Two years ago, ECW on Sci-Fi was unceremoniously cancelled and replaced by NXT. I hastily put together a compilation of ECW on Sci-Fi’s botches and noticed how everyone seemed to be fawning over the show now that it was dead and gone. I joked that ”If Botchamania had existed in 2001, people would be bemoaning the loss of Thunder” (Thunder being the accepted ‘worst show put out by WCW that people actually watched’ and it’s still joked about in this manner today, mostly by people who have never watched a single episode of it).
A few people noticed what I wrote in the description and asked if a Thundermania was in the works? I told them ”only if fans paid for the discs obtained from tape traders” (You can pretty much obtain any wrestling show that was broadcast on TV from tape traders. The quality is far greater than the terrible torrents you see roaming around the internet, plus I can pop a Thunder disc into a DVD player and do stretches rather than sit on my arse watching in on a PC). I asked for a quote from a dealer who had all years 1998-2001 and told the Good People Of YouTube where to donate money if they wanted to see if that much, thinking nothing would come of it.
In two hours, people donated all the money needed.
”Fuck” I thought.
The result for people’s hard money? Two Thundermanias covering 1998 (one I was happy with, the other not so much) and not a lot else. Why is this? Did I decide to take the money and run, hoping no-one would notice? Actually, I had been watching Thunders from 1999 and accumulating footage on my external hard drive before the fucking thing pulled a Ken Anderson and injured itself for no reason, taking three years of work with it. Since then I’ve been very unfocused with regards to Thundermania, viewing it as an utter waste of good time that could have been spent doing anything else. I mean, when you’re using your valuable time to watch Thunder and then find you wasted that time and may have to watch them AGAIN at some point…well, you lose a bit of enthusiasm.
Skipping years 1998/1999 for now, I intend to do write-ups of Thunder 2000 for the site so I can A) get practice writing B) give the website more regular content C) prepare for further Thundermanias D) ensure that if everything gets destroyed, I can read these posts later as notes and can recover quickly E) Finally finish what I started and F) give those poor sods who donated money two years ago what they paid for.
With that in mind, let’s begin.
WCW Thunder – 01/06/00
To put you in the right place mentally the last PPV was Starrcade 1999. Vampiro beat Steve Williams to get a shot at wrestling offensive Jim Ross parody Oklahoma who he then pinned, there were three integender matches, David Flair wrestled, Kevin Nash beat Sid Vicious in a Powerbomb match by knocking Sid down and telling the ref he had powerbombed him, Jeff Jarrett wrestled twice and had a good ladder match with Chris Benoit and Bret Hart pinned Goldberg in the match that would cause the start of the end of Hart’s career because Goldberg mule kicked Hart so hard he gave him multiple concussions. The nWo 2000 (re)formed on Nitro, consisting of Nash, Hall, Steiner, Hart, Jarrett and…The Harris Bros.
World Heavyweight Champion: Bret Hart
U.S. Champion: Jeff Jarrett
Cruiserweight Champion: Madusa
Tag Team Champions: David Flair and Crowbar
Hardcore Champion: Norman Smiley
TV Champion: The trash can Scott Hall dunked it in
The swooshing WCW Logo! I always enjoyed it’s entrance. We are at Florence, SC tonight
Recap of Nitro’s events. With the nWo reformed, WCW introduced a new commissioner to deal with them. (because WWF was doing a good job of it at the same time, except they knew hot to do it right as their commissioner/GM/Owner would HELP the heel group) And that new commissioner is…Terry Funk! Who then appoints Arn Anderson as his helper! Funk guarantees he will see the nWo get screwed as he puts the stipulations for the next PPV main event as ‘No nWo member can interfere and Arn Anderson will be the special guest ref’ which is a really good way of giving sympathy to your no. 1 heel group. The nWo threaten Anderson’s God-Son David Flair who is backstage apparently. The nWo can’t find him, so they take out Daffney instead. David Flair and Crowbar win the WCW Tag Team Titles by pinning Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner (!!) with assistance from Arn Anderson. This naturally caused David Flair to then turn on Arn Anderson, because if a turn didn’t make any logical sense, it would happen during this time period. The nWo then abduct Anderson.
That was Nitro condensed into two minutes and thirty seconds. There’s two hours left of Thunder and I’m already exhausted.
Anderson is being led to the ring by the nWo and Steiner’s steel pipe he loved so much. You can hear the tech guys saying ”CLEAR, CLEAR!” as the ten second segment ends and they cut to the arena with Mike Tenay When He Cared and Oh God Not Tony Schavione start hyping.
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Madusa (with Spice) vs. Asya
”With Spice” is such a bad pun that I laughed despite myself. Madusa pinned Evan Karagias for the belt at Starrcade which garnered a large pop, but whether or not it was because the crowd were Pro-Madusa or Anti-Evan I’ll leave for you to decide. Asya was an awful attempt at making a Chyna rip-off, because Asia is bigger than China. She looks like the kind of woman who you’d only see on a wrestling show. You can’t imagine her doing any other job. Asya backflips off the top rope into the ring as Oklahoma comes out with his ”Miracle BBQ sauce” and starts commentating. This must be after WCW realised making fun of Bell’s Palsy wasn’t the most tactful of things and so had Oklahoma’s BBQ sauce ‘cure him’. I’ve read about that segment so many times and I hoped I’d see it doing these recaps. Dammit. The women manage two moves (executed correctly) before Malenko and Douglas (of The Revoloution) come out. Oklahoma complains he is old school and believes women ”belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.” The cameras are having to cut between three different things at once here, so there’s barely a match visible. Oh Saturn is here now, great. There’s that much happening that Douglas tries to commentate to, but doesn’t get a word in before taking it off to jump on the apron and distract the ref! We’re reaching extreme levels of self-parody here, ladies and gentlemen and the first match hasn’t even finished. Douglas distracted the ref, Malenko distracts Madusa so Saturn…can attack Asya. Whaa?? Madusa then German Suplexes Asya for the pin.
Winner: Madusa (1:42)
The Revolution then argue, as Saturn was supposed to attack Madusa, that’s why Malenko distracted her. Saturn’s all ”but I don’t like Asya”. Madusa then gets on the mic and attacks Oklahoma verbally. Crowd chants ”USA” at The Revolution (made up of three Americans) as The Filthy Animals come out (made up of Billy Kidman, Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr.). Another glorious moment occurs (I LOVE THUNDER) as Mike Tenay has to exclaim ”Oklahoma just broke the BBQ bottle over Madusa!” and NONE of the cameras caught it because there’s five different happening at the same time. Spice attends to Madusa (spicy sauce?) by rubbing her shoulder and looking concerned.
THAT was the first ten minutes of Thunder 2000. Sweet Jesus, what have I committed myself to?
We cut to the commentators for some relief. Apparently Scott Hudson is commentating too. He always had one of those Josh Matthews’ type voices where I knew there’s a voice saying something but I never heard any of the words being said. They recap things but at the expense of this article, my fingers and my sanity I’ll only type about stuff that’s actually happening.
Psychosis and Juventud Guerrera come out. Juvi has a mic. Oh no. He imitates The Rock, which he did quite a bit during this time. ”Tonight is going to be a juicy night!” He says hello to the people in ”Greenville” and there’s a good chance that wasn’t accidental. It’s easy to say ”so-and-so is on drugs” when watching wrestling, but there’s no fucking way Juvi isn’t blitzed. He gets Tony to move so he can commentate. I approve of No Tony. I’m not going to type everything Juvi says. Just imagine a pull-string Juvi toy that says only Rock quotes or ”DA JUICE!” and you’re pretty much there.
As this is happening, Terry Funk comes out. Man this show is rushed. They don’t wait for any segment to settle or end, Funk’s music was playing before Juvi got sat down in his comfy commentator chair. Funk attacks both luchadores and POWERBOMBS PSYCHOSIS THROUGH THE COMMENTATOR’S TABLE. Funk gets in the ring with microphone in hand and shouts ”Give me the microphone!” I need to take a break to recover from this madness, brb.
Back with lasagne. Crowd chants ”Terry!” so having him as commissioner wasn’t as silly as I thought, I guess. Jarrett comes out (with a mic that doesn’t work to begin with) as the censors cut out Funk shouting ”Sunnuvabitch!” as best they can. Jarrett drops ”Slapnuts” in his first sentence. This is God-Tier Jarrett. To me, he was never better than during this period. Jarrett doesn’t say much and leaves to torture Anderson (his words) and tells Funk ”Don’t piss me off”. It’s funny because that was his WWF catchphrase when Russo was there. Yes.
And we get our first advert break so I can eat my beef lasagne. I’ll only mention the adverts if there’s anything wrestling or video game related. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation appears. IGN said it best: “The Last Revelation feels like the gaming equivalent of dusting off old photos and staring at the faded pictures.”
‘Mean’ Gene is interviewing the Revolution backstage. Douglas describes The Filthy Animals as ”a bunch of -censored- cockroaches that you just can’t kill” and challenges them to a six-man tag match with a mystery partner on their team. Saturn says The Filth Animals until will be like a midget at the urinal… ”on his toes”. Saturn was the Tigger of the group. Malenko says something but I was distracted by his deep-arse voice. Something about Duggan. So if The Rev were feuding with the Animals and Duggan, why were they attacking Madusa/Asya? Juvi tells Gene he’s needed in the ring and takes his mic.
In the ring with Gene (continuity!), Booker T is interviewed. Him and Stevie Ray have bad blood (but not the Abdullah The Butcher type) as Booker brought in Midnight (she’s black!) to watch his back and Ray took offence. This was one of the better storylines going on during this time, I’ll give them that. The matches were terrible, but at least there was some logic and people actually acting like people. Booker says he wants his brother back but Ray comes out pissed off. Ray dislikes Midnight and wants to beat Midnight ”into a CONIPTION!” Booker T agrees, but if Midnight wins they reform Harlem Heat with Midnight. This all made sense and was well put together. What was in that lasagne?
Anderson is being tortured in a dark room which resembles a certain scene from Pulp Fiction way too much for my liking.
PG-13 and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. vs. Three Count
Jamie Dundee and Wolfie D! Nobody in the match gets a name during the intros, but Three Count is ‘Sugar’ Shane Helms (the future Hurricane and Gregory), Shannon Moore (the future Lelani Kai impersonator) and Evan Karagias (Future endeavoured).
This was during the early stages of Three Count and you can tell as they hadn’t got it right yet. They come out wearing different football shirts and trousers, no pop and some very strange haircut choices. Moore attacks Chavo who ignores him. Helms runs into a clothesline by Dundee who takes a dropkick/Russian legsweep combo. Dundee and Ice amuse me by accidentally elbowing each other about five times. Evan dives onto Wolfie on the outside as Helms smacks Chavo with a green sign for the win.
Winner: Three Count (1:31)
After the match, Three Count dance on the green circles and sing badly. Three Count was a fun gimmick that is misremembered as being the shits as most male internet wrestling writers don’t seem to be fans of boy-bands.
Adverts. There’s a Bret Hart album? And it’s made up of random nu-metal bands?? What is this sorcery???
Terry Funk attacks security backstage because they can’t find Arn Anderson. ”You can’t do anything right can you?” Funk knocks them down with his water bottle, R-Truth style.
Recap package for the Tank Abbott vs. Jerry Flynn feud. I for one thought Jerry Flynn stopped existing after 1999.
The Wall vs. Jerry Flynn
As soon as the bell rings, Tank Abbott’s music starts playing. Then stops. Abbott comes out anyway. I LOVE THUNDER. The Wall chokes Flynn. Tenay says the match on PPV will be ”shoot-fight rules” in a totally serious voice. Flynn kicks Abbott out of the ring as Abbott struggles with a commentator’s headset. Flynn whips Wall into the guard-rail before getting him quickly into the ring. The issue with having such limited time for in-ring action (look at the times for the matches in this recap) meant wrestlers would have to stuff spots like that and then carry on quickly to get the rest of the match in, which devalues the spot as Wall is given no time to sell the frigging guard-rail whup before he’s on offence again. Abbott laughs at Flynn’s pyjama attire and calls Wall ”The Ball”. They’re selling the gimmick of the no-holds barred match rather than the wrestlers. Probably because there’s not much to sell with Flynn and Abbott. Goattee vs. Mullet. TO THE DEATH. Flynn hits the flying kick in the corner that sends him to the outside (The one that Balls Mahoney does. I don’t know the real name so I’ll just call it the Balls Mahoney Corner Kick from now on) so he can hurl abuse at Abbott. Abbott then punches him in the back of the head (right in the mullet) when he turns around. He sends Flynn’s near-dead body (and mullet) into the ring and The Wall pins.
Winner: The Wall (2:44)
Try and figure out if there’s supposed to be a face or a heel in these matches. Got to love Abbott making Flynn look like an even bigger loser by knocking him out with one punch. BUY THE PPV, SEE PUNCHES.
Abbott then attacks The Wall too. This brings out security and Abbott PUNCHES J.J. DILLON. WCW then immediately cuts to adverts. You’d think they’d make a bigger deal out of Jo Jo Dillon being punched.
David Flair walks into Terry Funk backstage. We then cut to the ring. That was it, no talking or interacting.
WCW U. S. Champion Jeff Jarrett (with wheelbarrow full of Plunder) vs. WCW Hardcore Champion Norman Smiley (with NFL gear and laundry bag full of Plunder) (Bunkhouse Brawl Match)
Champion vs. Champion! Norman Smiley gets pounded by those unnervingly clean trash cans and screams the entire time. Norman was a lot of fun during this period. He drop toe holds Jarrett into another clean trash can (as Raven complains from a Travel Lodge somewhere) and Jarrett tries a cow-bell shot off the top rope…and misses Smiley who didn’t move out of the way. Even the commentators have to pass comment on that. Smiley counters by delivering The Big Wiggle and goes for the pin but Jarrett gets the foot on the rope. Smiley doesn’t realise and celebrates as if he won, allowing Jarrett to deliver the EL KABONG and The Strokes for the pin.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett (2:34)
Terry Funk distracts Jarrett as David Flair sneaks in and chokes Jarrett with a crowbar. Funk demands the nWo release Anderson or he’ll set David onto Jarrett. Release him even more, I guess. They have until after the advert break to decide. The viewer has the advert break to figure out why David Flair would attack Anderson but help Funk to save Anderson.
Potentially Life-Threatening Adverts.
Nash, Steiner, Hart bring out half-naked Anderson. Nash challenges Funk to a match at Souled Out. If Funks wins, they split up the nWo and if Nash wins, he becomes the new commissioner. Funk demands it be a hardcore match, the nWo are barred from interfering and Funk gets a hardcore match with Hart tonight. Funk doesn’t even want the title, which confuses Hart. Anderson and Jarrett are traded but Anderson gets one final shot from Hart as he attempts to attack Jarrett. Slightly awkward segment, but at least Anderson isn’t being buggered anymore.
Adverts: Star Wars Episode One Racer! Oh, it’s the Game Boy Colour version. Never mind.
We come back to Tony Mamaluke (of all people) and doing his best gangster voice ordering Disco Inferno to get some guy’s protection money. The story is Disco is a useless gangster and only gets the protection money from the storeowner by giving the guy his rolex. Johnny The Bull and Big Vito appear and do nothing but bad accents. You’d think the purpose of skits like these would be to show how bad ass/funny/strong a wrestler or a group of wrestlers are so the crowd like them/hate them. From this segment I know that Disco Inferno jobbed to a store owner. I wonder if Store Owner will be The Revolution’s Mystery Partner.
Funk attends to Anderson’s wounds as Stevie asks (axes) Funk if he can have a watch with Midnight with Booker T barred from ringside. Funk’s like ”moo”.
Adverts. Who’s a more useless gangster, Disco Inferno or Christoper from The Sopranos?
Stevie Ray vs. Midnight
Midnight’s entrance was interesting. The lights would go off, there’d be a loud ‘DUNG!” like a clock striking, and she’d appear in the ring when the lights came back on. It was wasted on her, but at least she got the Gangrel entrance (Pop for her entrance and then no reaction during the match). Midnight shows she just as strong as Ray by knocking him around. She was freaking RIPPED, so nobody’s surprised. Ray clotheslines Midnight and stops to pick his nose. Ray pins Midnight but pulls her up at 2. No Stevie, that never works! The cameras loved focusing on Ray’s face whenever he stopped to pose. Probably because he always looked hilarious whenever he did anything. With no possibility of Booker T interfering, the crowd is into – as soon as I type that Ray gets out his Slapjack ( I still don’t know what that damn thing was supposed to be. His cup?) and Booker T runs in to say PUT THAT CUP DOWN, SUCKER. Ray says sure and gives him it as he doesn’t need it to pin her. Ray slams Midnight some more and poses (Zoom in cameraman) Booker grimaces as Ray poses some more…as Midnight small packages Ray for the surprise win.
Winner: Midnight (4:41)
Harlem Heat are re-united! Ray reluctantly hugs Booker and Midnight…before grabbing his Slapjack/Cup and knocks down both members. We then go immediately backstage with no time to react.
Gene interviews The Filthy Animals backstage, but gets nothing out of them before Juvi appears with a random blonde who fancies Gene, who makes a noise like Paul Bearer on a rollercoaster and leaves, allowing Juvi to interview instead. Did they forget they already did the earlier skit or does Juvi collect mics? Anyway the Animals are going to beat Flair/Crowbar tonight. And that’s it. There was more Gene Sex than interview in that segment.
Advert with Sting’s mastercard.
Gene is back in the ring…with the blonde at ringside. Gene was in dirty, old man mode in 2000 which was probably a nod to the (alleged) fact he got more tail than most of the locker room. That still makes me laugh so I want to believe it’s true, just for the mental image of some hot Southern rat turning down some guy like Evan KerFuckingAwkwardSurnameGias for a dip in the Gene Pool.
Moving on from ‘Mean’ Gene’s sex-life, DDP gets interviewed. And now we talk about Buff Bagwell’s sex-life. DDP is furious that Bagwell was hitting on Page’s wife when Page was filming Ready To Rumble. Gene informs Page that Bagwell won’t be coming out, so DDP insults him in every way (small dick, gay, getting checked out in the shower…hey wait a minute) until Bagwell comes out and they brawl in the crowd. Someone must have called his momma.
The Prince Recording Sessions. Footage of The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea recording and being awkward. Prince references, kids! TAFKAPI sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the constant nu-metal during this era. Just wait until KISS Demon shows up. There’s nothing wrong with Prince or KISS, but this really was not the era to be bringing them up. Sadly WWE refuses to move on from this era when everybody else has.
Backstage Gene and Blonde head to the local Premier Inn. And er, that’s it? Chekov’s Guns does not apply to WCW in 2000.
Juvi interviews Bam Bam Bigelow about his match with Kevin Nash next. He manages two words before Kanyon smashes something over his head. I swear Juvi says off-camera ”Hey Sabu, gimme some juice”. Was this one of those shows Sabu showed up at? Or was Juvi just being Juvi?
Kevin Nash vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Nash grabs a sign from a fan on his way to the ring.
Bigelow is still down backstage, as Jarrett and Steiner attack him with DAT STEEL PIPE. Bigelow is dragged in a wheelbarrow to ringside. The bell is ringed when Bigelow is outside (?) but Nash smashes Bigelow with a baseball bat for the DQ anyway.
Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow via DQ (0.22)
WCW Souled Out 2000 advert plays. No matches are announced but there’s still a ‘Card Subject To Change’ disclaimer in the corner.
Adverts. I’m going to think of a better gimmick for these things.
WCW Tag Team Titles: Billy Kidman and Konnan (with Rey Mysterio, Jr.) vs. David Flair and Crowbar (with Daffney)
The Animals get a name as they come out! The other team doesn’t, but a juggalo in the crowd has a DAVID FLAIR sign. ‘Bar and ‘Man start with some nice flying stuff. Apparently the David/Crowbar/Daffney crew were called The Badlanders. I had no idea. Kidman nails the sit-out powerbomb and David kicks out. That has to suck for Kidman. Genuine exchange on commentary:
Tony Schavione: Two weeks ago Crowbar appeared at a garage and attacked David Flair. Now, he’s the WCW tag team champion!
Mike Tenay: Only in WCW!
David fucks up a spot (no, really) but ‘Bar missile dropkicks Kidman to cover up. Konnan DDTs ‘Bar but that just makes him crazier and so he hits a great looking release German Suplex on Kidman. Kidman goes on top and David tries to crotch him, but Kidman MISSES THE TOP ROPE and he falls off before ‘Bar puts him back on the top rope so they can do the next spot. Arn Anderson comes out (and he’s still half-naked!) and attacks Konnan with David’s crowbar so David can win.
Winner: The Badlanders (5:04)
The commentators don’t even try to explain why Anderson would help David after he attacked him on Nitro and allowed the nWo bugger him for three days. Post-match The Revolution attack the Filthy Animals with crutches.
Bret Hart vs. Terry Funk (Hardcore Match)
Bret Hart comes out first. He’s the World Champion, in case you forgot. This match is one of the last matches Hart ever had so this is going to be sad to watch. Funk throws some chairs into the ring, only for Hart to use the baseball bat he already had in the ring on Funk. Hart whips Funk into some guard-rails (the commentators call them safety rails, but that sounds like they’re soft and covered in felt). Hart nails Funk with a pre-Benoit chairshot to the head. Hart then sadly takes one from Funk. According to Bret’s autobiography, every time he got hit in the head after the match with Goldberg he received another concussion. Funk scoops Hart into the laundry bag of plunder (which he presumably borrowed from Norman Smiley) and knocks the bag down so Hart lands flat on the back of his head. Ah. Funk tries for a trash can assisted moonsault but Hart rolls out the way. Hart chair-shots Funk’s head again and Pillmanises Funk’s leg. Hart takes out the ref as we cut backstage (as the match is still on!) to Anderson putting on a referee shirt and David Flair appearing. David takes the shirt from Anderson and then locks Anderson in a room. In the arena, the nWo run-in (showing how stupid it is to have a face commissioner feud against a heel group who break the rules anyway) and pound on Funk. David comes out with the referee shirt…and gets knocked down. Well that was a waste of time then. Nash drags Funk to the titantron (or whatever WCW called their set) and powerbombs Funk head-first through the floor as we go off the air.
Winner: Hart’s insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London.
Overall: There was some good. That was more than I was expecting. But mostly it was a show that tried to do fifty things at once but only knew how to properly do five of them. It was mostly stupid, harmless fun apart from the Hart/Funk match. Having said that, it was such a weird, convoluted mess that I couldn’t turn away.
God knows what I’ve got myself into. David Lynch + Wrestling = Thunder 2000.
The lasagne was nice.