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The final nail in the Clash coffin came in the form of what would become WCW Thunder. WCW, to their credit, we rightly very reluctant about the addition of another TV show, but didn't really have a choice as TBS wanted to get in on the live wrestling act. While it seems (and seemed) stupid, most of the expansions at the time did so – and up until this point they'd all worked. Going to monthly pay per views shouldn't have worked – it did (to a degree), going from one hour to two hour TVs shouldn't have worked – but did for both the WWF and WCW. Add in that somewhat perplexing logic to the fact TBS were reportedly willing to pay $10 million for the new show and suddenly WCW had an issue on their hands.
As for the build to the show, it was largely non-existent. Nitro was rattling along at its own pace, pay per views almost became afterthoughts unless WCW had a marquee match to build to (see Hogan/Sting). The following month, the main event for the Fall Brawl pay per view was only announced six days before. It was just how it was back then – can't stop the train.
Jeff Jarrett (w/ Queen Debra) vs Steve Mongo McMichael for the WCW United States Title
Not much to this, Jarrett controlled the bulk of the match – which is generally text speak for him losing. Eddie Guerrero comes out and hits Jarrett, not Mongo as he'd planned, while coming off the turnbuckle with the title. Mongo pins Jarrett for a big pop and to win the title.
Alex Wright does an interview – this is great. Okerlund tells Wright (in the first ten seconds of the interview had spoken nothing but English) to cut out the German, to which Wright responded by speaking German. He then told the fans who were almost wholly silent to shut up, before saying "You know why they call him the Dragon? Because I'm going to be carrying Dragon... Dragon"… butchering a joke that was meant to end with him saying that he'd be "Draggoning his ass across the state". Still, points for effort I suppose. Wright is phenomenal.
Stevie Richards vs Raven in what is (at Raven's request) a No Disqualification Match
I'm not sure WCW really had much of a clue what they were attempting to do with Richards and Raven. Richards is Raven's sidekick, yet about six weeks in he's already facing him in matches. This was your typical Raven match, that is to say it wasn't particularly good, Raven dominated most of it then Richards essentially rallied by no selling the offense, but after a near miss with a schoolboy Raven picks it up with a DDT.
Alex Wright vs The Ultimo Dragon for the WCW Television Title
Dragon putting a serious case in for wrestler of the year for 1997, and this was another nice one to add to the collection opposite someone in Alex Wright, who has quietly turned into quite a fine wrestler himself. Dragon dominates the early goings, Wright rallies a bit during the commerical but the match builds quite nicely with Dragon getting in some impressive spots late – including a crossbody and a moonsault to the floor. Despite wearing most of the punishment in the match, Wright hits a German suplex (he's German, so that's his finisher) and wins the TV Title. Best match of the night this.
Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight Title
Has history forgotten to tell us how forgettable Chris Jericho used to be? A talented, well-trained worker missing almost everything that would see him connect with the audience. This was technically fine, and presumably has some historical significance for what these two would go on to become, but a completely flat babyface against a fledling heel wasn't going anywhere. Jericho trips up going over the top on a diagonal dropkick, hits Guerrero with a nice superplex and a release German suplex before a series of rolling pin attempts that were won by Jericho. Guerrero gets a beat-down in post-match, not sure anyone cares...
Psychosis, Villiano IV, Villiano V and Silver King (w/ Sonny Ono) vs Super Calo, Juventud Guerrera, Lizmark Jr and Hector Garza
The usual chaos that we've come to expect from these guys – a ridiculous pace with almost no selling – it's hard to imagine why any of them thoughyt this was a good idea. We get the usual pile-up on the outside with dive after dive after dive followed by Garza hitting a big corkscrew ont the pile. Psicosis picks up the win with a leg drop off the top. Even by these guys standards, this was way too much in way too short a period of time.
Dinner and a Movie
So... the hosts of Dinner and a Movie had been invited onto the set as part of a piece of cross-promotion (Randy Savage had recently appeared on their show). Okerlund asks one of the hosts to tell us what food he's cooking and he introduces us to "Macho Nachos", "Macho Mayonaisse", "Savage Garden Salad" and "NWOcre" before introducing us to "WCW Cream Puffs". Of course, this can mean only one thing: THE HOSTS OF DINNER AND A MOVIE ARE NWO FOR LIFE.
This is a great segment, Okerlund's reaction when the hosts reveal the ruse is absolutely fantastic and the hosts and Savage take Okerlund hostage. Diamond Dallas Page comes out, rips up the set and gives on of the hosts a Diamond Cutter. A proper: go-out-of-your-way-to-see-this segment.
Syxx and Konnan vs Ric Flair and Curt Hennig
Big reactions for Flair out of the gate, but not sure that there's really an investment in any of the other three. This was fine, Flair is over even if he isn't really any good any more, the crowd still don't really care about Hennig – as much as they were trying. Syxx gets fired across the ring and takes out the back of Flair's knee and then we finish with inevitable as Curt Hennig hits the Perfect-Plex (that we can't actually call a perfect plex) Fisherman's Buster on Konnan.
Scott Hall and Randy Savage (w/ Konnan, Nash, Liz, Syxx, Bagwell, Norton, Vincent and probably a couple of others) vs Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) and Lex Luger
So it's the NWO's birthday... (I mean, most people celebrate their first birthday 13 months after their birth, right?). The ring is surrounded by black and white balloons, which creates the odd backdrop of what sounds like gun-fire in the first few minutes of the match as fans pop balloons. The match was fine between four over guys, Page plays the face in peril, Luger tags in before Hall manages to shut Luger into Page who, with his back turned, blindly hits Luger with a Diamond Cutter. Hall crawls over for the cover and a clean win.
After the show we get a promo from Bischoff in the ring with the rest of the NWO. We cut to the rafters and Sting is holding a bird, we get a child's poem that largely doesn't go anywhere before the bird swoops down to ringside and sits on the ring ropes. With one problem... the bird was carrying a note that said "Hogan's Soul", or at least he was when Sting let him go. By the time the bird got to the ring he'd dropped the note. Killing anything this segment may have contributed as the NWO try and save the unsavable.
Score Rating: 7.5/10
Go Back and Watch: Fun TV show, the only match better than decent is Wright and Dragon, but the main event is decent too. Memorable for a few really fun non-wrestling segments.