Scott & Justin’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Survivor Series 1989


Survivor Series 1989: Hogan Runs Wild

November 23, 1989
Rosemont Horizon
Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 15, 924
Buy Rate: 3.3
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura

1) The Dream Team: Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, & Red Rooster defeat The Enforcers: Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, Rick Martel, & Honky Tonk Man

Dusty Rhodes and Brutus Beefcake

Rick Martel pins Tito Santana at 9:14
Bad News Brown is counted out at 15:26
Brutus Beefcake pins Honky Tonk Man at 17:21
Brutus Beefcake pins Rick Martel at 20:12
Big Boss Man pins Red Rooster at 20:56
Dusty Rhodes pins Big Boss Man at 21:58

Fun Fact I: Bad News Brown is replacing Akeem, who couldn’t make the show.

Fun Fact II: On the 7/22 Superstars, Dusty Rhodes came down and stole the Boss Man’s nightstick from Slick to prevent Boss Man from beating up his opponent with it after the match. Boss Man tried to get it back, but Rhodes then beat him up with the stick and took off with it.

Fun Fact III: During the match, an enthusiastic Dusty Rhodes fan is showed in the crowd, and mentioned by Gorilla. The fan was a plant, and would eventually be introduced as Sapphire and would be named Dusty’s manager in December.

Scott: We fire up the Thanksgiving Night tradition with a battle of solid mid-card teams. I love Jesse’s pilgrim hat to be festive, but that was mean calling Gorilla an old, fat turkey. I actually think Gorilla got a little pissed at that one as he tells Jesse after the open “You’re lucky I’m in a festive mood.” This match focuses on two feuds: Dusty Rhodes vs. Big Boss Man and Tito Santana vs. Rick Martel. Rhodes and Boss Man have been running the house show circuit with Rhodes taking Boss Man’s hat and nightstick. Big Dust has been one of the hottest babyfaces in the company since debuting. Boss Man continues to be full blown heel but there are smatterings of face pops here and there, and that causes a big change in 1990. Tito and Martel continue their war from WrestleMania and it always seemed Martel was one step ahead of his former tag team partner. The rest of the Dream Team is the always popular Brutus Beefcake and filler Red Rooster. On the heel side we have Bad News Brown, who walked out on his team last year after heel miscommunication. Martel eliminates Tito with a small package and a handful of tights; again Martel gets one up on his former partner. Early on in the match we get a look ringside at a fired up Dusty fan. Bad News Brown finally is tagged in and he starts working Rooster over, until the inevitable heel miscommunication and Bad News walks out for the second year in a row. That ties the match at 3-3. Brutus then eliminates Honky Tonk Man, who continues his downward slide to irrelevance. That’s the price you pay for pissing Vince McMahon off. After Martel and Rooster are eliminated Boss Man is all alone with the Dream and the Barber. The numbers game catches up with Boss Man and he gets pinned, but Slick starts the post-match party by tossing Boss Man’s nightstick in and he works both Beefcake and, in particular, Dusty Rhodes over. Beefcake chases Boss Man off with the clippers. This was a fun match that sees Dusty’s team win but Boss Man gets the last word and this feud is far from over. Rhodes actually gets busted open by Boss Man, but since Dusty’s forehead is looseleaf paper it doesn’t take much. A good opener that gets the show off to a fast start. Grade: **1/2

Justin: The final PPV outing of the decade is our third annual Survivor Series. For the first time, the show is outside of Richfield as we will be spending Thanksgiving Night in the Windy City. Also a change from the previous two installments, we now have five matches with teams of four as opposed to four matches with teams of five. We also have awesome team names this time around. One constant is our announce team as Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura are back together again to call this one. I loved the opening video packages, first starting with all the superstars talking about what they are thankful for before transitioning into Vince McMahon narrating all the teams and matches.

Our opening contest features an interesting mix of mid-card talent, many of whom are passing each other on the opposite sides of the ladder. The heel team is led by Big Boss Man who was still being booked quite strongly off of his big spring feud with Hulk Hogan. He is joined by the fading Honky Tonk Man, the rising Rick Martel and the enigmatic Bad News Brown. Brown is replacing Akeem (tear), who had to miss the show. I will already be subtracting stars for that. On the face side of the docket, red hot Dusty Rhodes is flanked by the equally as hot Brutus Beefcake, the steady Tito Santana and the dead in the water Red Rooster. Rhodes and Boss Man had been feuding since the summer, including an instance where Dusty stole Boss Man’s gear. I do like Honky’s black and yellow tights here, but they do him no good as Tito manhandles him to start. In some nice continuity, as soon as Honky had control, he ran over and tagged in Martel so the Strike Force explosion could rage on. Martel would win that battle briefly until Santana rallied and rattled him with an atomic drop for a near fall. I should also mention that Slick and Jimmy Hart are mulling around ringside and that is one of my favorite parts of these matches, the manager unions. The crowd would really explode when things reset with Dusty and Boss Man trading blows. Dusty had some great energy here, really moving around the ring quickly. Beefcake has come so far from even one year ago, feeling like a bigger star and being treated like one as well. It was clear his stock was high. The teams would swap competitors and control over the ensuing moments and Boss Man’s team would gain momentum once Rooster got caught and smacked by Martel and then bullied around by Boss Man. Jesse make his first great point of the night, noting that Brown had yet to enter and wondering if he can coexist with teammates. It was just a year ago that he walked out on his partners. I could watch Martel and Santana battle all day, they work at such a crisp non-stop pace that is so fun to enjoy. Martel would best his former partner her, hooking the tights on a roll up and sending Tito to the showers. As Dusty entered, we pan to the crowd and see a very enthusiastic polka dotted fan…one that we will see again in the near future. Rooster would again be the weak link, getting trapped and mauled by Boss Man, only to escape after biting the big man. Boss Man would tag a very reluctant Brown who decides he would now be in for the duration, beating on Rooster, who didn’t bother to tag to the consternation of the announcers, and looking at his partners with disdain. He would finally tag but it backfired as Boss Man decked him by accident. A pissed off Bad News shoved the big man and then walked off for the second year in a row, proving he is best left alone and not being forced to mesh with others. We would get a few more mix-and-match combos, including Honky and Beefcake refreshing their 1988 feud. Despite dominating the Barber, Honky would eat a high knee and look at the lights once again, giving Dusty’s team the advantage.

Despite the victory, Beefcake was unable to tag and was still a weak target for further assault. However, he once again was able to sneak in a move and a pin, taking Martel over with a sunset flip to give the Dream Team a 3-1 advantage. Rooster would tag in, dueling with Boss Man for a third time but this go around ended poorly as Boss Man snapped the chicken down with a sidewalk slam to draw closer. Ventura was all over Rooster for not quick tagging and using their advantage. His teammates would take heed, tagging in and out as they worked Boss Man over. After one of the tags, Dusty would hit the ropes and dive into Boss Man with a cross body to win the match for his squad. After the bell Boss Man beat the piss out of Dusty with his nightstick after cuffing him to the ropes. This was a really fun match and Beefcake and Dusty were booked to look really strong, as was Boss Man. Everyone played their roles well and all the quick tags and pacing kept the fans revved up throughout. After the match, we get an epic interview just inside the entrance curtain where Slick tells Dusty he just got the “ worst beating in your big fat life”. Awesome. Grade: **1/2

2) The King’s Court: Randy Savage, Greg Valentine, Dino Bravo, & Canadian Earthquake defeat The 4X4’s: Jim Duggan, Ron Garvin, Bret Hart & Hercules

Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, and Canadian Earthquake

Canadian Earthquake pins Hercules at 3:55
Jim Duggan pins Greg Valentine at 7:30
Dino Bravo pins Ron Garvin at 11:16
Randy Savage pins Bret Hart at 19:04
Jim Duggan is counted out at 23:20

Fun Fact I: On the 11/11 Superstars, Dino Bravo wanted to have a feats of strength show and he held a pushup contest in the ring. The deal was to choose a fan from the crowd to sit on his back while he did push-ups. They chose a very large man, named John who weighed 460 pounds. Bravo actually managed to do some push-ups with John on his back. The Ultimate Warrior them came out to also participate. As Warrior prepared, John proceeded to slam down on the Warrior’s back and squash him. Bravo and John then decimated Warrior and left the ring. John was dubbed “Canadian Earthquake” and joined up with Bravo in the Hart Family. He was not originally scheduled for this match, but was added at the last minute to replace the “Widow Maker” Barry Windham who was out having surgery. Windham had a short run in late 1989, but never made a PPV appearance.

Fun Fact II: On the 9/25 Superstars, Randy Savage defeated Jim Duggan to become the “King” of the WWF. After the match, which was won via the loaded purse, Savage nailed Duggan three times with the Flying Elbow, and that was followed by two splashes of the top from Sherri. Duggan was taken out on a stretcher as Savage celebrated. Savage would retain the “King” title until WrestleMania VII.

Scott: It still breaks my heart that the ultra-talented Bret Hart got stuck with this team of losers. Incidentally, the King’s Court may be one of the most awesome teams in Survivor Series history. Savage becomes King after rightfully defeating that drooling boob Jim Duggan, and tonight has the uber-swank purple “Macho King” tights, complete with crown logo. They are reminiscent of Harley Race’s tights during his run as King. We have this mysterious Canadian Earthquake get the first pin by taking out Hercules. Earthquake is a massive force that will be a lasting influence on the landscape when it’s all said and done. The brewing feud between Ronnie Garvin and Greg Valentine continues during this match as well. Incidentally I know this sounds silly but I’m surprised Garvin was allowed to wear a red and yellow ensemble for matches. I thought only ONE man can wear that combination. Duggan evens the match by taking out Valentine with his finisher, and then Savage (who Jesse continues to gush over) works over Duggan and then tags to Earthquake. You can tell this guy is built for a big push somewhere down the line and this is just a warm-up to get his character over. However the real juicy part of the match was when Bret Hart gets tagged in to face Savage. We look back 25 years from this writing and think “Give these guys 20 minutes and you’ll get five stars.” This was the first test of the Bret Hart singles push, as he and Anvil were put on different teams. That also means we weren’t going to get a full tag Survivor match like last year. Garvin is taken out by Bravo and the Court is up 3-2, but we want another shot at Bret/Savage! We were about to get a Savage/Bret showdown and that asshole Duggan ruins it by grabbing Savage from the outside and lay some shots in. Duggan only wished he had a 1/8th of the talent both of those guys did. Eventually Bret becomes face-in-peril by getting worked over by Bravo with a bear hug. At this point I wish we get rid of all the loser fluff and just have Savage/Bret for ten minutes. Ah, dare to dream. The three Canadians are in the ring together and Bravo and Earthquake beat Bret down and a Savage elbow eliminates him. That leaves Duggan with Savage, Bravo and Earthquake. Duggan fights so hard but you know, since God forbid Duggan can’t get pinned, we’re waiting for the inevitable countout or him to miraculously pin all three guys but with Earthquake a fresh heel that’s not going to happen. Sure enough Duggan gets counted out to save himself from getting pinned. Overall it was a fun match but my disdain for Duggan makes it slightly worse considering we could have had Bret/Savage for at least a few minutes and it never happened. Grade: **1/2

Justin: On to our next match and this one features a blend of upper and lower mid card stars and a few guys that are entering into newer roles on the card. The newly christening Macho King’s purple tights are one of my favorite wrestling looks of all time. So regal, so fantastic, so swank. Savage is joined by Survivor Series stalwart Greg Valentine, the ever-present Dino Bravo and a brand new monster heel, the Canadian Earthquake. Quake is replacing the Widow Maker on this team and it is played up that Jimmy Hart had to spend some cash and pull some strings to make this switch-a-roo happen. Quake is a huge dude and had a memorable debut when he attacked Ultimate Warrior during a pushup contest. He was a big boon to the upper mid card almost immediately. On the opposite side of the ledger, we have Jim Duggan, who had been Savage’s nemesis since Macho had stolen his crown about a month before this show. He is teaming with the aimless Ronnie Garvin, the declining Hercules and the newly solo Bret Hart. Well, kind of. Just like in mid-1988, WWF bookers were again trying to give the Hart Foundation a little solo run to see if they had the juice for a split yet. Hart gets put in against a couple of strong workers so he could show off his wares in a spotlight setting. The managers at ringside for this one are Jimmy Hart and the now Sensational Queen Sherri. Even though the crown was never really pushed as a heavy gimmick and could be construed as goofy, I thought Savage and Sherri really elevated it and made it part of their fabric. They pulled off the look and the aura perfectly. The crowd was super into the 4x4s as they marched to the ring, each carrying a board in hand to show unity. Herc kicked things off for his team, laying the wood in on both Savage and Valentine. From there, the 4x4s all took turns beating on Valentine, including our first look at Hart and the continuing burning of the Hammer’s feud with Garvin. I will say Herc looked pretty good in this one, showing lots of energy and really tossing some bombs around. Sadly, he doesn’t last very long as Bravo tags in Quake, who makes quick work of the Mighty One with an Earthquake Splash. That was a great PPV debut showing for the big man. Garvin and Herc would actually find a way to trip him up and get him off his feet but Quake tagged out before any damage could be inflicted. Garvin would get caught in the corner and worked over a bit, really putting the 4x4s in a tough spot. Garvin’s wobbly jelly legged sell is one of the best out there. Despite looking ripe for elimination, Garvin was able to tag in Duggan, who cracked Valentine with a clothesline to even up the sides at three. Garvin would be right back in the mix and I must say he really is getting a strong push here, eating up a lot of in ring time and getting tons of shine. The crowd was really into the Garvin Stomp on Bravo but he Strongman was able to block the Scorpion Deathlock. From there…the dream match was granted upon us as Bret Hart and Randy Savage squared off. The crowd was buzzing as Bret worked Macho over, but sadly we only got a quick morsel as Savage abruptly tagged Bravo back in. The move would pay off as Garvin headed back in but got caught with a side suplex to give Bravo the elimination and another win over the Rugged One. We would get another taste of Hart vs. Savage and this lasted a bit longer and featured more offense but still left our balls blue as Savage staved the Hitman off and tagged out.

The King’s Court would alternate making Hart and grinding him down but the Hitman stayed alive and eventually tagged out. For some stupid reason, Duggan tagged right back out, putting Hart right back into the hornets’ nest. That was really stupid and I can’t believe Jesse didn’t jump all over Hacksaw. After Hart ran shoulder first into the post, Savage ascended the top and hit the big elbow to take the Hitman out of the match. Great to see Savage’s finisher reestablished a bit after being buried by Hogan multiple times. Jesse would put over Hart and then mock Duggan for being stuck three on one, telling him not to be embarrassed to run away. Duggan would catch fire, clearing the ring of all three of his opponents as the crowd did their best to rally him. Just as Duggan was making more progress, he hit the ropes but Sherri pulled down the top rope and he crashed down to the floor, where he was counted out. APD, baby. Always Protect Duggan! I mean come on, he is down three to one and is against Quake and Savage. He could have taken a pin and still stayed strong. Quake could have used a nice final elimination over a guy like Duggan here. Blah ending but this was another fun match that put a nice spotlight on an emerging Bret Hart. His sequences with Savage were a lot of fun. Speaking of Savage, this match did a nice job reestablishing him as a threat after he spent a lot of 1989 as Hogan’s job boy. Earthquake had a strong debut and Garvin had a good showing as well. This was well worked and had good heat and storytelling behind it. Grade: **

3) The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ax & Smash defeat The Million Dollar Team: Ted DiBiase, Zeus, Warlord & Barbarian

Hulk Hogan

Zeus is disqualified at 3:21
Warlord pins Ax at 9:49
Barbarian pins Smash at 13:41
Warlord & Barbarian are disqualified at 19:44
Ted DiBiase pins Jake Roberts at 23:49
Hulk Hogan pins Ted DiBiase at 27:30

Fun Fact I: Demolition regained the WWF Tag Team Titles from the Brainbusters on the 11/4 Superstars. The match was actually recorded on 10/2.

Fun Fact II: The push for the No Holds Barred feud was still in high gear, even though the film was out of theatres by the time this show rolled around. Vince, however, was set on making one last payday off of the movie, thus he began promoting a special PPV package deal for December 27th. If you ordered No Holds Barred on PPV, you would receive a special tag team cage match between Hogan & Beefcake and Savage & Zeus. The package did an overall buy rate of 1.6 which was decent enough for the time period, but surely not as high as Vince had hoped. By the time 1990 rolled around, Zeus disappeared from WWF TV and became nothing more than a trivia question in WWF history.

Fun Fact III: Speaking of the No Holds Barred movie, the film had an estimated budget of $8 million and did over $16 million at the US box office. For those wanting that extra Zeus fix at home, the movie was released on DVD in July 2012 with a Blu-Ray release in April, 2014.

Scott: Well look at this! Hulk Hogan in the MID-SHOW main event. We know what that means. This is likely wrapping up the Hogan/Zeus rivalry, although we’re not sure if these two one on one at WrestleMania was in the cards at that time. The crowd is red hot for this one as the team is loaded with the #1 guy (Hogan), the #1 mid-card babyface (Jake) and the #1 tag team (Demolition). The problem we have with this match is the completely ridiculous booking to protect the WWF Champion. First off Zeus gets disqualified early on for choking. I know Zeus has limited ability but all the sizzle in the match is gone in the first three minutes. Nothing against DiBiase and the POP but they’re not feuding with Hogan, and if he’s your big guy why not let that pair percolate during this match until the end? Absolutely makes no sense at all. The next sequence focuses on the tag feud and Ax is eliminated by the PoP followed by Smash getting worked over pretty good by the heels. Smash now gets pinned as well, so the PoP gets some retribution from losing back at WrestleMania by pinning both members of the tag team champions in this match. The PoP and DiBiase worked very well together here as the Barbarian spends time really taking it to Jake and I love how Jesse is salivating at the prospect of Hogan being in the ring alone in a 3 on 1 situation. Gorilla and Jesse are sniping more than normal on this night, and not comedic sniping but legit pissed off at each other sniping. I wonder if something was going on behind the scenes. Jake takes a real big time beating but eventually gets the hot tag to the WWF Champion and he does his heroic house-cleaning. Eventually Hogan gets overwhelmed but fights back with a double clothesline. The Jake/DiBiase story continues outside the ring but then the bullshit really is laid on thick when not one, but BOTH Powers of Pain are disqualified for attacking Hogan. Wow what was the booking deal backstage? Hogan probably said “Fine, I’ll let Ultimate Warrior main event, but I want to vanquish four top flight heels without really working much and I get 35 minutes of posing after the match.” Jesse is absolutely sick over this, and frankly so am I. Poor DiBiase can’t even beat Hogan in a useless throwaway Survivor match. Jake of course has to take most of the beating in this match for Hogan. Jake gets pinned with a fist drop by DiBiase so we have a one on one encounter here and it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion. DiBiase works Hogan over and slaps the Million Dollar Dream and then we get a double clothesline. Eventually Hogan pops up from a back suplex and after the usual boot/leg drop combo he gets his win. Then we get the usual endless posing crap, which felt like crap for the first time in my Hogan fandom. Hogan couldn’t put over DiBiase in a throwaway Survivor match. There’s this big cage match with Savage/Zeus set for December, why not have them come back out and cheap shot Hogan for DiBiase to get the win? Did he really have to do this? No he didn’t. Hogan was realizing for the first time there’s a guy on this roster that’s challenging the throne of his WWF Kingdom. So he needs to scratch and claw for whatever he can get to remind everyone who is #1. Grade: **

Justin: Up next is one of our giant main event matches, filled with some high level talent across the board. As Ted DiBiase led his team of monsters to the ring, the Genius blessed us with a poem about how Hulk Hogan’s team would fail here tonight. Right on, Lanny. DiBiase’s team was comprised of the Powers of Pain and Zeus, who is still trying to destroy Hulkamania despite his SummerSlam loss. I never quite understood why Savage and Beefcake weren’t in this match instead of DiBiase and Jake Roberts. It would have made much more sense to set up the No Holds Barred cage match. Roberts and DiBiase could have been paired up in a separate match as their feud was still raging, with Roberts having just returned from his neck injury. Hogan is also flanked by Demolition, who had regained their tag titles from the Brain Busters back in October. Jesse is already fired up, bagging on Hogan and Company before the match even starts. I will say that Hogan’s team is really a dream unit for any fan that was between ages six and twelve in 1989. Gorilla and Jesse would also debate why Zeus had the “Z” on his head, ending with Jesse just crapping on Gorilla for being purposely obtuse. Despite how we feel about the Human Wrecking Machine, the Chicago crowd still seemed really amped to see him and the Hulkster tussle. They would get their wish as Rip and Zeus kicked things off with Zeus shaking everything off before laying some hammer blows in. He would follow that up by choking Hogan out repeatedly, refusing to stop, until he was finally disqualified. Bah. If they REALLY wanted to sell No Holds Barred, have Zeus eliminate Hogan after a few minutes. As is, he still looks like a monster as he took barely any offense and walked out angrily unharmed while Hogan was a quivering mess. Jesse harps on the referee, saying he saved Hogan’s ass here. Hogan would survive a DiBiase follow-up attack and tag out, allowing his strong and fresh partners to really punish the Million Dollar Man. Ax would get trapped, which allowed the PoP to reignite the feud from earlier in the year with both Warlord and Barbarian overpowering and punishing and eventually eliminating him with an assist from the normally useless Mr. Fuji. This was also some odd booking though, as PoP had really faded as the year went on, so it was kind of curious to get them back in the picture with the champs again and give them pinfall victories over them as well. After a brief spurt from Hogan, Smash would be captured and beaten down as well. This match is not helping the champions look very strong at all. Odd, again, coming off them regaining the straps and not really having legit contenders in the match with them.

In my favorite spot of the match, Smash snapped DiBiase across the top rope with a stiff stun gun but turned around and ate a nice Barbarian flying clothesline before being eliminated. That left Hogan and Roberts at a 3-2 disadvantage against a really strong trio of opponents. Jake would get worked over with vigor thanks to some quick tags and the PoP power advantage. He also was able to barely survive a stiff DiBiase piledriver thanks to the ropes. The crowd heat has been good throughout but was really ramping up here as they tried to stick with Roberts throughout the assault. Gorilla and Jesse continued to argue throughout this whole match, with Gorilla taking a much more antagonistic position than normal. Roberts tagged out but Hogan’s offense was short lived as the PoP started to double team him into oblivion, including crushing him with a spike piledriver. As a result, Dave Hebner disqualified both Barbarian and Warlord! And that sent Jesse over the edge, who went right back into how Hogan was saved again, with three men having ben disqualified for beating up the Hulkster. He has a point. It was a shady move by a shady referee. The crowd rallied Hogan as DiBiase slapped the Dream on him. I will say, after a soft 1989, this match has done a lot to elevate DiBiase back up a bit, so maybe it did work out to stick him in this slot. Just as Hogan’s arm was about to drop a third time, Roberts came in and busted up the hold. This is some more curious booking, almost adding sympathy to a very unsympathetic heel with the odds placed against him. I think they should have held off on the double DQ until Hogan was left alone on his side. Just as Jake had DiBiase in trouble, Virgil popped into the ring and ran some interference. Virgil ate a DDT but that allowed his boss to sneak in behind the Snake and pin him to even up the odds. Hogan has pretty much spent this entire match panting and quivering on the mat. DiBiase maintained control for a bit longer before Hogan eventually made his eventual comeback and finished off the game Million Dollar Champion with the usual big boot and legdrop combo. I really am not sure what to think with this one. It was really odd booking across the board. The heel team came out looking way strong for sure, but the cheap DQ eliminations rang a bit hollow, especially for the PoP, a team that really hadn’t done much of anything since the spring. It was weird seeing them dominate the champs and be kept strong via the lame eliminations. Hogan looked like a bit of a dope as well, being saved left and right and only getting about six moves in to polish off DiBiase. In the past I have argued that Hogan should have laid down here, but I get why he couldn’t considering what was coming in 1990. I think they should have had Hogan and Zeus both get counted out while brawling and had DiBiase win the match by last eliminating Roberts. It would accomplish quite a bit by adding even more heat to Hogan and Zeus’ feud as well as giving DiBiase a needed marquee win. Instead, he continues to look like someone that just can’t ever win a big match, no matter how much help he is given. The match was a bit bland with a few interesting spots and a hot crowd. I will bump the grade a bit due to the star power, the heat and how strong Zeus was made to look. Grade: **

*** We get dueling promos to sell No Holds Barred. First, Zeus and Randy Savage fire each other up and predict victory inside the cage. In a locker room elsewhere, Hogan and Beefcake talk smack until Queen Sherri shows up and tosses powder in their faces, which allows Savage and Zeus to attack and put a beating on both until the rest of the locker room breaks things up. ***

4) Rude’s Brood: Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Jacques Rougeau & Raymond Rougeau defeat Roddy’s Rowdies: Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, Bushwhacker Butch & Bushwhacker Luke

Mr. Perfect

Jimmy Snuka pins Jacques Rougeau at 4:01
Roddy Piper pins Raymond Rougeau at 7:39
Mr. Perfect pins Bushwhacker Butch at 10:44
Rick Rude pins Bushwhacker Luke at 12:14
Roddy Piper and Rick Rude are counted out at 18:36
Mr. Perfect pins Jimmy Snuka at 21:26

Fun Fact: On the 4/8 Superstars, the world witnessed the transformation of long time jobber “Leaping” Lanny Poffo into a brand new gimmick: the Genius. The poetry and effeminate actions were still there, but he was now a heel and would start to focus on managing instead of wrestling. The 5/15 Prime Time would mark the Genius’ in ring debut, but most of his appearances throughout the summer featured the Genius reading poetry about various current issues in the WWF, with his most prominent poem being read before the Main Event at SummerSlam. Then, on the 10/7 Brother Love Show, Genius appeared and announced that he found a new protégé to manage: Mr. Perfect. This announcement was accompanied by the debut of Perfect’s theme music, a song that would become synonymous with him for the rest of his wrestling career.

Scott: This match has always made me laugh because you have two teams of completely different personalities. One side you have four expert technicians who are also great stick men, and on the other side you have a captain that may be the business’ best stick man and three crazed lunatics. This may not have much in the way of workrate but I think we may get some fun back and forth comedy with the serious heels and the crazed, hilarious babyfaces. Within the first eight minutes the Rougeaus are eliminated by the Bushwhackers, continuing the feud from WrestleMania that keeps going through the end of the year into 1990. Booking-wise that has to have stunned the Chicago crowd and the PPV viewers at home to see the Brood down 4-2 early on. In fact the match is booked almost in reverse as Perfect is getting beat down for a good chunk of time by Piper and the Whackers. Eventually Perfect starts to outsmart the dopey Whackers as Butch is eliminated with a roll-up, and a few minutes later Rude takes out Luke with the Rude Awakening. With the match even at two, Perfect starts working Snuka over and also baiting Piper to get in the ring so he and Rude can double-team each other. I like this Rude/Perfect combo, as they would have been a pretty good tag team for a short stretch. I’m trying to remember if they worked the house shows together after this show. Probably not, but it would have been pretty cool to see. This match is a great example of not only how great a wrestler Perfect is but what a great seller he was too. He took a Snuka headbutt like he was hit in the head with Duggan’s 2×4. I wonder if Rude was injured in this match because it seems like he didn’t wrestle as much as the other guys and Perfect seemed to be doing a lot of the yeoman work in this match after the tag teams were eliminated. Piper and Rude, whose feud has been red hot since Piper cost Rude the IC Title at SummerSlam, brawl up the ramp to the back and get both get counted out. That decision shows that Perfect is indeed the sole survivor as they won’t have Perfect lay down for a JTTS like Snuka was at this point in his career. That doesn’t mean these two don’t have a pretty decent exchange for the last three minutes of the match but eventually Perfect catches Snuka with his head down and cranks the Perfectplex for the victory. Snuka roughs Perfect up after the match and was going to hit his big splash on the Genius but Perfect saved his manager. However it is clear that Mr. Perfect is moving up the ladder on the heel side. Grade: **1/2

Justin: If the prematch interviews for this match don’t get you pumped to be a wrestling fan, then you best check your heartbeat to ensure you are alive. The cocky arrogance of Rude Brood’s offset by the absolute madness of Roddy’s Rowdies was a thing of beauty and perfectly executed by all involved. I must say that Rude’s Brood is one of my all time favorite Survivor Series teams, from the members to the attitude to Rude’s tights to the team name, they exude heel like none other. Piper and Rude have been at war since SummerSlam when Hot Rod cost the Ravishing One his title. Perfect is still wandering aimlessly, picking off mid carders at will and the Bushwhackers and Rougeaus continue their never ending feud as well. It didn’t take Jesse on at all to hit his racist barbs on Superfly, saying he is one step above cannibalism. There was some early controversy as Bobby Heenan is nowhere to be seen with Rude, confirming the rumors that Jesse had heard about turmoil in the Heenan Family.

The ace of the team, Mr. Perfect, gets the start and takes it right to Luke until all of the Rowdies take turns biting him all over his body. Animals. They would stay hot, working over the Rougeaus and quickly gaining the advantage when Snuka eliminated Jacques after a big Superfly Splash. That was definitely an upset out of the gate. We would get some issues out of that as Rude and Perfect collide on the apron, leading to a spat and a Snuka double headbutt. Despite the clear talent advantage, the Brood is completely out of synch in the early going, playing right into the chaotic clutches of the Rowdies. That dominance would continue until Piper got trapped in the corner and the Brood finally slowed things down a little bit. Well, that was until Piper snapped Ray down with a piledriver to give the Rowdies a 4-2 advantage, shocking Jesse and me! Poor, poor showing in a big spot for my boys from Queb…er, Memphis. Perfect would finally stop the bleeding a bit, and in a funny spot he gave Luke a random kick, sending him stumbling backwards as the Bushwhacker had him trapped in the corner. Things continued to look bleak until Perfect got a desperation sunset flip pin on Butch to finally give the Brood a victory. Rude would even things up moments later, snapping off a Rude Awakening on Luke to bring the sides even. Jesse notes that he predicted the Brood could win this with wrestling and this was proof. I am really digging the vibe of this match, as it feels like a football game or something, where one team has dominated the pacing and controlled the majority of the action but somehow it is tied as the more talented team got a couple of quick scores in. Fun stuff. From there, Snuka and Perfect had a nice extended segment, one that I would argue was one of Snuka’s best showings since his return. As each man was wiped out and made tags, the crowd got all revved up for Piper and Rude to start trading bombs. That brawling would spill to the floor and eventually to the locker room, with both captains being counted out, meaning the feud would continue on. That left us back to Snuka and Perfect trading holds and pin attempts in a nice, quick sprint. These guys and really good chemistry. Perfect would avoid near disaster and catch Snuka with the Perfectplex to win the bout for his team. Perfect continues to mow through the midcard, winning another tough match. After the bout, Snuka continues his run of being a sore loser by wing out Perfect and teasing a Splash on the Genius before Perfect made the save. I really liked this match a lot, it told a cool story and it felt like the Rowdies could have stolen it but came up just short due to the talent differential. Fun stuff all around. Grade: ***

5) The Ultimate Warriors: Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels defeat The Heenan Family: André the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson & Bobby Heenan

Ultimate Warrior

Andre the Giant is counted out at :27
Haku pins Jim Neidhart at 3:29
Bobby Heenan pins Marty Jannetty at 8:48
Shawn Michaels pins Haku at 12:54
Arn Anderson pins Shawn Michaels at 15:36
Ultimate Warrior pins Arn Anderson at 18:16
Ultimate Warrior pins Bobby Heenan at 20:26

Fun Fact: Bobby Heenan is replacing Tully Blanchard, who was fired by the WWF just a day before the show for failing a drug test. He was set to go back to NWA Mid-Atlantic alongside Anderson, but when Jim Crockett found out about the failed test, Blanchard was fired immediately, and Anderson returned as a solo act.

Scott: Immediately you see something is wrong, as Bobby Heenan is in tights and not the other half of the Brain Busters. As we know later on Tully Blanchard was partying too hard with Ted DiBiase and failed a day-of drug test. I would have put Rude in that slot so you can have another actual worker in there. Its clear Andre is on the tail end of his career as he was only in for 27 seconds and he was not moving very well at all. Haku and Arn Anderson will be doing a good chunk of the work here as Bobby can’t carry anybody. Haku eliminates the Anvil and the teams are even, except Gorilla who says the Heenan Family is one man down because Heenan “doesn’t count”. I love how Gorilla is such a flip flopper when it came to tag teams double teaming. He was thrilled when the Powers of Pain were disqualified earlier in the night but when the Rockers do it here it’s “a way to survive.” As young kayfabe fans were we really that dumb? Warrior is getting some crazy pops from this Chicago crowd and its pretty clear why Hogan wanted so much in his match earlier in the night. Jesse is on cloud nine when Bobby actually pins Jannetty after Haku works him over. Haku gets eliminated after a Shawn Michaels cross body, and here is where the Heenan Family starts to crumble. Arn Anderson is pretty much told by Bobby to do all the work against Shawn Michaels and Ultimate Warrior. Arn starts getting really annoyed. I really do think that Rick Rude should have worked a second time here to up the grade of the match but from a storyline perspective it gives Gorilla and Jesse something to snipe about. Michaels is eliminated by Arn and the Intercontinental Champion is all alone. Bobby gets his kicks in but every time Warrior gains an advantage Bobby tags to Arn quick. It’s pretty much Arn vs. Warrior at this point. Warrior eventually beats Arn with his press slam/splash combo, and that leaves poor Bobby all by himself. Jesse is out of his skin while the Brain takes a final beating and gets pinned. Ultimate Warrior finishes the show on the top and the crowd goes crazy. Perhaps the bookers did know what they were doing as 1989 turned into 1990. The main event overall lost something without Tully there, but the crowd did get what they want: The Ultimate Warrior on top. Grade: **1/2

Justin: Main event time here and we have a few important things to cover. First off, we really have a changing of the guard on top of the promotion as the Ultimate Warrior is slated to close the show instead of Hulk Hogan. Now, that partly could be because they wanted to push the NHB post match attack so Hogan had to go mid-show, but I also think it had to do with testing Warrior out to be the man. Second, we have Bobby Heenan back in the ring on PPV for the second time this year as Tully Blanchard is MIA. Behind the scenes, Tully had failed a drug test and was fired. Arn was playing out his contract so he stuck around for this match, but Bobby steps in as the fourth man. Finally, we have Jim Niedhart flying solo, just as his partner did earlier. This is a pretty big spot for the Anvil, in there with some heavy hitters. Same goes for the Rockers, a team that seems to be gaining some momentum as the year is wrapping up. Warrior and Andre had been feuding since SummerSlam, when the Giant had attacked Warrior just days before he won the IC title. The match would start before Warrior even got in the ring, and once he did arrive, he rocked Andre with a huge clothesline that sent the big man crumbling to the floor, out cold. His team had no chance to pick him up, meaning he was counted out and eliminated, which was a huge blow to Heenan’s squad and really put them in a quick hole. Andre had really been suffering, so the company was doing all it could to tamp down his in-ring time but still use him as needed. Anvil and Arn would reset the match and after a spurt, the Heenan Family took over and started to wear the big rhino down. Anvil rocked Haku but a distraction from Arn on the apron allowed Haku to kick him in the back of the head and eliminate him. Not the best way to take advantage of that choice slot, Anvil. After that we got a nifty little tag match with the Rockers going toe-to-toe with Arn and Haku. And it was fun. Lots of double teams and quick tags with a little Warrior mixed in as well. In a great spot, after Arn and Haku really punished Jannetty, Bobby slipped in the ring, stomped on him a bit and covered for the elimination to swing the odds back to Heenan’s favor. This is a nice spot for Michaels here, left to team and be visible alongside Warrior. In a really nice power spot, Haku charged at Warrior, but the IC champ just scooped him right up into a bear hug. Warrior would dominate both men and almost got Arn eliminated when he launched Shawn off the top rope and onto Double A with a splash for a two count. Michaels would get that impressive win just moments later by wiping out Haku with a cross body block. With that, Bobby actually had to get involved in the match a bit more to help out Arn, who did his best to control the action for his side. Shawn would do his best to hang with Arn, but he got caught coming off the rope and crunched with a textbook spinebuster to leave Warrior all on his own. The crowd was really into Warrior here, but Arn slowed him down by side stepping a charge and chucking him to the floor. Arn really wrestled valiantly here, working over Warrior while having had to completely carry his team. It was pretty cool to see him get a solid push even though he was heading out the door. Warrior quickly came back, and after Heenan was bumped to the floor, he polished off AA with a press slam and big splash. Heenan would scream for Arn, but AA took off and Warrior got to punishing the Brain, getting all his revenge after a year of dealing with the Brain’s shenanigans. As Warrior splashed and eliminated Heenan, it really was a nice way to cap off a huge year in the growth of the Warrior. For all of 1989, Warrior started to build his portfolio and gain steam as a character and wrestler. All along the way, Heenan was there to torture him. So, to close out the year with Warrior putting the feud to bed and really elevating to that next level made a ton of sense. This was a good match but did feel a bit disjointed at times, with so many starts and stops it never really hit that next, smooth gear where things could cruise a bit. Despite that, it was a good mix of talent and Arn and Haku had a really good showing as did Warrior. It was also fun seeing Bobby in the ring one more time. Grade: ***

Final Analysis:

Scott: This is one of the most memorable Survivor Series shows in history. When you mention the shows watched by anyone during the Federation era, this is one that many flock back to. The matches are memorable (if aggravating at times; we’re talking to you Hogan) and the commentary of Gorilla and Jesse. One of the best years of wrestling in the US ends here as the NWA/WCW was really cooking that year as well. 1990 will be a year of promise to start, but flame out quickly in the end. Every match has a little bit of everything in it and I recommend it if its close to Thanksgiving time and you want something to get you in that spirit. Final Grade: A-

Justin: This is an interesting case study of a PPV. The match quality is just so-so with two matches sitting at *** and the rest slight under. Nothing was bad at all, but nothing stood out as great either. When it comes to intangibles, though, there was a lot to like here. As Scott mentioned, Gorilla and Jesse were fantastic as always, really digging in and going at it over the hot issues of each match. The crowd was really hot too, hanging in with each match and rooting on all the favorites. It was also the first real crowning moment for the Warrior, who gets the main event spotlight to himself for the first time. There are some weird decisions in here, especially with the team constructions. It was odd not to have Hogan teaming with Beefcake and Savage aligned with Zeus. I also thought the sudden push for the Powers of Pain, wiping out a suddenly vulnerable feeling Demolition, seemed shoehorned in. The main event took a hit on the surface with Heenan in for Tully Blanchard, but story wise this was a better fit as Warrior wrecking his arch-nemesis was the perfect ending to his year. I think nostalgia has to factor in here as well, as the roster of talents is a who’s who of stars from that era that so many fans resonate with and love. Everyone on this show was pretty well known and had a unique character, look and style. It was a vibrant roster across the board and it was a really solid show to close out what has been a very good year for the company. Factoring in match quality, intangibles, importance and nostalgia, I think this grades out as a very good, but not great show. But sometimes a little taste of your childhood is all you need. Final Grade: B+

PTBN Podcast: Episode #37