The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 89 – 11.23.89
Well, since the last SNME I watched was hyping this one up and I haven’t reviewed it in more than two decades, it’s time to give it another look. I remember almost nothing about it anyway so it’s basically new to me again.
We start with various participants letting us know what they’re thankful for, like Royal Rumble vignettes but Thanksgiving themed. This must have been the full PPV version then because I don’t remember this from Coliseum Video.
Vince’s rundown of the 4-on-4 matches is hilariously over the top and awesome, complete with overdubbing for the guys who are replaced with other people.
Live from Rosemont, IL, drawing 15,294 and a 3.3 buyrate.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse “The Pilgrim” Ventura
The Enforcers (Big Bossman, Rick Martel, Bad News Brown & Honky Tonk Man) v. The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Red Rooster, Brutus Beefcake & Tito Santana)
Wait, what happened to Akeem? And why would you be dumb enough to ask BAD NEWS BROWN to be on your team given his history? Tito starts with Honky and turns his back on him, but comes back with a slam and goes to work on the arm. Jesse notes that Tito v. Honky is a main event anywhere in the country. They probably were having matches with each other on indy shows up to the pandemic, I’d bet. Martel comes in and happily beats on Tito in between posing, but Tito blocks an atomic drop and rolls him up for two. Over to Bossman and Tito works his arm as well, and that brings in Dusty for the big pop as he beats on Bossman with elbows. Given everything that Dusty did for Bubba in the NWA you have to think he was proud of what Bossman became in the WWF. Brutus comes in and slugs it out with Honky, but Martel puts him down with a backbreaker for two as this is kind of meandering to start. Rooster comes in and immediately lays an egg, missing a blind charge in the corner, and the heels go to work on him, beating the stuffing out of him. Rooster tries to crawl for a tag, but Bossman pulls him back by the gizzard and Martel drops knees on him for two. Rooster with a small package for two and a sunset flip on Honky for two, and they collide for the double down. Hot tag Tito and he runs wild on Martel as I feel like there’s a joke to be made about Tito teaming with the Rooster as Chicken Wings and Hot Sauce but I’m still workshopping it. Tito rolls up Martel for two, but Martel grabs the tights and eliminates him at 9:20.
Over to Dusty next, as his unnamed biggest fan is cheering him on at ringside, and Dusty throws a DROPKICK on Martel! Shut it down, we’re not topping that. Beefcake comes in and works on Martel’s arm and the babyfaces work him over although Rooster doesn’t anything more than a headlock and he gets winged by the Bossman. Bossman with a bearhug while Bad News is 100% ignoring the match and just yelling at the crowd while standing on the apron. And indeed, this results in Bossman tagging him in by accident, and Rooster runs wild on him. Bad News is more annoyed than anything and he clubs Rooster down and tenderizes him with elbows. But then Bosman comes in and hits Brown by mistake and you know that’s not gonna end well. The heels all freak out and try to calm the situation down, and as you’d expect, Bad News walks out at 15:20. HE’S GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT.
Bossman slugs it out with Beefcake and wins that one handily as the heels to go to work on Brutus in the corner. Honky with a backdrop suplex for two and he slugs away in the corner, but Beefcake hits a high knee for the pin at 17:28. Martel goes to work on Brutus and chokes him down to set up a chinlock, and he follows with a backbreaker that puts Beefcake on the apron. Brutus slingshots in for a sunset flip that gets two, but Martel grabs the ropes, so the ref pulls him off and Beefcake finishes the move for the pin at 20:25. This leaves Bossman alone for his team, and he misses a charge on the Rooster, but catches him with the Bossman Slam at 20:59 to show who rules the roost. Dusty and Beefcake double-team him in the corner and Beefcake catches him with a knee that looks like it HURT. Dusty comes in with a bodypress and finishes IMMEDIATELY at 22:05, so I’m wondering if Bossman got hurt on that knee or something and they had to wrap it up. Match was just kind of meandering and never really had a strong storyline, but the work was fine. **3/4 Bossman couldn’t have been too hurt, though, because he puts the beats on Dusty afterwards and handcuffs him to the ropes for a nightstick clubbing as well.
Winners: The Dream Team. Survivors: Dusty Rhodes & Brutus Beefcake
Meanwhile, Sean Mooney confronts Bossman for his actions, and Bossman will do the same to Mooney or anyone else who breaks the law!
Meanwhile, the 4x4s and their matching boards are ready for Macho King’s team. I somehow doubt that.
The King’s Court (Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Canadian Earthquake & Greg Valentine) v. The 4x4s (Jim Duggan, Bret Hart, Ronnie Garvin & Hercules)
Come on, look at the heel side and tell me that those geeks on the babyface team stand any kind of a chance? They do have impressive 2×4 coordination, I’ll give them that. However, Duggan is supposed to be representing the USA, but half of his team is from Canada and the other guy is some kind of vaguely defined Greek deity. That’s your fatal flaw right there. Herc gets a press slam on Macho right away, so Hammer comes in and slugs it out with Herc. Hercules with an atomic drop and Bret comes in to work the arm. Garvin lays in the chops and gets a sleeper, but Dino Bravo breaks it up. Hercules comes in and runs wild on him with clotheslines, but he misses a blind charge and it’s QUAKE TIME at 3:50. Natural disaster 1, Greek gods 0.
Duggan comes in and Quake beats on him, but Bret comes in with a schoolboy trip from behind and the babyfaces get some offense as Garvin splashes Quake for two. But then the heels trap Garvin in the corner and go to work on him as Hammer drops an elbow for two. Greg loads up the HEARTBREAKER, but Garvin rolls him up for two. Macho comes in with a double axehandle for two and drops a knee for two. Garvin manages a backslide on Bravo for two, but Savage slugs away in the corner and Valentine comes in with chops and they lay in the leather on each other. Duggan gets a tag from behind and clotheslines Hammer for the pin at 7:30. Hey, our first clothesline pin of the night! The real Survivor Series tradition.
Duggan immediately gets trapped in the heel corner and Macho necks him on the top rope for two, and then Quake pounds him down and beats on him in the corner. He misses an elbow, however, and Garvin comes back in and goes after Bravo with the Garvin Stomp. He never really got that one over in the WWF for whatever reason. Bret comes in and Savage attacks him, so Bret takes him down with an atomic drop and Savage has to tag out to Bravo. Bret goes up and drops an elbow on him for two, but Garvin comes in and walks into the side suplex and gets pinned at 11:17. That’s how you know you’re a geek.
Duggan gives it a go against Earthquake and slugs away in the corner, and the babyfaces double-team him in the corner, so he tags out to the Macho King again. The faces double-team Macho in the corner as well and Bret goes to work on him as even Duggan adds cheapshots from the apron! Bret’s been teaching him well. Savage comes back with a kneedrop, but that misses and Bret hits him with the backbreaker for two. Small package gets two. Savage misses a charge and Bret tries another elbow, but that misses and Bravo comes in and drops an elbow on Bret to set up a bearhug. Quake comes in with the choke and drops an elbow on Bret for two as we hit a major lull while the heels work Bret over in the corner. Bret finally struggles free and makes the hot tag to Hacksaw, but then he tags back in for some reason and the heels work him over again. Bret misses a charge and hits the post, which allows Bravo to hit a shoulderbreaker, and Macho King drops the elbow at 18:59. So Duggan is left by himself and Jesse fully expects him to walk out and run away from the fight. So Quake beats on him in the corner, but he misses a charge and Duggan runs wild on the heels to clear the ring. Back in, Duggan keeps coming with a double clothesline on Savage and Bravo, but that allows Quake to clobber him from behind, and drop the elbow for two. Macho comes in with the double axehandle for two, but he misses a charge and Duggan gets an atomic drop. So finally Sherri takes matters into her own hands and whacks Duggan from the apron to put him on the floor, and Duggan is counted out at 23:25 for a weak, weak, weak finish. Jesse was right, he IS a coward. This was fun for the first half but then dropped about 3 gears and never recovered. **1/4 Bret Hart really looked like a star here, though.
Winners: The King’s Court. Survivors: Randy Savage, Dino Bravo and Earthquake.
The Genius joins us for a special poem celebrating Thanksgiving and himself.
The Million Dollar Team (Ted Dibiase, Zeus, Warlord & Barbarian) v. The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ax and Smash)
Demolition have regained the tag titles from the Brainbusters at this point, although that didn’t last long. The heels are chased off by Jake’s snake, but the thing won’t really wake up and Jake has to keep smacking it to get it up. Cough. Zeus wants Hogan to start, so Hulk obliges and they slug it out and Zeus wins that battle. Hulk tries a high knee and Zeus no-sells everything, so Hulk slams him and Zeus won’t sell that either. Zeus gives him the CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT OF DOOM and chokes him out, and that’s about the extent of his moveset. So having exhausted his moves, Zeus shoves the ref and gets DQ’d at 3:30 to end his night. It’s probably for the best.
Dibiase continues choking Hulk on the ropes as Gorilla clarifies that Zeus was likely too stupid to know the rules. Good to know. Dibiase slugs away on Hulk in the corner but misses a charge, and it’s over to Jake, who clotheslines Dibiase to the floor for a brawl out there. Back in, Demolition goes to work on Dibiase and Hulk joins them for a triple team like the cheater that he is. When will the rich white man catch a break in our world? Ax comes in with a back elbow for two, but Dibiase gets his own and FINALLY tags out to the Powers of Pain. They go to work on Ax as this match immediately gets boring again. Barbarian goes up and misses the elbow that he never hits and Warlord uses the clubbing forearms before Fuji trips up Ax and Warlord gets the pin at 9:55. Yup, add “tripped and fell” to the list of classic eliminations on this show. Hogan comes in and slams Warlord a few times, and Smash comes in for one of his own, but Warlord blocks him and the heels work HIM over. This is pretty bad. Dibiase comes in and drops the fists on Smash for two before going to a chinlock, but Smash hits a stungun, only to walk into a Barbarian flying clothesline for the pin at 13:47.
Jake comes in and tries a DDT, but that fails, and the heels trap him in the corner and go to work on him as well. Barbarian with a backbreaker and Warlord uses more clubbing forearms as this whole match is just an endless heat segment on the babyfaces. Dibiase drops knees on Jake to set up the piledriver, and that gets two. Finally Barbarian goes up and tries the diving headbutt, but that misses and it’s hot tag Hogan. He comes in fully Hulked Up and drops an elbow on Barbie for two, and a suplex gets two. Warlord clubbers him from behind, so Hulk clotheslines both of them and they retaliate with a spike piledriver on him and get DQ’d at 19:49. LAME. This show has had some epic bad finishes. The ref didn’t even put the count on them! So Dibiase is left alone as once again the rich white man is screwed over twice in the same match, so he decides to man up and puts Hogan in the Dream. Hulk makes the ropes and then rams Dibiase into the corner to break and it’s hot tag Jake. Jake necks him on the top rope and drops knees on him, but Virgil runs in while waiting for his Olive Garden reservation beeper to go off, and Jake stupidly DDTs him. That allows Dibiase to roll up Roberts and pin him with his feet on the ropes at 23:58. So that leaves Hogan alone for his team and Dibiase goes to work on him with a clothesline for two. Dibiase with a chinlock but Hulk fights out of that and they clothesline each other for a double down. Hogan pops up and makes the comeback off that, however, and finishes him off with the legdrop at 27:30. This was slow and plodding, and although Dibiase tried his best to work for 8 guys, he could only cover for about 5 of them. **1/2 Still, he did a HELL of a job carrying things best he could, I’ll give him that. Otherwise, this was pretty formulaic Hogan stuff we’ve seen a million times.
Winners: The Hulkamaniacs. Survivor: Hulk Hogan.
Meanwhile, Macho King and Zeus are gonna watch No Holds Barred the Movie and then participate in No Holds Barred the match, where presumably no holds are barred, but you never know. I love that Savage made sure to put on his frilly shirt and crown after his match. Savage anoints him with the scepter so it’s nice and legal, too.
Meanwhile, Hogan and Beefcake give their retort, as Hogan notes “They’ll cut my legs off and call me Shorty, brother”. Like Chad Gable? Hogan advises Brutus to keep the steel clippers close by. You know, in case they need to brutally stab Zeus with scissors, I guess. Sadly, Sherri interrupts the interview and tosses baby powder at them, which allows the heels to storm in and beat them down until Red Rooster and other people make the save, THANK GOD.
Roddy’s Rowdies (Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & The Bushwackers) v. Rude’s Brood (Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Rougeau Brothers)
The graphic for this one is weird, as Snuka’s picture is offset slightly from the other three and it TRIGGERS me. The otherwise perfectly aligned 4×4 profile pictures for the matches make this one stand out. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this in the past, but Rude’s overdubbed music is awful and makes me want to jam chopsticks into my eardrums to end the pain. Also did no one seriously question the wisdom of putting Jimmy Snuka on a tag team with Roddy Piper? The babyfaces all bite Perfect’s arm to start, which should probably be an automatic DQ win for the Rude Brood, if we’re being honest. Jacques comes in and shows off his athletic ability against Snuka, but a headbutt puts him down and Snuka drops a knee. Snuka goes up and the Superfly Splash finishes Jacques at 4:04.
Rude comes in and beats on Snuka, but he stops to swivel and Snuka headbutts him. But then Perfect comes in and takes over for a bit before bumping into Rude by accident, and Snuka rams them together on the apron. Piper comes in and the Rowdies go to work on Perfect as the poor guy has to sell for the Sheepwackers like a complete goof, but Raymond comes in to save him. Piper gets a sunset flip for two, but Raymond superkicks him for two, and then Piper gets a piledriver for the pin at 7:40. Perfect comes in and Piper rolls him up for two, but Perfect goes to a facelock to cut off the ring. Finally Piper slingshots him into the corner for Perfect’s favorite bump, and Butch comes in and gets two. Piper slugs Perfect down, but Butch comes in for more biting and Perfect rolls him up for the pin at 10:44 to make it 3-on-2.
Snuka keeps Perfect in the corner and Luke pokes him in the eye and puts him down with a headbutt for two, but Perfect finally tags in Rude, who comes off the top and gets caught with a punch coming down. Luke continues with the biting, but puts his head down and it’s KICK WHAM RUDE AWAKENING at 12:14 to tie up the score. Perfect beats on Snuka with knees and Rude takes time to pose, and then they sucker Piper in to distract the ref for some shenanigans in the heel corner. Perfect beats on Snuka with chops, and Rude goes to a chinlock, but Snuka fights back with a small package for two. Headbutt puts Perfect down again and they collide for a double down and it’s hot tag Piper. Piper and Rude slug it out and that’s a pretty awesome sequence as Piper runs wild on the Minnesota twins, but he and Rude fight out of the ring and get counted out at 18:35. WHO BOOKED THIS CRAP tonight? And that leaves Perfect and Snuka which should give you zero suspense about what’s going to happen. Perfect dropkicks him to the floor and suplexes him back in for two, and they trade near-falls off rollups before Snuka chops him in the corner and gets a bodypress out of the corner, which Perfect reverses for two. But then Snuka puts his head down and NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A SOLE SURVIVOR at 21:30. I’d say this was the best match of the show by far, but that’s not exactly high praise, as it mostly turned into a watchable tag team match after the Rougeaus and Wackers went out and was pretty dull otherwise. Not enough Piper and Rude, too much everyone else. ***
Winners: Rude’s Brood. Survivor: Mr. Perfect.
Meanwhile, Rude and his Brood celebrate their win, but where is Bobby Heenan? Apparently that’s none of our business.
The Ultimate Warriors (The Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) v. The Heenan Family (Andre the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard Bobby Heenan)
And just like that, Tully Blanchard’s career was over thanks to a failed cocaine test and he was basically never mentioned again. Andre immediately destroys the babyfaces before the bell, but Warrior makes his entrance and saves, hitting Andre with three clotheslines and putting him on the floor for the countout at 0:25. God this show is so lame. Arn gets pinballed in the babyface corner and Anvil elbows him down, but Arn goes for the knee while Andre stands around in the aisle yelling at Warrior incomprehensibly. Haku and Anvil slug it out, but the heels trap Neidhart in the corner and go to work on him. Haku hits him with a superkick and pins him at 3:28 to even things up.
Shawn slugs away on Haku while Warrior stalks back and forth on the apron like a madman, and the Rockers double-team Haku in the corner. He actually fights them off alone, but he tries a slam on Marty and Shawn dropkicks them over for two. Arn comes in and clobbers Marty with a forearm, but he tries the gourdbuster and Marty blocks him, which brings in the Rockers for a double superkick on the heels in a nice spot. Marty with a back elbow on Haku for two and Warrior comes in and goes to work on Haku, but he misses an elbow. Haku goes to tag Heenan, but Bobby quickly instructs him to tag Arn instead. That’s why he’s the Brain! Marty comes in and gets caught in the Heenan corner, and now Bobby comes in for some abuse. So he gives Marty one kick to the head and then tags out again to Haku. Haku with the superkick and that gets two. Bobby comes in again and puts the boots to Marty, and gets the pin at 8:52. Poor Marty. He’s gonna have to go make sex with a relative to get his mojo back now. Warrior comes in and bearhugs Arn and then Haku, and Shawn gets two on Haku off that and follows with a dropkick for two. But a cheapshot from the heels turns the tide and Bobby does some choking from the corner. Who would have thought at this point that the babyface team would consist of two people who would hold the WWF title four times between them?
Warrior gets the tag and beats on Arn in the corner, then throws Shawn for a Rocket Launcher that gets two. Haku tries a bodypress and misses, and Shawn hits his own for the pin at 12:54. So Arn takes Shawn to the corner and Bobby slugs away on him and then hides in the corner before teasing a top rope dive and then thinking better of it. Shawn comes in with a sunset flip on Arn for two, which pisses off Arn because Bobby doesn’t want to tag in and hold up his end. So Bobby tags in, gets one punch, and then tags out to Arn again. Arn beats on Shawn in the corner and catches him with the spinebuster for the pin at 15:38. So it’s up to the Warrior now and he immediately destroys Arn with shoulderblocks, but gets thrown to the floor as Heenan teases the highspot again. So Bobby comes in and gets some shots on Warrior, but then thinks better of it and brings Arn back in again while directing traffic on the apron. But then Warrior sends Arn into Bobby and finishes AA with the gorilla press at 18:15. Bobby wants no part of this action, so Warrior sneaks up behind him from the back and proceeds to beating the holy hell out of Bobby, who goes flying all over the ring for him. Bobby tries to walk out, so Warrior hauls him back in, hits him with a shoulderblock, and pins him to put him out of his misery at 20:24. This was not a technical masterpiece but any means but it was a lot of fun and the best match of the show by far thanks to Bobby Heenan saving the show. ***1/4
Winners: The Ultimate Warriors. Survivor: The Ultimate Warrior.
Overall, this was a watchable Survivor Series with nothing particularly bad overall, but not one that was memorable in any way. Plus the booking was awful, as they bent over backwards to protect EVERYONE with lame countout and DQ finishes, it felt like. A very mild thumbs up for the time.