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/29 March 2000

WCW Thunder




Look, ALL the signs are there. Everything has been completely spelled out - it was known to savvy surfers before the announcement was even made on Nitro. Bischoff and Russo. Russo and Bischoff. This one over here, that one over there. Pick a side. Old, young, NWO, arrrrrgh.

PLEASE let me be wrong.

I'm not even going into it...if you've hung around, if you've picked apart the puff pieces on 1wrestling, not only have you probably figured it out, but you've formed an opinion on it. THAT is the real problem - it's been made WAY too easy to pre-judge, when what SHOULD have been happening is a play close to the vest - cultivate some *curiosity* and get some TV's turned on come the tenth. Right now, all they're doing is drawing the car wreck crowd. A bounce...and a trailin' off. Them's the prospects.

I GET LETTERS: Here, read it the way Tony told me, that might help: was mentioned on some other reports-and by you-that if this new era of WCW is to survive, telling everybody about this great change that they're going to make, when they are going to make and how the people are going to feel great after it has been done, sets up almost guaranteed failure....sigh..

Its like going to a bar, seeing a hot chick, walking up to her, and then endlessly babbling about the many different ways that you want to @##%#$ her ; Boring the shit out of her in the process and thus, spending the evening alone.

The GOOD news is with baseball season starting, there are some GREAT chances this very show will get pre-empted - unless they move it back to Thursday, the traditionally preferred travel day for baseball. And when I say "great," what I really mean is "less work for me."

The WCW calendar has finally been updated. House show Sunday, Monday's clear, Tuesday's clear, and nothing until Saturday. We'll still get Saturday Night - two episodes in the can for the first and the eighth, taped tonight from Beaumont, and I've got a hunch it'll be worth it just for the least, last week it was. Hudson and Zbyszko (who broke the news last Saturday, as far as non-'Net TV viewers were concerned - and they were ALSO good enough to tell those same people who they were, just in case they had no idea - and why WOULD they know who Russo was, right?) talked like they were just WAITING to get fired, and it was hilarious. But before all THAT...we've still got one more lame duck to shoot...

TV-PG-DLV - WCW logo - in common with President Clinton

Close captioned - Opening credits - they just might change again, before you know it

LIGHT THAT PYRO and set the place on fire - could THIS set be changed in two weeks? Mike Tenay: "Just how crazy are things in WCW? Well, forty-eight hours ago on Nitro...HELL FROZE OVER!"

"HARD KNOX" CHRIS CANDIDO v. CHAVO GUERRERO JNR - Tenay and Heenan waste no time speculating on how Russo (a man with an ego so large he's the Power*S* that Be) and Bischoff can get along - sets your spider sense a-tingling, doesn't it? Nice to see that nobody's picked up the delicate concept of "subtlety" over in WCW-land. The commentators quickly switch over to putting over Mike Modest. One minute in and here's your ref bump courtesy Candido and "Blind" Charles Robinson - wow, try to make that look more awkward there, wouldja? THE ACRONYM is quickly out with PAISLEY to get some of Candido on the outside. At the same time, MICHAEL MODEST is out to take on Chavo. Chavo manages a nice floatover face-first, but Modest hits his version of Nova's Kryptonite Crunch (or so I'm told - the Page of 1,000 holds calls it an "over the shoulder belly-to-back piledriver" - good enough for me) - Candido back in with a swandive headbutt - ah, there's Robinson - 1, 2, 3. (2:00) Artist (who sure did a lot of speaking Monday) comes in, Modest comes BACK in, four-way action - spot, spot, spot. Chavo hits a nice top turnbuckle to the floor plancha, but that's all we get. Everybody ends up walking to the back. Here's a replay of Modest's move, Candido's headbutt and pin, and Guerrero's two storey plancha. "The Cruiserweight division remains SO competitive!" Well, as competitive as you can get with a two minute match...

This portion of Thunder brought to you by Starburst Hard Candy - give it some juice!

Your hosts are MIKE TENAY & BOBBY HEENAN. Well, THEY haven't told us, so I guess it falls on me: we are ON TAPE from the Astro Arena in Houston, TX 29.3.2K (taped 28.3) and all the news revolves around two non-wrestlers. Heenan says "oil and water." Tonight, Booker and Jarrett for the US title!

"Highlights" from Nitro - why? Does ANYBODY watch JUST this show? Well, I suppose if you watched RAW, you might have missed most of these

Earlier Today, Dustin Rhodes was asked for his comments on the return of Bischoff and Russo - he's worked with both men, but instead of providing anything useful, he pretends that the iron horse he's riding is speaking to him. Yuk it up!

"Ready to Rumble" ad

Sting carries the power of the card, rrrrrr!

Brian Knobs uses his head when he wrestles - waaaaaaahahahaha

Billy Kidman looks forward to Vince Russo coming back because "he doesn't care about all the politics in wrestling" and elevates the younger talent. Bischoff's done a lot of great things for WCW the last time around, but he's noted for helping the "established talent, to be politically correct." And THEN - he takes out a pad of paper and a magic marker and CONNECTS THE DOTS and DRAWS IT OUT FOR US, just in case we haven't gotten it yet. Jesus, how stupid and rubelike do they expect their dwindling audience to be? Why exactly would it strike those in charge that the way to gain viewers is to insult the ones that are left? Say, wasn't it Bill Banks who said the audience doesn't like to be insulted? Was he just blowing smoke up our collective ass? Wait...a member of the booking team blowing smoke up our collective ass? What am *I* thinking?

Whoops, they DID tell us that WCW is in Houston - right here.

Last weekend in Tampa, Nick Carter and Brian Latrell of the Backstreet Boys hooked up with WCW folk, some Bucs and other celebs for a charity basketball game. Here's some video

BARBARIAN v. HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN for the World Television championship - tonight, Vampiro vs. the Wall! Feel it! We go outside, we go inside, Duggan's punches miss by a mile, Barbarian's big move is the blatant choke, is it now considered "nostalgic" to see Barbie in his "Faces of Fear" pants? Big bearhug guarantees excitement - and fake heat. Will the Barbarian win the television title tonight? I think not. Am I gonna dog it like this for the ENTIRE two hours? Keep reading... (Old Glory -> pin 4:24) HOOOOOOOOO! Castrol Motor Oily provided a replay of Barbarian's big boot and Duggan's kneedrop, which should serve as a signal that you didn't miss much with me blowing off play-by-play.

Torrie Wilson says "um, like, you know" when asked about Bischoff and Russo. No, she says it's a great opportunity to get back the ratings if only they'll get along. How come I'VE got a better complexion than her, anyway?

"Ready to Rumble" ad

Norman Smiley says a change is needed - Bischoff hired him in, so he's glad he's back, and Russo created "the Screamin' Norman Smiley" character, so he's glad he's back. He's looking forward to working with both of them.

THE NEW GODFATHER OF SOUL (with Mr. Jones) v. DUSTIN RHODES - Cat doesn't come out to "Funk on Ah Roll" so I guess they're not paying for *that* anymore. Next week, "Best of" programs and I'll probably get quite lazy doing THOSE reports, too. Cat takes the mic and tries to play the good guy, but it seems so WRONG. He stifles a few "rednecks" in favour of "you good folks." Then he almost loses it with "Sit yo' fat ass down - oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Cat says he doesn't want to have to kill his ass in his own state, so he throws Jones at him - wild swing with the case misses, Rhodes gives HIM a pummelin', a case shot, a clothesline, head to the buckle, bulldog, big toss - Cat on the apron and once again talkin'. TERRY FUNK is in the ring while Cat talks to him - then ends with "look behind you," but Rhodes isn't falling for THAT. WHACK! (DQ 1:16) WHACK for Jones! Ring that bell a couple hundred times! Feel the excitement! Funk and Rhodes brawl to the back while Cat asks that his music be played. Jones manages to recover just enough to put the cape on.

Tank Abbott says it's "good" that Russo and Bischoff are back. Wow.

Jeff Jarrett T-shirt ad. Don't piss him off! Buy the shirt!

Curt Hennig says it's a great thing that they're back. Bischoff hired him and Russo knows he can go, "so I think it's gonna be a thumbs up year for Curt Hennig all the way." God bless Curt Hennig - he still manages to find a way to turn this bit into self-promotion.

3 COUNT stands in the ring. Somehow they manage to find a way to perform despite the loss of their beloved Green Circles. The record is stopped with appropriate "scratchin' away" sound effect and out comes MISS HANCOCK. "Look - you BOYS are not as hot as you think you are. Ladies, would you like to see hot? Would you like to see - SEXY? Well I have two guys that are real studs - I bring you Latin America's most desirable men - LOS FABULOSOS." Oh, the chyron's fixed this week - I know you care about these small details as much as I do. Is this a match?

SUGA SHANE HELMS & SENSATIONAL SHANNON MOORE (with Outrageous Evan Karagias) v. LOS FABULOSOS (with Miss Hancock) - with Los Dos Macks helping Hancock outside, their backs are turned - double dropkick by the Boys. They come back with a double gutshot and double Sunset flip. King with a clothesline. We look outside where Karagias is hitting on Hancock. Double leapfrog over Moore - double hiptoss. Dandy with a rolling senton. Sandwich kicks - cover - Helms stops it. Dandy send him into the ropes, King elevates him but Moore manages a kick to Dandy on his way down. King caught in a headscissors. Helms with a giant splash on King - Moore with a somersault plancha on Dandy on the outside. Moore with a 'rana on King that takes them both outside. Moore grabs King with the arms behind him - Karagias called to for some offense but he can't take his eyes off Hancock. In the ring, Dandy with a drop toehold on Moore and La Magistral - 1, 2, 3! (1:14)

Chavo Guerrero says both guys have the mind and the know-how - if only they can get along, it'll be a winning formula!

The Cat says that Eric Bischoff is a winner and Vince Russo - well if he's anything like he's heard - WCW can't help but be back on top soon!

The MAMALUKES (Luke, Mama, I love you - with Disco Inferno) hit the ring - Disco says the winner of tonight's match between the Paisans and the Harlem Heat becomes #1 Contender to the tag team titles - his team is nonplussed. Vito says that since he's done such a craptacular job of getting them their return title shot, THEY are going to manage HIM in the meantime. And they just happen to have him booked... tonight...

DISCO INFERNO (with Mamalukes) v. YEAHBABY TANK YEAHBABY ABBOTT YEAHBABY - Inferno faints. Well, sorta - he lifts his head to check - guess he was faking. Scoop - and a slam. Fireman's carry - overhead slam. In the corner, Disco tries some half-hearted shots. Nope. Right, into the opposite corner, Disco tries a kick coming out - Abbott catches his foot - removes the shoe - KO's him with a right and puts the show on his face . THEN he walks out before referee "Blind" Billy Silverman finishes dropping the arm all three times. Sigh. (KO :52)

Ron Harris says that a 1975 booking style will be moved to 2000 AND somebody's in the office with a little backbone and things will get done. What exactly is he smoking again?

Thunder Ringside Release is "the Skulls."

Mike Tenay punctuates it with a bit of a plug reading of his own...

J. Biggs and the TV-PG-DLV ratings box give respect to Vince Russo for bringing him back to wrestling. He doesn't know Bischoff one way or the other, but "hopefully, as the old adage goes, two heads are better than one." If only they can work together!

UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET (with NWO 6) v. BOOKA - Champ enters first because some traditions will never die. Tenay actually has the *audacity* to give out the names of all three NWO girls! He musta read the April Hunter interview on - haven't you? Jarrett says the women can stay out because the Houston women in attendance tonight are homelier than a dog's ass, or something. Jarrett tries to get in the first blow, but Booker ducks it, right, right, right, into the ropes is reversed, duck, hiptoss blocked, Jarrett ducks a clothesline, then drops down almost in time with the back spin kick, gutshot by Booker, eyepoke by Jarrett, right, right, into the ropes, reversed, shoulderblock by Jarrett, up and over, leapfrog, gutshot, into the ropes, Booker drops down with a surprise rollup for two. Ducked the clothesline, heel kick by Booker, gutshot, axe kick - oops, the HARRIS BROS are out and pulling the top rope - and Booker goes outside before he can hit that axe kick. Dropped on the barricade. Rolled back in. Somehow referee "Blind" Charles Robinson missed ALL this (yeah, right) and counts the cover - 1, 2, NO! Thank GOD we didn't have Booker go down in 1:20. Pounding on him, into the ropes, back elbow, 1, 2, no. Choke on the middle rope. Off the ropes, but the straddle only finds the rope. Ron clotheslines Booker on the apron while Robinson checks on Jarrett. Jarrett stomping on him. Into the ropes, duck, duck, sleeper hold. Booker turns in - but still goes down. Booker trying to fight it - now back to his feet - turning in again - Jarrett shoved into the corner, he tries to go up and over but Booker didn't go under him...Right, right, right, into the opposite corner, Jarrett puts up the boots so Booker slides under and outside, double leg, making a wish with the ringpost. Top rope - MISSILE DROPKICK! Breakdancing back up - Jarrett manages to roll outside. Don on the apron - Booker takes him down. WAFFLE with the US title. Tenay: "Damn the NWO - Damn you, Jarrett!" Robinson over to count - 1, 2, NO!!! Jarrett's had enough - figure four coming up - no, Booker kicks him away - but right into Robinson. He's had a rough night. Gee-tar handed to Jarrett by Don - off the ropes - but Booker catches him in a uranage!! 1, 2, Ron pulls Robinson outside!! The screwings will continue until morale improves. (DQ 4:37) H bomb coming up - but Booker flips out and hits a double dropkick! The Harrisses decide they're two and he's one - so they walk away with Jarrett and the women.

Skye (they called her Casey?) says that she didn't get to work with Bischoff, but she enjoyed Russo's ideas. She thinks it'll be a good change for the company and hopes everything will turn out for the best...translation: "I still get paid, right?"

"Ready to Rumble" 1-800-CAL-LATT promo

"Ready to Rumble" ad immediately following - whee

Jeff Jarrett T-shirt ad #2 - they must REALLY be moving if you have to advertise it twice in one show, eh?

Promotional consideration paid for by Slim Jim (Savage-free spot), Judge Wapner's Cash Scam, and Targon mouthwash

Oh boy! Another "Ready to Rumble" ad!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan kinda disses both guys - Bischoff thinks that since he's over forty, he must be burnt out; Russo thinks he's good to be the WCW janitor. Then he turns to the common theme: if only these two can put aside their differences and work together....

HARLEM HEAT (with Cash & J. Biggs & WCW Magazine Promo) v. MAMALUKES - Penzer gets berated publicly to start - always fun. Vito tries to get some rhythmic clapping going as he and Stevie Ray start. Ray with kneelifts and clubbin' blow. Right hand. Into the ropes, reversal, shoulderblock by Ray, running the ropes, hiptoss by Vito, scoop - and a slam. Karate double chop, tag, into the ropes, double double sledge, double stompdown, Johnny with an elbow, elbow, right, off the ropes, springboard - swatted away, whatever it was. Standing side kick by Stevie Ray. Tag to Big T. Kick. Into the ropes, scissor kick. Into the ropes, spinebuster. Into the ropes, duck, spinning heel kick by Johnny the Bull. Both men down - tag to Vito who cleans house. Now all four men in - I guess Johnny and Ray aren't doing much because we're watching only the Ten Punch Count Along by Vito on Big T. Ray over and from behind on Big Vito. Doubleteam on Johnny, tossing him out. Ray calls over Cash - elbow by Ray - bearhug by Cash - and into the ringpost. Vito dumped outside - and back in before we see anything come out of it. He tries to come back but Ray's pulled out his blackjack - right in plain view of referee "Blind" Nick Patrick, in fact. (DQ Formula 4:09) Heenan actually seems to have caught that when Tenay missed it.

Vampiro says he originally left Mexico for WCW to work for Eric Bischoff - if you look at what's happened over the last five, six, seven years - Bischoff, Russo, Terry Taylor, Ed Ferrara - those four can form the strong leadership that'll make us excited.

Advance Auto Parts presents "This Week in WCW Motorsports!" Blaise Alexander got a decent Top 25 finish (translation: they finished 25th). This week, Sting will sign things at whatever race they're at! Yeeha!

Shannon Moore says Bischoff's return is a major plus - he gave him his chance in WCW. Russo's "brought the ratings up once before." Hoo hoo ha ha ha...

BILLY KIDMAN (with Torrie Samuda & WCW Magazine ad) v. BIG RON HARRIS (with Heavy D) - Don still wears his sling, which Tenay dismisses as "bogus," while Heenan follows with "You've never been in the ring!" which makes me laugh. Heenan rats out Tenay to Don - ha! The thing about this canned crowd noise is that it just seems so RANDOM - swelling at odd places and such. Ron wipes the mat with Kidman for a minute, Kidman busts out a flying head scissors, repeat, Don pulls the top rope to bring Kidman outside, then kicks him while referee "Blind" Mickie Jay is occupied with Ron in the ring. Hard into the barricade, even using the "bad" arm. Back in the ring, scoop slam by Ron, right, right, right, right, right, right, right, right. Okay, I'm done with this match. Flash to the finish, which sees Don come into the ringn and rather blatantly beat on Kidman, cutting short his offensive rally. (DQ 3:34) H bomb!

Shannon Moore says Russo has proven his creativity over and over, while Bischoff was the one that hired him. WCW can be brought back to the status of a premiere organisation!

Johnny "the Bull" says Bischoff did a wonderful job but might have gotten a little burned out, and Russo "proved his point" before he left, so it'll be good for WCW.

WORLD HARDCORE TITLE: DOG v. BRIAN KNOBS - Dog is led out on a leash by referee "Blind" Billy Silverman. Well now, I sure would like to see them find a way to pull a DQ out of their ass for THIS match! Crutch! Garbage can lid! Garbage can! Woof! Woof! Woof! Fire extinguisher! Chair! Nasty! Nasty! Nasty! Crutch! Mop! Paint tray! Crutch! Crutch! Garbage can! Barricade! Garbage can! Garbage can lid! Garbage can! Pitty City! Nasty! Big boots to the chair! Clubbing blow! Elbow! Whip into the corner! Follow lariat! Woof! Woof! Gnaw! Woof! Woof! Table! Nasty! Chair! Garbage can! Cover! Three! Nasty! (Call 4:11)

Buff Bagwell says he's been through ten years of bosses, and Bischoff was the first guy to bring WCW to the top. Now you got Russo and Bischoff together. For years and years it's been the young guys gettin' pushed down and the older guys get pushed to the top, and with Eric coming back now, it'll be the younger guys pushed to the top and the older guys goin' down, and he's Buff and he's the stuff.

1-800-CAL-LATT/"Ready to Rumble" contest spot spot

Brian Knobs says if it'll make him more money, fantastic. Ask him again in three or four weeks and he'll let you know. Wow, that's almost believable.

BUFF IS THE STUFF v. LA PARKA - Tenay gamely tries to promo Spring Stampede despite having no knowledge of the card. I just had a scary thought...Bischoff on play-by-play...and Russo on colour. "Wassuuuuuuuuuuup! Skull captain in the hizzooooooouse. You've seen the chair, you know the deal, you don't need the 4-1-1 when you've got the 1-4-1-4 - 1-4 me and 1-4 mah homiez. ... I ain't done talkin' yet! Hey pretty boy! That's right - I'm talking to you, Lumpy!" Parka pulls out a sign saying "I'M SORRY" and flashes it. "Do you want to throw down with the Chair Man? I'm gonna knock that stupid George Clooney haircut right off the top of yo' greasy head, and then I'm gonna kick yo' jacked-up ass!" Parka displays a "I'M NOT REALLY SAYING THIS" sign. Is that the "Peanuts" font? How comical! I need some vidcaps - Parka's HILARIOUS! Bagwell offers his hand - Parka breathes a sigh of relief and takes it. They embrace! Then Parka decides to waffle him with an open-handed slap - strut - stomp, stomp, kick. Into the opposite corner, Bagwell sidesteps the attempt, but ends up flying over him and eating turnbuckle after Parka flips him. Boot up to stop the charge - Bagwell runs into a clothesline. Kick, kick, into the ropes is reversed by Bagwell, biiiiiiig back body drop. Running lariat. Gutshot, off the ropes, swinging neckbreaker, pose, Parka with a Golota to stop that mo. Parka removes a glove, then kicks a field goal. Another kick. Choke on the second rope. Open-handed slap. Into the ropes, clothesline ducked, knee to the gut, double underhook DDT, windmill pose. Into the ropes, Sunset flip attempt by Bagwell - works - 1, 2, no. Enzuigiri by La Parka - cover - 2. Scoop - drop. Parka to the second rope - BADLY botched split-legged moonsault - 1, 2, kickout! Parka says that's it - AGAIN he goes to the second rope - but a twisting moonsault misses the mark. "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine," punch, punch, out of the corner is reversed, but Bagwell hits a back elbow and Parka does a full gainer. Buff Blockbuster here - 1, 2, 3 there. (4:12)

Ric Flair: "Oh I was OVERWHELMED. You know, I was overwhelmed. But the bottom line is... I couldn't POSSIBLY tell you how I feel about those two coming back in ten seconds. So you two give me ten minutes on Nitro in two weeks and I'll getcher number, talking about BOTH of ya - WOOOO! How 'bout that? Call my lawyer!"

Close captioning where available sponsored by America (ha!) Online

"Ready to Rumble" ad - yet again - hey, you know what this ad needs? A really annoying chick saying "Sex and football"

Promotional consideration paid for by America (ha!) Online, Fran Tarkenton's 1-800-BAR-NONE, and "I See Dead People"

VAMPIRO v. THE WALL for the future of World Championship Wrestling - Wall brings a chair with him, throws it into the ring, and Vampiro kicks it away instead of picking it up - now THEM'S brains! Vampiro with fists of fury, into the ropes, reversed, duck, spin kick. Van Daminator!! Vampiro on top - semi-plancha to the floor! Wall rolled in - chop, right, right, into the opposite corner, follow lariat, chop, back to the first corner, Wall puts up the boot. Running lariat by Wall. Boot to the head. I wonder what Alex Wright thinks of Bischoff and Russo returning? Picking him up for a powerbomb - whoops, no he keeps the momentum going, throating Vampiro on the top rope. Repeated rights to the head. Referee "Blind" Mickie Jay asks him to stop, so he stops...then does it again. Tenay nutshells the upcoming storyline one last time, just in case we haven't gotten it yet. Urg. Vampiro with rights of his own, duck, belly-to-back suplex. Got the chair again - Wall punches the chair and takes Vampiro down. He's outside - looking for a table. Amazingly, Jay is NOT counting him out here. Vampiro takes the chair to the Wall - and he falls through the table from the apron. Jay calls for the bell, FINALLY (DQ? 2:47) then goes out to check on Wall - who grabs him in a choke even as he's flat on his back. Wall shoves him away. Wall to his feet - and in the ring. Vampiro can't believe it, apparently. Trading blows - now wall has him down to a knee - now he's back up and punching back - SECURITY is out and both men are taking them out of the ring - they're back to trading punches. RING THAT BELL FIVE HUNDRED MORE TIMES!!!! Oops, we're out of time. See ya later!

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Copyright (C) 1999, 2000 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications