WCW/nWo: Spring Stampede 1998

spring_stampede_98

WCW/nWo: Spring Stampede
April 19, 1998
Denver, CO
Denver Coliseum

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Sting (2/22/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (12/28/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (2/22/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Booker T (2/22/1998)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (1/24/1998)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan. Tony announces that the cast is coming off Randy Savage’s arm and the match will now be NO DISQUALIFICATION.

  • Bill Goldberg (73-0) vs. Saturn (w/Kidman)

Saturn gets thrown around by some VINTAGE GOLDBERG moves. After that happens, Kidman tries to pull Saturn out to the floor and gets picked up by Goldberg. As Saturn escapes to the floor anyways, Goldberg throws Kidman on top of Saturn wiping him out. Saturn butts Goldberg in the belly and sweeps the legs to take him down. Saturn starts dropping bombs on Goldberg for only a one-count. Huge Goldberg chants and he counters a suplex with a spinning neckbreaker. A press slam into a powerslam connects, but Saturn rolls to the floor and snaps Goldberg’s neck off the top rope. To the floor, Goldberg takes a bump into the stairs. Saturn keeps it going by sandwiching Goldberg’s arm in between the steps and ringpost. Saturn even comes off the apron to take Goldberg over with a headscissors. Nice stuff. His shoulder takes another hard shot this time into the ringpost. Saturn looks for an Asai Moonsault perhaps, but loses his footing and lands funny on Goldberg. Back inside, Saturn lands a spinning heel kick from the top rope and still only gets a one-count. Saturn remains on the arm trying to get Goldberg to tap, but Goldberg is just too powerful. It gets a little awkward while they’re running the ropes. Goldberg fires back with a reverse kick and the SPEAR. Kidman distracts ref Nick Patrick while Saturn low blows Goldberg to prevent the Jackhammer. He puts Goldberg up top for a superplex, but Goldberg decides to press slam Saturn to the mat instead. Here comes the Flock. While Goldberg fights off the others, Kidman appears in the ring trying to get Saturn to leave again. He takes a SPEAR. Saturn jumps Goldberg from behind and applies the RINGS OF SATURN, but Goldberg muscles out and hoists Saturn up into the JACKHAMMER for the win. (8:11) Let’s hope Saturn received a bonus for this one. And why didn’t they make this is a #1 contenders match to the US title instead of already making Goldberg the number one contender no matter who won this match. In kayfabe terms, it would create more interesting scenarios for tomorrow’s U.S. title match than just GOLDBERG GETS THE WINNER. What will happen if Raven and Saturn collide? What does that mean for the Flock? That’s interesting, right? *½

  • Ultimo Dragon vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. (w/Eddie Guerrero)

“Eddie sucks” chants to begin things. Chavo puts Dragon to the mat and twists on the legs. Dragon gets out with a headlock and sweeps the legs to take down Chavo. We see the headstand in the corner trick and then Dragon connects with his Kick Combo. Eddie is already putting the towel over his head. There’s a version of the Stump Puller on Chavo. He escapes and applies a Muta Lock on Dragon. As they take a break from all the stretching, Chavo delivers some headscissors and then goes to a chinlock. Eddie is yelling at Chavo to use the ropes and pull on the mask. DO WHATEVER YOU GOTTA DO TO WIN! Dragon escapes and locks on the surfboard hold. Dragon fails to land the handspring elbow and can’t apply La Magistral, but Chavo catches him with a lariat for two. Dragon flips out of a backdrop and hits a hurracanrana for 1-2-NO! Chavo reverses the pin for 1-2-NO! He gets crotched up top, but stops Dragon from trying his finisher. They fight on the apron and Chavo takes a suplex to the floor only for Dragon to hit the Asai Moonsault. Eddie continues to yell at Chavo while he recovers. It seemed to motivate him though as Chavo busts out a somersault plancha that almost had too much speed. Back inside, there’s a double KO. They come up fighting until Dragon lands an enziguri kick. Dragon comes off the top, but takes a dropkick to the balls on the way down. Eddie is encouraging his nephew to attack Dragon while he’s down. When Chavo lets Dragon recover, Eddie comes completely unglued and slaps Chavo around. As soon as Dragon stands up, Chavo dropkicks him down. Dragon counters a suplex into a small package for a nearfall. He tries again and this time he lands the BRAINBUSTER. Chavo looks for the TORNADO DDT, but Dragon counters and catches him in the DRAGON SLEEPER for the win. (11:49) I liked it better on the second viewing. I liked the fact that these two wrestled a good clean back and forth match despite all of Eddie’s yelling to make it not that way. ***¼

  • No Time Limit Match for the WCW World Television Championship: Booker T (c) vs. Chris Benoit

Stiff tie-up to start. That turns into headlocks and shoulderblocks as Booker controls. Benoit chops back on Booker and ducks his kicks before going after the knee. Booker kicks Benoit out to the floor anyways. Back in, Booker catches Benoit with a nasty clothesline and locks in an armbar. Hook kick gets two. Benoit backs Booker in the corner and stomps a mud hole, but then Booker stuns Benoit with a backbreaker. Back to the armbar. Benoit escapes and hangs Booker out to dry before knocking him down to the floor into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Benoit chops some more and delivers a snap suplex for two. He follows up with a back suplex and hits the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT for 1-2-NO! Booker gets his foot on the bottom rope. He manages to reverse Benoit’s suplex with one of his own. Benoit fires back on Booker and delivers another snap suplex for two. BOOKER T WILL NOT DIE. Oh, here comes the Rolling Germans. Benoit continues with a back superplex (!!), but Benoit hits hard and can’t cover him quick enough. Booker fires back with the Sidewalk Slam that jars Benoit’s head and neck again. He nails Benoit with the Jumping Forearm Smash. Here comes the flapjack, but Benoit pulls ref Mickey Jay down into the Axe Kick. Whoops. Benoit puts Booker into the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE. Booker hits the mat while he’s reaching for the ropes. Our esteemed commentators think Booker tapped out. Anyways, Benoit lets go of the hold thinking he’s won and goes to wake up the ref. While he’s doing that, Booker takes him out with the Harlem Side Kick and covers him for the win. (14:12) Talk about a matchup that would never in a million years require a cheap ref bump. Good grief. It was a fine match, but had only a small portion of the heat that the other matches have had. This crowd just didn’t seem to really want Benoit to take the TV belt away from Booker. ***

  • Davey Boy Smith (w/Jim Neidhart) vs. Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude)

Jim Neidhart and Rick Rude are forced – FORCED, I say – to be handcuffed to each other during this match hoping this will prevent Rude from getting involved. Hennig has a knee brace on and Davey Boy exploits that for a while. Rude tries to get into the ring and gets yanked back onto the floor by Neidhart. Heenan – “Look at Rude and Neidhart out there. It looks like a lawyer with his client.” This whole match has been Davey Boy smashing on Hennig’s knee. When Bulldog goes for a Sharpshooter for a cheap reaction, the policeman who handcuffed Neidhart and Rude appears. He has apparently given Rude a handcuff key and while Neidhart is choking him, Rude is freeing himself and handcuffing Neidhart to the ringpost. In the ring, Rude prevents the Running Powerslam from happening. Hennig runs Davey Boy’s head onto the turnbuckle connector and covers him for the win. (4:50) The worst PPV match of the year to date. Just horrible. We find that the policeman who gave Rude the handcuff key is none other than VINCENT. Rude and Hennig beat up Davey Boy Smith some more and it appears there is no one in the locker room who is willing to help. CRAP

  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Prince Iaukea

Iaukea and Jericho play around with a headlock to start. Heenan makes a joke about seeing Dean Malenko homeless down in St. Petersburg Florida. Tenay comments that Iaukea was trained at the Malenko wrestling school. Jericho tries to skin the cat back inside the ring and takes a dropkick to the floor in a poorly timed spot. Prince comes off the apron with a CANNONBALLLLLL splash on Jericho. Back in, Iaukea works the headlock some more. Jericho finally stops Iaukea tripping him into the ropes. Suplex sets up C’MON BABY. Jericho grabs a chinlock. He slams Iaukea and heads up top taking his sweet time – almost to the point of being tongue-in-cheek about it. He flies down into Iaukea’s feet and that starts a comeback. A springboard somersault body block puts Jericho down for 1-2-NO! LIONTAMER, but Iaukea makes the ropes. Iaukea blocks a flying sunset flip for another nearfall. Jericho teases the top-rope frankensteiner and they both take a tumble to the floor. In the ring, Iaukea blocks the LIONTAMER into a rollup for 1-2-NO! Good nearfall. Iaukea hits the NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX, but Jericho grabs the bottom rope to save his title. Now Iaukea tries a flying sunset flip, but Jericho maneuvers his way out and locks in the LIONTAMER for the tapout. (9:57) This may be Iaukea’s best match to date, but it’s nothing to write home about. It reminds me a lot of Jericho’s weekly title defenses during this period. Since Jericho likes to take trophies from all his fallen foes at PPVs, he takes Iaukea’s loincloth as his own. **½

  • Lex Luger & Rick Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Scott Steiner & Buff Bagwell

When Bagwell comes out, he’s wearing a poorly wrapped cast on his wrist and says this match is canceled. Well, JJ Dillon confronts Buff about this. Heenan says he’s had sub sandwiches wrapped better than Bagwell’s wrist. Dillon brings in an orthopedic surgeon to check on Buff’s wrist. There’s nothing wrong with his wrist. When Buff grabs Dillon by the tie using his hurt hand, the surgeon clears Buff to wrestle. Oh boy. Buff pearl harbors Rick when he goes after his brother. Luger brawls with Scott on the floor. When Scott breaks free, he helps out Buff against Rick. This really should be a Texas Tornado match. Now the match becomes a match. Scott and Buff keep the DFG on their side of the ring. This goes on for a while. Hot tag to Luger, he runs through these nWo boys – like buttah. He goes for the TORTURE RACK on Buff, but Scott saves the day. As Scott holds Lex to get nailed by Buff, Rick blindsides Buff with a Steinerline. Since it’s just the Steiner brothers now, Scott decides to hightail it up the aisle. Buff lowblows Luger and heads up for the Buff Blockbuster, but Rick shoves him to the mat setting up the TORTURE RACK for the win. (5:58) It was what it was. I do think it would have been more fun if it was a Texas Tornado match or a Denver Street Fight with all four men fighting at the same time. It fits the storyline better than a regular tag and fits the PPV better with the “wild west” theme. I don’t know – SOMETHING other than what we got. *½

  • Psychosis vs. La Parka

This is an added match that should have been booked and announced all along. La Parka dances and spits at Psychosis to start. They trade open hand slaps as well. Psychosis shows off with some fancy headscissors moves. When La Parka bails out, Psychosis takes him out with a tope suicida. Now La Parka wants to fly with a split-legged moonsault press. Crowd seems almost dead now. Psychosis seems to be having some trouble getting a springboard headscissors move on La Parka, but finally hits the move for two. Corkscrew moonsault plancha wipes out La Parka on the floor. Back in the ring, Psychosis misses a flying splash. La Parka pins him and lifts Psychosis off the mat. Alabama Slam on Psychosis, but La Parka lifts him up again. La Parka tries a powerbomb, but Psychosis counters into a rollup for a nearfall. From here, Psychosis trips up La Parka in the ropes and delivers the GUILLOTINE LEGDROP for the three-count. (7:02) Too late in the evening for these luchadores. Gotta give them points for effort though, I suppose. **

  • Bat Match: The Giant & Roddy Piper vs. Hollywood Hogan & Kevin Nash

It’s a “baseball bat on a pole” match! Don’t give Vince Russo all the hate for “object on a pole” matches because here’s one, bro. That bat is really high up there. Doesn’t everybody in this match have severe leg problems? Ugh, this could be a disaster. Piper goes for the bat immediately and Hogan punches him down and kicks him in the tree of woe. Piper fires back on Hogan and pokes him in the eyes. He pulls on Hogan’s hair and earclaps him. Headbutt by Piper, but it hurts Piper as much as Hogan. Hogan abuse Piper with his weightlifting belt and goes for the bat. Tag to Giant, he stops Hogan and spanks him with the belt and then with his hand. CREEPY! At one point, Piper clotheslines Hogan with the belt and covers him and the ref counts two. WHAT. Hogan low blows Piper to turn the tide. When Nash tags in, he tells Piper to go tag Giant, which he does. Tony says Giant weighed in tonight at 501. Giant lays in the knees in the corner and avalanches Nash. He runs into a boot though and Nash takes over with his standard corner offense. When Giant recovers, he and Nash big boot each other. Piper and Hogan tag in and trade punches. Piper wins the slugfest, but gets pushed back into the wrong corner. Nash doesn’t do anything to Piper though. Piper fires back on Hogan for the ten-count corner punch. Nash has had enough and grabs Piper, but Piper’s trick knee acts up. The match breaks down and Giant DROPKICKS Nash out of the ring. SLEEPERHOLD on Hogan! Once Hogan is down and out, Giant helps Piper get up the pole to reach the bat. Nash yanks Giant down though. Hogan throws the bat away though and he and Nash start pounding away on Piper. Here comes the Disciple. He tosses a bat to Hogan who clubs down the Giant. He goes to whack Piper’s bad hip, but Piper moves and Nash gets nailed in the gut. Piper steals away the bat and beats down both Hogan and Nash. Giant is completely out. Disciple finds the bat that was hanging on the pole and tosses it to Hogan. While Disciple plays tug of war with Piper with the other bat, Hogan drills Piper over the shoulders and covers Piper for the three-count. (13:23) Afterwards, Nash seems LIVID with Hogan, but then takes instruction to powerbomb the Giant. When he starts to do it, Hogan wallops him over the back with the bat. Giant wakes up and scares Hogan out of the ring. He takes the bat and breaks it over his knee. HOGAN WILL PAY. Haha, no he won’t. Actually pretty entertaining for what it was. **

  • “Raven’s Rules” for the WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Raven

They even announce during DDP’s entrance that the winner of this match faces Goldberg tomorrow night on Nitro. They are REELING after that one loss to RAW. Raven brings the stolen U.S. title belt to the ring. DDP has to fight not just Raven, but also Sick Boy to start. Once DDP sends Sick Boy into the guardrail, Raven jabs DDP in the ribs and goes for the Evenflow DDT. DDP backs him into the corner and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Raven shoves off the Diamond Cutter and escapes up the aisle. DDP follows him to the Spring Stampede set where DDP splashes Raven off the stage coach and onto some hay bales. Raven gets tossed through an old western-style wooden fence. There’s some trash can violence. DDP tries to slam Raven on the website table and doesn’t quite get the whole table. Raven fights back with a plastic sheet and double sledges the ribs off a barricade. He finds a bull rope and whacks DDP with the cowbell. Raven walks DDP to the ring using the bull rope like a leash. Sick Boy tosses a kitchen sink to Raven and abuses DDP. Lots of kitchen sink puns from our esteemed commentators. DDP comes back with a drop toehold onto the sink. As DDP covers Raven, he moves as Kidman flies in and splashes Raven. Cover, 1-2-NO! Sick Boy makes himself useful again as he hits DDP with a crutch. Raven covers for two. Hammer goes for a flying clothesline and hits Raven by mistake. DDP knocks him out with the sink and covers Raven for two. Raven low blows DDP and calls in Reese for the CHOKE BOMB. Cover, 1-2-NO! And Reese just leaves. Lodi tosses Raven a stop sign, but DDP smashes it back in Raven’s face. He then goes on a rampage taking out the Flock with the stop sign. Kidman jumps on DDP’s back and gets BANGED. Nice! Kidman always did take the best Diamond Cutter bumps. Anyways, a guy dressed as a WCW ring crew member (Horace Hogan) enters the ring and wallops DDP with the stop sign. DDP staggers into the EVENFLOW DDT on the sink for the three-count. (11:57) Ladies and gents, we’ve got a new U.S. champion. Heenan calls him the shortest lived U.S. champ ever because he’s got Goldberg tomorrow. Fun, intricately-booked garbage match here. I’d give it match of the night honors. ***½

  • No-DQ Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Sting (c) vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth)

Savage BUM RUSHES THE SHOW right off the bat choking and gouging Sting. He punches Sting with his injured hand and regrets it. Sting punches back and the ringside violence carries on up the aisle and over to the Spring Stampede set again. This is where Tony drops the line about the hay being very abrasive. I should have announced this at the beginning, but you could make a drinking game out of every time our esteemed commentators mention the thin air in Denver. Back to ringside, Sting misses the Stinger Splash on the guardrail. Savage sends Sting face first in the ringpost for two. Sting gets choked and gouged some more, but then throws Savage to the floor and gives him a suplex. Liz actually comes over and helps him back in the ring. Savage goes low on Sting and drops him balls first on the top rope for two. He tries the flying double sledge, but Sting catches him on the way down. There’s a ref bump in a no-DQ match. Sting takes a PILEDRIVER, but hardly sells it. As Savage is stuck on the top rope, Liz comes over and barely hits Sting with a chair. It’s enough to distract Sting though. Savage gets punched back in the corner for the Stinger Splash, but he pulls Liz in front of the Stinger Splash! Good grief. Now Savage drills Sting with the chair and puts the chair under Sting’s head to set up for the MACHO ELBOW, but here comes Hollywood Hogan to shove him off the top rope. Hogan thinks he’s done enough and leaves. IT’S NO-DQ, BRO. Elizabeth is taken out by medical personnel. Sting hits the SCORPION DEATHDROP as Kevin Nash appears. He nails Sting from behind and gives him a JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB. He puts Savage on top of Sting, tosses ref Charles Robinson near Sting, and counts the pinfall. (10:11) Ladies and gents, we’ve got a new world champ. Hogan and Disciple come back out and complain about the decision as we go off the air. Another garbage match marred by injuries. **

Final Thoughts: This card suffered with a weaker than usual mid-card that WCW was known for delivering on a monthly basis. Although the degree of the injuries vary, at least half of the matches here had someone involved with a nagging injury, so that would have some effect on match quality. I did enjoy the DDP/Raven stuff. Chavo put on his best match to date tonight. If you think about how rough that bat match could have been, it was also surprisingly entertaining. Considering all the heat building up with Chris Benoit and Booker T though, I expected more out of their match, which came to me as a disappointment. The best is yet to come though with the best of seven series between those two. Nothing MOTYC-quality here which is the first time that has been the case since Starrcade. In closing, Spring Stampede 1998 is right there around the “thumbs in the middle” area.

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