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, 1 December 2012

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1992

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.

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.

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.

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
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

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
'[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.

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. 

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.

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.


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. 

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 a the same event a year later, 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, leaving a tag team division once peppered by great technical and high-flying teams who were now rapidly being replaced by the bulk and brute force of combos 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:

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 anannouncement from WWF President, Jack Tunney. 

Tunney declared that  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 convinience', 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 schill 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, it's 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 honour went to The Nature Boy 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  Flar and Davey Boy Smith who, in this writer's opinion, 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 Flair.

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 Elmination 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 very combined in one ring, this match sucked so bad that the first time I saw it, I was rendered fast asleep within minutes and only awoke again half way 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 Chico 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 (includiing everybody's favourite 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.

Suitalby distracted, Hogan went to the 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 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 Jannety 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.
WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 - The Rockers argue

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 the Tuesday in Texas  pay per view 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.

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 spiralled 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 pay per view 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.

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 begins with the one and only Sean Mooney who on first glance appears to situated in front a giant egg (more of which later), but on closer inspection is 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 promises us several "added features" which will make our viewing experience an "absolute classic" The first of which 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! Woohoo!

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - Live from Connecticut
Following Vince McMahon's usual introduction in which he growls like a constipated dragon as he runs down the card, we're presented with our commentators for the evening; Gorilla Monsoon and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. 

Monsoon welcomes us to the show before Piper appears 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, 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 some how 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, gotta amuse myself some how.

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)
The Warriors
WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior, Intercontinental Champion Texas Tornado
& The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal)

So, let me get this straight. First, Demolition come to Survivor Series 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 which 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.

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

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)
The Million Dollar Team
The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase,  Rhythm & Blues (Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine & The Honky Tonk man) and The Undertaker (with Brother Love, Jimmy Hart and Virgil)

WWF (WWE) SURVIVOR SERIES 1990 - The Undertaker debuts
Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's the d├ębut of The Phenom, The Deadman, the WWE Legend 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 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' newest monster heel.

To that end then, 'Taker quickly took out Koko B. Ware and would go onto 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 which would run throughout the show of stupid countout and disqualifications occurring for seemingly no other reason than to hurry things a long.

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 a barely-recognisable Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka and The Rockers), 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)
The Vipers
Jake 'The Snake' Roberts,  The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannety) 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, who's 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 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
(with Jimmy Hart & Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan)
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're shown the WWF fans giving their thoughts; basically a bunch of young kids talking about how good The Ultimate Warrior was. This 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 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 over seas, basically laughing 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
(with General Adnan & Mr. Fuji)
The Aliance
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 team mates all eliminated in the space of two and 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 aaaagges. 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 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 place 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
The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase,The Model Rick Martel, Paul Roma and Hercules
(with Virgil and Slick)
And so it was down to the main event, a short, nimble affair which 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.

Afterwards, 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.

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.