Thunder – August 30, 2000: It’s A Good Show
Date: August 30, 2000
Location: Tuscon Convention Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Commentators: Stevie Ray, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay
This is another case where just getting up to a coherent show would be a huge improvement over what they had on Monday. Thunder isn’t usually the best show in the world but at least it has a tendency to make sense. Nash is the World Champion now, which could actually work if he puts Booker over at the pay per view. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap from Nitro. Normally editing things down to a few minutes works but in this case, the show is still a disaster.
Here’s Team Canada with the captured Major Gunns in the ring. Elix Skipper says “Show me the Canadian money!” Gunns has to hold the flag and rolls her eyes throughout Storm’s speech about how we all want to be Canadians. The Canadian national anthem plays so Gunns drops the flag and rips her top off to reveal an American flag bra. Cue Team Canada’s opponents.
Team Canada vs. Kronik
Storm is sent to the floor and Adams launches Skipper down on top of him. We settle down with Clark stomping away at Skipper in the corner. Tony promises the announcement of a first time ever match this coming Monday on Nitro. A double shoulder drops Skipper and he dives backwards into a full nelson slam, only to have Storm springboard in with a clothesline for two. Tony: “One, two, HE ALMOST BEAT HIM!” Yeah because the US Champion getting a pin would be shocking.
Adams clotheslines both guys down and brings in Clark for the Meltdown on Skipper for two. Storm breaks up High Times and goes for the flag, only to have Gunns jab him between the legs. The full nelson slam and High Times puts Storm away, because why not pin the US Champion in a nothing match?
Rating: C-. Not the worst power vs. speed match as I could watch Storm being that smooth in the ring all day. The guy just looks natural flying around at a level that almost no one else reaches. I didn’t like the ending but at least the match leading up to it was good enough and we’re off to a nice start.
Post match here’s General Rection comes down to try to save Gunns but the Canadians fight back, drawing out the rest of the Misfits for the save. The Canadians get away with Gunns.
The Natural Born Thrillers are ready for a limo but it’s Nash and Steiner. The new champ wants to have fun tonight “and that’s a shoot.”
We see a clip of the Thunder Tailgate Party. Ignore Vito still wearing the Hardcore Title, making this a month old at least.
Here are Steiner, Jarrett, Nash and the Thrillers (you knew the mega heel stable was coming) with Scott going first. Apparently he isn’t allowed to call Goldberg all the names he wants because the corporate sponsors won’t let him. Some villain. He got hit in the face with a pipe on Monday and has the banged up eyes to prove it. After Steiner swears a bit (that’s more like it), he promises to take care of Goldberg at Fall Brawl.
Nash talks about winning the World Title for the fifth time on Monday. Stevie: “And no one remembers the first four.” Well to be fair those, three of those reigns combined to last about two weeks. He’s watched the tape back a few times and sees why Jarrett played it so fair during the match: Jeff wanted Nash to win the title on his own, because Nash wanted to do it for the people. Gee I just thought it was bad writing.
The fans actually cheer the line (save for Daffney and the Crowbar look-a-like, who are in the audience for some reason) and Nash chuckles. All that means is more people willing to pay another $30 at an autograph signing because their picture has the belt in it. Nash touts the Thrillers as the future and says Goldberg is out in the desert so there’s no one to stop them tonight.
Cue Booker to say he has a clique of his own, so here are Vito, Awesome and the Filthy Animals. So the clique known as the Animals are part of an even bigger clique? You think you might be overdoing this faction war stuff? Booker is worried about the guys in the ring taking over WCW and the fight is on until security makes the save.
A few notes here. First, I don’t really see why this is a problem since we’ve established that Cat is more powerful than Russo. Second, this was actually a well done segment with the storyline being laid out right in front of us. That’s one area where Russo excels: he can set up a big story really, really well.
Unfortunately that brings us to the third point: we’re going to have to see where this goes and that’s Russo’s downfall. He can set stuff up but at some point he has to execute those stories and the whole thing collapses. On top of that, if you’ve seen one Russo faction war story, you’ve seen them all. Thankfully this one is off to a good start though and you have to take the little things while you can. Oh and ignore the setup having plot holes the size of Russo’s MANLY biceps of course.
Back from a break and we see Nash taking over the control booth during the commercial. Apparently he’s in charge now and sends Reno to face Mike Awesome.
Rection wants Storm at Fall Brawl. For AMERICA. And Gunns.
Wedding invitation for a week from Monday.
Reno vs. Mike Awesome
Awesome is in ring gear here, which really makes me wonder why the 70s thing existed. He doesn’t wear the stuff to the ring and wrestles the same so why do it other than to amuse the writers? Awesome elbows him in the face to start and throws him down with a German suplex for no cover.
The slingshot shoulder gets two for Mike and we hear about War Games 2000 airing this Monday on Nitro, meaning it’s the first time ever both A, on TV and B, for the World Title. Thanks for giving us a full FIVE DAYS notice for this huge match. Reno gets in a shot to the ribs but stops to go after Daffney’s boyfriend (Ozzie) for no apparent reason. Stevie: “How did they get front row seats in this venue?” Back in and Mike grabs the Awesome Bomb for a quick pin. Stevie: “BUT HOW DID THEY GET THE SEATS TONY???”
Rating: D+. Another match that didn’t have enough time to go anywhere and the Ozzie stuff didn’t make much sense. Reno is yet another guy with a great look who could have been something if he was given the chance. Awesome did his usual but he was really just a warm body here, which is yet another waste of talent.
Reno beats up Ozzie and Daffney throws popcorn.
During the break, Jarrett jumped Awesome until Jimmy Hart and Finlay of all people broke it up. I like this attacks during the break stuff. There’s something so fake about having nothing happen until we’re back from a commercial.
This week’s sitdown interview is with Paul Orndorff earlier today in the empty arena. Tony asks about Orndorff being in charge of the Power Plant. Paul calls the students his kids and he’s so proud of all of them. The Power Plant is brutal but he’s looking for the best of the best (I guess Batista isn’t considered that great).
Orndorff keeps the students working hard and has them clean the place because they need to learn that no one is above anything. Tony brings up the Natural Born Thrillers having no respect for Orndorff and claiming that it was their talent that got them here. Mike Sanders called Orndorff a miserable old man and that’s more than enough for Paul.
It’s time for an old school rant with Paul talking about how these kids are ungrateful and how they were nothing before he got hold of them. Tony keeps egging him on by saying how often the Thrillers talk like this and you can see Orndorff getting madder and madder because this is what he gets every time he tries to help someone. Really good stuff from Orndorff here as he gets the role perfectly and nailed it, as most old school guys can.
Back live and here are the Thrillers with signs about Orndorff, including “Your best match was against Vader” and “Aren’t you dead yet?” The signs are turned around to spell out WE RULE.
Steiner hits Reno with a pipe for losing.
Booker says his knee is fine and he’s ready for Mike Sanders tonight.
Tag Team Titles: Rey Mysterio/Juventud Guerrera vs. Sean O’Haire/Mark Jindrak
Jindrak and O’Haire are challenging, as ordered by Nash and company. Before we get started, O’Haire says we’ll make it fair by letting Disqo be on the team. Or we could just have a tag match but that might make too much sense. Konnan sits in on commentary. O’Haire slams Disqo down to start and hits that sweet springboard clothesline of his. Disqo gets in a few shots and wisely brings in Juvy for some quick legdrops.
Off to Rey for the Bronco Buster but he dives into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. It’s off to Jindrak who gets two off a clothesline, followed by a nice Torture Rack neckbreaker for two more. Mark misses a dropkick though and it’s off to Juvy for some dropkicks of his own. In the melee, O’Haire gets in a quick tag, allowing Jindrak to throw Juvy into the air for a powerslam from Sean.
Juvy rolls to the floor so Sean hiptosses him over the top and back inside. There’s something awesome about small people being thrown around like that. Back in and the hot tag brings in Rey as everything breaks down. O’Haire kicks Disqo in the face but Juvy breaks up the Seanton Bomb and pulls Sean down with a hurricanrana. A quick Rey legdrop between the legs retains the titles.
Rating: B-. Now this is how you do the power vs. speed formula. This worked really well back and forth, even if the idea of the champions having the advantage goes completely against face/heel psychology. Jindrak and O’Haire’s good looking tandem stuff makes up for it though, along with Juvy and Rey bumping like pinballs.
Mike Sanders gets Booker T. tonight. Jarrett comes in and says he’s booked himself in a match that could end his career. Just give us the comedy reveal already.
Steiner attacks Jindrak and O’Haire as well.
Mike Sanders vs. Booker T.
Sanders tells Booker to bring it so here’s a livid Mr. T. Booker drops him with an early clothesline and hammers away with right hands in the corner. The ax kick, side kick and Book End put Sanders away in barely a minute.
Post break Booker is limping and Sanders gets beaten down as well.
Jarrett is getting his blood pressure checked before his big intimidating match.
Big Vito vs. Chuck Palumbo
This is the result of a Vito challenge. They trade early slams for two until Vito grabs a suplex and drops the top rope elbow. The top rope headbutt misses though and Palumbo hits a nice top rope shoulder for two of his own. Not that it matters as Vito hits him in the ribs and scores with the implant DDT for another quick win. So much for Nash’s boys being, you know, good.
Steiner beats up Palumbo as well. Good for him as Palumbo should be able to last two minutes against Big Vito.
Harris Twins vs. Misfits in Action
AWOL/Rection here. It’s a big fight to start as is almost always the custom in tag matches around here. The Misfits take over with AWOL working over we’ll say Don as things settle down. Since that’s too calm for WCW, here’s Storm with Major Gunns for a distraction. AWOL goes through a table because what else is he supposed to do. The H Bomb is broken up by Rection, who loads up No Laughing Matter, only to have Skipper come out and hit him with the flag. Isn’t that disrespecting the Maple Leaf? We’re still not done though as Kronik comes in for High Times on Ron, setting up No Laughing Matter for the pin.
Rating: D. Well you knew something like this was coming. Who in the world thought we needed five people running in and a weapon shot on a quick TV match? The Misfits are another team that could go somewhere if there weren’t so many factions on the show that take up space. We’re currently at seven stables and counting (Misfits, Thrillers, Team Canada, Nash’s group, Booker’s group, Filthy Animals, Dark Carnival) so how exactly are the Misfits supposed to stand out?
AWOL saves Rection from Storm.
Leia Meow whips the Dragons for losing so much. If they don’t get better, they have to lick her boots. Ok then.
Steiner and Nash interrupt Jarrett at prayer and offer to have his back out there tonight. Jarrett has to do this himself.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
It’s Kwee Wee. There’s nothing else to say here and if you’ve ever watched wrestling before, you knew a swerve was coming the whole way. Jarrett jumps him at the bell as Paisley sits in on commentary. Kwee Wee gets slugged down as Stevie talks about keeping his yaks intact. A hiptoss and back elbow put Jarrett down but he sidesteps a missile dropkick.
Jeff loads up the Stroke but throws him down when Mike Awesome comes out for a distraction. A quick rollup gets two on Jeff but the referee gets rid of Awesome, allowing Jeff to….do nothing. Kwee Wee tries what looks like a powerbomb but drops Jarrett for two instead. The Stroke wraps it up pretty quick.
Rating: D. Nothing to see here as you could see the joke from the second they announced this in the first place. At least in this case they weren’t really trying to hide it which makes this a lot easier to sit through. Nash and Steiner playing along helped and at least the match was short enough.
Here’s Shawn Stasiak for an arm wrestling challenge. As you might expect, here’s Orndorff to answer as well as scare Stasiak half to death. Paul almost has it won but then punches Shawn in the face like a ticked off veteran should. There’s a piledriver for Stasiak before Orndorff grabs a chair and fights off the rest of the Thrillers. This REALLY hasn’t been their night but Orndorff is already better than most of the people on this show.
Cat and Ms. Jones get here.
Here’s Cat in the arena to call out Nash, who works for Russo who works for Cat. Therefore it’s time for Cat vs. Nash….which doesn’t actually start as Cat has to beat up Steiner and Jarrett. Nash comes in with a ball bat because THE CAT is just so tough. Jones tries to slap Jeff but gets guitared, which finally draws out Booker to help. The Thrillers come out and keep the beating going to end the show. I have no idea why the Animals, Awesome or Vito didn’t come out to help but that’s continuity for you.
Overall Rating: B-. This was the best Thunder in probably a year at least. Well at least the first half was as the rest turned into another goofy mess. The key thing here is they toned down all the ridiculous insanity and just told their big story with wrestling matches. That’s one of the things that drives me craziest about Russo: there’s good(ish) stuff buried deep under the mess, but there’s so much bad to get through that it’s hard to keep trying. Still though, awesome first hour this week and not a bad enough second hour to kill it.
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