WCW Thunder by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WCW Thunder recap for Wednesday, 14 March 2001, and I'm your recapper, Cracka Eezy EeeCee.
We go thirty minutes into your future, and are live on tape from the sorta-full Knoxville Civic Coliseum, in Knoxville, Tennessee.
My bud, Terry Bailey, and I arrived at the arena at 6PM. We each got a program, and then were directed to a table where we could get it signed by three of the Nitro Girls, Star, Chiquita, and Syren. As active participants since last Friday in WCW's "Spring Breakout 2001" festivities at the University of Tennessee, you could tell the Nitro Girls' "fun quotient" was beginning to flag a bit, but they all had smiles for the fans.
The arena itself is a '50's era cavern that's currently home to Knoxville's hockey team, and very cozy it is, too.
One word described the arena's concessions:
Bill of fare seemed to be limited to nachos smothered in "color-not-found-in- nature" cheese glop, watered-down cokes at two bucks a cup, and pretzels (studded with road salt) that were fresh when Lincoln was in the White House.
Oh, and let's not forget beer.
They sold a LOT of beer!
Our seats were in the lower balcony, (Section F, Row 3, Seats 1 & 2 to be exact) just to the left of DJ Ran's disco booth, off the left side of the ThunderVision and stage, with a good view of the ring.
Prior to Nitro, ring announcer David Penzer told us that they would be giving away an all-expenses-paid "Trip for Two to the Pay Per View" in Jacksonville that included airfare, lodging, limo service to and from the arena, and box seats at ringside, plus spending money. The catch was that the drawing was AFTER the Thunder taping and you had to be present to win.
The Thunder taping started at 9:05PM, just after they finished up with the broadcast of Nitro, (Which started at 7:05 PM, so you fans tuning in at 8:00PM EST are actually seeing a broadcast that's been tape-delayed. So much for the "Live" concept, hah?)
Nitro seemed longer because of the many commercial breaks that punctuated the broadcast.
While in commercial, DJ Ran, the Nitro Girls, and ring announcer David Penzer kept the crowd's enthusiasm level up.
After Nitro went off the air, it took the ring crew about 30 minutes to set up the pyro, signage, and ring drapery for Thunder. Penzer took time to give a brief memorial to a true "local hero", the late Brian Hildebrand, aka Mark Curtis, a former WCW referee and wrestler who passed away a while back.
Meanwhile, the roadies were busy dragging the broadcast table to the back, moving the railing forward, and setting up additional seats in the space provided.
Yep, your play-by-play announcers, Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay call the entire show from some sound booth in Atlanta. The only WCW ring officials present were David Penzer and the referees.
We got the Nitro Girls back out to do their dance routine on the stage, and then Penzer counted us down to the Thunder taping.
Footage of what just transpired earlier tonight during Nitro.
Yep, the Harris Boys are still on the montage, but they're not with the company anymore.
I can live with that.
Opening pyro show is REAL impressive in person. However, the amount of smoke it generated was way more than the arena exhaust fans could handle, so we had this pall of smoke hanging in the air, with the blowers going full blast, roaring away throughout most of the taping.
Match #1: Filthy Animals d. Three Count, (Kidman w/ snap powerbomb on Moore/pin, 10:02) WCW Cruiserweight Tag Tourney Semi-final Match.
As Billy Kidman and Shannon Moore square off with some brisk back and forth action, the crowd starts a big "Three Count Sucks!" chant. Moore missed a springboard senton, but Kidman nailed his headscissors takedown for a near fall. A tag for both teams, and Evan Karagias takes on Rey Mysterio Jr. Evan hammers Rey with a spine buster and a near fall. Tag to Moore, and Evan hip-tossed Moore onto Rey in the center of the ring.
More blather from Schiavone about the ridiculous "Midajah" angle. Jeez, I'm glad I was at the arena!
Kidman and Moore go at it. Kidman winds up on the floor and gets pummeled by Evan. Moore tosses Kidman back in the ring, and gets a near fall as Tenay shills the new team of Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo, who will face the winners of this match in the finals at "Greed." Evan tags in, and gets Kidman in a bulldog, withstood a Kidman running lariat, then did an impressive gorilla press slam. Evan tried a springboard dropkick, only to get intercepted in mid-air by a Kidman standing dropkick. Tag to Rey, who cuts loose with a top corner Thesz Press/ DDT combo. Evan does a guillotine neckbreaker, then sets for the 450, but Kidman shoved him off the turnbuckles. Kidman sets his "Kid Krusher" but Moore makes the save, then hits his "Bottoms Up" finisher for a near fall. Tag to Evan, tag to Rey, who dumps Evan outside the ring. Kidman and Rey double-teamed Moore, first with a Kidman baseball slide to the in-seam, and then a Rey "Bronco Buster." Rey goes up top, only to get crotched by Evan, who went up top as well. Evan got crotched in return and tumbled to the floor. The action moves to ringside, where Rey hit a towering Thesz Press on Evan, Moore hit Rey with a diving corkscrew plancha, and Kidman squashed everybody to the floor with an on-target leaping cross-body block. Moore gets tossed back in the ring, where the FA's double-team a "Figurehead Facebuster," and Kidman follows up with a snap powerbomb for the win.
Post-match, Skipper and Romeo charge the ring for some trash-talking. Fists fly, and the FA's kick butt.
Superb match from all concerned. The Cruiserweight Tag Tourney should be the best match of the PPV.
During this commercial break, DJ Ran jammed for a bit, and the Nitro Girls did a neat "Schoolgirl" strip routine in the ring. Naughty-A, Knoxville's own, got the biggest pop from the crowd. Three UT "frat-sters" a couple rows in front of us got rowdy, but settled down after a warning look from a BIG arena security guard.
A backstage Security Cam shot showed a grim-looking cinderblock wall, and a couple of long tables with folks eating. Hey! There's Disqo and Alex Wright. Disqo's sneaking food off Alex Wright's plate and being REAL obvious about it.
Y'know, this kind of behavior will get you strung up to a lamp-post real quick in the Volunteer State, especially if the meal's barbeque, and especially if it's MY plate!
Alex Wright finally has had enough, and splotches Disqo in the mush with his plate of food. Wright then tosses the table, screaming "I AM SICK OF YOU!" at Disqo. He then stalks off as Disqo asks (in a hurt tone) "Was it something I said?"
So much for the "Boogie Knights" angle, huh?
And what's a security camera doing in the break room, anyway?
DDP comes to the ring (after detouring through the crowd. "People's Champ", and all that.) for some stick time. Scott Steiner gets ragged on or a bit. Cue Dustin Rhodes, who detours coming down the ramp to hug somebody's grandma along the railing.
"What's up, D?" said DDP, "I'm in the middle of an interview here..." Rhodes says Flair sent him out. Everybody stands around ad-libbing, and looking faintly embarrassed while the ThunderVision gets cued up, because...
THIS... IS... WCW!
Finally, we get the "Buff-Cam" shot of WCW CEO (and Dark Lord of the Sith) Ric Flair. He informs DDP and Rhodes that, since Scott Steiner's off tonight, and because Booker T and the Cat are on their way to the hospital, DDP and Rhodes get Rick Steiner and Jeff Jarrett.
"Is this live?" asks Flair, "or is this Memorex?" referring to the video image.
Cue the run-in from Jarrett and the DFG to blindside DDP and Rhodes.
Tony says "Looks like it was Memorex!" in a shocked tone of voice. Sheesh!
Faces clear out the ring, and DDP taunts the heels, hollering for them to "c'mon back and get some! We'll settle this right now!" Jarrett and the DFG make their exit. DDP and Rhodes make theirs, but spend some time along the rail with the fans first. In a neat-o spot, DDP takes a proffered full cup of beer from a fan, and downs it in one impressive gulp!
During this commercial break, DJ Ran hollered "Which section wants the Nitro girls to come party with them?" It was a tie between Section F (mine) and the arena floor. The Nitro Girls partied with the floor folks, while we "Section Effers" hollered for them to "come party with some REAL fans!"
Match #2: Jason Jett d. Alex Wright, ("Crash Landing" finisher/pin, 7:12)
Jason Jett was the now-released-by-WCW Scotty O's tag partner, Jason B, and former ECW star EZ Money. His wrestling trunks have the legend "Skyfire" on them, in reference to his aerial moves, according to Mike Tenay. David Penzer introduces him as "Jason ...Barrett (?)" but gets drowned out by Alex Wright's entrance music and crowd noise.
Well, you are you, and I am me. At least we are clear on that point!
As Jett gets going, the crowd starts a big "ECW! ECW! ECW!" chant. Jett grins, but gets clouted by Wright while breaking a tie-up in the corner. Reverse suplex by Wright gets a near fall. Cross-ring whip by Wright sends Jett over the ropes, but he bounces right back with a snap clothesline from the ring apron, then does a flat-footed STANDING moonsault onto Wright for a near pinfall. Wright staggers into the near corner. Jett does the run-in, but gets crotched on the turnbuckle stack when Wright jumps to one side. Sickle kick from Wright and a near pin. Big superplex off the top turnbuckle by Wright and another near fall. Second rope suplex by Wright, who then gives Jett the bum's rush to ringside, then follows him out. Wright slaps Jett twice, then tosses him back in the ring. Snap suplex by Wright with a "Matrix" pinfall attempt, and then he locked Jett with a chickenwing/crossface submission hold. Jett won't submit, so Wright breaks the hold, then basks in what heel heat there is. I noticed that many fans at ringside took this match as an opportunity to take a break, so that's why there are a lot of empty seats behind the ring.
Powerslam by Wright , who then goes up top. Jett knocks him off the turnbuckle, then hits a handspring/springboard off the ropes/flying back elbow combination he calls the "Shockwave", then booted Wright in the gut. Wright countered with a hot-shot across the neck, off the top rope. A quick series of reversals and go-behinds built to the match's climax, as Jett hit his "Crash Landing" finisher on Wright, a top-release vertical suplex, which gets the pinfall. Post-match, Alex Wright was REAL mad about being beaten by this newcomer, and Jett was busy slapping hands and signing autographs at ringside.
We were into the commercial break about 30 seconds, when...
Metallica fires up!
Holy Cats, that's "ENTER SANDMAN!"
The whole arena is on its feet, cheering like crazy!
The WCW lighting crews are panning the balcony crowd with spotlights.
Nearly everybody in the arena is hollering "HE'S HERE! HE'S HERE! WHERE IS HE!" and are looking all over the place.
The arena's atmosphere is electric, just crackling with anticipation.
Is this the "Big Surprise" that WCW was planning?
Suddenly, the music stops.
Confused, everybody looks at one another uncertainly. Ominously, the whole place gets quiet REAL quick.
Then, in the midst of all this quiet, ring announcer David Penzer hollers, "Hey Ran! These fans must like Metallica down here!"
SON... OF... A... BITCH!
This has to be the dumbest stunt that WCW has EVER pulled on an arena full of fans.
There is NO better entrance in all of wrestling than the one Jim "The Sandman" Fullington does, and these WCW goofs just teased the whole bunch of us into believing that he was in the building!
And I swear they did it deliberately! Only an absolute ignoramus wouldn't know what playing THAT particular piece of "bumper music" in a wrestling arena signifies! WCW knew that they had a bunch of ECW fans in the arena from all the "ECW!" chants during Nitro and Thunder, so they can't claim not to have known what they were doing., doggone it!
It was a DELIBERATE tease, pure and simple
It's THIS kind of bush-league foolishness that got WCW into the mess that it's in today. You can't keep teasing the fans and expect to keep them coming back!
More from the "Buff-Cam," where Ric Flair, Animal, Lex Luger, and Buff Bagwell (holding the camera) keep shoving the "Who Clobbered Midajah?" angle along.
Flair books Totally Buff in a Four Corners Elimination match with Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo. Bagwell's all wound up and sounding like Pee-Wee in one of those "Porky's" flicks.
During this commercial break, we saw a video package of Booker T on the ThunderVision, although we got NO SOUND to go with it!
Out comes Shawn Stasiak and Stacy Keibler.
If these two are now an "item", and got married, wouldn't Keibler be known as "Stacy Stasiak?"
"Shut up! Listen! And learn!" admonishes Stasiak, so we fans promptly get up, walk out, and take a break! Loud "Meat! Meat! Meat!" chant gets started.
Stacy shows what fans are left why Stasiak is "The Mecca of Manhood" by bestowing a peck on his cheek!
(Is my old parochial school teacher, Sister Mary Discipline, writing these skits? Gaaah!)
Stasiak starts ragging on the fans, calling them bald, toothless, tattooed trailer park trash...
Which brings out Reno, who takes exception to his former team-mate's blather.
Match #3: Shawn Stasiak (w/ Stacy Keibler) d. Reno, (hangman's neckbreaker/pin, 6:10)
As the match started, one of the UT "frat-sters" down in front of me hollered "Don't mess up that pretty-boy face now, you WUSS!" loud enough for Stasiak to glare at him and mouth something nasty. Arm-bar takedown by Reno with a nasty uppercut slash across the throat. During the match, the BIG arena security guy made a bunch of kids at ringside sit down after one of them made a grab at Stacy Keibler across the steel guardrail.. One look from this VERY big guy, and they just shrank back into their seats. Slow moving match, with Reno doing most of the heavy lifting. The "frat-sters" down front started a big "You SUCK!" chant aimed at Stasiak. They then turned around to the eight-year-old boy sitting behind them, "Remember, don't do like we do, and you'll be all right!" After Reno missed his "Roll of the Dice" finisher, Stasiak nailed him with his hangman's neckbreaker for the pinfall. Post-match, the lovebirds left another 8x10 on Reno, and Stacy did her "Dance of 'Going Steady'" in the ring. Which brought out Bam Bam Bigelow to wallop on Stasiak, and then chase the loving couple away.
Big sign in the crowd behind DJ Ran reads "WWF SUX!"
Nitro Girl Star and Nitro Girl Naughty-A do a "Cops 'n' Robbers" dance, (Naughty-A's the bad girl) and if that's what the female perps are wearing down at the county jail, I'm gonna go stick up a gas station right now!
Lots of beer being drunk by the fans here tonight.
David Penzer asked the crowd if they want 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.
Spooky lighting and stage smoke a-plenty, and out comes Lex Luger. Y'know, the smile on his face actually looks genuine. I guess he and Buff Bagwell have warmed to their roles of putting over Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo.
Speaking of Bagwell, he gets a HUGE pop as he makes his entrance, and is just slapping hands with the fans as he heads for the ring. If this guy's a heel, the fans sure aren't letting him be one. Bagwell's got a big, roguish grin on his face as he does his posedowns in the ring. It's as if he knows that he's joined that special group of wrestlers, the "lovable heels." These are the heels that would get cheered even if they were whacking baby chicks with a ball-peen in front of a kindergarten class! He's in pretty august company, too, with the likes of Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, and Kane already inducted.
Back to the match, as Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo make their entrance.
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
Buff and Palumbo start off with a hot series of chain-wrestling moves, good give and take, with Bagwell selling big-time. Double-team leapfrog gut-buster by Palumbo on Bagwell, who tagged in Luger. 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. A voice behind me said "Dumb jocks!"
Nitro Girls do a "Sensuous Nurse" dance/striptease routine in the ring, and really get a rise out of the fans.
No, not THAT kind!
Security Cam shot again, this time of Mike Sanders hanging around outside CEO Ric Flair's office. Up comes Disqo, who tells Sanders that he and Alex Wright have split up. Sanders, smirking, says that he didn't know they were an item! Ha ha, says Disqo, who then asks Sanders to team up with him for a match later tonight. Just as Sanders tells Disqo he doesn't need THAT kind of heat, Ric Flair sticks his head out the door, and tells Sanders to go unclog Animal's toilet.
Sanders, making a face, weighs his options:
"Unclog Animal's toilet... Match with Disqo...Unclog toilet..."
Sanders takes the match with Disqo.
Buff-Cam again, with Ric Flair and Animal discussing how to get control of Scott Steiner, who's still enraged over Midajah being clobbered on Nitro. Flair thinks that DDP and Dustin Rhodes had something to do with it, so he sends Animal out to "interrogate them!" After Animal leaves, Flair tells Buff, "If it's anyone, its Animal. I don't trust him at all!" Buff agrees with Flair, sounding just like Pee-Wee from "Porky's" again.
While the Buff-Cam segment was running on the ThunderVision (WITH sound, this time,) the WCW roadies got busy setting up for Shane Helms' big entrance extravaganza. Out come the Nitro Girls in sparkly outfits, along with Helms, who keeps looking up at the ThunderVision to see if his video is cued up properly. Everybody's on their marks, and David Penzer does the countdown out of commercial.
Shane Helms and the Nitro Girls start their routine, dancing to Helms' new entrance music, and everybody's on cue for once. Tenay likes Helms' new entrance, and says so.
As Kwee-Wee comes down the ramp, Schiavone and Tenay ponder the "Who walloped Midajah" story angle some more.
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 got angry right off the bat because of Helms hitting a quick opening sequence of moves without any return fire. Kwee-Wee locked on a cross-arm choke hold that referee Charles Robinson had a hard time deciphering.
Big sign in the crowd: "I Remember Magnum TA!"
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, with Kwee-Wee douing a number of good REAL wrestling holds. 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.
Good solid match from Kwee-Wee and Helms. Both are to be commended.
The Cruiserwieght Championship Title match between Helms and Guerrero should be a bang-up bout at the PPV.
While DJ Ran jammed our ears full of Dr. Dre, the camera crews made their rounds shooting various sections of the fans, showing their pictures up on the ThunderVision. Ring announcer David Penzer reminded us of the "Greed" PPV on the 18th in Jacksonville, FL, (or on PPV, check your cable operator or satellite distributor). He told everybody to stick around if they wanted to win the "Trip for Two to the Pay Per View!" and got a big pop from the fans in return.
Out comes Disqo, looking like he just got thrown out of a "Village People" casting call. Mike Sanders comes out with the old Natural Born Thrillers music behind him. Sanders was teasing shaking hands with the fans along the railing, only to yank his hand away at the last second. What a card!
Konnan comes out and waits at the top of the ramp for Hugh Morrus, and together, they charge into the ring.
Match #6: Konnan & Hugh Morrus d. Disqo & Mike Sanders, (Konnan w/ "Tequila Sunrise" on Disqo/submission, 6:10)
We've got a real donnybrook to start things off, but Konnan quickly got tossed out of the ring by Disqo. Sanders and Disqo double-team on Morrus, who hit a swinging neckbreaker from Disqo, and a boot in the breadbasket from Sanders. Cross-ring whip by Sanders, who then tried a slingshot cross-body block into Morrus, but Morrus just stood there and absorbed the blow. Sanders bounced off Morrus' chest like he hit a brick wall. Morrus then hit a reverse Atomic Drop on Disqo. Tag to Konnan, who tossed Sanders outside the ring, then started his "Rolling Thunder" lariat series on Disqo. A desperation knee to the back from Disqo sent Konnan tumbling out of the ring, where Sanders went to work on him. Morrus clotheslined Disqo from behind. Sanders tossed Konnan back in the ring, as Disqo made the tag. Sanders dragged Konnan back from tagging Morrus. Sanders toyed with Konnan, before hitting that "Happy Hour" knee-drop on Konnan's forehead, then nearly got the pinfall.
Double-team drop toehold by Sanders, followed by Disqo's double axehandle.
More dancing from Disqo, as Tenay recalls the old days when Morrus and Konnan teamed up as the "Dungeon of Doom!" Wow, does THAT take me back!
Konnan, meanwhile, escaped from Sanders' reverse chin-lock by hitting a back suplex. FINALLY, Konnan gets the tag on Morrus. The "Laughing Man" goes to Stomp City on Sanders and Disqo, finishing this series with a double Avalanche in the far corner. Sanders, the "meat" in the Avalanche "sandwich", rolls out of the ring, and fetches up against the steel guardrail. Tag to Konnan, who immediately slammed Disqo to the mat with a clothesline so vicious it nearly lifted Disqo clean out of his shoes. Disqo recovered, and tried to set up for his "Last Dance" finisher, but Konnan blocked, and then REVERSED it neatly. This allowed Morrus to go WAY up top and hit a towering 325 lb. "No Laughing Matter" off the top turnbuckle. Konnan locked his "Tequila Sunrise" submission hold onto the by-now very squooshy Disqo, and got the submission.
As Konnan and Morrus were leaving the arena, they got ambushed on the ramp by Mike Awesome and Lance Storm of Team Canada.
A too-quick cut to
prevented the folks at home from seeing what the outcome was. We fans at ringside saw the brawl continue for a good 90 seconds or more, first up the ramp and then across the stage area, before spilling through the curtains stage-left, and into the back. No clear or apparent winner, either. Guess we'll have to wait for "Greed", hah?
Meanwhile, the roadies were setting up Jeff Jarrett's entrance pyro, and rigging the ramp pyro for DDP's entrance as well. DJ Ran jacked up the "Jump! Jump! Jump!" to war emergency volume, as Main Event referee Nick Patrick came down the ramp. Halfway, he gets grabbed by a groggy and weaving Disqo, who's got some major complaints about the outcome of the last match. Patrick listens, half-amused, then gives Disqo the usual "Tell somebody who cares!" reply.
Buff-Cam time again. This time, Buff discovers Animal kayo-ed in the dressing room, with "IT WASN'T HIM!" scrawled across his carcass. Bagwell does a good impression of those kids on MTV's "Fear" show, and gets the heck out of there!
David Penzer brings us back from the commercial break, and we're all set for
Match #7: Main Event: Jeff Jarrett & Rick Steiner d. Diamond Dallas Page & Dustin Rhodes, (Jarrett w/ "Stroke" on Rhodes/pin, 7:03)
Jarrett climbs into the ring, and his entrance pyro stokes up the thick cloud of smoke hanging just above the level of the lighting grid over the ring. Rick Steiner's barking and growling is better than that of the dog up on the ThunderVision!
Dustin Rhodes comes down the ramp, and grandma gets a kiss, just like earlier.
DDP comes out, and we all "FEEL...THE...BANG!"
Literally, as his pyro show's heat can be felt by us fans up in the balcony!
DDP and Rhodes form up on the ramp, and then charge into the ring, looking ot beat some heads in.
The heels take flight, and we waste a minute or so as referee Nick Patrick is coaxing Rick Steiner back into the ring. He succeeds, and we are underway at last. DDP walloped Steiner, and tumbled him out of the ring. DDP then goes way up top and hits a springboard plancha across Steiner's chest at ringside! Back up top again, and DDP hits a flying forearm smash to Steiner's forehead! Two high-risk moves from DDP. I am very impressed! Tag to Rhodes, as DDP tosses Steiner back into the ring. Rhodes hits a running bulldog on Steiner, then stuffs him into the near neutral corner. Steiner recovered, hit a power surge, and walloped Rhodes with a reverse elbow smash. Tag to Jarrett, who controls briefly before Rhodes grabs him with a testicular claw/ bionic elbow sequence that Jarrett sold like crazy, and got a huge pop from the crowd. Tag to DDP, but Jarrett recovered, and hit Page with a desperation DDT. Tag to Steiner, who started hammering on DDP, and finished with a Steinerline. Tag to Jarrett, who got a cross-ring whip reversed into a sunset flip by DDP for two before Steiner made the save. Tag to Steiner, who dragged DDP off his tag attempt. Steiner and Jarrett then dragged DDP into the Wrong Part of Town and just started pounding on him. DDP couldn't make the tag as Jarrett tagged back in. Jarret got DDP in a reverse headlock in the center of the ring. DDP tried on several occasions to tag Rhodes, even succeeding once, but referee Nick Patrick didn't see it, and an angry Dustin Rhodes was sent back to his corner. Finally, in desperation, DDP picked Jarrett up bodily and slammed him back down on his feet. Then he did it again. DDP was closer to Dustin Rhodes this time. Twice more, and DDP was able to tag in Rhodes, who just starts cookin'! Jarrett gets the Ten-Count Punch Down, finishing up with that "Shattered Dreams" boot-in- the-jimmies move of his. Jarrett sells the move like his pelvis got kicked up into his neck. Steiner tries another Steinerline, but Rhodes ducks this one. Nick Patrick, however, does not, and down he goes in a heap.
Out comes WCW CEO (and Dark Lord of the Sith) Ric Flair, who submarines into the ring. Flair tries to count out Steiner's pin of Rhodes, but DDP broke it up and walloped Flair but good! DDP went back outside, just as Jeff Jarrett entered the ring, and "El-Kabonged" Rhodes across the shoulders with the "Acoustic Equalizer!" Jarrett then took the groggy Rhodes and hit his "Stroke" finisher for the pinfall.
Post-match, Totally Buff hit the ring to continue the beat-down on DDP and Rhodes. But they were almost immediately set upon by O'Haire and Palumbo charging the ring to clobber Totally Buff. DDP and Rhodes roll out of the ring, as Team Canada charged down the ramp to pound on O'Haire and Palumbo, which then brought out Konnan and Hugh Morrus. DDP and Rhodes climb back into the ring, and the Pier Sixer is on. Thie ring is sagging noticeably under the weight of all these wrestlers.
And it was at this point that the fans decided to take matters into their own hands, and began bombarding the ring with beer and soda cups! David Penzer, ducking out of the way of the barrage, was just pounding the ring bell into something unrecognizable. What wasn't shown on camera was a full cup of ...something...that hit Flair right on the back of the head, and just exploded all over! The heels took flight, with the fans' pursuing beer barrage hastening their flight back up the ramp. Steiner, cussing like a boatswain's mate, could be heard from where I'm sitting. O'Haire and Konnan were just grinning like possums over the carnage in the ring. DDP grabbed a microphone, and hollered "FLAIR? You tell Steiner... I'M STILL STANDING! And that I'll see him...at 'GREED!"
Flushed redder than a turkey's wattle, an enraged Ric Flair was all but frothing at the mouth, just calling down death and destruction on DDP, Rhodes, and everybody within the sound of his voice. The "Magnificent Seven" dragged him back through the curtain and that's how the show ended.
Post-show, the remaining wrestlers hung out with the fans at ringside, as DDP thanked "all you fans who stayed to the end!" and got a big pop in return. Rhodes was back up the ramp visiting with grandma. A young kid dragging an oxygen bottle trolley got set on the railing by DDP, who not only signed the kid's "DDP" T-shirt, he also had his picture taken with him. O'Haire and Palumbo were towering over a bunch of wide-eyed youngsters on the other side of the ring. Konnan and Morrus were slapping hands and doing photo ops on the ramp.
As the ring crew started disassembling the ring, David Penzer picked the winner of the "Trip for Two to the Pay Per View!" The first ticket picked wasn't there, but the second draw, Section N, Row 9, Seat 1, was, and a young lady was the ecstatic winner. Penzer thanked us all for coming, and finished with "See you in Jacksonville!"
Well, I hope you all enjoyed this expanded version of the Thunder report. I had a ball making it happen. My thanks to "Downtown Dave" Richard of Wrestleline/Wrestlemaniacs for his inestimable help. Kudos for WCW for being VERY helpful and patient with all the questions that I asked. Thanks to Christopher Robin Zimmerman (CRZ) for his helpful hints about covering a live show, and to Gary Graham for his cogent advice and insight. Big thanks to my bud Terry Bailey, who had as much, if not more, fun at the show than I did. Lastly, thanks to my wife for being very patient and understanding.
See you all right here next week.
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