Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Saturday, 17 November 2012

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1991

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - Event poster
November 27, 1991
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan

Between The Undertaker's debut at the 1990 Survivor Series and his first WWF title shot at Survivor Series 1991,  much had changed in the landscape of the World Wrestling Federation.

In the space of a year, Macho Man Randy Savage and Jake 'The Snake' Roberts had entered into a bitter rivalry, switching places in the all-important heel/face divide.

Bret Hart had broken away from The Hart Foundation to capture the Intercontinental Championship at Summerslam 1990, leaving behind a tag team division that was once peppered by great technical and high-flying teams but which was now solely the domain of power combos and brawlers such as Legion of Doom and The Nasty Boys.

Also, man-servant Virgil had finally severed ties with The Million Dollar Man.

All of this, and much more, made for an interesting time at the fifth annual WWF (WWE) Survivor Series, which went a little bit like this:

Jack Tunney Makes an Important Announcement

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - Macho Man Randy Savage gets bit by a snake

The show started with a recap of the intense angle from WWF Superstars in which Jake 'The Snake' Robert's snake took a bite out of Randy Savage's arm. 

The gripping segment, which only became even more dramatic with the arrival of a distraught Elizabeth and a helpless Rowdy Roddy Piper at ringside, was followed by an announcement from WWF President, Jack Tunney. 

Tunney declared that, due to the snake shenanigans neither Savage nor Roberts would be permitted to compete in tonight's show.

The recently reinstated Savage would, however, face Savage 'at the earliest possible convenience', which just so happened to be that coming Tuesday in Texas

From that point on, it became pretty clear that anybody who had paid money for this show had basically shelled out to view one long shill for yet another event they'd have to pay for just a few days later.

Honestly, though a couple of memorable things would ultimately happen at Survivor Series 1991, its only real purpose was apparently to promote another Pay Per View.

All that aside, it was on to the opening contest.

Four vs. Four Survivor Series Elimination Match
Ric Flair, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Warlord and The Mountie VS. Rowdy Roddy Piper, The British Bulldog, Virgil and Intercontinental Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

And so for the first time ever in the history of Survivor Series, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase was a part of A survivor Series team of which he wasn't actually the captain.

Instead, that honor went to The Nature Boy Ric Flair himself, as he led his men through a scorching hot opening contest which entertained from bell to bell.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - Ric Flair backs off from The British Bulldog
Every man involved had the chance to shine in this compelling opening encounter and did so with gusto, yet it was  Flair and Davey Boy Smith who stood out the most in the early part of the match, the latter taking on all comers in some strong exchanges before finally being eliminated by Naitch.

From there, the whole thing got a bit weird, and despite the continued efforts of all involved (yes, that includes Warlord), the ending put a dampener on things when, as Flair laid low on the outside, all hell broke loose between the ropes, causing the referee to disqualify everybody except for Flair in one fell swoop.

The ending aside, Survivor Series 1991 had gotten off to a fine start with a match that must surely be regarded as highly underrated when it comes to discussing the finest moments of the annual November event.
Your Winner and sole survivor: Ric Flair

The show was then put in the command of Mean Gene Okerlund who cut a special interview with the one and only Macho Man Randy Savage.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - Randy Savage is interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund

Resplendent in an outfit that was ridiculous even by the former champion's usual flamboyant standards, the master of Macho Madness declared that as much as the aforementioned snake bite had caused him pain, that was nothing compared to the torture of hearing and seeing Elizabeth crying at ringside.

Liz herself then joined Savage and Okerlund on the podium to continue the never-ending hard-sell for the Tuesday in Texas Pay Per View. Elizabeth was as bland and uncomfortable on the microphone as ever.

4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, El Matador Tito Santana, and Texas Tornado vs. Col. Mustafa, Bezkerker, Skinner, and Hercules

Featuring the oddest combination of mid-card talent perhaps ever combined in one ring, this match sucked so bad that the first time I saw it, I fell fast asleep within minutes and only awoke again halfway through the hype for the Undertaker/Hogan showdown.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Tito Santana and Texas Tornado vs. Col. Mustafa, Bezerker, Skinner and Hercules

On repeat viewing, it turned out that I hadn't really missed much.

Despite a flurry of excitement from Tito Santana in the early going, this soon disintegrated into a dull, sluggish affair in which barely anything of interest happened.

One by one, the bad guys (including everybody's favorite nut-job The Iron Shiek in his guise as Mustafa) fell victim to the good guys in a bout so boring that even your commentary team of Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon had trouble paying much attention.
Your Winners: Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, Tito Santana and Texas Tornado

Up next, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts spoke with Mean Gene Okerlund, offering a response to Randy Savage's earlier promo as the show once again went into the hard sell for Tuesday in Texas. 

With that out of the way, it was time for some last-minute hype in the build-up to our main event (you know, the main event featured in the middle of the show), as we were shown an abridged version of the following clip:

World Wrestling Federation Championship Match: 
WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defends against The Underaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

And so the match around which the entire show had been built, the first ever singles match to take place on a Survivor Series card was here, slap bang in the middle of the card.

And boy did it suck.

'Taker gained the advantage over the champion in the early going, then spent 90% of the contest stalking his prey around the ring, choking Hogan out for a while before breaking up the monotony by occasionally clobbering him over the back.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - The Undertaker in his match against Hulk Hogan

Once in a while, Hogan would mount a comeback, only to be beaten by his challenger. 

Eventually, during one of The Hulkster's many identical comebacks, 'Real World's Champion' Ric Flair made his way to ringside.

Suitably distracted, Hogan went outside to beat up Flair. 

Returning to the ring, Hogan turned his attention to Undertaker but was then distracted once more by Paul Bearer. As Undertaker's manager kept the referee busy, Undertaker picked up Hogan for a tombstone and planted him right onto a steel chair laid out by Flair.

Three seconds later, we had a new WWF Champion and this abysmal match was over.
Your Winner and new World Wrestling Federation Champion: The Undertaker

In the wake of that decision, a raft of promos followed:

  • Rowdy Roddy Piper offered a bat-shit crazy promo in which he went loco on Flair, Undertaker, and the Survivor Series itself. In Piper's usual insane style, he mentioned something about Hogan having hairy teeth and otherwise lost his marbles before the eyes of the world.
  • Ric Flair gave us a similar intense promo. His was much more compelling and coherent as he talked about costing Hogan the title and eventually becoming the champion himself.
  • The Natural Disasters talked smack about The Legion of Doom and Big Boss Man
  • Jack Tunney informed us that there would be a world title rematch between Hogan and Undertaker at, yep, you guessed it, Tuesday in Texas.
  • LOD and the Boss Man gave their response to Earthquake, Typhoon, and IRS.

4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination Match 
The Beverley Brothers and The Nasty Boys vs. The Bushwhackers and The Rockers

All eight men played their parts well in a match that was far more entertaining than it had any right to be given that a quarter of the participants were Bushwhackers.

Even still, Luke and Butch got the crowd firmly into an otherwise throw-away contest before being eliminated within the first ten minutes of action.

The Rockers gained a measure of retribution by taking out Beau Beverley before taking it in turns to play the babyface-in-peril against the Nasties and Blake Beverley. It was during their comeback that Jannetty scooped up one of the Nasty Boys for a slam, inadvertently catching Michaels with his opponent's boot and causing him to be pinned by Knobs.

The Beginning of the End of The Rockers was nigh. The team, who hadn't seemed to be functioning all that closely since the start of the match, became engaged in a heated argument as Michaels told his partner off for getting him taken out then stormed out of the arena towards eventual superstardom as a singles star.

Left to fend for himself, Jannety soon succumbed to his opponents and was easily defeated. All the while, Monsoon and Heenan shilled for This Tuesday In Texas as though their lives depended on it.
Your Winners and sole survivors: Jerry Saggs, Brian Knobs and Blake Beverley.

With that out of the way, it was down to probably the only instance you'll ever see of I.R.S headlining a WWE Pay Per View (at least as far as I can remember).

3 vs. 3 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Irwin R. Schyster and The Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Big Boss Man and World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions The Legion of Doom.

Though hardly a five-star mat classic, this final match of the evening was another rare case of a contest being far more enjoyable than the wrestlers involved would have you believe it could be.

Boss Man and IRS worked a fast, hard-hitting style in the early going before the match gave way to the battle of power between the Disasters and the LOD.

As the action spiraled out of control, I.R.S drilled Boss Man with his briefcase for the first elimination of the match. 

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - The Legion of Doom and Big Boss Man

Hawk, Animal, Earthquake, and Typhoon again took over the match with a fairly interesting exchange before I.R.S once again attempted to land a briefcase shot, this time missing a blow to Hawk and drilling Typhoon instead. Hawk covered his foe and Typhoon was gone.

Irate at the decision, Earthquake yelled at I.R.S and left the ring with his partner, getting counted out in the process.

And so it was. Despite holding his own against Legion of Doom for as long as he could, Schyster was quickly and easily pinned by the tag team champions.
Your Winners and sole survivors: The Legion of Doom

Closing the show, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed new World Wrestling Federation Champion The Undertaker in a final bit of hype for Tuesday in Texas.

If I'd paid money for that show, I'd be incredibly pissed off. 

OK, so at least three of the five matches ranged from mildly entertaining to balls-out awesome, but it didn't take too much time for the WWF to reveal that the only reason Survivor Series took place in 1991 was to further sell a second Pay Per View just several days later. 
Seriously, just when you thought the overt shilling was bad enough BEFORE the title change, in the two matches which followed Hogan and Undertaker's snoozefest, the Texas PPV was all Monsoon and Heenan could take about, distracting from the show.
As far as quality goes, this is certainly a step up from the abysmal 1990 affair, but compared to Survivor Series shows in the late 80s, this sucked a bunch.

Other 1991 pro wrestling reviews: 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1990

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - Event poster

November 22, 1990

Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut

With the turn of a new decade came even more twists and turns in the crazy 'anything can happen' world of the World Wrestling Federation. 

Good guys had joined the dark side, the bad guys had seen the light, and we had all new champions by the time November came around. When it did, November 1990 brought with it a show mediocre that to this day it is only remembered for one (if not the) worst gimmicks of all time...Oh, and the debut of some guy called The Undertaker.

Here's what went down.

Our Coliseum Home Video presentation this evening began with the one and only Sean Mooney who at first glance appeared to be situated in front of a giant egg (more of which later). However, on closer inspection, it turned out he was actually being filmed against a green screen with a static camera on the egg.

This matters very little of course, but trust me, it will be one of the most interesting things to happen all evening.

Anyway. Mooney promised us several "added features" which will make our viewing experience an "absolute classic." 

The first of these features is the much hyped "grand finale mass of survival" (I'm sure Mooney did say "match", but it sounds more like "mass") in which all the surviving members of the victorious teams will face one another in one big match.

Plus, there's that giant egg thing and, the moment you've all been waiting for, comments from the fans!


WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - Live from Connecticut

Following Vince McMahon's usual introduction in which he growled like a constipated dragon as he ran down the card, we were presented with our commentators for the evening; Gorilla Monsoon and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. 

Monsoon welcomed us to the show before Piper appeared to cut an insane promo on Saddam Hussein (yep, in the midst of a war against Iraq, this was a particularly politically-charged show for the WWF.)

Cutting to Mean Gene Okerlund, the Federation's head interviewer got some pre-match words from World Wrestling Federation Champion Ultimate Warrior and his team. 

Nothing interesting was said, but I do have to admit that I love the following screen grab. It somehow looks like Okerlund was a part of Warrior's team and was pointing to the camera. 

What can I say? This is a boring show to review, I've got to find some way to amuse myself.

With all that madness out of the way, it was onto the action.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - The Warriors

The Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect & Demolition Ax, Smash & Crush w/ Mr. Fuji and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) VS. The Warriors (WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior, Intercontinental Champion Texas Tornado & The Legion of Doom, Hawk & Animal)

So, let me get this straight. First, Demolition comes to Survivor Series 1988 with Mr. Fuji on their side, only for Fuji to turn against him. The following year they come out as the good guys without a manager, and the year after that, they're back with Fuji again? Fair enough.

It also strikes me here that with their almost identical ring gear, Texas Tornado and the Warrior could have made a pretty good tag team.

Speaking of teams, it was Demolition and Legion of Doom who provided most of the fun in this otherwise sluggish contest. 

After Warrior eliminated Ax in the early going, everybody had their chance to shine in the ring before the two established tag teams began to beat up on one another.

The action grew heated, and in a move that would apparently set a precedent for the rest of the evening, both the LOD and Demolition were disqualified in one swift stroke of the referee's hand.

The odds were now stacked against team captain Mr. Perfect as he stood opposite surviving opponents Tornado and Warrior.

A decent exchange between former and current IC champions Perfect and Tornado followed, with Mr. P wrapping up Tornado with a Perfectplex for a three count, before another former IC holder in Warrior charged the ring, battled back against a non-belligerency Perfect and won what had been a short and seemingly very rushed contest which was at least mildly entertaining.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: The Ultimate Warrior

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - The Million Dollar Team

Backstage, The Million Dollar Man and his team had strong words for Sean Mooney, and for their opponents in the upcoming match. Dibiase promised that his 'mystery partner' was in the building and would be a part of the next match.

The Dream Team ('The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware & WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation Bret 'The Hitman' Hart & Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart) VS. The Million Dollar Team (The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase,  Rhythm & Blues (Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine & The Honky Tonk man) and The Undertaker w/ Brother Love, Jimmy Hart, and Virgil)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the d├ębut of The Phenom, The Deadman, the WWE Hall of Famer himself, The Undertaker, teaming up with Ted Dibiase and the make-shift team of Rhythm & Blues (Greg Valentine with terrible dyed-black hair) against the WWF Tag Team Champions, Koko and a version of Dusty Rhodes who for all the world looked like he'd rather be anywhere else than in this match from the opening bell to moment of elimination.

This match wasn't actually bad for what it was, it's just that what it was simply boiled down to a showcase for the World Wrestling Federation's newest monster heel.

To that end then, 'Taker quickly took out Koko B. Ware and would go on to get rid of both Jim Neidhart and Dusty Rhodes, who still looked as pissed off as he had at the start of the match. 

Ultimately, it was Dusty who caused The Undertaker's elimination from the match as, for reasons mostly unknown, The Dream decided to attack 'Taker's manager, Brother Love following his loss. This caused a loyal Deadman to beat down on Rhodes and get himself counted out, thus continuing a trend that would run throughout the show of stupid count outs and disqualifications occurring for seemingly no other reason than to hurry things along.

Bret Hart scored a quick win over Greg 'Where the hell did my career go?' Valentine ('The Hammer's R&B partner Honky Tonk Man had been eliminated fairly rapidly by Neidhart earlier in the match), leaving only The Hitman and Ted Dibiase alone.

Striking out into what proved to be one of the better wrestling portions of the whole show, Dibiase and Hart gave us an entertaining performance before The Million Dollar Man shifted his weight against a flying crossbody from The Hitman and rolled him up for a three count. Afterwards, Bret sat up and mouthed a very visible 'Fuck!' in view of the camera.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Ted Dibiase

Back in the showers (because this was apparently a better place for Damien to be), Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and his team of vipers (who also included The Rockers and a barely-recognizable Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka), talked about 'the scars of time' and promised that individual scores would be settled in the next match.

The Visionaries
'The Model' Rick Martel, Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma) and The Warlord
(with Slick) VS. The Vipers (Jake 'The Snake' Roberts,  The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty), and Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka)
WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - The Warlord

If current WWE star Ryback is a clone of Goldberg, who himself was once accused of being a Stone Cold Steve Austin rip-off, then by that logic Austin must have taken his famous look from the singles push of the mighty Warlord. 

From the black ring attire right down to the way he hands over the ropes when not in combat, the appearance of the former Power of Pain in this match, especially from behind or from the sides is practically identical to The Texas Rattle Snake.

At least in my mind anyway.

All such nonsense aside, this actually began as a rather enjoyable match, with The Rockers, Rick Martel and even Paul Roma providing us with some fast-paced, exciting action, yet it didn't take long for things to fall apart.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka

Following the elimination of Marty Jannety, Shawn Michaels continued to be the most entertaining thing in the ring as his side lost further man-power in Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, whose appearance had changed so dramatically since the last time this writer had seen him, that if you hadn't had told me who it was, I never would have guessed.

An average match followed, the villains cutting Jake from his corner and punishing him before Michaels made the hot-tag and beat up on Paul Roma (or Romeo, as Piper would call him). Eventually, however, the future world champion was also eliminated, leaving Roberts alone against four opponents.

Jake tried to hold his own, but was quickly overpowered by Hercules and passed to the Warlord, drilling the Austin-lookalike with a DDT. 

Yet a cover was prevented by Rick Martel once again spraying Arrogance (his brand of perfume which was also used as a weapon in the feud between Roberts and Martel).

The Snake chased after Martel (who was not the legal man in the ring) and, for the second time in as many matches, an elimination occurred by count-out. The result of this of course, was that this match saw the first time that an entire team survived in a Survivor Series match.
Your Winners: The Vipers (Rick Martel, Warlord, Paul Roma, Hercules)

After Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper hyped January's Royal Rumble show, Sean Mooney interviewed Hulk Hogan and The Hulkamaniacs ('Hacksaw' Jim Duggan, Tugboat and The Big Boss Man). After his team had vowed to defeat The Natural Disasters in their upcoming match, Hogan volunteered to win the war in Iraq for George Bush (seriously.)

The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Barbarian and Haku w/ Jimmy Hart & Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) VS. The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Big Boss Man, Tugboat and 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan)

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 -  The Hulkamaniacs

You know, it only just dawned on me that the lyrics to Boss Man's original theme music include the words 'He's got a big stick and a ball and chain too.' Wow, deep stuff.

That aside, this was, in all fairness, a pretty decent match, if one hampered by a slow pace and yet more bullshit booking. 

Hacksaw Duggan got in a fun exchange with Haku in the early going before Boss Man tug in and quickly eliminated the former king with a Boss Man Slam.

The battle waged back and forth until Duggan was pulled over the top rope by Jimmy Hart. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Duggan then grabbed his 2x4, beat some people up with it and got himself eliminated from the contest. Perhaps the funniest part of this whole sequence was that Hacksaw looked genuinely surprised at the result.

So, four matches in and so far we've had eliminations by either count-out or disqualification in every single one. 

Hogan returned to the ring and cleaned house, drawing cheers from the crowd as he picked up Earthquake and slammed him to the mat. Quake battled back, beating down on Hogan before tagging in Dino Bravo, who was promptly snared in a small package by The Hulkster and eliminated from the competition.

With eliminations coming thick and fast now in what was proving to be a very rushed show, Big Boss Man was eliminated by Earthquake, leaving Hogan and Tugboat against Earthquake and Barbarian.

After Hogan took his beating and made the predictable hot tag to Tugboat, the Hulkster then dragged Earthquake out of the ring, where Tugboat chased after him for another wild brawl and yet more count-outs; this time for both Earthquake and Tugboat.

Left to just Hogan against The Barbarian, the ending was never in question. The former Power of Pain man quickly succumbed to the former World Heavyweight Champion and was defeated by The Leg Drop of Doom. If it hadn't gone by so quickly, that could have been a really good match, but instead it was only decent, if that.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Hulk Hogan

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 -  Macho King Randy Savage

As promised, we were shown the WWF fans giving their thoughts. This was basically a bunch of young kids talking about how good The Ultimate Warrior was. IT was neither interesting nor relevant, and we shall pretend it never happened.

Up next, The Macho King Randy Savage was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. 

Carried to the ring on a gold throne being heaved by several weak-looking office guys, Macho King declared that he was going after The Ultimate Warrior's World Wrestling Federation championship in a promo that was as enjoyable, entertaining, and captivating as any Savage had delivered in his entire career. 

That is to say, very. 

Prior to our next contest, the dastardly Sgt. Slaughter, flanked by members of his Mercenaries team, cut an awful promo on the American army then serving overseas and laughed at them for having to eat their Thanksgiving Day dinner in the presence of camel dung and praising Saddam Hussein. 

The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, The Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka), and Boris Zhukov
w/ General Adnan & Mr. Fuji VS. The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch))

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 -  Sgt. Slaughter

It's worth noting (because not much else happened in this terrible outing), that each member of The Mercenaries team has their face painted in thick camouflage paint).

In absolutely no time at all, The Bushwackers took out Zhukov and Sato before Santana followed in short order by ridding the match of Pat Tanaka.

So yes, Slaughter's teammates were all eliminated in the space of two and a half minutes. 

Mounting a comeback, Slaughter did away with both Bushwhackers in the space of a couple more minutes, before he and Santana battled back and forth in a dismal affair. 

Santana took down Slaughter with a flying forearm, but following a ref-bump several moments earlier, General Adnan ran into the ring and planted his Iraq flag pole into the spine of Santana.

Slaughter applied the Camel Clutch, believing himself to be the victor as the referee came too and rang the bell, only for the result to be declared a, yes, disqualification, leaving Tito as the sole survivor.

That was the pits.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Tito Santana

Out in the back, Sean Mooney interviewed Ted Dibiase and The Visionaries about their upcoming 'Match of Survival Grand Finale' contest against The Ultimate Warrior, Hulk and Tito Santana.

It was your average heel promo, in which the bad guys basically cackled manically and vowed to defeat their opponents.

Then, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse following that Sgt. Slaughter match, WWF went out of their way to prove you wrong.

Hanging around beside the giant egg which had been there since the start of the show, Mean Gene Okerlund teased the crowd as to what could be inside until eventually, the egg 'cracked' and out popped a ridiculous-looking bird-like creature (Hector Guerrero in a turkey suit).

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we had seen the Gobbledy Gooker, and we could never unsee it again.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 -  Gene interviews The Gobbledy Gooker

As the crowds booed loudly and unrelentingly at this abomination of an angle, the Gooker led Okerlund into the ring for a spot of dancing.

The best part of the whole thing was of course Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper doing their best to put over the giant turkey.

"Look at the kids, the kids are going nuts!" cried Piper, as the crowd panned across a stone-dead crowd.

The worst thing about this was that it went for about a thousand years.

Seriously, just when you thought the whole thing would end, the Gooker would find a different dance for him and Okerlund to try out. On and on it went, until somebody finally had the good sense to save us from despair and take us to a backstage promo featuring Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Tito Santana.

Tito looked desperately out of his element here, and even gave off the impression that he was somewhat uncomfortable in the presence of Hogan and Warrior, especially when they tried to include him in their promo.

Grand Finale
Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Tito Santana VS. The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, The Model Rick Martel, Paul Roma, and Hercules (w/ Virgil and Slick)
And so it was down to the main event, a short, nimble affair that seemed to serve little purpose other than to display a united front between the World Wrestling Federation's two biggest stars.

Santana flew in with a flurry and enjoyed took out the Warlord in record time before being eliminated himself shortly after by Ted Dibiase.

Hogan took over for his team and was quickly pummelled around the ring by the bad guys, before countering an attack by Paul Roma and removing him from the match with a short clothesline.

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES - 1990 - Hogan and Warrior

The action continued, a sluggish and yet entirely rushed brawl in which more eliminations came thick and fast.

In quick succession, Martel and Dibiase were sent packing before Hogan set up Hercules for Warrior's big splash to win the match for his team.

Afterward, Warrior and Hogan gave a show of solidarity and mutual respect as they celebrated together then offered to hold the ropes open for one another as the show came to an end.
Your winners and sole survivors: Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior

And so easily the worst Survivor Series Pay Per View to date was done and consigned to the history books where it should stay for as long as possible. It's interesting that Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were arguably the two stand-out wrestlers in the 1990 show. As the decade would roll on, it would be these two men who would lead the WWF into the 90s, their careers often intertwining before exploding in a ball of controversy at this same event just seven short years down the line. But we'll save that for another time.

Other 1990 pro wrestling reviews: 

Friday, 9 November 2012

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1989

Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois
November 23, 1989

With a revised format that featured teams of four (rather than the five-a-side bouts of previous years), team names and a bolder, brighter look, you'd perhaps expect the 1989 Survivor Series to be the best yet. Instead, what we were presented with on that chilly Thanksgiving night of 1989 was a rather mediocre affair with occasional flashes of brilliance. 

Here's what went down.

This year's show opened with an opening typical of American TV programming in the 1980s in which  viewers were treated to a whirlwind tour of Illinois on a cold and frosty morning before entering the Rosemont Horizon, being taken through hordes of fans (including one slightly scary lady dressed as the Ultimate Warrior) and shown some - admittedly quite interesting footage- of the WWF production crew preparing for the show, all of which set to some crap jazz-pop soundtrack.

Starting the show properly (sort of), a host of WWF Survivor Series cut short promos in which they let us know what they were thankful for on this Thanksgiving night.

Among the many thankful grapplers, we learned that Ted Dibiase was thankful because he was rich and we, apparently, were not, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts was, unsurprisingly, thankful for Damien and the DDT, Demolition were thankful that they didn't have to fight each other, Mr. Perfect was thankful for being, well, absolutely perfect, and Ultimate Warrior was thankful for..erm..some kind of garbled yelling which made no sense what so ever.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse 'The Body' Ventura
Macho King Randy Savage also gave thanks for something or other, but in all honesty, your reviewer was too distracted by Sensational Queen Sherri adopting Macho King's mannerisms and delivering an 'Ohhh Yeahhh' which sounded far too erotic than it really had any right to be.

More crap 80s music followed as Vince McMahon gave us a run-down of tonight's show before we finally cut to our hosts for the evening, the ever-present and always awesome duo of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura.  In a recurring theme of this show, Jesse called Monsoon fat, and we were sent down to Howard Finkle for our opening contest.

4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination MatchThe Enforcers: 

Big Boss Man (team captain), Honky Tonk Man, 'The Model' Rick Martel and Bad News Brown (with Slick and Jimmy Hart)

The Dream Team
'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes, Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake, Tito Santana and The Red Rooster

And so for the second year in a row, Brutus Beefcake and The Honky Tonk Man found themselves in opposite corners in an opening Survivor Series match, Brutus making his way to the ring to a theme tune which in this writer's opinion is incredibly underrated when people discuss the best wrestling themes of all time.

As it was, it was former Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man kicking off the action with Tito Santana.

"I tell ya what, this match right here between Honky Tonk Man and Chico could main event anywhere in the country," said Jesse Ventura, lying through his teeth as the two tussled by the ropes.

Honky took down his opponent and brought in Santana's former partner, Rick Martel. With tensions still lingering following the break up of Strike Force, the one-time team-mates went at it in a furious display of wrestling excellence before tagging out to allow bitter rivals The Big Boss Man and Dusty Rhodes the opportunity to batter on one another. Brutus and Honky then entered the fray before Martel and Santana once again took centre stage, The Model rolling up his former team mate for the night's first elimination.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Saphire Cheers on Dusty Rhodes
With his team down to three against four, Dusty Rhodes was cheered on from ringside by an as-yet unnamed woman clad in polka dots. Of course, as history would go on to show, she would eventually be by The Dream's side as Saphire. 

Dusty picked up the pace for his team, beating on The Model before a series of tags brought Beefcake and Red Rooster into the action for an entertaining series of exchanges with their opponents.

The Rooster fell victim to a life-draining bear hug from the burly Boss Man, yet fought back with gusto, freeing himself from the hold and shooting Bad News Brown into the ring following a tag from The Boss Man.

Bad News bullied the Rooster as The Body once again made some quip about Monsoon's weight on the commentary then brought Big Boss Man back into the action, holding the Red Rooster in place for the man from Cob County to charge at their victim. To the surprise of nobody besides Jesse Ventura, the Rooster ducked and Bad News was struck by his own teammate.

Taking offence, Bad News Brown shoved his team mate and again stormed off.

"I can't believe this!" cried Jesse Ventura as Bad News was counted out. Really, Jess? Even though he did the exact same thing at last year's Survivor Series?

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Brutus Beefcake and Rick Martel
Luck began to rapidly run out for The Enforcers, Brutus Beefcake taking out the Honky Tonk Man with a high knee and Rick Martel with a sunset flip in short order, leaving The Big Boss Man alone against three opponents.

Boss Man managed to gain some modicum of revenge by taking out the Red Rooster, but the force of Beefcake and Rhodes was too much for the corrupt law enforcement officer as he fell prey to a crossbody from The Dream to end a wildly entertaining opening contest.
Your Winners and sole survivors: Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake and Dusty Rhodes

Understandably ticked off at the loss, The Big Boss Man grabbed his nightstick from Slick, battered the victors across the spine with it then proceeded to handcuff Dusty to the ropes and beat the tar out of him until Bruti made the save.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - The Big Boss Man cuts a promo
Cutting to the back, The Boss Man told Sean Mooney that Rhodes was now his prisoner and that The American Dream got exactly what he deserved.

Holding court with the Macho King
For the first time ever, we were treated to a Survivor Series promo which didn't feature a group of wrestlers apparently high on crack as Macho Man's King's Court stable spoke to Mean Gene Okerlund in a Coliseum Home Video exclusive. Savage, accompanied by Dino Bravo, Earthquake, Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine and Sherri, was confident of victory as he claimed they were about to go out and 'do the thing.'

4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination Match
The King's Court
Macho King Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Earthquake and Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine (with Jimmy Hart Sensational Queen Sherri)
The 4x4s
'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, 'Rugged' Ronnie Garvin and Hercules

Just when you think you've seen every ridiculous sight professional wrestling can throw at you, here comes Bret Hart, jogging to the ring with his team mates, 2x4 in hand. Seriously, it was a sight that was comical bordering on absolute lunacy.

With the arrival of the 4x4s, the King's Court scarped from the ring before the referee finally gained control before this above average bout began proper.

Earthquake was the first to score a fall for his team, taking out the mighty Hercules with a big fat splash to put the scores at 4-3 to the villains.

The action battled back and forth, The Hitman assisting Jim Duggan in tripping over the Earthquake before Greg Valentine continued his heated feud with Rugged Ronnie Garvin. Valentine took control, passing his rival among his team mates before The Rugged One made a blind tag to Duggan who promptly sent The Hammer packing with a three-point stance.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Bret Hart attempts a pin on Randy Savage
The highlight of the entire match came shortly after as Bret Hart and Randy Savage faced off in a thrilling exchange which made this writer rue the fact that these two never had a program together.

Yet both men eventually tug out to make way for the next elimination as Dino Bravo got rid of Garvin with a swift side-suplex.

Returning to the ring, Bret Hart ultimately fell prey to his larger opponents, playing the proverbial 'babyface in peril' as good as anyone in the business as the remaining three members of The King's Court took it in turns to beat on the future world champion.

After absorbing insane amounts of punishment, Hart eventually made the hot tag to Hacksaw, who charged the ring and pounded on his opponents. After only a few moments of regaining control for his team, Duggan made arguably the dumbest move in the history of pro wrestling by tagging The Hitman back into the action. Charging forward, Bret was quickly taken down by Bravo  before Macho man leapt off the ropes with his famous elbow drop to take The Hitman out of the match.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Jimmy hart and Sensational Sherri
Standing tall against three opponents, only the dimwitted Duggan remained for the 4x4s, overcoming the odds to clear the ring of his opponents before outside interference Sherri brought this very entertaining contest to a close with a win for the King's Court via countout.
Your Winners and sole survivors: Randy Savage, Dino Bravo and Earthquake

Predictably, Duggan then grabbed his trusty 2x4 and cleaned house to the delight of the Illinois crowd.

It's all about the money
In another Coliseum Home Video exclusive, Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Team gave an evil cackle as they vowed to eliminate The Hulkamaniacs in their upcoming match.

Still in the back, Gene Okerlund told us that Dusty Rhodes was currently being checked over by doctors before, back out in the arena, The Genius drew the ire of the crowd with a terrible poem.

4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Million Dollar Team:
'The Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase, Zeus and The Powers of Pain (with Mr. Fuji)
The Hulkamaniacs
WWF Champion Hulk Hogan, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - The Million Dollar Team
Making their entrance first, the Million Dollar Team initially refused to allow their opponents into the ring until Jake unleashed his snake (no jokes, please) to clear the ring, allowing the heroes to climb between the ropes and stare down their rivals as Hogan's music played for what seemed like an eternity. If you'd only tuned in at this point, you'd be entirely forgiven for thinking the Hulkamaniac's had already won the match.

Alas, it wasn't so, and we began officially with the intimidating Zeus stood centre stage, calling out the WWF Champion.

Intending to start the bout for his team, Jake gave Zeus his wish and tug in the Hulkster for a dramatic confrontation which resulted in the monstrous Zeus choking out his rival and abusing the official, who ultimately disqualified him and sent him packing.

"I don't care if you do have a Z on the side of your head, that's not legal!"  cried Gorilla Monsoon in arguably one of the most bizarre lines ever uttered on a wrestling broadcast. 

Both teams traded the advantage in a decent, slow-paced exchange before Dibiase's men evened the scores thanks to outside shenanigans from Mr. Fuji, allowing the Warlord to drop a heavy elbow onto Ax and eliminate him from the contest.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Hulk Hogan and Zeus square off

Hogan re-entered the ring and took it to the Warlord, tagging in Roberts for more of the same. Smash then tug in, hoping to extract some revenge for his defeated partner by going after Warlord, but he too was eventually eliminated following a rumble with The Million Dollar Man. Dibiase made a blind-tag to Barbarian, who drilled Smash with a flying clothesline for a three count.

The match, which could have -arguably should have- been the main event of the show continued with some hard offence from both sides until Roberts was isolated from Hogan and beat to a pulp by the remaining villains.

Roberts eventually made the hot tag, allowing Hogan to storm the ring and take the fight to his opponents.

Yet while the Million Dollar Team were relying on, you know, beating up their opponents and pinning them to get ahead, The Hulkamniacs ultimately depended on the referee's call to gain any revenge. The Powers of Pain were eventually disqualified for double-teaming  (a tactic every team in every match before and after this one employed without the same results) following a vicious spike piledriver on The Hulkster.

"This makes me sick!" cried Ventura, outraged that the only way the heels could be eliminated was thanks to disqualifications.

Dibiase took advantage of a weary Hogan, applying a Million Dollar Dream which was eventually broken by the champion for another tag to Jake. Roberts gained control of the match and set Dibiase up for his patented DDT, only for Virgil to run to the ring.

To the delight of the audience, Jake drilled the bodyguard with a DDT, only for Dibiase to drop an elbow on his foe and eliminate him from the action with a ropes-assisted pin.

As the drama wore on, it was down to Dibiase and Hogan to wrap things up with a fun display which again proved why this gripping match could have easily headlined the show.

Before too long, Hogan hit the Leg Drop of Doom to secure the win for his side.
Your Winner and sole survivor: Hulk Hogan

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake
Out in the back, Randy Savage and Zeus hyped their upcoming steel cage match against Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake at December's No Holds Barred event. In retort, Beefcake and a sweat-drenched Hogan told Gene Okerlund that said match was going to be wild. Sensational Sherri then confronted the heroes, throwing powder in their eyes which allowed Savage and Zeus to beat down on their enemies until a throng of wrestlers came to the rescue.

For reasons which were never explained, Brutus wore entirely different wrestling attire than he had in his earlier match.

Cameras returned to Monsoon and Ventura, the latter claiming that there was dissension in the ranks of the Heenan family, a clear cover-up for what would transpire in tonight's main event.

Our next Coliseum Home Video exclusive saw Ravishing Rick Rude's Rude Brood vow to triumph over Roddy's Rowdies. 

Speaking of whom, the out of control babyface team, featuring Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka and The Bushwhackers were shown heading to the ring and being more than slightly unhinged.

 4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Rude's Brood
'Ravishing' Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
(with Jimmy Hart and The Genius)
Roddy's Rowdies
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka and The Bushwhackers
WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Ravishing Rick Rude

Literally every time this writer sees Rude in his tights (which in this match bore the faces of the Brood on the front with the Rowdies on the back below a gravestone), I can't help but wonder 'what ever happened to all those awesome tights? And can I buy an original pair?"

That somewhat disturbing and entirely irrelevant thought aside, here we have a match which started badly and ended in a flurry of awesome.

The early part of the battle was played mostly for laughs, the good guys each taking it in turns to bite down on various parts of Mr. Perfect's body before The Rougeaus were eliminated in rapid order thanks to a swift splash from Snuka to Jacques and a piledriver to Raymond courtesy of Mr. Piper.

Outnumbered against four savage opponents, Rude and Perfect retaliated with aggression and took both Bushwhackers out of the equation almost as quickly as the Rougeaus had been eliminated.

It was at this point, with the numbers down to two on two, that the contest really picked up and developed into an entertaining affair.

Following some see-saw action, heated adversaries Rude and Piper finally went at it in the middle of the ring in a maelstrom of fists, both men tumbling through the middle rope and continuing to brawl up the isle  leading to a double countout which left only Superfly and Perfect alone to represent their teams.

Perfect then proceeded to lead his foe through a beautiful, short wrestling match before putting him out of his misery with a smooth Perfect Plex.
Your winner and sole survivor: Mr. Perfect
WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - The Ultimate Warrior's team

Heading to the back, Perfect joined his fallen team mates in backstage celebration as they gave an interview to Sean Mooney.

Then, proving that drug-induced promos were still very much a Survivor Series tradition, a whacked out Ultimate Warriors team in which, obviously high on speed or something like that, Jim Neidhart, The Rockers and the Intercontinental Champion himself laughed and gurned and talked the kind of absolute gibberish which one assumes roughly translated as 'We're going to win the match.'
4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Heenan Family:
Andre The Giant, Arn Anderson, Haku and Bobby 'The Brain Heenan
The Ultimate Warriors
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior, Jim 'The Anvil Neidhart and The Rockers

And so we reach our main event, the only bout on the card not to feature Jimmy Hart at ringside.

Remember that cover-up we talked about earlier? Yeah, well apparently Anderson's Brainbusters team mate, Tully Blanchard was fired that very afternoon, leaving the Heenan team a man down and prompting 'The Brain' himself to don his wrestling gear and participate in the match.

With the bad guys already in the ring, Neidhart and The Rockers charged to the ring and took the fight to their opponents but they quickly outnumbered by Heenan's men, and it was only with the arrival of the Warrior that they were able to gain control.

As the bell rang to officially start the match, Andre was clotheslined to the outside and counted out in the matter of seconds.

For all intents and purposes then, we basically had Michaels, Jannety, Neidhart and the Warrior against the two-man troupe of Arn Anderson and Haku.

To give the heel team their credit, they did fair pretty well, taking out Neidhart after just a few minutes before the compelling action saw Marty Jannety pummelled by Haku and pinned by none other than Bobby Heenan following a big knee drop.

In a main event which was far better than it had any right to be given that two of the stars involved were Warrior and Heenan, it was unsurprisingly up to Anderson, Haku and Michaels to deliver most of the entertainment, each man putting on a fine display which had the crowds roaring in excitement before Michaels drilled Haku with a flying crossbody for the three count.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
With Bobby Heenan in the cowering in the corner then, it was up to Arn Anderson to make his final WWF PPV appearance by taking on Michaels and Warrior almost entirely alone.

Another exciting exchange between Anderson and Michaels followed, the action moving swift and intense and seeing a visibly terrified Heenan teasing some kind of top-rope move onto Michaels on the outside. Alas, we never did get to see Superfly Bobby Heenan, instead baring witness to Anderson planting the future Heartbreak Kid with a spinebuster for the pin.

Warrior stormed the ring, pummelling on Anderson and battering him around the ring, hurling him into the ropes and sending Heenan crashing to the outside. With The Brain dazed and confused, Warrior eliminated Anderson before stalking Heenan into the ring.

As the Illinois crowd went wild, Warrior made light work of The Brain to win the match.
Your Winner and sole survivor: The Ultimate Warrior

'For Jesse 'The Turkey' Ventura, I'm Gorilla Monsoon' yelled Monsoon as the 1989 Survivor Series came to a close.  Though on first glance this didn't seem like much of a show at all, repeat viewing reveals it to be a thoroughly entertaining show. If you're looking for five-star wrestling classics, move along, there's nothing to see here, but if you want to see the biggest stars of the 80s collide in enjoyable wrestling matches, here's the one to check out.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.