Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Survivor Series 1993

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*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***

Survivor Series 1993 Review: God Bless America, Lex Luger and Santa Claus!

Boston, Massachusetts
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan
Attendance: 15,509
Buy Rate: .82

Dark Match

Billy Gunn pinned Brooklyn Brawler in 7:46

Pay-Per-View

Fun Fact: This would be Bobby Heenan’s final WWF PPV. Heenan would be around for a few more weeks until the 12/6 RAW where a memorable moment in WWF history took place. Since the fall, Heenan had been really snipping back and forth with Gorilla Monsoon, including a near scuffle on this PPV. As RAW came to a close, Vince was discussing next week’s RAW with Heenan, and Gorilla Monsoon walked down to ringside and offered Heenan a free trip…out of the arena and out of the WWF. Gorilla then escorted Heenan and unceremoniously tossed him out, literally. Heenan scrambled his belongings together and waved a tearful goodbye. There were two reasons for Heenan’s departure. The first is Vince asked him to take a significant pay cut, which Heenan refused and instead opted to run out his contract. The second reason is with his neck problems continuing and the long road schedule catching up to him, Heenan decided to retire. Heenan would enjoy retired life for a short time before WCW came calling in the beginning of 1994 with the offer of a lighter work schedule and health insurance. Never fear, though. This would not be the last time we see Bobby “The Brain” Heenan on a WWF PPV.

Fun Fact II: Despite being a very supportive hub for WWF house shows and TV tapings, this is the very first WWF PPV to emanate from the legendary Boston Garden.

1) 1-2-3 Kid, Marty Jannetty, Razor Ramon & Randy Savage defeat IRS, Diesel, Rick Martel & Adam Bomb

Survivors:
1-2-3 Kid
Marty Jannetty

Eliminations:
Randy Savage pins Diesel at 10:18 with the Flying Elbow
IRS pins Randy Savage at 16:46 with a roll-up
Razor Ramon pins IRS at 20:32 with a Razor’s Edge
Razor Ramon is counted out at 21:40
1-2-3 Kid pins Rick Martel at 25:49 with a Sunset Flip
Marty Jannetty pins Adam Bomb at 25:59 with a Sunset Flip

Fun Fact: Mr. Perfect was originally scheduled to be on the face team, but he left the WWF the week before the event due to his old back injuries starting to nag him again. WWF did not even announce that he wasn’t going to be there until the match began. Ramon got on the mic and said that Mr. Perfect wasn’t the “Perfect Partner” because he “tagged out before the match even began.” Instead, Ramon brings out Randy Savage to be the fourth member of his team. Savage was inserted into the match so they could continue the Savage/Crush feud on a PPV stage.

Fun Fact II: Adam Bomb debuted alongside his manager Johnny Polo on the May 22, 1993 Superstars. Johnny Polo was played by WCW mid carder Scotty Flamingo, real name Scott Levy. Levy cut his teeth in the Portland promotion before heading south to Atlanta. He was a mainstay in the Light Heavyweight division throughout 1992 before heading to the WWF as a manager. Adam Bomb was portrayed by Bryan Clarke who was known as the Nightstalker in Memphis as well as WCW. Before this show, Polo sold the contract of Bomb to Harvey Wippleman, who accompanies him here.

Fun Fact III: Razor Ramon won the vacated Intercontinental Title on the 10/11 Raw by defeating Rick Martel. The two men had been the last two standing in a battle royal the week before. Martel had made his return to WWF TV on the 9/27 Raw, wrestling Tatanka to a double countout. Martel had still been under contract but outside of a handful of house show matches, he was mostly inactive since the spring.

Fun Fact IV: The Savage/Crush feud dates back to the July 4, 1993 Stars and Stripes Challenge, an event set up to see who, if anyone, could bodyslam the 580 lb. Yokozuna. Savage had encouraged Crush to take part, but Crush injured his back during the event. On the July 12 episode of RAW, Crush was defeated by Yokozuna in a WWF Championship match and was given several Banzai Drops following the match. Savage left the announce booth to help pull Crush out of the ring, but the damage had been done. Crush would be out of action for several months. When he returned on the October 18 episode of RAW, he came out with Mr. Fuji and stated that Savage had betrayed him by not coming to his aid earlier during the Yokozuna attack and not contacting him during his recuperation. Savage came to the ring and tried to talk Crush out of making a big mistake. The two shook hands and left the ring. On the way to the back, Crush turned on Savage, clotheslining him and dropping him in the guardrail before taking him back to the ring to get a Banzai Drop from Yokozuna. Leading up to the Survivor Series, Savage attacked Crush on the November 6 RAW which resulted in Savage being suspended from his broadcast duties. 

Scott: The crowd goes insane when the Macho Man is introduced as the replacement for Mr. Perfect, as we enter venerable Boston Garden for the first time in PPV history. I am proud to say I was at the New Haven Coliseum when Razor won the vacant Intercontinental Title. It was my first “technical” title change, although the title was vacant it was still a great moment. Vince and Bobby are funny on commentary, but it does seem like the Brain is a little out of sorts with the product. Maybe (although he will be terribly missed) he was better off leaving for WCW when he did. This begins a four-PPV stretch where the company, which may feel is in a bit of business limbo, stays very close to their wheelhouse part of the country. All the shows between now and June are in the Northeast. The Boston crowd is hot for the opener here, particularly since we are seeing Savage in a PPV ring for the first time since being tossed by Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble back in January. Big Daddy Cool, without his guy Shawn Michaels for this match, is eliminated by Savage. The Model got back into the swing of things in New Haven when he and Razor finished tied in the Battle Royal for the IC Title, but then lost the match to Razor. I was a big Adam Bomb fan the moment he arrived in the WWF. Something about his size and the way he worked in the ring, and the look. He is Harvey Whippleman’s charge in this match. Savage loses his cool when Crush starts walking up the aisle, but he does get back in the ring. More on the Crush stuff later on. Savage gets pinned but he doesn’t care, he runs down the ramp to go after Crush. The faces regain the lead when Razor hits the Edge on IRS for the pin. Razor has become maybe the #2 or #3 babyface in the company, so the turn was a definite necessity. He gets counted out after a Halliburton shot to the gut by IRS. That feud continues. The Kid is being pushed by Vince as the plucky underdog, where Bobby discredits him as a “little boy who wants cookies and milk”. He gets a big pin on Rick Martel, followed by Jannetty pinning Adam Bomb and the babyfaces are triumphant. I was pleasantly surprised that the two least thought of guys on the team actually got the final two pins. That was a fun opener and it really got the crowd going. Grade: **1/2

JT: Another holiday season has arrived and that means it is time for another edition of Survivor Series. After a year off from the traditional show concept, we are back at it here. Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are in the booth once again, but sadly this is the final show for Heenan, who would leave a few weeks later. Times really are changing, sadly. The Brain has done a tremendous job stepping into Jesse Ventura’s mammoth shoes since 1991 and he will sorely be missed, especially after the clinic he put on for most of 1992. Our opener features quite the blend of new and old and it sets up for a nice mix. On the heel side, we get our first PPV look at Adam Bomb, who had debuted back in the spring. Originally managed by Johnny Polo, he was sold to Harvey Wippleman shortly before this show. He is teaming with Diesel, who has really been floating around since Shawn Michaels had been suspended in September. His feud with Mr. Perfect fizzled and it was looking like he may not have much time left in the company at this point. Also on the team is Rick Martel, who we last saw on PPV back at the Royal Rumble. After taking some time off, he returned in September, back in his baby blue tights and with his hair grown back out, looking more like the Model of old. And finally, the team captain is IRS, forging ahead in his solo career with an eye on the Intercontinental Title. Across the ring is the IC champ, having finished his face turn and rise up the card by grabbing the vacated title after surviving a battle royal and knocking off Martel. On his team are steady mid carders Marty Jannetty and 1-2-3 Kid as well as Randy Savage, who is stepping in for the departed Mr. Perfect. Perfect had an awesome one year run, but his back started to give out again so he was forced back to the sidelines. Savage was added in at the last minute to cover the departure. Kid has definitely solidified himself as a regular competitor now as opposed to a young upstart that shocked the world with wins. Ramon’s rise in popularity has been astounding as the cheers kept pouring in after he turned and now he feels like a near-top guy on the face side thanks to the fans and his presence in the ring. We would open with a rematch of that IC finals with Ramon picking up where he left off on Raw. After getting beaten around, Martel finally tagged out and in entered Adam Bomb for a cool showdown with the champ. With both men being about equal size, they really matched up well and the fans got into it as they traded some lockups. Bomb would overpower Razor and take control through a test of strength but Razor eventually took him over with a suplex. Martel tried to make the save but accidentally nailed Bomb and that led to a big pull apart between the members of the heel team that included Martel shoving down Wippleman. Things would finally settle down and we reset with Bomb beating on the Kid with some cool looking power offense. Diesel would pick up where Bomb left off, battering the Kid until the youngster caught him with a headscissors takedown. He quickly tagged in Savage, who cleaned house on the whole team before polishing off Diesel with the big elbow to give his team a 4-3 advantage.

After Savage and IRS battled for a moment, Ramon made his way back in and immediately got caught and cornered, leading to a lengthy get segment with lots of tagging by the heels. He would survive and tag in Savage, who stayed red hot and looked ready to put away IRS. However, just as he was ascending the top rope, Crush wandered down the aisle to draw his attention away. Showing his obsession over revenge, Savage couldn’t focus at all and just kept jawing at the big man until IRS rolled him up to eliminate him. That feud has been red hot on TV thanks to Crush’s memorable heel turn and would continue to heat up as we move along. With the odds back at even, Jannetty came in and tried to regain composure and the advantage for his team. After a brief flurry, he got caught in the corner and taken down by Martel and Bomb. Despite taking some stiff offense, Jannetty was able to tag in Ramon. Heenan was really into the Desi Arnez jokes for him here, right down to calling one of his right hands the “Babaloo Punch”. Razor fended off IRS and was able to eliminate him after a Razor’s Edge. I was a bit surprised by that as they were building IRS up as a top challenger for the Bad Guy, so to see him taken out clean was an upset in some ways. However, Razor got caught celebrating by Martel and a second later, IRS pelted the champ with his Halliburton, causing him to get counted out. That was also surprising, especially when you consider the four men that now remained, which I would say seemed quite unlikely when this match kicked off. As we settled in for what is now basically a tag team match, Kid and Martel really started to go at it at a quick pace. Even when Bomb tagged in, things kept chugging along. Kid would knock Bomb to the floor and tried a dive over the top, but Bomb caught him and slammed him hard to the ground. He followed with a slingshot clothesline for a near fall as the crowd really worked to rally the youngster. Martel would come in and work him over until he whiffed on an axehandle off the top, allowing Kid to tag out. After some back and forth, Kid tagged back in and caught Martel with a sunset flip to eliminate the Model. And in the blink of an eye, Kid tagged Jannetty back in and he came flying over the top with a sunset flip on Adam Bomb to win the match. That was a great finish and very reminiscent of 1987 when the Killer Bees and Young Stallions surprisingly survived with a fast flurry to close the match. Kid and Jannetty surviving opened the show on a really fun note and also established them as a feisty team to move forward with. The match itself was solid, with a few high spots to carry it, mostly centered around Savage, who looked great during his brief stints in the ring. I thought everyone looked pretty good, except maybe Diesel who was quickly eliminated and didn’t get much offense in. The IRS elimination was also surprising but he got some revenge and it looks like he will remain a thorn in the side of the Bad Guy. Grade: **1/2

2) Keith Hart, Bruce Hart, Owen Hart & Bret Hart defeat Shawn Michaels, Black Knight, Blue Knight & Red Knight

Survivors:
Keith Hart
Bruce Hart
Bret Hart

Eliminations:
Owen Hart pins the Black Knight with a dropkick off the top rope at 10:46
Bret Hart makes the Red Knight submit with the Sharpshooter at 18:03
Owen Hart makes the Blue Knight submit with the Sharpshooter at 23:43
Shawn Michaels pins Owen Hart at 27:11 with a roll-up
Shawn Michaels in counted-out at 30:52

Fun Fact: This match was supposed to be a continuation of the Lawler/Hart Family feud that began at KOTR, however, just one week before this PPV, Lawler was accused of rape by a young girl, thus Vince pulled him from the show and the WWF until he could sort out the mess. So, let us backtrack a little bit. In early-September, Vince and Shawn Michaels had a falling out. Shawn mentions in his book that he failed a drug test, but he disputed it and took the suspension instead of arguing it. As a result of the suspension, Michaels was stripped of the Intercontinental Title and taken off of TV for three months. During that time, Razor Ramon won the title on the 10/11 Raw. When Vince found Lawler was in trouble and wouldn’t be wrestling, he brought back Michaels to try and salvage the match as well as having somewhat of a back story. Also, when Michaels returned, he brought HIS IC Belt with him, thus igniting a feud between him and Ramon over who was the “Real Intercontinental Champion.” Lawler was acquitted of all allegations when the girl admitted she had lied and he was brought back to the WWF in time for WrestleMania X.

Fun Fact II: The Red Knight is portrayed by longtime jobber Barry Horowitz, the Blue Knight is portrayed by the legendary Greg Valentine and the Black Knight is portrayed by longtime Texas and Memphis competitor Jeff Gaylord. The identity of the three is never revealed and there was no reasoning behind why they were chosen to don the hoods.

Fun Fact III: This would be the debut of a couple of new Harts in the WWF. Bruce and Keith Hart both received their professional wrestling training from their father, Stu, in the infamous Hart Dungeon. Bruce debuted in his father’s Stampede Wrestling in 1972 and quickly became a headliner for the promotion. He suffered a serious shoulder injury in June 1973 which put him out of action for almost a year and nearly ended his career. By the late 70s, Bruce was in charge of matchmaking and talent development for Stampede.

Keith began wrestling for Stampede in June 1973. Most of his career was spent as a tag team wrestler. He teamed with his brother Bret to win the Stampede International Tag Team titles on four separate occasions. In the late 70s, Keith’s career went in a different direction as he became a member of the Calgary Fire Department, greatly reducing his wrestling engagements. In the 90s he served as a trainer at the Hart Dungeon.

Fun Fact IV: Ray Combs, host of Family Feud, is the ring announcer and guest commentator for this match as they play off the feuding families theme. Before the match, he recognizes members of the Hart family that are seated at ringside, including Helen. 

Scott: I know my PIC is going to kill me, but the Ray Combs introductions (and bad jokes) was just overkill. I do like that the Hart patriarch Stu came out with a Bruins Starter jacket on. Of course the lack of logic with this exists because Jerry Lawler was supposed to be the captain of this team but he was back in Memphis challenging sexual assault allegations. The juice would have been off the chain for this match if the King was there. Oh man I forgot Combs stays for commentary, and he for me is way too corny. I don’t know if these knights were supposed to work as much as they did but they were not very good. I know two of the three knights were Greg Valentine and Barry Horowitz but they were not on their game. On the other side we have two fresh, currently working guys (Bret & Owen) but Bruce & Keith haven’t worked in years. Needless to say there are a lot of rusty wrestlers in the ring. That leads to a lot of sloppy segments and running around. It seems Shawn took the Jerry Lawler rulebook because he spends most of the beginning of this match running around. The match goes at a very deliberate pace but the knights are slowly eliminated one by one. Shawn isn’t really doing much in this match, except take a decent beating from the Pink & Black family. I like that Bret eschewed his usual wrestling gear and is wearing a singlet, like a collegiate wrestler. The match continues at its sluggish pace and the Harts look dominant, until the moment from which we begin an epic storyline. Owen is working with Shawn in the ring, while a disoriented Bret is on the apron. Bret lingers too far down the apron and when Owen gets whipped into the ropes he runs into Bret, who goes flying into the barricade. Owen is then rolled up by Shawn and is the first Hart eliminated. Shawn is the last one on his team and he battles as best as he can but eventually he just quits and walks out on the match. The Harts win, but Owen is none too pleased that Bret got in his way and was the only Hart pinned. He comes back out after the bell and starts shoving big brother. There’s plenty of words exchanged but in the end cooler heads prevail. The Hart Family is victorious in a boring match, but little brother is still ticked. Grade: *1/2

JT: Well, this match has taken quite a turn. When we left SummerSlam, Bret Hart put a beating on Jerry Lawler but the King was wheeled out with his finger high in the air, crowned the only King of the WWF. Since that time, Lawler ran into some legal trouble and had to be removed from the match just weeks before the show. Considering the magnitude of the feud, it was a pretty big loss. So, insert the suspended Shawn Michaels. They did they best to heat this up, playing off their past issues and having Michaels quickly start to bash the Hart Family and even do a fake interview where he and Reo Rogers went to the Hart House and encountered a fake Stu and Helen. Still, it wasn’t the same. And it also made it seem pretty silly to have Michaels team with masked knights. However, one cool touch is that Michaels returned with his IC title around his waist, claiming he was still the champion as he had never been defeated. The identity of the Knights remained a mystery with the announcers and they would never be revealed on TV. To make up for the King not being here, we do get the great Ray Combs back for another PPV run. We last saw him at WrestleMania VIII but his appearance here makes way more sense when you take the family stuff into consideration. He does his usual banter before the match, reading survey results that take shots at the heels and also introduces some of the Hart family members at ringside, something that has become a tradition here in 1993. After the introductions, Combs would hop into the booth with Vince and Bobby, a true treat for me! In a funny, but random, note, Stu Hart was wearing a Pistons jacket during his prematch interview but has a Bruins one on when he makes his way to ringside with his sons. Bobby even notes that he “waxed another jacket from the souvenir shop”. Vince also notes that he last wrestled in the Garden in 1945. In a nice touch, all of the Hart brothers have matching singlets on, even Bret, which was a bit weird to see. Bruce would be the first Hart brother in, and Vince mentions that he last wrestled in 1991 and is currently teaching school. We will see what he has left in the tank. He started well, matching Michaels and landing shots in on the Knights as well before tagging in Keith. Combs tells us Keith is a fireman and Vince says he last competed in 1989. Bobby is great here, really riding the Harts and Combs. Keith kept pace with Michaels and took control on the Red Knight, who was Barry Horowitz. He tagged in Owen, who really went to work, finally sending him into the corner with a dropkick. Black Knight, Jeff Gaylord, was in next and he met the same fate. Owen would tag in Bret as Blue Knight tagged in and this was actually a match we have seen many times before, including at this very show back in 1990 as it is Greg Valentine under the hood. The Knights finally got their shit together and went into attack mode on Bruce as Bobby kept the antics up, yelling at Stu to wake up at ringside.

The Knights and Michaels tagged in and out as they slowly worked over Bruce with really basic offense. He eventually escaped and made the tag to Bret, who immediately picked apart the Black Knight with his standard assault. Things would break down right after, with all eight men battling in the ring, ending with Owen eliminating Black with a missile dropkick. I’ll say this, he isn’t saying much of consequence, but Combs is really into this and putting it all over strongly. Red Knight caught a beating next, with the Hart brothers tagging in and out and working their dungeon offense on him. Keith would get tripped up as Blue Knight came in and the match slowed way back down as the crowd turned on them as well, firing up a “boring” chant. Michaels and the Knights would alternate bashing and wrenching Keith’s shoulder until Shawn missed a dive off the top and gave Keith the chance to tag in Bret. The Hitman quickly pounced and turned the Red Knight into the Sharpshooter to eliminate him and give his family a two man advantage. As Blue Knight took over on Bret, we got a great shot of Stu massaging Keith’s shoulder. Once Blue really got into his offense you could tell it was obviously Valentine. I love that he didn’t even give a shit to try to hide his identity at all, right down to his trademark boots. Despite the sustained offense, Shawn and Blue still couldn’t pick up an elimination as Bret escaped and tagged in Owen. Michaels would bail to the floor where he walked into a Stu punch followed by a wild Owen dive over the top. An eye blink later saw Owen force Blue to submit to a Sharpshooter. Left alone, the Harts were ready to really punish poor Shawn as Helen and the Harts celebrated at ringside. They alternated pelting Shawn around until Bret took a stiff shot that left him rattled on the apron. Owen would come in but things went sour as he accidentally collided with Bret and sent him flying into the guardrail. In the confusion, Michaels rolled up and eliminated Owen, who had really been a dominant force in the match until that point. Owen was pissed as he stomped to the locker room. In the ring, the Harts took back control of the match. Bret would eventually try for the Sharpshooter, but Michaels finally had enough and sprinted to the back, eating the count out loss and giving the match to the Harts. Well, that was anticlimactic. But, I don’t blame them at all for protecting Shawn from taking a pin in this one. As the family celebrated, Owen came back to the ring, but he was clearly pissed off as he yanked Bret off the ropes and shoved him. Bruce and Keith tried to keep the peace but the seeds have been planted for some possible jealousy based dissension going forward, especially as Owen bitched to Stu about not getting any recognition. The match was really nothing special and was also much longer than it needed to be. It never really kicked into the next gear and almost felt like an exhibition at times. Shawn not really being involved in the feud didn’t help things either as a lot of the heat was now missing. Plus, the Knights being nameless and faceless didn’t help us care much at all as we just had no reason to be angry at any of them. Despite it all, Owen came across as the clear star, gliding around the ring and picking up two eliminations before getting knocked out of the match. We will see how it affects Bret as 1993 comes to a close. On the other side of the coin, Michaels is on to bigger business but for the second year in a row, he takes a loss to the Hitman. Grade: *1/2

***Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon take over for Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan to call the next match for TV. They had been calling the show for Radio WWF, which is where Vince and Bobby now shift to.***

3) The Heavenly Bodies defeat the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express to win the Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Titles when Tom Prichard pins Robert Gibson after Jimmy Del Ray hits Gibson with the racket at 13:41

Fun Fact: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, made up of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, were a tag team that began working together in Memphis in 1983. The team fit into the trend and had a similar look to the rock bands of the times. They were one of the first high flyer teams and found success in the Mid South territory and later in Jim Crockett’s Mid Atlantic territory. Their primary rivals in both territories was Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express. The two teams would become tag team staples in the south throughout the 80s. The RnR Express would hold the NWA World Tag Team titles 4 different times. In the early 90s, the team would join up with Cornette in his Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion where they began their long feud with the Heavenly Bodies.

Fun Fact II: As part of the WWF/SMW relationship, this match was added to the card to help showcase one of Smokey Mountain’s top, and at times most violent, rivalries.

Scott: For the first time in WWE PPV history, another promotions’ title will be on the line. Sure back in the Vince, Sr. years Bob Backlund and Harley Race or Ric Flair would have WWF/NWA Champion vs. Champion matches on supercards and house showa, but definitely NOT in the PPV era run by Vince, Jr. It was a tremendous choice here to swap out Vince and Bobby for Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon for the most technically sound match on the card. The Bodies had a solid showing at SummerSlam in losing to the Steiner Brothers, but now they head into the ring against their current rivals, and former NWA stalwarts the Rock n Roll Express. I was never a big fan of Ricky & Robert, I preferred the great heel teams in JCP, like the Midnight Express and the Russians. Of course once the Road Warriors went south my loyalties changed. Anyway this was a great match for Ross to settle into because really the WWF style didn’t totally suit him at this moment but here the Southern tag team style was right in his wheel house. Gorilla seemed really rankled in his commentary, as I think he’s feeling out of touch with the TV product. He’s really upping the feud with Bobby Heenan, because now he wants to actually beat him up where for years he somewhat tolerated and mocked him. The match is pretty good, with a lot of expert double team moves and endless movement in the ring, but some good old cheating got the job done. With the referee distracted, Jimmy Del Ray drilled Ricky Morton in the back with Jim Cornette’s tennis racket and Dr. Tom gets the pinfall and the victory, for new SMW tag team champions. They change up the rules and use WWF regulations, which was mentioned often, as you get disqualified in SMW for using the top rope. Very WCW I must say. In what is one of the best matches of the evening, another promotion gets a huge title change. Grade: **1/2

JT: When the company brought in Jim Cornette, they also agreed to start promoting Cornette’s Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion as well. We already saw the Heavenly Bodies back at SummerSlam and now we see their top rivals, the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. The RNRs were longtime NWA and Memphis competitors and it was pretty cool seeing them pop up here, even if it was a bit buried in a somewhat forgotten show. To kick things to an even weirder spot, the SMW tag team titles are on the line as well. This is all so different than what we had come to expect from the WWF when it came to outside companies. It was a good idea to switch Ross and Monsoon to the booth for this one as he could help get both teams over better than anyone else outside of Cornette himself. And of course he wasted no time putting over SMW and the resume of the Bodies as well as the RNRs. The Bodies caught the champs off the bell, dumping them outside and parading around confidently. The Express fought their way into the ring and the match started proper with Gibson and Del Ray tussling. The crowd was definitely having a hard time getting into this one without being overly familiar with the storyline or characters. Things degenerated a bit, which allowed the champs to work some double teams that included a fun double rowboat. They continued to quick tag in and out, working the leg of Prichard until the Doctor went to the eyes and made the tag, but not even that worked as a moment later they were on the floor regrouping again. Prichard finally did turn the tide by hitting a powerbomb on Morton, leading to a heat segment that focused on Ricky’s back. The crowd finally woke up a bit when Del Ray hit a springboard moonsault from the middle rope to the floor, but they quieted right back down when the match got back into the ring. The Bodies would get their closest near fall on a Trash Compacter, which prompted a nice Midnight Express name drop from Ross. Morton would eventually drop both with a DDT and then made the hot tag. Things broke down and Prichard played to their newly found home field advantage by chucking Morton over the top to the floor, a move that would be a DQ in SMW but was allowed here. After some confusion, the RNRs hit their double dropkick but Prichard kicked out. Right after, the Gigolo bashed Gibson with Cornette’s racket and rolled the Doctor on top for the win and the titles. Well, that was certainly very well worked and fun to watch, but the crowd just did not care sadly and it really hurt things, as it felt like they were running through the motions as a result. Also, I liked the touch of knowledge of the rules difference between the two teams but that led to some confusion and then the match just sped into the finish. In front of a Southern crowd, this may have popped more, but as is it was just a really good match in front of a very dead crowd. Grade: ***1/2

4) Luke, Butch, Mabel & Mo defeats Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, Fatu & Samu

Survivors:
Luke
Butch
Mo
Mabel

Eliminations:
Luke pins Samu with a roll-up at 3:04
Mabel pins Bastion Booger after the Battering Ram and a legdrop at 6:00
Butch pins Fatu with a roll-up after Fatu slipped on a banana peel at 8:31
Butch, Luke, Mabel and Mo pin Bam Bam Bigelow after a Mabel splash at 10:57

Fun Fact: Doink turned face on Raw in September when he tossed his bucket of water on an unsuspecting Bobby Heenan. Shortly after the turn, he ambushed Bigelow with a pie to the face on an episode of Superstars, and an Survivor Match was eventually made to help settle the burgeoning feud. Bigelow assembled his team and Doink said his team would be made up of three other Doinks, playing off of the appearances from Doink II since WrestleMania. So, the official match was Doink, Doink, Doink and Doink vs. Bigelow, Bastion Booger and the Headshrinkers. At the show, everyone learned that the Doinks were being played by the Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission. After the show, Jack Tunney decreed that there would be no more double, triple or quadruple Doinks, so Doink was very upset. Until Christmas that is, when Doink was given Dink, a little person clown, as a present from Santa Claus. The Doink/Bigelow feud would burn on into the New Year.

Fun Fact II: This match is the PPV debut for Mabel (Nelson Frazier) and Mo (Bobby Horne), or Men on a Mission. The team originally began in the Pro Wrestling Federation and USWA as the Harlem Knights. The two were billed as brothers, Nelson & Bobby Knight. Their work in the USWA got them noticed by the WWF and they were signed to a contract in mid 1993. They made their WWF debut on the July 4 episode of Wrestling Challenge.

Fun Fact III: This is also the PPV debut for Bastion Booger (Mike Shaw). Shaw was trained by Killer Kowalski and began his career in western Canada, first wrestling in Vancouver in 1981 and then in 1982 in Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling in Calgary. It was in Stampede where he had a great run under the name Makhan Singh, which included a tremendous series of matches with Owen Hart. He later gained popularity when he moved to WCW in 1989 and became Norman the Lunatic, a character who had previously been locked in an insane asylum. He was managed by Theodore Long, who carried around a key, signifying Long’s ability to have Norman recommitted to the asylum if he didn’t follow orders. In 1993, Shaw came to the WWF and briefly wrestled as Friar Ferguson, the “mad monk”. The WWF received negative feedback from the Catholic Church of New York, so the character was dropped. Shaw took on the Bastion Booger character, a fat slob who wrestled in dirty singlets. His run in the WWF was primarily as a jobber.

Scott: When the match starts with the crowd chanting “WE WANT DOINK” at the top of their lungs, then you pretty much know where this match is going. We have a team of Doinks, and none of them are Doink. The new team Men on a Mission are dressed as clowns, and then, well two guys who would look great in makeup to cover their faces. The Bushwhackers are part of that old Federation Era that can still somewhat fit in that new generation of wrestlers. Bastion Booger, is well…Booger. I feel so bad for Bam Bam Bigelow here. He wants to be taken seriously as a big time heel and instead continues to get stuck in these bizarre feuds with goofy cartoon characters. Not actually having Doink in this match really loses it for me, because otherwise why are we supposed to care that these guys are dressed as clowns when the top clown isn’t here? I’m upset that they turned Doink face anyway because Matt Borne as heel Doink was absolutely awesome. Borne left WWF and whoever replaced him would probably not be as devious and cool as Borne was in the role. The match is a complete mess with turkey carcasses everywhere and cheap parlor tricks as well. Bigelow eats the last pin (sadly) and then Doink comes up on the screen (with one of the worst Doink wigs ever) and heckles Bigelow down the ramp. God just end this mess. Grade: 1/2*

JT: Before the match, we had a fun throwback to 1989, as Bigelow’s team was getting interviewed by Todd Pettengil while they all devoured turkey carcasses like maniacs. I love that stuff. Back in the arena, Vince and Bobby were back in the booth as Bigelow led his merry band of slobs to the ring. We saw Bammer team with the Headshrinkers back at SummerSlam and I was happy to see their relationship continue. Booger was a decent…ahem, pick…to round out the team as he in well with their general presentation. As stupid as the gimmick was, the man under the gargoyle outfit was a pretty rock solid wrestler that would be sorely under utilized in the role. And after weeks of speculation of just who would show up in the Doink costumes, we ended up being all very underwhelmed. This seemed like a good chance to freshen Doink up a bit now that he was sadly a face, and even having four guys out there looking the same would add a bit of mystery if there was a reveal at the end. Alas, they go for the real obvious humor and roll out the stale Bushwhackers and the recently arrived Men on a Mission. I liked the MOM gimmick and the fans really seemed to connect with them, but there were also some fatal flaws that ensured they never really got far up the card. First off, Mo looks like he is really old thanks to the shaky blonde dye job. Secondly, Mabel has a bit of a freak show look to him thanks to an interestingly shaped body and when you dress him in purple, he just ended up looking really goofy. Finally, Oscar was a shitty rapper and never really evolved his rhymes. That said, the beat under the rap was really catchy and the fans ate it up. For as lame as a choice as the Bushwhackers were here, I won’t kill them for pushing MOM and getting them a PPV slot. I wonder if they should have just had Doink and Doink II team with MOM straight up? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Booger and Samu would lay an early beating on Luke but the fun and games quickly started. The guys on the apron kept handing Samu balloons, and he kept eating them, until something exploded from the last one,which allowed Luke to roll him up and eliminate him. I do like the idea that Doink trained these guys in clown based trickery. Adds some psychology anyway. Butch was next to get pulverized, including eating a big Booger legdrop. Things looked bleak when the Bastion slammed down hard onto Butch’s chest, but he got distracted by a bunch of bananas in his teams’ corner, so he got up and grabbed one. After shoving it in his mouth, he again tried to slam down, but Butch avoided it this time. Luke then popped in and they hammered Booger with the battering ram, followed by a Mabel legdrop to take him out of the match.  It is nothing to be proud of, but the fans were about 10x more into this than the SMW match, sadly. The antics continued as Mo rode around the ring on a scooter until Bigelow grabbed it and chucked it to the floor. Fatu would hit his top rope splash on Mo, but got memorized by a banana peel and didn’t cover. That led to Butch coming in with a bucket and faking Fatu out, leading to the Headshrinker…yes, slipping on the banana peel and getting pinned. The pissed off Bigelow came in and started murdering clowns until we got a hot face-to-face with Mabel. That was the best part of the match. Bigelow dominated the showdown and almost had Luke eliminated but got distracted when Butch dumped a bunch of garbage on Luna. In the blink of an eye, Bigelow got squashed by Mabel and piled on by the whole team to end the nonsense. After the match, the real Doink showed up on the big screen and mocked Bammer for the loss. Well, on a pure comedy scale, I have seen a whole lot worse out of this company. It was at least campy, fairly quick and the crowd was into it. Sadly, it turned Bigelow into a bit of a joke, even though he looked the best out of anyone in there. Also, it sucks to see what Doink has become after his great heel run. This was a far cry from his trickery back at SummerSlam. I think we should have gotten the comedy spots but had Bigelow run through all four guys and survive at the end. Oh well. I suddenly have a craving for turkey. Grade: *

5) Undertaker, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner & Lex Luger defeat Ludvig Borga, Jacques Rougeau, Crush & Yokozuna

Survivor:
Lex Luger

Eliminations:
Ludvig Borga pins Rick Steiner with a powerslam as Rick came off the top rope at 5:02
Crush is counted out of the ring at 11:52
Lex Luger pins Jacques with an elbow drop off the second rope in 14:01
Yokozuna pins Scott Steiner with a leg drop in 16:52
Yokozuna and the Undertaker are counted out at 23:02
Lex Luger pins Ludvig Borga in 27:54 with a flying forearm

Fun Fact: There were actually two replacements in this match, as the Undertaker is subbing for Tatanka and Crush is filling in for Pierre. Tatanka was taken out of the match due to a storyline injury after he was destroyed by Borga and Yokozuna on the 10/30 Superstars after Borga ended Tatanka’s win streak at 19 months. As the match wound down, Mr. Fuji came down to ringside and distraced the referee, allowing Borga the chance to smash Tatanka with a steel chair. Then Borga rolled Tatanka into the ring and pinned him in the ring with one finger to end his long running streak. After the match, Yoko came into the ring and proceeded to Banzai Drop Tatanka right out of the PPV. Luger evened the odds by knocking Pierre out cold with his metallic forearm on Raw a couple of weeks before the show. So, due to his ties with Mr. Fuji, Crush was added to the heel team, and Undertaker joined forces with the faces in a memorable Superstars moment when he opened his black robe to reveal an American flag after joining an interview with the All Americans. 

Fun Fact II: Jacques Rougeau and Pierre (Carl Ouellet) make their WWF PPV debut as the Quebecers. The pair made their WWF debut on the July 24 episode of WWF Superstars and were immediately pushed to the top of the tag division. The team’s red and black uniforms were a play off of Jacques’ old Mountie character. They used the old Mountie theme song, except substituting the phase “We’re Not the Mounties.”

Fun Fact III: On the September 13 Raw, the Quebecers faced off against the Steiners in a “Province de Quebec Rules” match. One of the rules was that the titles could change hands on a DQ. Halfway through the match, Johnny Polo wandered to ringside (he had not yet been revealed as the Quebecers manager). As the match was coming to a peak, Polo jumped on the apron and dropped a hockey stick in the ring. Jacques picked it up and was going to use it, but Scott Steiner stole it away and drilled him in the gut, causing a DQ and a huge upset and title change.

Scott: Our main event is dripping with patriotism as the top faces in the company (other than Bret Hart) face all the top heels in the company. Yokozuna captains the team of dastardly heels, which includes the returning Jacques Rougeau, half of the new tag team champions the Quebecers and their manager Johnny Polo. Polo was a former light heavyweight in WCW and now is a manager here. Luger is still red hot even after not winning the World Title at SummerSlam, but I think that most of Luger’s heat is reverse psychology from hating Yokozuna that much. He has settled in very nicely as the top bad guy in the company and being WWF Champion makes it that much better for him. Rick Steiner is eliminated first by Ludvig Borga, but as Crush is working Scott Steiner over, out comes Randy Savage again to go after Crush but he is being held down by all the backstage officials and sent back to the locker room. Savage returns and this time Crush joins him down the ramp. They brawl and Crush is disqualified. That feud is just getting going. Luger then pins Jacques, so it comes down to Luger/Scott/Taker vs. Borga/Yoko. Borga and Luger seemed like the feud they were really pushing for at this time. I don’t know if that meant Luger was being depushed somewhat, but right from the start of this match it seemed like Yoko was gravitating towards Undertaker. Taker was replacing Tatanka and frankly it was a smart move. The Deadman brings more juice to the match than Tatanka would have. The crowd is going insane when Taker and Yoko finally do hook up and the Deadman hits a big DDT and Yoko sold it like he was shot. The crowd in Boston is going insane. This main event is much better than I remember, thanks to this crowd. Of course neither Yoko nor Taker can be pinned so both men brawl on the outside and get counted out. I’m not crazy about that but it makes perfect sense. I feel a PPV main event coming between these two. So the final two men are Lex Luger and Ludvig Borga. This feud really never got going and now they’re going to possibly blow it off here? They battle and when both men are down Mr. Fuji throws the salt bucket to Borga who decks Luger with it. We think its over, but Luger kicks out and the two continue to war with the crowd out of its skin. Borga continues to battle from almost defeat but eventually Luger throws the forearm out and wins the match. I really enjoyed that match with so much back and forth and you can see the big feuds to start 1994 developing in the ring. If you’ve never seen this match, it’s a typical early-WWF Survivor style match with lots of characters and great crowd energy. Grade: ***

JT: Well, this has certainly been an interesting night. And it all leads us here to a pretty stacked main event that had a lot of rivalries circling it. Ludvig Borga has gained steam since SummerSlam and has kept his promise of gunning for Lex Luger. He wiped out Tatanka, ending his undefeated streak, and looked primed for a big run. He is joined by Quebecer Jacques, who is now one half of the tag team champions. And he is awesome. As is Johnny Polo. The third member is Crush, who we saw cause Randy Savage to be eliminated earlier this evening. Crush had angrily turned heel back in October and having felt betrayed by Savage. It was a memorable night and he really laid a beating on Macho to complete his change in attitude. And of course, the captain of the team is WWF Champion Yokozuna, now entering his seventh month with the title. Undertaker, who was subbing for Tatanka, enters first for the All Americans and he was still ungodly over with the fans, garnering a huge pop as he glided to the ring. On his team is the former tag team champion Steiner Brothers and captain Lex Luger, who was still heavily draped in Americana. Speaking of, the Steiner’s red, white and blue trunks were pretty swank looking. The tag title feud was reignited to start the match as Scott and Jacques kicked things off. Scott wanted no part of Jacques’ antics and went right into wrecking him with strikes and suplexes. As Rick tagged in, so did Yokozuna and Bobby wondered if he would be able to suplex the big man. This is a pretty cool looking matchup. Yoko would control as expected but Rick was able to rock the champ and actually knocked him to the floor. The good feelings were brief as Rick got trapped in the corner and mauled a bit. Borga would dump him to the floor, but Rick came back in with a shoulderblock off the top rope for a near fall. Steiner would again attempt to come off the top, but this time Borga caught him with a powerslam to eliminate him. That was a big first strike and it took the wind from the crowd a bit. I like how each side reset a bit, with Scott checking on his brother while the Fanatics all celebrated, including Jacques taunting the Gremlin and yelling at him to leave. Jacques continued to be great, as Crush caught him after a Scott toss. When the big man placed him down, Jacques patted him gently on the shoulder and mocked Scott’s misfortune. What a heel. As Scott worked over Crush, Vince revealed that he got word Savage was back into the arena after having been tossed out earlier. Crush caught Scott with a clothesline, but as he did Savage emerged, trying to push through pile of officials that were blocking his way. As he was driven to the locker room, Crush continued to overpower Scott, really putting his team in the driver’s seat. Savage would emerge again, making another strong push to the ring, and this time he got close enough to draw Crush out. Crush would hammer his nemesis in the aisle, leading to a brawl that would end with the big man getting counted out. And that was a big blow for the Fanatics, who went from having a strong advantage to now being back at even.

Steiner’s woes continued as he ate a Jacques piledriver, but he willed himself to a comeback, capped by a press slam and hot tag to Luger. Lex made quick work of the Quebecer, finishing him with a forearm shot out of the corner. As Undertaker continued to look on from the apron, Scott and Borga locked up. Ludvig was aggressive, pounding Scott before cracking him with a stiff clothesline. He made a mistake by heading up top, though, where Scott caught him and took him over with a big superplex. That was really cool looking and popped the crowd big. Yoko made his way in and avoided a Frankensteiner before polishing Scotty off with a legdrop to draw the match even. Yoko stayed hot, smothering Luger until Lex avoided a big splash. Luger was unable to capitalize and was put right back into trouble by Borga. Yoko tagged back in and missed a charge in the corner, allowing Taker to enter the match for the first time. The Deaman dropped Yoko with a DDT as the Garden started to rock. Taker would get caught up with Borga, allowing Yoko to hit a belly-to-belly, but Taker sat right up. Yoko pasted him back down and hit a Banzai Drop but he whiffed on a second one when Taker sat up This showdown is doing a great job of setting Taker up for a run at the gold. The champ bailed to the floor after a Taker clothesline, but Deadman followed him out and the two started to brawl, leading to a double countout. The crowd wasn’t digging that, but it made a lot of sense as they wanted to transition Yoko from Luger to Taker, and this did a hell of a job of getting that across. Back inside, Borga caught Luger and went right to work. He was unable to put Luger down for the count and eventually the two collided with a big double clothesline. Lex would survive a bucket shot and started to hulk up and rock Borga with right hands and a powerslam. He would follow with a forearm shot to put Borga down for good and win the match. This was a really damn fun match that the crowd was super into. Everyone out there had some personality and strong looking offense and it played well. They also were able to make all eight guys look pretty strong at once, as they all got shine and nobody really got sent packing via a weak elimination. The Scott Steiner/Borga segment was hard hitting and that superplex was great. I also loved the Taker/Yoko segment, as Taker camped on the apron until the crowd went nuts while they battled. They teased it just enough to make us want to see more. The final segment was pretty pedestrian but it got Luger a needed win and clearly transitioned him into a full blown feud with Borga. Thanks to the build, aggression and overall strengths of the competitors involved, this match easily overachieved and closed a dull show on a high note. Grade: ***

Final Analysis

Scott: The Boston crowd really carried this show and that’s why I think Vince booked this and the next few shows right in his Northeast enclave. The matches had some fun entertainment value, and even the bad Hart Family/Knights match had some drama that will lead to an epic feud in 1994. Lex Luger is still crazy over but it’s evident he’s being transitioned out of the main events for the time being as Undertaker/Yokozuna seems to be the hot feud at the top. Razor Ramon is crazy over, but he begins a feud that will also make history in front of and behind the camera. The WWF survived the wonky booking in 1993 (including the Hulk Hogan fiasco) and things seem to be somewhat stable. The older Federation Era stalwarts are slowly being filtered out in favor of younger talent. Sure some of the characters are pretty dumb but it would take the bookers a while to figure that out. For now, 1994 looks to be set with mostly young talent in the right spots but possibly lacking true star power, but that changes with the next few shows. This show is a 50/50 proposition, some fun stuff but some real junk as well. Final Grade: C+

Justin: This show always held a special place in my heart as I had a group of friends over to watch it as 13th birthday present from my parents. There is no better night as a kid than a great evening of watching PPV wrestling with your friends and having no school and Thanksgiving at your house the next day. Nostalgia aside, this is a pretty shaky outing from the WWF. The opener was fun and the SMW tag match was a good clinic despite the dead crowd, but the Hart Family match was a real snoozer outside of some Heenan quips and the Owen stuff. The Doink fiasco was nothing but comedy filler and made Bigelow look goofy. However, I have to say the main event surprised me with its energy and the crowd was really into it, so that saved the show for me. I think we can firmly say we are really past the old days and into the new generation now, especially with Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect leaving now as well. The Hogan Era is firmly buried and when you look up and down this card, the landscape has dramatically changed. It certainly sets us up for a very interesting 1994 and we look to have a new top face lined up to make a run at what is becoming a dominant heel champion. 1993 was a year that started with a lot of promise and outside of a detour here or there, the company continues to forge ahead in reinventing itself on the fly. Final Grade: C