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Thunder - June 18, 1998

Date: June 18, 1998
Location: Corestates Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

This is a taped show, but I'll put the over/under of times the announcers say it's live at 17. We're still in the middle of the NWO civil war with Randy Savage now out for a long time with a knee injury due to the Black and White's attack on Nitro. We're heading towards Bash at the Beach but it's still too early to start making matches, meaning tonight is again a sequel of Nitro. Let's get to it.

We open with Konnan and Luger heading to the ring with something to say. The mat is really dark again and it's not working. Luger talks about how there are some guys that you can dress up a certain way and turn them into a star in wrestling. These would be people like Vincent, Brian Adams, and any other of Hogan's goons. The problem is people like Hogan are stars because the fans made them a star, which brings up a Goldberg reference. You can see the seeds being planted.

The Wolfpack was formed while Hogan was making another movie and now he's trying to break them apart, but the fans have decided that the Wolfpack is where the power lies. I think this was supposed to be Luger laying down the gauntlet, but I think we've covered that already.

Karl Malone has officially been signed and the tag match is on for Bash at the Beach. We'll see press conference clips on Nitro.

Macho Man has a broken leg due to Bischoff's kick and will be out indefinitely. We get a clip of the attack, including Nash raising the cage for the save.

Steve McMichael vs. Mike Enos

This is the kind of match where I want to know what they think is the target audience. I mean, what's the production idea for this? Who thought these two guys needed to have a match? Enos pulls Mongo into the ring to start and pounds away on his right arm which kept Mongo out for months.

McMichael bails to the floor but Enos slams the arm into the barricade and steps to keep the pressure on. Mongo comes back in the ring with a shot to the head with the right arm and shows no sign of pain. Is it any wonder why he never worked? A three point shoulder puts Mike down but he blocks the tombstone. Enos slaps him in the face so McMichael Mongos Up and hits the tombstone for the pin.

Rating: D. When Mike Enos is the good part of your match, you know the match is in trouble. McMichael just didn't get wrestling for the most part and was never anything good in the ring. You would think after all those years with Benoit, Flair and Anderson he would have picked up SOMETHING but it just never happened.

Post match Mongo gives the sign of the Horsemen.

Here's the Flock with something to say. Raven calls Saturn a tumor that plagued the Flock but Raven has successfully removed it. Tonight, Reese is going to win the US Title. Back to Saturn, who was his friend when he was a kid? Who gave him money when he needed it? Who forced the Flock to join Saturn at ringside? The answer to all those is Raven, but now Saturn has let him down. All Saturn had to do was beat Kanyon but he couldn't even do that, and then Saturn went after Raven, making him despise Saturn.

This brings out Saturn who says Raven let Saturn down, so now Saturn is on his own. The Flock jumps Saturn but he still gets in a good shot to Raven's jaw. Raven heads to the floor but Kanyon comes in to send Raven back inside. Saturn and Kanyon clear the ring before staring each other down. No more violence occurs though.

Goldbeg video.

Fit Finlay vs. Brad Armstrong

Again, just why? The fans start booing this before any contact is even made. Finlay takes him down with a headlock and cranks on Candyman's head for a bit before switching to the ever popular nerve hold. Armstrong fights up and hits a powerslam and belly to back suplex for two each before we hit the armbar.

Finlay fights up and yells at the fans before we hit a chinlock and another nerve hold. Riveting stuff here. A slam sets up a Vader Bomb for two on Brad but he counters a second into something resembling an electric chair drop. Not that it matters though as Armstrong goes up but dives into Finlay's arms for the tombstone and the pin.

Rating: D-. These are talented guys but we have to sit through this boring mess for whatever reason. I'm assuming we're supposed to buy Finlay as a contender for the TV Title still but beating Brad Armstrong doesn't really prove much. Nothing to see here, which I think is the subtitle for Thunder.

This week in WCW Motorsports is still a thing for some reason.

Giant vs. Disco Inferno

Disco goes up to the announcers' booth to dance a bit before the match. Heenan: “Hand me that iron pipe over there.” Giant lights up another cigarette on the way to the ring so Disco lectures him on healthy habits. The instructions continue until a HARD clothesline puts Disco down. A massive chokeslam ends Disco a few seconds later with the cigarette still in Giant's mouth.

Dean Malenko says he'll do whatever it takes to get the Cruiserweight Title off of Jericho and onto the waist of someone who deserves it.

IWGP Tag Titles: Tenzan/Masahiro Chono vs. British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart

The champions jump the brothers in law to start and throw Neidhart out to the floor. Smith gets double teamed but comes back with a nice double clothesline to put the champions down. Things settle down with Chono going after Neidhart's knee to get us going. Some hard kicks to the knee and a quick leg lock take the Anvil down and it's off to Tenzan for some solid right hands to the head. So much for the technical stuff.

Chono comes back in and goes after Davey, allowing the champions to double team Neidhart a bit. Jim comes back with a hard forearm to Chono and makes the hot tag to bulldog. House is cleaned and the powerslam puts Tenzan down, but Chono hits Davey with the belt for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Somehow this quick, nothing match is probably the best thing we've seen so far tonight. The titles being on the line made this a bit better than Monday's match, but it doesn't make the fans care about the Japanese guys at all. Granted no one cared about Neidhart and Bulldog at this point either, so it's not Chono and Tenzan's fault.

Jim and Davey clear out the NWO guys.

Rick Rude says Goldberg better be ready for Hennig at the PPV. Hennig is up in Minnesota training hard with Brad Rheingans to take the title. Nothing special from Rude, but a Goldberg chant starts up and stops almost immediately in a bad production error.

Konnan vs. Alex Wright

Wright jumps Konnan and whips him with a leather jacket. A top rope knee drop gets no cover and Alex drops some elbows to the back. There's a backbreaker and Wright still won't cover. Instead his slingshot splash hits knees and Konnan clotheslines him down again. There's the basement dropkick but here's Rude for a distraction. He talks about hunting for a bit which allows Alex to jump Konnan from behind and get a rollup for two. Konnan comes back with an X Factor and a rollup similar to Kofi Kingston's SOS for the pin.

Rating: D+. Well Rude certainly wasted his time here. This match was nothing special either but at least Wright moved around pretty well. It's the same problem every match on this show has had though: there's no heat to any of the matches and as a result the matches feel like nothing we need to see at all.

Video on Hogan and Rodman.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

This has to be good right? Eddie is depressed after losing to Chavo on Sunday. Benoit stomps him down in the corner to start and gets a quick two off a snap suplex. Eddie whips him across the ring and scores with a dropkick to the back of the head before suplexing Benoit down for two. Nice and crisp so far. A headscissors off the ropes gets two for Eddie and he goes after the Canadian's knee to keep him down. Benoit will have none of that though and hits a pair of rolling Germans but the Swan Dive only hits canvas. Eddie's frog splash hits the same, allowing Benoit to snap on the Crossface for the tap out.

Rating: C. Of course this didn't even get four minutes. Why should it when we needed to see that rising star in MIKE ENOS??? This was by far the best thing on the show so far because the guys were actually working, but what can you do with just three and a half minutes out there?

Post match Chavo comes out and says Eddie is still his favorite wrestler, sending Eddie walking away in disgust.

Public Enemy vs. Riggs/Sick Boy

This is a Philadelphia street fight to appease the ECW fans. Public Enemy brings two tables (stacked on top of each other) and a wheelbarrow full of plunder. The Flock members jump Public Enemy from behind and the weapon shots begin. A cup of some liquid goes upside Rocco's head as he and Sick Boy bail to the floor. Rock is wheelbarrowed into the crowd as the ECW chant begins. I'm shocked it took this long.

Back inside Grunge wraps a toilet seat around Riggs' head before blasting him in the head with a trashcan lid. Everyone is back inside now and the fans start a Let's Go Flyers chant. Rocco is lifted up and dropped onto a trashcan for two as Grunge takes the toilet seat off Riggs' neck to blast him in the head. Riggs gets rolled into the barricade and Sick Boy takes a plunger to the face. Grunge has a trashcan dropkicked into his chest but he blasts Sick Boy in the head with the can to take him down. Sick Boy is laid out on the top table so Rocco can be flipped onto him, through both tables. The pin back inside is academic.

Rating: C+. The match was your usual ECW style junk, but at the same time this is the only match all night that was actually fun. Public Enemy was definitely a niche act but they played their roles perfectly. Also, the more I see of Sick Boy the more I like him. It's a shame he never got more of a chance.

US Title: Goldberg vs. Reese

We hear about Goldberg fighting in the Georgia Dome on July 6. Indeed he would. Even the Philly fans go nuts for Goldberg, with Hogan saying only Hogan has ever gotten these reactions. Reese jumps Goldberg to start and Horace adds a shot with a stop sign. That earns him a forearm to the face, knocking him off the apron and nearly knocking the sign into the crowd. A suplex by Reese is no sold and it's the spear into the Jackhammer to make him 101-0.

End of show. Seriously.

Overall Rating: D. This is one of those shows that just does not need to exist. Nothing happened tonight and none of the matches were anything that needed to be seen at all. This is the worst kind of show you can have: it wasn't even bad but rather very dull. There's almost no effort here and it shows very, very badly. Horrid show that didn't need to air at all.

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  1. The wheels are starting to come off, aren't they?

  2. Disco telling the Giant to quit smoking because it would stunt his growth was funny. And that's the only good thing I can think to say.

  3. Haha, just an entire show of Jobber matches, plus Benoit/Eddie as a quickie nothing match to further Eddie's angle. Alex Wright alternates between "guy they're sort of pushing" and "utter jobber" so often you'd think he was a WWE rookie.

    Reese still fascinates me. I mean, a 7-foot-tall, 400+ pound JOBBER?

    Mike Enos is actually a really solid worker, just uncharismatic as fuck. He never really got over anywhere after he left the AWA- The Beverly Brothers were a totally nothing midcard act, despite being pretty good in the ring.

  4. I think Thunder in general was "we're paying these guys? Shit, stick a couple of them out there." It amazes me the people in WCW who drew paychecks for just hanging out and wrestling once in a blue moon. I imagine the reason so many ex WCW midcarders seem to have disappeared is because they made enough money to not have to work indies and just retire into a regular life. Or they all just work day jobs.

  5. I liked Mike Enos.

  6. Watching Thunder sounds as thrilling as playing Thunder on PS1.


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