Once again we are all gathered here today to discuss the weekly homework assignment from the At Odds with Wrestling podcast. As part of a continuing series, we are all watching that odd time in WCW history inbetween Vince Russo’s booking reigns, and a lot of chaos happens between January and April of 2000. This show is the Thunder, at the time airing on Wednesdays, right before the upcoming Sunday’s WCW pay per view, Souled Out. A lot of change is taking place in the company, and even this episode of Thunder days before hand has no idea what is about to happen.
This episode is live from Erie, PA and the announce team for the evening is Mike Tenay, Scott Hudson, and Tony Schiavonnie. Events from last Monday’s Nitro are recapped.
The nWo of Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, and Kevin Nash arrive. Bret Hart arrives separately.
Vampiro vs Crowbar (with David Flair and Daffney).
Flair and Crowbar are the current tag team champions. Vampiro jumps them as they make their entrance. Crowbar jumps over the top and takes out his opponent and his teammate. Daffney distracts the referee allowing Flair to knock Vampiro off the top rope. Crowbar is up but Vampiro reverses. After a top rope power bomb Vampiro wins. Daffney hits Vampiro and it’s a three on one attack. Arn Anderson comes out to talk some sense into David Flair. This dramatic moment is only made more impactful by the “women belong in the kitchen” sign in the audience. Arn hits Crowbar, David leaves with Daffney.
The announcers run down the show and this card is absurd and ridiculous especially for a Thunder.
Bret Hart is walking.
Bret Hart comes out and he’s in a Hitman shirt, not an nWo shirt. This is supposed to be meaningful. Bret is disgusted with his recent actions and wants to change, he wants forgiveness. He’s going to quit the nWo, which brings them out. Nash talks. What will happen to the group tonight?
Bret is in his locker room with a bat. The legends from Nitro are watching this all unfold.
Footage is shown of a Brian Knobbs vs Fit Finlay hardcore match from Nitro that wasn’t aired because it was “too graphic”. Or, something else ran too long and it got cut for time. Much like a women’s steel cage match this past Monday that I was really looking forward to. Meng and Norman Smiley show up during this match because I guess so, why not. Back to Thunder and Norman is facing Knobbs in a hardcore match outside in the snow and cold. Really just a garbage match in which they throw crap at each other. Knobbs wins and becomes the new Hardcore champion.
The nWo look for Bret.
The Revolution – Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko, Saturn, and Asya – come out. All three guys talk way too much. Saturn calls Asya a bitch. Shane gets in her face as well. I don’t recall if this goes anywhere, probably not considering what is about to happen to the members of this group. Holy misogyny though. Is “hatred of women” a required skill to become a wrestling booker?
The nWo has found Bret and are dragging his beaten body around. Terry Funk and the legends discuss and decide they’re not going to help Bret.
Mean Gene interviews Tank Abbot and Jerry Flynn shows up to fight. They fight in the pits of this arena where for no reason there are giant piles of dirt. Is this venue in such good shape they need to dig back down into the earth to fix it? Why is there so much dirt? Security shows up to separate the two.
Medusa (with Spice for no reason) vs Oklahoma in an Evening Gown match.
Ms Hancock is also out for no reason to observe and then leaves. Oh thank goodness, this evening gown match is not for the Cruiserweight title. Wouldn’t want to diminish the shine on the belt. When Ms Hancock leaves, Oklahoma is distracted, and Madusa takes advantage to attack. Oklahoma picks up Madusa and really doesn’t take care of her as he hits her and drops her. Oklahoma has BBQ sauce taped to his thigh and can’t remove it to use as a weapon. This is the main story for the match. Medusa easily strips Oklahoma to win the match. Oklahoma finally frees the sauce and hits Madusa with it, then strips her. He hangs Madusa over the ropes and pours the sauce all over her stripped body. Listen, I’m going to say it, there’s a version of this that could have been hot. Different liquid, better camera angles, something. But WCW can’t even get hot women correct. Speaking of, why is Spice out here at all?
The nWo burn Bret’s tights.
Mean Gene interviews Madusa’s breasts. He’s a dirty old man. He’s my spirit animal.
Why is everything so dark? Oh, this is Midnight’s entrance. Stevie Ray hits Booker T with a chair backstage. Stevie Ray vs Midnight. He is not holding back and really beats the hell out of her. What a great night for women. Booker finally runs out. Stevie leaves and is counted out however this match must continue until there is one winner. Hopefully Booker has his hands free because he is about to carry Midnight. Stevie pulls the ropes down and Booker falls out to the floor. Stevie hits his brother with the slap jack, then rolls Booker back in. Stevie is trying to force Midnight to pin Booker, hoping this drives a wedge between them. Midnight pulls the knocked out Booker on top of her, giving Booker the win, and hopefully foiling Stevie’s plans.
The nWo threaten to cut Bret’s hair.
Flynn and Tank are put into a jail cell together and the fight continues. Maybe the pile of dirt is construction for more cells.
Chris “Champagne” Kanyon is with some ladies and his lawyer. What the hell title is he supposed to be holding?
The nWo shows off Bret’s cut “hair” to the camera. Larry Zybysko decides he’s going to go look into this and Paul Orndorff decides to join him.
Kanyon vs Bam Bam Bigelow in a champagne bottle on a pole match.
Bam Bam climbs, but Kanyon catches him and hits a big power bomb for a two count. Oh good, you don’t need to actually grab the bottle of champagne in order to win this match. So it’s as pointless as Spice coming out. The ladies get on the apron to be a distraction. Bam Bam “kisses” one. Or he was blowing a raspberry on her cheek. Kanyon hits Bam Bam with the mysterious belt but only gets a two count. Kanyon grabs the bottle. Bam punches him off the top. Bam throws the bottle away. Bam with a top rope head butt to Kanyon’s nuts then hits Greetings from Asbury Park for the win. Total Package comes out dressed as Sting and attacks Bigelow. The lights go out and a crow appears in the corner, which is the symbol for Sting when he has something else to do on a Wednesday night. Kanyon comes back to smash the champagne over Bigelow’s head.
Larry and Paul are looking for Bret but only find his “hair”.
Mean Gene talks to Kimberly. There’s an air conditioning nipple joke right off the bat. Again, spirit animal. Kim tries to defend herself and make some points but who can we believe in this love triangle, if anyone?
Bret is on the ground. Jarrett and Nash are getting ready for their match. Mean Gene interviews Sid and Chris Benoit.
Jarrett comes out and cuts a promo. Kevin Nash and Jeff Jarrett vs Sid Vicious and Chris Benoit.
The music dub on Peacock is horrible. Where is Eddie Guerrero in all of this? Because I know where he’s about to be. All four men go at it. Sid and Nash are in the ring while Jeff and Chris have a walk and brawl. The ref gets control and for a moment this is a regular tag match. Benoit off the top and he crashes in to the United States title. That’s fine. I’m sure he’s completely healed from jumping off the top of a steel cage onto his head two days earlier. Jarrett hits the Stroke for the pin.
Scott Steiner is laid out. Where is Bret?
Nash and Jarrett find Steiner. They go looking for Bret. Bret staggers outside to his car then turns around and says he’s not going out like that.
I thought this show was over 5 times already.
Bret comes out. Good job for WCW with the makeup and hair. Nash and Jarrett come out with bats. They surround Bret and it’s a stand off. In the back, Funk has his flaming branding iron and alongside Arn they make a slow walk out to the ring while the three wrestlers stall. The nWo could have easily beaten Bret up while waiting for Funk and Anderson to make their way out. Funk scares off Nash and Jarrett. Funk is waving around fire way too casually. “Three of us versus the three of you.” This math isn’t working. Arn throws water at Bret. His bruises go away and my goodness it’s makeup. He even still has his hair. This whole thing as been a swerve. This is now a three on one beat up. Mike Tenay accidentally calls the legends the New Age Outlaws. Larry, Paul, Sid, and Benoit all come out to help. Nash grabs the branding iron but Funk takes him down with a nut uppercut. Nash and Funk both reach for the iron but we’re out of time!
This is an overly complicated episode. A lot of matches that are meant to take place on the PPV get their hype moments but its arguably too much. Plus the whole Bret swerve dominates the episode and not that they knew what would be happening next, but someone should have thought putting so much focus on him is maybe not a good idea. I wonder if the internet and social media of today were at that level in 2000 what the reaction would be to the treatment of women throughout the episode. Daffney is probably the only one who gets to do something and not look stupid or insulted.
All that said, I’m looking forward to watching Souled Out in a couple weeks and the Nitro after when everything falls apart.