WCW Thunder - Wednesday, 04/22/98

WCW Thunder - Wednesday, 04/22/98

By Bill


David R. sends the following arena report:
I wonít go into the matches too much. I just want to let you know about some of the stuff that happened when the cameras werenít on.

We arrived at the Carolina Coliseum about 4:00 and went around to the back entrance where we knew all the wrestlers would arrive. The first one we saw was Sick Boy, and he is indeed rather big, much more so then you can appreciate on TV. Over the course of the next two hours we saw Lex Lugar, Hammer, Kidman, and Evan Kourageous. Buff Bagwell arrived in a truck with Georgia plates, from Cobb County (hmm...whereís Ray Traylor?) Giant hung outside for about a half hour talking to the University of South Carolina basketball team and a lady we were later told was his mother. They are from South Carolina. He was very nice and had quite a few laughs, and the guy is truly enormous. Bobby Heenan showed up, and we walked up and said hello, but he didnít even acknowledge us, walking right past. Iíve heard heís a bit of a jerk, so that wasnít surprising. Jim Neidhart showed up in the same truck with Hennig and Rude...hey, arenít they supposed to be feuding ;-) One of the funniest things of the day was Neidhart getting out of the truck with no shirt on, belly hanging out quite prominently, and and pulling his golf clubs out of the truck, and carrying them into the arena. I gotta know...why? Nick Patrick sat in his truck for about a half hour after arriving smoking cigarettes and napping. Vincent, a full three hours before the show, was already in full nWo costume and moving back and forth quite often between the arena and the trucks. I guess he must have been delivering tonightís "sponsored by the nWo" commercials ;-)

Doors opened at 6:45, and after picking up a coke and going into the arena, we found our seats. We sat directly across the arena from the announcers. On TV, it was the far side of the arena and left. The first thing I noticed after settling in was that over the house speakers they were playing the Outsiderís Theme from before the nWo...kinda cool, but I bet there werenít a whole lot of people who recognized it. When they got to the Horsemen music, the crowd went crazy- this is definitely Horseman country down here. Loud boos for the nWo music. They cycled all the theme music for about 45 minutes before David Penzer did his thing. With the house lights still up, the Thunder set wasnít all that impressive...it even looked like some of the metal was rusted. Of course, when the show started, it looked great.

Signs:

"Flair is My Deadbeat Dad"
"Be Fair to Flair"

Both of these were confiscated.

Sign of the night:

"Goldberg Fears a De-Push"- no kidding

It was in this arena last August that we were guests at the Arn Anderson retirement.

There were no dark matches.

I donít know if it was audible or not on TV, but 5 times I counted the fans started, "We Want Flair" chants, two of them quite loud. One guy got in an aisle when it was kinda quiet and started, "We Want Flair" and was stopped by one of Dillingerís goons. I guess they really donít want Flairís name mentioned at all ever.

There was a guy walking the rows with the absolute best Hogan outfit Iíve ever seen. People across the arena were turning to check him out. He had it down to the nWo weightlifting belt and black gloves. Pretty impressive actually...I wonder if he had the guts to walk out in public with that outfit on?

After Hoganís interview, he crotch chopped the crowd a few times and gave the Universal Sign for Up Yourís. I must say, Iím a big nWo fan, but I really hate Hogan, which means the jokeís on me because heís doing a great job of drawing heel heat. Bischoff did his circling fists act to several fans and they were gone.

The best wrestling match by far was Booker T vs Disco Inferno. Lots of action...Booker T could be a main-eventer if he had any microphone skills. And you gotta love Disco. I saw the disco ball hanging from the rafters early on and was hoping heíd wrestle.

Bagwellís injury looked like a total work for the first few minutes because the only oneís out there were Vincent and Norton, and there was a camera in the middle of it. I was figuring that it was some sort of the beginnings of a Steiner face turn where he injured Buff with the chair. After a few minutes, we saw Buff wasnít moving and others were coming out, and it became obvious that something was wrong. The crowd was really quiet. About 15 minutes after the match, with Buff still laid out on the mat, some jerks took the opportunity in the quiet to start, "nah nah nah nah...hey hey hey...goodbye" The entire Flock turned and stared those idiots down, and they didnít start it again. During the break, matches from Mondayís Nitro were shown. As Buff was taken out on the stretcher, chants of, "Buff...Buff...Buff..." were quite loud and it was nice to see. Kinda makes up for those other scumbags.

Page got the second biggest pop of the night after banging Kourageous, Boulder and the referee and his semi-shoot interview was great. The crowd reacted exactly like they were supposed to - like when a schoolyard bully says something about someoneís mother and everyone watching goes, "ooohhhhh" and waits for a response.

Kidman kept jumping the rail during commercials and goofing off with the cameramen and Penzer, not even really doing anything to keep the crowd interested. This canít be very good for those impressionable souls who are trying to fight the urge to get personally involved at ringside.

Savage was on fire...great to see the Macho Man coming back after languishing in Hoganís shadow for all those years. I have a newfound respect for Macho after watching him work those last two matches at Spring Stampede and Nitro. Iíve had knee surgery twice, and trust me when I say after hurting a knee, it hurts like hell. He could have (and truth be told, probably should have) just had knee surgery and take his time off to recover and rehabilitate, and hope he doesnít suffer the same fate as Syxx. Instead, heís given us two of his best matches ever. And Schiavione says nobody in the nWo has a soul.

Of course, the loudest pop of the night went to Goldberg. Easily a third of the signs in the house were about him. What he did or what he knows about Bischoff I donít know, but he is getting the best push in recent memory. I was wondering what Mean Mike Enos has done to get this match, but then I realized I hadnít seen him among the long line of jobbers Goldbergís beaten. Oh, well..I guess heís good for WCW, and his popularity in wrestling overall is second only to SCSA.

The utterly forgettable main event of Sting vs Big Poppa Pump was saved by Stingís interview afterward. Finally, after 18 months or so, we see the Old Sting sense of humor coming back...his comments on Nash were great (did anything ever expect to hear him use the "Too Sweet" line?). After the show went off the air, Sting kept talking for a minute, and did, "something I canít do on TV, but I can do it now", proceeding to crotch chop the entire crowd about 30 times, jumping up and down like a pogo stick. With that, the show ended.

Not really a bad show, but it really lost any momentum it had when Buff got hurt. There were no dark matches before or after the show, and between matches the best we got was Buff doing, "When youíre with the nWo, youíre with the nWo 4-Life". The shirt stand was out of the nWo shirt I wanted, which sucked too. Other then that, Wildcat Willie and Penzer just didnít cut it. I left wondering which matches or interviews got cut out during the injury. I saw Hennig, Rude, and Neidhart before and they didnít make it out. Also, no Nash or Bret Hart, two people I really expected to see after this past Nitro, as well as no Luchadores, no Jericho and no Piper. I canít say Iím disappointed, because anytime I can see the WCW is good, but the show could definitely have been better.

Thatís it for now. Iíll send in another report on the House Show in Louisville, KY on May 24th. Till then, see ya!


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