WCW Thunder Taping by E.C. Ostermeyer
Knoxville Civic Coliseum
Date: March 12, 2001
Time: 9:32PM to 11:35PM
All the fans who showed up for the Nitro start-up (at 7:05PM), stayed put for the Thunder show. I didn't see anybody leaving. The floor seats were full for the most part, though I saw several people from the east side balcony, (behind the cameras) actually come down to fill what few vacant floor seats were available.
Interestingly, the ring crew dragged the broadcast booth to the back as they were setting up for Thunder, so there were no ringside announcers for this show. None at all. Remember that when you watch Thunder this week.
Here's a big shout-out to ring announcer David Penzer for his yeoman service keeping the crowd fired up between the match tapings.
They had a problem clearing the smoke from the opening pyrotechnics show, so the first three matches were somewhat obscured. They really cranked on the blowers full blast just as the first match was winding down, so you may hear the roaring when you watch the show
Match #1 Billy Kidman/Rey Mysterio, Jr. d. Three Count (Kidman w/ snap powerbomb on Moore/pin, 10:02) WCW Cruiserweight Tag Tourney Semifinal.
Dynamite match with plenty of aerials, though the crowd was somewhat quiet early on. Rey Mysterio was the stand-out tonight, hitting a STIFF hurancanrana on Shannon Moore from the ring apron to the floor that got the crowd fired up. He then hit a towering senton on Moore from the top turnbuckle to ringside. Kidman followed it up with a spectacular springboard plancha off the top rope onto Moore. Kidman missed his Kid Krusher finisher, but hit a wicked looking snap powerbomb on Shannon Moore for the win. Post-match, PrimeTime Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo ran out to ambush the Filthy Animals, (their opponents at the Cruiserweight Tag Tourney Finals at "Greed"), but Kidman and Rey turned the tables and ran them off.
Diamond Dallas Page and Dustin Rhodes came out to the ring, did a brief bit, then had to ad-lib for a minute because somebody didn't have the Ric Flair video cued up for the ThunderVision. Flair told DDP and Rhodes that the Cat and Booker T have "left the building." So, DDP and Rhodes will wrestle Jeff Jarrett and Rick Steiner later tonight. This cues Jarrett and Rick Steiner for the run-in and blindsiding of DDP and Rhodes, who responded with righteous indignation, and walloped Jarrett and the DFG, who promptly bailed out and fled to the back.
As he left the ring, DDP grabbed a fan-offered beer cup and downed it with one (VERY impressive) gulp!
Match #2: Jason B. d. Alex Wright, (cradle piledriver/pin, 7:12)
Jason B. is listed in the program under his ECW persona, EZ Money, but David Penzer intro's him as Jason...Barrett?, (I'm not sure of this because the crowd noise and Alex Wright's intro music nearly drowned Penzer out.) Big "ECW! ECW!" chant gets started up again. Wright did a so-so job to newcomer Jason, who took "Das Wunderkind" to school. "ECW-School", that is! Jason hit a series of stiff kicks and punches on Wright, finishing with a flat-footed, off-the-mat moonsault on Wright and a near fall. Jason hits a superplex off the top turnbuckle on Wright, and then wins the match with a cradle piledriver that would have made Jerry Lynn green with envy.
Match #3: Shawn Stasiak (w/ Ms. Hancock) d. Reno, (inverted neckbreaker/pin, 6:10)
Stasiak and Ms. Hancock continued their new angle. Loud "Meat! Meat! Meat!" chant nearly drowned out Stasiak's opening screed about bald, toothless, tattooed people. This comment got him Bam Bam Bigelow during Nitro, and Reno during Thunder. Some fan two rows in front of me hollered "Don't mess up that pretty-boy face, now, you WUSS!" loud enough that Stasiak actually glared at him and mouthed something nasty. During the match, one of the bigger arena security guards made a bunch of kids at ringside sit down after one of them made a swipe over the rail at Ms. Hancock. One look from this VERY big guy, and the kids just shrank back into their seats. Stasiak worked the match very slowly, so much so that fans around me could tell that Reno was doing the heavy lifting here. Some fans on the floor were using the lull to take a break. Still a heavy smoke problem in the Coliseum, but it was clearing out gradually. A big "You SUCK!" chant aimed at Stasiak got started by three college kids in front of me. They then turned around and told the eight-year-old boy sitting behind them, "Remember, don't do like we do, and you'll be all right!" Mercifully, the match ended with Shawn Stasiak hitting an inverted neckbreaker on Reno for the win. Post-match, Bam Bam Bigelow did the run-in and beat-down on Stasiak. Big sign in the crowd, "WWF Sucks!"
A word about the concessions: "Sucked!" The pretzels were tough, the beer was sorta cold, and the cokes were watered down. WCW may be losing money, but the Civic Coliseum concessions were making a killing last night! Speaking of beer, there was a LOT of it being drunk last night!
David Penzer asked the crowd who wanted to win the trip to the PPV in Greenville (SC), and got laughingly corrected. "It's been a long couple of days, fans," said Penzer sheepishly.
Match #4: Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo d. Totally Buff, (O'Haire w/Sean-ton bomb on Bagwell/pin, 7;57) Four Corners Elimination Match.
Huge pop for Buff Bagwell (who arrives with new entrance music, by the way) and he was slapping hands on his way to the ring, odd behavior for a heel, no?
A big cloud of pyro smoke still lingered just about the level of the lighting grid above the ring, despite every exhaust fan in the building working full blast.
Buff and Palumbo start off with a hot series of chain-wrestling moves, good give and take, with Bagwell really selling the moves. Double team leapfrog gut-buster by Palumbo on Bagwell, who sold the move like he'd just upchucked his spleen. Luger took over and slowed the pace down, as usual. His series with Palumbo apparently winded him, and he tagged Bagwell back in. This prompted Sean O'Haire to do a dead-on impression of Luger breathing hard and slowly climbing through the ropes, which the crowd got immediately. Not surprisingly, Luger got miffed at this, walloped O'Haire off the ring apron, then hit Palumbo with a steel-plate-reinforced forearm smash. Torture Rack coming up on Palumbo, but O'Haire breaks it up. Bagwell clips Palumbo, who gets pinned out at 6:19. O'Haire rolls up and pins Luger at 7:10, leaving Bagwell & O'Haire as the last two participants. Bagwell gets in a brief flurry of offense before Sean O'Haire takes over, and hits a Sean-ton Bomb for the win. Post-match, Palumbo and O'Haire spent some time with the fans at ringside, shaking hands, signing autographs, and doing photo ops, and were much appreciated. A funny moment when the two got to the stage, and Palumbo tried exiting stage right. He got nothing but curtain, so he and O'Haire walked to stage left as the crowd snickered.
Match #5: Shane Helms d. Kwee-Wee, ("Vertebreaker" finisher/pin, 7:09)
Great series of moves between Helms and Kwee-Wee. A lady fan in front of me wanted to know what Kwee-Wee uses to make his hair stand up like that?
"Mop 'N' Glo," said my bud, Terry Bailey.
Kwee-Wee, despite hitting on all his moves, seemed to be working a bit slower in this match. Given that he featured rather prominently in the "Spring Breakout 2001" video they showed before the match, I'm not surprised. "Angry Allan's" a real party animal, by all accounts. The match was good, but the crowd was getting somewhat pooped after four solid hours of wrestling. Kwee-Wee and Helms worked to each other's style throughout the match. Referee Charles Robinson could ju-u-ust be heard "calling the shots" in the late stages of the match, which Helms ended with his "Vertebreaker" finisher on Kwee-Wee for the win. Post-match, out comes Cruiserweight Champ Chavo Guerrero, Jr. to wallop on Helms, but it's Helms that does the walloping this time. This should be a good match-up at the PPV.
Big sign in the crowd: "I Remember Magnum TA!"
Yes, and so do I, kiddo.
Match #6: Hugh Morrus & Konnan d. Mike Sanders & Disqo, (Konnan w/ "Tequila Sunrise" on Disqo/submission, 6:10)
Highlights of the match included Sanders trying a flying cross-body block on Hugh Morrus, and bouncing off Morrus' chest like he'd just hit a brick wall! Additionally, Konnan hit a huge clothesline that all but knocked Disqo out of his boots. Big "Disqo Sucks!" chant gets started, and soon becomes fan-unanimous! A double-team by Konnan ends with a reverse neckbreaker by Konnan on Disqo, and Hugh Morrus' hits a BIG "No Laughing Matter" moonsault off the top turnbuckle. Man, that move is really impressive when this big guy does it!
Konnan locks Disqo in a "Tequila Sunrise" and gets the submission.
As Morrus and Konnan pose on the ramp after the match, cue Team Canada for the ambush. Brawl on the ramp and stage, which then spills into the backstage area.
As referee Nick Patrick made his way down the ramp, he was accosted by Disqo, complaining about the last match. Patrick gave him the usual "Tell somebody who cares!" reply.
Match #7: Jeff Jarrett & Rick Steiner d. Diamond Dallas Page & Dustin Rhodes, (Jarrett w/ "Stroke" on Rhodes/pin, 7:03)
More pyro for Jeff Jarrett's entrance adds to the pall of smoke hanging over the ring.
Dustin Rhodes stops to hug somebody's grandma on his way to the ring.
Match opens with DDP doing a plancha over the top rope and squashing Rick Steiner at ringside. He followed it up with a forearm smash to Steiner's forehead. Steiner trades off with Jarrett, who runs smack into Rhodes' Bionic Elbow, and a leaping forearm smash from DDP. Jarrett recovers and hits a DDT on DDP. A big surprise is that Rick Steiner's work-rate has greatly improved. He's hitting his moves and his timing is better. Jarrett, of course, is the "ringmaster" of tonight's Main Event, just selling the match like crazy, and Dustin Rhodes is up to speed as well. DDP has slowed down, which isn't surprising considering the number of skits and angles he's participated in tonight. "Wackiest Move of the Evening" honors goes to DDP grabbing Jarrett by the ears and tossing him into the corner. Tag to Rhodes who does a Ten-Count Punch-Down. Rhodes sets up Jarrett for the "Point After", which brings out Ric Flair to make the save. HUGE pop for Flair by the crowd. Flair's save attempt gets shortstopped, as DDP nails Flair with a vicious clothesline. Steiner gets a neckbreaker, collides with and kayoes referee Nick Patrick. Jarrett hits an "El Kabong" shot and a Stroke on Rhodes. David Penzer's pounding the ring bell into a lump of steel as the rest of the Magnificent Seven pile down the ramp. They are followed by Palumbo & O'Haire, then by Team Canada, and finally by Konnan & Hugh Morrus. The Pier Sixer's on, and the ring's beginning to sag under the weight of all these bodies
How about an absolute bombardment of beer and soda cups from the fans at ringside?
One cup full of...something... hit Flair right on the back of the head and just EXPLODED all over! More cups and stuff came flying as the heel wrestlers bailed out left and right, trying to get away. DDP grabbed a microphone, and hollered at Flair "...you tell Steiner, I'm still standing!" Another cup barrage pursued the bad guys up the ramp. O'Haire's grinning like a possum at the carnage, as is Konnan.
Post-match, DDP thanks us for "staying to the end," and gets a BIG pop in response from the fans. Nearly all the face wrestlers spend time with the fans at ringside, shaking hands, doing photo ops, etc. David Penzer picks the winner of the "Trip for Two to the Pay Per View!", (Section N, Row 9, Seat 1 was the winner), and then thanked us all for coming.
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