Date: January 6, 2000
Location: Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It's a new year and please, for the love of all things good and not made of Russo, make it be a new Thunder. Almost the only stories coming out of Nitro are new Tag Team Champions.....who had to run away so we could get to the NWO stuff, and the new commissioner.....who was beaten up by the NWO to end the show. Heaven forbid WCW let anyone new (as new as Commissioner Terry Funk could be) get over. Let's get to it.
Clips from Nitro of the major stories.
The NWO drags Arn Anderson into the arena. Have they just had him held hostage for three days now? Why am I still surprised by these things?
Cruiserweight Title: Asya vs. Madusa
Well at least it's not more man vs. woman. Madusa is defending and has Spice in her corner as part of a pairing that has never actually been explained. The interference (and the stupid) start before the match as Oklahoma comes out to do commentary because we need a four man booth.
Madusa grabs the ropes to block a dropkick as Oklahoma is ripping on Madusa for holding a man's title when she should be at home cooking for her husband. So apparently Oklahoma will be portraying Jeff Jarrett in a feud that is nowhere near as interesting as Jarrett vs. Chyna. The Revolution distracts the referee so Saturn can jump Asya, allowing Madusa to hit the German suplex (Oklahoma: “A move originated by a man!”) to retain.
Madusa yells at Oklahoma and the Powers That Be and gets a barbecue sauce bottle broken over her head. Well at least that's what the other announcers say happen because we have to see the Filthy Animals run in to save Asya. Why they're saving Asya isn't clear as their teams were feuding, but it makes as much sense as anything else.
The announcers run down the card.
Juventud Guerrera and Psychosis come out with the former doing his Rock imitation and throwing Schiavone out of the commentary booth.
Here's Terry Funk to beat up the luchadors and give Tony his seat back. I'm so glad they wasted that minute on an angle (if that qualified as an angle) that was over as soon as it started. Funk says the NWO can do this the easy way by bringing Arn Anderson out here right now, or the hard way by making him deal with it himself. Jarrett comes out, swears a bit, and says they'll be out here in an hour.
Saturn tells the Filthy Animals to be, and I quote, “like a midget at a urinal: on their toes.” Before they get much further, Juventud runs in and takes over the interview from Gene. So is Juvy just there to make Russo and Ferrara chuckle at this point?
The NWO beats up Arn Anderson. This angle would work so much better with Flair than Funk, but can you blame Flair for not wanting to get destroyed in the Carolinas all over again for the sake of putting over the NWO?
Gene brings out Booker T for a chat about Stevie Ray's actions. Booker brings up Stevie's injury and how he needed someone to watch his back. The only person that would was Midnight, and Stevie needs to accept that Midnight is going to be around. Stevie comes out and says Midnight isn't ready because she's cost him four matches. He wants a match with Midnight tonight, and if Stevie wins, Midnight is gone. If Midnight wins though, Harlem Heat is back together with Midnight as a member. You can see the other booking hands getting in on these stories as this, while not very interesting, is completely logical.
David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney are watching on a monitor as the NWO pours hot coffee on Anderson. At what point are these guys arrested? Flair looks concerned.
PG-13/Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. 3 Count
That's quite the odd pairing. We're promised a 3 Count concert after the match. Well I'm sold. Shannon can't hit a Fameasser on Chavo to start so it's off to Shane and JC. Evan gets bored on the apron and springboards in with a dropkick before decking Chavo and diving onto Wolfie. Everything breaks down and Chavo hits Shannon's tornado DDT, only to have Shane hit him with the green circle for the win. Nothing match, but what are you expecting from a minute and a half long six man tag?
We get the concert, making this by far and away the most entertaining show of the year so far.
David walks away from his partners.
Funk beats up security for not finding Arn. He's kind of got a point actually.
The Wall vs. Jerry Flynn
This is a shoot fight because that's what wrestling fans tune in to see: boring wrestlers pretending to shoot on each other. Tank Abbott comes out and to watch because he's still employed for reasons I don't understand. Wall dominates to start but Flynn comes back with his limited assortment of kicks. Jerry takes it outside and whips him into the barricade before slugging away back inside. Back in and Jerry strikes even more but stops to yell at Abbott, earning him a shot to the back of the head, giving Wall the pin. More worthless stuff as people with no business on TV get pushed.
Abbott beats up Wall and Doug Dillinger post match.
David finds Funk.
US Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Norman Smiley
Bunkhouse Brawl with Jeff defending. Smiley's Hardcore Title is off to the side for reasons unclear but it might have something to do with the shoulder pads he's wearing. He bails to the floor to start so Jeff throws a trashcan at his head to take over. Smiley is sent into a chair and screams a lot but finally fights back with a trashcan lid and a kendo stick shot. Norman doesn't want to cover due to fear and a guitar shot sets up the Stroke to retain. Another two and a half minute gimmick match.
Post match David and Terry come out and choke Jarrett with the crowbar as Terry demands the NWO get out here. After a break, the NWO brings out Anderson and Nash has a challenge: a match with Funk at Souled Out with the Commissioner's job on the line. Funk agrees if it's a one on one hardcore match with the NWO banned from ringside.
On top of that, he wants a hardcore match against Bret for the title tonight, even though he cares more about hurting Bret than winning the belt. Notice how he worded that: he doesn't say the title is worthless like Goldberg did to Rick Steiner with the TV Title, but that there's something he wants more. Bret agrees and threatens to kill Funk tonight. That's so far outside something Bret would normally say and it doesn't work coming from him. Hart suggests a swap of Jarrett for Anderson, but Arn can't help but get in a shot at Jarrett, earning him a ball bat shot from Bret.
Disco sells his Rolex to pay off some of his debt to the Mafia.
Stevie Ray yells at Funk for no apparent reason.
Midnight vs. Stevie Ray
No Booker at ringside. After appearing in the ring, Midnight dropkicks Stevie into the corner and slugs away, only to eat a clothesline and some right hands. A slam and elbow get two on Midnight with Stevie pulling up off the cover. He does the same thing after a back elbow but stops to stare at the camera in an unintentionally (I think?) funny spot. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Stevie forearms Midnight down again.
There's a side slam and Stevie loads up the slapjack, but Booker runs out to say this has to be a fair match. Stevie actually agrees and powerslams Midnight for no cover as he checks her arm instead. That's the mating call of a wacky finish though as Midnight rolls him up for the surprise pin.
Rating: D. The match had a goofy finish but at least it wasn't the most illogical thing in the world. Russo's booking gets annoying when you have stuff come out of nowhere and doesn't have any kind of foundation. Stevie letting her up time after time and then getting caught in his arrogance was set up over the course of the match and was paid off at the end. That's far better storytelling than almost anything else Russo does, which makes me think he isn't in charge of this story.
Kidman and Konnan introduce Okerlund to a good looking blonde, who I believe is Pamela Paulshock. She immediately gets on my nerves by calling Gene sexy. Gene Okerlund has never been sexy in his life. Stop these lies.
Back from a break with Gene calling out Page for a chat. Page denies Kimberly cheating with Buff but says Bagwell did hit on her. He'd like Bagwell out here right now but only gets him to the stage. We get sex jokes, gay jokes, and low testicular fortitude jokes, triggering a big brawl.
The Artist still won't record. This isn't going anywhere is it?
Juvy does the interview with Bam Bam Bigelow as Gene is talking to Paulshock. Before they get anywhere, Kanyon blasts Bigelow with a champagne bottle.
Kevin Nash vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
And never mind as Bigelow is down on the stage where Steiner and Jarrett get him into a wheelbarrow. Nash hits Bigelow with a ball bat and the match (yes this was a match) is over in 22 seconds. I guess the multiple matches on Monday were enough for Nash this week.
Tag Team Titles: Konnan/Kidman vs. Crowbar/David Flair
David/Crowbar won the titles on Monday in the ridiculous tournament. David comes out with his belt on backwards because he's crazy you see. Crowbar hammers on Kidman to start, meaning they're already wising up by keeping Flair on the apron. A back elbow to the jaw puts Kidman down but YOU STILL CAN'T POWERBOMB CROWBAR EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE HAVE DONE IT AND THIS JOKE IS OLD. Off to David for a suplex as we get the old standard Schiavone hype for basic moves.
Crowbar comes in with a springboard missile dropkick and a guillotine legdrop for two with Konnan making the save. I had forgotten who Kidman's partner was until then. Kidman counters another powerbomb (oh come on now Crowbar. Even you aren't that crazy) but David breaks up the shooting star. Crowbar tries a top rope hurricanrana but Rey grabs Kidman's leg to make the save. Cue a limping Arn Anderson as Konnan comes in to clean house. In the melee, Anderson hits Konnan with the crowbar to give Flair the pin.
Rating: D+. Totally watchable match while Kidman and Crowbar were in there but it's clear that Flair just isn't all that good. The Anderson stuff is getting annoying as they're beating this story into our heads, but unfortunately they're wasting the Tag Team Titles on this. Maybe the Revolution and Filthy Animals could be fighting over the belts, but we need them on another team that doesn't deserve them so we can see David Flair in the ring.
The Revolution comes out and beats down the Animals again.
Terry Funk vs. Bret Hart
Non-title hardcore match. Bret is in shorts instead of ring gear and hammers Funk to the floor early on. Terry starts throwing in the chairs as is his customs but Bret throws him face first into one of them and nails Funk with the bat. They both head outside with Terry taking a chair to the head. All Bret so far. Back in and Funk gets in a few left hands and takes it right back outside for a chair to Bret's shoulder.
Terry sends him into the cart of weapons but misses the moonsault onto a trashcan onto Bret, allowing the champ to blast him in the head with another chair. Hart Pillmanizes the leg and knocks the referee down (why?), so let's cut to Arn Anderson putting on a referee's shirt. David Flair comes in and asks to take the spot instead, which Arn reluctantly allows. Cue the NWO with the bats to Funk and Nash decks David. Nash Jackknifes Funk through the stage to end the show.
Rating: F+. A match? You think this was a match? I'll skip complaining about how horrible this was as you took Bret Hart and Terry Funk and put them in a street fight instead of anything resembling a wrestling match because ratings are going to plummet if you don't have some kind of violence right? Also, this is twice since Funk has debuted as commissioner that he's been beaten down to end the show. Flair had this one right all the way.
Overall Rating: F+. The wrestling still sucks, but they're moving tiny steps in the right direction. Look at the Harlem Heat story for example: there's finally some logic to it and you can tell what's going on without needing to take notes. The main event makes sense too, as poor as the wrestling has been. We're transitioning into the boring period instead of the crazy stuff, which makes me sigh and wonder what else is on instead of wanting to steal plutonium to go back in time and bash Russo's head in with a pipe wrench. They're moving in the right direction, but it's WAY too late to make things right at this point.
That's it for Thunder on Thursdays as Smackdown took about four months to chase them out of their time slot.
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