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Thunder - May 28, 1998

Date: May 28, 1998
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Lee Marshall, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

The main story coming into tonight is, say it with me: what side is Sting on? After Luger joined the Wolfpack on Monday, Sting was offered a spot but the show ended before we got his response. We're heading into the Great American Bash and we only know a few matches so far. Whatever we're getting though isn't the most thrilling stuff in the world. Let's get to it.

We open with a recap of the end of Nitro with Sting holding up the Wolfpack shirt but not putting it on.

Opening sequence.

The announcers talk about the Sting situation for the first of about 95 times tonight.

Here's Bret Hart to open things up. He wants peace and quiet while he talks because the fans sound disappointed in him. That's fine though as he's disappointed in the fans as well. No one knows what it's like to be in a tough situation better than he does. Every time he steps in the ring he gives everything he has and he's the best there is, was and ever will be. However there's one guy going through a tug of war with his conscience and that would be Sting.

Bret knows exactly what Sting is going through with everyone pulling him in various directions. The red and black don't suit Sting at all but later tonight, Bret is going to offer Sting the keys to his wrestling future. He won't need the people anymore and he'll be more successful than ever before.

Jim Powers vs. Barbarian

Barbarian grabs a headlock to start but Powers comes back with some weak kicks to the ribs. Choking puts Jim down again, Powers makes a comeback, Jimmy Hart interferes, big boot gets the pin for Barbarian. This would have been boring even as a dark match.

Here's Chris Jericho in a Rey Mysterio shirt for an interview. Chris feels bad because he and JJ got in an argument on Monday but that will never EVER happen again. He'd be perfectly happy if JJ just brought him his Cruiserweight Title right now, but JJ isn't here tonight. Jericho makes Tony hold up the Conspiracy Victim sign and swears that this isn't over. On Monday, Jericho is going to Washington D.C. and find the best legal sources he can find to prove that he should be Cruiserweight Champion.

The announcers talk about Sting some more and show us a video of Giant calling out Nash, resulting in Luger joining the Wolfpack. We also get the ending of the show again.

High Voltage vs. Jim Neidhart/British Bulldog

The non-WWF refugees jump start the match but get sent into each other and out to the floor. We start with Neidhart vs. Kaos and Jim cranks on the arm for a bit. Kaos takes him down by the head and it's off to Rage for a slingshot legdrop for two. Rage misses an elbow and it's off to the Bulldog with the fans not caring at all. The delayed vertical suplex gets two and everything breaks down. Bulldog powerslams Kaos for a fast pin. Another worthless match.

Here's the Wolfpack, debuting their signature rap song. There's no Hennig or Rude with them which is probably the best option. Savage says Luger is the man. Luger says there are times in life where you have to go with your gut instinct and that's why he's here right now. The Wolfpack is the place to go if you want to win titles and it felt right to make the jump. He still respects WCW and didn't turn his back on them. Sometimes in life you're either a player or you're not, so he's a player in the Wolfpack right now.

This brings Luger to Sting. They've known each other for years and while they haven't always seen eye to eye, there will always be friends. Luger felt something on Nitro and Sting told Luger he felt it too. Sting needs to take the same step that Luger took and don't listen to someone like Bret Hart who knows nothing about him. Luger does the too sweet line and we're out. This explanation took less than five minutes and made perfect sense. Why couldn't we get something like this from Bret?

Glacier vs. Van Hammer

Are they just trying to torture me this week? Feeling out process to start with Glacier casually kicking Hammer down. Hammer comes back with a cobra clutch slam and does the Crane Kick pose from Karate Kid. Back up and Hammer shoulders Glacier down for two and the ice man rolls to the floor. They head back inside with Glacier kicking away in the corner, only to be punched in the side of the head for his efforts. A big kick to the face puts Hammer down and Glacier puts on the Rings of Saturn but he lets go early, allowing Saturn to run in and beat on Glacier for the pin.

Rating: D. The fact that this is the match of the night so far should tell you everything you need to know about this show. Glacier isn't interesting as a character and it's a downgrade for Saturn to have to feud with him. This match was as bland as the rest of them have been tonight but this was longer, which could be a benefit or a detriment depending on how you enjoy torture.

Post match Raven and Saturn lay out Hammer and Glacier. Raven gets on his knees and begs Saturn to be his partner again but they think they see Mortis, only to beat up a popcorn vendor instead. Mortis sneaks up behind them dressed as I think a construction worker to blast Raven with a cookie sheet and leave. Saturn carries Raven to the back.

Chris Benoit vs. Booker T

This is match #2 in the best of seven series for the TV Title shot at the Bash. Benoit won the first match on Monday with the Crossface and I'm sure this is going to be the best match of the night. Booker grabs a headlock to start but Benoit takes him down with a drop toehold. A powerslam puts Chris down and an elbow drop gets two. Off to an armbar on Benoit for a few seconds before they trade standing switches and a spinning kick drops Benoit to the floor.

Back in and Benoit gets two each off a snap suplex and a clothesline. A hard whip into the corner puts Booker down for two more and we hit the chinlock. Benoit shifts into a double arm crank before hitting a hard chop to put Booker down again. Booker comes back with a clothesline to put both guys down as we take a breather. It's Benoit up first with a backbreaker to set up the Swan Dive for a very close two.

Back to the chinlock on Booker but he fights up with a flapjack to get a rest. Benoit avoids the side kick and crotches himself on the top rope and a German suplex is good for two. A big mudhole is stomped in Booker but he comes back with a suplex of his own. Benoit ducks the side kick but the second attempt connects, setting up the missile dropkick to tie the series.

Rating: C+. This was more of a back and forth match than what they did on Sunday but the action was still very solid. These matches are very helpful for WCW as they give the show some meat instead of the quick and dull matches that dominate the shows most of the time. Good match here.

Benoit praises Booker but questions his heart. We'll find out what Booker is made of but he'll find out why Benoit is the Crippler.

TV Title: Brad Armstrong vs. Fit Finlay

Feeling out process to start until Finlay grabs a headlock. That goes nowhere so they run the ropes a bit and Armstrong gets two off a hiptoss. Finlay comes back with a shot to the side of the head and a slam. A clothesline puts Armstrong down as the announcers talk about which NWO Sting will join. The idea of him staying with WCW isn't even considered. We hit the chinlock and the boring chants begin. Finlay drives some elbows into the chest but Armstrong comes back with a belly to back suplex for two. Not that it matters as Finlay tombstones him down to retain.

Rating: D-. END THIS SHOW ALREADY! I can't take many more of these matches. There has been one decent match in an hour and a half of this show. The best part so far was a Lex Luger promo which lasted about two minutes. Those are your highlights so far. Is there no one else Finlay can fight for that belt?

This week in WCW Motorsports. Next.

The announcers talk about the Savage/Piper segment from Nitro and of course we see the whole thing.

Barry Darsow vs. Saturn

They hit the mat to start with Saturn grabbing a headlock. Darsow misses a right hand and gets suplexed down before Saturn fires off kicks in the corner. Darsow gets two off a clothesline before sending Saturn's shoulder into the post. A spinwheel kick puts Barry down but he comes back with a quick shoulder breaker. His Barely Legal arm hold can't get locked on so Saturn superkicks him down and ends Barry with the Death Valley Driver.

Rating: D+. Oddly enough Darsow's psychology worked here. It's really basic stuff (he has an arm hold finisher so wok on the arm) but that's often enough to carry a short match like this. Nothing special to see here but somehow this is in the upper half of the matches on this show. Let that sink in for a minute.

To cap off this horribly boring show, we have technical issues and get a graphic of the arena. Well of some arena, as when the feed comes back we see a wide shot of a very different building.

US Title: Barry Horowitz vs. Goldberg

Seriously, this is the main event. Match lasts 45 seconds and you can fill in the blanks yourself.

Here's Bret for the big recruitment speech to Sting despite Bret not even being an official NWO member as far as I know. Giant and Bischoff come out with him so at least there's some kind of association. Bret says he's the only man that can trust Sting and he was there to prove it at Starrcade. If he had anything to do with it, Sting would still be world champion. He lists off some similarities before calling Nash and Savage old and washed up. Sting can't trust those guys but here's the Wolfpack to disagree. Bret calls them all scum and the brawl is on to end the show. No Sting.

Overall Rating: F+. This is the worst kind of show you can have. It wasn't really terrible, but it was SO boring. What happened on this show? We got a bunch of low level acts in squashes, no development in any storyline (unless you really stretch and call Booker tying up the series significant) and no Sting. Oh wow the NWO factions are fighting again. Such an interesting story. Absolutely retched show tonight and it really makes it clear how WWF was taking over.

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  1. Jew on Jew violence.

  2. I think you're being too hard on this show. Yeah it didn't set the world on fire but that's what nitro was for. Some stars were on, storylines advanced, and you got 2 really good matches. I'd take that over the stagnant sos product right now. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for more variety which the 90s offered.

  3. Have you reviewed the Thunder where Bret was hit with an egg mid promo lol, I know it was around this time. Anyone else remember that? Or the time Buffer called him Bret Clark?

  4. "Styles can't talk" - Someone forgot his heel run in the late oughts. He was fantastic. This was a knock on Daniel Bryan forever too and we clearly found out that wasn't true.

    His matches don't resonate with the audience? He is like a folk hero to the Impact Zone mutants.

    He has been pushed? When? Four years ago?

  5. You're going to get that, at least a bit, Scott's the fearless leader, and really the blueprint for smark fandom.

    But some people literally never have a single good thing to say. Everything that happens is somewhere between total garbage, and not bad in theory but massively screwed up in the execution.

    Haters gon hate.


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