Survivor Series Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1992

Live from Richfield, OH, where we started all those years ago.

Your hosts are Mr. McMahon and Bobby Heenan.

Opening match: The Headshrinkers v. High Energy (Koko B Ware & Owen Hart).

High Energy with double-teams to control initially, and then Koko gets in and you can guess what happens next. Total squash, and a long one at that. Hot tag to Owen who cleans house and gets a few moves in (probably as a token offering to Bret) before falling prey to the FLYING FAT-ASSED SAMOAN OF DOOM splash. ¼*

Sean Mooney offers a parental guidance warning because the nightstick match between Bossman and Nailz might be too violent. How come they didn’t do that before matches where one guy hurtles 20 feet off the top of a cage and then dumps a bag of tacks in the ring? You’d think that sort of match would deserve a warning. Go fig. Nailz isn’t bad on the mic, oddly enough.

Nailz v. Big Bossman, nightstick match. Kick, punch, kick, punch, Bossman gets the nightstick and does stuff, Nailz gets the nightstick and does stuff, Bossman slam out of nowhere, see ya. DUD.

AWESOME interview/recap segment that makes the Perfect Team v. Flair/Ramon match seem just that much more important. I’ll go over the recap myself later. Flair gives a breathtakingly great interview to set up the match.

Tatanka v. Rick Martel.

And back down the wrestling food chain we go. You see, the Model stole, uh, some feathers or something, yeah. This was pretty whatever. The-not-yet-named clown who would come to be called Doink wanders down to ringside and makes balloon animals to keep the kiddies from nodding off during all the chinlocks. Finally, T-t-t-tanka makes the “pissed off racial stereotype” comeback, chops Martel about a million times, and hits the Papoose-to-go (whatever happened to that Bobby Heenan guy, anyway?) for the pin. ½*

(2011 Scott sez:  Am I ever going to review any of the matches for this show?  Quit being a smarmy jackass, 1998 Scott, and just review the damn match!)

Hennig and Savage see if they can’t go Flair one better, delivering another awesome interview build. Savage plays D-Lo Brown, yelling “Yeah!” and “Right on!” at random intervals.

– Ric Flair & Razor Ramon v. Randy Savage & Curt Hennig. Heenan’s shameless ass-kissing is a thing of beauty. Okay, while I’m watching the ring intros, here’s the reason for this match: Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage were feuding over the World title leading up to Summerslam, and the antagonist in the situation was Ric Flair, who had both guys convinced that the other was working for Flair, when in fact neither was. Warrior beat Savage by countout at Summerslam, and injured him enough that Flair was able to cash in on the situation and win the World title himself a few days later. So Savage & Warrior decided to team up and challenge Flair and his crony Razor Ramon, but Warrior fucked it up by leaving the WWF ten days before Survivor Series. So Savage decided to play mind games with Flair in retaliation, asking his manager Curt Hennig to be his new partner. Hennig actually accepted, causing Bobby Heenan to flip out and fire Hennig. So Hennig turned face and we had this match. Lots of posturing to start, and the crowd goes nuts when Flair gets in. Great sequence with Flair and Hennig early on. Ramon is worthless at this point and this match would have been spectacular without him in there to fuck it up. As it is, it’s only very good. Flair is hilarious on the apron as he struts back and forth, milking the crowd. Ramon gets Savage in a submission hold and Hennig walks. But then he changes his mind and comes back. Hot tag to Hennig, and the crowd is absolutely gonzo. Hennig destroys Ramon, and Earl Hebner gets bumped. Razor’s Edge is reversed to a backdrop and Hennig hooks the Perfectplex. Joey “As dead as Jerry Garcia but nearly as grateful” Marella runs in for a two count, then Hennig hooks Flair and Hebner wakes up for another two count. All hell breaks loose and the heels are DQ’s for double-teaming as Savage lies dead on the outside. Flair destroys Hennig until Savage makes the save with a chair, and this description doesn’t do the mind-blowing amounts of heat being drawn here justice. It was just incredible. Savage and Hennig start a mutual admiration society after the match. ***1/4

– Flair rants and tells Mean Gene to shut up numerous times.

– Yokozuna v. Virgil. Weighing in at a slim, trim, ripped, buff, cut, chiselled, hammered and JAAAAAAAAAACKED 505 pounds, Yoko was at least looking human at this point. Virgil was looking flattened and splattered in 19 different places about 5 minutes later, however. DUD.

– Sean Mooney interviews Savage and Hennig, and it’s TURKEYS FOR EVERYONE! Whoo-hoo!

– The Beverlys & Money Inc. v. The Nasty Boys & The Natural Disasters. Elimination rules. Blake (Mike Enos) gets creamed by the faces for quite a while. Dibiase looks way awesome in white. It becomes a heat segment on Sags. Of the bunch, he sucks the least, so that’s a good thing. The heels do manage to carry the match remarkably well, given the constraints of talent (Nasty Boys) and evolution (Typhoon). Hot tag to Earthquake and Beau gets sat on for the first pin. The Beverlys are eliminated. Heat segment on Earthquake, then hot tag to SHOCKMASTER, who luckily doesn’t trip on the way in. Poor guy will never that down but it’s Fred Ottman so who gives a shit. Typhoon tosses Dibiase and wipes out IRS, but that sneaky Ted hooks the leg from his position on his ass on the floor and IRS gets a cheap pin to eliminate the Disasters. He stands up to celebrate and Sags rolls him up for the fast pin to win the match. Que? I thought the point was to build the Nasty Boys – Money Inc. issue. Well, whatever, it was actually quite watchable up to the goofy ending. **

– Virgil gives a dire warning: Yokozuna is a menace not just to the WWF, but to society in general. He warns Bret Hart to beware. Hmm, he missed his calling as a bootlick—he should have been a booker…

– Casket match: The Undertaker v. Kamala. Ah, how UT must yearn for the simpler days of yore, when the worst he had to worry about was a fat cannibal and the occasional voodoo master. Kamala is terrified of the Undertaker, as if you couldn’t tell from his horrible over-acting. Blah blah blah, Kamala with three FAT CANNIBAL SPLASHES OF DEATH but UT does the zombie situp, whacks him with the urn and rolls him into the casket. Call it, oh, -**. UT nails the coffin shut for good measure.

– Sean Mooney with the SHOW STOPPER, THE SCENE STEALER, THE MAIN EVENT, THE ICON, THE HEARTBREAK KID, Shawn Michaels! Okay, none of those nicknames actually applied in 1992, but he was the Intercontinental champion. He gives a lousy interview, proving that he wasn’t a god…yet.

– WWF World title match: Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels. Slow start. Shawn and Bret have a little side-bet or something where the winner is the person who can melodramatically sell the weakest move with the most pained expression on his face. Not a criticism, mind you. Bret works on the arm. Shawn comes back, but keeps it mat-based. Oodles of psychology here. Shawn misses a charge and Bret misses the elbow. Shawn retakes control but it’s the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! And of course Shawn gets crotched on the top rope, because otherwise it’d be like Christmas without Xanta Claus. Weak ref bump leads to nada. Odd moment: At the point where Bret is weakened and Shawn would normally “cue up the band”, he kind of meanders around a bit, as if looking for something to do, because he doesn’t start doing that for another 3 years. But he seems to know that there’s something he should be doing there, ya know? Anyway, they trade some normal sequences and then BANG! out of nowhere, the superkick. Bret is out but since the lame-o teardrop suplex is Shawn’s finisher, he tries that instead. Bret blocks but Shawn hits on the second try, but only gets two. Shawn to the top rope, Bret catches him coming off, Sharpshooter, see ya. Excellent match. ****1/4

The Bottom Line:

1992 was the transition year from Hulkamania to “maybe this wrestling stuff can work on top after all”. Yokozuna spent a year or so dragging down the main event further, but by 1994 Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels ruled the upper card and the workers didn’t get knocked off until 1995.  Survivor Series and to a lesser extent Summerslam showed that a so-so undercard with a kick-ass main event could produce good results without The Orangle Goblin or the Babbling Maniac.

A pretty good card overall, by pre-Clique standards.  Mildly recommended card, if only for the tag match and the main event.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1992

Live from Richfield, OH, where we started all those years ago.

Your hosts are Mr. McMahon and Bobby Heenan.

Opening match: The Headshrinkers v. High Energy (Koko B Ware & Owen Hart).

High Energy with double-teams to control initially, and then Koko gets in and you can guess what happens next. Total squash, and a long one at that. Hot tag to Owen who cleans house and gets a few moves in (probably as a token offering to Bret) before falling prey to the FLYING FAT-ASSED SAMOAN OF DOOM splash. ¼*

Sean Mooney offers a parental guidance warning because the nightstick match between Bossman and Nailz might be too violent. How come they didn’t do that before matches where one guy hurtles 20 feet off the top of a cage and then dumps a bag of tacks in the ring? You’d think that sort of match would deserve a warning. Go fig. Nailz isn’t bad on the mic, oddly enough.

Nailz v. Big Bossman, nightstick match. Kick, punch, kick, punch, Bossman gets the nightstick and does stuff, Nailz gets the nightstick and does stuff, Bossman slam out of nowhere, see ya. DUD.

AWESOME interview/recap segment that makes the Perfect Team v. Flair/Ramon match seem just that much more important. I’ll go over the recap myself later. Flair gives a breathtakingly great interview to set up the match.

Tatanka v. Rick Martel.

And back down the wrestling food chain we go. You see, the Model stole, uh, some feathers or something, yeah. This was pretty whatever. The-not-yet-named clown who would come to be called Doink wanders down to ringside and makes balloon animals to keep the kiddies from nodding off during all the chinlocks. Finally, T-t-t-tanka makes the “pissed off racial stereotype” comeback, chops Martel about a million times, and hits the Papoose-to-go (whatever happened to that Bobby Heenan guy, anyway?) for the pin. ½*

(2011 Scott sez:  Am I ever going to review any of the matches for this show?  Quit being a smarmy jackass, 1998 Scott, and just review the damn match!)

Hennig and Savage see if they can’t go Flair one better, delivering another awesome interview build. Savage plays D-Lo Brown, yelling “Yeah!” and “Right on!” at random intervals.

– Ric Flair & Razor Ramon v. Randy Savage & Curt Hennig. Heenan’s shameless ass-kissing is a thing of beauty. Okay, while I’m watching the ring intros, here’s the reason for this match: Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage were feuding over the World title leading up to Summerslam, and the antagonist in the situation was Ric Flair, who had both guys convinced that the other was working for Flair, when in fact neither was. Warrior beat Savage by countout at Summerslam, and injured him enough that Flair was able to cash in on the situation and win the World title himself a few days later. So Savage & Warrior decided to team up and challenge Flair and his crony Razor Ramon, but Warrior fucked it up by leaving the WWF ten days before Survivor Series. So Savage decided to play mind games with Flair in retaliation, asking his manager Curt Hennig to be his new partner. Hennig actually accepted, causing Bobby Heenan to flip out and fire Hennig. So Hennig turned face and we had this match. Lots of posturing to start, and the crowd goes nuts when Flair gets in. Great sequence with Flair and Hennig early on. Ramon is worthless at this point and this match would have been spectacular without him in there to fuck it up. As it is, it’s only very good. Flair is hilarious on the apron as he struts back and forth, milking the crowd. Ramon gets Savage in a submission hold and Hennig walks. But then he changes his mind and comes back. Hot tag to Hennig, and the crowd is absolutely gonzo. Hennig destroys Ramon, and Earl Hebner gets bumped. Razor’s Edge is reversed to a backdrop and Hennig hooks the Perfectplex. Joey “As dead as Jerry Garcia but nearly as grateful” Marella runs in for a two count, then Hennig hooks Flair and Hebner wakes up for another two count. All hell breaks loose and the heels are DQ’s for double-teaming as Savage lies dead on the outside. Flair destroys Hennig until Savage makes the save with a chair, and this description doesn’t do the mind-blowing amounts of heat being drawn here justice. It was just incredible. Savage and Hennig start a mutual admiration society after the match. ***1/4

– Flair rants and tells Mean Gene to shut up numerous times.

– Yokozuna v. Virgil. Weighing in at a slim, trim, ripped, buff, cut, chiselled, hammered and JAAAAAAAAAACKED 505 pounds, Yoko was at least looking human at this point. Virgil was looking flattened and splattered in 19 different places about 5 minutes later, however. DUD.

– Sean Mooney interviews Savage and Hennig, and it’s TURKEYS FOR EVERYONE! Whoo-hoo!

– The Beverlys & Money Inc. v. The Nasty Boys & The Natural Disasters. Elimination rules. Blake (Mike Enos) gets creamed by the faces for quite a while. Dibiase looks way awesome in white. It becomes a heat segment on Sags. Of the bunch, he sucks the least, so that’s a good thing. The heels do manage to carry the match remarkably well, given the constraints of talent (Nasty Boys) and evolution (Typhoon). Hot tag to Earthquake and Beau gets sat on for the first pin. The Beverlys are eliminated. Heat segment on Earthquake, then hot tag to SHOCKMASTER, who luckily doesn’t trip on the way in. Poor guy will never that down but it’s Fred Ottman so who gives a shit. Typhoon tosses Dibiase and wipes out IRS, but that sneaky Ted hooks the leg from his position on his ass on the floor and IRS gets a cheap pin to eliminate the Disasters. He stands up to celebrate and Sags rolls him up for the fast pin to win the match. Que? I thought the point was to build the Nasty Boys – Money Inc. issue. Well, whatever, it was actually quite watchable up to the goofy ending. **

– Virgil gives a dire warning: Yokozuna is a menace not just to the WWF, but to society in general. He warns Bret Hart to beware. Hmm, he missed his calling as a bootlick—he should have been a booker…

– Casket match: The Undertaker v. Kamala. Ah, how UT must yearn for the simpler days of yore, when the worst he had to worry about was a fat cannibal and the occasional voodoo master. Kamala is terrified of the Undertaker, as if you couldn’t tell from his horrible over-acting. Blah blah blah, Kamala with three FAT CANNIBAL SPLASHES OF DEATH but UT does the zombie situp, whacks him with the urn and rolls him into the casket. Call it, oh, -**. UT nails the coffin shut for good measure.

– Sean Mooney with the SHOW STOPPER, THE SCENE STEALER, THE MAIN EVENT, THE ICON, THE HEARTBREAK KID, Shawn Michaels! Okay, none of those nicknames actually applied in 1992, but he was the Intercontinental champion. He gives a lousy interview, proving that he wasn’t a god…yet.

– WWF World title match: Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels. Slow start. Shawn and Bret have a little side-bet or something where the winner is the person who can melodramatically sell the weakest move with the most pained expression on his face. Not a criticism, mind you. Bret works on the arm. Shawn comes back, but keeps it mat-based. Oodles of psychology here. Shawn misses a charge and Bret misses the elbow. Shawn retakes control but it’s the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! And of course Shawn gets crotched on the top rope, because otherwise it’d be like Christmas without Xanta Claus. Weak ref bump leads to nada. Odd moment: At the point where Bret is weakened and Shawn would normally “cue up the band”, he kind of meanders around a bit, as if looking for something to do, because he doesn’t start doing that for another 3 years. But he seems to know that there’s something he should be doing there, ya know? Anyway, they trade some normal sequences and then BANG! out of nowhere, the superkick. Bret is out but since the lame-o teardrop suplex is Shawn’s finisher, he tries that instead. Bret blocks but Shawn hits on the second try, but only gets two. Shawn to the top rope, Bret catches him coming off, Sharpshooter, see ya. Excellent match. ****1/4

The Bottom Line:

1992 was the transition year from Hulkamania to “maybe this wrestling stuff can work on top after all”. Yokozuna spent a year or so dragging down the main event further, but by 1994 Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels ruled the upper card and the workers didn’t get knocked off until 1995.  Survivor Series and to a lesser extent Summerslam showed that a so-so undercard with a kick-ass main event could produce good results without The Orangle Goblin or the Babbling Maniac.

A pretty good card overall, by pre-Clique standards.  Mildly recommended card, if only for the tag match and the main event.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Rant for Survivor Series 1991.

Live from Detroit, MI.

Your hosts are Gorilla & The Weasel.

Opening match:  Ted Dibiase, The Mountie, The Warlord & Ric Flair v. Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, The British Bulldog & Virgil.

Flair’s video-distorted belt of choice tonight is the WWF tag title.  Dibiase has his Million $ Belt back, after he and Repo Man beat the Miracle Jobber Connection (Virgil & Santana) on a countdown show leading up to this PPV.  I should point out that the STR (Suck-To-Rule) Ratio for the team members here is .750, which is pretty amazing.  Piper & Dibiase go first and tear it up, to enormous heat.  Wow, hot crowd.  Dibiase and Bret go next, and here is where the famous “Reverse, charge” spot call occurs.  There was also one in the 90 show, but it wasn’t nearly as loud or obvious as this one.  My bad.  Anyway, great sequence follows, then Bret & Flair go at it.  Flair ends up getting beat down by everyone, and then Piper MURDERS him.  Flair bails and brings in the Warlord.  Mountie gets destroyed next, and Bulldog is about to finish him, when Flair hits a cheapshot from the top rope and pins him.  Piper commences kicking ass, but gets quadruple-teamed.  He manages to escape a Boston Crab by tagging Virgil.  We get the inevitable Virgil-Dibiase showdown, and it ends badly for Virgil…in a Warlord full-nelson.  However, Bret repays Flair’s earlier cheating by hitting his own shot from behind, and Piper pins Warlord.  Good booking there.  Virgil gets the Dream on Dibiase, but he escapes.  Heels work Virgil over for a while as Heenan plays armchair quarterback and nearly cracks Monsoon up on a few occasions.  Piper gets the hot tag, and shrugs off Flair’s offense.  Big brawl erupts, with Flair doing the Flip to the floor, and the ref DQ’s everyone…who was in the ring.  Oops, that leaves Flair, who is thus the Survivor.  Great match, bad ending.  ***1/2

Randy Savage cuts a promo.  It’s This Tuesday in Texas, ya know.  Order now.

 Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner & Hercules v. Texas Tornado, Tito Santana, Hacksaw Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter.

I never bought Slaughter’s face turn, and neither did the fans.  And it’s time to play my favorite game again!  Let’s see…jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, suicidal drug addict, jobber, jobber, traitor.  Close call, but I’ll have to say that the heels have the advantage because none of them are liable to kill themselves mid-match.  And while I’m ranting, is this like the biggest collection of loser gimmicks in the history of wrestling or what?  It’s like the bottom of the Pat Patterson Idea Barrel or something.  Skinner takes a quick flying jalapeno and bails, and a stall session results.  Oh, man, it’s gonna be one of THOSE matches, I can just feel it.  The match drags on, and it’s like watching Heroes of Wrestling all over again.  Mustafa loads up the POINTY-TOED BOOT OF DEATH and gets two on Duggan, and then Slaughter comes in and hits a clothesline on him for the pin.  Berzerker bumps around a bit for Duggan.  Santana hits El Pace With Extra Picante on Hercules and gets rid of him.  Slaughter gets a blind tag and cradles Skinner for the pin.  Duggan finishes Berzerker with the three-point stance to put me (and the crowd) out of our misery at 14:15.  This was well and truly awful, but at least it was reasonably quick.  -*

 Jake Roberts offers his rebuttal to Randy Savage.  The hidden message:  Sure, we know you’ve just blown $30 on THIS crappy PPV, but since you’re in a spending mood, why not blow ANOTHER $20 on ANOTHER crappy PPV?  (2011 Scott sez:  Nowadays we’d kill for a $30 PPV and be like “Only $20 for the followup next week?  I’m in!”)

 WWF title match:  Hulk Hogan v. The Undertaker.

Taker was “undefeated” at this point, which translated from WWF-ese means that the Ultimate Warrior’s victories over him were erased from history.  UT no-sells Hogan’s initial offense and runs through some of his stuff, then Hogan starts no-selling, but Undertaker no-sells that no-selling.  UT wins that particular war of wills and chokes Hogan out with a cable.  UT methodically chokes him down with a face claw, giving Gorilla a chance to run through some of his usual cliches about fans on the edge of their seats and such.  After a LONG resthold, UT hits the flying clothesline and tombstone, which Hogan of course no-sells.  Hulk gets the dramatic bodyslam, and HEEEEEEEEEERE’S Flair.  He tries the steal the title belt, but Hogan stops him and then goes back to hit the big boot on Undertaker.  Legdrop, but Paul Bearer grabs Hogan’s leg.  The ref goes to deal with *him*, and that allows Flair the chance to toss a chair in the ring, which Undertaker tombstones Hulk on, and we have a new champion.  Hey, is that a FACE pop I hear for Undertaker?  Nah, couldn’t be, Hogan made the business and drew all the money from 1984 on, right?  Match was an abortion, of course.  DUD

Interview-O-Rama kills some time.

The Beverly Brothers & The Nasty Boys v. The Rockers & The Bushwhackers. 

Strangely, the Rockers were probably at the height of their popularity and credibility at this point, just before they self-destructed.  Bushwhackers control the flow to start and clear the ring.  Knobbs hits a quick clothesline on Luke, however, and pins him.  The Rockers double-team Sags for a bit, and then a painfully boring sequence with Marty playing cokehead-in-peril follows.  Butch gets the hot tag, but falls victim to the Beverly Bounce about 3 seconds later and is gone.  Marty pulls out a rana for two on Beau.  Shawn comes in and gets beat up.  Crowd is just gone.  Shawn catches Beau with a backslide and pins him.  Gorilla starts reading heelishness into Marty’s actions, then later Shawn’s.  See, at that point the WWF was still undecided about which Rocker would get the sacred heel push.  In my opinion, it wouldn’t have mattered either way, because Shawn didn’t truly get over until 1994 anyway and by then Marty had long since become a pathetic shell of his former self.  But I digress.  Shawn hits a running clothesline off the apron on Sags, then reluctantly tags in Marty, who is a house of fire for 3 seconds before getting pounded again.  The announcers fill downtime by talking about…you guessed it….THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS.  And man, there’s a LOT of downtime to fill here.  Pier-six brawl erupts, and Marty slams Sags, who ends up kicking Shawn in the face on the way down.  Knobbs quickly cradles the stunned Michaels and pins him.  This prompts Shawn to tease a heel turn, but he just leaves.  So it’s Marty 3-on-1.  Massive heel beatdown is punctuated by a couple of highspots from Jannetty, but in the end Knobbs rolls Jannetty over as he’s small-packaging Sags, and the heels get the win at 23:04.  Yes, they actually gave this  half an hour with entrances, I’m just as shocked as you.  3/4* for a couple of highspots.  Survivors:  Blake Beverly, Jerry Sags, Brian Knobbs, and ME, for staying awake through it all.

 The Natural Disasters & IRS v. Big Bossman & The Legion of Doom.

Interesting thing I heard on the Meltzer radio show:  IRS was dreamed up by Vince McMahon as a shot at the real IRS, who audited him the year before.  I dunno why this is just a six-man, but it’s still elimination rules.  (2011 Scott sez:  Because Randy Savage got bit by a snake, duh!) LOD dominates Typhoon in sloppy fashion.  Bossman gets bopped with the briefcase and pinned by IRS.  Animal takes some big fat punishment.  Man, this is too exciting for words.  Hawk gets the hot tag.  They try the briefcase trick again, but the same trick can’t work twice according to the rules of wrestling, so it misses and Typhoon takes it instead, and gets pinned.  Earthquake bitches at IRS about that miscue, and ends up walking out with Typhoon, leaving IRS 2-on-1 against the tag champs.  RIP, IRS.  (2011 Scott sez:  Actually, RIP Earthquake, Big Bossman and Hawk.  These are some depressing percentages of dead wrestlers.)  Animal gets the pin after the usual at 15:21.  Survivors:  The Legion of Doom.  1/2*

Hulk Hogan and Undertaker offer their final thoughts and hype THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS.

The Bottom Line:

Well, the first match was great, and Hulk Hogan jobbed, which is always good for a laugh, but the rest is strictly sadomasochist territory.  Perhaps Vince knew that too, because in 92 he scrapped the tag match format entirely for a year, and gave us a pretty awesome main event to boot.

But that’s another rant.  Anyway, this show is definitely not recommended.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Rant for Survivor Series 1991.

Live from Detroit, MI.

Your hosts are Gorilla & The Weasel.

Opening match:  Ted Dibiase, The Mountie, The Warlord & Ric Flair v. Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, The British Bulldog & Virgil.

Flair’s video-distorted belt of choice tonight is the WWF tag title.  Dibiase has his Million $ Belt back, after he and Repo Man beat the Miracle Jobber Connection (Virgil & Santana) on a countdown show leading up to this PPV.  I should point out that the STR (Suck-To-Rule) Ratio for the team members here is .750, which is pretty amazing.  Piper & Dibiase go first and tear it up, to enormous heat.  Wow, hot crowd.  Dibiase and Bret go next, and here is where the famous “Reverse, charge” spot call occurs.  There was also one in the 90 show, but it wasn’t nearly as loud or obvious as this one.  My bad.  Anyway, great sequence follows, then Bret & Flair go at it.  Flair ends up getting beat down by everyone, and then Piper MURDERS him.  Flair bails and brings in the Warlord.  Mountie gets destroyed next, and Bulldog is about to finish him, when Flair hits a cheapshot from the top rope and pins him.  Piper commences kicking ass, but gets quadruple-teamed.  He manages to escape a Boston Crab by tagging Virgil.  We get the inevitable Virgil-Dibiase showdown, and it ends badly for Virgil…in a Warlord full-nelson.  However, Bret repays Flair’s earlier cheating by hitting his own shot from behind, and Piper pins Warlord.  Good booking there.  Virgil gets the Dream on Dibiase, but he escapes.  Heels work Virgil over for a while as Heenan plays armchair quarterback and nearly cracks Monsoon up on a few occasions.  Piper gets the hot tag, and shrugs off Flair’s offense.  Big brawl erupts, with Flair doing the Flip to the floor, and the ref DQ’s everyone…who was in the ring.  Oops, that leaves Flair, who is thus the Survivor.  Great match, bad ending.  ***1/2

Randy Savage cuts a promo.  It’s This Tuesday in Texas, ya know.  Order now.

 Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner & Hercules v. Texas Tornado, Tito Santana, Hacksaw Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter.

I never bought Slaughter’s face turn, and neither did the fans.  And it’s time to play my favorite game again!  Let’s see…jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, suicidal drug addict, jobber, jobber, traitor.  Close call, but I’ll have to say that the heels have the advantage because none of them are liable to kill themselves mid-match.  And while I’m ranting, is this like the biggest collection of loser gimmicks in the history of wrestling or what?  It’s like the bottom of the Pat Patterson Idea Barrel or something.  Skinner takes a quick flying jalapeno and bails, and a stall session results.  Oh, man, it’s gonna be one of THOSE matches, I can just feel it.  The match drags on, and it’s like watching Heroes of Wrestling all over again.  Mustafa loads up the POINTY-TOED BOOT OF DEATH and gets two on Duggan, and then Slaughter comes in and hits a clothesline on him for the pin.  Berzerker bumps around a bit for Duggan.  Santana hits El Pace With Extra Picante on Hercules and gets rid of him.  Slaughter gets a blind tag and cradles Skinner for the pin.  Duggan finishes Berzerker with the three-point stance to put me (and the crowd) out of our misery at 14:15.  This was well and truly awful, but at least it was reasonably quick.  -*

 Jake Roberts offers his rebuttal to Randy Savage.  The hidden message:  Sure, we know you’ve just blown $30 on THIS crappy PPV, but since you’re in a spending mood, why not blow ANOTHER $20 on ANOTHER crappy PPV?  (2011 Scott sez:  Nowadays we’d kill for a $30 PPV and be like “Only $20 for the followup next week?  I’m in!”)

 WWF title match:  Hulk Hogan v. The Undertaker.

Taker was “undefeated” at this point, which translated from WWF-ese means that the Ultimate Warrior’s victories over him were erased from history.  UT no-sells Hogan’s initial offense and runs through some of his stuff, then Hogan starts no-selling, but Undertaker no-sells that no-selling.  UT wins that particular war of wills and chokes Hogan out with a cable.  UT methodically chokes him down with a face claw, giving Gorilla a chance to run through some of his usual cliches about fans on the edge of their seats and such.  After a LONG resthold, UT hits the flying clothesline and tombstone, which Hogan of course no-sells.  Hulk gets the dramatic bodyslam, and HEEEEEEEEEERE’S Flair.  He tries the steal the title belt, but Hogan stops him and then goes back to hit the big boot on Undertaker.  Legdrop, but Paul Bearer grabs Hogan’s leg.  The ref goes to deal with *him*, and that allows Flair the chance to toss a chair in the ring, which Undertaker tombstones Hulk on, and we have a new champion.  Hey, is that a FACE pop I hear for Undertaker?  Nah, couldn’t be, Hogan made the business and drew all the money from 1984 on, right?  Match was an abortion, of course.  DUD

Interview-O-Rama kills some time.

The Beverly Brothers & The Nasty Boys v. The Rockers & The Bushwhackers. 

Strangely, the Rockers were probably at the height of their popularity and credibility at this point, just before they self-destructed.  Bushwhackers control the flow to start and clear the ring.  Knobbs hits a quick clothesline on Luke, however, and pins him.  The Rockers double-team Sags for a bit, and then a painfully boring sequence with Marty playing cokehead-in-peril follows.  Butch gets the hot tag, but falls victim to the Beverly Bounce about 3 seconds later and is gone.  Marty pulls out a rana for two on Beau.  Shawn comes in and gets beat up.  Crowd is just gone.  Shawn catches Beau with a backslide and pins him.  Gorilla starts reading heelishness into Marty’s actions, then later Shawn’s.  See, at that point the WWF was still undecided about which Rocker would get the sacred heel push.  In my opinion, it wouldn’t have mattered either way, because Shawn didn’t truly get over until 1994 anyway and by then Marty had long since become a pathetic shell of his former self.  But I digress.  Shawn hits a running clothesline off the apron on Sags, then reluctantly tags in Marty, who is a house of fire for 3 seconds before getting pounded again.  The announcers fill downtime by talking about…you guessed it….THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS.  And man, there’s a LOT of downtime to fill here.  Pier-six brawl erupts, and Marty slams Sags, who ends up kicking Shawn in the face on the way down.  Knobbs quickly cradles the stunned Michaels and pins him.  This prompts Shawn to tease a heel turn, but he just leaves.  So it’s Marty 3-on-1.  Massive heel beatdown is punctuated by a couple of highspots from Jannetty, but in the end Knobbs rolls Jannetty over as he’s small-packaging Sags, and the heels get the win at 23:04.  Yes, they actually gave this  half an hour with entrances, I’m just as shocked as you.  3/4* for a couple of highspots.  Survivors:  Blake Beverly, Jerry Sags, Brian Knobbs, and ME, for staying awake through it all.

 The Natural Disasters & IRS v. Big Bossman & The Legion of Doom.

Interesting thing I heard on the Meltzer radio show:  IRS was dreamed up by Vince McMahon as a shot at the real IRS, who audited him the year before.  I dunno why this is just a six-man, but it’s still elimination rules.  (2011 Scott sez:  Because Randy Savage got bit by a snake, duh!) LOD dominates Typhoon in sloppy fashion.  Bossman gets bopped with the briefcase and pinned by IRS.  Animal takes some big fat punishment.  Man, this is too exciting for words.  Hawk gets the hot tag.  They try the briefcase trick again, but the same trick can’t work twice according to the rules of wrestling, so it misses and Typhoon takes it instead, and gets pinned.  Earthquake bitches at IRS about that miscue, and ends up walking out with Typhoon, leaving IRS 2-on-1 against the tag champs.  RIP, IRS.  (2011 Scott sez:  Actually, RIP Earthquake, Big Bossman and Hawk.  These are some depressing percentages of dead wrestlers.)  Animal gets the pin after the usual at 15:21.  Survivors:  The Legion of Doom.  1/2*

Hulk Hogan and Undertaker offer their final thoughts and hype THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS.

The Bottom Line:

Well, the first match was great, and Hulk Hogan jobbed, which is always good for a laugh, but the rest is strictly sadomasochist territory.  Perhaps Vince knew that too, because in 92 he scrapped the tag match format entirely for a year, and gave us a pretty awesome main event to boot.

But that’s another rant.  Anyway, this show is definitely not recommended.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Rant for Survivor Series 1991.

Live from Detroit, MI.

Your hosts are Gorilla & The Weasel.

Opening match:  Ted Dibiase, The Mountie, The Warlord & Ric Flair v. Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, The British Bulldog & Virgil.

Flair’s video-distorted belt of choice tonight is the WWF tag title.  Dibiase has his Million $ Belt back, after he and Repo Man beat the Miracle Jobber Connection (Virgil & Santana) on a countdown show leading up to this PPV.  I should point out that the STR (Suck-To-Rule) Ratio for the team members here is .750, which is pretty amazing.  Piper & Dibiase go first and tear it up, to enormous heat.  Wow, hot crowd.  Dibiase and Bret go next, and here is where the famous “Reverse, charge” spot call occurs.  There was also one in the 90 show, but it wasn’t nearly as loud or obvious as this one.  My bad.  Anyway, great sequence follows, then Bret & Flair go at it.  Flair ends up getting beat down by everyone, and then Piper MURDERS him.  Flair bails and brings in the Warlord.  Mountie gets destroyed next, and Bulldog is about to finish him, when Flair hits a cheapshot from the top rope and pins him.  Piper commences kicking ass, but gets quadruple-teamed.  He manages to escape a Boston Crab by tagging Virgil.  We get the inevitable Virgil-Dibiase showdown, and it ends badly for Virgil…in a Warlord full-nelson.  However, Bret repays Flair’s earlier cheating by hitting his own shot from behind, and Piper pins Warlord.  Good booking there.  Virgil gets the Dream on Dibiase, but he escapes.  Heels work Virgil over for a while as Heenan plays armchair quarterback and nearly cracks Monsoon up on a few occasions.  Piper gets the hot tag, and shrugs off Flair’s offense.  Big brawl erupts, with Flair doing the Flip to the floor, and the ref DQ’s everyone…who was in the ring.  Oops, that leaves Flair, who is thus the Survivor.  Great match, bad ending.  ***1/2

Randy Savage cuts a promo.  It’s This Tuesday in Texas, ya know.  Order now.

 Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner & Hercules v. Texas Tornado, Tito Santana, Hacksaw Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter.

I never bought Slaughter’s face turn, and neither did the fans.  And it’s time to play my favorite game again!  Let’s see…jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, suicidal drug addict, jobber, jobber, traitor.  Close call, but I’ll have to say that the heels have the advantage because none of them are liable to kill themselves mid-match.  And while I’m ranting, is this like the biggest collection of loser gimmicks in the history of wrestling or what?  It’s like the bottom of the Pat Patterson Idea Barrel or something.  Skinner takes a quick flying jalapeno and bails, and a stall session results.  Oh, man, it’s gonna be one of THOSE matches, I can just feel it.  The match drags on, and it’s like watching Heroes of Wrestling all over again.  Mustafa loads up the POINTY-TOED BOOT OF DEATH and gets two on Duggan, and then Slaughter comes in and hits a clothesline on him for the pin.  Berzerker bumps around a bit for Duggan.  Santana hits El Pace With Extra Picante on Hercules and gets rid of him.  Slaughter gets a blind tag and cradles Skinner for the pin.  Duggan finishes Berzerker with the three-point stance to put me (and the crowd) out of our misery at 14:15.  This was well and truly awful, but at least it was reasonably quick.  -*

 Jake Roberts offers his rebuttal to Randy Savage.  The hidden message:  Sure, we know you’ve just blown $30 on THIS crappy PPV, but since you’re in a spending mood, why not blow ANOTHER $20 on ANOTHER crappy PPV?  (2011 Scott sez:  Nowadays we’d kill for a $30 PPV and be like “Only $20 for the followup next week?  I’m in!”)

 WWF title match:  Hulk Hogan v. The Undertaker.

Taker was “undefeated” at this point, which translated from WWF-ese means that the Ultimate Warrior’s victories over him were erased from history.  UT no-sells Hogan’s initial offense and runs through some of his stuff, then Hogan starts no-selling, but Undertaker no-sells that no-selling.  UT wins that particular war of wills and chokes Hogan out with a cable.  UT methodically chokes him down with a face claw, giving Gorilla a chance to run through some of his usual cliches about fans on the edge of their seats and such.  After a LONG resthold, UT hits the flying clothesline and tombstone, which Hogan of course no-sells.  Hulk gets the dramatic bodyslam, and HEEEEEEEEEERE’S Flair.  He tries the steal the title belt, but Hogan stops him and then goes back to hit the big boot on Undertaker.  Legdrop, but Paul Bearer grabs Hogan’s leg.  The ref goes to deal with *him*, and that allows Flair the chance to toss a chair in the ring, which Undertaker tombstones Hulk on, and we have a new champion.  Hey, is that a FACE pop I hear for Undertaker?  Nah, couldn’t be, Hogan made the business and drew all the money from 1984 on, right?  Match was an abortion, of course.  DUD

Interview-O-Rama kills some time.

The Beverly Brothers & The Nasty Boys v. The Rockers & The Bushwhackers. 

Strangely, the Rockers were probably at the height of their popularity and credibility at this point, just before they self-destructed.  Bushwhackers control the flow to start and clear the ring.  Knobbs hits a quick clothesline on Luke, however, and pins him.  The Rockers double-team Sags for a bit, and then a painfully boring sequence with Marty playing cokehead-in-peril follows.  Butch gets the hot tag, but falls victim to the Beverly Bounce about 3 seconds later and is gone.  Marty pulls out a rana for two on Beau.  Shawn comes in and gets beat up.  Crowd is just gone.  Shawn catches Beau with a backslide and pins him.  Gorilla starts reading heelishness into Marty’s actions, then later Shawn’s.  See, at that point the WWF was still undecided about which Rocker would get the sacred heel push.  In my opinion, it wouldn’t have mattered either way, because Shawn didn’t truly get over until 1994 anyway and by then Marty had long since become a pathetic shell of his former self.  But I digress.  Shawn hits a running clothesline off the apron on Sags, then reluctantly tags in Marty, who is a house of fire for 3 seconds before getting pounded again.  The announcers fill downtime by talking about…you guessed it….THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS.  And man, there’s a LOT of downtime to fill here.  Pier-six brawl erupts, and Marty slams Sags, who ends up kicking Shawn in the face on the way down.  Knobbs quickly cradles the stunned Michaels and pins him.  This prompts Shawn to tease a heel turn, but he just leaves.  So it’s Marty 3-on-1.  Massive heel beatdown is punctuated by a couple of highspots from Jannetty, but in the end Knobbs rolls Jannetty over as he’s small-packaging Sags, and the heels get the win at 23:04.  Yes, they actually gave this  half an hour with entrances, I’m just as shocked as you.  3/4* for a couple of highspots.  Survivors:  Blake Beverly, Jerry Sags, Brian Knobbs, and ME, for staying awake through it all.

 The Natural Disasters & IRS v. Big Bossman & The Legion of Doom.

Interesting thing I heard on the Meltzer radio show:  IRS was dreamed up by Vince McMahon as a shot at the real IRS, who audited him the year before.  I dunno why this is just a six-man, but it’s still elimination rules.  (2011 Scott sez:  Because Randy Savage got bit by a snake, duh!) LOD dominates Typhoon in sloppy fashion.  Bossman gets bopped with the briefcase and pinned by IRS.  Animal takes some big fat punishment.  Man, this is too exciting for words.  Hawk gets the hot tag.  They try the briefcase trick again, but the same trick can’t work twice according to the rules of wrestling, so it misses and Typhoon takes it instead, and gets pinned.  Earthquake bitches at IRS about that miscue, and ends up walking out with Typhoon, leaving IRS 2-on-1 against the tag champs.  RIP, IRS.  (2011 Scott sez:  Actually, RIP Earthquake, Big Bossman and Hawk.  These are some depressing percentages of dead wrestlers.)  Animal gets the pin after the usual at 15:21.  Survivors:  The Legion of Doom.  1/2*

Hulk Hogan and Undertaker offer their final thoughts and hype THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS.

The Bottom Line:

Well, the first match was great, and Hulk Hogan jobbed, which is always good for a laugh, but the rest is strictly sadomasochist territory.  Perhaps Vince knew that too, because in 92 he scrapped the tag match format entirely for a year, and gave us a pretty awesome main event to boot.

But that’s another rant.  Anyway, this show is definitely not recommended.

 

Billy Gunn’d

Hey Scott– Don’t know if you caught this yet, but the match listing for the King of the Ring DVD is out, with EVERY tournament final match… except 1995 and 1999. Ouch. What do you think?

It goes to show that for everyone who bitches about the whitewashing of WWE history, sometimes the axe falls on the right side of things. 

Billy Gunn’d

Hey Scott– Don’t know if you caught this yet, but the match listing for the King of the Ring DVD is out, with EVERY tournament final match… except 1995 and 1999. Ouch. What do you think?

It goes to show that for everyone who bitches about the whitewashing of WWE history, sometimes the axe falls on the right side of things. 

Billy Gunn’d

Hey Scott– Don’t know if you caught this yet, but the match listing for the King of the Ring DVD is out, with EVERY tournament final match… except 1995 and 1999. Ouch. What do you think?

It goes to show that for everyone who bitches about the whitewashing of WWE history, sometimes the axe falls on the right side of things. 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1990

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1990

Man, what is WITH some people?  I got not one, but TWO whiny, lengthy letters from past (and I guess current) Hulkamaniacs who went to great length to basically explain how viewing these shows from a “smart” perspective ruins them because back then all people cared about was watching the good guys win and crap like that.  Hey, newsflash:  The fact that such a large group of people hit upon the internet at basically the same time and turned into what are today the “smart marks” who populate most of wrestling’s fandom proves that there was a large majority of people, much like myself at the time, who felt that the Orange Goblin was an overhyped, aging hypocrite who preached good behavior and then broke every rule in the book, who wouldn’t lay down for someone unless he was either a) Dead or b) Promised a high-profile job in return, never mind if that person had already done the job for him at 500 house shows, and who claimed friendship with Andre the Giant but made sure Andre was safely in the mid-card for the waning years of his career and wouldn’t lay down for HIM either without TWIN GODDAMNED REFEREES and interference from two people AND a fixed pinfall.  The second person also insinuated that I was “insulting the memory” of Andre the Giant by poking fun at him.  Yeah, big deal.  Andre was deteriorated as all hell by 1987 even, and he had no place in that ring anymore.  Vince McMahon was simply milking the name for a quick buck, plain and simple.  I even gave Andre props for going along with that kind of disgusting treatment, but apparently that got lost in the translation.  Anyway, both very interesting letters are available at my home base, Rantsylvania.com, and they make for an interesting read, even if both guys are totally and completely wrong on every point.

So with that out of the way…

Live from Hartford, CT

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper.  Good bye, Jesse, we hardly knew ye.

Opening match:  Mr. Perfect, Ax, Smash & Crush v. The Ultimate Warrior, Kerry Von Erich, Hawk & Animal.

The Texas Tornado was still carrying the belt around here, even though he technically dropped it to Mr. Spiffy a couple of weeks beforehand.  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, so “Mr. Spiffy” was a rare misfire, I’ll give you that.  For those not around when I was trying to get that one over, I felt that WCW signing Curt Hennig would lead them to give him the gimmick of “Mr. Spiffy”, who is pretty good at things, but definitely not “perfect” in any legally definable sense of the term.  That catchphrase never caught, I’m afraid.) 

The WWF, fearing Kerry’s suicide (and a HUGE public relations nightmare) decided to take the title off him and then that way, if he killed himself, they wouldn’t look bad.  What great guys, huh?  The Legion of Doom and Demolition had the issue at this point, and if you don’t why, you obviously weren’t around from about 1987 until that point.  You-Know-Who McMahon is the outside ref for all the matches again this year.  Animal gets pounded by the heels, and a big brawl erupts.  Warrior quickly dispatches Ax.  Interesting matchup results next:  Hawk, who sells NOTHING, against Hennig, who sells ANYTHING.  Another brawl erupts and both the LOD and Demos get DQ’d.  Well, that was CHEAP.  By this, the fourth year, the bookers were getting extra lazy by making sure people with issues didn’t job.  Ax doesn’t count in this case because he was in the process of getting phased out for good anyway.  That leaves Perfect against Tornado & Warrior.  That goes pretty badly for him, until Von Erich misses a blind charge (you’d think those guys would LEARN after 50 years of never hitting that charge into the corner) and a Perfectplex a little later ends Kerry’s night. Warrior charges in, right into a Perfectplex of his own, but this one only gets two.  That’s cool, because Warrior was still fresh anyway.  He eventually hulks up and finishes the match with the usual at 14:17.  Hennig couldn’t save this dog, but he sure gave it a try.  *1/2  Survivor:  The Ultimate Warrior.

Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart v. Ted Dibiase, Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine & The Mystery Partner. 

I’m sure most of you know who said partner was, but for those who don’t, this was the very historic match that produced the WWF debut of…the Undertaker.  He had Brother Love as his manager at this point.  Mark is just WAY into the character, even on his first try at it, as he drills a cold stare into the face team.  The crowd just doesn’t know what to make of the guy and sits in awe.  This wasn’t “no heat” type of silence, this was legitimate “Holy shit, what IS that guy?” silence.  Bret Hart tries his luck with UT first and gets chokeslammed.  Koko goes next, and takes a tombstone.  Bye bye, birdie.  UT then calmly tags in Valentine, giving Bret a look as if to say “I’m only doing this because *I* want to”.  Wild.  The Harts proceed to doing a mini-match with Rhythm and Blues, and that ends with Neidhart powerslamming Honky for the pin.  Dibiase gets Anvil in turn after Virgil interferes.  Dusty & Dibiase fight it out to settle their problems, then UT comes back in and the pendulum suddenly swings so violently I’m surprised someone didn’t their head ripped off, metaphorically speaking.  UT debuts the rope walk in the WWF, and it’s good enough for a pin on the Cow.  So Bret’s 3-on-1.  Man, first his brother died the day before, and then THIS.  Dusty goes running after Brother Love, and UT follows him out and gets counted out.  Cheap, but really necessary given it’s UT’s first match.  Meanwhile, Hammer goes for the figure-four on Bret and gets cradled for the pin.  Well, that didn’t take long.  So it’s Bret v. Dibiase.  Bret nails a pescado to wow the crowd.  Back in the ring and they do a nice little match, including the debut of Bret’s FAKE KNEE INJURY OF DOOM.  Bret hits a sweet cross-body, but Dibiase rolls through for the pin at 13:57.  Bret clearly mouths a naughty word on camera for effect, I guess.  Not horrible or anything.  *1/2  Survivor:  Ted Dibiase.

Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma.

Jake still has his white contacts here.  Yeah, like, DON’T ASK, okay?  (2011 Scott sez:  He was “blind” at the time.  Geez, 1998 Scott, it wasn’t THAT bad…)  The Rockers stick and move on the Warlord, then Martel gets in and runs away from Roberts.  Jannetty gets cute with the Warlord again and gets whomped and pinned.  He was just asking for that one.  Roma actually hits a quasi-fameasser on Michaels as he comes into the ring.  The heels destroy Shawn and he bumps like a madman.  Snuka comes in, tries the same tactic on Martel that Jannetty did with Warlord, and the same result happens:  Martel rolls through a cross-body and gets the pin.  Don’t get cute or look what happens.  Jake ALMOST gets Martel, but gets cheapshotted (cheapshotten?) and beaten down.  Shawn gets the hot tag and does some damage.  See how Michaels & Bret Hart were now being phased in while some of the old guard were being phased out?  I think Vince had backup plans for the future, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.  Anyway, Shawn gets splatted and pinned after the Powerplex, leaving Jake 4-on-1.  He manages a quick DDT on the Warlord, but chases Martel back to the dressing room like an idiot and gets counted out.  Oh, COME ON.  The guy was freakin’ FOUR AGAINST ONE and they couldn’t even book a clean ending?  *1/2  for some nice Rocker bumping and not much else.  Survivors:  Martel, Roma, Hercules & The Warlord.

Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Big Bossman & Hacksaw Duggan.

Hey, it’s my DREAM MATCH!  Oh, sorry, it’s actually my second favorite dream match.  Every other match in the history of wrestling would be tied for first.  (2011 Scott sez:  Who doesn’t love ripping off Bobby Heenan?)  Haku goes quietly after a Bossman slam less than a minute in.  Duggan goes after Earthquake, but resorts to using the lumber and gets DQ’d.  Hulk comes in and slams Quake.  He goes for the 10 punch count but gets powerslammed, allowing him to wiggle around on the ground and do his imitation of selling.  Bravo comes in for more punishment…and gets small packaged by Hogan for the pin?!?  When do you ever see that out of the Tan Who Walks Like a Man?  Bossman comes in and leaves just as quickly after a buttdrop from Quake.  Hogan tries another slam, but Quake is…wait for it…JUST TOO FAT and Hogan falls back.  Tugboat comes in to clean up and gets SOUNDLY booed.  I mean, that was just VICIOUS.  The future Natural Disasters fight on the floor and both are counted out.  Gee, that wasn’t LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME at all, no.  That leaves Hogan v. Barbarian, and if you can’t deduce what happens from there, you have no business reading this report.  Time of the inevitable:  14:50.  Bobby Heenan, company man, takes more punishment from Hulk.  Surprisingly energetic effort from most in this.  *1/2, which is amazing considering I was warming up the hot pokers for this one.  Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.  (2011 Scott sez:  Another match with a depressingly high body count)

PS:  The Orange Goblin still sucks.

Macho King cuts a promo on the Warrior to kill some time.

 Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & The Bushwhackers v. Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov & The Orient Express.

Let’s see, jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, traitor, jobber, jobber, jobber.  It’s like an AWA reunion on the heel side.  And as you might surmise, we go blowing through the match at record speed.   Zukhov?  Gone.  Sato?  Gone.  Tanaka?  Gone.  That would be Santana, Luke and Santana who did the deed there, all in under two minutes.  That leaves Slaughter 4-on-1.  And then we boom-boom-boom the other way.  Volkoff takes a long boring beating and goes back to Lithuania or wherever the hell he was from that week after an elbowdrop.  Luke goes AERIAL, BABEE and misses badly and gets pinned.  Butch is just a wuss so he gets pinned after a clothesline.  Yeah, so, what was the point of this match, again?  That leaves Santana v. Slaughter as the payoff for this grueling 5 minute marathon so far.  Tito blitzes him, but gets caught.  Sgt. Slobber methodically (read:  Viscera on valium) works on Santana, but the ref is bumped.  This is me.  This is me SHOOTING MYSELF IN THE HEAD BECAUSE OF  STUPID BOOKING.   Any questions?  As you might expect, Gen. Adnan tries some shenanigans with the flag, allowing Slaughter to get the REAR CHINLOCK OF DOOM (I liked the Atomic Noogie better, actually…) but the ref really saw what happened (so what the hell is Shane McMahon there for?  Photo ops?) and Tito wins a contrived DQ at 10:43.  I’ve scraped better matches off my shoe.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why haven’t I dusted that gem off again?) DUD  Survivor:  Tito Santana.

The Gobbledegooker.  What do you say about him?  Well, see, there was this big egg that was on WWF shows leading up to this PPV, and it didn’t do anything, it just sat there and the announcers made a big deal out of it hatching at Survivor Series.  And so the show came, and the speculation started:  A new wrestler, like King Kong Bundy or Mark Callaway?  A new manager?  Anything even vaguely interesting?  No, don’t be silly, of course not.  No, when that egg hatched, it was a guy in a turkey suit who was dubbed the Gobbledegooker.  Boy, the crowd just LOVED that one.  The turkey took Mean Gene to the ring and they danced to a rock version of “Turkey in the Straw”.  The crowd booed.  This went on for TEN MINUTES before they finally pulled the plug and never spoke of this sick yolk…er…joke again.  This is generally regarded as quite possibly the biggest egg the WWF ever laid, pun intended.  Btw, the Gobbledegooker was actually a great wrestler, which is really sad.

Grand Finale Match of Ultimate Survival:  Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior & Tito Santana v. Ted Dibase, Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma (as the Beaver).

Santana goes flying right in with a forearm on the Warlord and pins him.  Dibiase ducks that same move and pins Santana.  Hogan gets beat up by the heels for a while, takes the Powerplex, kicks out, and clotheslines Roma for the pin.  Hah hah, Roma got pinned by a CLOTHESLINE.  No wonder he never main evented again.  Warrior comes in and rips Martel into little pieces, causing him to walk out on the heel team.  Dibiase loses his temper because of that and thus gets destroyed by Hogan and pinned after the usual.  Warrior getting rid of Hercules for the final victory at 9:07 is academic.  Well, that was quite the brisk little pointless mess, wasn’t it?  1/4*  This was like one of those battle royales they stick on a house show to fill up another 15 minutes and send the fans home satisfied.

The Bottom Line:

The Survivor Series was obviously outliving it’s usefulness as the “specialness” wore off and the matches got progressively worse.  A change was obviously needed, as the sharply declining buyrate for this show proved.  Fans needed a definite main event to relate to, and BOY did the WWF serve up a doozy the next year, and it proved to be the match that was the undoing of Hulkamania in the WWF pretty much once and for all.  But that’s another rant.  Thumbs down here, though, duh.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1990

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1990

Man, what is WITH some people?  I got not one, but TWO whiny, lengthy letters from past (and I guess current) Hulkamaniacs who went to great length to basically explain how viewing these shows from a “smart” perspective ruins them because back then all people cared about was watching the good guys win and crap like that.  Hey, newsflash:  The fact that such a large group of people hit upon the internet at basically the same time and turned into what are today the “smart marks” who populate most of wrestling’s fandom proves that there was a large majority of people, much like myself at the time, who felt that the Orange Goblin was an overhyped, aging hypocrite who preached good behavior and then broke every rule in the book, who wouldn’t lay down for someone unless he was either a) Dead or b) Promised a high-profile job in return, never mind if that person had already done the job for him at 500 house shows, and who claimed friendship with Andre the Giant but made sure Andre was safely in the mid-card for the waning years of his career and wouldn’t lay down for HIM either without TWIN GODDAMNED REFEREES and interference from two people AND a fixed pinfall.  The second person also insinuated that I was “insulting the memory” of Andre the Giant by poking fun at him.  Yeah, big deal.  Andre was deteriorated as all hell by 1987 even, and he had no place in that ring anymore.  Vince McMahon was simply milking the name for a quick buck, plain and simple.  I even gave Andre props for going along with that kind of disgusting treatment, but apparently that got lost in the translation.  Anyway, both very interesting letters are available at my home base, Rantsylvania.com, and they make for an interesting read, even if both guys are totally and completely wrong on every point.

So with that out of the way…

Live from Hartford, CT

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper.  Good bye, Jesse, we hardly knew ye.

Opening match:  Mr. Perfect, Ax, Smash & Crush v. The Ultimate Warrior, Kerry Von Erich, Hawk & Animal.

The Texas Tornado was still carrying the belt around here, even though he technically dropped it to Mr. Spiffy a couple of weeks beforehand.  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, so “Mr. Spiffy” was a rare misfire, I’ll give you that.  For those not around when I was trying to get that one over, I felt that WCW signing Curt Hennig would lead them to give him the gimmick of “Mr. Spiffy”, who is pretty good at things, but definitely not “perfect” in any legally definable sense of the term.  That catchphrase never caught, I’m afraid.) 

The WWF, fearing Kerry’s suicide (and a HUGE public relations nightmare) decided to take the title off him and then that way, if he killed himself, they wouldn’t look bad.  What great guys, huh?  The Legion of Doom and Demolition had the issue at this point, and if you don’t why, you obviously weren’t around from about 1987 until that point.  You-Know-Who McMahon is the outside ref for all the matches again this year.  Animal gets pounded by the heels, and a big brawl erupts.  Warrior quickly dispatches Ax.  Interesting matchup results next:  Hawk, who sells NOTHING, against Hennig, who sells ANYTHING.  Another brawl erupts and both the LOD and Demos get DQ’d.  Well, that was CHEAP.  By this, the fourth year, the bookers were getting extra lazy by making sure people with issues didn’t job.  Ax doesn’t count in this case because he was in the process of getting phased out for good anyway.  That leaves Perfect against Tornado & Warrior.  That goes pretty badly for him, until Von Erich misses a blind charge (you’d think those guys would LEARN after 50 years of never hitting that charge into the corner) and a Perfectplex a little later ends Kerry’s night. Warrior charges in, right into a Perfectplex of his own, but this one only gets two.  That’s cool, because Warrior was still fresh anyway.  He eventually hulks up and finishes the match with the usual at 14:17.  Hennig couldn’t save this dog, but he sure gave it a try.  *1/2  Survivor:  The Ultimate Warrior.

Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart v. Ted Dibiase, Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine & The Mystery Partner. 

I’m sure most of you know who said partner was, but for those who don’t, this was the very historic match that produced the WWF debut of…the Undertaker.  He had Brother Love as his manager at this point.  Mark is just WAY into the character, even on his first try at it, as he drills a cold stare into the face team.  The crowd just doesn’t know what to make of the guy and sits in awe.  This wasn’t “no heat” type of silence, this was legitimate “Holy shit, what IS that guy?” silence.  Bret Hart tries his luck with UT first and gets chokeslammed.  Koko goes next, and takes a tombstone.  Bye bye, birdie.  UT then calmly tags in Valentine, giving Bret a look as if to say “I’m only doing this because *I* want to”.  Wild.  The Harts proceed to doing a mini-match with Rhythm and Blues, and that ends with Neidhart powerslamming Honky for the pin.  Dibiase gets Anvil in turn after Virgil interferes.  Dusty & Dibiase fight it out to settle their problems, then UT comes back in and the pendulum suddenly swings so violently I’m surprised someone didn’t their head ripped off, metaphorically speaking.  UT debuts the rope walk in the WWF, and it’s good enough for a pin on the Cow.  So Bret’s 3-on-1.  Man, first his brother died the day before, and then THIS.  Dusty goes running after Brother Love, and UT follows him out and gets counted out.  Cheap, but really necessary given it’s UT’s first match.  Meanwhile, Hammer goes for the figure-four on Bret and gets cradled for the pin.  Well, that didn’t take long.  So it’s Bret v. Dibiase.  Bret nails a pescado to wow the crowd.  Back in the ring and they do a nice little match, including the debut of Bret’s FAKE KNEE INJURY OF DOOM.  Bret hits a sweet cross-body, but Dibiase rolls through for the pin at 13:57.  Bret clearly mouths a naughty word on camera for effect, I guess.  Not horrible or anything.  *1/2  Survivor:  Ted Dibiase.

Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma.

Jake still has his white contacts here.  Yeah, like, DON’T ASK, okay?  (2011 Scott sez:  He was “blind” at the time.  Geez, 1998 Scott, it wasn’t THAT bad…)  The Rockers stick and move on the Warlord, then Martel gets in and runs away from Roberts.  Jannetty gets cute with the Warlord again and gets whomped and pinned.  He was just asking for that one.  Roma actually hits a quasi-fameasser on Michaels as he comes into the ring.  The heels destroy Shawn and he bumps like a madman.  Snuka comes in, tries the same tactic on Martel that Jannetty did with Warlord, and the same result happens:  Martel rolls through a cross-body and gets the pin.  Don’t get cute or look what happens.  Jake ALMOST gets Martel, but gets cheapshotted (cheapshotten?) and beaten down.  Shawn gets the hot tag and does some damage.  See how Michaels & Bret Hart were now being phased in while some of the old guard were being phased out?  I think Vince had backup plans for the future, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.  Anyway, Shawn gets splatted and pinned after the Powerplex, leaving Jake 4-on-1.  He manages a quick DDT on the Warlord, but chases Martel back to the dressing room like an idiot and gets counted out.  Oh, COME ON.  The guy was freakin’ FOUR AGAINST ONE and they couldn’t even book a clean ending?  *1/2  for some nice Rocker bumping and not much else.  Survivors:  Martel, Roma, Hercules & The Warlord.

Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Big Bossman & Hacksaw Duggan.

Hey, it’s my DREAM MATCH!  Oh, sorry, it’s actually my second favorite dream match.  Every other match in the history of wrestling would be tied for first.  (2011 Scott sez:  Who doesn’t love ripping off Bobby Heenan?)  Haku goes quietly after a Bossman slam less than a minute in.  Duggan goes after Earthquake, but resorts to using the lumber and gets DQ’d.  Hulk comes in and slams Quake.  He goes for the 10 punch count but gets powerslammed, allowing him to wiggle around on the ground and do his imitation of selling.  Bravo comes in for more punishment…and gets small packaged by Hogan for the pin?!?  When do you ever see that out of the Tan Who Walks Like a Man?  Bossman comes in and leaves just as quickly after a buttdrop from Quake.  Hogan tries another slam, but Quake is…wait for it…JUST TOO FAT and Hogan falls back.  Tugboat comes in to clean up and gets SOUNDLY booed.  I mean, that was just VICIOUS.  The future Natural Disasters fight on the floor and both are counted out.  Gee, that wasn’t LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME at all, no.  That leaves Hogan v. Barbarian, and if you can’t deduce what happens from there, you have no business reading this report.  Time of the inevitable:  14:50.  Bobby Heenan, company man, takes more punishment from Hulk.  Surprisingly energetic effort from most in this.  *1/2, which is amazing considering I was warming up the hot pokers for this one.  Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.  (2011 Scott sez:  Another match with a depressingly high body count)

PS:  The Orange Goblin still sucks.

Macho King cuts a promo on the Warrior to kill some time.

 Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & The Bushwhackers v. Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov & The Orient Express.

Let’s see, jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, traitor, jobber, jobber, jobber.  It’s like an AWA reunion on the heel side.  And as you might surmise, we go blowing through the match at record speed.   Zukhov?  Gone.  Sato?  Gone.  Tanaka?  Gone.  That would be Santana, Luke and Santana who did the deed there, all in under two minutes.  That leaves Slaughter 4-on-1.  And then we boom-boom-boom the other way.  Volkoff takes a long boring beating and goes back to Lithuania or wherever the hell he was from that week after an elbowdrop.  Luke goes AERIAL, BABEE and misses badly and gets pinned.  Butch is just a wuss so he gets pinned after a clothesline.  Yeah, so, what was the point of this match, again?  That leaves Santana v. Slaughter as the payoff for this grueling 5 minute marathon so far.  Tito blitzes him, but gets caught.  Sgt. Slobber methodically (read:  Viscera on valium) works on Santana, but the ref is bumped.  This is me.  This is me SHOOTING MYSELF IN THE HEAD BECAUSE OF  STUPID BOOKING.   Any questions?  As you might expect, Gen. Adnan tries some shenanigans with the flag, allowing Slaughter to get the REAR CHINLOCK OF DOOM (I liked the Atomic Noogie better, actually…) but the ref really saw what happened (so what the hell is Shane McMahon there for?  Photo ops?) and Tito wins a contrived DQ at 10:43.  I’ve scraped better matches off my shoe.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why haven’t I dusted that gem off again?) DUD  Survivor:  Tito Santana.

The Gobbledegooker.  What do you say about him?  Well, see, there was this big egg that was on WWF shows leading up to this PPV, and it didn’t do anything, it just sat there and the announcers made a big deal out of it hatching at Survivor Series.  And so the show came, and the speculation started:  A new wrestler, like King Kong Bundy or Mark Callaway?  A new manager?  Anything even vaguely interesting?  No, don’t be silly, of course not.  No, when that egg hatched, it was a guy in a turkey suit who was dubbed the Gobbledegooker.  Boy, the crowd just LOVED that one.  The turkey took Mean Gene to the ring and they danced to a rock version of “Turkey in the Straw”.  The crowd booed.  This went on for TEN MINUTES before they finally pulled the plug and never spoke of this sick yolk…er…joke again.  This is generally regarded as quite possibly the biggest egg the WWF ever laid, pun intended.  Btw, the Gobbledegooker was actually a great wrestler, which is really sad.

Grand Finale Match of Ultimate Survival:  Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior & Tito Santana v. Ted Dibase, Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma (as the Beaver).

Santana goes flying right in with a forearm on the Warlord and pins him.  Dibiase ducks that same move and pins Santana.  Hogan gets beat up by the heels for a while, takes the Powerplex, kicks out, and clotheslines Roma for the pin.  Hah hah, Roma got pinned by a CLOTHESLINE.  No wonder he never main evented again.  Warrior comes in and rips Martel into little pieces, causing him to walk out on the heel team.  Dibiase loses his temper because of that and thus gets destroyed by Hogan and pinned after the usual.  Warrior getting rid of Hercules for the final victory at 9:07 is academic.  Well, that was quite the brisk little pointless mess, wasn’t it?  1/4*  This was like one of those battle royales they stick on a house show to fill up another 15 minutes and send the fans home satisfied.

The Bottom Line:

The Survivor Series was obviously outliving it’s usefulness as the “specialness” wore off and the matches got progressively worse.  A change was obviously needed, as the sharply declining buyrate for this show proved.  Fans needed a definite main event to relate to, and BOY did the WWF serve up a doozy the next year, and it proved to be the match that was the undoing of Hulkamania in the WWF pretty much once and for all.  But that’s another rant.  Thumbs down here, though, duh.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1990

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1990

Man, what is WITH some people?  I got not one, but TWO whiny, lengthy letters from past (and I guess current) Hulkamaniacs who went to great length to basically explain how viewing these shows from a “smart” perspective ruins them because back then all people cared about was watching the good guys win and crap like that.  Hey, newsflash:  The fact that such a large group of people hit upon the internet at basically the same time and turned into what are today the “smart marks” who populate most of wrestling’s fandom proves that there was a large majority of people, much like myself at the time, who felt that the Orange Goblin was an overhyped, aging hypocrite who preached good behavior and then broke every rule in the book, who wouldn’t lay down for someone unless he was either a) Dead or b) Promised a high-profile job in return, never mind if that person had already done the job for him at 500 house shows, and who claimed friendship with Andre the Giant but made sure Andre was safely in the mid-card for the waning years of his career and wouldn’t lay down for HIM either without TWIN GODDAMNED REFEREES and interference from two people AND a fixed pinfall.  The second person also insinuated that I was “insulting the memory” of Andre the Giant by poking fun at him.  Yeah, big deal.  Andre was deteriorated as all hell by 1987 even, and he had no place in that ring anymore.  Vince McMahon was simply milking the name for a quick buck, plain and simple.  I even gave Andre props for going along with that kind of disgusting treatment, but apparently that got lost in the translation.  Anyway, both very interesting letters are available at my home base, Rantsylvania.com, and they make for an interesting read, even if both guys are totally and completely wrong on every point.

So with that out of the way…

Live from Hartford, CT

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper.  Good bye, Jesse, we hardly knew ye.

Opening match:  Mr. Perfect, Ax, Smash & Crush v. The Ultimate Warrior, Kerry Von Erich, Hawk & Animal.

The Texas Tornado was still carrying the belt around here, even though he technically dropped it to Mr. Spiffy a couple of weeks beforehand.  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, so “Mr. Spiffy” was a rare misfire, I’ll give you that.  For those not around when I was trying to get that one over, I felt that WCW signing Curt Hennig would lead them to give him the gimmick of “Mr. Spiffy”, who is pretty good at things, but definitely not “perfect” in any legally definable sense of the term.  That catchphrase never caught, I’m afraid.) 

The WWF, fearing Kerry’s suicide (and a HUGE public relations nightmare) decided to take the title off him and then that way, if he killed himself, they wouldn’t look bad.  What great guys, huh?  The Legion of Doom and Demolition had the issue at this point, and if you don’t why, you obviously weren’t around from about 1987 until that point.  You-Know-Who McMahon is the outside ref for all the matches again this year.  Animal gets pounded by the heels, and a big brawl erupts.  Warrior quickly dispatches Ax.  Interesting matchup results next:  Hawk, who sells NOTHING, against Hennig, who sells ANYTHING.  Another brawl erupts and both the LOD and Demos get DQ’d.  Well, that was CHEAP.  By this, the fourth year, the bookers were getting extra lazy by making sure people with issues didn’t job.  Ax doesn’t count in this case because he was in the process of getting phased out for good anyway.  That leaves Perfect against Tornado & Warrior.  That goes pretty badly for him, until Von Erich misses a blind charge (you’d think those guys would LEARN after 50 years of never hitting that charge into the corner) and a Perfectplex a little later ends Kerry’s night. Warrior charges in, right into a Perfectplex of his own, but this one only gets two.  That’s cool, because Warrior was still fresh anyway.  He eventually hulks up and finishes the match with the usual at 14:17.  Hennig couldn’t save this dog, but he sure gave it a try.  *1/2  Survivor:  The Ultimate Warrior.

Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart v. Ted Dibiase, Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine & The Mystery Partner. 

I’m sure most of you know who said partner was, but for those who don’t, this was the very historic match that produced the WWF debut of…the Undertaker.  He had Brother Love as his manager at this point.  Mark is just WAY into the character, even on his first try at it, as he drills a cold stare into the face team.  The crowd just doesn’t know what to make of the guy and sits in awe.  This wasn’t “no heat” type of silence, this was legitimate “Holy shit, what IS that guy?” silence.  Bret Hart tries his luck with UT first and gets chokeslammed.  Koko goes next, and takes a tombstone.  Bye bye, birdie.  UT then calmly tags in Valentine, giving Bret a look as if to say “I’m only doing this because *I* want to”.  Wild.  The Harts proceed to doing a mini-match with Rhythm and Blues, and that ends with Neidhart powerslamming Honky for the pin.  Dibiase gets Anvil in turn after Virgil interferes.  Dusty & Dibiase fight it out to settle their problems, then UT comes back in and the pendulum suddenly swings so violently I’m surprised someone didn’t their head ripped off, metaphorically speaking.  UT debuts the rope walk in the WWF, and it’s good enough for a pin on the Cow.  So Bret’s 3-on-1.  Man, first his brother died the day before, and then THIS.  Dusty goes running after Brother Love, and UT follows him out and gets counted out.  Cheap, but really necessary given it’s UT’s first match.  Meanwhile, Hammer goes for the figure-four on Bret and gets cradled for the pin.  Well, that didn’t take long.  So it’s Bret v. Dibiase.  Bret nails a pescado to wow the crowd.  Back in the ring and they do a nice little match, including the debut of Bret’s FAKE KNEE INJURY OF DOOM.  Bret hits a sweet cross-body, but Dibiase rolls through for the pin at 13:57.  Bret clearly mouths a naughty word on camera for effect, I guess.  Not horrible or anything.  *1/2  Survivor:  Ted Dibiase.

Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma.

Jake still has his white contacts here.  Yeah, like, DON’T ASK, okay?  (2011 Scott sez:  He was “blind” at the time.  Geez, 1998 Scott, it wasn’t THAT bad…)  The Rockers stick and move on the Warlord, then Martel gets in and runs away from Roberts.  Jannetty gets cute with the Warlord again and gets whomped and pinned.  He was just asking for that one.  Roma actually hits a quasi-fameasser on Michaels as he comes into the ring.  The heels destroy Shawn and he bumps like a madman.  Snuka comes in, tries the same tactic on Martel that Jannetty did with Warlord, and the same result happens:  Martel rolls through a cross-body and gets the pin.  Don’t get cute or look what happens.  Jake ALMOST gets Martel, but gets cheapshotted (cheapshotten?) and beaten down.  Shawn gets the hot tag and does some damage.  See how Michaels & Bret Hart were now being phased in while some of the old guard were being phased out?  I think Vince had backup plans for the future, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.  Anyway, Shawn gets splatted and pinned after the Powerplex, leaving Jake 4-on-1.  He manages a quick DDT on the Warlord, but chases Martel back to the dressing room like an idiot and gets counted out.  Oh, COME ON.  The guy was freakin’ FOUR AGAINST ONE and they couldn’t even book a clean ending?  *1/2  for some nice Rocker bumping and not much else.  Survivors:  Martel, Roma, Hercules & The Warlord.

Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Big Bossman & Hacksaw Duggan.

Hey, it’s my DREAM MATCH!  Oh, sorry, it’s actually my second favorite dream match.  Every other match in the history of wrestling would be tied for first.  (2011 Scott sez:  Who doesn’t love ripping off Bobby Heenan?)  Haku goes quietly after a Bossman slam less than a minute in.  Duggan goes after Earthquake, but resorts to using the lumber and gets DQ’d.  Hulk comes in and slams Quake.  He goes for the 10 punch count but gets powerslammed, allowing him to wiggle around on the ground and do his imitation of selling.  Bravo comes in for more punishment…and gets small packaged by Hogan for the pin?!?  When do you ever see that out of the Tan Who Walks Like a Man?  Bossman comes in and leaves just as quickly after a buttdrop from Quake.  Hogan tries another slam, but Quake is…wait for it…JUST TOO FAT and Hogan falls back.  Tugboat comes in to clean up and gets SOUNDLY booed.  I mean, that was just VICIOUS.  The future Natural Disasters fight on the floor and both are counted out.  Gee, that wasn’t LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME at all, no.  That leaves Hogan v. Barbarian, and if you can’t deduce what happens from there, you have no business reading this report.  Time of the inevitable:  14:50.  Bobby Heenan, company man, takes more punishment from Hulk.  Surprisingly energetic effort from most in this.  *1/2, which is amazing considering I was warming up the hot pokers for this one.  Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.  (2011 Scott sez:  Another match with a depressingly high body count)

PS:  The Orange Goblin still sucks.

Macho King cuts a promo on the Warrior to kill some time.

 Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & The Bushwhackers v. Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov & The Orient Express.

Let’s see, jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, traitor, jobber, jobber, jobber.  It’s like an AWA reunion on the heel side.  And as you might surmise, we go blowing through the match at record speed.   Zukhov?  Gone.  Sato?  Gone.  Tanaka?  Gone.  That would be Santana, Luke and Santana who did the deed there, all in under two minutes.  That leaves Slaughter 4-on-1.  And then we boom-boom-boom the other way.  Volkoff takes a long boring beating and goes back to Lithuania or wherever the hell he was from that week after an elbowdrop.  Luke goes AERIAL, BABEE and misses badly and gets pinned.  Butch is just a wuss so he gets pinned after a clothesline.  Yeah, so, what was the point of this match, again?  That leaves Santana v. Slaughter as the payoff for this grueling 5 minute marathon so far.  Tito blitzes him, but gets caught.  Sgt. Slobber methodically (read:  Viscera on valium) works on Santana, but the ref is bumped.  This is me.  This is me SHOOTING MYSELF IN THE HEAD BECAUSE OF  STUPID BOOKING.   Any questions?  As you might expect, Gen. Adnan tries some shenanigans with the flag, allowing Slaughter to get the REAR CHINLOCK OF DOOM (I liked the Atomic Noogie better, actually…) but the ref really saw what happened (so what the hell is Shane McMahon there for?  Photo ops?) and Tito wins a contrived DQ at 10:43.  I’ve scraped better matches off my shoe.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why haven’t I dusted that gem off again?) DUD  Survivor:  Tito Santana.

The Gobbledegooker.  What do you say about him?  Well, see, there was this big egg that was on WWF shows leading up to this PPV, and it didn’t do anything, it just sat there and the announcers made a big deal out of it hatching at Survivor Series.  And so the show came, and the speculation started:  A new wrestler, like King Kong Bundy or Mark Callaway?  A new manager?  Anything even vaguely interesting?  No, don’t be silly, of course not.  No, when that egg hatched, it was a guy in a turkey suit who was dubbed the Gobbledegooker.  Boy, the crowd just LOVED that one.  The turkey took Mean Gene to the ring and they danced to a rock version of “Turkey in the Straw”.  The crowd booed.  This went on for TEN MINUTES before they finally pulled the plug and never spoke of this sick yolk…er…joke again.  This is generally regarded as quite possibly the biggest egg the WWF ever laid, pun intended.  Btw, the Gobbledegooker was actually a great wrestler, which is really sad.

Grand Finale Match of Ultimate Survival:  Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior & Tito Santana v. Ted Dibase, Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma (as the Beaver).

Santana goes flying right in with a forearm on the Warlord and pins him.  Dibiase ducks that same move and pins Santana.  Hogan gets beat up by the heels for a while, takes the Powerplex, kicks out, and clotheslines Roma for the pin.  Hah hah, Roma got pinned by a CLOTHESLINE.  No wonder he never main evented again.  Warrior comes in and rips Martel into little pieces, causing him to walk out on the heel team.  Dibiase loses his temper because of that and thus gets destroyed by Hogan and pinned after the usual.  Warrior getting rid of Hercules for the final victory at 9:07 is academic.  Well, that was quite the brisk little pointless mess, wasn’t it?  1/4*  This was like one of those battle royales they stick on a house show to fill up another 15 minutes and send the fans home satisfied.

The Bottom Line:

The Survivor Series was obviously outliving it’s usefulness as the “specialness” wore off and the matches got progressively worse.  A change was obviously needed, as the sharply declining buyrate for this show proved.  Fans needed a definite main event to relate to, and BOY did the WWF serve up a doozy the next year, and it proved to be the match that was the undoing of Hulkamania in the WWF pretty much once and for all.  But that’s another rant.  Thumbs down here, though, duh.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 89

In our continuing trip back to when the WWF REALLY REALLY SUCKED, we hit Survivor Series 89, which was probably the low point, wrestling-wise, of the year.  If you don’t count No Holds Barred: The Pay-Per-View.  And really, who does?

And no, I will NOT review No Holds Barred:  The Pay-Per-View.  So just don’t even bother e-mailing me about it.

2011 Scott sez:  This still holds true today.

Live from Chicago, IL

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon.

Thankfully (or not, depending on your point of view), by 1989 the WWF had managed to get organized enough not to have every PPV run 4 and a half hours, and so no clipping was needed for this show.

Opening match:  Big Bossman, Bad News Brown, Honky Tonk Man & Rick Martel v. Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, Terry Taylor & Dusty Rhodes.

And as you can see, the unwieldly 5 on 5 format was dumped in favor of 4 on 4, which produced 5 matches instead of 4.  Good move, sez I.  Martel & Santana had the main issue (I refuse to call Bossman & the American Cow’s “feud” over the nightstick a legitimate issue) so they start.  Pretty non-descript match to start, as they run through the basics and Taylor gets to play sacrificial lamb.  Or rooster.  He was just riding out the contractual gravy train at that point anyway, collecting his pay until he could legally go ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD but the WWF.  Santana gets the hot tag and kills Martel, but tries a rollup and it gets reversed for the pin.  Geez, that makes like 140 matches between those two with that ending.  Interesting note for those of you obsessive enough to e-mail me stuff like this:  Shane-O-Mac, the most homocidal, genocidal, suicidal guy to wear a sweater vest, is the on-the-floor referee for every match, probably stuck there on the order of Daddy-O-Mac in order to learn the flow and pace of a wrestling match.  The future Sapphire is shown in the front row of the crowd, cheering on the Dream.  Taylor and Martel do a nice sequence, and AGAIN poor Terry gets killed.  Geez, he’s getting buried, we GET IT ALREADY.  He makes the mistake of talking smack to Bad News Brown, and takes a beating for it.  Gotta admire the guy for guts.  However, once again, Bad News runs afoul of a teammate (this year’s lucky winner:  Big Bossman) and walks out on his team.  But I mean, it makes sense:  What self-respecting bad-ass black guy would team with a prison guard and a guy nicknamed “Honky”?  It’s just BEGGING for a bad situation.  Ahem.  HTM & Beefcake do their usual match, with an unusual twist:  Beefcake hits a high knee and Honky lays down clean.  Martel & Beefer do a boring mini-match next, with Brutus getting the pin on a sunset flip.  Bossman is 1-on-3 now.  He dispatches Taylor without breaking much of a sweat, and speaking of breaking sweat, here comes Dusty with a bodypress for the pin and the victory at 22:00.  This was decent.  **1/4  Survivors:  Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake.

Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine & Earthquake v. Jim Duggan, Ronnie Garvin, Bret Hart & Hercules.

Wow, a synchronized 2×4 routine! Yeah, just kill me now.  Bravo is, I believe, subbing for Barry Windham here, who I distinctly remember being part of this show but can’t for the life of me remember who took his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  See, I told you I’d suck at that Sporcle quiz!)  Bret gets BIG pops when he gets in the ring, and don’t think that wasn’t noticed.  The faces lay into Valentine for a while.  Hercules gets caught in the wrong corner, however, and flattened with a Quake splash in short order.  Buh bye.  Bret manages to schoolboy Quake from behind, which allows Garvin a splash for a two count.  Cute.  Garvin plays slug-in-peril for a while.  Duggan catches a quick tag and clotheslines Hammer for the pin.  Bret and Savage exchange a quick sequence, bringing a ray of hope into this show.  Sadly, Bravo tags in.  Sigh.  Garvin comes in and gets side-slammed and pinned.  Gee, and I thought he had it wrapped up after the GARVIN STOMP OF DOOM.  Savage & Bret tease me again by doing another couple of minutes.  Brets gets destroyed by Earthquake and does his usual amazing sell job.  Miracle tag allows Duggan to come in to get a few shots in, but then he tags Bret back in.  HUH?  And as you’d expect, Savage pounces like a vulture and finishes the injured Bret with the big elbow.  Man, what an idiot Duggan is.  Duggan is now 1-on-3.  He uses his limited brain power to temporarily outsmart the heels, but then they realize that there’s THREE of them and ONE of Duggan and proceed to getting medieval on him.  Unnecessarily cheap ending follows as Sherri trips him up and he’s counted out at 23:23.  Geez, you’ve got a former World champ, the World’s Strongest Man and a guy named after a natural disaster, and they need a GIRL to beat Duggan?  That’s just sad.  *1/2  Survivors:  Bravo, Earthquake, Savage.  (2011 Scott sez:  You know what’s even more sad?  Just look at who the three survivors and the manager are and what happened to them all.  Unfortunately they proved to be anything but survivors of wrestling)

And now, here to read a poem for us all, the Genius.

Ted Dibiase, Zeus, Warlord & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts & Demolition. 

Oh, this oughta be a classic.  The Demos had regained the tag titles from the Brainbusters the week before (in TV time), but only because the ‘Busters were rapidly being shown the door and Vince needed an over team to job to that other awesome duo:  Haku & Andre the Giant.  Yeah, that’s a fair trade.  That big Hogan v. Zeus issue was still building, so they start.  For those who weren’t around way back then, there was a VERY real fear amongst smart fans that Vince would run Hogan v. Zeus as the main at Wrestlemania VI.  The big Z no-sells all of Hogan’s offense, which makes him my hero for a few seconds.  He shoves the ref and gets DQ’d.  Yeah, bring on that singles match!  Well, at least he went quick.  Hulk gets beat up by the heels for a while, then Snake & Dibiase do their thing.  They had the issue at the time, ostensibly over the Million Dollar Belt…but my secret inside sources reveal that in fact it was a big contest between them, to see who destroy their life most dramatically with drugs and alcohol, then last longest doing the bible-thumping circuit as born-again Christians.  Dibiase won that one pretty easily.  And at that point, Gorilla hits a great quote:  “I don’t care if you’ve got a Z on the side of your head or not, THAT’S NOT LEGAL”.  Try saying that one to complete strangers, just to annoy them.  Ax comes in and gets pinned after being tripped up and elbow-dropped.  Smash comes in, more boredom follows, and he gets clotheslined and pinned by Barbarian.  Man, did the Demos piss off a booker or something?  The heels work Roberts over slowly.  Hogan gets the hot tag and is double-teamed by the Powers of Pain, who are BOTH disqualified.  LAAAAAAAAAAAAME.  Jesse is nearly going apoplectic, yelling about Hebner being paid off by Hogan and giving him an easy time of it by disqualifying 3/4 of Dibiase’s team.  He’s got a point.  Anyway, it’s Hogan & Roberts v. Dibiase.  If it’s 1988, then MAYBE there’s suspense, but the Dibiase push is deader than…aw, just make your own tasteless joke.  Hogan survives the Million Dollar Dream by using that special scientific counter:  Having your partner run in and cheap shot the guy on the third drop of the arm.  What a PUSS Hogan was.  Be a freakin’ MAN and DO THE JOB for once your life, you orange freak.  Jake gets the hot tag, but Virgil runs in (with a broken arm — now THAT’S Smithers-quality toadying) and takes a DDT for the boss, which allows Dibiase to drop a fist and pin Roberts with his feet on the ropes.  And the plot thickens.  Dibiase kills Hogan until The Thing That Wouldn’t Go Away decides to start no-selling at an arbitrary and finish Dibiase with his usual at 27:28.  I *really* question the need for Hogan to win that match, considering his was ALREADY the champion and all.  I mean, if you put Dibiase over there, you pop HUGE heel heat for him and build to a pretty good blowoff for the future.  Alas, such are the dreams of fools like I.   Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.

Intermission.

Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & The Bushwhackers v. Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Rougeau Brothers.

Talk about your contrast in talent.  The faces start by providing a visual demonstration of my opinion of the lot of them:  They all bite.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hey, I love Roddy Piper!  WCW must have really soured me on him at that point.)  Pretty much a comedy match to start, with Jacques in full melodramatic oversell mode.  Superfly splash gets rid of him in short order.  Rude & Hennig have some heel miscommunication to keep the faces on offense.  Piper gets Raymond on a piledriver.  So it’s Rude & Hennig against all four faces.  Hennig gets beat up, but manages a quick rollup on Butch to even it up a little.  Rude takes out Luke with the Rude Awakening and it’s 2-on-2.  The heels now toy with Snuka for a while, with Hennig his usual great self.  The sequence can most politiely be referred to as “unreasonably lengthy” and least politely as “more boring than watching Nitro”.  Piper gets the hot tag as I struggle to remember how they booked it to get rid of Piper and Rude without anyone jobbing.  Oh, yeah, brawl to double-countout, that’s it.  You know, the transition from 80s wrestling to 90s wrestling was starting to become apparent, as the bookers didn’t want to job ANYONE to ANYONE if they could possibly help it, because it might hurt a house show gate in Podunk, MD if the fans didn’t believe that both guys in the “C level” show main event were indestructible.  You know, the more I learn about the politics of wrestling, the more the smart in me hopes I never get involved in any way.   We’re down to Snuka v. Perfect, and then the mark in me gets another little ray of hope, as Snuka wisely allows Hennig to carry him through a really nice little wrestling match.  A roll-through on a cross-body gets two for Perfect, and the Perfectplex finishes it at 21:27.  Nothing cheers me up more than watching Curt Hennig rebel against the bookers in his own way by getting over on his god-given wrestling ability.  And despite Hogan’s politicking, he used that talent to get so over that he was THAT close to being put over Hogan before it got vetoed by the Balding One.  This match, however, was just there.  *  Survivor:  Curt Hennig.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m pretty sure this match must have been better than I’m giving it credit for.  I could be kind of a dick in the 90s)

Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Bobby Heenan, Arn Anderson, Haku & Andre the Giant.

Heenan is in there because Tully Blanchard “failed a drug test” (HAH!) and got fired before the show.  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course, Tully actually DID fail a drug test, which makes you ask “How much blow did you have to do to fail a WWF drug test in the 80s?” and there you have your answer.)  Ultimate Warrior does the Steve Austin entrance, waiting until his partners get beat on by the heels, and THEN making the big save.  As a testament to how pathetically deteriorated he was, Andre gets clotheslined out of the ring by Warrior and counted out mere seconds into the match.  Yeah, there’s a GREAT choice to put the tag titles on, Vince.  No wonder you almost went bankrupt in 1990, you moron.  To put this in perspective, this was the time when Warrior was headlining house shows against Andre and winning in 30 seconds with three clotheslines.  Think Hulk Hogan will be doing the house show circuit to put over a hot newcomer when HE’S 60 years old and falling apart?  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course not!  He’ll be headlining TNA’s Bound For Glory PPV against Sting and getting Flair to take bumps for him!)

 Neidhart beats up everyone while Andre stands in the aisleway doing what can be best described as his impersonation of Rock doing his impersonation of the Big Show. (2011 Scott sez:  What the fuck was I talking about there?)  Anvil quickly takes a Haku thrust kick to the back of the head and hits the showers.  The Rockers and AA/Haku proceed to do a GREAT little mini-match, and I suddenly dream about what they had planned if Tully hadn’t been turfed.  Heenan draws HUGE heel heat by tagging in for a cheap shot and then immediately tagging out.  Then, after AA beats Jannetty into a pulp, he tags in again and gets the pin.  See, THAT’S how to be a cowardly heel.  Warrior takes out his agressions on Arn and Haku, then Shawn finishes Haku with a cross-body off the top.  Shawn gets tossed to the floor and we almost have LUCHA-BRAIN as Bobby teases a dive off the top rope, but then thinks better of it.  The Heenan Family dissention is furthered as Heenan gives Arn shit for, you know, tagging him.  Arn takes out his frustrations on Michaels, pinning him after a spinebuster.  So it’s Warrior against AA and the Brain.  Arn gets some essentially token offense, then gets splattered.  See ya.  Warrior toys with the Weasel for his own petty amusement (the best kind) then puts him out of his misery with a should tackle at 20:25.  Okay, I admit, I enjoyed watching Warrior humiliate poor Bobby and give him his just desserts.  The match falls under my usual category:  Entertaining crap.  **3/4

 The Bottom Line:

This was pretty much as pedestrian and unexceptional as they come, which was par for the course at that time.

But hey, the next year, something REALLY big happens, so there’s always that to look forward to.

Don’t bother with 89, however.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 89

In our continuing trip back to when the WWF REALLY REALLY SUCKED, we hit Survivor Series 89, which was probably the low point, wrestling-wise, of the year.  If you don’t count No Holds Barred: The Pay-Per-View.  And really, who does?

And no, I will NOT review No Holds Barred:  The Pay-Per-View.  So just don’t even bother e-mailing me about it.

2011 Scott sez:  This still holds true today.

Live from Chicago, IL

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon.

Thankfully (or not, depending on your point of view), by 1989 the WWF had managed to get organized enough not to have every PPV run 4 and a half hours, and so no clipping was needed for this show.

Opening match:  Big Bossman, Bad News Brown, Honky Tonk Man & Rick Martel v. Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, Terry Taylor & Dusty Rhodes.

And as you can see, the unwieldly 5 on 5 format was dumped in favor of 4 on 4, which produced 5 matches instead of 4.  Good move, sez I.  Martel & Santana had the main issue (I refuse to call Bossman & the American Cow’s “feud” over the nightstick a legitimate issue) so they start.  Pretty non-descript match to start, as they run through the basics and Taylor gets to play sacrificial lamb.  Or rooster.  He was just riding out the contractual gravy train at that point anyway, collecting his pay until he could legally go ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD but the WWF.  Santana gets the hot tag and kills Martel, but tries a rollup and it gets reversed for the pin.  Geez, that makes like 140 matches between those two with that ending.  Interesting note for those of you obsessive enough to e-mail me stuff like this:  Shane-O-Mac, the most homocidal, genocidal, suicidal guy to wear a sweater vest, is the on-the-floor referee for every match, probably stuck there on the order of Daddy-O-Mac in order to learn the flow and pace of a wrestling match.  The future Sapphire is shown in the front row of the crowd, cheering on the Dream.  Taylor and Martel do a nice sequence, and AGAIN poor Terry gets killed.  Geez, he’s getting buried, we GET IT ALREADY.  He makes the mistake of talking smack to Bad News Brown, and takes a beating for it.  Gotta admire the guy for guts.  However, once again, Bad News runs afoul of a teammate (this year’s lucky winner:  Big Bossman) and walks out on his team.  But I mean, it makes sense:  What self-respecting bad-ass black guy would team with a prison guard and a guy nicknamed “Honky”?  It’s just BEGGING for a bad situation.  Ahem.  HTM & Beefcake do their usual match, with an unusual twist:  Beefcake hits a high knee and Honky lays down clean.  Martel & Beefer do a boring mini-match next, with Brutus getting the pin on a sunset flip.  Bossman is 1-on-3 now.  He dispatches Taylor without breaking much of a sweat, and speaking of breaking sweat, here comes Dusty with a bodypress for the pin and the victory at 22:00.  This was decent.  **1/4  Survivors:  Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake.

Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine & Earthquake v. Jim Duggan, Ronnie Garvin, Bret Hart & Hercules.

Wow, a synchronized 2×4 routine! Yeah, just kill me now.  Bravo is, I believe, subbing for Barry Windham here, who I distinctly remember being part of this show but can’t for the life of me remember who took his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  See, I told you I’d suck at that Sporcle quiz!)  Bret gets BIG pops when he gets in the ring, and don’t think that wasn’t noticed.  The faces lay into Valentine for a while.  Hercules gets caught in the wrong corner, however, and flattened with a Quake splash in short order.  Buh bye.  Bret manages to schoolboy Quake from behind, which allows Garvin a splash for a two count.  Cute.  Garvin plays slug-in-peril for a while.  Duggan catches a quick tag and clotheslines Hammer for the pin.  Bret and Savage exchange a quick sequence, bringing a ray of hope into this show.  Sadly, Bravo tags in.  Sigh.  Garvin comes in and gets side-slammed and pinned.  Gee, and I thought he had it wrapped up after the GARVIN STOMP OF DOOM.  Savage & Bret tease me again by doing another couple of minutes.  Brets gets destroyed by Earthquake and does his usual amazing sell job.  Miracle tag allows Duggan to come in to get a few shots in, but then he tags Bret back in.  HUH?  And as you’d expect, Savage pounces like a vulture and finishes the injured Bret with the big elbow.  Man, what an idiot Duggan is.  Duggan is now 1-on-3.  He uses his limited brain power to temporarily outsmart the heels, but then they realize that there’s THREE of them and ONE of Duggan and proceed to getting medieval on him.  Unnecessarily cheap ending follows as Sherri trips him up and he’s counted out at 23:23.  Geez, you’ve got a former World champ, the World’s Strongest Man and a guy named after a natural disaster, and they need a GIRL to beat Duggan?  That’s just sad.  *1/2  Survivors:  Bravo, Earthquake, Savage.  (2011 Scott sez:  You know what’s even more sad?  Just look at who the three survivors and the manager are and what happened to them all.  Unfortunately they proved to be anything but survivors of wrestling)

And now, here to read a poem for us all, the Genius.

Ted Dibiase, Zeus, Warlord & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts & Demolition. 

Oh, this oughta be a classic.  The Demos had regained the tag titles from the Brainbusters the week before (in TV time), but only because the ‘Busters were rapidly being shown the door and Vince needed an over team to job to that other awesome duo:  Haku & Andre the Giant.  Yeah, that’s a fair trade.  That big Hogan v. Zeus issue was still building, so they start.  For those who weren’t around way back then, there was a VERY real fear amongst smart fans that Vince would run Hogan v. Zeus as the main at Wrestlemania VI.  The big Z no-sells all of Hogan’s offense, which makes him my hero for a few seconds.  He shoves the ref and gets DQ’d.  Yeah, bring on that singles match!  Well, at least he went quick.  Hulk gets beat up by the heels for a while, then Snake & Dibiase do their thing.  They had the issue at the time, ostensibly over the Million Dollar Belt…but my secret inside sources reveal that in fact it was a big contest between them, to see who destroy their life most dramatically with drugs and alcohol, then last longest doing the bible-thumping circuit as born-again Christians.  Dibiase won that one pretty easily.  And at that point, Gorilla hits a great quote:  “I don’t care if you’ve got a Z on the side of your head or not, THAT’S NOT LEGAL”.  Try saying that one to complete strangers, just to annoy them.  Ax comes in and gets pinned after being tripped up and elbow-dropped.  Smash comes in, more boredom follows, and he gets clotheslined and pinned by Barbarian.  Man, did the Demos piss off a booker or something?  The heels work Roberts over slowly.  Hogan gets the hot tag and is double-teamed by the Powers of Pain, who are BOTH disqualified.  LAAAAAAAAAAAAME.  Jesse is nearly going apoplectic, yelling about Hebner being paid off by Hogan and giving him an easy time of it by disqualifying 3/4 of Dibiase’s team.  He’s got a point.  Anyway, it’s Hogan & Roberts v. Dibiase.  If it’s 1988, then MAYBE there’s suspense, but the Dibiase push is deader than…aw, just make your own tasteless joke.  Hogan survives the Million Dollar Dream by using that special scientific counter:  Having your partner run in and cheap shot the guy on the third drop of the arm.  What a PUSS Hogan was.  Be a freakin’ MAN and DO THE JOB for once your life, you orange freak.  Jake gets the hot tag, but Virgil runs in (with a broken arm — now THAT’S Smithers-quality toadying) and takes a DDT for the boss, which allows Dibiase to drop a fist and pin Roberts with his feet on the ropes.  And the plot thickens.  Dibiase kills Hogan until The Thing That Wouldn’t Go Away decides to start no-selling at an arbitrary and finish Dibiase with his usual at 27:28.  I *really* question the need for Hogan to win that match, considering his was ALREADY the champion and all.  I mean, if you put Dibiase over there, you pop HUGE heel heat for him and build to a pretty good blowoff for the future.  Alas, such are the dreams of fools like I.   Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.

Intermission.

Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & The Bushwhackers v. Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Rougeau Brothers.

Talk about your contrast in talent.  The faces start by providing a visual demonstration of my opinion of the lot of them:  They all bite.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hey, I love Roddy Piper!  WCW must have really soured me on him at that point.)  Pretty much a comedy match to start, with Jacques in full melodramatic oversell mode.  Superfly splash gets rid of him in short order.  Rude & Hennig have some heel miscommunication to keep the faces on offense.  Piper gets Raymond on a piledriver.  So it’s Rude & Hennig against all four faces.  Hennig gets beat up, but manages a quick rollup on Butch to even it up a little.  Rude takes out Luke with the Rude Awakening and it’s 2-on-2.  The heels now toy with Snuka for a while, with Hennig his usual great self.  The sequence can most politiely be referred to as “unreasonably lengthy” and least politely as “more boring than watching Nitro”.  Piper gets the hot tag as I struggle to remember how they booked it to get rid of Piper and Rude without anyone jobbing.  Oh, yeah, brawl to double-countout, that’s it.  You know, the transition from 80s wrestling to 90s wrestling was starting to become apparent, as the bookers didn’t want to job ANYONE to ANYONE if they could possibly help it, because it might hurt a house show gate in Podunk, MD if the fans didn’t believe that both guys in the “C level” show main event were indestructible.  You know, the more I learn about the politics of wrestling, the more the smart in me hopes I never get involved in any way.   We’re down to Snuka v. Perfect, and then the mark in me gets another little ray of hope, as Snuka wisely allows Hennig to carry him through a really nice little wrestling match.  A roll-through on a cross-body gets two for Perfect, and the Perfectplex finishes it at 21:27.  Nothing cheers me up more than watching Curt Hennig rebel against the bookers in his own way by getting over on his god-given wrestling ability.  And despite Hogan’s politicking, he used that talent to get so over that he was THAT close to being put over Hogan before it got vetoed by the Balding One.  This match, however, was just there.  *  Survivor:  Curt Hennig.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m pretty sure this match must have been better than I’m giving it credit for.  I could be kind of a dick in the 90s)

Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Bobby Heenan, Arn Anderson, Haku & Andre the Giant.

Heenan is in there because Tully Blanchard “failed a drug test” (HAH!) and got fired before the show.  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course, Tully actually DID fail a drug test, which makes you ask “How much blow did you have to do to fail a WWF drug test in the 80s?” and there you have your answer.)  Ultimate Warrior does the Steve Austin entrance, waiting until his partners get beat on by the heels, and THEN making the big save.  As a testament to how pathetically deteriorated he was, Andre gets clotheslined out of the ring by Warrior and counted out mere seconds into the match.  Yeah, there’s a GREAT choice to put the tag titles on, Vince.  No wonder you almost went bankrupt in 1990, you moron.  To put this in perspective, this was the time when Warrior was headlining house shows against Andre and winning in 30 seconds with three clotheslines.  Think Hulk Hogan will be doing the house show circuit to put over a hot newcomer when HE’S 60 years old and falling apart?  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course not!  He’ll be headlining TNA’s Bound For Glory PPV against Sting and getting Flair to take bumps for him!)

 Neidhart beats up everyone while Andre stands in the aisleway doing what can be best described as his impersonation of Rock doing his impersonation of the Big Show. (2011 Scott sez:  What the fuck was I talking about there?)  Anvil quickly takes a Haku thrust kick to the back of the head and hits the showers.  The Rockers and AA/Haku proceed to do a GREAT little mini-match, and I suddenly dream about what they had planned if Tully hadn’t been turfed.  Heenan draws HUGE heel heat by tagging in for a cheap shot and then immediately tagging out.  Then, after AA beats Jannetty into a pulp, he tags in again and gets the pin.  See, THAT’S how to be a cowardly heel.  Warrior takes out his agressions on Arn and Haku, then Shawn finishes Haku with a cross-body off the top.  Shawn gets tossed to the floor and we almost have LUCHA-BRAIN as Bobby teases a dive off the top rope, but then thinks better of it.  The Heenan Family dissention is furthered as Heenan gives Arn shit for, you know, tagging him.  Arn takes out his frustrations on Michaels, pinning him after a spinebuster.  So it’s Warrior against AA and the Brain.  Arn gets some essentially token offense, then gets splattered.  See ya.  Warrior toys with the Weasel for his own petty amusement (the best kind) then puts him out of his misery with a should tackle at 20:25.  Okay, I admit, I enjoyed watching Warrior humiliate poor Bobby and give him his just desserts.  The match falls under my usual category:  Entertaining crap.  **3/4

 The Bottom Line:

This was pretty much as pedestrian and unexceptional as they come, which was par for the course at that time.

But hey, the next year, something REALLY big happens, so there’s always that to look forward to.

Don’t bother with 89, however.

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 89

In our continuing trip back to when the WWF REALLY REALLY SUCKED, we hit Survivor Series 89, which was probably the low point, wrestling-wise, of the year.  If you don’t count No Holds Barred: The Pay-Per-View.  And really, who does?

And no, I will NOT review No Holds Barred:  The Pay-Per-View.  So just don’t even bother e-mailing me about it.

2011 Scott sez:  This still holds true today.

Live from Chicago, IL

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon.

Thankfully (or not, depending on your point of view), by 1989 the WWF had managed to get organized enough not to have every PPV run 4 and a half hours, and so no clipping was needed for this show.

Opening match:  Big Bossman, Bad News Brown, Honky Tonk Man & Rick Martel v. Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, Terry Taylor & Dusty Rhodes.

And as you can see, the unwieldly 5 on 5 format was dumped in favor of 4 on 4, which produced 5 matches instead of 4.  Good move, sez I.  Martel & Santana had the main issue (I refuse to call Bossman & the American Cow’s “feud” over the nightstick a legitimate issue) so they start.  Pretty non-descript match to start, as they run through the basics and Taylor gets to play sacrificial lamb.  Or rooster.  He was just riding out the contractual gravy train at that point anyway, collecting his pay until he could legally go ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD but the WWF.  Santana gets the hot tag and kills Martel, but tries a rollup and it gets reversed for the pin.  Geez, that makes like 140 matches between those two with that ending.  Interesting note for those of you obsessive enough to e-mail me stuff like this:  Shane-O-Mac, the most homocidal, genocidal, suicidal guy to wear a sweater vest, is the on-the-floor referee for every match, probably stuck there on the order of Daddy-O-Mac in order to learn the flow and pace of a wrestling match.  The future Sapphire is shown in the front row of the crowd, cheering on the Dream.  Taylor and Martel do a nice sequence, and AGAIN poor Terry gets killed.  Geez, he’s getting buried, we GET IT ALREADY.  He makes the mistake of talking smack to Bad News Brown, and takes a beating for it.  Gotta admire the guy for guts.  However, once again, Bad News runs afoul of a teammate (this year’s lucky winner:  Big Bossman) and walks out on his team.  But I mean, it makes sense:  What self-respecting bad-ass black guy would team with a prison guard and a guy nicknamed “Honky”?  It’s just BEGGING for a bad situation.  Ahem.  HTM & Beefcake do their usual match, with an unusual twist:  Beefcake hits a high knee and Honky lays down clean.  Martel & Beefer do a boring mini-match next, with Brutus getting the pin on a sunset flip.  Bossman is 1-on-3 now.  He dispatches Taylor without breaking much of a sweat, and speaking of breaking sweat, here comes Dusty with a bodypress for the pin and the victory at 22:00.  This was decent.  **1/4  Survivors:  Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake.

Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine & Earthquake v. Jim Duggan, Ronnie Garvin, Bret Hart & Hercules.

Wow, a synchronized 2×4 routine! Yeah, just kill me now.  Bravo is, I believe, subbing for Barry Windham here, who I distinctly remember being part of this show but can’t for the life of me remember who took his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  See, I told you I’d suck at that Sporcle quiz!)  Bret gets BIG pops when he gets in the ring, and don’t think that wasn’t noticed.  The faces lay into Valentine for a while.  Hercules gets caught in the wrong corner, however, and flattened with a Quake splash in short order.  Buh bye.  Bret manages to schoolboy Quake from behind, which allows Garvin a splash for a two count.  Cute.  Garvin plays slug-in-peril for a while.  Duggan catches a quick tag and clotheslines Hammer for the pin.  Bret and Savage exchange a quick sequence, bringing a ray of hope into this show.  Sadly, Bravo tags in.  Sigh.  Garvin comes in and gets side-slammed and pinned.  Gee, and I thought he had it wrapped up after the GARVIN STOMP OF DOOM.  Savage & Bret tease me again by doing another couple of minutes.  Brets gets destroyed by Earthquake and does his usual amazing sell job.  Miracle tag allows Duggan to come in to get a few shots in, but then he tags Bret back in.  HUH?  And as you’d expect, Savage pounces like a vulture and finishes the injured Bret with the big elbow.  Man, what an idiot Duggan is.  Duggan is now 1-on-3.  He uses his limited brain power to temporarily outsmart the heels, but then they realize that there’s THREE of them and ONE of Duggan and proceed to getting medieval on him.  Unnecessarily cheap ending follows as Sherri trips him up and he’s counted out at 23:23.  Geez, you’ve got a former World champ, the World’s Strongest Man and a guy named after a natural disaster, and they need a GIRL to beat Duggan?  That’s just sad.  *1/2  Survivors:  Bravo, Earthquake, Savage.  (2011 Scott sez:  You know what’s even more sad?  Just look at who the three survivors and the manager are and what happened to them all.  Unfortunately they proved to be anything but survivors of wrestling)

And now, here to read a poem for us all, the Genius.

Ted Dibiase, Zeus, Warlord & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts & Demolition. 

Oh, this oughta be a classic.  The Demos had regained the tag titles from the Brainbusters the week before (in TV time), but only because the ‘Busters were rapidly being shown the door and Vince needed an over team to job to that other awesome duo:  Haku & Andre the Giant.  Yeah, that’s a fair trade.  That big Hogan v. Zeus issue was still building, so they start.  For those who weren’t around way back then, there was a VERY real fear amongst smart fans that Vince would run Hogan v. Zeus as the main at Wrestlemania VI.  The big Z no-sells all of Hogan’s offense, which makes him my hero for a few seconds.  He shoves the ref and gets DQ’d.  Yeah, bring on that singles match!  Well, at least he went quick.  Hulk gets beat up by the heels for a while, then Snake & Dibiase do their thing.  They had the issue at the time, ostensibly over the Million Dollar Belt…but my secret inside sources reveal that in fact it was a big contest between them, to see who destroy their life most dramatically with drugs and alcohol, then last longest doing the bible-thumping circuit as born-again Christians.  Dibiase won that one pretty easily.  And at that point, Gorilla hits a great quote:  “I don’t care if you’ve got a Z on the side of your head or not, THAT’S NOT LEGAL”.  Try saying that one to complete strangers, just to annoy them.  Ax comes in and gets pinned after being tripped up and elbow-dropped.  Smash comes in, more boredom follows, and he gets clotheslined and pinned by Barbarian.  Man, did the Demos piss off a booker or something?  The heels work Roberts over slowly.  Hogan gets the hot tag and is double-teamed by the Powers of Pain, who are BOTH disqualified.  LAAAAAAAAAAAAME.  Jesse is nearly going apoplectic, yelling about Hebner being paid off by Hogan and giving him an easy time of it by disqualifying 3/4 of Dibiase’s team.  He’s got a point.  Anyway, it’s Hogan & Roberts v. Dibiase.  If it’s 1988, then MAYBE there’s suspense, but the Dibiase push is deader than…aw, just make your own tasteless joke.  Hogan survives the Million Dollar Dream by using that special scientific counter:  Having your partner run in and cheap shot the guy on the third drop of the arm.  What a PUSS Hogan was.  Be a freakin’ MAN and DO THE JOB for once your life, you orange freak.  Jake gets the hot tag, but Virgil runs in (with a broken arm — now THAT’S Smithers-quality toadying) and takes a DDT for the boss, which allows Dibiase to drop a fist and pin Roberts with his feet on the ropes.  And the plot thickens.  Dibiase kills Hogan until The Thing That Wouldn’t Go Away decides to start no-selling at an arbitrary and finish Dibiase with his usual at 27:28.  I *really* question the need for Hogan to win that match, considering his was ALREADY the champion and all.  I mean, if you put Dibiase over there, you pop HUGE heel heat for him and build to a pretty good blowoff for the future.  Alas, such are the dreams of fools like I.   Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.

Intermission.

Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & The Bushwhackers v. Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Rougeau Brothers.

Talk about your contrast in talent.  The faces start by providing a visual demonstration of my opinion of the lot of them:  They all bite.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hey, I love Roddy Piper!  WCW must have really soured me on him at that point.)  Pretty much a comedy match to start, with Jacques in full melodramatic oversell mode.  Superfly splash gets rid of him in short order.  Rude & Hennig have some heel miscommunication to keep the faces on offense.  Piper gets Raymond on a piledriver.  So it’s Rude & Hennig against all four faces.  Hennig gets beat up, but manages a quick rollup on Butch to even it up a little.  Rude takes out Luke with the Rude Awakening and it’s 2-on-2.  The heels now toy with Snuka for a while, with Hennig his usual great self.  The sequence can most politiely be referred to as “unreasonably lengthy” and least politely as “more boring than watching Nitro”.  Piper gets the hot tag as I struggle to remember how they booked it to get rid of Piper and Rude without anyone jobbing.  Oh, yeah, brawl to double-countout, that’s it.  You know, the transition from 80s wrestling to 90s wrestling was starting to become apparent, as the bookers didn’t want to job ANYONE to ANYONE if they could possibly help it, because it might hurt a house show gate in Podunk, MD if the fans didn’t believe that both guys in the “C level” show main event were indestructible.  You know, the more I learn about the politics of wrestling, the more the smart in me hopes I never get involved in any way.   We’re down to Snuka v. Perfect, and then the mark in me gets another little ray of hope, as Snuka wisely allows Hennig to carry him through a really nice little wrestling match.  A roll-through on a cross-body gets two for Perfect, and the Perfectplex finishes it at 21:27.  Nothing cheers me up more than watching Curt Hennig rebel against the bookers in his own way by getting over on his god-given wrestling ability.  And despite Hogan’s politicking, he used that talent to get so over that he was THAT close to being put over Hogan before it got vetoed by the Balding One.  This match, however, was just there.  *  Survivor:  Curt Hennig.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m pretty sure this match must have been better than I’m giving it credit for.  I could be kind of a dick in the 90s)

Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Bobby Heenan, Arn Anderson, Haku & Andre the Giant.

Heenan is in there because Tully Blanchard “failed a drug test” (HAH!) and got fired before the show.  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course, Tully actually DID fail a drug test, which makes you ask “How much blow did you have to do to fail a WWF drug test in the 80s?” and there you have your answer.)  Ultimate Warrior does the Steve Austin entrance, waiting until his partners get beat on by the heels, and THEN making the big save.  As a testament to how pathetically deteriorated he was, Andre gets clotheslined out of the ring by Warrior and counted out mere seconds into the match.  Yeah, there’s a GREAT choice to put the tag titles on, Vince.  No wonder you almost went bankrupt in 1990, you moron.  To put this in perspective, this was the time when Warrior was headlining house shows against Andre and winning in 30 seconds with three clotheslines.  Think Hulk Hogan will be doing the house show circuit to put over a hot newcomer when HE’S 60 years old and falling apart?  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course not!  He’ll be headlining TNA’s Bound For Glory PPV against Sting and getting Flair to take bumps for him!)

 Neidhart beats up everyone while Andre stands in the aisleway doing what can be best described as his impersonation of Rock doing his impersonation of the Big Show. (2011 Scott sez:  What the fuck was I talking about there?)  Anvil quickly takes a Haku thrust kick to the back of the head and hits the showers.  The Rockers and AA/Haku proceed to do a GREAT little mini-match, and I suddenly dream about what they had planned if Tully hadn’t been turfed.  Heenan draws HUGE heel heat by tagging in for a cheap shot and then immediately tagging out.  Then, after AA beats Jannetty into a pulp, he tags in again and gets the pin.  See, THAT’S how to be a cowardly heel.  Warrior takes out his agressions on Arn and Haku, then Shawn finishes Haku with a cross-body off the top.  Shawn gets tossed to the floor and we almost have LUCHA-BRAIN as Bobby teases a dive off the top rope, but then thinks better of it.  The Heenan Family dissention is furthered as Heenan gives Arn shit for, you know, tagging him.  Arn takes out his frustrations on Michaels, pinning him after a spinebuster.  So it’s Warrior against AA and the Brain.  Arn gets some essentially token offense, then gets splattered.  See ya.  Warrior toys with the Weasel for his own petty amusement (the best kind) then puts him out of his misery with a should tackle at 20:25.  Okay, I admit, I enjoyed watching Warrior humiliate poor Bobby and give him his just desserts.  The match falls under my usual category:  Entertaining crap.  **3/4

 The Bottom Line:

This was pretty much as pedestrian and unexceptional as they come, which was par for the course at that time.

But hey, the next year, something REALLY big happens, so there’s always that to look forward to.

Don’t bother with 89, however.