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Survivor Series Countdown: 1990

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1990

Man, what is WITH some people?  I got not one, but TWO whiny, lengthy letters from past (and I guess current) Hulkamaniacs who went to great length to basically explain how viewing these shows from a “smart” perspective ruins them because back then all people cared about was watching the good guys win and crap like that.  Hey, newsflash:  The fact that such a large group of people hit upon the internet at basically the same time and turned into what are today the “smart marks” who populate most of wrestling’s fandom proves that there was a large majority of people, much like myself at the time, who felt that the Orange Goblin was an overhyped, aging hypocrite who preached good behavior and then broke every rule in the book, who wouldn’t lay down for someone unless he was either a) Dead or b) Promised a high-profile job in return, never mind if that person had already done the job for him at 500 house shows, and who claimed friendship with Andre the Giant but made sure Andre was safely in the mid-card for the waning years of his career and wouldn’t lay down for HIM either without TWIN GODDAMNED REFEREES and interference from two people AND a fixed pinfall.  The second person also insinuated that I was “insulting the memory” of Andre the Giant by poking fun at him.  Yeah, big deal.  Andre was deteriorated as all hell by 1987 even, and he had no place in that ring anymore.  Vince McMahon was simply milking the name for a quick buck, plain and simple.  I even gave Andre props for going along with that kind of disgusting treatment, but apparently that got lost in the translation.  Anyway, both very interesting letters are available at my home base,, and they make for an interesting read, even if both guys are totally and completely wrong on every point.

So with that out of the way…

Live from Hartford, CT

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper.  Good bye, Jesse, we hardly knew ye.

Opening match:  Mr. Perfect, Ax, Smash & Crush v. The Ultimate Warrior, Kerry Von Erich, Hawk & Animal.

The Texas Tornado was still carrying the belt around here, even though he technically dropped it to Mr. Spiffy a couple of weeks beforehand.  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, so "Mr. Spiffy" was a rare misfire, I'll give you that.  For those not around when I was trying to get that one over, I felt that WCW signing Curt Hennig would lead them to give him the gimmick of "Mr. Spiffy", who is pretty good at things, but definitely not "perfect" in any legally definable sense of the term.  That catchphrase never caught, I'm afraid.) 

The WWF, fearing Kerry’s suicide (and a HUGE public relations nightmare) decided to take the title off him and then that way, if he killed himself, they wouldn’t look bad.  What great guys, huh?  The Legion of Doom and Demolition had the issue at this point, and if you don’t why, you obviously weren’t around from about 1987 until that point.  You-Know-Who McMahon is the outside ref for all the matches again this year.  Animal gets pounded by the heels, and a big brawl erupts.  Warrior quickly dispatches Ax.  Interesting matchup results next:  Hawk, who sells NOTHING, against Hennig, who sells ANYTHING.  Another brawl erupts and both the LOD and Demos get DQ’d.  Well, that was CHEAP.  By this, the fourth year, the bookers were getting extra lazy by making sure people with issues didn’t job.  Ax doesn’t count in this case because he was in the process of getting phased out for good anyway.  That leaves Perfect against Tornado & Warrior.  That goes pretty badly for him, until Von Erich misses a blind charge (you’d think those guys would LEARN after 50 years of never hitting that charge into the corner) and a Perfectplex a little later ends Kerry’s night. Warrior charges in, right into a Perfectplex of his own, but this one only gets two.  That’s cool, because Warrior was still fresh anyway.  He eventually hulks up and finishes the match with the usual at 14:17.  Hennig couldn’t save this dog, but he sure gave it a try.  *1/2  Survivor:  The Ultimate Warrior.

Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart v. Ted Dibiase, Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine & The Mystery Partner. 

I’m sure most of you know who said partner was, but for those who don’t, this was the very historic match that produced the WWF debut of…the Undertaker.  He had Brother Love as his manager at this point.  Mark is just WAY into the character, even on his first try at it, as he drills a cold stare into the face team.  The crowd just doesn’t know what to make of the guy and sits in awe.  This wasn’t “no heat” type of silence, this was legitimate “Holy shit, what IS that guy?” silence.  Bret Hart tries his luck with UT first and gets chokeslammed.  Koko goes next, and takes a tombstone.  Bye bye, birdie.  UT then calmly tags in Valentine, giving Bret a look as if to say “I’m only doing this because *I* want to”.  Wild.  The Harts proceed to doing a mini-match with Rhythm and Blues, and that ends with Neidhart powerslamming Honky for the pin.  Dibiase gets Anvil in turn after Virgil interferes.  Dusty & Dibiase fight it out to settle their problems, then UT comes back in and the pendulum suddenly swings so violently I’m surprised someone didn’t their head ripped off, metaphorically speaking.  UT debuts the rope walk in the WWF, and it’s good enough for a pin on the Cow.  So Bret’s 3-on-1.  Man, first his brother died the day before, and then THIS.  Dusty goes running after Brother Love, and UT follows him out and gets counted out.  Cheap, but really necessary given it’s UT’s first match.  Meanwhile, Hammer goes for the figure-four on Bret and gets cradled for the pin.  Well, that didn’t take long.  So it’s Bret v. Dibiase.  Bret nails a pescado to wow the crowd.  Back in the ring and they do a nice little match, including the debut of Bret’s FAKE KNEE INJURY OF DOOM.  Bret hits a sweet cross-body, but Dibiase rolls through for the pin at 13:57.  Bret clearly mouths a naughty word on camera for effect, I guess.  Not horrible or anything.  *1/2  Survivor:  Ted Dibiase.

Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty v. Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma.

Jake still has his white contacts here.  Yeah, like, DON’T ASK, okay?  (2011 Scott sez:  He was "blind" at the time.  Geez, 1998 Scott, it wasn't THAT bad...)  The Rockers stick and move on the Warlord, then Martel gets in and runs away from Roberts.  Jannetty gets cute with the Warlord again and gets whomped and pinned.  He was just asking for that one.  Roma actually hits a quasi-fameasser on Michaels as he comes into the ring.  The heels destroy Shawn and he bumps like a madman.  Snuka comes in, tries the same tactic on Martel that Jannetty did with Warlord, and the same result happens:  Martel rolls through a cross-body and gets the pin.  Don’t get cute or look what happens.  Jake ALMOST gets Martel, but gets cheapshotted (cheapshotten?) and beaten down.  Shawn gets the hot tag and does some damage.  See how Michaels & Bret Hart were now being phased in while some of the old guard were being phased out?  I think Vince had backup plans for the future, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.  Anyway, Shawn gets splatted and pinned after the Powerplex, leaving Jake 4-on-1.  He manages a quick DDT on the Warlord, but chases Martel back to the dressing room like an idiot and gets counted out.  Oh, COME ON.  The guy was freakin’ FOUR AGAINST ONE and they couldn’t even book a clean ending?  *1/2  for some nice Rocker bumping and not much else.  Survivors:  Martel, Roma, Hercules & The Warlord.

Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku & Barbarian v. Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Big Bossman & Hacksaw Duggan.

Hey, it’s my DREAM MATCH!  Oh, sorry, it’s actually my second favorite dream match.  Every other match in the history of wrestling would be tied for first.  (2011 Scott sez:  Who doesn't love ripping off Bobby Heenan?)  Haku goes quietly after a Bossman slam less than a minute in.  Duggan goes after Earthquake, but resorts to using the lumber and gets DQ’d.  Hulk comes in and slams Quake.  He goes for the 10 punch count but gets powerslammed, allowing him to wiggle around on the ground and do his imitation of selling.  Bravo comes in for more punishment…and gets small packaged by Hogan for the pin?!?  When do you ever see that out of the Tan Who Walks Like a Man?  Bossman comes in and leaves just as quickly after a buttdrop from Quake.  Hogan tries another slam, but Quake is…wait for it…JUST TOO FAT and Hogan falls back.  Tugboat comes in to clean up and gets SOUNDLY booed.  I mean, that was just VICIOUS.  The future Natural Disasters fight on the floor and both are counted out.  Gee, that wasn’t LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME at all, no.  That leaves Hogan v. Barbarian, and if you can’t deduce what happens from there, you have no business reading this report.  Time of the inevitable:  14:50.  Bobby Heenan, company man, takes more punishment from Hulk.  Surprisingly energetic effort from most in this.  *1/2, which is amazing considering I was warming up the hot pokers for this one.  Survivor:  Hulk Hogan.  (2011 Scott sez:  Another match with a depressingly high body count)

PS:  The Orange Goblin still sucks.

Macho King cuts a promo on the Warrior to kill some time.

 Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & The Bushwhackers v. Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov & The Orient Express.

Let’s see, jobber, jobber, jobber, jobber, traitor, jobber, jobber, jobber.  It’s like an AWA reunion on the heel side.  And as you might surmise, we go blowing through the match at record speed.   Zukhov?  Gone.  Sato?  Gone.  Tanaka?  Gone.  That would be Santana, Luke and Santana who did the deed there, all in under two minutes.  That leaves Slaughter 4-on-1.  And then we boom-boom-boom the other way.  Volkoff takes a long boring beating and goes back to Lithuania or wherever the hell he was from that week after an elbowdrop.  Luke goes AERIAL, BABEE and misses badly and gets pinned.  Butch is just a wuss so he gets pinned after a clothesline.  Yeah, so, what was the point of this match, again?  That leaves Santana v. Slaughter as the payoff for this grueling 5 minute marathon so far.  Tito blitzes him, but gets caught.  Sgt. Slobber methodically (read:  Viscera on valium) works on Santana, but the ref is bumped.  This is me.  This is me SHOOTING MYSELF IN THE HEAD BECAUSE OF  STUPID BOOKING.   Any questions?  As you might expect, Gen. Adnan tries some shenanigans with the flag, allowing Slaughter to get the REAR CHINLOCK OF DOOM (I liked the Atomic Noogie better, actually…) but the ref really saw what happened (so what the hell is Shane McMahon there for?  Photo ops?) and Tito wins a contrived DQ at 10:43.  I’ve scraped better matches off my shoe.  (2011 Scott sez:  Why haven't I dusted that gem off again?) DUD  Survivor:  Tito Santana.

The Gobbledegooker.  What do you say about him?  Well, see, there was this big egg that was on WWF shows leading up to this PPV, and it didn’t do anything, it just sat there and the announcers made a big deal out of it hatching at Survivor Series.  And so the show came, and the speculation started:  A new wrestler, like King Kong Bundy or Mark Callaway?  A new manager?  Anything even vaguely interesting?  No, don’t be silly, of course not.  No, when that egg hatched, it was a guy in a turkey suit who was dubbed the Gobbledegooker.  Boy, the crowd just LOVED that one.  The turkey took Mean Gene to the ring and they danced to a rock version of “Turkey in the Straw”.  The crowd booed.  This went on for TEN MINUTES before they finally pulled the plug and never spoke of this sick yolk…er…joke again.  This is generally regarded as quite possibly the biggest egg the WWF ever laid, pun intended.  Btw, the Gobbledegooker was actually a great wrestler, which is really sad.

Grand Finale Match of Ultimate Survival:  Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior & Tito Santana v. Ted Dibase, Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma (as the Beaver).

Santana goes flying right in with a forearm on the Warlord and pins him.  Dibiase ducks that same move and pins Santana.  Hogan gets beat up by the heels for a while, takes the Powerplex, kicks out, and clotheslines Roma for the pin.  Hah hah, Roma got pinned by a CLOTHESLINE.  No wonder he never main evented again.  Warrior comes in and rips Martel into little pieces, causing him to walk out on the heel team.  Dibiase loses his temper because of that and thus gets destroyed by Hogan and pinned after the usual.  Warrior getting rid of Hercules for the final victory at 9:07 is academic.  Well, that was quite the brisk little pointless mess, wasn’t it?  1/4*  This was like one of those battle royales they stick on a house show to fill up another 15 minutes and send the fans home satisfied.

The Bottom Line:

The Survivor Series was obviously outliving it’s usefulness as the “specialness” wore off and the matches got progressively worse.  A change was obviously needed, as the sharply declining buyrate for this show proved.  Fans needed a definite main event to relate to, and BOY did the WWF serve up a doozy the next year, and it proved to be the match that was the undoing of Hulkamania in the WWF pretty much once and for all.  But that’s another rant.  Thumbs down here, though, duh.