*** 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 1992: The Winds of Change
November 25, 1992
Buy Rate: 1.4
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan
Crush defeats Brooklyn Brawler by submission
Fun Fact: This show marks the final PPV appearance of Sean Mooney. He would stick around and make a few appearances on Monday Night RAW before leaving shortly after WrestleMania IX (his final appearance would be the 4/17 Superstars). He would be replaced by Todd Pettengill. Mooney would work for some news stations (including a year-long stint as a news anchor in Massachusetts on WBZ-TV) before settling in as a sideline reporter and correspondent for Fox Sports Net Arizona in 2000. He also owns a production company called Moonrise Productions. Mooney made an appearance at the prelude to the 2005 “Homecoming” show on USA, and also appeared on the RAW 15th anniversary DVD and sporadic appearances since.
*** Reverend Slick offers up a quick Thanksgiving sermon. ***
1) The Headshrinkers defeat High Energy when Fatu pins Owen Hart at 7:38 after a splash from the top rope.
Fun Fact I: This is Koko B. Ware’s final PPV match (not counting Royal Rumble 1993). His final PPV record from 1987-1993, including Rumbles, tag matches and dark matches was 2-11, with his only two wins coming in dark matches at WrestleMania VII and SummerSlam 1991. His actual on-air PPV record is 0-11.
Fun Fact II: This is a big tag team debut, as the Headshrinkers make their PPV debut. While this is a new tag team name in the WWF, this unit had been around in other territories since 1985. Samu and Fatu are real life cousin from the lineage of the legendary Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika. As we see in future reviews (including later in this review) more professional wrestlers come from this family. Samu and Fatu both wrestled in the Montreal territory in the mid 80s, but didn’t become a tag team until that territory closed up and the pair signed with the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, where they became the Samoan Swat Team. The team moved through the World Class and Mid Atlantic territories, earning gold in each location. While in Mid Atlantic, they changed their name to the New Wild Samoans. The team left WCW in 1990 and worked on the indie circuit before signing on with the WWF with Samu’s father, Afa, as their manager.
Fun Fact III: Shortly after WrestleMania IX, a new tag team was created, matching up Koko B. Ware with Owen Hart to form High Energy. The team was known for their bright baggy pants and checkered suspenders. The high flyers were mainly used as jobbers for the likes of The Nasty Boys, The Headshrinkers and Money, Inc. The team only had this one PPV match together and they was quietly disbanded in early 1993 as Owen began his singles career.
Scott: Jim Neidhart is gone, but our opener has some fun juice to it for a couple of reasons. First off we have a new team debut on PPV, that had a much better name in the NWA/WCW. The Samoan Swat Team, managed by Paul E. Dangerously, was a cool team that took guys out with reckless abandon. However, like it did with the Bushwhackers, the WWF took the entire “cool swagger” out of them and made them cartoon characters. In the past that was fine, but as the clock and the calendar turns we will see that this kind of silly character development will hinder and not help the WWF. However what can’t be taken away is the great talent that is in the ring. It’s pretty evident that Owen Hart is ready to be a breakout star and be in a consistent roster spot in the company. This tag team, as swank as they are, is merely another pit stop for Owen until he really jumps up the ladder. Vince and Bobby have another go as PPV broadcast partners and this is great if you’re a Bobby Heenan fan as he chews Vince up with his barbs with no retorts. Vince doesn’t get as impatient as Gorilla does and he also just doesn’t have that respect in the booth to the fans like Gorilla does. The match was fun but I was a little surprised that Owen ate the pin here and not Koko, but regardless it’s a big win for a new heel team as the company tries to re-establish the tag team division. Grade: **1/2
Justin: I’m coming home…I’m coming home. Yes, for our sixth annual Survivor Series, the show returns to where it originated, the Richfield Coliseum. A whole lot has changed since our last outing at SummerSlam, with new champions everywhere as well as lots of debuts and a handful of departures littering the roster. For the second straight show, Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are back in the booth here, marking this the first November show that Gorilla Monsoon has not been part of. We are also back on Thanksgiving Eve, sticking with the change that started a year ago. Now, I mentioned we had new faces on the roster and we immediately see a couple of them here with the Headshrinkers. Fatu and Samu are part of the legendary wrestling Anoa’i family and had been working the Samoan gimmick for a while now. They are aligned with former WWF tag team champion and Samoan Afa as their manager and of course all three are portrayed as wild savages just out maim and maul anyone in their way. Their opponents are a new tag team that saw a couple of wayward souls hook up under the name High Energy. Blessed with superb theme music and some wild neon gear, Koko B. Ware and Owen Hart slotted in as the fun, plucky underdog face team. Owen hadn’t much going on as a singles star so we go back to the original plan of letting him develop alongside a veteran. For Koko, this was a lifeline to relevancy. In fact, he was so excited, he even did a cartwheel in the aisle on the way out. Same and Owen opened things up with the Samoan showing his power off right away. Owen countered with his quickness, landing a cross body, two dropkicks and arm drag in the blink of an eye. Koko gave it a go next and he was rolling until Afa took a break from gnawing his turkey leg and smacked him from behind with his bamboo stick. The Headshrinkers would double team from there, landing some vicious shots as a unit in between alternating breaking the Birdman down. He would get a glimmer of hope on a couple of occasions, but didn’t have enough energy to capitalize. He finally had the wherewithal to dodge a Samu dive into the corner and make the elusive tag. Owen took right to the air, getting a near fall with a high cross body but a Samu powerslam would stop him cold. Barely five seconds later, Fatu was diving off the top rope and slamming down hard onto Owen for the win. That was a tidy little debut for the Samoans and High Energy put them over strong, in fact it was pretty much just an extended squash. Owen looked good in flashes, but this was all about the Headshrinkers. Grade: *1/2
2) Big Boss Man defeats Nailz in a Nightstick Match after a Boss Man Slam in 5:43
Fun Fact: After this feud and show, Nailz was set for a big feud with the Undertaker that would lead to a Royal Rumble match. They even set the feud up on an episode of Superstars in December, and the face to face meeting even graced the cover of the January 1993 WWF Magazine. Here is the back story. In December 1992, Nailz confronted Vince McMahon backstage about money that was supposedly owed to him and possibly about a raise. When Vince blew him off, Nailz flipped and began choking McMahon out. He was eventually pulled off by WWF officials, but as you would expect he was immediately turfed from the Federation and essentially blackballed from wrestling. Nailz resurfaced very briefly (for only one night) in WCW as the “Prisoner,” where he had one match with Sting at Slamboree 1993. Right after the PPV he was gone from WCW as well. Nailz popped up once more at the 1994 steroid trials where he tore into McMahon on the witness stand and made all sorts of wild accusations. Nailz’ testimony was thrown out and seen as bullshit as many believed Nailz was lying just to try and screw McMahon. Nailz has not been seen on wrestling TV since.
Scott: The long awaited blow off to the type of feud we expected to happen involving Big Boss Man at some point: The jaded former inmate. On paper we knew this match would be a sloppy mess and indeed it was. The fact that the match was only about six minutes proves that theory. Big Boss Man was still fairly over but as has been the mood these past few months in WWF, the winds of change continue to blow. After some punching and kicking, Boss Man gets the stick and starts laying into Nailz until Boss Man dropped the stick. Nailz grabs it and starts laying the shots back in. At this point I thought we had a big upset brewing, but Boss Man gets the stick back and gets the victory. It was very smart to make this feud quick and the blow off even quicker. This is the last great moment for Big Boss Man in the Federation Era, but the match is pretty brutal. Grade: *
Justin: The moment we have been waiting for throughout all of 1992 has finally arrived! Back in May, Nailz burst on the scene and laid waste to the Big Boss Man, leaving him bloodied and in the hospital. Since, he has run through the roster with nobody able to stop him. Boss Man finally returned and got his shot at revenge here, with a special stipulation in place: a nightstick would hang high above the ring on a pole. The first man to grab the weapon could use it freely. Nailz actually cut a pretty impassioned promo before the match, to the point that I am sad he is pretty much done after this. It may have been the promo of a lifetime for the big guy, it was that effective. Boss Man charged to the ring, not even waiting for his theme music, and jumped Nailz before he could prematurely grab the nightstick. Things devolved into a brawl very fast, with Nailz dragging Boss Man to the mat and choking away at him. Nailz jabbed Boss Man with some nice right hands but Boss Man came back with a shot to the grill of his own. Both men continuously tried to grab the stick but failed each time. The big blow came when Nailz yanked Boss Man off the top and he landed hard on his back on the mat. Nailz decided to wear him down a bit more this time before going right for the pole again. Boss Man made a labored comeback but he was a step too slow and came up empty on a splash. Nailz would go for the stick again, but Boss Man caught him and crotched him across the top rope. Boss Man would use the opening to grab the nightstick and pop Nailz with it. Nailz shrugged it off and was able to grab hold of the weapon, using it to batter Boss Man’s back. Boss Man fought through it and hit the Boss Man Slam to pick up the win. After the bell, Boss Man got his final revenge, bashing Nailz in the face with the stick, driving him to the back. This actually wasn’t as bad as you would expect as it mixed some stiff shots and focused brawling and was kept short enough to never meander. It also paid off a pretty good storyline. I will say that they could have used the stick a bit more or at least made things a little more violent considering the build. The stick doesn’t come into play until the final minute of the match and barely gets used despite being the catalyst for the whole thing. Oh well. I think Nailz could have developed a bit more and been a decent asshole heel into 1993, but such is life. Boss Man looks to his next challenge. Grade: *1/2
3) Tatanka defeats Rick Martel after the Papoose to Go in 11:05
Fun Fact: This rematch from WrestleMania VIII came about because Rick Martel stole Tatanka’s sacred eagle feathers in May.
Scott: This feud dates all the way back to WrestleMania, but really picked up when the Model stole the Native American’s feathers. Tatanka won at the Hoosier Dome and now wanted his feathers back. The feud detoured during the summer so Martel could feud with Shawn Michaels. Tatanka was slated to be on camera at SummerSlam but his overflow match aired on Prime Time Wrestling instead. The rematch is given much more time and I think that’s good for Tatanka because working with a seasoned veteran like Martel gives him credibility with the fans and keeps his hot streak going. This match continues the “winds of change” theme that the last two PPVs have. We go even further into the theme during the match when a strange clown comes up the ramp to giggle and make balloon animals. A clown? Indeed a clown. Sure we are probably a couple of years late on a character this ridiculous, however this particular clown has very different motives. We will see that as time progresses. After Vince and Bobby point him out they basically ignore him and go back to the match itself. Martel dictates pace and helps Tatanka through a pretty solid match. Tatanka gets the win and gets his feathers back. 1993 will be coming soon, and Tatanka becomes a major player in this transition. Grade: **1/2
Justin: Not too much has changed for the Native American since we saw this same match back at WrestleMania. Well, he has changed his look a bit, ditching the long white tights for some trunks and traditional native garb. He also remains undefeated. Martel gets another crack at him after stealing Tatanka’s prized sacred eagle feathers and started using them as accessories. Tatanka was hellbent on taking the Model out and regaining his possessions. Tatanka shrugged off some early Martel slaps and started to run through him, eventually sending him crashing to the floor off an atomic drop. Martel’s hair is so loaded with gel and slicked back even Rick Pitino is blushing. Martel would land a shot to the throat to take over, leading int a front chancery to grind down Tatanka. As the Model worked that hold, we pan to the aisle where a clown is tying up balloon animals and handing them to kids in the crowd. McMahon and Heenan chat a bit about him, noting that he has been showing up at events all around the country over the past few weeks. Tatanka powered out of the chancery but Martel went back to the throat and then snapped off a nice neckbreaker to maintain control and pick up a near fall. Tatanka came back and worked the arm for a moment but Martel shut that down by chucking him out to the floor. Back inside, Martel tried to come off the middle rope but Tatanka caught him then got hot, hitting the war path and running through the Model with a series of chops. After a chop off the top rope, he hit the Papoose to Go and picked up the win. He officially would put the feud to bed by grabbing his feathers and dancing off victoriously. Meanwhile, in the aisle, the clown popped all the balloon animals he had made and then ran away. The match was fine even though it was stretched a bit long to get the clown stuff some airtime. Tatanka now officially owns two PPV wins, both over Martel, and remains undefeated overall. Grade: *1/2
4) Randy Savage & Mr. Perfect defeat Ric Flair & Razor Ramon by Disqualification at 17:08.
Fun Fact I: Here is our second big debut of the show. Razor Ramon is Scott Hall, who started his career down in Florida feuding with Dusty Rhodes. He then moved on to the NWA where he was a mid-card act named Starship Coyote. Hall really cut his teeth in the AWA starting in 1985, winning the Tag Team Titles twice with, coincidentally, Curt Hennig. He then moved on to WCW in the spring of 1991, originally as his real name but eventually became the Diamond Studd, bodyguard and charge of Diamond Dallas Page. Being wasted in the lower mid-card, Vince McMahon signed Hall in the spring of 1992 and repackaged him as Razor Ramon. The first vignette aired on the June 13 episode of Superstars, with his first match on the August 8 Superstars, defeating Paul Van Dow with his patented finisher, the Razor’s Edge.
Fun Fact II: Here’s the reason for this match: Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage were feuding over the World title leading up to SummerSlam, and Ric Flair had both guys convinced that the other was working for Flair, when in fact neither was. Warrior beat Savage by count-out at SummerSlam, and injured him enough that Flair was able to cash in on the situation and win the World title himself a few days later. So Savage & Warrior decided to team up and challenge Flair and Razor Ramon, but Warrior threw a wrench in the mix by leaving the WWF ten days before Survivor Series. So Savage decided to play mind games with Flair in retaliation, asking his manager Mr. Perfect to be his new partner on Prime Time Wrestling, and Perfect actually accepted, causing Bobby Heenan to flip out and fire him. So Perfect turned face and we had this match. Also, this was Curt Hennig’s first PPV appearance as a face in his WWF tenure and first in ring action since SummerSlam 1991. Ultimate Warrior would be gone from the company for over three years.
Scott: The first half of our double main event is an experiment in a big time babyface turn. Mr. Perfect has been one of the company’s best heels over the past four years. But the “winds of change” mean that maybe a switch is in order. So, have Bobby Heenan piss him off and voila! A new babyface. Just like at WrestleMania VI with Andre the Giant, Bobby Heenan smacked Perfect across the face for even thinking about jumping at accepting Savage’s offer and that was that. Of course Perfect wasn’t even supposed to be in this match, but for the second year in a row the Ultimate Warrior vanished and he’s gone from the WWF again. So far we’ve had pretty much zero big jacked up dudes on this show. Either they’re big but not muscular (like a Boss Man physique) or smaller more agile and athletic workers. Maybe Razor Ramon is big, but he’s not as cut as he was in his AWA days. After some heel miscommunication early on, Savage falls perfectly into his face-in-peril role and Flair and Ramon really take him to the woodshed. I thought Razor Ramon was a great, fresh character for this time, another new face for the new WWF. In fact this feud with Savage led to one of my favorite Pro Wrestling Illustrated headlines of all time: “QUIEN ES MAS MACHO?” The match was fun but after Flair hit Savage with a steel chair on the outside the ending degenerated into chaos and the match ends in a disqualification. I’m kind of perplexed why Flair didn’t eat the pin here to get the win for the good guys and protect the newer heel. I would have given this match a very generous grade but the sloppy ending and result in general definitely takes away from it. I like Perfect as a babyface because it’s a fresh dynamic for the New Year. Grade: ***1/2
Justin: Hache mache! Now this was a twist I never saw coming. Just when the Ultimate Maniacs seemed unstoppable and on a big collision course with Ric Flair and newcomer Razor Ramon, the Ultimate Warrior got sent packing after issues surrounding steroid shipments. It was a last minute thing, so we got a hasty face turn from Mr. Perfect just ten days before the show. Perfect had been out of the ring since the previous SummerSlam but his back was feeling better and he was ready to give it a go. And this was the…perfect spot to trigger his return. In the prematch promo, Savage makes it clear that he doesn’t like or trust Perfect but he he is aware that nobody knows Flair better, making him the right choice to fill the void. Razor Ramon had debuted back in the summer, coming off some fantastic vignettes, and was clearly set up for a mega push out of the gate, helping Flair defeat Savage for the WWF Title after SummerSlam and then getting a main event slot here. I also need to mention Perfect’s awesome black starry tights, never to be seen again, except on the box of the Royal Rumble video game, there to tease us for all of eternity. Also of note is that this is the first time Perfect would compete as a face in the WWF. And it was clearly time for it because the fans loved him, cheering him on loudly here. We wouldn’t have to wait long for the big return, as Perfect and Razor kick things off by trading offense, ending with Perfect frustrating Ramon and then bailing to the floor to tease him. Ramon would tag Flair and we would get the official split of the former friends and business partners. Perfect ran right through Flair as Heenan freaked out in the booth, bitching his old charge out left and right. Savage would come in and keep the attack on until Flair squeezed an opening and tagged in Ramon, who went to work on Savage’s still tender lower leg. The big man also showed his power with a strong tree slam on Macho. I was glad that Savage was kept in the main event scene even though his title reign was over. It added to the overall fresh feeling of the promotion. Ramon abandoned the leg and went to an abdominal stretch to wear the former champ down a bit more. By the way, Ramon and Flair look pretty boss in the coordinated purple attire. Lots of cool looks on this night. Flair and Ramon kept tagging in and out, working over Savage’s back and leg, putting Macho in the position he excels at: selling hard and building heat. As Ramon hooked in a single leg crab, Mr. Perfect suddenly dropped from the apron and started to walk to the back, leaving us all to wonder if this was another ploy to screw over Savage, just like at SummerSlam. Before that could even be fathomed, Perfect rethought things and returned to his post.
In a great piece of heel work, Ramon went over and drilled Perfect to draw him in and tie up the ref so a double team could go down. Tag team excellence for sure. Ramon showed his power again with a chokeslam for a near fall but Savage kept flailing and staying alive. This has been a really fun heat segment with no real let up. Flair would make his usual fatal flaw, ascending the top rope and getting caught. Savage would slam him off and make the tag to Perfect, bringing the crowd to their feet. He battered Ramon with some stiff offense, not wasting a moment. Savage and Flair would brawl on the floor, with Natch smashing Macho with a chair to wipe him out. That left Perfect to fight both men off and also led to a ref bump. Perfect would hook Ramon into the Perfectplex but by the time a new ref arrived, Flair broke it up. He would then catch Flair and take him over with the hold, but Ramon then broke this one up. From there, everything broke down with Flair and Ramon double teaming Perfect in between smacking the referees and that led to a DQ call. Flair would hook Perfect in the figure four but before Ramon could hammer him with a chair, Savage made the save. Perfect would get the chair and break the hold by jabbing Flair in the face with it. He would smash both men one more time, running them off for good. Man, that was a lot of fun and I think it had another handful of minutes left in the tank as they had only really scratched the surface. Ramon fit right in and felt like a top player out there. Perfect’s turn was clearly a success as the crowd loved him and it added a nice dynamic to the top of the card, which is suddenly as fresh as it has been in years. The end left a little to be desired but I can’t blame them for taking the easy way out when you consider who was involved. The post match interviews were really fun too as Flair and Ramon ranted and raved like insane maniacs and the Perfect Team celebrated with frozen turkeys. Fun stuff. Grade: ***
5) Yokozuna defeats Virgil with a Banzai Drop at 3:43
Fun Fact: Here is big debut #3 on this show. Rodney Anoia, a Samoan with bloodlines to the legendary Afa and Sika makes a splash (literally) as Yokozuna. The term “Yokozuna” stands for “Grand Champion” in Japanese. Anoia began his career in Japan in 1984, and would eventually flock to the AWA. He’d wrestle there as Kokina Maximus, but like most in the AWA they would be let go when the company went under in 1991. Vince scooped him up and he makes his TV debut on the October 31 edition of Superstars, squashing Bill Jordan in under two minutes. To give him even more heel heat, Yoko was given Mr. Fuji as his manager. There had been rumors of him being a third member of the Headshrinkers, but Vince went a different route and had him remain as a singles monster, a role he was perfectly suited for.
Scott: We’ve been talking about the changes in the WWF in terms of the roster, and no “bigger” change in the roster than this one. The massive 500 pound Yokozuna makes his PPV debut. The former Kokina Maxiumus is definitely a heel that the bookers are setting up for big things. Why hand a washed up Virgil here instead of someone that could legitimately beat him? This is more like a main event on Superstars or All American Wrestling. Mr. Fuji hasn’t had a legitimate guy in his stable in quite a while, probably since Orient Express, but even that is pushing it. Fuji looks more traditional in his Japanese garb and with the geisha girls and the bucket of rice, they gave this new heel all the bells and whistles that someone who’s planned on for big things receives. Virgil gets some token offense in, but in the end he gets squashed like any other good jobber. Yokozuna gets the win his big time push continues. Grade: *
Justin: And the debuts just keep on coming as we get to check out another newcomer to the company, Yokozuna. The massive Samoan giant was brought in alongside his brethren, the Headshrinkers, but the company decided to split him off as they saw some main event star potential thanks to his size and style in the ring. He certainly had a hell of a presence and was very intimidating as he disrobed. It had been a long time since someone his size and ability to move well around the ring had competed in the company so it was a nice addition. Poor Virgil. He was the sacrificial lamb back at SummerSlam and gets the call to play the same role again here. He tried his best here, attempting to stick and move, but he had no chance as Yoko barely even moved when taking his offense. Yoko would survive a series of dropkicks before planting Virgil with a side kick to the mush. Vince really pushed the sumo stuff here to put over Yoko’s skills. Yoko would squash Virgil with a belly-to-belly suplex, a huge legdrop and then fall hard on top of him to block an ill fated roll up attempt. He followed that with a running splash in the corner to set up a grisly Banzai Drop for the win. Well, that was a hell of a PPV debut. The crowd’s audible gasp when Yoko smashed onto his chest was fantastic. Great stuff, a super fun squash and it immediately made Yoko look like an unstoppable killer. Kudos, Virgil, you did good. Virg also cuts a great promo backstage, ominously warning Bret Hart and the rest of the WWF of this potential menace. Yoko notches his win but is just getting started. Grade: *
6) Natural Disasters & Nasty Boys defeat Beverly Brothers & Money Inc. in 16:01
Earthquake pinned Beau Beverly with a Quake Splash at 9:30
IRS pinned Typhoon while Ted DiBiase holds his leg at 15:54
Jerry Sags pins IRS with a roll up at 16:01
Fun Fact I: The Nasty Boys were actually replacing the Bushwhackers, as they turned face just weeks before this match. The Nasties had been complaining to Jimmy Hart that they were being ignored in favor of Money, Inc. and that they wanted a tag title shot. Hart refused and Money, Inc. beat down Sags and Knobbs, essentially turning them face. The Nasties would actually get a shot of their own medicine, as they were in line for title shots heading into to 1993 (even scheduled to fight Money, Inc. at Wrestlemania IX). However, right in the midst of their feud, a couple of hot, new face teams would debut, thus busting the Nasties down to the third ranked face team in the federation, and they were gone by April. The Disasters would also be gone by February, as they were shoved even further down the face tag team food chain. The ironic thing is how eerily similar this was to late 1990-early 1991, when the Nasties and Road Warriors jumped and screwed up the push of Power and Glory. I guess what goes around comes around. The Nasty Boys would return to WCW where they would stay for the rest of their careers, never appearing in the WWF again.
Fun Fact II: This would also mark the final PPV appearance of The Genius, Lanny Poffo. This was technically his final WWF appearance as well, but Poffo appeared on the 12/7 edition of Prime Time Wrestling (it was taped the day before the PPV) competing in a six man tag with the Beverlys against High Energy and Max Moon. Poffo would disappear from wrestling until 1995 when he signed a contract with WCW. There are a few stories regarding his WCW tenure, which include Chris Jericho saying in his book that he saw Poffo once and then never again, and probably collected the same amount of money as Chris, who worked 22 dates a month. However, Poffo clarified his tenure with WCW in a shoot interview, saying that his brother Randy Savage contacted him about doing the Gorgeous George gimmick, as Savage had purchased the rights to the character. Savage felt that his brother could generate some major heat with the character, so Poffo began a strict training regimen and even bleached his hair blonde. Unfortunately, he waited for that phone call that never came. He also called the WCW offices, but his calls went unanswered, and the role eventually went to Savage’s then-girlfriend and valet Stephanie Bellars. Poffo has since written several poems and limericks for children, and competed in the indys on occasion. Poffo even wrote a poem for WWE.com in 2007 highlighting The Battle of the Billionaires. Poffo was also seen trying out for a talk show that would be paid for by Oprah Winfrey, as well as an endorser for Tony Little’s Gazelle Exercise Machine. He most recently appeared at the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony to induct his late brother.
Scott: One note that needs to be made is that 1992 is the first time that the Survivor format clearly was on the backburner. The company decided to start using this show to further specific feuds rather than just throw guys on teams and work it that way. Since there are some tag feuds to be worked out, this was a good chance to get at least one Survivor match in somewhere. So we get the top four tag teams in one match. The tag division seems a little light after LOD has left and they had to put two singles guys together to anchor it. Money, Inc. is probably one of the greatest “put-together” teams in WWF history as DiBiase’s and IRS’ characters fit like a glove. They’re actually given the tag titles to really help bolster the division. The Disasters became de facto top faces after LOD left and had a successful title defense at SummerSlam. They lose the straps and here try to earn another shot. The match isn’t bad and the crowd is hot for it. The faces make everyone happy and get the win. But Money, Inc will continue to be tremendous tag team that will be a foundation for the transition that 1993 becomes. New teams (including a big import from WCW) will freshen things up and the first half of the year will be solid for the tag division. This match is fun, but forgettable. Grade: **
Justin: Up next is our one traditional Survivor Series match…well kind of, anyway, as it isn’t completely true to the format. Here, is a member of a tag team is eliminated, the whole team is gone. On the heel side we have the Beverly Brothers hooking up with the tag team champions, Money Inc. They would battle two teams that were solidly heels a year ago but are both now on the opposite side of the ledger in the Natural Disasters and the Nasty Boys. The Nasties had just recently switched allegiances when they felt Jimmy Hart was ignoring their thirst for gold to help benefit DiBiase & IRS instead. The Bushwhackers were originally in the slot, but after the Nasties dumped Hart, they stepped aside so Knobbs and Sags could exact some revenge. I do like the ties here with both the Disasters and Nasties both having suffered the same fate thanks to Hart’s focus on Money, Inc. The Disasters seemed to be fading a bit as they don’t get much of a pop at all here, especially compared to the Nasties, who get a very warm welcome. For the second straight PPV, DiBiase has his swank white trunks on. Those things never get old. The Beverlys outquicked the Disasters momentarily but that ended quickly once Typhoon used his power to overwhelm Blake. The big men would work together, double teaming both Beverlys with their bulk. It was looking to be squash city for Beau, as he was pulverized until Knobbs came in and gave him a chance to come back by jawing with Money, Inc. Blake would eventually tag in Beau but it was just more of the same with Sags working him over, including a big pumphandle slam. The champs would finally get involved, taking the fight to their former stablemates. When Sags forged a comeback, Hart ran some interference, which allowed IRS to deck him from behind and Blake to catch him in a nice powerslam. The heel foursome showed some pretty solid teamwork across the board, with all four seamlessly tagging in and out and keeping the pressure on Sags. Quake would get the hot tag as the match closed in on ten minutes and he promptly squashed Beau with his splash to send the Beverlys packing. And that brought us to Money, Inc’s nightmare scenario, left alone against four men that really hated them. Heenan was funny here, advocating that the champs just take a walk and eat the countout loss since no gold was on the line. They didn’t take that advice though, and really kept bringing the fight, including both men hitting a nice double suplex on Quake for a near fall. The champs would bust him down, picking him apart with a modified sleeper sandwiched by quick strikes to keep him grounded. DiBiase got a little too cute with one too many attempts off the buckles as he ate a big Quake boot, allowing the big man to tag out. Typhoon came in hot, mowing through the champs with clotheslines and dropping a big splash on IRS for a near fall that saw DIBiase save his partner. DiBiase would get dumped to the floor and as Typhoon hit the ropes, Ted tripped him out. IRS would drop an elbow and grab the elimination. However, as IRS gloated, Sags snuck in and rolled him up to win the match. Well, that was quite the flurry finish. It also sets up the Nasties as the next top challengers to the titles. That was a fine tag match with pretty basic heat building and saw eight veterans work a smart bout into a quick finish. I liked the setup of the four Jimmy Hart haters left with the champs and it paid off well with the Nasties grabbing the win. Grade: **1/2
7) Undertaker defeats Kamala in a Coffin Match when he nails the coffin shut at 5:26
Fun Fact: This is the first casket match in WWF PPV history. The rules of this one were very different than what they would evolve to, as you had to first pin your opponent, then roll him in the casket and nail the door shut. After the match, Kamala was an emotional mess and was berated endlessly by Kim Chee for the next month or so. Finally, in late January, Reverend Slick came to the rescue, saving Kamala from the Kim Chee’s abuse and teaching him to be more humane. Kamala would stay around as a face until the summer of 1993, but this is his last PPV appearance. One of his final matches on TV was an IC Title match with Shawn Michaels on Raw in July. He was also scheduled to be at Wrestlemania IX, but his match with Bam Bam Bigelow was canceled due to time constraints.
Scott: Let the bad feuds and worse matches continue. Kamala and Taker’s tilt at SummerSlam was truly brutal, and to make it worse they had to get Kamala’s heat back so we could have a rematch. We now know the gimmick as a casket match but technically they were calling it a “coffin match”. In the days when the syndicated shows were all we had, it took a LONG time for this feud to really regain steam and I remember caring nothing about it. Kamala was a great heel from say 1978-1987 throughout different promotions, but by this point he was a shell of his former self and in the Federation Era you really couldn’t be that evil and scary for the little kids. Seeing as this is a new gimmick match, it had its growing pains. To win the match you had to first defeat your opponent, you also had to roll him into a casket, but then get a hammer and nails and seal it shut. That, even in theory, is completely ridiculous. The match is horrible, with Kamala doing basic blah offense and Taker selling none of it. Then everyone starts fumbling around with the urn until Taker cracks him with it, pins him and rolls him into the casket for the win. The bell rings once he’s rolled into it, but they waste time hammering it shut. I don’t know if that was for dramatic effect or not but it made this segment go on way too long. Thankfully this feud is over, but sadly for Taker the quality of opponent gets worse. Grade: *
Justin: In our first SummerSlam rematch, Undertaker once again gets a chance to get his hands on the Ugandan Giant. We also saw Kamala give Taker his best in Wembley, and it wasn’t enough as Taker survived the beating, spooked the giant and ran him off. Now, they go at it again with a brand new stipulation in place: to win the match, you must pin your opponent and then lock him in a coffin at ringside. It was a match tailor made for Taker and was also Kamala’s worst nightmare, as he was scared shitless of all these shenanigans. Thankfully the build was decent because if SummerSlam was any sign, the match was probably going to stink. It has been an interesting year for Taker, as we are now twelve months removed from his shocking WWF Title victory over Hulk Hogan in Detroit. He turned fadein February and never looked back, as the fans continue to root him on while he battles a variety of nutjobs and monsters. As soon as Kamala saw the coffin, he tried to run away, only coaxed to stay by Harvey Wippleman and Kim Chee. After the bell, Kamala tried to run again but was trapped between his handlers and the Deadman. Back inside, Kamala laid in some chops, but Taker just shrugged them off and worked over the giant with some right hands before scaling the top rope and crashing off with an axe handle blow. It was all Taker until he made the mistake of dipping his head, allowing Kamala to catch him with a thrust and then dump him to the floor. Kamala dominated out there, even pelting Taker with a chair shot to the back. Once they got back in, Kamala hit a side kick and slammed Taker to the mat, but the Deadman rose right up. Kamala slammed him twice more and dropped a trio of big splashes and Taker looked like he may actually be cooked. Paul Bearer hopped on the apron, but Kim Chee tripped him and he fumbled the urn. However, Kamala wouldn’t take advantage as he was too afraid to touch the urn. That allowed Taker to recover, crack the Giant with the urn and cover him for the three count. From there, he rolled Kamala into the coffin and nailed it shut to seal the victory. Well, that was better than SummerSlam, at least. That is all I have to say really. Kamala’s effectiveness as a heel threat is pretty much shot and it seems they never intended to utilize him in that role past this feud, anyway. With Kamala now in his rearview mirror, many fans wondered what now laid ahead for the Deadman. Grade: 1/2*
8) Bret Hart defeats Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels with the Sharpshooter at 26:42 to retain WWF World Title
Fun Fact I: This match is a first on many levels. It is Bret Hart’s first World Title defense on PPV, Shawn Michaels’s first PPV World Title shot and first Main Event match, and is the first time these two men would meet on PPV.
Fun Fact II: This match was originally booked as just a straight up bout with no title on the line. After the big title change below, Shawn Michaels defeated British Bulldog on October 27, 1992 in Terre Haute, Indiana (on the final Saturday Night’s Main Event until March 2006) to win his first singles title.
Fun Fact III: In one of the final instances of the World Title changing hands on a non-televised event, Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair on October 12, 1992 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to win the WWF World Title. The long standing rumor was that Bret Hart was not supposed to win the Title, but, on a whim Vince decided to switch it to Bret, as he decided he was the true future of the Federation. However, Vince had to do it quickly before the move could attempted to be blocked by certain advisors and wrestlers, so he did it at a random Canadian House Show. It later came out that Flair was battling a severe equilibrium issue and needed to drop the strap and Hart’s name was chosen from a short list of possibilities.
Fun Fact IV: This match was originally booked as just a straight up match with no title on the line, because neither man was champion when the match was booked. The original IC Title match booked for this show was British Bulldog (then champ) vs. the Mountie, but when Bulldog lost the IC Title to Michaels on the last Saturday Night’s Main Event in October, the match was scrapped, as Bulldog was sent packing during the steroid purge and the Mountie disappeared until summer of 1993. However, before that, Hart had won the world title from Ric Flair at a house show in Saskatoon, Canada. So, this match was then changed to a World Title Match, with the IC Belt not on the line.
Scott: This match encapsulates everything this show is about. Gone are Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog and other huge, muscular champions with minimal in-ring work. The Feds were breathing down Vince’s neck as the steroid issues were really starting to be pushed to the forefront. So the roster in general just needed to get smaller and more athletic, and we’re not just talking the mid-card. These smaller competitors needed to be the face of the company and on the top of the card. Thus we have our two top singles wrestlers of this new era. This match also begins what would be the 1990’s most enduring (and eventually very personal) rivalry. Two men who see an opening and both want the brass ring. Bret has the ring, Shawn wants it. The fact that Vince and the bookers put this match last and gave them almost 27 minutes is indicative of what they are trying to accomplish in the company. The match is fantastic, as both guys go all out and the crowd really is invested in it, more than anyone probably expected. Vince and Bobby tell a great story here, with Vince beginning his “Bret Bromance”. The match goes back and forth as even though Bret is slightly more accomplished in singles matches, Shawn doesn’t look like a guy who is being carried. Both men take it to the limit with several close falls and even a half-ref bump. Earl Hebner wasn’t totally out but dazed. In an ending you’ll see a few years later, Shawn comes off the top rope but Bret grabs his legs and ratchets up the Sharpshooter. Shawn taps out and Bret retains the World Title. Some feel this is the best match these two ever have. Bret heads into the new year as the face of the WWF, but Shawn Michaels definitely proved he isn’t going anywhere and also becomes a vital cog in the transition the WWF makes from the Federation Era into what will eventually be called the “New Generation”. If you’ve never seen this match before, I highly recommend it. Before any personal issues had gotten in the way, these two were burgeoning talents that Vince absolutely needed. This match was their chance to showcase on a bright (but not too bright) stage. There’s some long rest holds in the middle but that’s understandable since Shawn is still honing his singles craft. As the year ends the company seems so fresh with new talents and deserving stars getting promoted. This may be a lost classic between these two future Hall of Famers, and if you haven’t seen it check it out. Grade: ****
Justin: Well, we have preached how change was in the air here in the fall, and our main event would be the prime example of that for sure. We saw Bret Hart main event SummerSlam, but that was mainly on the back of native Englishman Davey Boy Smith. Since then, he has been trusted with the company’s top prize in a shocking house show win and now is on top of the promotion. His opponent is pretty surprising as well, as Shawn Michaels was still just a mid card tag wrestler a year ago at this show. He had a strong 1992, but really picked up strong momentum after SummerSlam, knocking off the Bulldog for the IC title on Saturday Night’s Main Event in October. This match had been booked on TV prior to either man holding the gold, so as it flowed in, the match picked up some cache. While Shawn’s title wasn’t on the line, it was still billed as Champion vs. Champion, which was pretty damn cool. Michaels had a cool hook for his confidence, talking about how he beat the man that beat Hart for the IC title. Transitive property and all that, natch. This was a really cool time to be a WWF fan with two longtime stalwarts having worked their way up the ladder and pushed into the spotlight to really signal a change for the company. It was neat how these guys battled over both tag team and Intercontinental gold in previous years, and now here they stand, closing out a major pay-per-view with the big gold on the line. Vince wasted no time prodding poor Bobby about how Hart had defeated Ric Flair to win that big gold. The two took some time early to feel each other out and alternate grinding basic holds, with Bret coming out on top on the majority of them. That continued for a while as they really were setting the table and building things nicely. Shawn gained firm control when Bret missed a charge in the corner and slammed his shoulder into the ring post. Michaels would take full advantage, diving in and targeting his attack to the shoulder in between clamping on a chinlock to wear the champ out. Michaels actually strayed from the shoulder and started to soften the back, which didn’t totally make sense and played up his relative inexperience as a singles competitor. It would cost him as Bret came back, drilling Shawn with a boot in the corner and rattling him with a bulldog but coming up empty on a second rope elbow drop. Michaels would slip in a near fall here and there, but any time he felt he was losing his grip, he would lock in a front chancery and grind Bret to the mat to work him over. Bret would wriggle free and snap Michaels over with a great back suplex. Bret made a crisp comeback, crotching Michaels on the top rope and shaking him down to the mat. Bret then hoisted Michaels to the top and took him over with a big superplex for a close near fall. Just when it looked like Michaels was toast, he was able to shift his weight on a Hart go behind and send the champ careening to the floor. Michaels slammed him out there and pitched him back in, starting to feel like the gold could be his. Bret survived his offense, but Michaels struck a big blow with a strong side kick to the face. He dragged Hart to his feet and after a brief struggle, hit the champ with his Teardrop Suplex for another close two count. Michaels would end up hooked in the ropes, but wriggled free as Bret charged, causing the Hitman to slam his banged up shoulder into the ropes for one last bit of nice selling. Shawn decided to go high risk and tried a dropkick out of the corner, but Hart blocked it, hooked Shawn’s legs and turned him into the Sharpshooter for the hard earned victory. That was a damn good match. It lacked the major bells and whistles, but was really solid in every way. It built logically (outside of Michaels abandoning the shoulder work) and had some nice back and forth mixed in before hitting the peak with some good near falls. It was exactly the type of match that Hart needed to get his reign off to a strong start. The match also set up Michaels as someone that could hang in a big spot. Santa Claus would emerge and celebrate with Hart as we go off the air. And with that, a new company ace was born. Grade: ***1/2
Scott: This is the show that transitioned out of the “Federation Era” and into the “New Generation Era”. This show indicates a drastic change in the company. Again we have no Hogan, Warrior or other previous main eventers. Only Savage remains, and he’s in the mid-card main event. Bret/Shawn at the top of the card really proves that Vince was looking ahead towards the future. Besides the shift of current roster guys, we have a myriad of PPV debuts (Razor, Doink, Yokozuna), all of which play a major impact in the next few years of the company. I really liked this show except for the Kamala/Taker mess, and sadly things for the Deadman don’t get any better. This is definitely a forgotten show that if you have a couple hours should be one to check out or revisit. Final Grade: B+
Justin: This is a really tough show to grade. It is pretty important historically in ways thanks to all of the debuts up and down the card, as well as the fact of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels ascending to the main event scene. It was a major shift in company philosophy in multiple ways. The two big matches that headlined the show definitely delivered and were easily the best bouts on the card. However, the rest of the in ring action was very lacking as nothing stood out in any way. Also, it was a bit jarring to have zero traditional Survivor Series matches on the card for the first time. I think they easily could have shuffled a couple in here to keep the tradition alive. The crowd was into most of it and I really enjoyed Vince and Bobby on the call again as their chemistry has grown quite a bit. More change was imminent in 1993, some of it positive momentum and some severe regression, but things remain to be very unsettled at the end of the year. I will give this show a decent bump due to the fresh feel, injection of new talent and the general excitement around it, but the in ring quality was severely lacking across the board. Final Grade: B-