Saturday, 1 December 2012

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1992


WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - EVENT POSTER
Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio
November 25, 1992

With most of the behemoths of the late 1980s now long gone, replaced by a strange mix of smaller, more technically proficient stars and a some of the strangest, most cartoonish combatants seen anywhere on television, 1992 was a strange year for the World Wrestling Federation. 

As a result, the '92 version of long-standing pay per view Survivor Series was an altogether weird affair. For saying this was a period of only four, well-established PPV events, the show we're about to review came across as something akin to a modern day WWE B-Show. An enjoyable B-show, sure, but a B-Show nonetheless.

Here's what went down:

For reasons unbeknownst to just about everybody, The Reverend Slick (now a gospel-preaching good guy), welcomed us to the show by rambling on about how awesome of a show we were about to watch. It was neither relevant, nor entirely coherent, but there you go.

From there, our commentary team of Vince McMahon and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan welcomed us to the show, and we were right on to the action.

High Energy (Owen Hart & Koko B. Ware) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu, w/ Afa)
Winning all sorts of awards for the Worst Pro Wrestling Attire This Side of Damien Demento, undercard team High Energy were fed to relative newcomers The Headshrinkers in an admittedly entertaining opening contest.

As the first Survivor Series show not centred around 'traditional' elimination matches, it was an interesting change of pace to see the annual November show open up with what was essentially a throw-away tag match.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - OWEN HART & KOKO B. WARE - HIGH ENERGY
Owen Hart and The Headshrinkers looked good in their exchanges, while Koko B. Ware had no problem playing the proverbial babyface-in-peril, though it was during The Bird Man's lengthy time between the ropes that the match sagged somewhat.

Alas, The Headshrinkers went over thanks to a big fat splash (that's the technical term for it, in case you were wondering),  to further their ascent in the WWF Tag Team Ranks.
Your Winners: The Headshrinkers

Backstage, Lord Alfred Hayes pointed a microphone at The Big Boss Man. An enraged Boss Man insisted that he stood for Law, Order and Justice, and that his rival, Nailz, would get what's coming to him in their upcoming Nightstick on a Pole match.

Offering a retort, Nailz himself swore revenge on the Boss Man for apparently beating him up when the man in the orange jumpsuit was serving 'hard time.' The sad thing (or not), is that this would have actually been a half-way decent promo if Nailz didn't sound like a slightly constipated old man doing his best 'Ole Anderson as The Shockmaster' impression.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - NAILZ
In a fairly bizarre move, we then cut to Mean Gene Okerlund, standing by with none other than The Big Boss Man, who essentially gave us exactly the same promo as he'd done just a few minutes ago.

Either this was a funky move from Coliseum Home Video, or WWF producers really couldn't get enough of the Big Boss Man.

Nightstick on a Pole match.
The Big Boss Man vs. Nailz
Prior to his interview with Nailz, Sean Mooney had issued us a grave warning; this was going to be  a brutal match. And I mean, brutal. To hear Mooney talk, we were about to watch a No Holds Barred First-Blood Ladder Match inside a Hell in a Cell cage wrapped in barbed wire and surrounded by flames in which the only way to win is to physically murder your opponent (No stealing my ideas, WWE Creative).

Instead, what we got was two big dudes punching and kicking and occasionally slamming each other until Boss Man retrieved the nightstick from the pole, dropped it, and eventually defeated his rival with the Boss Man Slam.

For what it was and given who was involved, this was at least a watchable contest with a hot crowd, but honestly Mooney, the last time I stubbed my toe it was more brutal than this.
Your Winner: Big Boss Man

Out in the back, Sean Mooney tried to get a few words with the loser of the match. Nailz, sounding for all the world like his voice had been disguised in a manner akin to those anonymous, shadowed-out crime victims you see on TV, claimed yet more injustice and stormed off.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - RAZOR RAMON & RIC FLAIR
Killing time with yet more promos, Tatanka told Lord Alfred Hayes that he would defeat Rick 'The Model' Martel and take back his sacred eagle feathers when the two met in the ring later that evening. The undefeated Native American at least showed signs of charisma, though I dare say he did little to make this reviewer care about his rivalry, unlike Ric Flair and Razor Ramon.

Speaking to Okerlund, the dastardly duo were enraged by footage of Mr. Perfect turning face by pouring a jug of water over Bobby Heenan and agreeing to team up with Macho Man Randy Savage in what was easily the most anticipated match of the night.

After Flair basically lost his shit, Ramon threatened to 'carve...(Mr. Perfect)...Up.'

Rick 'The Model' Martel vs. Tatanka
WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - DOINK THE CLOWN
Returning to the ring, Tatanka looked to retain his undefeated streak, and reclaim those all-important eagle feathers against a barely-interested Martel, who came to the ring dressed like the world's most effeminate sailor.

Only a few minutes into the very mediocre action, Doink The Clown strutted out to tease and torment the crowd.

Whether it was the distraction of the clown's presence, or the fact that nothing interesting happened in the ring, this came across as nothing more than a filler match in which Tatanka defeated The Model with a flying chop to bring about a welcome end.
Your winner: Tatanka

Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect. In an entertaining promo, Perfect claimed that The Nature Boy wanted to be just like him, and that even though he was on Savage's team.

Adding his own tuppence' worth, an ever-intense Macho Man told Perfect that he neither liked nor trusted him, but that they'd still make The Perfect Team regardless. Fair enough then I suppose.

Ric Flair & Razor Ramon vs. Randy 'Macho Man' Randy Savage
Elsewhere, I've seen this likened to a modern-day Raw main-event, which I'm really not sure is a fair comparison.

For one thing, this was a well put thought-out match with a decent back-story reaching beyond merely 'let's throw four feuding wrestlers in a tag match.' 

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - RANDY SAVAGE BATTLES RIC FLAIREven despite the absence of Savage's original partner, The Ultimate Warrior (who abandoned ship mere weeks earlier), this was still a well-built match with a replacement who made sense.

Perfect, as Flair's now-former Executive Consultant and one-time AWA tag team partner of Scott 'Razor Ramon' Hall (something vaguely alluded to on screen), supposedly knew Savage's opponents better than anybody, and thus was the 'perfect partner' for the Macho Man.

As for the match itself, it was by far the most entertaining bout of the night to this point. Flair pulled out his trademark I'm Getting my Ass Kicked routine (seriously, is there anyone in the history of wrestling who's moves whilst selling a beating are arguably more memorable than his offence?), Perfect displayed not an inch of ring-rust after being out of action for a year (with back trouble), whilst Ramon and Savage also played their parts well.

Though far from a classic, this match becomes one of only two 'highly recommended' bouts on the whole card, and ended via disqualification when the referee basically got fe up of the heels and called for the bell.
Your Winners via disqualification: Randy Savage & Mr. Perfect

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - FLAIR AND RAMON ARE ANNOYED!
Razor and Flair continued their beatdown in the post-match, only for a chair to enter the party, used by the good guys to gain a measure of revenge.

If you thought Flair blew his lid in his pre-match promo, you should really hear him lose his freakin' mind following their DQ loss. Mad as ever, the bad guys both raved about how unfair the outcome of their match had been.

Lord Alfred gets a massage
Prior to the pay per view debut of future WWF Champion, Yokozuna, we were shown a pre-recorded video in which Lord Alfred Hayes entered the sumo star's dressing room, only to find Yoko receiving a massage from a couple of floozies geisha girls.

Mr. Fuji then invited Hayes to receive a massage, kicking him right back out of the room as soon as the microphone man began to enjoy himself a little too much.

Intentionally or not, this was really rather funny.

Yokozuna vs. Virgil
WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - YOKOZUNA BATTLES VIRGIL
'[Yokozuna] hasn't really been tested yet in the World Wrestling Federation, but he's about to be tested RIGHT NOW!' grunted Vince McMahon, lying to just about everybody as Virgil charged to the ring to meet his doom.

For a squash match (and it's impossible to view this as anything else), tis was actually a reasonably enjoyable affair.

Virgil tried to hold his own against his colossal opponent, but was quickly squashed, quite literally by big Yoko.
Your Winner: Yokozuna

Out in the back with Sean Mooney once more, Mooney interviewed an elated Perfect and Savage. The new best buddies sort of just threw turkeys around the room and called each other 'the best.' It was entirely pointless, though admittedly kind of entertaining.

Traditional Survivor Series Elmination Match:
WWF Tag Team Champions Money Inc & The Beverley Brothers (w/ Jimmy Hart and The Genius) vs. The Natural Disasters and The Nasty Boys.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - TED DIBIASE IN WHITE TRUNKS
The only traditional elimination match on this year's Survivor Series card saw a bunch of tag teams going at it seemingly because they had nothing else better to do.

Though the match itself was a fairly fun affair, it was hardly memorable and did little more than help pass the time.

Indeed, it's possible that the most interesting thing in this match was Ted Dibiase's all-white ring attire. You know, Dibiase, the guy who wore black trunks throughout the bulk of his WWF career. Seeing him in white was just odd, as though he'd turned face without bothering to tell anybody.

Even McMahon and Heenan seemed to lose interest pretty quick, turning their attentions instead to hyping the company's upcoming tour of Europe.

Still, this was a pretty decent time-filler that ended with a win for sole survivors The Nasty Boys.
Your Winners: The Nasty Boys 

After the match, Alfred Hayes caught up with Virgil, who warned defending WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart to be wary of Yokozuna. Your writer isn't certain of course, but I'm sure Virgil referred to Yoko as Yakamuza. 

 WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - PAUL BEARER FAN IN CROWD
Coffin Match
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Kamala (w/ Harvey Wippleman and Kimchee)
So here's your back-story: Kamala is a big fat guy who doesn't like The Undertaker and is afraid of coffins. With that in mind, the two went at it in the WWF's first ever coffin match (later better known as Casket Matches), in which the loser would be nailed into a big coffin.

The picture to your left is a Paul Bearer fan in the crowd. Of course, he had nothing to do with the match itself, but I just thought this was an awesome resemblance, so there you go.

As matches go, this was piss poor, and yet for some reason the crowd were into it enough that you hardly noticed.

After a contest mostly dominated by Undertaker, The Dead Man eventually pinned his opponent, tossed the Ugandan Giant into the coffin and did a shoddy job of nailing it shut.
Your Winner: The Undertaker 

Prior to our main event, we received words from both Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels and reigning WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION SHAWN MICHAELS
Michaels claimed that since the recently-released British Bulldog had defeated Hart for the IC title and he (Michaels) in turn had defeated The Bulldog for the gold, all evidence suggested that Shawn could therefore defeat Bret for the title.

In response, Hart put Michaels over as a great professional wrestler, though he obviously claimed to better, and vowed to win their upcoming battle.

Between the two interviews, we saw Harvey Wippleman screaming at Kimchee to get Kamala out of the coffin. When the Ugandan Giant did emerge, he was quite visibly shaken.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels
As you've probably gathered by now, the bulk of WWF Survivor Series 1992 hardly made for essential viewing. Though mostly enjoyable in their own right, you can pretty much live a full and happy life without having seen any of the other matches on this card.

That said, the main event is certainly must see viewing.

A far cry from the gimmicks galore that surrounded the WWF at the time, and even further from the wild, heated brawl these two men would have seven years later at the very same event (yes, the infamous Montreal Screwjob), this was simply two awesome wrestlers on the verge of their peak being allowed to hit the ring and wrestle.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1992 - SHAWN MICHAELS BATTLES BRET HART FOR THE WWF TITLE


And oh did they ever wrestle.

We that all-important ring psychology, we had technical mat-based wrestling and moves off the ropes, we had fast-paced action and slow, methodical action. We had both champ and challenger trading the advantage and we had a crowd eating up every minute of it.

Sure, there's been better pro wrestling matches before and since, some of which even involving one or both men, but this was an outstanding main event match all the same and would still be so even if it didn't come on the back of a rather mediocre undercard.

As for who won? The Hitman slapped Michaels in a sharp-shooter to retain the title after almost thirty minutes of solid action.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

In the post-match, Santa Claus made his way to the ring, handed Hart a piece of blue paper (I swear!), and then proceeded to celebrate with the WWF Champion to close the show.

And that, my friends, was that. Though about a thousand times better than the dire 1991 show, there was still nothing beyond the world title match that really fills this writer with the kind of fuzzy-warm memories usually reserved for old-school wrestling.
As I said earlier, your life won't be any worse off if you never see this show, but if you do decide that you want to see WWF in the final days of their bridging the gap between the Hogan Era and the New Generation, you'll at least be moderately entertained in doing so. 



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WWE: Survivor Series Anthology, Vol. 1 - 1987-1991
Enjoyed this review? Enjoy much more action from WWF/WWE Survivor Series with great deals on the Survivor Series anthology from Amazon.com. A small percentage of sales from this link goes to supporting this website.




2 comments:

Thanks for bringing up the Coliseum Video-exclusive segments in your review.

Also, those white trunks were nothing but bad luck for DiBiase in 1992, since they caused him to lose his matches both here and at SummerSlam.

I never noticed Dibiase's run of bad luck wearing white until now, thanks for pointing that out :)

Always glad to include the Coliseum Video segments when I can find them.

Thanks for stopping by :)

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