Saturday, June 13, 2015

Thunder - January 19, 2000

Thunder
Date: January 19, 2000
Location: Roberts Memorial Stadium, Evansville, Indiana
Attendance: 2,726
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

The big story at the moment is how a huge chunk of the midcard and the World Champion are all gone due to Kevin Sullivan being part of the new booking committee. In addition to the talent leaving due to Sullivan, it also means that the show has gone from going 200 miles per hour to about 20 miles per year as the show has slowed way down and gotten a good deal more boring. Let's get to it.


There's a closed door meeting taking place.

The NWO arrives.

Tag Team Titles: David Flair/Crowbar vs. Mamalukes

The mafia guys are challenging and Disco sits in on commentary. Vito and David get things going with Young Naitch getting knocked into the corner with ease. I know Crowbar is crazy but how did he consent to letting Flair start? David comes back with some shoulders to the ribs in the corner, only to get nailed in the throat for his efforts. Crowbar dives over the top to take the Mamalukes down and gets two off a cross body.

That goes nowhere as Vito comes back with a delayed suplex, but only after he jogs around the ring while holding Crowbar in the air. Off to Johnny who eats a double clothesline but comes right back with a spinning kick to the head. Everything breaks down and Crowbar powerslams Vito down and drops a top rope splash for two with Johnny making a save. A Lionsault (minus the running start) gets the same as this is basically a handicap match. David gets the crowbar but the Mamalukes kick Crowbar into him (and the bar), setting up the spinning Impaler DDT from Vito for the pin and the titles.

Rating: D. I like the result but not the method they used to get there. It's very nice to see the titles go to a team that could actually work some decent matches, but the match that got them there was pretty much a mess. David just doesn't have what it takes to be on this level and it was showing every time they were in the ring. At least the Mamalukes, as mediocre as they are, can work well enough.

Nash talks to the cops.

Page and Kimberly arrive.

The Mamalukes want Disco to take someone out.

Curt Hennig vs. Jim Duggan

Really? As I fathom the fact that these two are fighting in 2000, I took some time to see how many times these guys have fought. Believe it or not, they only have a few house show matches in the WWF and two Thunder matches. You would think these guys would have been a logical pairing at some point. Hennig answers something like an open challenge but doesn't have on wrestling gear, so Duggan calls him a chicken.

Curt McFly charges to the ring and gets slammed down but he snaps Jim's throat over the top rope. Some choking and a dropkick follow but Duggan just slugs away to come back. Ten punches in the corner are broken up by an eye poke but Hennig throws Duggan into the referee. You know I hadn't realized how few ref bumps there had been since Russo was gone. Hennig brings in the 2x4 but Duggan hits the referee by mistake, sending Hennig running away as Duggan's music plays. Huh?

It's 3 Count time!!! They do a letterboxed performance and now they even have a super fan in the form of Karate Norman Smiley. Evan, so overwhelmed by the music, charges at him but Norman feels the power and clotheslines him down. All three members are taken out and Norman is so fired up that he issues an open challenge. Cue Tank Abbott because we need to see him every week. Norman fails at using Dave Penzer as a human shield and goes down in one punch. I'm so glad the fans got excited over Smiley until he got knocked cold by Abbott because we haven't covered that yet.

Lash Leroux vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Psychosis

Sometime tonight we should be getting a statement on Oklahoma and the Cruiserweight Title. Chavo goes after Psychosis to start with some chops as Lash just chills by the ropes. Psychosis escapes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before joining Chavo for a double clothesline. That's about it for the working together as Chavo sends Psychosis into the corner and slams him down, followed by a dropkick to put Lash on the floor. Psychosis and Chavo slug it out but Lash gets back up and dives onto both guys to finally do something in the match.

Back up and Psychosis nails Chavo by mistake, followed by a backbreaker from Leroux. Psychosis is sent outside with Lash following him for a whip into the barricade. This time it's Chavo hitting the big dive to the floor and everyone is down. Back in again and Lash misses a dive, allowing Chavo to throw Psychosis to the floor. Whiplash is countered and Chavo nails the tornado DDT, only to have Psychosis comes back in with the guillotine legdrop to knock Chavo silly for the pin.

Rating: B-. Much like on Nitro, this was an old school fun cruiserweight match between three guys who should be fighting over the title instead of having Oklahoma hold it as a comedy bit. It's cool to see Psychosis win as well as he's an underrated talent, but the same could be said for Chavo. Either way, at least we got an entertaining match.

The Artist still won't sing.

The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea vs. Kidman

Kidman has his solo theme back instead of the Filthy Animals' song. Prince shoves him into the corner to start but gets reversed and beaten up. Paisley earns her paycheck by tripping Kidman so Artist can slam him down and snap a wishbone. This brings out Torrie for her big return as Kidman starts his comeback, only to springboard into a powerslam.

Back up and Kidman gets two off a rollup, only to have his comeback punched down. Another slam sets up something off the top rope but Prince slips going up and almost falls down. I know it happens with everyone, but given that it's Prince Iaukea I blame his lack of talent. Prince tries a springboard but Torrie pulls him down, allowing Kidman to hit the BK Bomb for the pin.

Rating: D+. Pull the plug on Iaukea already. He doesn't have it and this new character isn't masking the fact that he isn't that good. Yeah he can do basic stuff well enough but anything more than simple offense is a chore for him. You have an army of talented cruiserweights on your roster and this is the best you can do? Kidman was his usual self here so there isn't much to say about him.

Terry Taylor is escorted to the ring. I wonder if he got an extension can can still have tailor made suits now that it's 2000.

Here's Taylor as the executive representative (at least it's someone who knows how to talk) to address the World Title situation. This coming Monday (because it has to be Monday and not at your next pay per view), there will be a match to determine the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion. Commissioner Kevin Nash is going to get to pick one participant and the executive committee gets to pick the other. The committee's pick: Sid Vicious.

This brings out Nash to rip on Taylor a bit and says he's been reading the commissioner's handbook, which says he gets to make the matches. The fans chant for Goldberg and again Nash threatens to fire him. As lame as his matches are, at least Nash knows how to antagonize a crowd. This Monday, Sid can have his title shot.....if he beats Jeff Jarrett. As for Nash's pick, of course it's himself. It wasn't specified but I'm assuming Jeff doesn't get the title shot if he beats Sid.

I'll give them points for adding in a crowd favorite in Sid and Nash makes sense as the villain, but they couldn't throw in a curveball here? You have a chance to make a brand new star to distract the fans from the fact that you just lost four young guys and you go with the safe route of Sid? I get the thinking behind it, but this would be a prime chance to pull the trigger on someone. They don't even have to win the title, but give the fans something to get excited over. Like, at SuperBrawl, not the show five days away.

Nash makes tonight's main event: Booker T./Big T. vs. Sid/Total Package. Ha that's good. Now what's the real main event?

Berlyn vs. The Wall

Time for the blowoff! Berlyn goes after him during the entrances but Wall, the giant monster, grabs a wristlock. Can we get someone to explain the idea of psychology to these people? Berlyn comes back with a nip up and dropkick and the fans already think this is boring. Wall throws him to the floor and drops an elbow to the back but posts himself, allowing Berlyn to dive off the top to take him down.

The second attempt (this time from the apron) doesn't work as well and Wall throws him inside again. Get this match over with already. Back in and Berlyn tries to flip over Wall but doesn't get all the way, making the match look even worse. Wall drapes him over the top rope and nails a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but the chokeslam is broken up by a rake of the eyes. Berlyn hits the ropes, eats a big boot and......gets pinned?

Rating: D. So they established these guys as a team in September and have the horrible blowoff on a show no one is going to watch in January? That's the best thi.....yeah this actually is the best they can do at this point. Terrible match here as there's no interest in either guy. They've managed to destroy so many members of the roster that there's no reason to get interested in almost anyone.

This Week In WCW Motorsports. Yes this is still a thing.

Here's Cruiserweight Champion Oklahoma as he continues to get to book himself into a spot for the sake of his own laughter. He brags about promising to bounce Madusa's silicone censored back to the kitchen and that's exactly what he did. After that win, Oklahoma has decided to vacate the title because there's nothing left for him to accomplish. This brings out Madusa to call Oklahoma a coward before saying she wants to start a women's division. Oklahoma starts his rebuttal but here's Sherri Martel of all people to attack Madusa.

So wait. We'll get to the match in a minute but I need a second here. Not only did Oklahoma set himself up to beat Madusa for the title, vacate it due to weighing 260lbs and cover her with barbecue sauce because making fun of Jim Ross is just oh so funny, but now Madusa is just being moved on to a new feud? In other words, the heel booker gets away with everything with his only comeuppance being the barbecue sauce after he won the title? Well of course it is.

Madusa vs. Sherri Martel

Miss Hancock comes out and sits on the announcers' table for some fan service. Sherri chokes a lot, Madusa comes back with clotheslines, Sherri goes up and slips, Madusa suplexes her down for the pin. The match lasted a minute.

Nash tells the NWO girls to massage him.

Fit Finlay vs. Jerry Flynn

Not hardcore surprisingly enough. Jerry chops him down to start and pulls Finlay away from the ropes because Fit is trying to hide for some reason. Finlay comes back with an uppercut and let's look at Buzzkill in the crowd because that's still going on. Fit knocks him down a few times and drops a middle rope knee and they head outside with Finlay hitting an uppercut.

A chair to the throat puts Jerry in even more trouble but here's Brian Knobbs with a kendo stick. Brian gets in some stick shots on Flynn but Jerry comes back with some kicks to Finlay. Knobbs goes to the apron with the stick but Finlay is sent into it instead, giving Flynn the fluke rollup pin.

Rating: F. It was slow, it was boring, it had Brian Knobbs and Jerry Flynn is getting a pin on television over someone like Fit Finlay. Flynn is similar to Tank Abbott: here's there for one reason and for some reason the company insists on pushing him, albeit slowly, no matter how boring he continues to be. Another bad match tonight.

Kanyon vs. Diamond Dallas Page

The Triad fallout continues. Kanyon says he's beaten Page over and over again now so there's nothing left to prove. This brings out Kimberly, who is offered a spot in Kanyon's entourage. Kimberly offers to think about it if the other girls leave. This brings Page through the crowd to get in some cheap shots to start things off. A suplex drops Kanyon and Page knocks him off the apron, setting up a Page dive to the floor.

Back in and Kanyon grabs a swinging neckbreaker (way too popular a move in WCW these days), followed by elbows and a chinlock. Page fights up and they head outside again with Kanyon hitting a quick Fameasser onto the steps. A high cross body from Kanyon is rolled through for two for Page. They slug it out with Page taking over, only to walk into a pumphandle slam for two. Cue J. Biggs with the briefcase but Page knocks him off the apron. Kanyon dives into a powerbomb, setting up the Diamond Cutter for the pin.

Rating: C. Not bad here but you could see Page having the whole thing mapped out. Kanyon continues to be entertaining in almost everything he does and should be doing something better than just fighting Page and Bigelow all the time. The same is true of Page. He could be fighting for the US Title (along with a few other people) but he's just kind of here, going from match to match and never advancing.

Luger and Big T. talk backstage.

The NWO watches from their locker room.

Total Package/Sid Vicious vs. Booker T./Big T.

Oh this could be bad. Mr. T.'s offspring get in an argument to start and the fans chant for Ahmed. Eventually it's Big T. vs. Sid to start and T. wants a test of strength. Sid asks the audience if they want to see it, complete with the hand to the ear, but Big backs down. It's off to Booker as we've somehow eaten up two minutes of the match with no contact yet. Booker and Sid lock up, let go, and it's off to Luger.

Amazingly enough it's Luger with the first real contact of the match as he runs Booker over with a shoulder, only to have Booker knock him out to the floor. Nash is here to watch as Luger chokes Booker in the corner. We take a break and come back with Sid holding Booker in a chinlock. It's off to Luger who eats the running forearm, only to have Big T. slapjack him from the apron. Now, down 2-1, Big T. comes in and gets chokeslammed, leaving Luger to Rack the unconscious Booker for the submission.

Rating: D-. So to clarify, not only is Big T. fat and out of shape, but he's very stupid. Let's just get to the stupid angle that's coming with Harlem Heat so we can get Booker out of this and on to ANYTHING else because yet another Harlem Heat storyline can only go so far and we passed that about a month ago.

Overall Rating: D+. This is an interesting look at how the new regime is going to go. First and foremost, the matches are getting more time. Several of these had 4-5 minutes, which is enough time to get the point across. I'd still like to cut out a match or two and extend the matches they already have, but at least they're letting the wrestlers tell a story and not have to fly through five plot points while trying to fit in some moves in between.

However, there's another side to the new bosses. WCW is so desperate for a new star but they're hanging on to the old guard as tight as they can. It should be all hands on deck to make someone into a star but instead we're getting Sid and Luger in the main events with Booker T. doing the job to advance the Harlem Heat feud.

Since they announced the title match for Monday, I've been trying to figure out who they could have put in that spot instead of Sid and there really aren't a lot of options. Assuming he's healthy, there's always Sting, but is that really where you want to go again, especially with Hogan out there somewhere? There's Vampiro, but my goodness that would be a jump. Kidman is a US Title level guy at best. That really just leaves Booker T., who is last seen out cold and being put in the Torture Rack because Luger and Sid are a team for no apparent reason.

So we're waiting to see if Sid is the guy that can carry the promotion? I'm assuming we'll get Sting and Hogan back soon enough, meaning it really is going to become even more of a good old boys network around here. I know the idea is to find someone steady, but that should be done while also building for the future, which WCW has never managed to do. Everyone young has been ground down to nothing for the sake of pushing old acts for a quick score. Above all else, that might be the biggest thing that lead to their downfall. It's really hard to care when the quality is going down and the champions get older every week.


Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

21 comments:

  1. Down Under Aussie (in Japan)June 13, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    "Curt McFly"

    Ok, I laughed out loud at that one.

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  2. I'm of mixed emotions because in 2000, I cared less of new stars and wanted to see Hogan back with the title. Beniot was a midcarder in my eyes and I cared less that he was gone. Sid still had stock, but instead of having him powerbomb Beniot in twenty seconds at the PPV - they have him win and then leave. Then they have Sid win the title in Dusty type finishes that was going to lead to Nash holding the title, but he gets injured during this mess and finally holds on to the belt until Russo-Bischoff.

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  3. Why did the Berlyn gimmick get shunted? It had a killer debut but didn't something happen?

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  4. There's a match at Fall Brawl with Duggan that's terrible and seems to get credit for killing the gimmick, but I can't see how really. Fall Brawl did like an 0.3 buyrate, not many people saw it. I think the problem was all the promos in the world weren't going to hide the fact that Alex Wright was terrible in the ring.

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  5. I get the thinking behind it, but this would be a prime chance to pull the trigger on someone. They don't even have to win the title, but give the fans something to get excited over. Like, at SuperBrawl, not the show five days away.

    Who was there, really?

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  6. Huh, time and indifference to the product at the time together had me thinking crowbar and kanyon were the same dude....one's dead, one's a physical therapist, go fig

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  7. The best part of when Booker T was kicked out of Harlem Heat was the clown music they gave him. That shit was legit funny.

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  8. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 13, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    When all else fails, go with a classic 80s movie.,

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  9. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 13, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    There weren't many but the best options would have probably been Booker or Vampiro. I know Vampiro was getting annoying, but they needed something fresh at the top and he was at least a younger guy. Maybe Page as a short term option too.

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  10. Duggan apparently was not cooperating or selling moves.

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  11. Wright was actually a decent worker that could be carried to a great match, though he wasn't that great of a worker during his Berlyn phase because he played a character wrestler so workrate wasn't that important so long as you can draw heat.

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  12. Not saying Booker shouldn't be champion, but it was way too early to put the title on him. Even when he won the title, it was too early to put the title on him. Booker really needed 6 months of solid booking of being one of the top guys before being credible enough to win the title.

    Personally I think the best short term solution to put the belt on a guy and carry the company was Ric Flair as the guy can draw heat, put on good matches on top, is a big name and more importantly when WCW finds their guy to give the rocket push too, Flair was the only professional main eventer in WCW that would be willing to make you look like a million dollars.

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  13. Mike Graham's shoot interview on this time period is amazing. As in, 'it's amazing he thought he could kick Benoit's ass.'

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  14. Stuff like this... a competently ran company would've fired someone for sabotaging the product and kept pushing the new act. Instead, Berlyn gets buried and Duggan keeps finding TV time and whacky midcard pushes (even if they were intended as jokes, he's still being featured).

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  15. "I'm tougher than everyone and nobody could draw a dime."
    The only synopsis of a Mike Graham shoot anyone ever needs.

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  16. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 13, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Yeah but he's wisely staying away at the moment to avoid having to get beaten up every few weeks. Booker didn't need to win the title, but throw him into the main event scene. It's not like they have anyone else.

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  17. Flair would be back pretty soon so it's apparent he was staying away because of Russo and not WCW. They could have done something special with with his return too, like have WCW announce a tournament to a crown a new champion and one of the wrestlers in the tournament would be a surprise entrant as WCW could hint that the surprise entrant is a former world champion then Flair can be announced as the surprise wrestler to a huge pop.

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  18. In some ways WCW was right to kill the cruiserweight division because the division really had no depth compared to before, but WCW should have made more of an effort to push the cruiserweights they had in the US title scene. There was no reason Kidman shouldn't have been mixing it up in the US title scene instead of DeMott.

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  19. The annoying thing about Iaukea was that it showed politics was alive and well in the new regime as he was pushed despite being bad in the ring due to Sullivan's friendship with Iaukea's father.

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  20. Yeah Flynn has no business winning a match and the way WCW treated Finlay was pretty deplorable, and thankfully WWF saw the talents Finlay had that WCW were blind too.


    And personally, I would have tried pushing Tank Abbott too. Sure he sucks, but he is a name and has some crossover appeal so it was worth pushing him in the hope that Tank would be motivated to get better. I think the main problem was that Tank was stuck feuding with terrible wrestlers where he should have been protected against good workers. I'm sure Finlay could have made Tank look like a bad ass monster for instance.

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