The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1990
Hey, it’s been 20 years since I’ve reviewed this show (or thereabouts) so I guess it was due for another look.
Unfortunately, at 140 minutes, it appears that the WWE Network is using the Coliseum Video version.
Live from Hartford, CT
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper.
The Warriors (Ultimate, Modern Day & Road) v. The Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect & Demolition)
Although the opening graphics showed Demolition doing the aborted mask gimmick, it’s just plain facepaint again here. At this point Perfect had been IC champion again for a week, but the title change doesn’t air until mid-December. Also, the pre-match promo from the babyfaces makes it clear there’s no testing for cocaine at that point. Followup question: Is Kerry’s headband the same thing he uses to tie off…you know, never mind. And check out how over Ultimate Warrior is, as there’s one guy somewhere in the middle of the crowd with a sign that says “Ultimate Warrior”. Smash starts for the heels and gets pinballed in the corner, but Animal quickly gets caught with a cheapshot from the heel corner. Perfect bumps all over the place, and Kerry gets the claw on Ax, setting up Warrior to finish him with the big splash at 3:20. Pretty clear message right there. Crush goes to work on the Warrior and gets a flying knee for two while the announcers still have to play dumb about which Demolition is which. Over to Hawk, who no-sells everything from Perfect, but misses a charge and hits the post. Demolition goes to work on him, but Hawk makes his comeback with the flying clothesline on Smash instead of making a tag. And then the LOD and Demos get into a weak brawl and all four are disqualified at 7:43. God forbid anyone does a job. So that leaves identical twins Warrior & Von Erich (they even have matching boot tassels!) against Mr. Perfect in some bizarre booking, and Perfect continues bumping for 18 people, desperately trying to drag something decent out of this. Kerry makes a dumb mistake and the Perfectplex finishes him at 11:08, but Warrior makes his comeback after rolling around and selling for a bit. Warrior has somehow managed to get blown up after being in the match for less than 2:00 total. SHANE ALERT: The elder McMahon child is lurking at ringside as the second referee. Perfect throwing himself all over the ring to feed Warrior’s clotheslines is kind of hilarious to watch, and the big splash finishes at 14:20. Asking Warrior to wrestle twice on the night seems like it’s just asking to give him a heart attack years early. *, all for Perfect.
Sole Survivor: Ultimate Warrior
Real Life Sole Survivors: Animal, Ax and Smash.
The Million Dollar Team (Dibiase, Valentine, Honky Tonk Man & Undertaker) v. The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart)
As noted in the Observers from this time, Dusty has indeed dropped the polka dots and is back in his usual garb. Can I also say how awesome it used to be when they’d take 5 minutes and come up with clever nicknames for the teams? So of course everything builds to Dibiase introducing Mark Calaway’s silly new gimmick which was the rare case of something so completely cartoonish actually clicking thanks to the guy playing the part managing to pull it off. You can immediately here some smart-ass fans shouting “Mean Mark!” at ringside while he makes his entrance, but they would quickly get shut the hell up in the best way. Like, Mark just HAMMERED this one out of the park immediately, as he was completely in character from the start and never left. Undertaker immediately chokes Bret down and effortlessly slams Anvil, then swats Koko down and finishes him with the first tombstone at 1:33. What a great sequence, as he totally negated all the babyface offense and established himself as someone not to be messed with. So with that out of the way, the shit portion of the match can commence, as Hammer comes in and gets worked over. Bret quickly gets hit with a cheapshot and worked over by RNB, but Anvil powerslams Honky and pins him at 4:21. Dibiase attacks Anvil, but Dusty hammers on him with elbows and throws a rare dropkick. Neidhart gets distracted by Virgil, however, and Dibiase gives us our first elimination by clothesline at 5:22. It’s the REAL Thanksgiving tradition! Dusty comes in and sells for Dibiase, and this sets up Undertaker for his first big sequence, as the crowd just doesn’t know what to do with the guy. The babyfaces manage to dominate Dibiase, but every time Undertaker comes in they’re FUCKED. And indeed Taker comes off the top with a double axehandle to finish Dusty at 8:34, leaving Bret alone. Dusty chases after Brother Love, so Undertaker follows and gets counted out at 9:25. Pretty clever way to keep him from winning and having to do a job in the finale. Hammer goes for the figure-four on Bret and gets cradled at 10:10, leaving us with Dibiase v. Bret. Bret hits him with a pescado and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Dibiase takes over after Bret misses the corner charge, but Bret gets the backslide for two. Bret fakes a knee injury on a criss-cross, then rolls up Dibiase for two for a big pop. Dibiase hits Virgil by mistake and Bret rolls him up for two as they give him every false finish they can. Middle rope elbow gets two. Bodypress is rolled through, however, and Dibiase squeaks out the win at 14:08. Bret yelling “FUCK!” at the camera is a great touch. Astonishingly, Bret did this the day after his brother Dean died, and he got himself over as a star, even in the match where Undertaker out-shone everyone. ***
Sole Survivor: Ted Dibiase
Real Life Survivors: Everyone but Big Dust.
Apparently this IS the original PPV, because they have a commercial for the Main Event on NBC that wasn’t on the Coliseum video.
Meanwhile, Jake Roberts is down to one white contact lens as his team does their interview in the shower.
The Vipers (Jake Roberts, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty & Jimmy Snuka) v. The Visionaries (Rick Martel, Hercules, Paul Roma & The Warlord)
Snuka has his hair frizzed out like Meng for some reason. Warlord throws Marty around, but the Rockers double-team him while we are treated to Warlord having to sell. Thankfully Martel getting worked over by the babyfaces looks much better. The heels continue to get nowhere as the match goes nowhere, until finally Warlord catches Marty with a powerslam at 5:10. Shawn comes in with a rana and Jake hammers on Warlord, who continues not selling anything until Roma drops an elbow on Shawn to take over. Shawn taking crazy bumps for these roid freaks is of course the best scenario, which is what happens. Shawn with the Flair Flip and Martel gets two. Over to Snuka, who kicks and punches , but gets a bodypress that Martel rolls through at 9:36. Are we seriously recycling finishes already? Jake quickly goes for the DDT on Herc, but it misses and Piper explains that it’s hard to keep your balance with one eye. SCIENCE! Well, at least he’s trying. Jake gets caught in the corner and beaten up, but Roma misses a fistdrop and it’s back to Shawn. Suplex and middle rope elbow on Roma get two, but a blind tag brings in Hercules with an elbow from behind in a nice sequence. It’s funny to hear Piper getting too excited and going “inside” with stuff like “What a great series” and “There’s no smoke and mirrors here”. Shawn continues taking a beating, until the Powerplex finishes him at 15:10. So that leaves Jake all alone against the Visionaries while the crowd dozes. DDT on Warlord finally wakes them up, but Martel sprays Arrogance in his eyes behind the ref’s back, prompting Jake to grab the snake and chase Martel to the back at 17:55. The announcers hand-wave Martel’s survival away by noting Warlord was the legal man. Just way too long and dull, although Shawn was trying really hard. **1/2
Sole Survivors: Everyone on the heel team!
Real Life Survivors: Everyone but Hercules!
The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Sheik Tugboat, Big Bossman & Jim Duggan) v. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku & Barbarian)
Frankly, I’m shocked they didn’t drag Brutus Beefcake out there so Hogan could have ALL of his cronies involved in the match. Certainly I’m no Hogan booster, but you can’t possibly listen to Hogan’s insane reaction from the crowd, compared to Warrior’s tepid enthusiasm, and think that Warrior wasn’t dropping that title at the first opportunity. You have to wonder, given that they were missing a heel team at this point, why someone didn’t think “Hey, we should stick Haku & Barbarian together as big mean fuckers and give them a push?” Duggan slugs away on Haku to start, but Bossman walks into a nice dropkick that gets two. Bossman slam gets the quick pin at 3:16, however. Over to Barbarian, but Bossman goes after the Brain and Barbarian hits him with a suplex. Middle rope elbow misses and it’s back to Duggan, but Dino Bravo is in and he’s just the worst. Thankfully Earthquake comes in and beats on Duggan, and Jimmy Hart pulls him out of the ring. Duggan grabs his board and gets DQ’d at 6:10 as the lame finishes continue unabated. Hogan cleans house on the heels and slams Quake, but Quake slams him right back and Hogan does his “John Nash getting shock therapy in A Beautiful Mind” sell. Dino Bravo comes in and Hogan cradles him for the pin at 8:11, because Bravo’s the worst. Bossman comes in with a bodypress on Quake for two, but Quake drops an elbow on him and that’s all at 9:11. Gorilla declares Hogan on his own, but then admits he forgot about Tugboat. You and everyone else, pal. Quake misses a splash on Hogan and Tugboat finally tags in, but then brawls outside with Quake for the double countout at 11:25. So that leaves Hogan and Barbarian, and you know how that one goes. Hogan with the legdrop at 14:47. Bossman and Quake seemed motivated and the last bit with Hogan and Barbarian was OK. **
Sole Survivor: Hulk Hogan
Real Life Survivors: Hogan, Duggan, Tugboat, Barbarian, Haku.
And now, Macho King Randy Savage is out for an interview with Gene, as he is seeking a title shot at Ultimate Warrior. I’m guessing this was just before the intermission, because we return with Gorilla and Piper introducing themselves again.
The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, Pat Tanaka & Akio Sato) v. The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, Luke & Butch)
Boris Zhukov seems so happy to be reunited with his former commanding officer and mentor! They should have just repackaged him as Private Jim Nelson again. Slaughter was drawing real heat at this point, but midcard heel heat, not “Guy to beat the Ultimate Warrior” heat. Tito finishes Boris with the forearm at 0:45. The faces double-team Sato and Butch pins him at 1:52. Forearm and Tanaka is gone at 2:10, leaving Slaughter alone 1 on 4. The faces stop to regroup for some reason and give him time to plan, and Volkoff stomps away and looks terrible. Thankfully Sarge squashes the shit out of him and finishes with an elbow at 5:25. The Bushwackers double-team him next, but Luke tries to fly and misses at 6:29. Butch comes in and he’s the second guy pinned with a clothesline, at 7:00. Tito comes in all fired up with a flying forearm off the top for two, but Sarge drops an elbow for two. Slaughter is just completely blown up, but kudos to him for losing all the weight as his push increased. The ref is bumped because reasons and calls for the DQ of Slaughter at 10:30 after Adnan pretty blatantly hits Tito with the flag right in front of Shane McMahon. ½* for Tito.
Sole Survivor: Tito Santana
Real Life Survivors: Technically everyone, but Donald Trump had them all deported to Mexico because it was just easier that way.
So of course now it’s time for THE EGG. I think we’ve hatched enough yolks about this one for one lifetime. I was pretty disappointed because didn’t have PPV in Canada at this point, so I couldn’t even watch it open on Scramble-vision! Really though, Vince was just 30 years ahead of the stupid Hatchimals craze. You can tell this is the PPV version because there’s absolutely no editing of the crowd’s groan when Gobbledygooker hatches. On the bright side, it gave us a fantastic running gag on the Edge & Christian show. I think the worst part is that they just left Gene and the chicken out there to DIE like a bad RAW sketch instead of cutting to the back and moving on with the show. Like I’m pretty sure they cut this down for the home video because I don’t remember it being 10 minutes long like it is here.
Ultimate Match of Survival: Hogan Hogan, Ultimate Warrior & Tito Santana v. Ted Dibiase, Rick Martel, Warlord, Paul Roma & Hercules
If I’m booking, Warrior turns on Hogan at the climax and leaves him to get pinned, and we begin the build to WM7 that way. It was really the only way to salvage things that year. Tito quickly dumps Warlord with the flying forearm at 0:15, but Roma powerslams him. Dibiase comes in with a suplex, and Tito misses the forearm and walks into a stungun at 1:38. We’re running short on time, I see. Over to Hulk, as he gets to sell for Power & Glory for a bit, and Dibiase drops a knee for two. Hogan no-sells the Powerplex and clotheslines Roma out at 5:26. Hot tag Warrior and he destroys Martel, setting up Hogan’s big boot and prompting Martel to walk out at 7:10. So that leaves Dibiase and Hercules, and sadly no one brings up that Dibiase tried to SELL HIM INTO SLAVERY last year. Big boot and legdrop finishes Dibiase at 8:24, and the big splash ends Hercules at 8:50. Complete waste of time. It was like watching Friends in the early years, where you’re waiting for Ross to choose between Julie and Rachel and he just ends up putting off the decision until next week. DUD
Sole Sole Survivors: Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior
The whole “final survivor” concept was a neat idea in theory, but just ended up being a rushed mess here with a bunch of the earlier matches booked around guys not having the do the job here. And of course the big selling point of the show was the biggest disappointment in wrestling history and one of the all-time legendary miscues on Vince’s part. It’s a pretty clear thumbs down for me at this point.