The SmarK Rant for This Tuesday in Texas – 12.03.91
(The natural followup to Survivor Series! I had done this one fairly recently and was planning a redo tonight, but sadly we had an unexpected death in the family and so I’m just reposting the previous version instead.)
– Live from San Antonio, Texas
– Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
This of course was a weird experiment on the WWF’s part in 1991, a test case to see if people would buy a weekly PPV on a day other than Sunday. Answer: Uh, no. Still, this is one of the few WWF PPVs I’ve never ranted on, so thanks to the miracle of the internet I finally have a DVD copy of it.
Intercontinental title: Bret Hart v. Skinner
Bret takes him down with a pair of armdrags and an atomic drop, both ways, before clotheslining him out of the ring. Back in, Bret holds an armbar and works on it for a bit, but Skinner gets the ropes. They trade hammerlocks and Bret headbutts him down, but Skinner goes to the eyes and sends Bret into the post. Seems like kind of an off-night for Bret thus far. Skinner chokes away on the floor and pounds the back on the way into the ring, and it’s the dreaded abdominal stretch. And right on cue, Gorilla is complaining about how the move isn’t being executed properly. Shoulderbreaker gets two, but a blind charge hits boot in the corner. Bret tries the middle rope elbow, but misses, and Skinner puts him down with THE ALLIGATOR CLAW OF DOOM! As foreign objects go, that’s pretty lame. More choking follows to really capitalize on the advantage, as Skinner unleashes his offensive onslaught, once again showing that Stan Lane carried the Fabulous Ones. Bret takes the bump into the corner, and then Skinner starts working the leg before suddenly switching to a choke again. Gorilla and Bobby basically start mocking him for being so stupid, which is actually kind of refreshing. I mean, seriously, pick a damn body part. Over to the back and he hits the inverted DDT for two. He goes to the second rope to finish, but hits Bret’s boot on the way down. Bret makes the comeback with the Five Moves of Doom and they brawl out of the ring, and Skinner blocks a rollup on the way back into the ring. He goes up yet again, apparently not having learned his lesson the first time, and indeed Bret was faking again and slams him off before finishing with the Sharpshooter at 13:45. Crowd was inexplicably hot for this snoozefest and Bret was sleepwalking through it for some reason. *1/2
Meanwhile, Jake is evil. Really, really evil. He’s apparently quite happy that Randy Savage suffered pain and injury at the hands of his cobra, and he also finds it enjoyable to hear the screams of horror from his loved ones.
Meanwhile, Randy Savage cuts a coked-up promo in response, barely coherent and ready for payback. The best kind of promo!
Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts
Savage attacks during the entrance and the crowd is MOLTEN. He fires away in the corner and elbows Jake on the rebound, then goes up with the double axehandle, which sends Jake running. It’s amazing that someone could wear a feathered cowboy hat and still look badass, but that’s Savage for you. Savage tosses Jake back in, but the Snake goes low behind the ref’s back and tosses Savage to buy time. Jake slithers out and rams Savage into the post, right into the snake-bitten arm. Savage backs off to recover and tries to go for the eyes, but Snake eyepokes him first and follows with an atomic drop. Jake starts dropping knees on the bad arm and rips at the bandage, and in a nice touch there’s “blood” staining it where he was bitten. Jake goes for a hammerlock but gets elbowed, and Macho fights back and escapes the short clothesline. Another elbow and he sends Jake into the corner, but misses a charge and that allows Roberts to get his clothesline. Jake calls for the DDT, but takes way too long and Savage is able to ram him into the corner to break. He goes up and drops the elbow to finish at 6:25. That was somewhat more disappointing than I previously remembered it as. *** I mean, it was tremendously action-packed while it lasted, but it just ended too soon. Savage isn’t done yet and grabs his trusty bell, but Jake hits the DDT, twice, and the feud must continue. The ref sends Jake back to the dressing room with some harsh words…but then he changes his mind and reveals that he lied about leaving the snake in the dressing room. The lovely Liz charges out to protect her man with some pretty damn good acting, but Jake coldly pushes her aside and hits another DDT on Macho Man. Jake’s facial expressions are phenomenal here, as he tells her to “look into my eyes” while he does his evil works, appearing to feed off her fear. And then he goes for the all-time heel Hall of Fame and SLUGS ELIZABETH. Holy crap. Finally senile old Jack Tunney himself has to come down and threaten Jake with suspension to get him to stop. That was one HELL of a post-match angle, but they never had the definitive blowoff to end it. Still, Savage got the World title and Undertaker virtually beat Jake into retirement at Wrestlemania, so there was some indirect satisfaction, I guess.
Meanwhile, Jake justifies his treatment of Elizabeth by noting that any woman who begs and pleads instead of standing up to him is no woman for him.
Warlord v. British Bulldog
Warlord shoves Bulldog around to start and gets advice from Harvey Wippleman (I don’t even remember that management change, come to think of it) but Bulldog immediately comes back and takes him down with a single-leg. Warlord slugs back, but Bulldog clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a pescado, but Warlord catches him and rams him into the post. Bulldog comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles on the way in, and follows with a missile dropkick before tying Warlord in the ropes and pounding away. He charges and crotches himself, however, allowing Warlord to take over. Goodie. He pounds the back and whips Bulldog into the corner, setting up the bearhug. Belly to belly suplex out of that gets two. Davey comes back with a sunset flip, blocked by Warlord for two, but Bulldog finishes it for two. Warlord clotheslines him down again to set up the full-nelson, but Bulldog powers out of it after a long struggle. Warlord finally just throws him down, but runs into a boot on a blind charge. Bulldog comes back with a clothesline off the second rope and follows with the delayed vertical suplex for two. Corner clothesline sets up the powerslam, but Warlord falls on top for two. Davey with a crucifix to finish at 12:47. This was…actually not a bad power match, Davey’s unfortunate hairstyle choice aside. **1/2
Meanwhile, Savage cuts an even crazier promo about it was his own fault that Roberts was able to lay his hands on Elizabeth…and now he’s REALLY angry.
Ted Dibiase & Repo Man v. Virgil & Tito Santana
So Dibiase won the Million Dollar belt back on TV shortly before this with help of Repo Man (which actually makes sense in a bizarre, WWF-logic type of way) and now we get a tag match out of it. Repo pounds on Tito to start, but gets powered down as Tito goes to the arm. Tito slugs away and Repo gets pinballed by the faces before Tito hiptosses him to the floor. Repo sneaks back in, but gets clotheslined down and it’s over to Dibiase. The people want Virgil, so that’s what they get. Dibiase slugs away in the corner, but Virgil reverses a backdrop into a sunset flip for two and follows with an atomic drop that puts Dibiase on the floor. Tito chases him back in and Dibiase stops to badmouth him, so Virgil clotheslines him out again. And Tito puts him right back in again. Virgil charges and hits elbow, so Dibiase lets Repo have another go. They double-team Virgil with a choke in the corner, and Dibiase gets a clothesline. Back to Repo and he pounds Virgil down, and over to Ted with the gutwrench suplex for two. Virgil comes back with a neckbreaker and it’s hot tag El Matador, as he dropkicks Repo and hits the flying forearm. He sets for Pace with Extra Picante, but Dibiase trips him up and Repo dumps him. Tito gets to meet the stairs, and back in that gets two for Repo. Kick to the gut gets two, and it’s back to Dibiase as Santana is now playing face in peril. They do the false tag to really milk the hot crowd, and the heels get a double-slam in the corner before Tito and Repo clothesline each other. And it’s hot tag Virgil and he’s clotheslining everyone. Legsweep on Dibiase gets two and it’s BONZO GONZO, but Sherri hits Dibiase with her shoe by mistake. The crowd goes crazy, but Repo hits Virgil from behind and Dibiase pins him at 11:15. This was a shockingly good tag match with a crowd that was eating out of their hands. Best match of the night, I’d say. ***1/2
WWF World title: The Undertaker v. Hulk Hogan
Taker and Paul Bearer both attack to start, but Hogan fights them off and hits Undertaker with a clothesline in the corner before slugging away and following with an atomic drop. Taker no-sells, so Hogan slams him and that gets no-sold as well. A clothesline puts UT on the floor and Hogan slugs away on the apron to keep him out, so Taker drags him to the floor and chokes him down. Back in, more choking, this time in the corner. I’m so glad Undertaker has expanded his moveset to the point where he now finishes with, uh, a choke. I kid, I kid. Hulk escapes with an atomic drop, but Undertaker comes back with the new school ropewalk and it’s more choking. They head to the floor and Hogan meets the post. Back in, Taker with another choke. That goes on for a while before Hogan fights up and slugs away, but runs into a boot in the corner. Flying clothesline puts Hulk down again and he goes up with another ropewalk, but Hulk pulls him down. Ric Flair joins us and Hulk hits him with a chair, sending him into Jack Tunney, which is what caused Hogan to be stripped of the title. Back in, Hulk with the running elbow and Flair brings a chair into things, but Taker goes into it instead. Big boot, but Undertaker does the no-sell, so Hogan grabs the urn from Paul Bearer and tosses the ashes into Taker’s face, then pins him to win the title at 13:09. One LOOOOONG choke with a hot crowd, and it was just incredibly sloppy even by their low standards. 1/2*
Overall, this is actually a really good PPV, albeit with a crap main event. The Savage-Roberts thing is more an angle than a match but definitely worth checking out anyway, and if Bret hadn’t dogged it in the opening match it would have been an easy thumbs up. Not that you can find it anyway except if you have a copy of “Supertape 91” from Coliseum Video. (Or the WWE Network. But whoever heard of THAT?)