Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan handle commentary, broadcasting live from Detroit, Michigan. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show, which took place on November 27, drew a crowd of 17,500. The show’s buyrate was 2.20 (300,000 buys), a steep decline from the 3.0 number of the prior year’s edition (400,000 buys).
A replay of Jake Roberts’ beatdown of Randy Savage on Superstars is shown. This leads into an announcement from WWF President Jack Tunney that he will not allow Savage to participate at Survivor Series and that he accepts Roberts’ word that he thought his cobra was devenomized. He also announces that Roberts cannot bring future reptiles to ringside, Savage is being reinstated, and that Roberts will be taken out of the Survivor Series elimination match so that he can face Savage at the earliest possible date, which will be in six days in Texas. This announcement immediately dealt a blow to the event because it removes the promotion’s best heel and turns one of the marquee elimination bouts into something cheap. Fans who bought the pay-per-view expecting to see Savage team with the Big Bossman and the Legion of Doom had to feel ripped off, especially because the WWF was going to be asking them to buy another pay-per-view in six days to see a matchup they thought they might see at this event.
Opening Contest: Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, the Mountie & the Warlord defeat Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, the British Bulldog & Virgil when Flair was the sole survivor after Piper, Hart, Virgil, DiBiase, and the Mountie are disqualified at 22:46:
Other Eliminations: Flair pins the Bulldog after hitting the Bulldog in the back of the head off the top rope at 10:53; Piper pins the Warlord after Bret hits in the back of the head off the top rope at 16:48
There are no cute names for this year’s teams, so you simply have Flair and Piper leading their respective allies into battle. After a hot start, the Flair-Piper feud has fizzled, but the match is a good showcase of most of the midcard and upper midcard feuds that the company is rolling with after SummerSlam. Flair shows off the “NWA World Championship Belt” that fans at home can tell is a tag belt despite a black dot censoring it because the belt has the WWF logo on its straps. Bret gets the biggest reaction for his team while Virgil and the Bulldog get little. Even though mangers are not supposed to be at ringside, Sensational Sherri sticks around so Piper can drag her in the ring and plant a kiss on her. The crowd responds favorably to a showdown between Piper and Flair six minutes in, popping for Piper knocking Flair to the floor, where the Nature Boy flops. After that, various combinations of participants duke it out until the Bulldog plants the Mountie with a running powerslam. However, everyone tries to rush in and in the chaos, Flair comes off the top rope to hit the Bulldog in the back of the head to put his team in front. After that, the heels work over Piper’s knee and DiBiase is reluctant to tag in to square off with Virgil after a hot tag. DiBiase powerslams his old bodyguard and tags the Warlord, who traps him in a full nelson, but this time the babyfaces learn from their previous mistake and Bret comes off the top and hits the Warlord in the back of the head, allowing Piper to pin the Warlord and even the odds. After that, one thinks the match should be off to a hot finish but instead there is the culmination of years of screwy Survivor Series finishes. Virgil gets worked over and gives a hot tag to Piper and everyone starts fighting. Piper whips Flair into the corner, who flips and goes to the floor, and the referee proceeds to disqualify everyone in the ring, making Flair the sole survivor. This had the potential to be the best Survivor Series elimination match of all-time but the finish ruins it. And since it has no rewatch value due to that, I cannot give it the ***+ treatment. Rating: **¾
After the bell, a frustrated Piper and Bret clear the ring. This is further evidence that Bret is going up the card and Virgil is falling off the radar screen.
Okerlund interviews Randy Savage, who looks perfectly able to compete tonight despite Jack Tunney’s claims at the beginning of the show. Savage says the only thing he could see and hear after getting bit by Jake Roberts’ cobra was Elizabeth crying. Okerlund reiterates that Savage and Roberts will face off at This Tuesday in Texas and Elizabeth comes out to thank everyone who helped her husband get reinstated. She promises to be in Texas and guarantees that Savage will beat Roberts.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sergeant Slaughter, El Matador & the Texas Tornado defeat Colonel Mustafa, the Berzerker, Skinner & Hercules in a clean sweep after Duggan pins the Berzerker after the three-point stance clothesline at 14:18:
Other Eliminations: Slaughter pins Mustafa at a clothesline at 7:57; El Matador pins Hercules after El Paso Del Muerte at 12:06; Slaughter pins Skinner with a schoolboy roll up at 13:32
Hercules was a late substitute for Big Bully Busick, who had quit weeks earlier. Whereas the opener was a showcase of the top half of the midcard, this serves as a showcase for the bottom. Despite that, Duggan’s team outpaces their opposition in accolades as everyone on it sans Duggan has won a singles championship in the company. Things drag after El Matador knocks Skinner to the floor with a flying forearm, with the heels working over Duggan. Slaughter gets a small hot tag after that and makes quick work of his former ally, Mustafa, with a clothesline. Slaughter is so overpowered that he survives going to an exposed turnbuckle twice and a big boot, kicking out on multiple occasions against the Berzerker and Hercules. The Berzerker looks like a man possessed, surviving a Tornado discus punch and flying all over the ring for the babyfaces. However, he gets no backup. Hercules succumbs to El Matador’s new finisher and Skinner follows shortly thereafter. Then, Slaughter whips the Berzerker into Duggan’s finisher to end the bout. This was just the match going from point to point without building to anything. If not for the Berzerker trying to spice things up by bumping his ass off, things would have been worse. Since Slaughter got two falls, this match was an attempt to build him up but the match may have been best used to get the Berzerker over as a top heel by having him mow down the entire babyface side at the end. Rating: ½*
Okerlund interviews Jake Roberts, who gives a half-hearted apology for not knowing his cobra had not been devenomized. He blames Jack Tunney, the WWF, and fans who wanted to reinstate Savage for the plight that the Macho Man is in. Roberts warns Elizabeth that she has a one way ticket to Texas, saying that his match with Savage will not be “The end or the beginning or the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning.” Roberts continues his awesome promo work with this character.
Monsoon announces that there will be a pay-per-view in Texas this Tuesday, reinforcing how Survivor Series has been transformed into a hype show for another pay-per-view.
A video package recaps the Hulk Hogan-Undertaker feud.
WWF Championship Match: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) (31-0) pins Hulk Hogan (Champion) (3-0) after a Tombstone on a chair to win the title at 12:44:
The Undertaker gets some pops for his entrance and there is an interesting division along the aisle as young, white kids boo him while several Black teenagers cheer him on. Hogan struggles against the Undertaker, forced to bail in the opening seconds, and failing to knock the Undertaker off his feet or slam him. All this does, along with spots like the Undertaker getting knocked over the top rope but landing on his feet, is make the Undertaker look like more of a badass to fans in attendance. This match also features one of the first appearances of the Hogan cosplay fan, who sits in the front row and tries to fire the crowd up as the Undertaker chokes Hogan down but those efforts have mixed success. In a nice spot, Hogan fights out of a claw hold and knocks the Undertaker against the ropes, only to have the Undertaker come off with a flying clothesline. Fans facing the hard camera pop for the Tombstone, but Hogan kicks out and begins to hulk up. This leads to Ric Flair coming to ringside and Bearer distracting Hogan before he can land the leg drop. Hogan intercepts Flair trying to steal the WWF Championship Belt on the floor but a second leg drop attempt in the ring leads to Bearer grabbing his leg. As Bearer distracts the referee, Flair holds a chair in place for the Undertaker to Tombstone Hogan on top of and win the title in an upset. Despite the Undertaker being careful with Hogan, Hogan feigned getting a stinger from the move, something that angered Mark Calaway for years. The Undertaker’s offense was putrid in this era so the match suffered from that but the match had a great atmosphere and made the Undertaker look like a wrecking machine the likes of which Hogan had not faced since Andre the Giant. Rating: *
WWF officials tend to Hogan in the ring until he is good enough to get up and walk to the locker room.
Okerlund interviews Roddy Piper, who calls the Undertaker an “Addams family reject” and complains that Jack Tunney is nowhere to be seen to rectify the situation. He likens Flair helping the Undertaker to racist David Duke becoming the President of the United States.
Sean Mooney talks with Flair and Mr. Perfect. Perfect gloats about the death of Hulkamania while Flair repeats his claim of being the real world’s champion. Flair tells Tunney to stop doing video distortion of his belt.
Okerlund announces that Tunney is caucusing with Hulk Hogan and an announcement about the WWF Championship situation might be revealed by the end of the broadcast. He then interviews Irwin R. Schyster, the Natural Disasters, and Jimmy Hart. They complain about Jake Roberts being taken off their team, with Hart making a hilarious claim that Savage was bitten by a tiny snake.
Mooney gets comments from the Big Bossman and the Legion of Doom. They promise a beating and hard times for their opponents. Hawk claims that Roberts is the luckiest man on the planet not to have to get involved in the destruction that is to come.
Okerlund is now with Jack Tunney, who announces that the referee’s decision tonight is final. However, he orders a rematch between the Undertaker and Hulk Hogan at This Tuesday in Texas. He also says that he will be at ringside for the match to ensure a “fair and just outcome.” This edict angers Heenan, who tells Monsoon that the Undertaker should get to pick the date of his first title defense.
The Beverly Brothers & the Nasty Boys beat the Bushwhackers & the Rockers when Blake and the Nasties are the survivors after Jerry Sags pins Jannetty after a small package at 23:05:
Other Eliminations: Brian Knobbs pins Luke after a flying clothesline off the second rope at 5:20; Beau pins Butch after the Shaker Heights Spike at 10:20; Shawn Michaels pins Beau with a backslide at 13:54; Knobbs pins Michaels after a schoolboy roll up at 19:42
The Bushwhackers take out all four opponents, followed by the Rockers, but the crowd has been burned badly by the opener, match switches, and WWF title shocker that it does not get much of a reaction. After Michaels gets a shine, Luke tags in and gets distracted by Jerry Sags on the apron, getting eliminated by a Brian Knobbs clothesline. Michaels’ flying body press on Sags moments later comes close to evening things but only gets two. When Jannetty is tagged in he struggles, leading to a Butch shine segment. But again, the Bushwhacker Survivor Series curse is alive and well as he eats a Shaker Heights Spike seconds after getting tagged in. The question after that is whether the Rockers can get past their recent struggles and survive. After a three-minute heat segment, Michaels surprises Beau with a backslide to score an elimination. Despite taking a lot of punishment, Michaels refuses to tag Jannetty and fights everything that moves, diving off the apron onto Sags on the floor and superkicking Knobbs. When Michaels finally does decide to tag, Jannetty fails to enjoy offensive success and is beaten down by the heels. Michaels gets tagged back in and things come to a head when Jannetty tries to help his partner and lifts Sags for a slam and Sags’ feet hit Michaels in the face, causing him to get rolled up and eliminated by Knobbs. This causes an irate Michaels to confront Jannetty before encouraging him on and leaving. The crowd boos Michaels on his way to the locker room and they know Jannetty does not have much of a chance. Jannetty gets one last offensive flourish by diving onto both Nasties on the floor and driving Blake’s head into the canvas. However, when Jannetty small packages Sags, Knobbs rolls the move over and Jannetty cannot counter on his own and loses. Overall, this told a good story for the Rockers breakup angle, had some good action, and had some creative eliminations but the crowd was not into the heat segments. And the match just went too long for the story it needed to tell. It would have been better to eliminate the Bushwhackers quicker and wrap this up in less than fifteen minutes. Rating: **¼
The Big Bossman & the Legion of Doom defeat Irwin R. Schyster & the Natural Disasters when the Legion of Doom are the survivors after Animal pins IRS after a Hawk flying clothesline at 15:21:
Other Eliminations: IRS eliminates the Bossman after hitting him with his briefcase at 6:24; Hawk pins Typhoon after heel miscommunication at 9:38; Earthquake is counted out at 10:50
This is the only three-on-three elimination match in the event’s history. Without Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, and/or Sid Justice it is less compelling too. Thankfully, the LOD is over enough in Detroit to interest the crowd. After some average brawling among participants, the Bossman is knocked out by IRS’ briefcase and is the first casualty. IRS tries to use the briefcase a second time minutes later against Hawk after Hawk receives a hot tag, but heel miscommunication results, Typhoon gets knocked out, and the LOD even the score. An irate Earthquake decides to walk out with his teammate and IRS immediately goes from an advantageous to disadvantageous position. It would have been best for the LOD to squash IRS after this but IRS gets to beat on Hawk for a bit after Hawk goes shoulder-first into the ring post on a blind charge. After Hawk reverses a suplex and gives a hot tag to Animal, IRS has nothing left in the tank. He tries to leave but the Bossman intercepts him in the aisle, Animal suplexes him back into the ring, and Hawk vanquishes the tax man with a flying clothesline. A decent match but there was nothing special about it other than giving the Disasters an out against the LOD by having Earthquake quit midway through. Rating: *½
Mooney says Hulk Hogan was supposed to talk with him but decided not to because he will let his ring work do the talking at This Tuesday in Texas. Hogan was supposed to do a promo here but was complaining of neck pain and went to the hospital.
Okerlund is in a dark place in the arena, greeted by WWF Champion the Undertaker and Paul Bearer. The Undertaker looks great with the WWF Championship Belt over his shoulder. Bearer announces that they killed Hulkamania tonight and the Undertaker opens a casket to show what they have in store for Hulk Hogan in Texas.
The Last Word: This was easily the worst WWF pay-per-view of the year as fans were treated to a bait and switch with the elimination match in the main event and then sat through promotion for another pay-per-view six days later that promised bigger payoffs for existing storylines. The show also did some major damage to the Survivor Series brand because of the positioning of This Tuesday in Texas as a bigger show and fans were growing tired of the cop out finishes in these elimination bouts, which reared its ugly head in the opener. The next year the WWF would scrap the elimination tag team format and replace the show with a bevy of gimmick matches. Disappointing show aside, it does highlight the first fan reaction against Hulk Hogan, which would have larger ramifications later.
Up Next: WWF Superstars for November 30!
And don’t forget that if you want a recap of the WWF in 1990 or all of the major wrestling promotions in 1995, you can check out my e-book and paperback collection of books on Amazon. Each book provides reviews for that year, win-loss statistics, angle breakdowns, a timeline of major events, and more.