agrees to fight the mark (gah those insider terms were starting to go away) at the Bash before Hogan tells Horace they’re fighting tonight. Wait weren’t Kidman and Horace mad at each other on Monday? Jarrett says he wants Flair tonight so Ric comes to the stage and goes after all of the New Blood so it’s time for a big stable war.

The Filthy Animals aren’t pleased with Shane.

Misfits in Action vs. Filthy Animals

Eight man tag. We’re ready to go after Konnan massacres the English language yet again. Disco gets sent into the corner to start and the big men hit running splashes. This brings in Major Gunns as the match is already falling apart. It’s off to Hammer vs. Juvy with the guy you would expect to use a hurricanrana using a hurricanrana out of the corner. Hammer comes right back with right hands and a superplex for two before it’s Rey vs. Rection. I still feel bad having to type that name so often.

Some kicks set up the Bronco Buster but Rection lifts Rey up into a powerbomb position. Rey punches him in the head to make Rection go down (yeah yeah I know) and that’s exactly what he does…..right into a powerbomb. Well you can’t blame Rection for that one. Chavo comes in to clean house on Konnan but Shawn Stasiak sneaks out to low bridge him to the floor and that’s actually a DQ. I didn’t know those still existed but maybe it’s because Russo and Bischoff aren’t here. I could get used to this.

Rating: D+. There was some nice action in here but as usual they didn’t have time to do anything. Russo and Bischoff did love themselves some stable wars and if they can have a mini stable war inside the big stable war you know they’re going to be all for it. It’s still not very interesting after we’ve seen it 67 times, but that never stopped WCW before.

The Misfits get beaten down until Booker makes the save, leading to Major Gunns taking off her top and giving Chavo CPR. Tenay: “It must be the large lungs.”

Luger tells the Millionaires he has to go and take care of something.

Booker T. (yes T again. I’ll give Russo this: he knew enough to realize how stupid that idea was) says he’s got the Misfits’ back.

Hulk Hogan vs. Horace Hogan

Hulk blames Horace’s actions on the death of his father. I’m sure the gorgeous blonde had nothing to do with it. In the back we see Kidman trying to come out but Horace beats him up to stop it. Horace grabs Torrie’s hand and drags her to ringside where Hulk immediately attacks him.

The nephew is sent into various metal objects until he rakes Hulk’s eyes after Hulk sets up a table. They get inside and Hulk starts with the weightlifting belt to take over again. Torrie gets on the apron for a distraction and Horace gets in a cheap shot. Horace kisses Torrie, drawing out Kidman to beat him down. The distraction lets Hulk hit Horace in the back with a chair for the lame pin.

Rating: D-. That’s some strong nepotism. I like the idea of trying to push Horace as something new, but that might involve them actually letting him pin Hulk, or at least not get destroyed by him in four minutes. That being said, he got to kiss Torrie so it’s not a total loss. Nothing match of course, as anyone would have expected.

Post match Hulk goes after Torrie but kisses her instead, knocking Torrie down to the mat. Hulk leaves and Torrie can’t stop smiling. So now Hulk is the great lover. Does that make Kidman the original Bubba the Love Sponge?

Chuck Palumbo is lifting at the gym but here’s Lex Luger to kick out his spotter and attack Palumbo with a pipe. Palumbo gets thrown into a laundry bin and hit with a “45lb weight.” Yes it’s real because 45lb weights bounce along the floor when you throw them down. Luger pours a protein shake on Palumbo for good measure. So we have pipes and covering someone in liquid. This is totally different than the other phallic weapons that Russo usually has people use.

Norman and Ralphus are selling homemade F.U.N.B. shirts. Where did they get the money to make those if they had $1.20 between them on Monday?

Hardcore Title: Terry Funk vs. The Cat

This is Funk giving Cat a shot due to what happened Monday. Funk attacks him on the ramp and gets two each off a DDT and neckbreaker. They fight into the back with Funk nailing him with a computer, only to be sent into a pile of water bottles. Some trash can shots have Cat in trouble so he comes back with a bag of popcorn.

They keep throwing each other into various things and there’s nothing going on in between. It heads outside with Funk breaking down Norman and Ralphus’ t-shirt table. He beats on them with a chair for good measure but Cat attacks him from behind. They fight onto a car and Cat throws Funk off, only to have to beat up Norman to cut off his sales pitch. Smiley hits Cat with a chair to give Funk the pin.

Rating: D. This was entertaining at times with the Norman stuff being worth more than the rest of the match. I think I’ve complained enough about Funk’s major push already and at least this was just a one on one match. Miller is fine for a comedy guy but he was never a real threat here.

Norman and Ralphus get arrested. It was a nice idea while it lasted.

Here’s Mike Awesome to brag about crippling Kanyon. He’s got DDP at the Bash but tonight it’s an open challenge. Scott Steiner comes out and promises to put Awesome in the ambulance, which just happens to be ready for them.

Mike Awesome vs. Scott Steiner

Steiner kicks him low to start and does the belly to belly into the pushups. I guess the elbow is still in development. Awesome bails to the floor and throws in a chair but Steiner catches it, only to throw it at Mike and miss. It’s Awesome with a low blow this time, followed by a top rope clothesline for two. It says a lot that they have so many gimmick matches that they can’t remember if they’re having another one here or not. The Awesome Bomb is broken up and Steiner puts on the Recliner, only to have Goldberg’s music break it up.

It’s Tank of course but Rick Steiner sneaks in from behind to start a 3-1 on his brother. Cue the Goldberg truck in the arena and the distraction lets Scott throw Rick and Tank at the truck. This is too much for Awesome who gets in the ambulance and drives away, I guess giving Steiner the win. And yes I mean Scott. I shouldn’t have to clarify that someone not in the match can’t win it, but stranger things have happened around here lately.

Rating: D. Like I said, the fact that they seem confused over whether or not they’re having a gimmick match tells you most of what you need to know here. Mike losing again makes me roll my eyes but it’s been clear for a long time that this alleged youth movement is more smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that it’s all about the old guys.

Shane tries to fire up the New Blood but he’s no Russo or Bischoff. Take that however you want to.

Mike Tenay is in the hospital with Kanyon, who has little feeling from the waist down. He saw what was happening in the main event at Slamboree and had to get involved because Page has done so much for him. Kanyon certainly isn’t bothered that Page is out walking while he’s here in the hospital because he’ll survive this. He’s going to turn on Page and the announcers are going to be disgusted at such a horrible thing right?

Shane gets a phone call from Kronik who want him in a three way dance tonight. Douglas hangs up on them and tells the New Blood to watch his door. They tell him to fight his own battles and leave.

During the break, Kronik broke into Shane’s locker room and drag him to the ring for a fight.

Kronik vs. Shane Douglas

It seems that Kronik are the official champions after the win on Monday. Sure why not. Shane tries to fight back with a foreign object but Clark knocks it out of his hand and hits the pumphandle slam. Cue the Wall with a table to chokeslam Shane through a table for revenge from Monday. High Times completes the squash. Tony tries to call this a three way dance but give me a break.

Rating: D-. So tonight’s lesson is the New Blood comes apart as soon as the calm and soothing voices of Russo and Bischoff aren’t around. Yes they’re somehow putting themselves over all the wrestlers despite not even being in the building. Total squash here as it should have been and now the Wall seems to be defecting. I’m sure that means he gets buried soon.

Here’s the new champ with something to say but he has to wait for a FIFTEEN TIMES chant. As usual he says “last night” but at least he corrects himself and says Monday night. Flair tells Jarrett that he was lucky to win on Monday but he still has the belt. Jarrett comes from the old school and that earns Ric’s respect but now it’s time for the champ to worry about his home life.

That brings him to Russo, who was a skinny Italian kid growing up in the Bronx. Russo’s dad told him to be like Bruno Sammartino but Russo thought Bruno wasn’t slick enough. So Russo’s dad bought him cable and one day Russo saw WCW out of Atlanta, Georgia. The sight of Flair scared Russo’s mom (who speaks with a stereotypical Italian accent like Russo’s dad) and all that was left was Russo who had a checkbook but no muscles.

Russo wanted to be a limousine riding jet flying kiss stealing wheeling dealing son of a gun but no muscles, no girlfriends and now he doesn’t even have the World Title. The title represents the old generation and tradition. Flair got lucky but he’s got the belt and the title is all there is in this sport. Since Russo can’t take over the great ones, he’s taking over Ric’s son. Cue Jeff Jarrett and the fight is quickly on but Crowbar and David come in to help with the beating.

This means Horsemen music and Arn with a pipe for the save. Anderson says Russo woke up another old dog last week and he always wakes up grumpy. He was content to just work backstage and do what he could but the reality is he’s a wrestler. When Anderson comes home and sees his kid playing with matches, he stops caring about what people think and whips that kid with a belt so he doesn’t do it again. Anderson holds up the four fingers and says tonight it’s Anderson and Flair one more time.

Vampiro rambles about being the real freak and burns a Sting mask.

Here’s Sting with something to say. He’s been doing this for more than ten years but Vampiro has him about to blow a gasket. Vampiro comes out to say Sting has no backbone because he didn’t finish the job on Monday. Sting wants to be Vampiro and they need to fight again at the Great American Bash in an inferno match. Sting says no so Vampiro lights the ropes on fire.

Shane asks Jarrett for help.

Ric Flair/Arn Anderson vs. Crowbar/David Flair

We cut to the back to see Anderson getting beaten down (apparently he broke his foot in between the segment and the match so he couldn’t go). Jarrett comes out to attack Flair and it’s Crowbar and David to make it 3-1. David puts on the Figure Four but here’s Nash, allowing Flair to small package Daffney for the pin. Another day, another ridiculous win where a no contest would have made sense.

Nash cleans house but Ric collapses on the ramp. From what I can find, including in Flair’s book, this was a legit inner ear issue and not scripted.

The New Blood gets on their bus but they don’t have the keys. The Millionaire’s Club appears and pushes the bus over onto its side. This brings on the Goldberg truck to charge at the bus as the show ends.

Overall Rating: D. I can’t explain to you how much easier this show was to sit through without Russo showing up all over it. The amount of time he gets on TV every week is one of the major problems WCW has been having lately because it’s complete overkill. Bischoff is around a lot too but it’s nowhere near as annoying with him, probably due to his voice not being so horrible. This show was a nice break from those two as you don’t need them in every segment to make something work. It’s still not good or anything due to the horrible way of running a show, but this was a lot less of a chore to get through than your common Nitro.

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