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/14 June 2000

WCW Thunder by mdb




I can see how AFI would name a film like Some Like It Hot as the best American comedy film and was glad they got Airplane!, Dr. Strangelove, and Duck Soup in the top 10, but I was disappointed The Blues Brothers and The Princess Bride weren't anywhere on the list. Don't get me started on Tootsie being #2. That was an AWFUL comedy.

Speaking of awful comedies, WCW pro- opps, wait. I promised last week since I feel asleep during the show I was supposed to be doing a report on, I would make it up to WCW this week. So-

Speaking of awful comedies, did you see the ratings for Nitro vs. Raw? Brisco and Holly's battle for the hardcore title had twice as many viewers as the giant Starrcade rematch of Goldberg and Nash. I think the American viewing public are idiots if they want to watch some old geezer fight a blond buzzcut midcarder over a worthless title. People complain about Russo booking nonsense, but that's obviously what the people want. I guess Russo and Bischoff need to do EVEN WORSE booking if they are going to get an audience.

Caught somewhere on tape, it's WCW THUNDER!

Shows opens with New York Tough Vince Russo and The Cat Ernest Miller arriving at the arena in a limo. Russo wears a 3-0 record. Don't complain about the booker putting himself over, he's building heat for the boys, don't ever doubt that. Miller's on a cell phone. Russo asks about Bischoff and Goldbrg, Miller assures him they are on the way. Russo talks to R&B Security, seems the real cops aren't going to be around today. Russo tells R&B to be on guard. This is what is known as foreshadowing.

The back of Russo's shirt says "With 2 Shaven Heads." You know, that image of Flair being shaved will be one that will be remembered and talked about years and years from now. I remember Jimmy Boogie Woogie Man Valiant (whose theme song talked about him being from New York City, but he probably wasn't really like Russo is) and #1 Paul Jones and his Army being in a big angle over head shaving back in like 85, but it simply doesn't compare. And for all the heads Brutus Beefcake shaved in the WWF, does anyone remember any of their names? Does anyone even remember Brutus Beefcake? Nope. Russo is creating moments in sports entertainment that will be remembered forever.

THUNDER intro plays.

Creative Genius Vince Russo, The Chosen Champ Jeff Jarrett, The New Man David Flair (I laugh when people compare Triple H to Ric Flair. What a joke. Triple H isn't even the next Barry Windham. The New Total Package is what 3H is. He's Lex Luger 2000 [and Rocky Maivia is Hulk Hogan 2000] and it might be a few years before everyone else catches on, but trust me on this.), The Original Cat Ernest Miller, and R&B security come to the ring.

Jarrett challenges Kidman, the Back-Stabbing Slapnut" to a World title match tonight! All those people who talk about Kidman being buried should go bury their heads. Kidman stayed loyal to WCW and now he gets World title shots and PPV matches against Hulk Hogan, the biggest name ever in pro wrestling. Russo talks about shaving Ric Flair and we see footage from Nitro. For a few moments Ric actually looks a bit like Hogan with the long back hair and bald top. Wolfpack theme plays, a timely interruption. Nash comes out. He challenges Russo, saying he wants to turn his foot sideways and stick it up his (candy)ass, but since he broke his ankle, he can't and will have to shine his bat and turn it sideways and stick it up his (candy)ass. Nash runs to the ring taking out R&B with bat shots along the way but Russo and Jarrett escape.

Some people probably think Nash is ripping off the Rock. I think in truth it's Russo reminding Maivia of all the great lines he gave The Rock. (I remember Russo saying he was the one who told Maivia to start referring to himself in the third person, which was the whole catch to getting him over with the same crowds that had once chanted Die, Rocky, Die.)

We return to see Russo asking David, Ernest, and Jeff to stay with him but they all split on him and Russo finds himself alone. Some would say it's pretty illogical and wonder why Russo doesn't round up people like the Mamalukes and Stasiak and Palumbo to help him if David, Ernest, and Jeff won't stick around, but come on, it's sports entertainment, don't ask questions, just enjoy the show. Besides, Nash could take out all those guys in seconds flat so what's the point? Other people probably think Russo is ripping off all those McMahon/Stooges sketches that were done when people like Austin and Undertaker (is there any doubt that Russo wrote the famous WWF angles of the 90s such as the Austin vs. McMahon in the hospital room, Austin takes McMahon hostage and the Undertaker symbol-fying Austin? Road Warrior Hawk's suicide attempt of the Titantron, Foley and Funk's dumpster ride off the stage that brought Raw to a halt for 20 minutes at the beginning of the New Age Outlaw's push, Kane, Mr. Socko, the Blue Blazer, the Godfather, is it not obvious that that was all the work of one man, Vince Russo? And people had nothing but praise for it in the WWF and nothing for scorn for it in WCW.)

MATCH #1 - KRONIK vs. CHRIS CANDIDO & BAM BAM BIGELOW - I've long been a fan of Brain Clarke and I'm glad he's getting a shot at the top now under Russo and Bischoff. I'm not as big a Crush fan, but the guy does have some great moves. Kronik is easily one of the top 5 teams in pro wrestling today and people who complain about the team name because people with big muscles rarely smoke Marijuana are just looking for things to complain about. And Candido and Bigelow, these guys have main evented PPVs in other promotions, I'm sure Russo is setting them up for huge pushes. I heard this match was retaped for some reason, we get the second version where everything is correct. Several great power moves by Kronik who are becoming one of the most over teams in wrestling. End comes with Kronik getting the win clean on Candido with High Times, easily one of the best team finishes going today. Big brawl ensues after the pin with security having to break things up. Smart booking by Russo to keep the heat on the new team of Bigelow and Candido. And I like how Kronik earned the title shot and are now proving they are the dominate team instead of just giving them a title shot the day after they won the status and schmozzing the title match.


Russo in the back finds the tires to his limo slashed! There's no escape! Some people might question that this isn't very realistic (As Joel Robinson joked in The Unearthly to the guy who said 'We've got to find a way out of here.' 'How about the front door?') but it serves the story! Stop nitpicking.

Next to the ring are Hardcore champ(s?) Big Vito and Johnny the Bull. I really missed the Mamalukes and while some people might think it shouldn't take two months to figure out you team these guys with New York Tough Vince Russo, you can't just throw people out on TV. You have to have something for them to do and now that Russo has something or them to do it's going to be great. Vito is on the mic and he proclaims himself a made man, the next great Italian superstar and he's from New York. He passes the mic to Johnny the Bull who asks why he doesn't get to be the hardcore champ. Vito says he loves his partner and puts the shiny new belt around Johnny's waist, gives him a hug and raises his arm. We've got a new Hardcore champ! Vito leaves the ring, grabs a cane, uh-oh, and as Johnny heads out the ring Vito gives him a caneshot! How many of you saw that turn coming? Table set up, OH MY GOD! An impailer DDT from the apron through the table to the floor below. Wicked bump. Vito beats up Johnny until the Wolfpack music plays. Here comes Nash who asks Vito to step aside, Vito charges instead and gets hit with a bat for his trouble. Nash into the ring, says he's still after Russo, then leaves, tossing the Hardcore belt to Johnny on the way out. I guess the Mamalukes are done as a team. This is a really smart move, the Mamalukes are already former World tag champs, break them up, move them out of that division that is already so competitive without them, and let them establish the Hardcore title.

Russo is shown backstage worrying about Nash killing him. Everyone talks about Russo having a big ego and putting himself over wrestlers like Ric Flair, but look at the rub he's giving Nash, building that monster face image for Big Sexy.

We're back with black and white security footage of David talking to Miss Hancock in a most friendly way. Uh-oh. Daffney won't like that. Dave and Hancock are a real-life item for those who don't know.

Shane Douglas comes to the ring and talks to us next. He runs down Buff. This is going to be a real good feud. Shane complains he took heat because Buff beat up an employee backstage, another real life angle. I like how Russo uses reality, first he delivered the classic feud between Shane and Ric everyone had been waiting seven years to see, now he's using Buff's indiscretion to make WCW better. Some might say it's just Russo's inability to create anything himself, but I like the real nature of these angles. Buff comes out to fight, landing a few clotheslines as only Buff can. Douglas is saved by Candido and Bigelow and the Triple Threat triple teams Buff. (I like how Madden isn't afraid to be smart and the announcers know these guys were a team before.) To Buff's rescue comes Kronik and a Pier Six brawl erupts! This is really cool now. I think we're going to see some hard fought 6-man matches over the next few weeks. The Triple Threat is back and everyone in WCW better watch out.

I should mention that some people say that there is a lack of continuity with Douglas to talk about being in the doghouse with Russo and Bischoff because just days after Buff was suspended, Russo and Bischoff put Douglas in charge of WCW for Thunder. You nitpickers don't understand that being put in charge of WCW *was* punishment. Eric and Vince knew the Millionaire's Club would be out of control for that show and look at all the grief Douglas got over being in charge. Let's think before we complain, people.

Rick Steiner and Tank Abbott say hi to PerfectStasiak and the Main Event Chuck Palumbo in their own special way. The tag champs were watching a video of Tank and Rick riding bikes thinking they were seeing live footage. Rick and Tankberg pearl harbor the tag champs, I think we've got more tag contenders and that's going to be a real good fight. The WWF barely did anything with Stasiak, and probably wouldn't even want Rick Steiner, Tank Abbott, or Chuck Palumbo. Just remember that when these four battle for the WCW tag belts!

We go back outside the arena where the Cat sees another limo arrive. Russo is relieved. Cat opens the door and immediately runs away. (There are few people who match Ernest Miller in comedic antics, Jim Carrey, Jerry Lewis in his prime...) Turns out Big Poppa Pump was in the limo. Russo sees this and scatters, climbing over trucks to get away. Hilarious stuff showing Russo isn't afraid to make a fool of himself. Some people probably think these skits are pointless wastes of time, but they help build to the big moments later in the show.

SPECIAL CHALLENGE MATCH - POSITIVELY KANYON AND CAREER KILLER MIKE AWESOME vs. TANK ABBOTT AND THE DOG-FACED GREMLIN RICK STEINER - Cynical people might ask whose career Awesome killed if he's now teaming with Kanyon, I say Awesome is likely to kill the career of anyone he wrestles! Kanyon is dressed like Page, talks like Page, acts like Page. Kimberley however isn't with the team, I saw that Kimberley quit WCW. Now, it might be an angle because Russo and Bischoff have swerved the internet reporters time and time again, making them look pretty foolish I might add, but if it's for real, it's typical of the problems WCW faces. Give Kim a huge push, her own cologne, and she jumps. Just like when they gave Benoit the world title and he jumped, and what's he doing now, wrestling against a bunch of midcarders like the Hardyz.

Anyway, Kanyon plugs his Positively Kanyon book, co-writing by Smokey Robinson and Smokey Mark Madden (what a talented guy!) and Smokey the Bear. Sign in the crowd says 'Who's better than Kanyon? Nobody!' That was like four gimmicks ago, dude. Another sign says Awesome is a Mullet. What's with all the mullet talk?

Anyway, I'm really distracted, the team issues an open challenge and Rick and Tankberg accept. A short match follows, Rick Steiner accidently lays out Tank with a Steinerline from behind and Awesome gets the pin. Then, in a great bit of continuity, Stasiak and Palumbo hit the ring to beat up the guys that earlier attacked them. See, it all comes together. Big Poppa Pump makes the save and clears the ring of everyone but brother Rick. Scott and Rick look at each other and we cut to commercial. How dramatic! And WCW's tag division is getting stacked! I think the Steiners are going to be tag champs again soon!

Elsewhere, Kevin Nash has caught up to Vince Russo. Russo tries to get away by getting in a car but Nash comes in from the other side, ripping of Russo's 3-0 shirt. Russo gets away however.

Pamela interviews the Cat. Even though there is a racial discrimination lawsuit against WCW, you notice that Ernest Miller is in segment after segment of this show. Russo sees talent and charisma in Miller and puts him front and center. I bet if Sonny Onoo or Kaz Hayashi or Los Fabulosos could dance or do interviews like Miller, they'd be pushed just as hard. The Cat says he'll fight Scot Steiner later in the night.

Mene Gene talks with Kidman. Kidman says he proved himself right, Horace couldn't be trusted, so he screwed Bischoff and Russo. Now he's going to take on Jarrett and show that "This Kid don't play." I see tshirts with that catchphrase on it!

You know, there might have been two matches in the entire first hour, but when a show is well done and fast paced, you don't notice things like that.

MATCH #3 -WCW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP JEFF JARRETT vs. FLEA MARKET CHAMP BILLY KIDMAN - I can hear the jokes already, that a flea market champ's title belt is worth more than the WCW world title right now or the size of the crowds at WCW events are smaller than at most flea markets, I say I look forward to this great match that gives Kidman a shot at the World title. And people complain about all the world title switches under Russo, admit it, if David Arquette can be champ, Billy Kidman could be champ and that makes this match much more exciting. It's not like the WWF where Jericho time and again is set to win the belt from Hunter only to have a screw-job take place. The match is a quick paced affair, Jarrett has the early advantage but Kidman comes back with his patented offense. Two count after two count, we're so close to having a new champ. I like how Jarrett proves himself as a tough fighting champ by taking on Kidman in this match. Before things get too out of hand, we cut to the entrance way where the coolest new entrance in pro wrestling takes place, that of the Filthy Animals! It's only a matter of time before people start popping for that intro. The Animals spoil Kidman's shot at glory (but I'm sure Billy proved himself in this match and will get another shot real soon) as Konnan shatters a guitar on Billy's head. Jarrett hits the Stroke, a world class finisher for the year 2000, and gets the pin.


Nash does a run-in (I love how Russo has built the whole show around a central angle and ties that in to every segment of the show. Every QH you know you'll be seeing Kevin Nash or Vince Russo doing something) and the ring clears. Nash attacks Jarrett with the bat and ties him up with a belt. Nash has taken the World champ hostage! He waited for Jarrett to be weak after the tough match with Billy and then took him hostage.

Vampiro is out next to cut a promo. He brags about taking out Sting then gets upset at some Sting fans at ringside. "Take off that Sting mask!" The fan won't so Vampiro goes out to remove it for her. Vamp piefaces the big guy sitting with the fan (in retrospect, might that be Tolberg's old tag partner, what was his name?) and takes the mask off the fan. It's Asya! (No points for people who quip she's better off with the mask on.) And she spits blood in the face of Vampiro! It was a set-up all along! KISS's God of Thunder rocks the arena as the demon makes his entrance. These two fight in the ring including a Nail in the Coffin for Asya! Demon takes advantage however and forces Vampiro into the Demon's casket (Who wants to see a casket match between these two the next PPV because I have a hunch it's coming soon!) and blows fire on the casket. This battle for the soul of Demon and Vampiro is not done yet!

I've heard people make jokes that the guy Vampiro is taking orders from looks like a big Jawa, and while I admit that is pretty funny, let's be serious for a moment. This isn't going to be like the Higher Power where Vince McMahon's ego will take over the whole angle. This is a great storyline full of mystery and suspense. Who is the fallen angle that Vampiro takes orders from? Who will Vampiro be sent after next? I know other recappers will complain that Vampiro is such a jobber he can't even pin The Demon. Look, if he pins The Demon, what would he do next week? It's called building a feud and I think it's only natural that the two would feud since they both paint their face white and there's the whole rock & roll vs. punk stuff and the evil nature of it all. This feud was set to go last year but got scrapped. Maybe we'll get New Year's Evil with KISS Dec 31, 2000? Cross your fingers.

Three Count are back! And they have a new video! It's so cool to have 3 Count back. I hope K'monIWannaLeia Meow comes back as a Britney Spears type to tour with 3 Count. That'd be hilarious.

Daffney to the ring to cut a promo on her cheating fiancee, calling Miss Hancock Miss Peacock Quite clever. Hancock comes out to answer. Catfight! Catfight! We get a shot of the crowd which is kind of cool because it let's us use our imagination for the fight. David and Crowbar join the fun, the blonds leave the black hairs laying in the ring.

I like how Russo does all these reality based angles like David and Hancock, Demon and Asya. It makes the product so much more believable.

In the back, the chase continues. Russo hides in an office but Nash has outsmarted Vine again!

MATCH #4 - BIG POPPA PUMP vs. "THE CAT" ERNEST MILLER - Big Poppa Pump is a future world champ in case you didn't know and this match proves it. He destroys the Cat until R&B Security interferes allowing Cat to hit some of his lethal karate offense. But, Steiner's freaks make the save and Steiner destroys the Cat with suplexes and the Steiner Recliner.


Wait a sec, the Commissioner Ernest Miller grabs the mic and DQs Scott.


That's pretty cool, Steiner gets the heat for winning the match then Ernest gets heat back by being evil Commish and all. Great booking that elevates both performers.

Let's check in with Nash. He's on the phone with Scott who gives him a tip on what to do with the hostage Jarrett. The plot's resolution is coming up soon!

Another Okerlund interview is next. This time it is David Flair.

MATCH #5 - THE NEW MAN DAVID FLAIR vs. CROWBAR - I've been a long time supporter of Crowbar, he's got so much to deliver and it looks like his time is now. David Flair, I admit, for a long time I figured he was the adopted son of Ric, he showed nothing of the Flair charisma we all know and love. But he's really getting comfortable in the ring and in front of camera. If you didn't see this match, it's a shame. I'm not doing play by play because I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the match, words couldn't do it justice anyway. I will say Flair showed more and better offense than I think I've seen from him before (though I did miss the PPV so I can't say that it was his best match ever) and crowbar was as good as ever. I'm really looking forward to this feud, there are going to be some good matches ahead and you know Russo's going to have Daffney vs. Hancock at some point. It's only a matter of time before the fans take notice and we see the ratings move. Finish has David with the Statue of Liberty play. David does a trim on Crowbar's hair (honestly, he could use it), shoves Daffney out of his face, and leaves with Hancock.


THE MAIN EVENT - Nash comes out with the hostage Jarrett. Nash makes various threats about what he's going to do to Jeff that I don't think are quite proper to repeat here. Russo comes out to put an end to the ordeal. Vince pulls out some papers, it's Scott Hall's contract. If Nash doesn't release the champ, Nash's buddy is unemployed. Goldberg's music plays, Nash thinks he's ready for it but Goldberg attacks from behind. (A year from now think back to this week and remember that Russo and bischoff are the only ones who would even think of turning Goldberg heel.) Nash gets pummeled with the bat after Goldberg frees Jarrett, and to top it all off, Russo rips up Hall's contract anyway. You know that means Scott's return is near!

A classic THUNDER! of the Russo/Bischoff era, and really, of an era. These past two hours can easily be compared to any other televised pro wrestling show. We're out of time for this show, I can't wait for Nitro and Thunder next week!

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