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/5 April 2000

WCW Thunder by mdb




Personal note: Thank God Jericho, Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero, and Saturn aren't stuck under WCW's midcard glass ceiling.

Show report: A bunch of clips were shown. Tenay and Heenan on an empty Thunder set praised Russchoff. What were you expecting? "Hi, our show has sucked for two years now, and it'll continue to suck so just forget you ever heard of WCW" ? Anywho, that's the report, see you next week!

Well, ok, I'll probably be fired if I leave it at just that.

For the record, there's only been four great Thunder moments. Saturn superkicking Martel through a glass door, Benoit's swandive off the cage in the tag tourney, Juvy's first cruiser title win, and Benoit vs. Booker match 7 which WCW ruined 20 minutes later when they announced the match didn't count and they'd wrestle the match again at the next PPV.

Clips from the first Thunder, there's the awful original Thunder set. Savage attacking Luger with a chair, the Japanese nWo, there's Jericho losing to Flair and throwing a fit (I pride myself on being on record as saying Jericho would be a great heel months before he made the switch and became famous) Goldberg beats Mongo, Scott Steiner hints his heel turn, umm a clip of Bischoff vs. Zybyzsko from Starrcade (?) Luger racks Scott Norton (who was wasted in WCW) and Buff, there's Juvy's title win (!!!), Bubba vs. Scott Hall, Sting vs. Hogan fom Starrcade (?).

Longer clips of matches are shown, Nash vs. Dallas Page (w/Giant run-in) then Luger vs. Savage and Nash with Hogan vs. Giant bits. Luger vs. Flair, Savage vs. Sting, Bret vs. Benoit and Goldberg almost ending his career elbowing a limo window. Bret vs. Funk. Sid vs. Nash and Harris #2 in a cage and Sid vs. Hall, neither of which was during Bischoff's or Russo's term. I may have missed a bit or two along the way, but really, they are old matches featuring mostly screwjob run-in finishes in feuds that people didn't really care so much about in the first place. Half the people featured here probably will never wrestle for WCW again. They said last week that the best of shows would also show things that WCW did wrong over the years. Is that what this Thunder show is all about?

The only real part of the show of note is an interview Mike Tenay did with Hulk Hogan. The condencsed version of what Hogan had to say: The barn's on fire and some on needs to throw a bucket of water on it. Hallejuah Eric is back. When Hogan first came in it was small crowds small arenas Southern rasslin.' Bischoff got distracted when things got big but he should be focused now. Russo is a very intelligent guy. Hogan saw the TV14, T&A, the violence Russo did in the WWF and it went awry in WCW. If Russo's learned his lessons, if he will tone it down, and have Eric as the filter, it will be alright. Whenever Hogan was on the card the numbers went through the roof. The younger guys have had a push for 3 years and get house show gates of 30k, he went to an onsale for Chicago with one match announced, Hogan vs. Sid and they did 200 k the first day. Kidman isn't good enough to be flea market champ, he can't outshine Hogan, he hasn't proven himself. Hulk Hogan is bigger than WCW. There's no place for All-American Hogan in the business today. Train, vitamins, prayers is boring and repetitive but train, vitamins, and I'll kick your ass has an edge (ooohh! be careful you don't cut yourself!) He'll be as edgy as he needs to be, he'll watch the new era and turn up the notch to match it and he'll modify the character to be as edgy as they need to be in the new WCW. The Wall is a future star. Goldberg needs to do movie after movie, Kidman and some of the other young guys can be stars but they need to train more and get their heads out of their rear ends. There needs to be no more crybabies whining, they need to prove themselves. Bollea is going reinvent the Hogan character, he's going show us a new Hogan with an edge, show the new guys how to make it work, he's going to take WCW back to the top and he'll use WCW to put the period at the end of his legacy.

Ok, that's the show pretty much. I've done my job. You're free to go now. The rest is just my own musings. Read on at your own risk.

The April 10th Nitro is the most important Monday night show since 4/13/98, the night Vince fought Austin for the WWF title and Raw beat Nitro for the first time in what at the time seemed like forever. It will be judged by many on the net as a success or a failure 10 minutes into the show. It has already been judged by many as a failure the moment the announcement was made. Quite possibly I just want to be different, but I think the WCW of Bischoff and Russo will be a success, at least in a relative sense. I think end of summer Nitro will be about 2 points under the WWF instead of the 4 or 5 points down they are now.

First, let's get one thing straight: It's weak to assume that because I criticize WCW, I'm a WWF mark. I'm a mark for great WRESTLING, period; something the WWF, even now with its awesome roster, rarely delivers. (And please don't confuse spotfests and sports entertainment with wrestling.)

Five Reasons I Believe the New WCW Will Succeed:

1. I think the WWF has peaked until they get around to Rock/Austin in the fall, so WCW will have a chance to pick up ground. Consider the weaknesses of past WCW: Bischoff won't be able to rely on the old stars as he did previously and Russo won't be able to run his unfunny jokes unchecked. Consider the strengths: Bischoff has had the big ideas, Nitro itself, the nWo, Hogan vs. Sting, Goldberg; but never knew the second step, the twists to make after a blowoff match to keep the angle fresh. Sting beat Hogan for the belt and they didn't know what to do, Goldberg got the belt and they didn't know what to do. Russo will be able to help Eric B. keep storylines fresh; they'll almost certainly be illogical and stupid, but fresh. People look at the last months of Bischoff and see negatives. They look at Russo's tenure and see negatives. They assume that the two together will double the negative. It may turn out that way, but it's a simplistic way to look at the situation. Put it like this, a gun without bullets isn't much of a threat, a bullet without a gun even less so. Put the two together...

2. Most importantly, WCW will feature lots of crap and AMERICANS LOVE CRAP. Hulkamania, for example. Or Rockamania. The wonderful soap opera "As the McMahons Turn." Didn't even get me started on examples outside pro wrestling. I fully expect I'll hate 95% of what WCW puts on the air the next few months, and that should be good for their business. Americans Love Crap.

3. The politics of a dozen egos in the back will be reduced to politics of two, maybe three or four egos. Bischoff lost control of WCW the moment Hogan refused to do a clean job to Sting at Starrcade 97 and it spiraled away from there. Waltman got fired to be an example to others but instead the wheels fell off. WCW lost focus and as a result they lost fans. I'm not saying for sure that they'll have focus when Nitro restarts April 10th, or that if they do have focus that it will be the right focus. But it is well known that a big part of the problem for WCW the last few years is that the head of the fed didn't have control. For the next few months at least, Bischoff and Russo will have enough control to get things done.

4. Goldberg's return.

5. Russo and Bischoff have some really great ideas. A friend got me a list of some of the ideas they are working on. I'll share a few of my faves:

Shane Douglas will be back, repackaged with the gimmick of an insane taxi driver: Douglas Dickle. T-shirts are already being made for the Crabbie Cabbie, with the catchphrase "All's fare in love and wrestling." Get it, fair/fare?

Chris Kanyon will discover he's royalty and will now be known as The Grand Kanyon.

The Demon will get Crowbar (Spaceman) and David Flair (The Cat [yes, another Cat]) to be his band with Daphne and several Nitro Girls as groupies. Vampiro will decline to join to play Star Child leading to a six man battle between the 'KISS army' and Brothers in White Face-Paint Vampiro, Sting, and King Diamond. Maestro will end up being the fourth man in the KISS band.

Norman Smiley will become "Buckie" and form Our Gang with Hugh Morrus as Spanky, K'mon-I-wanna-Leia Meow as Darla, Mike Tenay as the nerdy kid and Vince Russo himself as Alfalfa. Their feud will be with The Neighborhood Bully "Butch" who will be played by the Wall. Disco will play the bully's sidekick. (I can't wait for the angle where the Gang forms the International Silver String Submarine Band to do a battle of the bands with Demon's KISS)

Scott Steiner will go transgender, wear dresses, and demand to be called Big Momma Pump. How adorable!

Kaz Hayashi and Yun Yang will become soldiers in the Japanese army who think WWII is still being fought.

Jamie Howard, the masked American of the Jung Dragons will get a cape and a sword and become The Great Zorbyszko, pupil to the Living Legend Larry Zorbyszko.

Have I mentioned Shane Douglas as the taxi driver? I'm telling ya that's gold!

Silver King will become a wrestling dishwasher-by-day and El Dandy a wrestling ditchdigger-by-day. They'll be unable to win any matches because their work visas are expired and Lane and Rave have been repackaged as INS.

Billy Kidman will become a cowboy, Billy the Kidman.

Booker and Ernest Miller will become pimps because the WWF has shown that that's what blacks are best as.

Terry Funk, Bam Bam Bigelow and Eric Bischoff will play the Three Stooges. Bam Bam will obviously be the star with the Curly-isms, though Eric as Moe should be good. Funk as Larry Fine won't be as great because he's been already been doing the gimmick pretty much the last few years. Things will go down when Tony Shempvone replaces Curly Bigelow. But Scott Hudson should improve things when he plays the Curly Joe Besser DeRita Stooge, even though most of the episodes with the Joes really weren't that good.

Yeah, the Douglas Dinkle interviews where he keeps going, 'You talking to me? You must be talking to me.' to Mean Gene will be kind of annoying, but I promise the assassination attempt skits will still be as dramatic as sports entertainment gets!

Turner Standards & Practices shot down the plan to Jeff Jarrett and Bill Goldberg as The Chosen Ones (probably a good thing) so Goldberg will continue to be Goldberg but Jarrett will go schizo. He'll develop multiple personalities and refer to himself as The Chosen Eight.

Best of all: Hogan, Page and Luger form Ringwatch! Each week Hulk, Diamond Dallas and Lex will save wrestlers from near-death situations and share with us a lesson in life. Liz, Kim, and Torrie will be the female counterparts so expect lots of slow motion shots of them in swimsuits! Yes! First feud is against Tenta who will once again play the gimmick of The Shark (teased in the Best of Nitro this week) [ed. note- I actually wrote the joke about Tenta The Shark last week. Go fig WCW would actually pull out a clip of the guy!] Special guest stars David Hasselhoff and Knightboat are sure to help the ratings, though the spinoff Ringwatch Nights with Hogan, Stevie Ray and Sherri Martel probably won't.

Next week, April 10th, brand new Nitro! Next Wednesday brand new Thunder! You're excited now, admit it!

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