At Odds with Wrestling Homework – WCW Thunder March 22, 2000

After weeks of major wrestling events, the weekly homework assignment is back. Each and every week without a big wrestling show that takes attention and priority, the hosts of the At Odds with Wrestling podcast assign each other and listeners like me a wrestling show from the past. This week we all watched an episode of WCW Thunder from March 22, 2000.

The show starts off showing the closing angle from Monday’s Nitro. Thunder at this time was on Wednesday although I remember it being on Thursdays for most of its run. On Nitro, which was also the day after the WCW Uncensored PPV, world champion Sid Vicious and Hulk Hogan were tag team partners but Sid turned on Hogan out of jealousy. 

Back to Thunder, Tank Abbot comes out and issues an open challenge. Fit Finlay comes out to answer. Finlay has a good showing against Tank. Tank punches him down. Meng comes out. Tank is distracted. Finlay knocks Tank out of the ring. Meng and Tank fight in the aisle. Security is out to pull them apart. There’s potential in an angle that doesn’t need a title and is just about a bunch of guys who think of themselves as the toughest guys in the room finally finding out who is right. If Tank was a bit better of a talent he could have pulled this off with the other two. 

Meanwhile, Hogan and Sid are fighting in the back. 

Mean Gene is in the ring to interview Fit. Finlay says Tank is green and has no respect for wrestling. As the interview is taking place, Hogan and Sid’s fight spills out into the arena and finally to the ring. Finlay shoves Sid, Sid chokeslams Fit. Sid then grabs Mean Gene by the tie and threatens to hurt him if Hogan doesn’t back down. Sid explains his actions and reasons for his jealousy while Gene acts like he’s going to die at any moment. This is a good chaotic way to do wrestling. We have things going on in the ring, guys in the back don’t like each other and fight, these two things happening at the same time spill into each other. It’s A and B plots of a sitcom coming together in act 3. 

Mike Tenay and the Brain hype up tonight’s show. Buff gives his thoughts on Sid’s actions. The current nWo – Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, the Harris Brothers, and random women – are hanging out in their lounge. 

Brian Knobbs tells us to not try this at home. We see the Wolverine boots Stomp of the Night. Sid talks to security. 

Dustin Rhodes, sorry, “the American Nightmare” Dustin Rhodes calls out Hogan. So this is a family title? I have no recollection of Dustin using this moniker but of course his brother pushed it to the forefront. Dustin says Hogan will be next to “bite the dust”. That feels like it should have gotten over on a t-shirt. 

In the locker room, Hogan and Jimmy Hart are wondering why everyone is coming for Hogan. Good question. People are fighting each other, going for secondary titles, or going for Hogan. No one is going after Sid who is the actual World champion right now. 

3 Count vs Jung Dragons. 

I feel like if Cornette had his podcast back then he would have loved this match. Tenay tries to keep up with the action and Brain just doesn’t bother. There’s not really any story here and neither the commentators or cameramen really focus on the match. Shane Helms makes the pin. 3 Count tries to dance but the Jung Dragons come back from their loss to kick 3 Count down and steal their dancing surfaces. 

Mean Gene interviews “Hard Knox” Chris Candido. I had to rewind this one because I was laughing so hard. Candido was in a triple threat match with Lou Thesz and Karl Gotch. Gene calls him out for making stuff up. Candido was so damn good and grossly underrated. 

Hugh Morrus reacts to Sid’s actions. 

“Hard Knox” Chris Candido vs Chavo Guerrero. 

This will decide the next challenger for the Cruiserweight title, currently held by The Artist. The Artist and Paisley are watching from the locker room. Paisley later makes her way to the ring and joins for commentary. Again, Candido is so damn good. Paisley does a great job putting over the Artist and moving the story forward while she’s on commentary. Paisley says the Artist will decide who his next challenger will be. Paisley gets up from her seat and distracts the referee. The Artist comes out and attacks Candido. Chavo pins Chris and this is how the Artist has chosen his opponent. Candido attacks Chavo after the match. 

Someone drives Ms Hancock wild. 

Scott Steiner “warms up” with the ladies. 

XS – Lane and Lodi or whatever they’re called now are out to face Ms Hancock’s new chosen hot team – Los Fabulousos. The new team of Silver King and El Dandy. 

The match is all about Ms Hancock. The camera cuts away from the ring and focuses on her for half the match. Los Fabs end up winning. 

Scott Steiner and the ladies walk to the ring. Disco Inferno orders pizza under Big Vito’s name. The Mamalukes come in angry. They put Disco into a match tonight and are taking off for the evening, leaving him alone. 

Chuck Palumbo vs Scott Steiner, sorry Big Poppa Pump, with his ladies. 

Chuck gets some surprise offense in. Still very green. The offense is short lived. None of these matches tonight are good, but I’ll save that for closing thoughts. Steiner is wrestling like an 80s syndicated squash match. Not even Superstars level, more like Wrestling Challenge. Scott locks on the Steiner Recliner for the pin. 

Disco and Vampiro get ready for their match. 

Curt Henning says Sid is right. 

Disco Inferno vs Vampiro. 

Disco says he’s not a wrestler, which current year Twitter would seem to agree with him. The fight goes outside the ring and right into the announce table. The announcers run away, but Brain does not swear. At least not on the mic. This is maybe the best match of the night. Lots of energy and passion. Vampiro hits the Nail in the Coffin for the win. Team Package – the Total Package, Ric Flair, and Elizabeth – come out to attack Vampiro. Sting comes out to save his brother in paint. Other painted wrestlers are apparently not part of this family. 

Mean Gene interviews Ernest the Cat Miller. Virgil – unnamed right now – is Cat’s new assistant. 

Slap Nuts t-shirt commercial.

Mean Gene interviews Jeff Jarrett. 

The Cat (with Mr Jones, Virgil now has a new name) vs the Dog (with Brian Knobbs). 

I wonder if there’s a world out there in which this Dog gimmick could have gotten over. Also, where is Rick Steiner while the Dog has most of his gimmick? Knobbs hits the Cat with a chain and yet the Dog only gets a two count thanks to this interference. Cat hits a hook kick for the pin. This is bad. This is a really bad match. Knobbs puts Dog back on the chain and leads him away. 

Is this whole Dog gimmick, and a lot of the scenes to come later in this show, an elaborate rib on someone? Like someone’s kink was to be on a collar? There must be a shoot interview somewhere along the way confirming this. 

Tank weighs in on Sid. 

Knobbs finds Dog chewing things up in the locker room. 

Mean Gene interviews Norman Smiley. Norman wants to find someone to watch his back. 

The Demon is coming out and the announcers wonder if he will be the one to watch Norman’s back. Hugh Morrus comes out to a cover of The Zoo? That feels like a big ECW steal. 

The Demon vs Hugh Morrus. 

The announcers put over Hugh’s big man skills. Absolutely no credit or acclaim given to the Demon. Hugh is still this odd silly madman character. I liked him as an oddity but I don’t think it’s until the General Rection character that he finally connects with the audience. Hugh hits a great moonsault to win the match. 

Brian Knobbs takes the Dog for a ride. 

Mean Gene will interview Sid. 

“Kid Cam” shows Buff hitting on a production girl and getting shut down. 

Mean Gene finds no one in Sid’s locker room. 

A special look at the Wall. 

Mean Gene interviews Hogan and Jimmy Hart. 

Jeff Jarrett and Buff Bagwell head to the ring. commercial. 

Knobbs abandons Dog on the side of the road. Dog howls at the moon. 

Alright, so there must be a name for this segment of the show. The interview segment dump before the last matches. Or matches in this case. It’s really all just filler too. The Dog segment has me very confused. There’s a lot of time spent on this . It makes no sense and unless there’s some future story where Dog comes back to seek his revenge on Knobbs, I don’t know why it needed this much time. Also, Knobbs is the Hardcore champion but there’s no focus on that at all. For a nothing segment and two guys that aren’t really featured attractions there is a lot of time spent on this. 

Jeff Jarrett (United States champion) vs Buff Bagwell. 

Harris Brothers come out to beat up Buff. Curt Hennig comes out to beat up the brothers. Buff hits a Blockbuster then stalls long enough for Scott Steiner to come out and attack him. Buff now gets the DQ win. Steiner and the Harris brothers rip the cast off of Curt Hennig and break his arm again. Curt tries to fight back. Jarrett hits Curt with the guitar. The nWo celebrates. 

This version of the nWo is really just a faction and not a force. Not a company within a company. It’s also interesting that the two people they attack here are both former nWo members. Members who turned against partners to join the nWo way back when. 

Hogan is on his way to the ring. He sends Jimmy Hart to go draft up a contract for a match against Sid. WCW must have a lawyer on site at all times. No doctors, at least not according to Jerry Only. 

Dustin Rhodes vs Hulk Hogan. 

This is really just a glorified Hogan squash. Dustin oversells to Hogan’s moves. The fight goes outside and Dustin throws Hogan into the announce table. Hogan gets tangled up in the wires. Back in the ring. Dustin holds Hogan down with a chinlock for far too long in 2000. Hogan hulks up from the chinlock. Dustin hits Hogan with a cowbell, then hits the referee. Dustin is disqualified. Ugh. Oh wait, we’re not done yet? The referee gets up and says he won’t DQ Dustin but he will count him out if he doesn’t return to the ring. Then he threatens a fine and suspension, and that actually gets Dustin back into the ring. Dustin comes back and immediately eats a big boot and a leg drop. Hogan gets the pin. 

Backstage Sid finds Jimmy Hart and chokeslams him through a table. Credit to Hart for willing to go through a table at his age. Sid puts the contract on Hart’s limp body. Hogan comes back to help Hart and Sid hits him with a chair. 

Absolutely nothing mattered in this show. It’s really just moving forward stories from Nitro just a little bit. Enough to justify having a show but not enough that anyone actually misses anything if they didn’t watch the show. None of the matches are worth watching. The whole two hours feels like a contractual obligation with little to no desire from anyone to actually put on an entertaining show. Some people make the most of their TV time but ultimately it’s the wrestling show equivalent of Fruit Stripe gum.

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