The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1991 – 11.27.91
Celebrating a great day in history that’s been in need of a redo for ages. Plus I barely remember the show outside of the main event so it’s mostly new to me again.
Live from Detroit, MI
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
Last week on WWF Superstars, Jake the Snake introduces Randy Savage to his new snake friend and that thing goes to TOWN on Randy’s arm. Vince doesn’t think it’s even been devenomized! What is he, a herpetologist all of a sudden? What snake handling school did Vince McMahon ever go to? Is “devenomized” even a word? Vince declares that the POISON IS RUNNING THROUGH HIS VEINS while he’s being carried out on the stretcher, which is probably where he got the nWo thing from.
Meanwhile, senile old Jack Tunney declares that Randy cannot wrestle at the Survivor Series, but he takes Jake Roberts at face value and accepts that it was devenomized. Also Jake and Randy will fight at This Tuesday in Texas and now it’s Legion of Doom & Big Bossman v. IRS & Natural Disasters tonight instead.
Ted Dibiase, The Mountie, Warlord & Ric Flair v. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Virgil & The British Bulldog
Oddly, Flair’s tag team belt is video distorted by a black dot on the WWF Network version of the show, perhaps because Nick Khan fired the video distortion guy. Although really if AEW had been around in 1991, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Flair could bring the NWA World title and probably would have collected four other belts to go with them by a month in. Flair jumps Piper at the bell and allows Dibiase to attack, but Piper crotches him on the top rope and then pulls Sherri into the ring as well for some light sexual assault. Piper slugs away on Dibiase and works the arm, which brings in Bulldog and then Virgil for more abuse as all the babyfaces switch off on the hammerlock and show some nice tag team continuity. Bret takes Dibiase to the corner for a famous called spot on camera with a “reverse, charge” that sees Bret hitting the corner knee-first, and they trade two counts until Bret goes back to the arm again. Flair finally comes in and Bret goes to work on him in the corner with an atomic drop, and Bulldog catapults him into the corner for a Flair flop. Press slam and it’s over to Piper for a slugfest in the corner that sends Ric running to the floor. Back in, it’s over to Warlord, who wants a test of strength, so Piper brings in Bulldog to oblige. Gorilla notes that it’s the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, and then Bulldog promptly dropkicks him and Gorilla notes that the object has been moved. They even bait-and-switch their own cliches! Back to Dibiase and Bret again, and Bret gets a backbreaker for two and follows with the middle rope elbow for two. They collide for the double KO, and Bulldog beats on Mountie next with a press slam. Flair comes in and throws the chops, but Bulldog cleans house and powerslams Mountie. The ref is distracted, however, and Flair hits Bulldog from the top and gets the pin at 11:05.
Over to Piper next and he fights off all the heels, and puts Flair into a figure-four until Dibiase breaks it. Virgil comes in and takes over on Dibiase, running him into the turnbuckles until Dibiase comes back with a powerslam, and Warlord tosses him out for some chops from Flair on the floor. Where they hurt more. Back in, Warlord puts him in the full nelson, but Bret hits him from behind to break it up and Piper pins Warlord at 17:04. You don’t actually see Warlord doing many jobs at that point. Piper with a rollup on Dibiase for two, but Dibiase puts him down with a back elbow and it’s back to Virgil. He gets the Million Breadstick Dream, but Dibiase runs him into the corner to break free and brings Flair back in. He beats on Virgil with more chops and Mountie adds a dropkick before holding him up for Dibiase to add to add some chops of his own. Gut wrench follows and he teams up with Flair for a double clothesline that gets two. Dibiase beats on him in the corner, but Virgil gets a neckbreaker and Flair tries to cut off the hot tag, only for Piper to come in anyway and go to work on him. Piper goes nuts and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, but Flair does a Flair Flip out of the ring and the ref disqualifies everyone left in the ring at 22:48. And since Flair was on the floor, he wins by default in a ridiculous finish. Meltzer gave this a ridiculously low rating at the time due to the finish but it was pretty great until the dumb ending. ***1/2
Sole Survivor: Ric Flair
Eliminations via clothesline: Zero
Randy Savage joins Mean Gene for a special interview, and notes that Elizabeth crying hurt him worse than anything Jake Roberts could ever do to him. Apparently they will face each other THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS and the Madness will be all over Jake like melting butter. Man hopefully they can put that thing on PPV or whatever.
Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner & Hercules v. Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Duggan, Tito Santana & Texas Tornado
Well this has classic written all over it. Considering that Slaughter had just main evented Summerslam as part of the TRIANGLE OF TERROR, this was way too soon to try the babyface turn. Really what they needed was an even more dastardly foreign heel to force him to find his love of America and kick ass again. Really, we needed Ludvig Borga two years earlier. Tito works on Skinner with a headlock to start and quickly hits the flying forearm to send him to the floor, so Sarge throws him back in. And then Skinner just bails again and stalls more anyway. Back in, Tito tries another forearm and misses, and it’s over to Berzerker. He misses a flying whatever the fuck and Tornado comes in. Do they have drugs in Detroit? Nah, I’m sure Kerry was fine. The heels try to work him over but he just kind of leaves and brings Duggan in. Duggan slugs away on Hercules as I wonder to myself, for the only time in history, where Paul Roma is. Everyone beats on Duggan in the corner and Berzerker comes in for an elbow, setting up Sheiky Baby for a chinlock. A double chop to the throat gets two. Duggan slugs away in the corner, but Mustafa loads up the boot and puts Duggan down for two. If this was 1984 he’d be DEAD. Probably bleeding all over the ring as well. Duggan reverses a suplex and makes the tag to Slaughter, who gets a pretty lukewarm reaction, and he finishes Mustafa with a clothesline at 8:00. Yup, it’s the Survivor Series all right. Slaughter beats on Berzerker, but he takes the Slaughter Bump in the corner and Berzerker puts the boots to him and follows with a big boot for two. Over to Herc, who runs Slaughter into the corner for two. Sarge crotches Berzker on the top rope as everyone is just doing their same spots in slow motion, and Duggan clotheslines him to the floor. Back in, the faces work him in the corner and Tornado comes in with the discus punch, but then he literally trips over Hercules and Tito comes in again. He finishes Herc with EL PASO DE MUERTE at 12:13. Skinner chokes him out and Berzerker adds a clothesline, but Skinner fails to see Slaughter coming in for the rollup and pin at 13:38. So Berzerker is alone 4-on-1 and Sarge beats on him in the corner, setting up Duggan’s clothesline at 14:15 to complete the clean sweep. *1/2
Sole Survivors: The entire babyface team
Eliminations via clothesline: Two
Jake Roberts joins Mean Gene for an even more special interview than the last special interview, as this PPV is literally a commercial for This Tuesday in Texas. Jake notes that he spoke to God this morning and can report that He doesn’t like Mean Gene. Huge if true. Also I’m pretty sure that Jake was quoting Ozzy Osbourne there from “I Don’t Want to Change the World” because the “No More Tears” album had just come out and was living rent-free in my CD player at that time and probably Jake’s as well.
BREAKING NEWS: THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS will be broadcast live on pay-per-view! Hopefully they come up with a catchy name for it by then. Also that show was on PPV preview guides for weeks beforehand, and it was well known there was a show coming up on that date. The idea that they somehow negotiated a PPV deal during this show was complete nonsense that even the marks could see through.
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. The Undertaker
Undertaker was of course undefeated at this point in his WWF career, assuming of course you’re not counting the matches where he was pinned or disqualified. And really why would you? You can turn the narrative against anyone if you use things like “facts” or “truth”. Hulk grabs a headlock to start but gets chased out of the ring, looking pretty terrified, like he just heard that Kanye West was dating his daughter. Back in, Undertaker chokes him out in the corner and Paul Bearer adds a cheapshot of his own, but Taker misses an elbow and Hulk makes a comeback with a clothesline. Taker won’t go down and Hulk is unable to slam him, so he instead CHEATS and rakes the eyes several times. Hulk slugs away and clotheslines him to the floor, but Taker lands on his feet and hauls Hulk out there before running him into the stairs. Back in for choking and choking and choking and more choking and then a smother claw for a while. Hulk finally fights out and gets the slam as Ric Flair joins us to provide distraction, but Hulk goes and beats him on for literally no reason. Back in the ring, Hulk with the big boot, but Bearer trips him up and Taker hits a tombstone onto a chair provided by Flair, and that gets the shocking upset pin at 12:51 to give Undertaker his first WWF title. Such a heel miscarriage that the crowd popped huge when it happened after snoozing through the entire match. This was a complete bore even by Hogan’s low standards at the time. * Also Hogan’s nonsense about a neck injury is completely undercut by the main camera angle of the finish, which shows that there was literally a foot of space between Hulk’s head and the chair. I know, Hulk Hogan lie, that’s unpossible.
Meanwhile, we presumably hit the intermission and talk to Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, the Natural Disasters, The Legion of Doom. Then Gene demands that Jack Tunney do something about the TRAVESTY in the World title match, so Jack makes a rematch for THIS TUESDAY IN TEXAS and he’ll be at ringside to make sure it’s fair and just. Well that sure makes Hulk look like a crying crybaby.
The Beverly Brothers & The Nasty Boys v. The Bushwhackers & The Rockers
Luke and Butch double-team Knobs to start and then run the Bevs into each other and clear the ring. The heels regroup and Blake comes in and beats on Shawn in the corner, but Shawn hits a neckbreaker. Knobs comes in and Luke slugs away on him in the corner, but Knobs clotheslines him and pins him at 5:20. Back to Shawn, and Knobs catches him with his head down to allow Sags a chance to come in with a suplex. Shawn goes up with a crossbody for two while Gorilla is literally shilling the next PPV during the one we’re watching. That feels super grifty even by wrestling standards. “Fans, we know you spent $30 to buy this show, but the NEXT one is the one you really don’t want to miss!” Von Wagner Sr. comes in and hits a necksnap on Marty, but a superkick gets two. The ref gets bumped for some reason, which leads to nothing as he immediately recovers, and Beau gets a slam of some kind for two as this is somehow falling apart despite having three pretty decent teams left in it. Butch gets a tag and beats on Beau, but walks into the Shaker Heights Spike at 10:15. Back to Marty, who hits Beau with a pair of ranas for two. He chases Beau off with an enzuigiri and Shawn comes in to work on Blake’s arm as this drags on and on. The heels choke him out on the ropes as the crowd is completely dead. Beau drops an elbow on the back, but Shawn gets a backslide for the pin at 13:56. Blake comes back in with a powerslam for two and Shawn gets a sunset flip on Knobs for two, but Sags makes the save while Gorilla accuses Marty of giving Shawn the short-arm tag. So Shawn makes his own comeback and superkicks both Nasties on the floor, only to be caught with a shot from Sags on the way back in. Blake clotheslines him on the top rope and Shawn finally tags Marty, who runs wild. Snapmare on Knobs gets two. Blake blocks a rollup, but Marty gets a sunset flip for two and there’s a vocal segment of the crowd turning on the match because it’s so boring. Knobs with a powerslam for two. Sags with a pumphandle slam and a backdrop suplex on Marty, but Knobs goes up and lands on the knees. Back to Shawn again and he runs wild on the heels, but Marty tries to slam Sags and accidentally knocks into Shawn, allowing Knobs to roll him up for the pin at 19:54. So Shawn freaks out about that but leaves regardless while Gorilla is completely clueless to the fact that he got pinned and thinks that he walked out of the match. Where’s Vince screaming in the headset when you need him? So that leaves Marty alone with the heels and Blake powerslams him for two, but Marty comes back with a crossbody on the Nasties outside. Back in, he cradles Sags, but Knobs pushes them over for the pin at 23:00 to finish. This was LONG and BAD and Gorilla completely mis-calling the Shawn elimination was embarrassing to listen to. ½* Meltzer actually gave this ***1/2, which is certainly one interpretation, I suppose.
Sole Survivors: The Nasty Boys & Blake Beverly
Eliminations via clothesline: One
The Legion of Doom & Big Bossman v. IRS & The Natural Disasters
IRS slugs on Bossman in the corner to start, but Bossman slides out and then goes up, slipping on his way up the ropes and changing his mind. And then they do a weird sequence where Bossman runs around the floor for no reason and comes back in to punch him down. OK then. Over to Earthquake, which brings Animal in, so Quake hits him with a backbreaker. Big splash misses and Animal gets a shoulderblock for two. Hawk works the arm of IRS and then the babyfaces work on Typhoon in the corner. Quake brings Hawk to the heel corner and they get some shots on him, but Hawk no-sells IRS and suplexes him, allowing Bossman to come in and beat on IRS. But then IRS hits him with the briefcase and pins him at 6:28. Quake comes in with a belly to belly on Animal that gets two. Hawk gets a hot tag, but IRS gets the case again and hits Typhoon this time by mistake, allowing Hawk to get the pin at 9:40. Earthquake is so disgusted with his partner that he walks out of the match at 10:50, leaving IRS alone with the tag champs. Hawk misses a charge and IRS drops an elbow on him and takes him to the floor for more pointless offense. And then back in for a chinlock. Can we just skip to the finish already? Finally the LOD double-teams him and IRS decides to walk out, but Bossman chases him back to the ring for a flying clothesline from Hawk that finishes at 15:21. *1/2
Sole Survivors: The Legion of Doom
Eliminations via clothesline: One
Aside from the tremendous visual of Hogan taking a tombstone and getting pinned, this was a painfully mediocre Survivor Series that existed literally as a commercial for their Tuesday in Texas experiment that completely flopped. Thumbs down from here.