Scott & Justin’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Survivor Series 1990

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*** Scott & Justin’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 1990: Which comes first? The Taker or the Egg?

November 22, 1990
Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, Connecticut
Attendance: 16,000
Buy Rate: 3.0
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper

1) The Ultimate Warriors: Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado & The Legion of Doom defeat The Perfect Team: Mr. Perfect & Demolition

Survivor:
Ultimate Warrior

Eliminations:
Ultimate Warrior pins Ax with a splash at 2:26
Hawk, Animal, Smash & Crush are all disqualified at 6:42
Mr. Perfect pins Texas Tornado with the Perfect Plex at 10:04
Ultimate Warrior pins Mr. Perfect with a splash at 13:23

Fun Fact I: This is Ax’s last Pay-Per-View appearance. He had been in every one since Survivor Series 1987. Smash and Crush would carry on the Demolition name through WrestleMania VII. Also, Mr. Fuji is once again managing them, two years after he had double-crossed the team in Richfield.

Fun Fact II: Mr. Perfect had actually already won the Intercontinental Title back from the Texas Tornado on the November 19th Superstars taping. The match would not air until 12/15, so Tornado is still carrying the belt here.

Scott: Our final PPV of 1990 has an interesting twist. There is a match of survival at the end where all survivors meet in a final match. I’m slightly surprised that they never came up with that concept before this. That ending match is the reason our WWF Champion’s match goes first. He’s not being punished by any stretch. If anything he gets the longest rest before the main event match. Demolition has gone to wearing masks when they’ve been in tag team matches to try to cheat to win with the “extra” guy being fresh. At this point with the Legion of Doom in the WWF, the best team in company history through 1990 was getting phased out. The Intercontinental Title was hot-shotted to Tornado at SummerSlam but by this point Perfect had won the belt back. However, the match hadn’t aired on TV yet so Tornado was still wearing the actual belt. A lot of power action early on, as really Perfect is only technical wrestler in this bunch. Hawk is playing his usual face in peril until we get chaos and both tag teams are disqualified. So it turns into a handicap match between Warrior & Tornado and Perfect, who is on his own. That kinda sucks for Perfect as the “Freebird” rule works against the heels in this case. However this spot proves Perfect is one of the top one or two heels in the company and he is getting the spotlight here on his own. We do get an nice extended segment with Perfect and Tornado, a segment that might be construed as better than their entire five minute SummerSlam match. Warrior eventually gets in after Perfect pins Tornado (a setup to the eventual title change airing on TV) and Perfect works him over. I’d like to think that if it wasn’t for the Gulf War and all the stuff connected to that, then maybe Perfect could have been a heel champion heading into WrestleMania. Warrior recovers and gets the predicted pinfall. So Warrior is into the final match. The match was entertaining and the crowd was into those last three guys. Grade: **1/2

Justin: Our third annual Survivor Series PPV kicks off with an interesting opening bout. We finally got out of Richfield last year but after a stay in Chicago, we have not really upgraded cities from the original edition in any way as we now head to Hartford for this year’s outing. Roddy Piper is back in the booth, this time flanked by Gorilla Monsoon, and the pro-Americana jingoism is at a fever pitch as Operation Desert Storm had just kicked off. Here in the opener, our World Champion hooks up with a pretty strong team but, in a rapidly growing trend, they are set to square off with a fairly tepid set of heels. Mr. Perfect is still awesome, but his squad is rounded out by the floundering Demolition. And it kills me to say that. Ax looks terrible here and you can tell he was about ready for retirement. Smash and Crush just didn’t have the same feel at all. The magic was gone. Mr. Fuji is back with Demolition, which makes them look kind of stupid and desperate as well. Warrior’s team is pretty stacked with beast goodness. He has IC Champion Texas Tornado and the badass LOD at his side and on paper this was quite the mismatch. It is also jarring to see the World Champ jerking the curtain, but for the first, and only, time, there is a Grand Match of Survival at the end of the night, so odds were we would see him again. Tornado’s promo before that match is just…very Tornado. Warrior was still getting his pops, but some of his mystical feel had dissipated and I think it was because he was lacking that strong challenger to eradicate. I mean, since SummerSlam, he had been pretty much just teaming with LOD against Demolition. That is not really the way to handle the new face of the franchise. We get off to a quick start for the Warriors, with pure power dominating the show. As stale as Demolition had become, it was still pretty cool seeing them tussle with the LOD after all these years. There was one cool spot where the Warriors all worked together and wiped Perfect out as the crowd went crazy. Ax and his terrible hair would be the first to go, sent into the pasture by a Warrior splash. It’s been a hell of a run, big guy. Crush would finally halt the wave of momentum by ground the Warrior. It was very brief, though, and in the blink of an eye Hawk was running through Perfect, who was jumping bumping like a pinball for all these guys. Hawk and Smash had a real fun brawl that erupted into a  bigger fight when Animal and Crush also ended up in the ring. As they kept fighting and refused to be broke up, the referee just disqualified all of them instead, leaving Perfect alone with Warrior and Tornado. Tornado and Perfect picked up right where they left off in Philly back in August, including Tornado sending the former champ to the floor with a discus punch. They would go back and forth for a few minutes until Perfect got his revenge buy snapping Tornado over in the Perfectplex for the elimination. This was a big spot for Perfect and if he had a good showing with Warrior, it could have set him for a big 1991. He would hit another Perfectplex, but Warrior kicked out. Despite that, Perfect kept pouring it on with the crowd buzzing for Warrior, trying to rally him. Side note, Piper has ditched the Ventura, Jr. act and is just being himself and it is a big improvement from SummerSlam. Warrior made a quick comeback and polished Perfect off with the usual to advance to the Grand Survival Match. That was a fun, sloppy little opener that was never really in doubt. Warrior and Perfect both looked pretty good, but it never really felt like Perfect was a threat at all, and as I mentioned earlier, that was starting to become a major issue for the company. Warrior moves on. Grade: *1/2

2) The Million Dollar Team: Ted DiBiase, Greg Valentine, Honky Tonk Man & Undertaker defeat The Dream Team: Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware & the Hart Foundation

Survivor:
Ted DiBiase

Eliminations:
Undertaker pins Koko B. Ware with a Tombstone at 1:38
Jim Neidhart pins Honky Tonk Man with a power slam at 4:16
Ted DiBiase pins Jim Neidhart with a clothesline at 5:50
Undertaker pins Dusty Rhodes with a double axehandle at 8:26
Undertaker is counted out at 9:19
Bret Hart pins Greg Valentine with a small package at 9:55
Ted DiBiase pins Bret Hart with a cross-body reversal at 13:54

Fun Fact I: Obviously the first thing we need to discuss is that debut on the heel team. One of the most enduring and influential characters in WWF, and wrestling, history is the man they would eventually call the Phenom: The Undertaker. Mark Calloway is from Houston, Texas and after working in World Class and Memphis (where at times he wrestled under a mask and named Texas Red), his first big break comes in WCW when he replaced Sid Vicious as a member of the Skyscrapers tag team. He teamed with Danny Spivey under the name “Mean” Mark Callous. After that team flopped, he toiled around as a solo act for a while until Vince came calling in 1990 and he debuts here as a surprise on the Million Dollar Man’s team. He’s led to the ring by Brother Love, but by 1991 his manager changes to a more familiar face. 

Fun Fact II: Over the summer, a new face began popping up on the house show circuit: Dusty Rhodes’ son Dustin. On the 10/13 Saturday Night’s Main Event, Dustin was seated ringside to watch his dad take on Randy Savage. During the match, DiBiase and Virgil came to ringside and paid off all the fans sitting in the seats next to Dustin and sat next to the young Rhodes. As Dustin kept cheering his dad, DiBiase started getting in his face. Dusty jumped out to help, but was jumped by Savage and laid out. DiBiase and Virgil pounced and beat the crap out of Dustin, leaving him a bloody mess at ringside. On the 10/29 Prime Time, Dustin made his TV debut defeating Paul Diamond. On the 11/3 Superstars, Ted DiBiase laid down a challenge for the young “Natural.” DiBiase proposed that if Dustin could last 10 minutes in the ring with him then he would win the match. Dustin accepted and lasted the 10, humiliating DiBiase. The feud would continue after this event, and was just heating up.

Fun Fact III: Not counting sporadic appearances over the upcoming years, this is Honky Tonk Man’s final PPV appearance. His final record is 2-8. He was 0-2 at the Royal Rumbles 1-2 at WrestleMania, 0-2 at SummerSlam and 1-2 at Survivor Series. He would stick around as a color commentator through January before leaving.

Fun Fact IV: The first WWF superstar to take a Tombstone Piledriver from the Undertake was 2009 Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware.

Fun Fact V: According to recent publicity photos posted to WWE.com, Bad News Brown was originally slated for the Million Dollar Team.

Scott: This match will forever be remembered, but not for the bout itself. Right at the start, DiBiase introduces his mystery partner. “From Death Valley…I bring you, THE UNDERTAKER.” And right when he walked down the aisle at the Civic Center, it was like no one ever seen before. The crowd (my brother was there) was hushed, not from a no-sell perspective but from a “Who in the hell is this guy?” And right there we begin a two-decade bona fide Hall of Fame career. He starts in the match and mangles Koko B. Ware like he’s some bum. My brother always tells me people sitting around him couldn’t speak. They were completely in awe of this new character that was like nothing ever seen anywhere before. Gorilla names his finisher, the iconic Tombstone piledriver. The real feud in the match between DiBiase and Rhodes is almost forgotten if Gorilla and Piper barely mentioned it. Right now it’s all about Undertaker, this new character that has immediate charisma that no one anywhere expected. Now is he the sole survivor? Not yet, as he eventually gets counted out for beating up Dusty after he had already pinned him. So in his first WWF PPV match, Taker pins two guys and captivates the crowd. The rest of the match is solid, but what shouldn’t be forgotten is some solid in-ring work between Bret Hart and Ted DiBiase. They go at it for a solid four minutes, until DiBiase wins with a cross body reversal. So DiBiase survives to make it one face and one heel. Gorilla announces that on NBC’s Main Event the next night DiBiase would get a shot at Warrior’s WWF Title. This match is pretty good with two memorable moments: A great segment with Bret and DiBiase, but more importantly the debut of the WWF’s most enduring characters and a guy who would be on the forefront of the WWF’s journey for the next two-plus decades. Grade: ***

Justin: Since SummerSlam, Dusty Rhodes has taken a bit of a darker turn. The happy-go-lucky Dream of days gone by has been crushed into a bitter ball of rage after Ted DiBiase stole side piece and then beat the piss out of his son. He has adjusted trunks thusly, the black signifying the dark place he has arrived at. In contrast, the pink-clad Koko B. Ware dances to the ring behind him, making his first PPV showing since losing in the WrestleMania opener. They are joined by the tag team champion Hart Foundation. Across the line from them are Ted DIBiase and Rhythm & Blues…and a mystery partner. R&B have really done nothing since joining together as a team, so this is a good spot for them. Before the bell, DiBiase reveals his secret partner: The Undertaker. He was a giant man, decked out like the profession he was named for and led to the ring by Brother Love. The fans were silent as he seemingly floated to the ring with funeral dirge ringing out though the arena. He was impressive immediately, easily swatting away both Hart and Neidhart before crushing Koko with a Tombstone piledriver for the immediate elimination. He really planted him with that one and it was very obvious that Koko only existed to put the new beast over. For some reason, Taker tags out to Greg Valentine, which seemed like questionable strategy. If I were the Million Dollar Team, I would have rode that horse into the ground. After some quick tagging by the Dream Team, Hammer was able to catch Bret with a nice knee as the HItman charged into the corner. Honky picked up where he left of until Anvil tagged in and crushed him with a powerslam to even up the sides. That wraps up Honky’s run with the company, and it has certainly been an interesting one with some really variant highs and lows. Dusty would finally get his hands on DiBiase, rattling him with elbows before swapping with the Anvil. That was a bad decision though, as Virgil tripped up Anvil and DiBiase cracked him from behind to give his team the advantage back. DiBiase finally realized he should tag back in his monster partner, and he just ran right through both Dusty and Hart, showing very little vulnerability. Every time he would swap spots with DiBiase, the Dream Team came back. Then Taker would come back in and dominate. Finally, he ascended the top rope and hit a double ax handle to send Duty packing. They have booked him super strong out of the gate and it was already working. On the floor, Brother Love laid some kicks in on Dusty, leading to Rhodes going at him, which drew Taker out of the ring. Taker battered Dusty all the way down the aisle and as a result was counted out. While I like the decision to keep him strong and not get pinned, he was clearly not the legal man in any way, so it didn’t make sense for him to get eliminated like that. Back in the ring, Hart cinched a small package and eliminated the Hammer to draw things even. And for at least the third time in three years, we are getting a little preview of a potential singles run for the Hitman. Hart got hot, tossing DiBiase to the floor and then squashing him with a slingshot splash over the top rope. Hart stayed on top until DiBiase reversed a whip and sent Bret careening into the buckle. Bret would sneak in a couple of near falls as the clinic rolled on. He even snuck in the old fake knee injury into pin attempt, but couldn’t close it out. He got another close near fall after botched Virgil interference but a minute later, Bret came into DiBiase a little too hard with a cross body and Ted was able to reverse the momentum to steal the win. That was a great final segment and a nice harbinger of things to come from the Hitman. The rest of the match was hit or miss, but was certainly very historical, which helps the grade a bit. DiBiase moves on to the Grand Finale. Grade: **1/2

3) The Visionaries: Rick Martel, Warlord & Power & Glory defeat The Vipers: Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka & The Rockers

Survivors:
Rick Martel
Warlord
Power & Glory

Eliminations:
Warlord pins Marty Jannetty with a powerslam at 5:17
Rick Martel pins Jimmy Snuka with a roll-up at 9:40
Paul Roma pins Shawn Michaels with the Powerplex at 15:16
Jake Roberts is counted out at 18:03

Fun Fact: After returning from his big trip to Paris, Rick Martel began appearing as a special guest on the Brother Love Show on three straight episodes of Superstars. Finally, on the 10/6 Superstars, the shit hit the fan. Brother Love had another guest that week: Jake Roberts. As Jake was talking, Martel kept trying to spray Damien with his cologne, Arrogance. Finally, Jake had enough and tried to grab Martel, who managed to push him off and spray him in the eyes with the cologne. Jake dropped quickly and Martel fled the scene. Over the next few weeks, we were shown vignettes of Jake at the doctor, having surgery and trying to heal. On the 10/27 Superstars, Martel was once again on the Brother Love Show and was now teasing Jake. After a few minutes, Jake, wearing shades and carrying a cane, was led out by Tony Garea. Martel continued to mock Jake, and even slapped him in the face. After the slap, Martel was pushed back by various agents, but Jake was able to grab a laughing Brother Love and plant him with a DDT. The scene faded out on a close up of Jake’s discolored eyes. Shortly after that, this match was signed, and throughout all the buildup, everyone kept questioning whether or not Jake should even be wrestling just yet.

Scott: Our next match features a very solid combination of guys, led by two great characters. Rick Martel is a tremendous heel on top of being a great worker. Jake of course is incredible, but I feel sometimes he gets the short end of the stick on TV and PPV wins. For instance, Warlord is being pushed by pinning Marty Jannetty in the first five minutes. I always said Warlord would have been a great feud for Warrior for the WWF Title, even on the house show circuit. Obviously Martel and Jake are in a feud and Jake is working with that creepy white contact lens, selling the Arrogance shot he took in the eye from Martel on the Brother Love Show. So if Jake gets pinned he has a handicap he’s working with. As creepy as it was, I always thought that white contact lens was pretty cool and only Jake could sell that. Snuka was there as filler and he gets pinned as well. Power and Glory was a hot tag team that you could tell was on the rise as good heels that could be a future World Champion team. Sadly they’d get pushed to the side by a big debut in 1991. I did always like their PowerPlex finisher, which they use to eliminate Shawn Michaels. That leaves Jake (with one eye) all by himself against the full Visionaries team. The Civic Center crowd is getting crazy pumped up for Jake to try and push the huge upset. To avoid being pinned, they have Jake go after Martel and he gets counted. So for the first time in Survivor Series history, an entire team is untouched. That makes it five heels against one babyface in the finale match. That of course will change. The Jake/Martel feud is just getting warmed up. We need more babyfaces in our finale, and I believe the next match will bring us some. Grade: **

Justin: Jake Roberts has had quite the interesting fall. After being blinded by Rick Martel, his vision was still dinged up and he was in here against doctor’s orders. The contact lens they used to show Jake’s blindness always freaked me out. I mean, it doesn’t quite make sense that his eye would just be all white like that, but damn it was effective. Shawn Michaels is back in action after that knee injury, so he and Mart Jannetty join Jimmy Snuka to back up the Snake. Martel is flanked by Slick’s trio of badasses and on paper, he has the stronger team for sure. I mention it before, but the WWF roster was in such a weird place right now with a death of top level heels but a bevy of them on the second tier. They had a very good group of bad guys, just nobody that was at that tip top level to take a run at the Warrior outside of one or two. Warlord and Martel are two glaring examples of that. Speaking of the big man, he starts things off by swatting Jannetty around like a fly, dodging his dropkick attempts until Marty made the tag and a quick double team broke him down. The first intense moment came when Michaels worked over Martel and then tagged in Jake, but the Model bailed before anything physical happened. The Vipers kept things moving fast as Power & Glory both gave it a go but couldn’t find daylight. Jimmy Snuka was really juiced up here, to the point that he believably was trading shoulderblocks and blows with the Warlord. The big man would strike first, though, catching Jannetty coming off the middle rope and spiking with a really nice powerslam. Warlord got his bell run a bit afterwards but was able to make the tag to Roma, who delivered a beautiful jumping elbow drop to the back of Michaels’ head. The power display continued when Hercules cranked Shawn with a stiff clothesline as the Visionaries continued to pour on the beatings. They really are a great heel unit here, based on look, crisp execution and power. Shawn escaped the assault by dodging a Martel charge in the corner and it was just in time because he was in some trouble. The tag was useless though, as Martel reversed a Snuka cross body and sent him to the locker room just seconds later. Jake came charging in, but Martel again escaped. After a quick heat segment on Jake, Michaels came in and worked over Roma, including a really nice suplex. However, his momentum was crushed thanks to a blind tag and a rough Hercules elbow that rattled his dome. And after some quick punishment, P&G finished him off for good with a picture perfect Powerplex to leave Roberts all on his own. The crowd tried to rally the Snake on, and he wasn’t backing down at all. Jake fended them all off and even hit a DDT on Warlord, but the referee was distracted and Martel broke up the pin by trying spray Jake in the eyes again. Jake retaliated by grabbing Damien and chasing Martel back to the locker room, getting counted out in the process. And for the first time in Survivor Series history, we have a full team survive in tact. And I can’t think of a better unit to fit that bill. What a team. The match was decent enough, with some good power spots, and didn’t quite feel 18 minutes long, but there wasn’t a whole lot here to really sink your teeth into. Grade: **

4) The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Big Boss Man & Jim Duggan defeat The Natural Disasters: Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Barbarian & Haku

Survivor:
Hulk Hogan

Eliminations:
Big Boss Man pins Haku with a Sidewalk Slam at 1:56
Jim Duggan is disqualified at 4:52
Hulk Hogan pins Dino Bravo with a small package at 6:40
Earthquake pins Big Boss Man with an elbow drop at 7:49
Tugboat and Earthquake are counted out at 10:18
Hulk Hogan pins Barbarian with a leg drop at 13:30

Fun Fact: After his big Main Event loss at SummerSlam, Rick Rude took a big step backwards and was entered into a feud with the Big Boss Man. Now, the fact that he was feuding with Boss Man wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was that the feud started because Rude and Bobby Heenan began making disparaging remarks about the Boss Man’s mother. Yes, you read that correctly. On the 9/23 Wrestling Challenge, Boss Man defeated Paul Perez and then made his way to the commentary table. He confronted Heenan and then forced him to ringside where he ended up handcuffing him to the guardrail. Heenan remained there for the entire show, begging fans and wrestlers to unlock him. Finally, towards the end of the show, Rude made his way to ringside and started flipping out. Vince McMahon went down to interview the two, and Rude got so nasty in the interview, he ended up being censored on air. Heenan could not be freed and was still cuffed as the show ended. Despite his humiliation, the barrage of brutal comments continued from Rude and Heenan. Once this match was announced, it was revealed that the two men would finally face off, as Boss Man was on Hogan’s team and Rude was signed on to be on Earthquake’s. Well, in the weeks leading to the show, Rude and McMahon had a big falling out over Rude’s contract and Rude ended up walking out on the WWF. On the 10/27 Superstars, Jack Tunney appeared and announced that due to his recent behavior, Rude would be suspended indefinitely and that Bobby Heenan would be forced to fulfill his contractual obligations (mainly house shows). Rude would be replaced by Haku in this match and would debut in WCW at Halloween Havoc 1991.

Scott: With the finale so one-sided, we knew we needed a match where we get more of a balance out of the result. However this (in my opinion) is one of Hogan’s weakest teams. His 1989 team with the Demos and Jake was better than this one for sure. I will say I give Duggan credit for his 2×4 with the yellow ribbons, as patriotism was at an all-time high with Desert Shield in full force. After the non-cleanfinish at SummerSlam, the Hogan/Earthquake feud is indeed still raging. I still wasn’t sure if there was going to be a definitive match again, or if perhaps Earthquake was going to be WWF Champion and face Hogan at WrestleMania. Still plenty of options out there for March in LA. Incidentally I haven’t mentioned Roddy Piper much on commentary, but he’s not doing too bad a job here with Gorilla. He certainly learned from his debut SummerSlam performance. The match goes on, including an awesome moment for me where Duggan FINALLY gets disqualified for using the 2×4, probably the first time that’s ever happened on a big stage. Then a very strange thing happens, where Earthquake and Tugboat get counted out while brawling outside, leaving Hogan and Barbarian in the ring. What was that about? Why weren’t Earthquake and Hogan left? Did they want to have the feud last longer? Of course the entire point was for Hogan to survive and be in the last match, I get that. Perhaps they truly weren’t sure about the feud with Quake and whether it was supposed to have kept going. I was confused. It was good to see Barbarian get some face time with the Hulkster alone because he deserved it. Hogan is the predictable last survivor to join Warrior in the main event, but the booking with Earthquake makes me scratch my head. Grade: **

Justin: As we roll on, it is time for Hulk Hogan and his friends to battle a pretty formidable heel lineup. Tugboat is back in action after his injury and he is also joined by Jim Duggan and the Big Boss Man, who continues to be viewed as a high level face. Across the ring stand Earthquake, Dino Bravo (natch), Barbarian and…Haku. Haku is sadly replacing Rick Rude, who left the promotion after an argument with Vince McMahon. He could have had a good little feud with Boss Man, regardless of premise, but alas he bolted and Haku, another Heenan Family member, is thrust in his place. Quake and Hogan had continued their battles on the house show circuit and after the countout finish at SummerSlam, they were due for another big showdown. Hogan gets a big pop as always, despite his odd short haircut. This is a pretty cool set of teams, thanks to the feuds, roles on the card, overall looks and color schemes blended in. Piper & Gorilla took a minute to explain the Grand Finale breakdown because as of right now it would be 5 vs. 1 and they agreed that this match could determine which side wins that one. The crowd ripped a loud “USA” chant as Duggan got worked over but he was able to stumble his way into tagging in the Boss Man. He would make an immediate impact, knocking Haku out of the bout with a Boss Man Slam. Good faith in Boss Man shown there. As Boss Man stayed hot in beating up Barbarian, Bobby Heenan hopped on the apron, which drew Boss Man over for revenge. That allowed Barbarian to take Boss Man over with a nice vertical suplex. Duggan mounted a comeback for his team after getting tagged in but once Quake made his way into he match, size took over. After Jimmy Hart tripped Hacksaw up, an angry Duggan grabbed his 2×4 and unloaded on Quake, drawing a DQ elimination like an idiot. Hogan finally got into action and beat up all three remaining opponents before slamming Quake to a big pop. I could watch Quake’s powerslam all day long. After he rattled Hogan with it, Bravo came in to clean up the scraps as always. As Bravo traipsed around, whispering to his teammates, it gave Hogan daylight to grab a small package to give his team the advantage. Boss Man came in and had a good run on Quake, almost grabbing a pinfall, but Quake fought through it and hit a big elbow drop to draw the teams even. Quake really looks like a force here and easily sticks out as a star in there. Hogan tried for another slam but it backfired on him, just like at SummerSlam. Hogan would recover and tag in Tugboat finally, but he would barely be in the ring a minute before Hogan yanked Quake to the floor to brawl. Tugboat joined them, leading to the two big men being counted out. Luckily for Barbarian, Quake was able to run Hogan into the ringpost to soften him up. Tugboat was pretty useless in there, but I was glad Quake didn’t eat a pin. I love the show in faith for Barbarian here and he really works Hogan over, including a piledriver and his great top rope clothesline. Hogan would kick up, Hulk up and finish up from there, but again it was cool to see Barbarian get that love. I really enjoyed this match as the pacing was quite good and saw a strong mix of characters that kept the crowd rocking. Hogan and Quake have some good chemistry too, which helped a lot. Fun stuff. Grade: **1/2

*** Gene Okerlund chats with Randy Savage, who was on the sidelines tonight. He declares his goal to become WWF Champion once again and issues a challenge to the Ultimate Warrior. Savage was nursing some nagging injuries which is why he did not compete here. ***

5) The Alliance: Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & The Bushwhackers defeat The Mercenaries: Sergeant Slaughter, Boris Zhukov & The Orient Express

Survivor:
Tito Santana

Eliminations:
Tito Santana pins Boris Zhukov with a flying forearm at :51
Butch pins Sato with the Battering Ram at 1:49
Tito Santana pins Tanaka with a flying forearm at 2:12
Sgt. Slaughter pins Nikolai Volkoff with an elbow drop at 5:25
Sgt. Slaughter pins Luke with a gutbuster at 6:38
Sgt. Slaughter pins Butch with a clothesline at 6:54
Sgt. Slaughter is disqualified at 10:37 when General Adnan nailed Tito with the Iraqi flag

Fun Fact: Akeem was originally on the Mercenaries, but left the company a few weeks before the show and was replaced by Boris Zhukov.

Fun Fact II: After being a heel for years, in 1984 Sgt. Slaughter turned face and became a defender of all things American. This face turn caused his career to skyrocket as he battled the evil Iron Sheik. But with the emergence of Hulk Hogan as the top babyface star of the WWF and a dispute with Vince McMahon over the use of Slaughter’s character in the G.I. Joe toy line, Slaughter left the WWF for the AWA where he would stay until 1990.

After WrestleMania VI, Slaughter contacted McMahon about returning to the WWF. McMahon was open to the return, but wanted Slaughter to turn back heel. The company already had two hot faces in Hogan and the new champion, the Ultimate Warrior. McMahon wanted the heel turn to involve Slaughter turning his back on the United States and battling Nikolai Volkoff, who had recently seen the light and began embracing the American way. Slaughter returned during the summer of 1990, where he began calling the US “soft” for accepting Volkoff and expressing his disgust for his country. He aligned himself with Iraqi General Adnan (Adnan Al-Kaissie in AWA) and became an Iraqi sympathizer. As real life tensions in the Middle East were increasing, the fans’ reactions to Slaughter’s new role heightened. Slaughter entered into a feud with Volkoff which led to this match at Survivor Series.

Scott: Could these two teams have been any worse? Obviously Sgt. Slaughter is the new hot heel and needed to be showcased here, but the guys on his team are dreadful. Boris Zhukov is a slug, and the Orients are solid but nothing great. However the babyface team is much worse. Tito Santana is a WWF stalwart and it looks like he should be the captain, but instead it’s that over the hill retread Nikolai Volkoff. Then there’s the Bushwhackers, and we know how I feel about them. The booking makes sense from that theory, as all of Slaughter’s bums are eliminated, leaving the Sarge alone. Instead of Jake being the babyface sympathy case example from earlier, Sarge is taking on a much less formidable bunch and easily takes out the Bushwhackers and Volkoff. That leaves Tito, which makes things interesting. If Tito is eliminated, it will be six against two in the Finale. But you don’t job Slaughter out, so similar to Jake in the earlier match, Slaughter gets disqualified for General Adnan’s interference. One of the WWF’s old guard gets a long overdue moment in the sun here by being the sole survivor. This match isn’t that great and it’s merely to build up Slaughter’s character. However, it is a sentimental win for Tito and he joins Hogan and Warrior in the finale. Grade: *1/2

Justin: Continuing his newfound support of America, Nikolai Volkoff has assembled the All American team of Tito Santana and The Bushwhackers to battle the evil foreigners led by Sgt. Slaughter! Sarge has recruited Nikolai’s former partner Boris Zhukov and the Orient Express and all four are painted up in camo. That is one very AWA team right there. On the way to the ring, Sarge gives a long promo ranting on the Gulf War in the aisle while his endlessly repetitive drumroll entrance theme blares over him. Slaughter is now joined by General Adnan and has thrown his weight behind the Iraqis, officially turning his back on his country. This team needed the support of Akeem to truly be lethal. It is too bad he left the company and ripped my heart out right before the show. Piper just trashes Slaughter hard here, going heavy on the pro-Americana. I kind of liked the heel Sarge character from SummerSlam without the Iraq stuff mixed in, but you can’t deny the heat he is building. Adnan was the key there too. Boris continues to be useless, eating a Santana flying forearm and heading to the showers in under a minute. Some Express miscommunication caused further issues as the Bushwhackers cracked Sato with the battering ram to send him packing as well. Tito kept things rolling by eliminating Tanaka as well. Tito is like the ringer who came down to play with the JV team just to help his buddies out. Or maybe more like Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in The Sandlot. Nikolai finally gets his hands on Sarge and after he lays in some kicks, he eats a big clothesline, some punches and knees to the gut, a dropkick and a series of elbow drops to end his night. Way to defend your new country, Nikolai. Mother Russia is laughing at you! That pretty much ends his run and attempted push. Piper does make a good point about how Sarge really worked a slow pace because he knew he had four guys to work through. Butch and Luke decide to double team a bit, but Sarge shrugs it off and eliminates Luke’s night with a gutbuster. A clothesline would knock Butch out of the bout less than a minute later. That left the two studs of the bout to go one-on-one and after a pretty tepid open, things got pretty good. Tito started to fly, drilling Sarge with a clothesline off the middle rope for a near fall. Unfortunately, Sarge blocked a monkey flip and Tito crashed hard to the mat. Just as Tito started to make a comeback, Sarge shoved him into the referee to break the momentum. With the referee down, Adnan snuck in the ring and pelted Tito in the back with the flagpole, allowing Sarge to hook in the camel clutch. However, the referee saw the chicanery and disqualified Sarge to a huge pop, sending Tito to the Grand Finale match. Arriba! Match really was a hot mess until the final few minutes. Grade: 1/2*

*** After weeks of anticipation, it finally seemed time for the giant egg to hatch. The egg had been present at all WWF televised events throughout the month and many fans were getting excited about what could be housed inside of it. With one major debut already occurring, perhaps a second was on the way? In the shank of the evening, Gene Okerlund meandered over to the egg so he would have an up close seat for the big moment, and perhaps even garner an interview with whomever…or whatever was inside. As he ran through the potential options, the egg began to crack and eventually hatched. And out popped…a giant weird looking chicken. As Roddy Piper yukked it up and gushed over the reveal, the Hartford crowd booed loudly at this intensely poor decision. Gene tried to decipher the garbled clucking from the giant beast and dubbed it the Gobbledy Gooker. And then they danced, for a real long time. As “Turkey in the Straw” played, WrestleCrap was officially birthed that evening in Connecticut. It would later be revealed that wrestling legend Hector Guerrero was under the feathers, a true headline for a Hall of Fame resume. Piper continued to put over this mess as the dancing went on and on to a smattering of boos blended with pure disdain and apathy. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

6) Tito Santana, Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior defeat Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, Warlord & Power & Glory

Survivors:
Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior

Eliminations:
Tito Santana pins Warlord with a Flying Forearm at 1:28
Ted DiBiase pins Tito Santana with a stun gun at 1:50
Hulk Hogan pins Paul Roma with a clothesline at 5:37
Rick Martel is counted out at 7:16
Hulk Hogan pins Ted DiBiase with a leg drop at 8:37
Ultimate Warrior pins Hercules with a splash at 9:07

Scott: We have arrived at our finale, and it almost seems like War Games without the cage. It was nice that Tito got the elimination on Warlord, making up for jobbing to him at SummerSlam. Sadly, we needed to get Tito out of the way so the match can focus on the two big guys so DiBiase gets his moment and pins Tito. We have a bevy of solid heels taking on the WWF Champion and the face of the company. So with the result being obvious, the question is: What order do the heels get eliminated, and are they going to re-do the Survivor Series 1988 ending, and have some doubt between Hogan and Warrior, possibly leading to a rematch at WrestleMania? I know I’ve mentioned what seems like four or five WrestleMania possibilities during the course of this show, but that’s because there’s really no plan that you can clearly see in front of you at this point. That, believe it or not, makes Hogan NOT being champion so great. Nor is it great to have a heel as champion, because that makes Hogan as #1 contender predictable too. So with another babyface as champion that opens up many possibilities, and that’s why it seems like it’s hard to peg who will be the main event (or the Champion) at WrestleMania. It’s not hard to peg who wins this match, as Warrior and Hogan blow through the rest of the heels to win the match. Hogan and Warrior rough up Slick for kicks to end the show and our two conquering heroes move on. It was a fun main event, but it would have been nice to have the heels be vanquished so Tito could have gotten some shine. Otherwise it’s a typical Federation Era main event. Grade: **

Justin: And here we are. For the first time in the show’s history, we collect all of the survivors and close out the night with a Grand Finale match. It is a pretty cool idea that I am surprised only lasts one year. It was fun jotting the names down on the little chart they provided in WWF Magazine. Anyway, the Visionaries all head out first and it is cool to see some of these dudes in the main event. DiBiase heads out last and this is a damn impressive group. In a good touch, Hogan and Santana enter first, leaving the Champion spotlight for the Ultimate Warrior, who I would argue actually got the biggest pop of the three. I love seeing Tito mix it up here. What a nice moment for a loyal soldier. Poor Warlord has an embarrassing showing as Hogan punches him and Tito cracks him with the flying forearm to send him to the showers. That couldn’t have been Hercules or Roma there? Seems like a waste of the big man. In a matchup we should have seen more often, DiBiase and Santana had a crisp little scuffle that ended when DiBiase dodged the forearm and hit a stun gun to get his team back to a two man advantage. Well, it was cool that Tito even made it here. The whole match is refreshing, even getting to see Roma and Martel work Hogan over. I know the whole point of this match was to send everyone home happy but this could have been a chance to establish some new heels. What if Warlord or Martel snuck in a pin on Hogan? Warrior still could have won, but we could have had a hot new heel in the mix. And then, in the moment that ruined my Thanksgiving, Hulk Hogan felt the need to kick out of the PowerPlex. Why? Why was that needed? Such an awesome finisher pissed on in a fairly innocuous match. Hogan whacked Roma with a clothesline, sending him to the shower to further rub salt in the wounds. Jerk. He would lay the wood to Martel as well, eventually clotheslining him to the floor. Martel took a look back and said fuck it, running off to the back for the second time on the night. Good call to at least keep the Model strong for Roberts. And then, in an even stupider decision, Hogan pins DiBiase with the legdrop! Why? This guy is challenging the Warrior for the title the very next night! What good was this? It made zero sense. Warrior would kill off Hercules a minute later and then punch Slick for good measure. As cool as this concept was, it ended up doing more harm than good since it just became a squash exhibition for Hogan and Warrior. Well, mainly Hogan. He definitely got more shine throughout. The two mega stars would celebrate and watching it back, it does seem like they could be setting us for the Ultimate Challenge rematch in Los Angeles come March. Time will tell. As for the match, it was fine but the booking of it really stunk. Grade: *1/2

Final Analysis

Scott: This show seemed very express-lane, meaning the matches are all short (for Survivor matches) but that was mostly so there can be a lot of guys left to put in the finale. There are memorable ups and downs on this show, from the unforgettable debut of the Undertaker, to the very forgettable (but sadly hard to) hatching of the egg and the awful Gobbledy Gooker. To this day I can’t figure out whether Vince was on a bender, or someone actually thought that was a legitimately good idea. Regardless, other than those two polar opposite moments, the show was a pretty middling PPV that was entertaining. From here the November tradition adjusts to new ideas and new booking to coincide with the other shows during the year. The Royal Rumble will also add something to its card in January it never did before: A World Title match. This show is fun to watch, but other than Taker’s debut and the dopey Gobbledy Gooker, it’s nothing earth-shattering. Final Grade: C+

Justin: Sigh. I guess I have to take off my nostalgia colored glasses on this one. I mean, it was still really fun to watch. And we got the Undertaker’s debut, and a nice glimpse of Ted DiBiase vs. Bret Hart, and the dominance of the Visionaries, but on a whole the in ring action was just middling and some of the booking decisions were puzzling. Looking at it in the moment, you could argue the brutal Gobbledy Gooker reveal almost offsets the awesomeness of Taker’s debut. Terrible. I liked Hogan’s survivor match against Earthquake’s team and that felt like a good use of him, but the Grand Finale booking was atrocious as he just mows through useful heels and then steps aside to let Warrior get a minute of offense and a pin on Hercules in. You could almost feel Warrior’s title reign officially dying right there in the ring as Hogan stomped around him. 1990 is in the books and while a lot of things feel the same, there is also a whole lot more uncertainty in the air about the future direction of the company than there has been since the PPV era started. Final Grade: C-

Author: Vintage Vault

Vintage Vault Reposts are a collection of reviews that Scott and JT have written over the years.