April 6, 2012
Brian Hammons
Never Hand Over

WCW Thunder 8/15/98

1. Scott Hall vs. Konnan - 3
2. Horace Boulder vs. Raven - 3
3. WCW TV Champion Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. - 3

First match was slightly more competitive than I'd anticipated while simultaneously being sort of cooperative like two buddies allowing the other guy to get their stuff in. Hall's histrionics were a minor highlight. Scott held Konnan's head in-between his legs for a curiously long time before hitting the Outsider's Edge making Konnan look like even more of a punta than usual. Boulder and Raven was physical and I was kind of digging it, Horace just tossing his big frame around the ring with some unforeseen gusto, but the overblown finish featuring the entire Raven's Flock as well as appearances by Saturn and Kanyon pretty much undercut the good credit it'd earned. The whole lot in the ring doing stagey stuff was just plain goofy and Sick Boy seemed to be conjuring Buffalo Bill from Ferreri's Touche pas à la femme blanche (Don't Touch the White Woman!). Next match seemed sort of plodding, while their ability itself isn't in question, this felt fairly safe and flat. Then you've got Chavo's obsession with a hobbyhorse he affectionally dubbed "Pepé". Was I the only one when at the end of their program together Smiley tossed Pepé into a wood-chipper I'd secretly hoped he'd have pushed Chavo in instead? It's funny that Chavo recently asked for his WWE released for not being taken seriously when he's been treated like a joke almost 13 years now.

4. Disco Inferno & Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy - 4
5. Kevin Nash vs. Curt Hennig - 3

If I told you the next match featured a tragic love story on the level of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde would you believe me? Well, it didn't, but was still fun enough. Watching some Wright over the last year I've discovered he surprisingly as some intensity in his work. The finish saw Tokyo Magnum (who was like Alex's groupie) get pulled in the way of a charging Johnny Grunge and driven through a table leading the distracted Grunge victim to a Wright neckbreaker. Post-match stuff was goofy as all hell with Meng running down destroying everybody, Rocco Rock perched up on to the top buckle far too early for his spot so unsuccessfully tried to balance up there like a putz, etc. Next match was short, Hennig has a good strategy targeting the leg, but this was mainly just Nash getting himself over per normal. It had a "fuck finish" as Rick Rude slid into the ring and begun loosening up his J.C. Penney suit as if to go at it with Nash serving as a distraction for Hall to do a run in leading to an extended beatdown on Nash (who was saved by Luger wearing a t-shirt tucked into black denim jeans?). I noticed Rude's strikes were the crispest I'd seen all night and he'd been retired for at least a few years at that point.

6. Stevie Ray vs. Eddy Guerrero - 3
7. Bret Hart vs. WCW US Champion Lex Luger - 4

I liked this on paper more than most and while Eddy had some flourishes bad execution was really its downfall. Most notably Ray blew a bicycle kick and Eddy botched some sort of springboard set-up. Main event was dryer than a mouth full of Zesta crackers. Hart was methodical in his attack and Lex tried to sell the damage appropriately. This didn't have the big match feel that would have benefited it. Lex took a pretty nasty DDT on a steel chair. I don't really buy guys passing out while in certain submissions. A choke? Yes. But a Sharpshooter? It really only took you six seconds to lose consciousness while in a leg hold? Bret wins the belt in unceremonious fashion and just walks back to the locker rooms seemingly unmoved by the moment.

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