*** 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 1994: That’s MISTER Backlund
November 23, 1994
San Antonio, Texas
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Vince McMahon
Bob Holly defeated Kwang
*** This is the final PPV Gorilla Monsoon would call from the broadcast booth. ***
1) The Bad Guys: Razor Ramon, Fatu, Sionne, 1-2-3 Kid & British Bulldog defeat The Teamsters: Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Neidhart & Owen Hart
Diesel pinned Fatu at 13:29 with a Jackknife
Diesel pinned 1-2-3 Kid at 14:11 with a Jackknife
Diesel pinned Sionne at 14:43 with a Jackknife
British Bulldog is counted out at 15:58
Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Neidhart and Owen Hart are counted out of the ring at 21:45
Fun Fact: This match actually marked the third time Shawn Michaels accidentally superkicked Diesel within a four month span. The first time was at SummerSlam, which cost Diesel his Intercontinental Title. The second was in a tag match against 1-2-3 Kid and Ramon on the 10/30 Action Zone. The screw-up didn’t cost the Tag Team Champs the match, but Shawn wrestled the match alone after knocking Diesel cold. The duo was pretty much on a collision course, and they would finally explode here.
Fun Fact II: The Headshrinkers saw a change in personnel following their tag team title loss on August 28 to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Samu left the team to heal up from injuries and was replaced by Sione (aka The Barbarian). The change marked the first time that half of the tag team was not from Anoa’i family. Sione was also from Tonga and not a Samoan. Also, since Sionne had debuted, both he and the team’s handlers had been trying to talk Fatu into wearing boots, something he has had difficulty adapting to. This would mark the only time this combination would be seen on PPV in a tag match setting.
Fun Fact III: This is Jim Neidhart’s first WWF PPV match since Royal Rumble 1992. It is the British Bulldog’s first WWF PPV match since SummerSlam 1992.
Fun Fact IV: There are lots of feuds going on in this matchup. Razor Ramon had been entangled in battles with Shawn Michaels and Diesel over the Intercontinental Championship dating back to the fall of 1993. Ramon and Jeff Jarrett had also feuded over the title. The 1-2-3 Kid had teamed up with Ramon in the past in these feuds. The Headshrinkers had lost their tag titles to Michaels and Diesel back in August. The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith was wrapped up in a family feud with brother-in-law Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart after Owen turned on his brother back at Royal Rumble 1994. So lots of bad blood just waiting to boil over in this first Survivor Series match.
Scott: We begin the final PPV of 1994 with a survivor match steeped in Kliq participation. The tension between Shawn Michaels and Diesel started at SummerSlam when Shawn Michaels accidentally superkicked Big Daddy Cool to help Razor Ramon regain the IC Title. Then a second accidental superkick occurred on an October Action Zone in a tag match. For now the détente leads to this survivor match with a myriad of feuds intertwined. 1-2-3 Kid is helping Razor Ramon out with his battle against Jeff Jarrett, who is gunning for the Intercontinental Title. The Owen/Bret feud was subsiding slightly, after Owen lost both the cage match at SummerSlam and another World Title match to his bigger brother in September. Now he’s working with the Anvil against fellow family member Davey Boy Smith, who’s getting back into the WWF swing of things after spending a year in WCW. The action is solid but the commentary is really struggling. Vince McMahon always does the best he can, but Gorilla Monsoon clearly doesn’t have his heart into it. He did the King of the Ring in June and was average that night. In July his stepson Joey Marella died in a car accident and he really was never the same. He blows an easy one by saying it was Diesel and not Shawn Michaels that faced Razor at WrestleMania X. At one point Shawn is barking orders and direction to Diesel while a brawl is breaking out on the outside. Diesel is a beast here, clearing out all the babyfaces and leaving Razor by himself against the entire heel team. Then Shawn’s ego and lack of timing ruined it again. Diesel is beating the tar out of Razor while Shawn is yelling and freaking out on the apron. Diesel finally jackknifes Razor and is about to pin him but Shawn finally wants to get into the match. He asks Diesel to hold Razor up for the superkick, but for the THIRD time Shawn hits Diesel instead. Shawn is pissed but Diesel has finally had enough of Shawn screwing stuff up and the entire heel team is trying to hold Diesel off of Shawn, while Owen screams that they will all lose. So the beaten down Razor Ramon, three seconds from defeat survives the 5-on-1 battle all alone. Meanwhile, another war is brewing. Grade: **1/2
Justin: Our eighth annual Survivor Series is an interesting blend of old school and new school in more ways than one. We start in the announce booth where, for the first time ever, Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon will call the show together. With Jerry Lawler in action and Ted DiBiase heavily involved in the managerial game, the color commentator pool was shallow, so we put this play-by-play dream team together for one time only. In a nod to the original installments of the event, our survivor matches here features teams of five (striving to survive) instead of four, as it has been since 1989. Also, with the show emanating from San Antonio, the show has a very heavy southwestern feel to it all, which adds a unique and memorable flavor to it. Our opener features a tremendous batch of heels battling an equally strong face team. Led by tag team champions Diesel and Shawn Michaels, the Teamsters are also comprised of Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jeff Jarrett. Across the ring are Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, his buddy 1-2-3 Kid, the recently returned British Bulldog and the former tag champs, the Headshrinkers. However, as noted above, the Shrinkers have changed a bit since our last outing as Samu left the promotion and was replaced by Sionne, the former Barbarian. Bulldog and Owen compete here but they have a much bigger job later in the show as well. As Diesel made his way to the ring, I thought back to a year ago and continue to marvel at just how far Big Daddy Cool has come. And I don’t even mean just from a push or status perspective, but even from a confidence and swagger point of view as well. The way he saunters to the ring and stalks around it here screams “star”. The crowd was pretty hyped here, chanting for the Kid as he was set for a rematch of his red hot King of the Ring tussle with Owen Hart. Sadly, we didn’t see it as Owen quickly tagged out to the Anvil. As they locked up, Fatu sat on the floor, trying to put his boots on. It is kind of crappy how quickly the Shrinks plummeted after they were the top team over the summer. After some tags and trading of control, Sionne entered the ring for his first WWF PPV action since the 1992 Royal Rumble. He showed off his power early, pressing and slamming Jarrett before landing some strikes in the corner. Eventually Owen would end up in the ring and Sionne made sure to immediately tag in the Bulldog to a huge pop. The Hart Family members would run through a series of reversals that ended with Bulldog sending Owen careening into the Bad Guy corner with a slingshot and was capped by a Bulldog press slam. Owen would eventually nail an enziguri to stop the Bulldog in his tracks and give control back to the Teamsters. However, it was short lived and before long, Fatu dropped a big headbutt on Neidhart, but his issues with his boots stunted his momentum and prevented him from covering.
We would get some teases between Ramon and Jarrett here as well as they were clearly setting Double J up for an IC Title feud, showing plans of elevation for the first time since he debuted. They would briefly tussle here with no man gaining much of an advantage. We have actually gotten a little deep into this bout without any eliminations and also without an appearance from Diesel or Michaels, who was busy barking orders from the apron. Gorilla has been pretty solid in his color commentary role so far here, adding some insights and calling out things happening on the apron where needed. So far, it is much stronger than his KOTR debacle. The action continued to chug along until Diesel finally tagged in, striking hard and fast by crushing Fatu with a big boot and Jackknife to send him to the showers. Kid gave it a go next, but Diesel shrugged off some brief offense before crushing him with a tree slam and Jackknife to take him out as well. Sionne would meet the same fate less than a minute later and the tone has changed dramatically here as Diesel is mirroring the start to his year back in Providence. Bulldog came in next and landed some blows until Diesel kicked him to the floor. He would get detained on the floor by Jarrett, Owen and Anvil and was eventually counted out. Makes sense that they would protect him there since he had just returned. And in the blink of an eye, this match went from tied to way out of hand for Ramon, who now had to go five on one, which I believe was happening for the first time in the show’s history. He landed a few blows in on Diesel but the numbers caught up to him quickly. As Michaels barked orders at his buddy, Diesel continued to blast the champ, and after a few comeback attempts from the Bad Guy, Diesel eventually planted him with the Jackknife. However, as soon as he was planted, Michaels demanded the tag, entering the ring for the first time. Before Diesel could leave the ring, Michaels ordered him to hold Razor up so he could hit the super kicked. That backfired. Again. Razor ducked and Michaels cracked Diesel for the third time since SummerSlam. And Diesel had finally had enough. He chucked his other teammates out of the way and stalked Michaels all the way to the locker room. And during the madness, the entire Teamsters team was counted out, giving Ramon the improbable win. Well, that was pretty fun stuff. We got to see pretty much everyone showcased early on, with them all getting a good amount of offense in. Then, Project Diesel took over as he destroyed everything in his path, only slowed by his egomaniac partner. The match had a really nice blend of storyline and action and the crowd was super into everyone in the bout, which added to the action as well. Even though the company is in a weird state of flux, this group of midcarders was really well developed and fleshed out and were all intertwined in an interesting way. However, the spotlight was very obvious: Diesel and Michaels have finally split up and it seems that Big Daddy Cool is prepped for some big things. Grade: ***
*** Shawn Michaels runs out of the building to escape Diesel, and proceeds to dump his half of the Tag Team Titles in the trash on the way out, thus officially vacating the titles. He calls Diesel a loser and drives off in an SUV. ***
2) The King’s Court: Jerry Lawler, Cheesy, Sleazy and Queasy) defeats Clowns R Us: Doink, Dink, Wink and Pink
Jerry Lawler pinned Doink at 10:32
Cheesy pinned Wink at 13:10
Cheesy pinned Pink at 14:28
Sleazy pinned Dink at 16:45
Fun Fact: The “feud” between Jerry Lawler and Doink dated back to right after SummerSlam 1993 when Doink turned face and eventually dumped a bucket of water on him. However this rivalry was rarely ever mentioned (and perhaps it should have stayed that way). The build up for this match was like living a recurring nightmare. You knew where they were headed in the early weeks, but you just couldn’t stop it. First, Lawler and Doink fought with Dink interfering, so Lawler brought out a midget to counter Dink. Of course, the next week Doink brought out Wink, which prompted Lawler to produce another midget, and so on. Thankfully, the other five midgets were never really mentioned again following this show.
Scott: Yes PTB fans, the moment has finally arrived. The match I have dreaded rewatching and writing up for years. Instead of Doink vs. Jerry Lawler we have to have six annoying (and horribly ugly) midgets to give us SEVENTEEN minutes of gags and parlor tricks. The match takes way too long to set up each section of the match with continuous gags over and over. Even the San Antonio crowd is losing interest as the match progresses. This could have been about 13 less minutes and had equally the number of gags and the crowd would have been spelled in between the two big tension-filled matches. Seeing Lawler berate his bunch of midgets is maybe the only highlight here. Earlier in the fall in Japan, Bull Nakano defeated Alundra Blayze for the Women’s Title in a really great match. Why not make this match about four minutes and give the rest to a rematch from SummerSlam. After Lawler pulls the tights and Doink is out, the rest is midget fun and games, including all the midgets turning on Lawler when he berated them and bragged about doing all the work. Let’s just move on from this. Grade: *
Justin: And here we are. Jerry Lawler and Doink reignited their lingering issues seemingly out of nowhere and before we knew it, we were in the depths of hell. It had been rough enough watching Doink and Dink joke their way through the year, tarnishing the once proud legacy of the maniacal clown we loved in 1993. But now, we have two handfuls of midgets in the mix set to deliver a match that very few people not named Rotella wanted to see. To go from the red hot opener with super high stakes to this was really a depressing step down. One of King’s midgets was super hairy with horseshoe pattern hair and he may have the best looking of the bunch. Doink and Lawler opened the contest and it was as you would expect: some comedy, some basic strikes, some stalling, not as many laughs as they hoped for. The frustrated King was sure to bitch out his court as they got all mixed up thanks to shenanigans from the clowns. I got nothing else to say here. Really. I mean, the crowd was pretty hot on Lawler’s case with the “Burger King” chant, so there is that anyway. But, otherwise it was really bland, really hokey comedy that just dragged on much too long. Last year’s Doink fiasco was at least entertaining and kept moving along. This just became pedantic after a while. The most interesting here was the talk of the WWF float set to take part in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, meaning a bunch of these guys had to red eye back to New York after this show. Lawler would dig out a foreign object and crack Doink to finally take over the match, but more midget miscommunication screwed him all up. As the six little men battled on the apron, Doink hit a body press off the middle rope, but Lawler rolled through and hooked the tights to gain the elimination. And now Dink, Wink and Pink were in trouble. From there we were graced with six minutes of antics and hullabaloo, with the only highlight coming when Lawler would be an asshole and screw with the clowns from the apron, leading to them being picked off one by one. Dink would be the last to go, mercifully bringing this disaster to a close. After the bell, Lawler turned on his court and after all the midgets ganged u upon him and ran him off, Doink snuck up from behind and slammed a pie in his face. The crowd really died off by the end, showing that maybe this could have been alright if it was kept short enough, but it was much too long and really did nothing for anyone. In the end, it was easily was one of the worst WWF PPV matches to date. Grade: DUD
*** Todd Pettengill interviews new WWF Women’s Champion Bull Nakano, who had defeated Alundra Blayze for the title on November 20 in Tokyo. ***
3) Bob Backlund defeats Bret Hart in a submission match to win WWF Title when Helen Hart threw in the towel at 35:15
Fun Fact: This feud actually started way back in July, when Bob Backlund, who was still a face, lost a title match to Bret Hart on the 7/30 edition of Superstars. After the match, Backlund snapped and attacked Bret, and locked him into the Crossface Chicken Wing, thus solidifying the first heel run of Backlund’s career. The turn was a big shock, as Backlund had never been heel before. After he finally released the CFCW, he began staring at his hands and went into a strange trance. Internet legend claims that the actual storyline was supposed to be that Backlund was under the voodoo spell of the returning Papa Shango. However, Backlund ended up just being a crazy old man, and it worked. He stuck around the upper-mid card for about four months, before being reinserted into the main event to continue his feud with Hart over the title. The continuity here is that Backlund snapped because he claimed the title was actually his since 1983, and that he never officially lost it. Back in 1983, Backlund had lost the title to the Iron Sheik when his manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw in the towel while the Sheik had Bob in the Camel Clutch. Backlund claimed he never gave up, and therefore the title was still his. In another great touch of continuity, Backlund challenged Bret to a submission match, where the only way to win was to have your second throw in the towel on your behalf. Bret had the British Bulldog in his corner and Backlund had Owen Hart. Also, Stu and Helen Hart were in the crowd, and they play a huge role in the match. In the time between his heel turn and this match, Backlund went on a rampage, even hooking the CFCW on WWF magazine writer Lou Gianfriddo, to help push his maniacal old man personality.
Fun Fact II: On the 10/23 premier edition of Action Zone, Owen Hart received one final title shot against his brother. Bret Hart would win the bout and Owen now had to find another way to get the strap off of the Hitman.
Scott: So after all this crap we just walked through, we get back to business with a World Title match that had an interesting twist. Back in 1983, Bob Backlund’s six year reign as World Champ ended because Arnie Skaaland threw in the towel, giving the World Title to the Iron Sheik. After lingering through mid-1984 and realizing Hulk Hogan was the man of the hour, Backlund left. Fast forward 11 years and Backlund snapped in July on Bret Hart after losing a World Title match. Backlund stated the entire time that he never lost it as he didn’t submit back then. Bret is enjoying his best year as a professional wrestler with consecutive World Title defenses on both TV and PPV and is the face of the company all over the world. I think at face value many thought this would be just another entertaining title defense for Bret and he’d move on to something else at the start of 1995. The match is a lot of fun but you have to have a certain philosophy with it. It’s long (35 minutes) and the pacing is deliberate because the key is to get your opponent in a submission move and see if your corner man will throw in the towel. Backlund had Owen Hart in his corner to continue the feud, while Bret had his brother-in-law British Bulldog in his corner. As great as both guys are in the ring, some may find this slow and plodding, but from a psychology perspective it works perfectly. Then we have the climax, which really goes long but it was laid out perfectly. Bulldog and Owen are running around the ring when Bulldog slips and whacks his head on the steel steps, getting knocked out. A few moments later Backlund locks Bret in the Crossface Chicken Wing. From that moment the tension builds, and without a corner man Bret is in big trouble. Bret is trying to get out of the move but Backlund has himself grapevined while wrenching on Bret’s left shoulder. Suddenly, Owen has a “change of Hart”. He starts pleading that Bret’s towel needs to be thrown in for his big brother’s safety. Bulldog is out cold, so he walks over and pleads with his mother Helen to throw it in for her son, who’s getting tortured in the ring. He gives the towel to Helen to throw it in and end the match. Stu of course has been around the block more than enough times (hell he invented the block) so he grabs the towel from his wife and refuses to let Owen execute this rouse. Eventually, Helen has had enough and grabs the towel and throws it in the ring. Sure enough, Owen grabs the towel and yells triumphantly down the ramp while the referee hand the World Title over to Bob Backlund. WWF’s New Generation is in the hands of a crazed 40-something year old. Bret is helped out of the ring with his injured shoulder. This was a fantastic combination of in ring and out of ring psychology. Again the workrate is an acquired taste and some may find it dull but really try to understand story being told and it will be more enjoyable. So Bret Hart’s second World Title reign is over and in a huge upset a man who defeated Billy Graham in 1978 for his first WWF Title is back on top again. Grade: ****
Justin: Well, what do we have here. After 18 months of a pretty milquetoast run, Bob Backlund finally snapped and kicked off a heel run that was originally scheduled to happen back in 1984. After a great WWF Title match on Superstars back in July, Backlund jumped Bret Hart and left him laying with his cross face chicken wing submission hold. After that, he went on a rampage, attacking wrestlers officials, photographers and more, all while ranting maniacally about cleaning up the WWF and America. It was tremendous heel work and it was surprisingly effective, as Backlund got himself over as a top level heel, even garnering himself a title match here. In a nice twist, this is a submission match, with British Bulldog and Owen Hart at ringside with towels. This was all a callback to how Backlund lost the title to the Iron Sheik in 1983 as he claimed to have never submitted and only lost when his manager Arnold Skaaland threw a towel in on his behalf. It was great booking and an interesting setup and I love Backlund being obsessed with having never officially lost his title on the up and up, claiming he was still the rightful champ. We also have the Hart Family drama inserted in here still too, as Owen continues to be a thorn in Bret’s side. And as is the norm now, members of the Hart Family were interspersed throughout the crowd. And speaking of Bret, he is still crazy over here as we enter month eight of his title reign, a reign that has seen him take the mantle as official top dog of the WWF. And honestly, that reign did not really seem be in danger here as it was hard to suddenly see Backlund as a true title contender at this point. It was all Bret early as he rattled Backlund with elbows before cranking in a side headlock. Backlund would break that with a back suplex but Bret kept pouring it on with stiff punches and an uppercut and continuously going back to that headlock. Backlund would briefly escape and almost hook the CFCW but Bret wriggled free and went back to the headlock. We are less than ten minutes in and this already has a great old school feel to it. Backlund would again get an opening for the CFCW but Bret blocked it with a belly-to-belly and after a failed Sharpshooter attempt, went to a front chancery. Backlund would finally land a shot and take over on offense, targeting the arm to soften him up for his finisher. Gorilla was really good here, adding in comments about Backlund’s goals and also pointing out that Owen had blown his final shot at the title over the fall, using that as reasoning as to why he has such stake in a Backlund win here.
Owen would run some interference outside, allowing Backlund to continue to dominate the offense. He would crack Bret with a headbutt before going right back to the arm, taking his time in wearing the champ down. His assault was really focused and he made even simple holds look really rough with the way he wrenched them in. Hart found an opening and went for the Sharpshooter but Backlund kicked free. However, the challenger wasn’t able to prevent a figure four, giving Hart the first real chance at winning the bout. Bret kept the hold cinched in as Backlund did his best to fight through the pain while Owen was refusing to even touch the towel, let alone throw it in. The challenger would finally reverse the hold before breaking it all together. Bret continued to work the legs until the match devolved into a slugfest and Backlund wrested control, cramming Bret into the mat with a nice pildriver. He would follow with the CFCW but Bret reached the ropes to bust it up. Backlund went back to work on the arm but momentum seemed to shift when he whiffed on a charge to the corner and slammed into the ring post. Backlund bounced back with a sleeper but Bret broke it up by running him to the corner. Gorilla nicely analyzed the hold, which was followed by both men colliding in the middle of the ring, effectively resetting the bout. Bret was first to his feet and went right to his finishing offense, landing it all with crispness and seemingly taking us towards a Sharpshooter fueled victory. And Hart would hook in the hold, but Owen duped Bulldog into chasing him around the ring and disaster struck. First, Owen was able to plant Bret with a bulldog to break the hold and then a moment later, he ducked a Bulldog charge, causing his brother-in-law to slam into the ring steps head first, knocking himself unconscious. With Bret checking on his cornerman, Backlund snuck up from behind and cinched in the CFCW. As Backlund forced Hart to the mat, Owen seemingly had a change in heart as he started to look concerned about the state of the Bulldog. Gorilla assumed it was because he was worried nobody would be able to throw in Bret’s towel, but as things unfolded, he really started to seem remorseful. Backlund really wrenched the hold in and Bret’s selling told a fantastic story of pain and courage as he refused to show any inkling of wanting to give in. As Stu and Helen fretted at ringside, Owen continued to pace nervously in between checking on the Bulldog. Bret would get to his feet, but Backlund took him back down hard and hooked in body scissors as well. The desperate Owen started to plead and beg with his parents to help him out, asking for forgiveness and claiming he never wanted things to go this far. Finally having had enough, Helen came out of her seat and wanted to throw the towel in, but grizzled old Stu refused. Owen continued to cry and plead and eventually Helen yanked the towel from her husband and flung it into the ring. After a beat of shock, reality set in: Bob Backlund was the new WWF Champion. The switch flipped immediately for Owen as he changed his tune to one of joy, sprinting to the back while celebrating. And inside the ring, as Bret laid wasted in pain, Mr. Backlund held his prized WWF Title snug around his waist with pride. He had done it. And he soaked it all in.
I love this match. And it felt nowhere near thirty five minutes, especially when you consider how basic it all was. But, it was really well executed with both guys landing crisp offense and blending in just enough submission attempts to make things move along at a good pace. By the time we got to the CFCW, everyone was hooked in deep and then the Owen Hart pathos play took over and took us to another level. He was fantastic at ringside, especially as he cried and begged his parents for remorse and mercy. And then the celebration after? Magnificent. Plus, Bob F’n Backlund was the WWF World Champion in 1994. And it made sense! And his character was fantastic. The commentary was really good too, especially Gorilla, who did a nice job weaving in the storyline with some psychology. This is a great piece of business that still holds up 20 years later. It is sad to see Bret’s signature reign come to an end, but Backlund has earned this one and it will be fun to see where it goes. Grade: ****
4) Million Dollar Team: Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy & the Heavenly Bodies defeat Guts and Glory: Lex Luger, Mabel, Adam Bomb, & the Smoking Gunns
King Kong Bundy
Bam Bam Bigelow
Mabel pinned Tom Pritchard at 3:55 with a cross body
Mabel is counted out at 7:55
Bam Bam Bigelow pinned Adam Bomb in 9:05 with a moonsault
Lex Luger pinned Jimmy Del Ray in 10:51 with a Flying Forearm
Tatanka pinned Bart Gunn in 14:24 after the End of the Trail
King Kong Bundy pinned Billy Gunn in 17:10 with an Avalanche and an elbow drop
Lex Luger pinned Tatanka at 23:09 with a Small Package
King Kong Bundy pinned Lex Luger at 23:17 with a Big Splash
Fun Fact: On the October 1, 1994 edition of Superstars, a promo aired announcing the imminent return of King Kong Bundy. Bundy had last been seen on WWF on the March 7, 1988 Prime Time Wrestling when he and Butch Reed lost to the Ultimate Warrior and Don Muraco. On the 10/8 Superstars, Bundy returned with Ted DiBiase by his side and squashed Mitch Bishop in 1:24.
Fun Fact II: The feud between Luger and DiBiase & the Million Dollar Corporation dated back to events throughout 1994. During the year, DiBiase had been to buy up contracts and build his stable. Building up to SummerSlam, DiBiase made the claim that Luger had been added to the group. Luger strongly denied this. Tatanka, Luger’s friend at the time, claimed that Luger had “sold out” to the Corporation and that he had proof. At the end of their SummerSlam match, Tatanka swerved Luger, turning on him and joining the Corporation.
Fun Fact III: On 5/28, Kwang accidentally cost Adam Bomb his King of the Ring Qualifying Match. As a result, Bomb would turn on manager Harvey Wippleman and give it a go on his own.
Scott: Back to a Survivor match and the heel Corporation is starting to gain in members. The problem here is that it’s sadly full of has-beens and mid-carders. The addition of former Federation Era stalwart King Kong Bundy did nothing in my opinion to gain anything. Yes I loved the Tatanka heel turn at SummerSlam as it was sorely needed but he hasn’t been established as a big time player yet and if you’re going to put a heel stable together you need at least one main event face to give it credibility. That would indeed come in time. Although they could have booked Bigelow better to give the Corporation a main event face. Elsewhere on that team the Heavenly Bodies had been forgotten about for a lot of the year but are legitimate contenders for a pair of tag straps that (after what happened earlier in the evening) are certainly in limbo. On the other side, Lex Luger wants payback after what happened at SummerSlam, and he has Mabel on his team along with forgotten babyface Adam Bomb and the up and coming Smoking Gunns. They are probably the best looking in terms of future stock on this team. The match is pretty average and just like our first match the babyface captain is the lone survivor against the heels. He takes a systematic beating but does get a quick pinfall win over Tatanka to get some of the shine back from SummerSlam, but Bundy gets the quick splash and three count for the Corporation victory. Bundy needed the win to get over (if you can feel the sarcasm in that statement) and I didn’t understand why Luger had to job out again here. Maybe the wheels have fallen off the Lex Express and his run as a main eventer has come to an end. This feud is over, and the Corporation moves on to another target of the WWF fanbase. Grade: **
Justin: The Million Dollar Man’s issues with Lex Luger continue to rage on here. Since SummerSlam, Tatanka has become a premier player in the Corporation, which has continued to grow in size. And most of that size has come from the returning King Kong Bundy. Last seen in the promotion in 1988, Bundy returned out of nowhere, giving DiBiase another top level heel to his credit. Of course, in a nice piece of trivia, it was Bam Bam Bigelow that eliminated Bundy in the main event of Survivor Series 1987. Luger has packaged up a group of friends to help him battle the Corporation here, including Adam Bomb, who had turned face over the summer. Tatanka had changed his accenting and tights to black and red, but it always surprised me they didn’t really overhaul his look and put him in a suit to really push the sell out stuff. Instead, he just kind of looks the same. It was nice to see DiBiase at least back in a real suit here instead of his odd velour leisure suit. We waste no time in getting a glimpse of our main feud with Tatanka and Luger opening things up. Tatanka actually landed most of the offense but Luger swatted it all off and eventually hit a bulldog and, somewhat sloppy, clothesline to send Tatanka flying to the floor. Luger would wipe out the whole Corporation until Bundy stepped in the ring, but in a cool moment, Mabel stepped in to back up his buddy and stare down the big man. As Mabel worked over Tom Prichard, Gorilla wondered why IRS wasn’t part of DiBiase’s team. That is a good question. The fans are still super into Mabel via the “Whoomp” chant. What a missed opportunity that I never realized at the time. Mabel dominated the proceedings and hit a pretty good splash off the middle ropes to give Guts and Glory the advantage. Del Ray would give it a go as well, but he didn’t stand a chance and quickly tagged in Bundy. The two beasts would collide in the middle of the ring, with Mabel driving Bundy back to his corner, where he tagged in Bigelow. Mabel would dominate the Bammer as well, but made the mistake of heading to the top. Bigelow would slam him off and try for a sunset flip off the top but Mabel crashed down on his chest instead. When they both got back up, Mabel would lunge into Bigelow with a clothesline and both men tumbled hard to the floor. Bigelow would beat the count back in but Mabel would not, drawing the sides even. That may have been Mabel’s best outing to date as he really moved well and worked hard. Bigelow continued to be stuck in trouble, eating some offense from both Billy Gunn and Adam Bomb. However, an assist from Bundy on the apron rattled Bomb and allowed Bigelow to hit a top rope moonsault for the elimination. Bomb was looking decent there but it is another disappointing outing for the big man.
Del Ray would work over Luger for a minute or so until Lex came back with the forearm to even the match at three on three. The next few minutes would see a series of tags, mainly with the Gunns taking it to Tatanka. Billy would get a close near fall but Bart would eventually get caught on Tatanka’s back and the Native American hit the End of the Trail to send Bart packing. The interesting part of this match has been how Luger’s team has dominated all the offense but choked in the big moments (hmm…) and DIBiase’s team is able to grab the falls. I mean, it really feels like the Corporation has had no offense in here to this point. And case in point, Billy had a great flurry of offense, but he let Tatanka off the hook and he was able to tag in Bundy, who polished Gunn off with an Avalanche and elbow drop. And then there was Luger. Lex did his best to fight the odds, but the Corporation did a good job tagging in and out and keeping their offense fresh. Even despite some good power moves from Bigelow and Bundy, Luger kept kicking out, refusing to give in. This is a pretty spirited attempt at rebuilding Lex considering how far he has fallen over the past nine months. And just when Tatanka got a little cocky, Luger rolled him up for the elimination. However, before Lex could even catch his breath, Bundy splashed him to win the bout. After the bout, Luger caught more of a beating, with Tatanka hitting the End of the Trail and the big men dropping the heavy artillery until the rest of Guts and Glory came to make the save.. Luger won the battle, but the Corporation wins the war. And it was probably the right call as Luger is going nowhere fast while the Corporation seemingly has some upside in Bigelow and Bundy. This match was about as solid and average as it gets, nothing terrible but really nothing that stood out. Until the last five minutes or so, Guts and Glory really dominated the match, but just like an allegory for Luger himself, they fell apart when it mattered. Grade: **1/2
*** Bob Backlund calls an impromptu press conference to announce his future plans for the WWF title and for the company and its fans as well. ***
5) Undertaker defeats Yokozuna in a casket match when he puts Yoko in the casket at 15:22
Fun Fact: The Undertaker and Yokozuna feud had been raging for a year, dating back to their first confrontation at Survivor Series 93. During their casket match at Royal Rumble, nine other wrestlers would gang up on the Undertaker, putting him out of action for several months. When the casket rematch was signed for Survivor Series, a special referee was signed to prevent the same interference that was seen at the Rumble. This special referee was Church Norris, who was popular at the time for his show, “Walker, Texas Ranger”. With the event taking place in San Antonio, it was a good pairing for the crowd reaction.
Scott: After 11 months, the Deadman finally gets his rematch from January’s Royal Rumble. Every heel on the roster helped the then-WWF Champion stuff the Deadman in a casket and retain the title. After eight months off and vanquishing an imposter at SummerSlam, Undertaker wants revenge here. Sure there is no more WWF Title at stake but regardless Yokozuna must meet his maker here. This time, to stop any of Yoko’s pals from coming to the ring, special enforcer Chuck Norris is manning the slot at the end of the aisle. The match at the Royal Rumble was ok, nothing to write home about and was only memorable due to the histrionics at the end of the match. This was pretty predictable as Yokozuna has also been shunted down the ladder a bit after losing his title at WrestleMania and Undertaker is ready to take back his spot as one of the most popular characters in the company. There was a decent mix of power moves and the crowd, who’s been up and down all night, is keeping with the match. Clearly they wouldn’t have Chuck Norris there if heels weren’t going to come down the ramp and try to repeat their Rumble performance. Towards the end of the match down the ramp comes some of the Corporate beef (Bigelow and Bundy) but Norris was right there waiting for any challenge. The big guys are hesitant but in a brilliant heel move, while everybody is at the ramp, IRS comes in from the crowd and attacks Undertaker. He gets dumped in the casket after being put in IRS’ sleeper. A recovered Yoko could make it two for two against the Deadman but Taker comes out at Yoko’s throat, while Chuck Norris knocks out Jeff Jarrett with a thrust kick. Taker recovers and really starts laying into Yoko with the “heavy artillery”. That was a homage to Gorilla as he is calling his final PPV match as an announcer. Taker rolls Yoko into the casket and slams the door shut, finishing the former WWF Champion off. The match was average, no worse than the Rumble title match. Yokozuna takes a well-deserved break but what will Undertaker do about IRS and the rest of the Million Dollar Corporation? Plenty as we will see in 1995. Probably too much. A better ending for Taker than at SummerSlam, and his future is bright (we think) heading into 1995. Grade: **
Justin: And we are now set to close the PPV year in the same way we opened it: Undertaker vs. Yokozuna in a casket match. Back at the Royal Rumble, Yoko successfully defended his title with a little help from his friends. They buried the Deadman and sent him into a supernatural vacation. Taker returned at SummerSlam and after defeating his doppleganger, he turned his attention back to the man that put him on the shelf. To ensure we didn’t have the same antics as we saw in Providence, Jack Tunney named Chuck Norris as the special ringside enforcer. Two years after his PPV debut, Yokozuna still remains a main event level talent, but some of that mystique is gone as he has been marginalized since WrestleMania. The crowd was hot as always for Taker and his entrance is drawn out here, but still as ominous as ever. We pick up where we left off in January with Yoko being afraid of both Taker and the casket. Taker landed blows early on, and any time Yoko ended up near or even on the casket, he freaked out big time. Taker stalked Yoko on the floor, running him into the steps and eventually into the ring. Yoko fought through his fears and got a little offense in before Taker cracked him again. Yoko dodged an elbow drop and hit a urinage and legdrop as he began to build some confidence. Yoko would get Taker in the casket, but the Deadman popped up and dragged his adversary inside as well. The two men traded big blows while standing in the casket and thanks to some interference from Mr. Fuji, Taker got distracted and gave Yoko the chance to catch his breath. Taker would paste Jim Cornette but when he got back inside, Yoko planted him with a splash. He would meander through some more offense until Taker finally caught him with his head down and snapped him back to the mat. As Taker started rolling Yoko toward the casket, we looked to be getting a repeat of the Rumble. As the crowd started to buzz, King Kong Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow showed up at ringside, but Chuck Norris stood tall, blocking them from the casket. Just as Taker was about to shove Yoko in, IRS attacked taker from behind, kicking him low and then beating him all around the ring. Irwin would put him to sleep and dump him into the casket and take off, but by the time Yoko woke up and went to close the casket lid, Taker shot up and blocked him. As Taker choked the big man, Jeff Jarrett showed up at ringside and ate a Norris kick to the chest to pop the crowd. From there it was academic as Taker polished off Yoko and chucked him and the Japanese flag in the casket to end the feud for good. Well, the match itself was absolutely nothing special, but the crowd really dug it and Chuck Norris was pretty fun in his one spot. We also get the kickoff of a feud between Taker and IRS. Yoko has been buried alive and we will see where he goes from here as well. For now, 1994 is closed and the Undertaker is officially back in business. Grade: *1/2
Scott: The final PPV of 1994 has its ups and downs but once again was very entertaining and quite a bit of storyline development. We finally get the Diesel/Shawn Michaels blow-up that’s been building since SummerSlam. We will see how that develops as the new year dawns. Bret Hart is no longer WWF Champion but the story told in that match is top notch. Bob Backlund as the new champion was a bit perplexing at first, but he may have just been the lucky recipient of a gift in the continuing Owen/Bret storyline. From here that storyline cools and Backlund becomes a transition to something bigger. In my opinion the shine has definitely dulled on Lex Luger’s push, and 1995 proves that. It is very sad to see the great Gorilla Monsoon leave the broadcast table considering all the great moments he’s given us. But times have changed and he’s now out of his element. The WWF is on a good roll right now with a surprisingly great year of PPV’s. Will 1995 dictate the same? Stay tuned. Grade: C+
Justin: Like some of our other recent outings, this show is a bit of an anomaly. It was really fun to watch but I can’t sit here and say it was very good as a whole. The opener was very spirited and told a great story and was really effective in its goals. After that, outside the WWF Title match, there really wasn’t much else to get excited about. The clown fiasco was a real mess and a big PPV black eye. The Luger/DiBiase match was fine, but not enough to bump this show in any way. And the casket match was about what you would expect, really. Without all of theatrics and title implications, it felt quite flat on a whole but the crowd was into parts of it and Chuck Norris’ presence was a fine addition. And for the third straight show, we end on a bland main event. Backlund’s title win was pretty awesome and the match was great. At 35 minutes of bell to bell action and some post match stuff, it ate up a good portion of the show, so some credit due there. I also dug the McMahon/Monsoon combo much more than I remember. Gorilla really bounced back nicely after KOTR and closes out his PPV commentary career in good form. It is weird knowing we will not hear him call another PPV after this one. 1994 has been an interesting year to revisit as it is a true year of change. We are firmly out of the Hulk Hogan Era and with the Lex Luger Experiment seemingly broken down for good and Bret Hart no longer toting the gold, we will look to be entering 1995 with more questions than answers. As far as this show goes, we end up with a pretty blasé finish to what has been an exciting year of PPV. That said, there is entertainment value in rewatching this one thanks to the opener and WWF title match. Grade: C