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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Spring Stampede ’98

January 21, 2007 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Spring Stampede ’98  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Spring Stampede ’98

This one isn’t too good

Next up for me was to be Souled Out ’98 but I’ve already recapped that show. You can find said review Here. The snowflakes are pretty generous but Bret-Flair was really good. They should have run that Benoit stable. He got SO de-pushed right afterwards. After that I was planning on Superbrawl VIII but I’ve done that too. You can get that here. Oh the horror. I won’t be redoing that one anytime soon. Also there’s Uncensored. I’ve done that one too. That’s available here. So here’s option four: Spring Stampede ’98 and I’ve even done the opening two matches before.

April 19th 1998. We’re in Denver, Colorado. Hosts are Fat Tony, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay. They have late breaking news. Savage is having his cast removed for the main event. Sting & Savage have agreed for no DQ tonight. They bring up the baseball bat match between Hogan/Nash and whoever they’re wrestling. Giant & Piper. Not mentioned, I had to look it up.

SIDENOTE – Around this time Ric Flair got into a dispute with WCW’s Eric Bischoff resulting in Bischoff kicking him off the show for five months and a massive lawsuit. The crowd hadn’t quite picked up on it on this show but the following five months would see an awful lot of “we want Flair”. Hell, the chants escaped into ECW too although there it was “free Ric Flair”.

Bill Goldberg v Perry Saturn

Kidman is itching to be in Saturn’s corner. Goldberg, naturally, is undefeated (73-0) and this is the day before he took the US title off Raven. Pumphandle suplex from Goldberg and he goes to a knee bar. Kidman helps Saturn and Goldberg press slams him over the ropes. Saturn sweeps the legs coming back in and he drops a leg. Savage elbow gets 1. Saturn looks for a suplex but Goldberg counters right into a neckbreaker. Press front slam. Goldberg never seems to cover until the spear. Kidman distracts and Saturn hangs Goldberg on the ropes. Slingshot splash and a T-BONE SUPLEX! Goldberg falls outside and Saturn dropkicks him into the ringsteps. Saturn uses the ringsteps on Goldberg’s arm. Rana on the floor! Goldberg is posted again. Saturn blows an Asai moonsault and tries to blag a back elbow. I’m not buying it. Back inside and Saturn hits a spin kick for 1. Fujiwara armbar applied and when Goldberg gets out a cross armbreaker. Goldberg stands out and stomps Saturn. Sideslam from Goldberg but he actually sells on the arm. Superkick as Saturn comes off the ropes (with a curve on the leg, nice if he’d done that for Bret). Spear but Kidman distracts and Saturn goes low. Smart stuff. To the ropes and Goldberg press slams Saturn off there. Kidman in – spear for him. Saturn jumps again – RINGS OF SATURN! Goldberg powers up out of it straight into the Jackhammer. Goodnight at 8.08. Incredible performance from Saturn carrying the rookie. ***. To that point Goldberg’s only good match. Amazing power at the end there and I was impressed at the variation on existing Goldberg stuff. Odd though that they’d save Goldberg’s title win for Nitro. Oh, 74-0. Crowd was NUTZ for Goldberg.

Chavo Guerrero Jr v Ultimo Dragon

Uncle Eddie is in Chavo’s corner with the “Eddie Guerrero is my favourite wrestler” shirt on (the original “Cheat to Win” shirt). Dragon brings the swish kicks. Standing reverse Figure 4 from Dragon but Chavo gets out into a deathlock with bridge. Couple of headscissors and a dropkick from Chavito. Dragon retorts with a camel clutch and then a Mexican Stretch. He can’t get a submission however. Chavo rolls through La Mahistral into a clothesline for 2. Dragon with a rana into a pin and that’s countered for 2. Dragon suplexes Chavo outside. ASAI MOONSAULT! Chavo goes back in for a twisting somersault suicide dive. Dragon with an Enzuigiri back inside. Dragon comes off the ropes but gets caught in a dropkick somewhat south of the border. Chavo won’t get on the freshly injured Dragon and Eddie gets pissed off with him for not taking advantage. Dragon cradles Chavo for 2. BRAINBUSTER from Chavo. Tornado DDT is blocked into the Dragon Sleeper and Chavo has to tap out at 11.49. Eddie looks suitably disappointed. ***. Got better after a slow start. If Chavo had been as ruthless as Eddie he’d have won the match, which I believe is the point. Eddie’s ranting at Chavo was better than the actual match and the match was quite good.

TV title – Booker T (c) v Chris Benoit

No time limit after several time limit draws between these guys. You’d think that’d be an excuse for a nice long match right? Clearly you’re not familiar with WCW booking. Both guys are babyfaces and over. Heenan relays a story about how Bobo Brazil said that Booker would be a bigger star than he ever was. Booker starts better and knocks Benoit over with a shoulder charge. Benoit ends up out on the floor. Benoit takes his time and comes back in with a chop. Booker tries a spin kick but Benoit ducks and sweeps the legs. Great timing on that. Benoit goes after the leg to take out all these kicks but Booker spin kicks him with his free leg. They fight over a hip toss until Booker hits a clothesline from close in for 2. Booker with a back kick for 2. Booker is working the arm in between spots to try and negate the Crossface. So they’re trading body parts for effect. Benoit just goes wild on Booker and stomps the shit out of him in the corner. Crowd reaction is mixed and Benoit ends up running into a backbreaker for 2. Booker slows this one right up with an armbar. It was a noticeable rest spot and the fans reacted accordingly. Benoit dumps Booker on the ropes and sends him outside. Booker spends a noticeably long time getting back in there and when he does Benoit unleashes on him in the corner. Snap suplex gets 2. When Benoit turns up the pace on this thing Booker just looks totally overwhelmed. Benoit goes to a chinlock and it looks like they’re gunning for 30 minutes or something here. He gives up on it to look for a dropkick, which misses. Benoit back up first with a back suplex. He goes up top looking for the Flying Wolverine. Crowd pops like crazy for it. It connects perfectly but Booker ends up too close to the ropes for a pin. Benoit hooks the leg for a second attempt but by then it’s too late. The chance had gone. Booker blocks a suplex and hits his own. That causes another lengthy resting spot as they both lie around. You really would think they’re gunning for a long match here. The effort is there just not frequently enough. Benoit with a suplex for 2. Tony even announces the 10 minute mark, again suggesting a longer match. They’ve had two draws that have run 10 minutes beforehand. Benoit hooks the waist – ROLLING GERMANS! Crowd love those even back in ’98. The go to the ropes, which sets up a great back superplex from Benoit. He lands hard too. Both guys stay down selling it. Crowd is REALLY into this now. Benoit pins…for 2. Both guys struggle back up and Booker takes over with “sidewalk slam” or a spinebuster to everyone that’s not Tony Schiavone. They get up a head of speed and Booker hits an immense flying forearm. Flapjack scores. Tony calls it a pancake clearly confusing his oats with his batter. Ref gets bumped on an Axe Kick and Benoit gets the Crossface on. Tenay and Tony both think that Booker tapped but there’s no referee. Benoit revives the ref but they’ve already pissed the crowd off with the ref bump. Booker jumps Benoit while he’s dragging the ref back up with the Axe Kick for the pin at 14.09. **1/2. Oh boy. Perfectly good match ruined with a ridiculous referee bump. When not battling politics Benoit seemed to be fighting against shitty booking. You’d think the higher up’s wouldn’t care if he won the TV title but here’s the proof. The announcers actually notice Benoit dragging the referee into the first axe kick but why not just yanno, MOVE. Stupid booking.

British Bulldog w/Jim Neidhart v Curt Hennig w/Rick Rude

Now this is stupid too. Although they’re acknowledging the connection between Davey, Neidhart and Bret they can’t run the Hart Foundation storyline thanks to some contractual thing with the WWF. So obviously they stick Davey in against Hennig who’s in a feud with Bret Hart. The connection is obvious, the fans expect certain things from this and it won’t happen because they can’t do it. I guess they just wanted to piss the WWF off and make them nervous that they MIGHT do it. Rude and Neidhart are handcuffed together as a stipulation. This match would be great…six years before this. But Davey got really jaded in 1998 and Hennig’s level of caring seemed to alter from match to match. He spends most of the early going lying down holding his knee. Hennig had a legitimate knee injury at the time so there’s every chance he’s not selling. Rude tries to jump into the ring but Neidhart drags him back out. The thing is – if Hennig had an injured knee, why book him in a match on a PPV? Davey randomly pounds away and Hennig does the minimal selling on it. He REALLY looks like he doesn’t want to be there. Davey slaps on a Sharpshooter but Tony doesn’t fucking recognise it. They run a dumb fucking thing where Neidhart fights with a cop; Rude steals the keys and cuffs Neidhart to the buckles. Rude grabs Davey’s foot. Hennig throws Bulldog into the “ring post”. He missed it by about a foot. Then pins the “unconscious” Bulldog for the win at 4.46. DUD. A close up shows that the cop is in fact Vincent. Hennig had no right being out there but I’ll blame his employers rather than him. Sting gets to sit out for over a year when he’s fit and a main eventer but Hennig can’t skip a midcard match with a legit injury? Why not? Like this match was VITAL to WCW.

POST MATCH Bulldog gets beaten down. Neidhart is still cuffed to the buckles so he can’t save. Logically this would see the Hart “family” reunite and clear the ring out. What actually happens is nothing. More beat down on Bulldog. That’s it.

Cruiserweight title – Chris Jericho (c) v Prince Iaukea

Jericho is a complete dick here. He dedicates this match to Dean Malenko who’s sat at home eating potato chips while Jericho is the champ and the man of 1004 holds. Jericho is trophy collecting and already has Juvi’s mask. Iaukea held the TV title in 1997 but was generally not considered to be a good wrestler. He just happened to be the closest thing WCW had to The Rock who the WWF were pushing at the time. But the Rock had talent and Iaukea didn’t. Odd because when it comes to Samoans if one company pushes one another company will push one also. Right now the WWE is pushing Umaga because TNA have Samoa Joe as one of their top stars. They’re even booking them exactly the same only Umaga isn’t as good and can’t speak. Iaukea was much the same. First few minutes is back and forth with Iaukea looking just about competent. Jericho tries to skin the cat but gets kicked to the floor and Iaukea hits a senton off the apron. Jericho with a drop toehold into the ropes. Tony keeps talking about the “thin air” here in Denver affecting the wrestlers. SURE it is. It’s not Iaukea being crap and Jericho not caring because it doesn’t make a jot of difference to his push. Jericho just sort of kicks away. Jericho time wastes up top and jumps into a boot. Iaukea with punches and chops. They run a few near falls to make Iaukea look a legit threat before Jericho slaps on the Liontamer but Iaukea has the ropes. Iaukea gets another near fall blocking a sunset flip. He goes up top but Jericho cuts him off and they go up only for both guys to fall off. “You don’t want to fall off” – Tony. No shit. I guess they were supposed to lose their balance because they didn’t seem to have anything in mind spot-wise. Back inside Jericho avoids a German suplex into the Liontamer but Iaukea counters that into a roll up for 2. Iaukea struggles to get Jericho over in a Northern Lights for 2. Iaukea looks exhausted. He throws a few punches and Jericho boosts him up top. They battle up there where Iaukea wins. He goes for a sunset flip off the top but Jericho slaps him in the Liontamer and this time it’s on and over at 9.54. *1/2. I’ve seen worse. Not the best match from Jericho but I’d put that down to his rather green opponent.

POST MATCH Jericho claims Iaukea’s Samoan wrap for his trophy cabinet. Jericho looks like a fag wearing a sarong and the crowd wolf whistle him. Heh. Iaukea would actually win this title during Vince Russo’s run.

Scott Steiner/Buff Bagwell v Lex Luger/Rick Steiner w/Ted DiBiase

Bagwell has a cast on his wrist and sells it like AIDS. Buff wants the match cancelled. Apparently Buff’s mother, erm, lawyer doesn’t want him to wrestle. He doesn’t have a doctor’s release to compete. Tony points out how lame the cast looks. JJ Dillon is out here to make a decision. Buff can’t even talk about his brutal hand injury without selling it. JJ has a doctor in the house to check on his hand though. Buff grabs Dillon and rather stupidly uses his “bad” hand. The doctor clears him on the spot and the match is on. Buff cuts off Rick to stop him going after Scott. Rick powerslams him and hits a Steinerline. Scott jumps in and blindsides Rick. Tony brings up how Scott always jumps Rick from behind. Scott sort of hugs Rick on the ropes. FEEL THE WORKRATE! Scott fucks up a clothesline. Or Rick fucks up the sell. Whatever way it was ugly. Rick gets slammed and Rick looks like he just doesn’t care here. He’s sat there on his ass not selling and just staring at his opponents. Buff is his partner in lazy with the chinlock. Its matches like this that made me hate WCW around this sort of time. Four guys I don’t care about wrestling badly. Scott in for a long chinlock of his own. Buff back in but Rick backdrops him. The nWo screw around attempting to prevent the tag but Luger gets it and cleans house. Scott gets clotheslined outside. Bagwell is left alone and Luger goes for the rack but Scott jumps him. Rick Steinerlines Buff then chases Scotty to the back. Buff is back up and he slams Luger. You know Luger won’t stay down for that though. Luger racks him and it’s over at 5.57. DUD. Awful match. The crowd were still popping stuff so it’s not negative stars but it’s not far off.

La Parka v Psicosis

This is a “special added attraction”. Special in what sense of the word? In the sense where no one cares? La Parka dances around to get the crowd interested. Then he throws some stiff girly chops to the chest and the back. More dancing. Psicosis puts the brakes on and girly chops at Parka. That was quite funny. Parka helps Psicosis line up a headscissors. Then politely stands there waiting for another flying headscissors off the top. Parka bails and once again just stands there waiting for Psicosis to dive onto him. Oh, this match sucks ass. Parka goes low as Psicosis tries to return to the ring. Parka runs into a knee and then hits a clothesline for 2. Was there a plan here? They half way fuck up a rana to the floor and Psicosis stands there to allow Parka to hit an Arabian press to the floor. Just. Crowd doesn’t fucking care. I don’t fucking care. Announcers amaze me by actually talking about the match and not Sting-Savage later on. Just as I type that Tony plugs the title match. Yeah, that’s all this match is here for. Parka goofs around some more. No one cares. Psicosis crotches him. Go back to Mexico! They do some handheld crap into a super rana from Psicosis. That gets 2. Parka’s kick out looked really lazy. Psicosis dropkicks Parka outside and follows with a corkscrew off the top. Hey, Psicosis a match doesn’t go like this – spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot, spot. Contrary to your beliefs. Parka hits an Alabamaslam and refuses to pin. I refuse to care. Parka celebrates…something and Psicosis dropkicks him. He sits up nicely like a nice little jobber for Psicosis to leg jam him for the pin at 6.58. ¼*. So this is where the SAT got their match lay outs from. Slight effort on Psicosis’ part raises it above a dud. Just.

Baseball bat match – Kevin Nash/Hulk Hogan v The Giant/Roddy Piper

It’s a baseball bat “on a pole” match. Winner is the first to get it and use it. The nWo enter separately to continue to tease dissention. That tease won’t run long brother! And hey, Hogan isn’t the champion and isn’t even on last. He must be pissed off. Piper goes after the bat to demonstrate how high up it is. Hogan gives chase and bashes Piper’s head off the pole. Hogan drags him down and puts the boots in. They’re running this as an actual tag match so Nash tags in. Piper gets beaten up but he starts enjoying it and opens up on Hogan. He staggers over and Giant headbutts him. Piper starts pulling out Hogan’s hair. Hey, he doesn’t have much! Hogan takes off the weight lifting belt and wails on Piper with it. Piper should have tagged out when he had the chance. Hogan continues to whip away. He goes after the bat but in comes Giant to bring him down. Unfortunately that turns into bad comedy where Giant whips Hogan’s ass with the belt and then spanks him. Nash jumps in there so Piper whips him with the belt. The nWo bail out and they seem to have forgotten about the bat. Piper hits a clothesline for 2 to reinforce that. He CAN’T win that way! And yet he covered and the referee counted. What the fuck is that about? Nash comes in and demands the Giant. Piper tags him and I’m almost shocked that Giant doesn’t turn on Piper. Instead we get a face off. Giant wins a brawl and is Nash selling? True, he’s done nothing else but at least that’s approaching hard work. Or at least work. Nash clubs away. No danger of him getting the bat down though because that would involve him leaving his feet. Piper jumps in there and that allows Hogan to choke away at Giant behind the ref’s back. Nash and Giant hit double big boots and they’re both down. This is another one of those ridiculous oversell things where they stay down for far too long. Piper-Hogan and the workrate goes up. Yeah, that’ll tell you something. Piper hits a weak clothesline. Hogan backs him into the nWo corner but Piper keeps punching away. Nash didn’t help out much there…FEEL THE WORKRATE! Couldn’t get through a Nash match without one of those. Nash finally gets off the apron so Piper nut shots him. Giant dropkicks him out of the ring. Sleeper on Hogan and the faces have broken out the big moves here. Giant boosts Piper for the bat and again I’m amazed that Giant doesn’t just turn on him here. Piper has the bat but Hogan clubs him and causes him to drop it. Out comes THE DISCIPLE. He has his own bat, which he throws to Hogan. He blasts Giant with it and then Nash sets up Piper for a shot but Hogan blasts Nash instead. Piper grabs the bat and runs Hogan off with it. He blasts Nash in the back with it. He’s down and Piper chases Hogan. Giant is selling…something. Leslie has another bat, which Piper tries for but Hogan blasts him with the other bat for the pin at 13.22. What was the point of two bats? I’m sure Hogan had something in mind there but whatever it was it was stupid and didn’t work. DUD. Just a bunch of nothing.

POST MATCH Hogan brings the real reason for the match by begging off Nash and then nailing him in the back with the bat when Nash goes to get Giant. And thus the original nWo line up is split forever. Yeah, right. Three words: Fingerpoke O’ Doom.

US title – Diamond Dallas Page (c) v Raven

This is under Raven’s Rules. The logic of booking this match at all is to get the belt off DDP before putting it on Goldberg. They need a transitional champion, stat. Step forward Scott Levy. Sick Boy jumps in there and holds DDP but Raven miscues and nails Sick Boy with the title belt. DDP with a back suplex and he forearms Raven outside. Sick Boy helps out again as DDP hits a pescado on both guys. Page tries to get back in but Raven knocks him off the apron twice. Raven goes after the ribs. Raven looks for the Even Flow DDT but DDP backs him into the corner. DDP looks for the Diamond Cutter but Raven just bails out of the ring. They brawl out to the Spring Stampede thing. They have a stage coach and DDP climbs that in order to hit a dive. Raven sort of takes it. Ref is almost bumped. This is almost a match. Raven takes a header into a length of fence. Another fence takes a beating. Raven gets suplexed “onto the website”. Or Lee Marshall’s little WCWWrestling.com table. DDP gets shoved through what’s left of that. Raven hits one of the stiffest cookie sheet shots, ever. But it can’t have been a real cookie sheet. Raven takes the brawl into a VIP box and splashes DDP off a rail. Raven sees the big fake steer in the entranceway and borrows it’s cowbell for another plunder shot. Raven with a trashcan. Can someone attempt a pin maybe? Raven tries to choke DDP out with the cowbell. This whole match has just been garbage. A bunch of plunder shots. But hey, if people are popping it then fuck it. Raven has the kitchen sink, which loses a tap when DDP takes a shot across the back with it. That gets 2. Raven chokes away with the cowbell some more. This match really needs blood. Like, REALLY, needs blood. DDP lifts the drop toehold onto the sink. That sure looked fuckin’ ugly. Both guys decide to lie down for a while. Tony gets very excited about how good this show is. Kidman comes in but splashes Raven by mistake. Sick Boy blasts DDP with a crutch and Raven pins for 2. Raven goes for a suplex but DDP counters into an inside cradle for 2. Raven wants more help, which makes sense but makes Raven look weak. In comes Van Hammer who clocks Raven by mistake. He apologises profusely before DDP throws him out and pins for 2. Raven goes low and calls for more help. Ron Reese is in. Chokebomb. Raven pins…for 2. He kicked out of the Yeti’s finisher? Raven gets a STOP sign but DDP gets it and knocks several Flock guys out. Kidman jumps on his back so DDP switches him…DIAMOND CUTTER. Another guy runs in and cheap shots DDP allowing the Even Flow DDT on the sink to finish at 11.51. *1/2. Just a bunch of plunder and run in’s. At least the finish was pretty cool but it’s all for nothing because Goldberg destroyed Raven 24 hours later and took the belt anyway. Was that CPA Horace Boulder? Looked like him. A quick check on Wikipedia reveals that it was. I would say that Raven doesn’t need anyone else in the Flock but he would have probably lost without Horace’s interference so I guess I’d be wrong.

WCW title – Sting (c) v Randy Savage

No DQ thanks to Sting being an idiot and agreeing those terms with a member of the nWo. The belt was held up following Starrcade ’97 and Sting won the vacant title in a poor bout in February. Now Savage is proclaimed the #1 contender. Much to Hogan’s chagrin who didn’t want anyone in the nWo to hold the title other than him. Or anyone at all for that matter but if someone was to beat Sting then it’d be him, not another nWo-ite. Savage starts fast but Sting soon takes over on him and Savage takes a walk. Sting follows and they brawl out into that Spring Stampede area with all the hay and whatnot. Sting chokes him with a camera cable. They repeat most of the spots that Raven & DDP just did out there five minutes ago thus negating any pop it could have gotten. Sting uses a bail of hay and Tony starts coming up with all sorts of bullshit as to why a bail of hay is dangerous. This including “abrasion”, possible inhalation, hay fever and the old “altitude” problem. Good lord. Anyway, back in the real world Sting misses a Stinger Splash into the rail. Savage pins using the ropes for 2. Savage clubs away and there sure isn’t much wrestling in this one. That was the problem with the Attitude main event style. Just a bunch of punching and the odd spot. Sting hits a suplex on the floor. That’d be wrestling move #1 after 5.25. Liz runs out here to help Savage up. According to the announcers Savage has his eyes on taking over the nWo by winning the title. The ref gets bumped thanks to a missed Stinger Splash. Savage with a piledriver and it would be over but there’s no referee. Sting doesn’t stay down. Liz is in and she hits a weak chair shot on Sting. Accidental STINGER SPLASH ON LIZ! That doesn’t sit well with the crowd although it wasn’t intentional. Savage drops Sting but Hogan runs out here and pushes Savage off the top rope. Liz is carried out. Savage is back up. Sting is still down. He avoids a suplex and hits the Scorpion Deathdrop. Savage blows his knee out on that spot. Nash walks in here, slowly. He clubs Sting down and powerbombs him. He puts Savage on top and the nWo split is complete with Savage taking the belt at 10.08. 1/2*. Not a good match before the finish but it became swiftly clear that unless you were Hogan or Nash you weren’t getting over in this company anytime this year. Politics at their worst. All this was totally pointless because Savage’s bad knee got even worse with him tearing up his ACL at the end of the match and Hogan won the belt on Nitro the next night anyway (wouldn’t want Goldberg’s US title win to overshadow the nWo). Crowd throw crap into the ring and Sting is STILL down selling the powerbomb. Savage is still down because his knee is destroyed.

The 411: The first three matches are good enough but nothing really exciting. The fact Goldberg had a good match was surprising but nothing more. Benoit-Booker is better elsewhere. Chavo and Ultimo was ok but more about Eddie-Chavo, which happened later. The rest of the card stinks. Normally there’s a pretty even divide of half and half on WCW PPV’s from this era. First half good, second half bad. Here the divide cuts in earlier. It’s quite depressing and I’d advise avoiding this one. Thumbs down.
Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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